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 (05.04.12): 2:54, “Creeping”

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2:54
“Creeping”
2:54 (Fat Possum)

From one excellent guitar-driven band to another, the debut full-length from the moody duo of Colette and Hannah Thurlow is just a few short weeks away and looks to be a corker. Hypnotic, expansive, and full of hooks, “Creeping” is a perfect example of what has made them one of the most talked about groups both in their native UK and stateside. Since they hit the scene with their debut EP, 2011’s mesmeric Scarlet, the group has shown that they possess a melodic maturity and guile that belies their youth. Though they don’t really sound like the XX, the similarities are very apparent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke through in a similar fashion in the second half of 2012. Roll on May 28.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44971771″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch the group’s video for “Scarlet.”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.01.12): Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

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Japandroids
“The House the Heaven Built”
Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

Nowadays, truly excellent, young guitar-driven rock bands are really tough to find, which makes Japandroids all the more special. Coming off the back of their life-affirming debut, 2009’s Post-Nothing, the Canadian duo is back for a similarly jugular-focused follow-up: the enormous, actually-even-better Celebration Rock. Though the album isn’t out for another few weeks, you can always sink your teeth into its lead single, the anthemic, relentless “The House That Heaven Built.” If you don’t like this, you won’t like them, which, frankly, sucks for you.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44943657″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.30.12): Sigur Ros, “Varuo” (Radio Edit)

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Sigur Rós
“Varúð” (Radio Edit)
Valtari (XL)

Fresh off the heels of “Ekki Múkk,” the predictably stunning lead single from the group’s sixth LP Valtari, the Icelanders return with a fresh new slab of expansive, etherial magic. Though “Varúð” jives very well with their signature, crescendo-heavy sound, like “Ekki Múkk,” it is a slightly more stripped down version of the Sigur Rós we all know and fell so hopelessly in love with years ago. Vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson’s falsetto is as evocative as ever and is perfectly framed by a typically celestial, dramatic melody. Valtari was always going to be one of Thunder Penguin’s most anticipated albums of 2011, but if the rest of it lives up to its first two singles, it’s also going to be one of the best.

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Check out the visuals for “Ekki Múkk.”

Hot Jam of the Day (04.27.12): Javeon McCarthy, “Precious”

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Javeon McCarthy
“Precious”
Precious (PMR)

For whatever reason, I’ve always thought of R&B as a very American genre. Of course, it’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of excellent R&B performers from outside the 50 that aren’t named Craig Fucking David. In recent years, our transcontinental cousins are enjoying quite the R&B renaissance thanks mostly to a handful of fascinating young artists putting their own unique spins on the genre. Artists like Jessie Ware, Sampha, bedroom R&B producer Holy Other, and Kwes have been churned out plenty of great tracks, and now it’s time to add another name to the list, Javeon McCarthy.

The Bristol native first broke ground in January with the dreamy, jilted “Lost Time,” which pits his graceful tenor next to a choppy, decidedly English backing track. While “Precious” is more direct and accessible, it’s just as eccentric and fresh-sounding. Of the aforementioned artists, his delivery is most reminiscent of Sampha’s thanks to his vocals that are simultaneously alluring and tinged with just the right amount of melancholy and his production, which always just has that little hint of dub-step (not the Skrillex kind). He’s got a huge, huge future.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42758484″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.26.12): Simian Mobile Disco, “Put Your Hands Together”

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Simian Mobile Disco
“Put Your Hands Together”
Unpatterns
(Wichita Recordings)

In anticipation of the weekend, check out this undulating, hypnotic new single from the UK electro heavyweights’ third album, due out May 14. Built around a repetitive, staccato piano melody, the duo (as they’ve done so many times throughout their brilliant career) expertly drops a vocal sample on top that builds to a stunning climax. Hands in the sky.

