Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, "Appointments"


Julien 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 Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, "LMK"


Kelela "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 Read more

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, "Midnight"


Jessie Ware “Midnight” Digital Single In the years I’ve been covering music, I wrote more about Jessie Ware’s early career than just about anyone else. I first covered her back in 2011 and tracked her progression from a promising, mostly unknown, quiet storm prodigy to a true powerhouse who could command any room she was Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2017, So Far...


Rating albums at the mid-point of the year, just to re-rate them in six months seems dumb, so I decided to go with an NBA Draft-style tier system to pick out a few of my favorites so far. TIER 1: THE FAVORITE Stormzy Gang Signs and Prayer #Merky The Londoner's debut LP is an Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, "24k"


Jae Stephens "24k" Digital Single Fuck one of the best debuts of the year. The LA-based newcomer just dropped one of the best songs of the year out of thin air. Featuring inch-perfect production from Jam City, Stephens weaves a devastating slow jam that captures the growth of a relationship from anxious first Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day: Mutual Benefit, “The Hereafter”

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Mutual Benefit
“The Hereafter”
Skip a Sinking Stone (out 05/20 on Mom + Pop)

The third track from sad-eyed folkie Jordan Lee’s upcoming second album is a delicate swooner that pairs his soft vocals with swelling swings and fingerpicked acoustic guitars. Lee’s music has always had a therapeutic quality, and you could absolutely imagine this soundtracking holistic wellness centers and extended Sunday morning cuddle sessions around the country.

Hot Jam of the Day: The Hotelier, “Soft Animal”

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The Hotelier
“Soft Animal”
Goodness (out 05.27 on Tiny Engines)
The Massachusetts quartet’s breakout LP, Home, Like Noplace Is There, was a breathtaking, cathartic tour de force that dug into the darkest, most uncomfortable recesses of suburban American life. The themes weren’t new, but vocalist/lyricist Christian Holden’s fearless, penetrating writing and his bandmates’ evocative, melodic post-rock guitars and crashing drums made the record one of the hardest to shake off of 2014.

Two years on, they are no longer just four friends from a nondescript Boston suburb; they are critical darlings and one of the driving forces behind an exciting movement of young bands who are breathing life into an emo/post-hardcore scene that seemed dead in the water (Into it. Over it., The World is a Beautiful Place…, Modern Baseball, etc). For that reason, it’s not surprising that Goodness‘ third single is dripping with nostalgia and recalling a simpler time. In his throat-shredding wail, Holden tells the story of an innocent, peaceful moment in nature, destroyed by the crushing reality of human intervention. It’s hard not to see it as a thinly viewed metaphor for the hatful of new challenges that creating a special album can bring. Obviously, time will tell if Goodness will be the successor that the great HLNIT deserves, but early returns are highly promising.

Hot Jam of the Day: Palmistry, “Club Aso”

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Palmistry
“Club Aso”
Pagan (out 06.17 on Mixpak)

After a string of tantalizing solo singles and an underrated EP, Palmistry (né Benjy Keating) is finally ready for his close-up. “Club Aso,” the lead single from his long-awaited debut LP, pairs the Brixton artist’s sentimental tenor with warm synths and subtle, dancehall-influenced percussion. Unlike a lot of artists making pop music in the indie space, Keating is an A-Grade songwriter, rather than just a vibe creator or mood setter. And it’s easy to imagine the track being a radio hit in the hands of someone like Bieber or Drake. That said, I’m glad he kept it for himself, as it likely wouldn’t have maintained the restrained feel that makes “Club Aso” one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Hot Jam of the Day: Skepta, “Man”

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Skepta
“Man”
Konichiwa (out 05.06 on Boy Better Know)
It’s been nearly two years since the North Londoner announced the name of his fourth LP, and now we are just about three weeks away from finally hearing it. The build-up might be have been Chinese Democracy, but it’s looking like Konichiwa will be pure Appetite for Destruction. Fifth single, “Man,” is another elbows-out banger in the vein of “Shutdown,” with the 33 year-old spitting muscular, memorable bars over a delicious, unexpected Queens of the Stone Age sample. It’s the kind of track that he’s been bodying for the better part of a decade, and it’s great to hear him at the peak of his powers, finally getting the international recognition he deserves. Roll on May 6th.

