Wet, "There's A Reason"

Wet “There’s a Reason” Digital Single I’ve gone back and forth about the subtle stylistic shift that the Brooklyn group has made on their first single as a duo. After enjoying widespread acclaim early in their career, their debut LP was met with tepid reviews, which mostly complained about their dogged commitment Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Tracks of January and February

I've been a little slow to get cranked back up in 2018, but I quickly realized that a shitload of great music has dropped in January and February. Here's a quick wrap-up of a few of my favorites. Bad Gyal “Internationally” Worldwide Angel (out now on Puro) It sounds hyperbolic, but Read more

Grouper, "Parking Lot"

Grouper "Parking Lot" Grid of Points (out 04.27 on Kranky) Every time Liz Harris drops a new track, it's up to us to savor it and appreciate it for the little miracle that it is. It may sound like hyperbole, but everything she's put our since her wonderfully shut-in 2007 LP Cover the Read more

Swae Lee, "Hurt To Look" (f/ Rae Sremmurd)

Swae Lee "Hurt To Look" Swaecation (out soon on Ear Drummers) Sremm Season is rapidly approaching, and on Wednesday, the venerable Mississippi brothers treated us to the first three tasters from their upcoming triple disc. Each of the three deserve some shine. "Powerglide" is the kind of airy, hyperactive banger that they Read more

Kacey Musgraves, "Space Cowboy"

Kacey Musgraves “Space Cowboy” Golden Hour (out 03.30 on UMG) Very few country artists can crush my heart like the 29 year-old Texan. Whether it’s the swooning, wedding-worthy, “Late To The Party” (one of my Top 5 Songs of 2015) or the heartfelt, sad-sack tale about small-town life “Merry Go ‘Round,” Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day (05.04.12): 2:54, “Creeping”

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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.

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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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“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 (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”
(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
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.

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

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“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
(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.

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