Images & Words: The 1975, "Give Yourself A Try"


The 1975 "Give Yourself A Try" A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it's been out for about two weeks, I've listened to the Manchester quartet's new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it's totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, Read more

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, "Chin Up"


The Rhythm Method "Chin Up" Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I'm hoping that Read more

Images & Words: Chromatics, "Black Walls"


Chromatics "Black Walls" Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I'd moved on from the idea that I'd ever hear "Dear Tommy," this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. "Black Read more

Snail Mail, "Let's Find An Out"


Snail Mail "Let's Find An Out" Lush (out 06.08 on Matador) Though I've somehow not written about them yet, I've been loving the Baltimore trio's pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, "Let's Find An Out," is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan's plaintive vocals Read more

Rae Sremmurd: "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug)


Rae Sremmurd "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug) Swaecation Though I'm still processing the Mississippi superstars' excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing "Offshore" feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And Read more

Images & Words

Images & Words: Jaques Greene, “True” (f/ How to Dress Well)

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Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 5.13.18 PMJacques Greene
“True” (f/ How to Dress Well)
Feel Infinite (out 03.10 on LuckyMe)
The Montreal producer links up with his old friend Tom Krell for another potent collaboration. And while some of Krell’s rapping is a little off-putting, the arrangement and the hook are pure magic, as Greene’s synths swirl around inch-perfect percussion. Frankly, this is the direction I’d love to see Krell take in the future, as his voice is such a beautiful match for the kind of emotional club music that Greene makes. Greene’s debut LP comes out on Friday, and the more I hear of it, the more promise appears.

Images & Words: Future Islands, “Ran”

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future-islands-2017-promo-cr-tom-hines-670-380Future Islands
“Ran”
The Far Field (out 04.07 on 4AD)
The lead single from the ever-earnest Baltimore trio’s fifth LP gets an characteristically heartfelt treatment. The clip finds frontman Samuel T. Herring running through Maryland, spurred on by rumbling bass and mournful synths. Though there’s no hint of whether he’s running towards something or away from it, it’s an affecting little story nevertheless.

Images & Words: AJ x Deno, “Ride or Die”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.25.21 PMAJ x Deno
“Ride or Die”

Digital Single
The London teenagers have been releasing bouncy tracks together since last year, but the infectious “Ride or Die” reaches new heights. Deno Driz’s silky vocals recall a young Joey McIntyre, and his boyish voice is well balanced by AJ’s easy, slick bars and a warm, buoyant arrangement with touches of Afropop. Hopefully, this is a sign of big things to come for the duo.

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Smoke Signals”

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phoebebridgers-630x420Phoebe Bridgers
“Smoke Signals”
Digital Single (PAXAM)
The first song from the LA folk singer’s debut LP has been in heavy rotation for me since it dropped in early January. There’s a wonderful spookiness to “Smoke Signals,” and its cinematic, uneasy atmosphere reminds me of classic horror movies from the dawn of Hollywood.  You can almost feel the smoke lingering in the air, as her fingerpicked electric guitar and haunting vocals undulate gracefully before slowly receding back into the darkness.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “Big For Your Boots”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 4.31.56 PMStormzy
“Big For Your Boots”
Gang Signs & Prayer (out 02.24 on #Merky)
About halfway through my first listen of the lead single from Stormzy’s debut LP, I got the feeling that I was listening to a future classic. Maybe it’s the way the beat shifts gears — how the hi-hats accelerate then drop off like a NASCAR. Or maybe it’s the magnetic, endlessly quotable bars, tailor-made to be screamed by hoards of sweaty kids. It could also be Sir Spyro & Fraser T Smith’s grime Game of Thrones synth chords. It’s probably a little bit of all of that, but more than that, it’s the relentlessly joyful spirit that Stormzy always brings to his music, which makes him impossible not to cheer for. All hail.

Images & Words: Father John Misty, “Two Wildly Different Perspectives”

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father-john-misty-2Father John Misty
“Two Wildly Different Perspectives”

Pure Comedy (out 04.07 on Sub Pop)
The world is fucked up, and our ol’ pal Father John Misty has some thoughts about it. This poignant piano ballad is a second taste of his upcoming third LP and carries the same lyrical focus as the rambling, darkly funny, “Pure Comedy.” However, this track differs from much of the 35 year-old’s previous political work (i.e., “Bored in the USA,” “Holy Shit”), as there’s no humor at all here — just a grim exploration of a world hopelessly divided and coming apart at the seams.

Images & Words: Dave x J Hus, “Samantha”

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10-things-you-need-to-know-about-dave-1459762640Dave x J Hus
“Samantha”

Digital Single
Two artists responsible for a few of my favorite tracks of 2016 come together for a low-key singsong that highlights both of their versatile skill sets. Think of it as (sad)Boyz II (road)Men, “Samantha” is a moody, mid-tempo track along the lines of Dave’s sleeper hit, “Wanna Know.” The two MCs interchange effortlessly, switching between reflective bars and easy crooning over minor-chord piano and staccato percussion. As good as this is, it feels like it’s just the tip of the iceberg for both of them.

Images & Words: Real Estate, “Darling”

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d7d33259Real Estate
“Darling”
In Mind (out 03.17 on Domino)
Though they recently bid farewell to founding guitarist Matt Mondanile, everybody’s favorite Jerseyites are back with a follow-up to their languid 2014 LP, Atlas. More than anything, “Darling” will assuage any fears about the viability of the group sans Mondanile. Real Estate has always been known for their hooky, nimble guitar riffs, and they come through with a trademark one here that buzzes and floats with the same easy grace of much of their best work.

Images & Words: Kodie Shane, “Sad” (f/ Lil Yachty)

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screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-3-24-32-pmKodie Shane
“Sad” (f/ Lil Yahcty)

Zero Gravity (out now on Epic)
On the day the rising Atlanta native drops her debut EP for Epic, her tasty Lil Yachty collab gets some visuals. Though Zero Gravity features a couple of tracks from her excellent EP, Little Rocket, it will hopefully propel the 18 year-old to her rightful place among the most exciting young talents in hip-hop.

Images & Words: Wiley, “U Were Always Pt. 2” (f/ Skepta & Belly)

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wiley-006Wiley
“U Were Always Pt. 2” (f/ Skepta & Belly)

Godfather (out 01.13.17 on CTA)
Though known more for his muscular bars, the Godfather indulges his soft side on this sultry new single from his hotly anticipated 11th album. The cut is a little reminiscent of Skepta’s “Ladies Hit Squad,” as the three MC’s put their exes on blast over some delicious, laid-back Adina Howard vibes. Just like on the other pre-release singles, the 37 year-old sounds refreshed and sharp here, and Godfather is shaping up to be one of the standout albums of the early year and potentially one of the strongest efforts of Wiley’s legendary career.