Hot Jam of the Day (04.25.12): Daughn Gibson, “A Young Girl’s World”

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Daughn Gibson
“A Young Girl’s World”
All Hell (White Denim)

Ok, this isn’t really a hot jam. In fact, it’s probably the furthest thing ever from a hot jam, but there’s something I really love about this. A little backstory: Gibson used to play drums in the stoner metal band Pearls and Brass, he used to be a truck driver, and his recently released debut is a pretty fascinating tip of the cap to the golden age of country music crossed with some bizarre, James Blake-y kinda electronics. This reminds me of Dirty Beaches’ incredible 2010 LP Badlands, where an artist seemingly out of nowhere rides his complete obsession with a particular musical figure into a strange, totally fascinating new sound. Gibson’s music doesn’t sound like Johnny Cash any more than Dirty Beaches’ sounds like Roy Orbison, but aesthetically both artists just go for it actually really works. I don’t love this as much as DB, but he’s got my attention. And that piano line…. Mmmhmm.

Hot Jam of the Day (04.24.12): Purity Ring, “Obedear”

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Purity Ring
“Obedear”
Shrines (4AD)

While it’s a little unclear who exactly does what in mercurial Canadian duo Purity Ring, whoever handles their production deserves a fucking medal (or, at the very least, a big ass cookie). The group (vocalist Megan James and multi-instrumentalist Corin Roddick) describes their sound as future pop, which sounds about right, as it fits in snuggly alongside the weird-yet-exquisitely-crafted space pop of buzzy artists like Grimes, Frankie Rose, and NZCA/Lines. However, Purity Ring stands out from those aforementioned acts, thanks mostly to their production’s undeniable gritty (er, grimey) roots, which give them just that little bit more edge than their peers. Their debut Shrines is out July 24th and should be one of the albums of the summer.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/43682510″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.23.12): NZCA/Lines, “Okinawa Channel”

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NZCA/Lines
“Okinawa Channel”
NZCA/Lines (Woodwork Music)

One of Record Store Day’s real gems came in the form of the vinyl release of the debut LP from enigmatic Londoner Michael Lovett. Released in digital and CD form early this year, NZCA/Lines chronicles one man’s attempt to write exquisitely crafted pop songs that are accessible and digestible, as well as bizarre and quirky. Taking cues from legendary synth driven groups of the past (New Order) and the present (Hot Chip), Lovett carves out an effective new sound that is best summed up by this simmering single.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32291103″ iframe=”true” /]

 

Hot Jam of the Day (04.20.12): The Walkmen, “Heaven”

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The Walkmen
“Heaven”
Heaven
(Fat Possum)

I admit that I’m a little late on this one, and honestly it’s because it has taken me a few days to figure out whether I actually like this song. Don’t get me wrong, over the last decade the very well dressed NYC via DC quartet have carved out a unique sound, delivered countless spellbinding shows (note: if you aren’t sure whether you like the Walkmen, go see them live. You’ll get it), and wrote one of the best songs of my lifetime. I’m a fan. But I’ve never really been able to quite figure out where I’m supposed to put them in the Pantheon. I keep being told that they are transcendent, but they’ve never spoken to me in the way that groups like the National, Beach House, and LCD Soundsystem do, which is actually the problem I have with them.

For whatever reason, they’ve been portrayed as game changers, when really they are just a very good rock band with an interesting sound that was never quite able to capture the generation in the way that many thought they would. They seemed to have mellowed with age, but, like the best parts of their pretty-damn-good last album Lisbon, “Heaven” is a competent performance from a band whose 75% is better than most other’s best.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/41162024″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jams of the Day (04.20.12): Jesse Boykins III & Full Crate “See With Me” and “Her Throne”

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Jesse Boykins III & Full Crate
“Come See Me”/”Her Throne”
Single (KilaWattMusic)

Like the Weeknd? You in to Frank Ocean? If you are a sentient being under the age of 39, I’m assuming the answer to both questions is yes. You should meet Jesse Boykins III. I think you guys will get along great. The Chicago-cum-Brooklyn troubadour joins forces with Dutch down-tempo R&B producer Full Crate (see: his excellent work with fellow Oranjeman, Mar) for a swoon inducing two song set. Boykins’ emotive falsetto is  reminiscent of British singer Sampha and is a perfect match for Crate’s dreamy, suffocating synths. Both are simply too talented to be toiling under the radar for much longer, but even if the mainstream never wakes up, you feel pretty confident that both parties will continue cranking out progressive, fascinating baby makin’ music. Exquisite.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42995426″ iframe=”true” /]

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