Mitski, "Two Slow Dancers"


Mitski "Two Slow Dancers" Be The Cowboy (out 08.17 on Matador) Every slow dance with someone you care about feels like a moment suspended in time. I mean, that's the point, right? Your hands are tied, your bodies are connected, and even your gaze is limited. Mitski, the fantastic New York songwriter, Read more

Future, "Hate the Real Me"


Future "Hate the Real Me" Beastmode 2 (out now on Epic) The peak of a quietly excellent year, Future goes super deep on his worthy follow-up to 2015's legendary "Beast Mode" tape. Of all its stirring moments, nothing emotionally hits harder than its last track, as Future pours his heart out over Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far...)


Somehow, some fucking way, 2018 is more than half over. And though it might feel like I always say this, I think this was the toughest list I've had to make yet. There's been an overwhelming number of exciting, vital new voices popping up and plenty of fantastic follow-ups Read more

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

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.

Images & Words: Matt Kivel, “Forgiveness”

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screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-5-33-21-pmMatt Kivel
“Forgiveness” (f/ Bonnie Prince Billy)
Fires on the Plain (out now on Driftless)
Over the years, I’ve written a lot about the LA singer-songwriter’s brother Jesse but haven’t written much about the younger Kivel, Matt. Kivel is the architect of two really interesting folk-ish albums this year — February’s Janus and October’s excellent Fires on the Plain — and he gives one of his standout tracks some creepy visuals. His soft voice interchanges beautifully with Will Oldham’s, and his careful, delicate guitar-work forms a beautiful bed for the two to lay on. Though Fires on the Plain remains one of the most underrated albums of recent months, it does feel like more people are slowly coming around to it.

Images & Words: Tornado Wallace, “Trance Encounters”

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screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-5-23-48-pmTornado Wallace
“Trance Encounters”

Lonely Planet (out 11.28 on Running Back)
From no apparent reason, New York decided to bring back summer for the last couple of days. It’s sunny, the subway is sweaty, and the Melbourne native’s sweltering, trance-inspired house is just about the perfect soundtrack to the mid-afternoon heat. Wallace’s sound is expansive and easy with choppy electric guitars glistening over beds of synth and a languid backbeat.

Images & Words: Chromatics, “Dear Tommy”

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Chromatics
“Dear Tommy”
Dear Tommy (hopefully out soon on Italians Do It Better)
It’s fitting that in the week we finally got the album formerly known as Boys Don’t Cry, another long-awaited project looks set to poke its head out. The Johnny Jewel-fronted quartet famously announced that their follow-up to 2012’s beloved Kill For Love would be out in time for Valentine’s Day…in 2015. Now 18 months later, we still don’t have a release date, but we have a tracklist — A TRACKLIST! — and its gorgeous, amorphous title track.

This is is the sixth of 17 songs we’ve heard from the record, and along with “Just Like You” (one of the best songs of last year), it’s one of the strongest of the lot. The best Chromatics songs are their most dramatic and cinematic ones. And “Dear Tommy” sounds like it should be soundtracking a Wilder or Polanski movie with its palatial keyboards, slow-mo bassline, and Jewel’s evocative falsetto. We may not have a release date yet, but as Frank taught us this week, good things come to those who wait.