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: Leonce, “Advent”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 2.51.54 PMLeonce
“Advent”

Insurgence (out 04.12 on Fade to Mind)
Though he is currently based in Atlanta, Leonce’s sound has deep roots in his home city of New Orleans. Late last year, the producer dropped the excellent mixtape Heatwave, one of the strongest dance efforts of the year. The disc featured eight inch-perfect edits that seamlessly fused New Orleans bounce and house with the sound of modern R&B, giving cuts by artists like Beyoncé, Tory Lanez, Jeremih, and Tinashe a dancefloor-ready sheen.

Now, Leonce is ready for his close-up, with a seven-track, debut project for the ever-reliable Fade to Mind. Lead single, “Advent,” pairs characteristically banging percussion with a pair of slithering synth riffs that wind together and unravel over the course of six minutes. Though you can feel the bounce and house influences, it’s far from a throwback track and confirms that the talented young producer is focused on crafting a sound that defies labels.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kareem Lotfy, “Fr3sh”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 5.58.43 PMKareem Lotfy
“Fr3sh”
mono no aware (out now on PAN)
I don’t know much about the man behind the first track from the new PAN Records compilation. But “Fr3sh” is a gorgeous, delicate piece of ambient music, that matches deep synths with a swelling string arrangement. Lotfy is a graphic designer and artist from Cairo who has a handful of affecting, experimental tracks on his SoundCloud that should appeal to anybody who is feeling this single.

Hot Jam of the Day: Charli XCX, “Drugs” (f/ Abra)

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Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 2.27.59 PMCharli XCX
“Drugs” (f/ Abra)
Number 1 Angel
The trouble with shapeshifters is that as soon as you find a form that appeals to you, they’ve already moved on. That’s been my experience with the hard-to-pin down Brit, who has dabbled in more trends than H&M. So while I was ready roll my eyes at her new ‘mixtape’ (lol), I was immediately grabbed by this track’s intoxicating, slow-mo baseline and its undeniable hooks. Sure, the second verse completely jacks the melody from Dream’s classic, “He Loves You Not,” and it has a grating, totally unnecessary drop tacked on at the end. But it’s also a mean, strong pop record that will get stuck in your brain. It’s a good look for Charli, but she’s unlikely to wear it for long.

Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, “Distant Solar Systems”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 6.55.00 PMJulien Baker
“Distant Solar Systems”
Funeral Pyre / Distant Solar Systems (out now on Matador)
The Tennessee songwriter returns with another haunting lament. Her vocals hang like stars over reverb-soaked open strings, as she considers the insignificance of her life. It may be a very middle school topic, but it’s executed with real mastery. And if you aren’t careful, it will leave you staring up at the sky (or the ceiling) right along with her.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mabel, “Finders Keepers” (f/ Kojo Funds)

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Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 7.49.52 PMMabel
“Finders Keepers” (f/ Kojo Funds)
Bedroom EP (out 05.26 on Polydor)
Valentine’s Day was last month, but two English rising stars want to keep the love flowing on this gooey, sweet duet. I’m getting serious early Jessie Ware vibes from the London vocalist, and her cohort Kojo comes through with a characteristically slick verse of his own. “Finders Keepers” is a solid follow-up to Mabel’s buzzy, seductive 2016 single, “Thinking of You,” and should do nothing to slow her rapidly accelerating career trajectory.

Hot Jam of the Day: MoStack, “Let it Ring”

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mostack-1MoStack
“Let it Ring”
Digital Single
The North Londoner’s glorious and airy banger has been on heavy rotation for me all month. And while you might be sick of the Island vibes meet trap drums combo, “Let it Ring” is more magnetic than just about anything else of its type. MoStack is an spark plug of charisma and swagger, slaloming between the beat and driving it forward like a seasoned vet. While it’s blowing up in the UK, it is still just crackling stateside. If we’re lucky, that fire will keep building and will be blazing by this summer.

Hot Jam of the Day: Njomza, “Sad For You”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 2.56.15 PMNjomza
“Sad For You”

Sad For You (out 04/07 on Remember)
The Chicago vocalist has been threatening to break out for the last couple of years, and we might be finally getting a taste of the record that does it. On the seductive “Sad For You,” Njomza picks through the bones of a relationship that has lost its spark, admitting that she must move on, no matter how difficult it will be for the one she leaves behind.

Hot Jam of the Day: Joan Shelley, “Wild Indifference”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.48.29 AMJoan Shelley
“Wild Indifference”

Joan Shelley (out 05.05 on No Quarter)
Though the Louisville native is perhaps best known for having one of the most beautiful voices in folk, the lead single from her fifth LP highlights her impressive writing chops as well. Over a tasteful, gentle guitars, Shelley opens up about the frustration of dealing with a particularly self-centered person. However, instead of lashing out, she offers empathy, seeing through the facade and centering on the loneliness and sorrow that such behavior often tries to hide. And though she offers her thoughts, she stops there. Admitting that she’s grown tired of chasing lost causes.

Hot Jam of the Day: Demen, “Niorum”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.52.13 PMDemen
“Niorum”
Nektyr (out 05.19 on Kranky)
The new single from Swedish songwriter Irma Orm is a perfect soundtrack to your impending weekend… if your weekend plans involve cemetery lurking, dropping by an exorcism, or some light grave robbing. This creepy, atmospheric single features traces of shoegaze, goth, ambient, and devotional music. Though personal details about Orm remain scarce, her ghostly, breathtaking sound says more than enough about the artist.

Hot Jam of the Day: J Hus, “Did You See”

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JHusJ Hus
“Did You See”
Digital Single
The ascendent Londoner arrives with some more melodic mastery. “Did You See” is a low-key affair that pairs airy, island percussion with Hus’ trademark charismatic, winding delivery. Though it doesn’t feature one of his biggest hooks, the chorus is incredibly catchy, leaving Hus’ vehicle of choice replaying in your head all day. 2017 is starting to feel like his year, and hopefully this will only be the tip of the iceberg.