The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (1st Quarter)


Even though we're a solid week into the second quarter, better late than never right? Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite songs of the last three months. To keep numbers manageable, I didn't include anything from any of my favorite albums list and prioritized songs I Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2019 (First Quarter)


Gah, I can't believe we're already 25% through 2019. That said, Spring is in the air, and we've enjoyed an excellent, diverse crop of music during these first three months. Have a look at some of my favorite LPs of the year so far in no particular order. Dawn Richard
 “New Read more

Chief Keef, "Ain't Gonna Happen"


Chief Keef "Ain't Gonna Happen" GloToven (Glo Gang / RBC) The Chicago stalwart's new project with the legendary Zaytoven is unsurprisingly full of weird and wacky sounds, moving in innumerable unexpected and exciting ways. Its most powerful moment is its starkest, as a heartbroken Keef floats freely over Zay's gorgeous piano. "Face dried Read more

Tierra Whack, "Only Child"


Tierra Whack "Only Child" Digital Single Tierra Whack's 2018 debut "Whack World" was one of the most promising debut albums I've heard in a very long time. However, I found it super hard to write about (and ultimately, fall in love with), because of her decision to chop all the tracks off Read more

CFCF, "Closed Space"


CFCF "Closed Space" Liquid Colours (out 03.01) Though I haven't listened to it as much as his ree-fucking-dick-u-lus J.Lo remix (aka: the best song of 2019 so far), the first single from Montreal mainstay Michael Silver's new album is an instant keeper. It kicks off with luxurious beds of neo-geo synths that Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day: Negative Gemini, “Bad Baby”

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14364729_1225958697446505_1127788515740684871_nNegative Gemini
“Bad Baby”

Bad Baby EP (out January 2018 on 100% Electronica)
Just when you think you’ve figured out Lindsey French’s sound, the electro shapeshifter hits you with something new. “Bad Baby” features some of the hallmarks of her work — namely the ultra-warm, gauzy synths — but it also has pounding, acoustic drums that wouldn’t sound out of place on a hardcore or metal song. Somehow, they work perfectly, injecting extra humanity into her lovesick vocals.

Hot Jam of the Day: S. Carey, “Fool’s Gold”

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Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 6.07.42 PMS. Carey
“Fool’s Gold”

Hundred Acres (out 02.23.18 on Jagjaguwar)
As winter slowly blows into New York City, it feels like the perfect time to welcome a new album from the ever-soothing Wisconsin musician, Sean Carey. Second single, “Fool’s Gold,” is a warm blanket of cooing vocals, strummed acoustics, and gentle keyboards. Though it’s the kind of song that washes over you as a single, it should be a lot more potent in the context of the album.

Hot Jam of the Day: T-Pain, “Textin’ My Ex” (f/ Tiffany Evans)

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Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 4.23.55 PMT-Pain
“Textin’ My Ex” (f/ Tiffany Evans)
Oblivion
Tomorrow, T-Pain drops his long-awaited fifth LP, the culmination of the most trying era of the R&B innovator’s career. Through no real fault of his own, Pain (né Faheem Najm) went from the jolly ringmaster of a multi-million dollar radio empire to a sullen, unfashionable has-been — the Chad Kroger of R&B. He’s been surprisingly open about how much the whole process hurt him, specifically chagrined by how little credit he’s given for his undeniable influence on the current sound.

The story around “Oblivion” — his first record in six years — centers around a man who’s gone through the meat grinder and is primed for redemption. Bruised but unbroken, an older, wiser Pain is ready to translate everything he’s been through into the most potent, affecting work of his career. Unfortunately, none of that was apparent on its lead single, “Goal Line.” It’s a flaccid, ineffectual trap snoozer, more the work of a follower than a leader.

However, the pre-release promise starts to show on this swooning second single. A duet with rising R&B singer Tiffany Evans, “Textin’ My Ex” is a classic T-Pain song in so many ways — a well-written, well-sung ballad that tells a simple story. However, there’s a subtle difference. There’s a palpable ache in his voice that gives you the feeling that there’s higher stakes here. Maybe it’s because of all the bullshit he’s been through, or maybe it’s just that texting your ex is a much riskier proposition in your 30’s than it is in your 20’s. Whatever it is, it’s effective, and it’s made me so much more excited to hear what else is on “Oblivion.”

