Sade, "The Big Unknown"


Sade "The Big Unknown" Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she's only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning "The Big Unknown," Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Miya Folick "Thingamajig" Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible) With each new single, the talented LA vocalist is strengthening the case that her forthcoming LP could be one of the best debuts of the year. Her flexible vocals always stretch further than you expect, and she uses her seemingly unlimited range to exact maximum Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Welp, this is embarrassing. The week I roll out a new round-up column, I respond by posting exactly zero times. My editorial staff (of one) was pretty slammed this week, but that's no excuse. Hopefully this piece can make up for it, dear readers. I'll do better this week, because, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


I was on vacay in England last week, and as I sat back down at my desk this morning, I realized that a massive amount of new music came out while I was gone. I'm going to try something new with quick one to two sentence recaps of some Read more

Lil Uzi Vert, "New Patek"


Lil Uzi Vert "New Patek" Digital Single Easily one of most joyful songs of the year, the hyperactive, hypertalented Philadelphian returns with six (6!) electric minutes of swirling, tuneful hip-hop. Over Dolan Beats' glorious crystallized piano keys and tiptoeing hi-hats, Uzi goes the fuck in as only he can, slaloming through the beat Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, “Appointments”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 6.50.48 PMJulien Baker
“Appointments”
Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador)
“It’s the hope that kills you,” goes the old saying. But it can also be the thing that saves you and drives you through life’s dark stretches. It’s what the 21 year-old is reaching for on this breathtaking first single from her highly-anticipated second LP. Baker has the ultra-rare ability to distill life’s most complex and difficult moments into gorgeous, insightful songs that often tell you more about your life than hers.

“Appointments” is the next in a long line of stunning, stripped-back guitar ballads from the Memphis native. Over a lonely, reverb-drenched single-string riff, Baker tries desperately to old on to the hope that she knows she needs. Baker confesses all this to a disappointed lover, admitting that she’s reached a point where there’s nothing she can do but believe in the process, even though she is far from convinced that it will work. Unbelievably moving.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, “Every Time”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 1.37.01 PMJae Stephens
“Every Time”

Digital Single
After dropping one of the best singles of 2017, the LA singer returns with a low-key follow up that continues to hint at her massive potential. “Every Time” is a sweltering love letter to her hometown, from her roots in Studio City to the packed freeways that connect its residents to a wealth of possibilities. Buoyed by the pulsing, soulful production of London singer-songwriter, Burno Major, Stephens captures the excitement and anxiety of exploring an endless maze that offers a million different ways to come back home.

Hot Jam of the Day: Car Seat Headrest, “War is Coming (If You Want It)”

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car-seat-headrest-will-toledoCar Seat Headrest
“War is Coming (If You Want It)”

Digital Single
If you aren’t worried about what is happening on this planet, you aren’t an actual human. Will Toldeo is a certified human and a very talented songwriter, and he displays both on this this world-weary new single. During a tight, tuneful three and a half minutes, Toldeo decries a number of popular, corrosive views that are currently polluting the globe and calls out a need for healing. The message may not be particularly novel, but we need as many positive voices as we can in these troubled times.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jesse Kivel, “LA Story”

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kisses-03Jesse Kivel
“LA Story”
Content (out 10.06 on New Feelings)

After a couple years away, the Kisses/Princeton frontman returns with a gorgeous, slow-burning solo single. It’s unclear whether the 1991 Steve Martin film of the same name inspired this track, but the seductive keys, jazzy fretless bass-line, and massive horn chorus melody makes sure it wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack. Kivel’s warm tenor is as smooth as ever, gliding high above the lush arrangement and capturing the city’s beauty and ennui.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, “LMK”

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KelelaKelela
“LMK”

Take Me Apart (10.06 on Warp)
Our agonizing wait for the first taste of Kelela’s proper studio debut* is finally over, and my GOD, our girl came through with a banger. In lieu of just typing 4,000 fire emojis, I’ll just say that “LMK” is such a perfect distillation of what makes her such a special artist. The track lives in that ambiguous space between the club, the bedroom, and the radio. And the D.C. native devouring a club-ready Arca production and turning it into a slick, intoxicating slab of ultra-modern R&B.

