Images & Words: SOPHIE, "It's Okay To Cry"


SOPHIE "It's Okay to Cry" Digital Single Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. "It's Okay to Cry" is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, "Logos"


King Krule "Logos" The OOZ (out now on XL) Archy Marshall's excellent new album feels like a collection of those wonky dream states that exist somewhere in that nether region between being wake and sleep. Though I'm still digesting all 19 of its songs, the hypnotic, jazzy "Logos" immediately stuck out. Over languid jazz chords Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, "For Robin"


The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die "For Robin" Always Foreign (Epitaph) There are many, many awful things about addiction, but little is as insidious as the way it pushes its victims away from loved ones from their previous life and deeper into their illness. Anybody who has lost someone to Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "4PM in London"


Stormzy "4PM in London" Digital Single Turning freestyles into anthems is nothing new to the ultra-talented Londoner. And though the ravenous "4PM in London" was probably written, it feels alive in the same way that many of those aforementioned tracks did. Unlike Drake (the man who originally rapped on this beat), Stormzy's got the rare ability to Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of The Third Quarter


As you may have noticed, I've done my annual "fall behind on a monthly column" thing over the last couple months. That said, that just gives me more ammo for a proper Q3 round up, featuring the best records of that period in alphabetical order. 21 Savage Issa Album Slaughter Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day: Jamie Isaac, “Pigeon”

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Jamie Isaac
“Pigeon”
Couch Baby (out 07.08 on Marathon Artists)
A few years on from 2014’s underrated, electro-soul EP, Blue Break, the South Londoner is back with a proper debut LP. Third single, “Pigeon,” is a great example of what he does best — low-key keys, yearning vocals, and subtle, understated hooks. Jazzy pianos and spare percussion color meandering synth chords, setting an evocative stage for Isaac’s gentle tenor, reminiscent of James Blake and Jamie Woon. It is far from a summer jam, but this song’s gentle listlessness feels right for the long, hot days that await.

Hot Jam of the Day: serpentwithfeet, “Flickering”

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serpentwithfeet
“Flickering”
Digital Single
“Flickering” is the stunning Tri Angle Records debut from the NYC-via-Baltimore singer-songwriter/performance artist, Josiah Wise. A gorgeous rumination on trying to hang on the ones we truly love, Wise emotes that the “cord between us is made of gossamer.” Its skeletal piano arrangement only adds to the drama, as each line hangs in the air like the delicate spider webs he’s singing about. It is the super rare song that we’ll transport your mind straight back to the people you love most. Just breathtaking.

Hot Jam of the Day: Strict Face, “Murderer” (f/ K-Major)

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Strict Face
“Murderer” (f/ K-Major)
Strict Face EP (out soon on NLV Records)
The Australian grime producer links up with the man behind one of the best albums of 2015 on this modern R&B banger. Face (né Jon Santos) pairs a twinkle-toed harp melody (think: “The Boy is Mine”) with thudding sub-bass and syncopated percussion. The beat is a brilliant match for the Atlanta vocalist’s tender, elastic tenor, which slithers around the heavy drums with consummate ease.

Hot Jam of the Day: Local Natives, “Villany”

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Local Natives
“Villainy”
Sunlit Youth (out 09.09 on Loma Vista)
I left Los Angeles about nine months ago, and nothing makes me miss it more than certain music. A DJ Mustard beat, anything that sounds remotely Balearic, Father John Misty, fingerpicked guitars, the first two Frank Ocean records, and so on. This LA group certainly makes the list, and the second single from their third LP is giving me a severe hankering for the city and all its smoggy, dry-skinned, decrepit glory.

They’ve always written fantastic vocal harmonies, and “Villainy” is one of their strongest and stickiest. The melody is lithe without being flimsy, and it is expertly framed by a (surprisingly) guitar-free arrangement. It’s a strong statement from a group that’s been a way for a couple of years, and a little more inspiration for me to plan a weekend trip back down the 5.

Stream This Shit: Phoenix Martins, 47

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Phoenix Martins
47 (out now)
The London-based producer/vocalist is back with another aqueous 4-song EP. Just a year removed from her debut, Retrospective, 47 sees her emotional, ethereal sound developing, mostly when it comes to songwriting. The sparse, affecting standout, “Blue,” features a lonely guitar in a seabed of synths, and Martins’ struggling to deal with a flaky, uncommitted lover. The lovesick “Trueness” adds some bounce to her sound, courtesy of a skittering hi-hats and gentle percussion. At first glance, you might want to lump her alongside artists like Nao and FKA Twigs, but the more you listen, the more you realize how much her sound stands apart from just about everybody else working today.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kanye West: “Champions (Round & Round)

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Kanye West
“Champions (Round & Round)” (f/ Gucci Mane, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Yo Gotti, Travis Scott, Desiigner)
Cruel Winter

*listens to “Champions” once*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Jam of the Day: Seb Wildblood, “Seal of Approval”

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Seb Wildblood
“Seal of Approval”
Jazz Vol. 1 (out now on Church)
The Church Records label boss drops some heat of his own via a tasty, new 3-song EP, Jazz Vol. 1. “Seal of Approval” is a subtle, down-tempo slab of deep house that pairs an evocative vocal sample with undulating synths and a jazzy backbeat. The label has been on a tear this year, and their SoundCloud is an absolute treasure trove of late-night electronic goodness.

Hot Jam of the Day: Cass McCombs, “Opposite House” (f/ Angel Olsen)

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Cass McCombs
“Opposite House” (f/ Angel Olsen)
Mangy Love (out 08.26 on ANTI-)
About 30 minutes before I started typing, my beloved Golden State Warriors were just stomped by the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second consecutive game, nearly guaranteeing our elimination from the NBA Playoffs. Now I’m not saying that my basketball misery is the only reason that Cass McCombs’ new single sounds so fucking good to me right now, but it certainly is one reason. The 38 year-old is a master of making hard luck stories feel easy, and the first single off his newly announced LP is no exception. Along with the consistently excellent Olsen, McCombs drifts aimlessly over spare guitars and loose drums, asking “oh why, does it rain inside?” to nobody in particular. I feel you, Cass. I feel you.

Hot Jam of the Day: Craig David, “One More Time”

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Craig David
“One More Time”
Following My Intuition (release date TBA)

Craig David is back, and all is right with the world. After 2015’s sleeper hit, “When the Baseline Drops,” the Southampton slicker’s comeback has shifted into overdrive, dropping a couple of tasty collaborations early this year. His newest single, “One More Time,” is a throwback to the golden garage sound that he spun on his classic first two LPs, Born to Do It and Slicker Than Your Average. His tenor is as easy ever, and it sounds perfect over the 2-step beat, warm synths, and arpeggiated acoustic guitar. We still don’t have a release date for the comeback album, but as soon as we do, I’ll officially be counting down the days.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jordan Raf, “Hollywood” (f/ Chester Watson)

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Jordan Raf
“Hollywood” (f/ Chester Watson)
Double Negative (release date TBA, POW Recordings)
The LA crooner has been on a fucking tear over these last few months, dropping a clutch of smoky, down-tempo gems. “Hollywood” distills the city’s intoxicating allure into four delicious minutes, throwing his virile tenor over narcotic washes of synth and guitar. The refrain, “take me to Hollywood, I wanna be a star,” is trite and formulaic on paper, but Raf’s strained vocal gives it a haunting power. Rising label-mate, Chester Watson, tops it off with a low-key, potent verse.

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