Mitski, "Two Slow Dancers"


Mitski "Two Slow Dancers" Be The Cowboy (out 08.17 on Matador) Every slow dance with someone you care about feels like a moment suspended in time. I mean, that's the point, right? Your hands are tied, your bodies are connected, and even your gaze is limited. Mitski, the fantastic New York songwriter, Read more

Future, "Hate the Real Me"


Future "Hate the Real Me" Beastmode 2 (out now on Epic) The peak of a quietly excellent year, Future goes super deep on his worthy follow-up to 2015's legendary "Beast Mode" tape. Of all its stirring moments, nothing emotionally hits harder than its last track, as Future pours his heart out over Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far...)


Somehow, some fucking way, 2018 is more than half over. And though it might feel like I always say this, I think this was the toughest list I've had to make yet. There's been an overwhelming number of exciting, vital new voices popping up and plenty of fantastic follow-ups Read more

Images & Words: The 1975, "Give Yourself A Try"


The 1975 "Give Yourself A Try" A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it's been out for about two weeks, I've listened to the Manchester quartet's new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it's totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, Read more

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, "Chin Up"


The Rhythm Method "Chin Up" Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I'm hoping that Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day (07.09.12): Passion Pit, “Constant Conversations”

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Passion Pit
“Constant Conversations”
Gossamer (Columbia)

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the new, moody Passion Pit. Via an article on Pitchfork, I was surprised to read Michael Angelakos say that the Cambridge group’s second LP, Gossamer, was going to be an introspective, melancholy affair. The Passion Pit that we knew from the group’s breakout debut, Manners, was bouncy, sunny, and bursting with life. It seemed unlikely that the group would be able to capture that aesthetic successfully, and I also wasn’t sure whether I was interested even if they could. I haven’t been floored by any of the three pre-release singles, and this is probably more interesting than enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, “Constant Conversations” is an well-crafted slab of white boy soul with truly personal lyrics (having to do with alcoholism) and some soaring vocals from Angelakos. That said, it just lacks have the immediacy of their early work, which makes is what set them apart from their peers. I’m not ready to write it off yet, but the jury is most certainly out.

Hot Jam of the Day (07.08.12): Blur, “Under The Westway”

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Blur
“Under the Westway”
Under the Westway 7″ (Parlophone)

It’s coming up on ten years since we’ve heard a full album from the London brit-pop legends, but they’ve been hinting at it, and it certainly feels like we’re getting closer to it. Until then, we’ll have to tie ourselves over with this new 2-song single released in anticipation of their big Hyde Park performance for the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. This, the a-side, plays like Blur’s very own “Hey Jude” (sans the “na na na na’s”) and should be the perfect soundtrack for some Hyde Park swaying and sing-a-longs, which is really what brit-pop’s all about right? They ain’t the Stone Roses, but it’s to have Damon and co. back.

Hot Jam of the Day (07.07.12): Frank Ocean, “Sweet Life”

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Frank Ocean
“Sweet Life”
Channel Orange (Def Jam)

It may have been one of the best albums of 2011, but Frank Ocean’s nostalgia, ultra was also just a mixtape. It’s easy to forget that while you are listening to it, but after listening to his recently-released stuff, it dawned on me how far he’s come in the last year or so and how truly terrifying that must be for other R&B singers. If a Frank Ocean mixtape is that good, how good can a proper Frank Ocean LP be? Early returns say it’s probably gonna be pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty fucking amazing. So far, we’ve heard three songs off Channel Orange: the simultaneously heartbroken and seductive “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” the all sorts of Stevie Wonder “White,” and the audacious, 10-minute epic “Pyramids.” The first is a testament to his hit-making ability and penchant for articulate, emotive lyrics. The second is a celebration of his dulcet, resonant tenor. The third is a demonstration of the true scope of his vision, evidence of his fiercely independent spirit, and probably the best song released this year by anybody.

Now we get to meet “Sweet Life.” An adopted Angelino by way of New Orleans, Ocean has never shied away from writing about his adopted hometown. Buoyed by a jazzy, soulful arraignment, Ocean lets his hair down and cruises effortlessly through his lightest, most playful song yet. A sort of half condemnation/half celebration of Tinseltown excess, Ocean tells us the story of a pampered socialite who is consumed by the pills, pools, and palm trees of Ladera Heights (aka the Black Beverly Hills). Honestly, this track feels so good that when Ocean croons “so why see the world, when you got the beach,” I can’t help picturing myself sinking into one of those floaty rafts with a Pacifico and begin asking myself if I should give up the grey San Francisco summer and move back to LA, though I know it’s meant to be a critique.

That feeling is indicative of Ocean’s ability to transport the listener into the story he is telling, and I think it’s the main reason he writes such powerful love songs. And it’s one of the reasons why I would wager that Channel Orange is going to end up being the best album of the year. Obviously, there’s still a hell of a long way to go, but it’s the current leader in the clubhouse.