Hot Jam of the Day: James Blake, “Timeless”

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James Blake
“Timeless”
Radio Silence (out TBA on Polydor)
For a man who has collaborated with Kanye West, Justin Vernon, and Brian Eno, James Blake has kept a pretty low profile over the last couple of years. His 2014 EP, 200 Press, was a sneaky good nod to his beat-based past, but it didn’t make much of a dent.

However, it seems that the Londoner is returning in a major way soon, recently announcing his third LP, Radio Silence. We still don’t know when it drops or whether “Timeless” or the very good, “Modern Soul,” will make the cut, but we do know that Blake is back in form.

Hot Jam of the Day: T-Pain, “Look At Me”

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T-Pain
“Look At Me”
Digital Single

Millennials. Aren’t they just the worst? With all their goshdern cell phones, emojis, and lack of eye-contact. T-Pain certainly thinks so. On his new single, the Tallahassee Hero decries courting in the Snapchat era. He spends the song shaking his walking stick at a 23 year-old he meets in a club who has the cheek to ignore his beautiful face and focus on the warm glow of her iPhone. The lyrics are predictably ridiculous (sample line: “Emoji. Emoji.”), but that’s never derailed his singles in the past, and it certainly doesn’t here. It might be hella dumb, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun.

Hot Jam of the Day: Julianna Barwick, “Same” (f/ Mas Ysa)

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Julianna Barwick
“Same” (f/ Mas Ysa)
Will (out 05.06 on Dead Oceans)
Today, we got the second taste of the Brooklyn musician’s highly-anticipated third LP. Featuring the faraway vocals of Thomas “Mas Ysa” Arsenault, “Same” has a more orchestral feel than Will‘s synth driven lead single, “Nebula.” Over innumerable layers of strings, the two vocalists intertwine their voices to perfection, creating a mournful, affecting lament that feels like a miniature aria.

Hot Jam of the Day: Nite Jewel, “Boo Hoo”

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Nite Jewel
“Boo Hoo”
Liquid Cool (out 06.10 on Gloriette)

The world just got a little more #blessed today, as Ramona “Nite Jewel” Gonzalez announced that her long-awaited follow up to 2012’s excellent, One Second of Love, is just around the corner. Lead single, “Boo Hoo,” is the kind of stylish synth jam that she’s made her name on, and the Angelino’s voice is as slick as ever. That said, the arrangement bangs harder than her previous stuff, thanks to rumbling sub-bass throughout and the driving percussion on the hook. It’s a tasty update to an already potent sound, demonstrating how great artists can subtly tweak their sound without compromising what made it work well in the first place. All hail.

Hot Jam of the Day: Soren Juul, “Dear Child”

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Søren Juul
“Dear Child”
This Moment (06.17 on 4AD)

After one album under the unfortunate moniker, Indians, the Danish songwriter is going back to his given name for his second effort for 4AD. Crafted after three turbulent years following the release of his debut, This Moment finds Juul back on home soil in the picturesque, seaside town of Svendborg. That peace is evident on the disc’s placid first single, which pairs his evocative tenor with languid acoustic guitars and windswept melodies.

Hot Jam of the Day: Last Japan, “Ascend” (AJ Tracey)

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Last Japan
“Ascend” (f/ AJ Tracey)
Digital Single

Though they are both still frustratingly slept on over here (what else is new?), Last Japan and AJ Tracey are a couple of grime’s fastest rising stars, and they combine to devastating effect on this anthemic new single. West Londoner AJ Tracey raps like a man with a literal unlimited supply of bars — like if you left him in a booth with a track on loop, he’d just keep rapping forever, until someone cut the power. His endless talent is a perfect match for Last Japan’s monstrous beat, which pairs skittering percussion with explosive sub-bass and a twinkling, catchy keyboard melody. It’s the kind of song made to be blasted out of a wall of speakers in a sweltering room. Hopefully, I won’t need to get on a transatlantic flight to experience it for myself.

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