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

Lapalux, “ABOVE”

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Lapalux
“ABOVE”

ABOVE_BETWEEN_BELOW (out now on Brainfeeder)
Low-key London producer Stuart Howard recently dropped a 3-track, ambient collection, and its lead-off track is an expansive, aqueous number. Though he’s somewhat known as a club-friendly producer, the Essex artist couldn’t be further from a night out here, gradually guiding the listener deeper out into the track’s placid waters.

Otha: “I’m On Top”

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Otha
“I’m On Top”

Digital Single
Oslo native Othalie Husøy’s first single, “Other Girls,” made some waves this summer, and now she’s back with another slab of uplifting indie dance pop. Her restrained, perma-cool vocals wouldn’t sound out of place on an Italians Do It Better track, and her production beautifully straddles the line between lo-fi and hi-energy. Its empowering message rounds out the good vibes, which are plentiful. “I’m on Top” is another step in her cementing herself as one of the most exciting independent young artists around.

Ian Isiah: “Bedroom”

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Ian Isiah
“Bedroom”

Shugga Sextape (Vol. 1) (out now on UNO NYC)
After five long years away, the NYC R&B innovator has finally returned with his follow-up to 2013’s “The Love Champion.” First single, “Bedroom,” has been out for a little while, but it sounds so much better in the context of the record. Over blippy production from (I think) Sinjin Hawke, Isiah lays out what’s going down in his bedroom, which seems to not involve just about everything except sleep.

Sade, “The Big Unknown”

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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, minor-key keys and languid percussion. As the fires crackle and swell, so does she, and her mesmerizing vocal drives the track toward its devastating crescendo. “I will rise again,” she declares defiantly. You’d have to be an idiot not to believe her.

Claire George, “Lonely or Alone”

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Claire George
“Lonely or Alone”
Bodies of Water (out 11.16 on Cascine)
I missed the LA singer-songwriter’s stunning debut single, “Orbits,” but I’m glad I caught her second one. “Lonely or Alone” is a moody, mid-tempo slice of electro-pop that is fraught with tension and full of unexpected aqueous synth droplets. George’s confident, impactful vocals rise above the fray, imploring a loved one to reconsider their current place in the world and aiming to transform their solitude into solidarity. An exciting new talent.

Sufjan Stevens: “The Lonely Man of Winter”

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Sufjan Stevens
“The Lonely Man of Winter”

Digital Single
We all know that the Holidays are #SufjanSeason, and Santa’s cutest elf is back with a touching new song to warm your chilly hands. Originally recorded back in 2007, “The Lonely Man of Winter” finally gets a proper release, and it’s just as melancholy as you’d imagine. Though it is built around his signature uber-soft vocals and fingerpicked acoustic guitar, it concludes with a stunning, almost jazzy piano outro that seems to arrive from nowhere but resolves the song in the most unexpected, yet perfect way.

Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”

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Ariana Grande
“thank u, next”
thank u, next (out soon on Republic)
Considering all she’s been through publicly, it’s amazing that Ariana Grande is still only 25 years old, and her new single highlights that maturity. Over weightless keys, she speaks on her famous exes with care and perspective, reframing those very public heartbreaks into opportunities for growth and gratitude. Maybe it’s just her controlling the narrative, but I’m buying it.

boygenius, “Ketchum, ID”

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boygenius
“Ketchum, ID”

boygenius (out now on Matador)
Though it only contains six songs, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus’ wonderful collaborative LP is one of the standout releases of the year. Its final track beautifully expresses the feeling of being far from home and never anywhere long enough to feel like you’re actually there. The three of them each take a verse, before intertwining on the chorus, which simultaneously illuminates their individual voices and highlights the shared experience that unites them.

1010 Benja SL, “Tragic X”

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1010 Benja SL
“Tragic X”

Two Houses (out now on Young Turks)
Really all that’s known about the new Young Turks signee is that he hails from Kansas City and can sing his ass off. After a pair buzzy early singles — 2017’s “Boofiness” and 2018’s “Wind Up Space” — got the ball rolling, 1010 dropped his debut, self-produced project last week, which is a unique, striking collection of engulfing R&B-adjacent tunes.

Its second track is an early standout and clear distillation of what makes his work feel so different. Pairing ultra-deep synths, a number of unique movements, evocative samples, and Benja’s lovelorn crooning, “Tragic X” feels less like a great track and more like an experience. Keep an eye on this one.

Images & Words: Takeoff, “Last Memory”

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Takeoff
“Last Memory”

The Last Rocket (out 11.02 on Quality Control)
We’re smack dab in the middle of #MigosSoloProjectSzn, and the trio’s most understated member is getting geared up for his moment in the spotlight. “Last Memory” is a great example of what Takeoff brings to table. The 24 year-old has the uncanny ability to shift his flow effortlessly — knowing precisely when to inject pace into the track and when to downshift into something smoother.