And though everything about it sounds pristine, Kelela’s lyrics are never mere empty calories. She effortlessly deconstructs modern ghosting culture, reminding your local neighborhood fuckboi (or girl) that the main thing most people are looking for in the early going is honesty.

*Let’s be real, Cut 4 Me is an album

Hot Jam of the Day: Turnover, “Sunshine Type”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.32.40 AMTurnover
“Sunshine Type”
Good Nature (out 08.25 on Run for Cover)
The second track from the Virginia trio’s upcoming third LP is a delicious slice of subdued, humid, mid-tempo soft rock. Interestingly, both of Good Nature’s pre-release singles have lacked the urgency of 2015’s excellent Peripheral Vision. Instead, they have been languid and dreamy, which could be indicative of a shift from the angst of your early 20’s to the ennui of your mid 20’s. Or, maybe I just haven’t heard the whole record yet, and I should chill out on the predictions. Either way, I’m counting down the days until the 25th.

Hot Jam of the Day: Lomelda, “Out There”

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Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 3.21.56 PMLomelda
“Out There”
Thx (out 09.08 on Double Double Whammy)
“Out There” is that certain kind of wistful that will speak to anybody who has ever been young and stuck in a small, sleepy suburb. The track gorgeously chronicles singer-songwriter Hannah Read’s youth in the East Texas town of Silsbee, population 6,735. Over languid, windswept guitars, Read dreams of getting out and experiencing the big, beautiful, terrifying world that lies outside the city limits.

Hot Jam of the Day: The War on Drugs, “Strangest Things”

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64652a30-3267-4b9e-a2d0-d831f2a1a8b5The War on Drugs
“Strangest Things”
A Deeper Understanding (out 08.25 on Atlantic)
Welp, looks like the Philly sadsacks’ hugely anticipated fourth LP is officially 3 for 3. Just like “Thinking of a Place” and “Holding on,” “Strangest Things” is a gorgeous, windswept epic that highlights frontman Adam Granduciel’s rare ability to craft sky-scraping power ballads. Though he isn’t blessed with a classic, powerhouse voice, the 38 year-old makes up for it with lush guitar and synth arrangements and deft, delicious melodies. Many bet that 2014’s excellent “Lost in the Dream” would be the group’s artistic zenith, but the more we hear from this new one, the more unlikely that seems.

Hot Jam of the Day: Tyler, The Creator, “Boredom”

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tyler-the-creator-unreleased-track-00Tyler, The Creator
“Boredom”
Scum Fuck Flower Boy (out 07.21 on Odd Future)
Though my understanding of psychology is limited, I do know that boredom and emptiness tend to go together. And while this subdued new single from Tyler is named after the former, it is actually rooted in the latter.

Much of the pre-release chatter around SFFB is centered around his sexuality, but I’ve been struck how much of it seems to be about emotional emptiness — the kind that might arise when you are surrounded by every material possession you could ever want without anyone to share it with. Obviously, that’s a highly simplified, psych 101 reading of this track, but that’s about the extent of my expertise on the subject. Hopefully “Boredom” is only the tip of the iceberg in an album that will explore the issue far more deeply.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mhysa, “Bb”

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sideMhysa
“Bb”
fantasii (out 07.21 on Halcyon Veil)
The new single from the Philly-based, multi-platform artist’s debut LP is a sprawling, modern slice of down-tempo R&B. Across six engulfing minutes, Mhysa lets her mind glide back to memories of a past relationship, wondering if her ex is somewhere out there thinking of her. Her feelings are still strong but aren’t raw anymore, thanks to the way time smooths over our frayed feelings and rough edges. That gives the track a clear-eyed quality — a true reconsideration of past events, rather than a call for reconciliation.

Stream it at The Fader.

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