Frank Ocean: “Sweet Life”

 

Hot Jam of the Day (07.06.12): Scuola Furano, “Danceteria” (f/ Fiorious)

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Scuola Furano
“Danceteria” (f/ Fiorious)
108 (Nano Rec)

Scuola Furano is the alter ego of producer Borut Viola, a native of Gorizia, a small town in Northeastern Italy. After a string of scintillating singles, remixes, and edits (and a debut album that I frankly haven’t heard), we finally get a full entrée in the form of his exquisite sophomore LP, 108. Easily one of the top dance records of the year, Viola’s music lives somewhere in between disco, house, techno, and pop, and it’s kinda like a musical version of that friend who is constantly pulling your arm, trying to drag you to the dancefloor. And when this is on the stereo, the dancefloor is really the only place to be.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/48920569″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (07.05.12): Citizen, You Give Me That Something (f/ Sean Alto)

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Citizen
“You Give Me That Something” (f/ Sean Alto)
Room Service (Love Fever)

This is the kind of track that the term “hot jam” is made for. Oh my god. This, the final track on London producer Laurence “Citizen” Blake’s upcoming EP, is the kind of cut built for a summer night in some dilapidated basement filled with twice as many people as it can hold. You know, one of the best nights of your life. Deep, sexy, energetic, and virile as all hell, “You Give Me That Something” is another win for the Love Fever crew, and something tells me it won’t be the last. Extra points for the velvet vocals of Sean Alto.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51066613″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (07.03.12): Jessie Ware, “Wildest Moments” (Star Slinger Remix)

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Jessie Ware
“Wildest Moments” (Star Slinger Remix)
Devotion (PMR)

I’ve spent much of 2012 singing this silky London vocalist’s praises, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s still batting 1.000 for the year. One of the many things I love about Jessie Ware is her incredible versatility. In her short career, we’ve heard her slinky and understated (“Running”); bouncy and twee (“Valentine”); and most recently, we heard her get her full-throated queen diva on via her debut album’s third single, the dramatic power ballad “Wildest Moments.” And on its remix, we get to hear yet another side of Ms. Ware, thanks to a bubbling, down-tempo remix from remixer extraordinaire, Star Slinger. Reminiscent of fellow TP-favorite Disclosure’s remix of “Running,” the remix highlights Ware’s powerful, Sade-ish voice while adding an entirely new feel to the song. Now we’ll have to sit tight and wait till Devotion drops on August 20. Should be special.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51808992″ iframe=”true” /]

Check out the video for “Wildest Moments”

Hot Jams of the Day (07.01.12): Sean Blackthorn, Bedtime​|​Sleepless EP

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Sean Blackthorn
Bedtime​|​Sleepless EP
Self-Released

The second half of 2012 got off to a gorgeous start, thanks to a new EP from TP-favorite and Toronto-native Sean Blackthorn. Oft-compared with the new breed of indie R&B (hate that term), the talented troubadour’s newest work feels alive in a way that very few tracks do nowadays. He’s always favored stark, piano-driven arraignments, and Bedtime​|​Sleepless isn’t any different, highlighting the raw power of Blackthorn’s falsetto. In a genre that tends to favor inch-perfect auto-tune and flawless production, Blackthorn’s naked, stark music feels incredibly human and perfectly imperfect (shout out to Cee-Lo). His arraignments leave no place to hide, and listening to Blackthorn crack, strain, and stretch his emotive voice to the limit is truly a thing of beauty. Wow.

The Hottest Jams of the Year So Far… (In 140 characters or less)

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To save myself from TLDR, I decided to keep all my ramblings under 140 characters. Instead of trying to choose my absolute favorite songs, I stuck to only songs that were released as singles, just for my own sanity. Also, the list is in alphabetical order — no rankings. I also limited to one track per artist. If you hate Twitter-speak, fragments, and hashtags, soz. LOL im nt soz.

Though Spotify is missing a lot of stuff, here’s a link to a playlist with a bunch of the tracks on this list. LINK.

Ab-Soul: “Terrorist Threats” (f/ Danny Brown, Jhené Aiko)
Paranoia that the Geto Boys could be proud of. The only Black Hippy w/o a WikiPedia page breaks out. Danny with another genius verse.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42243084″ iframe=”true” /]

Animal Collective: “Honeycomb”
Can you think of any other band that always sounds so new yet so familiar? Can’t wait for Centipede Hz

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45162527″ iframe=”true” /]

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Hot Jam of the Day (06.18.12): Joey Badass, “Waves”

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Joey Bada$$
“Waves”
1999 (Self-Released)

While it’s easy to roll your eyes at his gauche moniker, one spin of the 17 year-old Flatbush-MC’s stunning debut mixtape will make even the biggest skeptic a believer. He may be young, but Bada$$’ music is rooted in Brooklyn’s rich hip-hop history. Rhyming mostly over jazzy breaks, boom-bap backbeats, and soulful melodies, the loquacious youngster flows with incredible grace and effortlessness. While it’s tough to pick a favorite from the consistently excellent LP, “Waves” highlights his first-class wordplay, hopeful exuberance, and exquisite storytelling. Simultaneously relentless and breezy, it’s impossible to listen to 1999 without thinking of another prodigiously talented 17-year old — Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt — and while the LA-native might edge Bada$$ on pure flow, Sweatshirt can’t touch the Brooklynite’s original, fascinating perspective and lyrical content. I would say the kid’s gonna be special, but he already is. Remember the name.

Joey Bada$$: “Waves”

Hot Jam of the Day (06.17.12): Jessie Ware, “Wildest Moments”

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Jessie Ware
“Wildest Moments”
Devotion (Out 8.20.12 on PMR)

Two things have came through from all the pre-release singles from London siren Jessie Ware’s debut LP. First off, she is a bold, uncompromising singer who isn’t afraid to dish the real dirt on her life. Secondly, she’s a bit of a chameleon. We’ve heard her coo all sorts of sexy (“110%”), do mid-tempo moody (“Running”), and get her Amy-style 60’s soul on (her spellbinding cover of Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love”). And now we’ve got a bonafide new-age power ballad on our hands (think a better Florence/Lykke Li). While I wouldn’t expect this to be indicative of Devotion’s sonic direction, it represents another type of canvas that Ware has successfully spread her vocal watercolors on. The second half of 2012 is chock full of releases to watch, but Devotion is certainly staking its claim as one of the most anticipated albums of the 3rd and 4th quarter.

And just in case you haven’t fallen for her yet, this will help.