Hot Jam of the Day: VMG Stuy, “Perfect Timing”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 3.19.06 PMVMG Stuy
“Perfect Timing”

Digital Single
Though there’s still basically no information about the Brooklyn rapper online, “Perfect Timing” feels like the first chapter of what could grow to be a very rich story. Over a propulsive beat driven by triumphant keys and busy hi-hats, VMG Stuy flow is effortless and melodic, and his unblemished tenor is strangely reminiscent of a young Chris Brown. This one feels like a future hit to me.

Hot Jam of the Day: Rhye, “Taste”

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Rhye
“Taste”

Digital Single
The L.A. duo is the musical equivalent of being draped in layers of 1,000-thread count sheets. And after a couple of years away, it appears that they’re prepping a follow-up to their tasty 2013 debut, “Woman.” “Taste” is the third track they’ve dropped recently, and it’s very much in their wheelhouse: swooning falsetto vocals, gentle piano, and just that little kick of percussion. There’s still no word on whether an official LP is on the way, but if it sounds anything like this, I’ll look forward to burying my little head in it.

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, “Logos”

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King-KruleKing 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 (think: 7’s and 9’s) and faraway sax, a mumbling Marshall welcomes us into a world that is both racked with childhood terrors and infused with an medicated calm. It’s a perfect example of his rare ability to craft engulfing sonic worlds that draw you in and keep you there.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jaws of Love., “Lake Tahoe.”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 3.03.11 PMJaws of Love.
“Lake Tahoe.”

Tasha Sits Close to the Piano (out now of K-Rizzla)
Last week, Local Natives vocalist Kelcey Ayer quietly released a subdued, piano-driven debut solo LP. Though the response has been tepid so far, it’s a gorgeous, grown-up collection of mid-3o’s love songs dedicated to the way that your loved ones can shepherd you through uncertain waters. Though it’s most potent when listened to as one cohesive collection, “Lake Tahoe” is a real standout, showcasing Ayer’s flexible tenor and affecting songwriting. It’s sweet, it’s cheesy, and it’s just the kind of ballad that could add a bit of levity to these desperately heavy times. Go listen to this record with someone you love.

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

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Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.53.21 AMThe 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 addiction will relate to this crushing funeral dirge’s first lines. “Mike called once a week, and then he called once a month. / He called once every few years, which turned into never at all.”

When a friend dies, you’re obviously robbed of a future with that person, but I’ve found that the years that you had already lost hurt more. The ones where you’d slowly floated apart, the common cords that once held you together — the interests, passions, and shared experiences — snapping one-by-one, clipped by the all-encompassing nature of addiction. And all of a sudden, you’re left with your remaining friends trying to make sense of how we all let that person drift so far and why you’d not made the most of your time together. That’s what this song is about. It may be the stunning, versatile post-emo disc’s quietest moment, but it’s also its most powerful and haunting.

Hot Jam of the Day: The Saxophones, “Aloha”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-22 at 2.57.43 PMThe Saxophones
“Aloha”
Aloha 7″ (out 11.17)
As a highly wifed individual in my early 30’s, I can seriously relate to the married Oakland duo’s hushed ballad “Aloha.” Over languid fingerpicked guitars, vocalists Alexi Erenkov and Alison Alderdice coo together, “Aloha, do you even know how wild I can get?” — in a tone that is far more ‘new parent’ than ‘new Freshman’. As feeble as it sounds at first listen, there’s actually a ton of comfort and acceptance here, which underlines the subtle beauty of growing up.

Hot Jam of the Day: Dark0, “QARIN”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 4.40.39 PMDark0
“QARIN”
XENOTYPE (out 10.02 on Adult Swim)
The reliable Londoner is back with the first single off his forthcoming new EP for Adult Swim (which is evidently a full-blown record label now). “QARIN” is the kind of expansive grimewave that we’ve come to expect from him, and the results are as explosive as you’d expect. Maximalist, neon keyboards and propulsive sub-bass slowly build to form a massive crescendo that wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking just about any futuristic, Hollywood blockbuster.

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