Images & Words: The 1975, "People"


The 1975"People"Notes on a Conditional Form (out 02.22.20 on Dirty Hit)The Used, Head Automatica/Glassjaw, Primal Scream, Marilyn Manson, Blur, The Refused. And that's only six of the roughly 600 random bands that the new 1975 track brings to mind. And somehow, just like mother-fucking always, they pull it off. Read more

Caroline Polachek, "Ocean of Tears" & "Parachute"


Caroline Polachek"Ocean of Tears" / "Parachute"Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I'm getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer's first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single "Door," these two new tracks highlight Polachek's spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter


Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)


As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn't quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)


A little bit late this year due to real-world commitments, but here is my annual list of the best songs of the first half of 2019. Look for my honorable mention coming later in the week. This year, instead of going with an actual ranking system, I'm going to Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Snail Mail, “Let’s Find An Out”

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Snail Mail
“Let’s Find An Out”

Lush (out 06.08 on Matador)
Though I’ve somehow not written about them yet, I’ve been loving the Baltimore trio’s pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, “Let’s Find An Out,” is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan’s plaintive vocals with beds of fingerpicked electric guitar. She captures the freedom and trepidation of making the decision to start over with grace, humanity, and wisdom that belies her 18 years. Magic.

Natalie Prass, “Lost”

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Natalie Prass
“Lost”

The Future and the Past (out 06.01 on ATO)
I’m a few weeks late to this one, but this gorgeous, heartsick ballad is too good to ignore. A sharply-written look at the way a bad relationship can keep dragging you back in, “Lost” sees the fed-up 32 year-old refusing to fall into the traps of an ex. It’s the kind of thing that just about everyone has been through, and the way the track makes you feel will directly relate to how far away you are from that kind of relationship.

joan, “i loved you first”

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joan
“i loved you first”
Digital Single
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, first of all, thank you. I see you. Secondly, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for power ballads, and holy fuck, the Arkansas sweetboyz come through with a big one. Complete with verses that sound like the Backstreet Boys, a cheesy ass guitar solo, and a glorious group vocal climax, “i loved you first” hits all the right beats and will leave you seriously considering texting your ex*.

*don’t

Skepta, “Pure Water”

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Skepta
“Pure Water”

Digital Single
As UK hip-hop continues to grow at an astonishing rate, it’s easy to forget that nobody has meant more to this iteration of the genre than Uncle Skeppy. Luckily for us, the 35 year-old came though with a reminder of his unrivaled power with this muscular, razor-sharp new single. Like the best Skepta tracks, there’s not one ounce of fat on “Pure Water” — just a banging beat, two magnetic verses, and an infectious hook. He’s not reinventing the wheel here, but with a style that’s this groundbreaking and singular, he doesn’t have to.

Rae Sremmurd: “Offshore” (f/ Young Thug)

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Rae Sremmurd
“Offshore” (f/ Young Thug)

Swaecation
Though I’m still processing the Mississippi superstars’ excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing “Offshore” feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And my god, does he oblige.

For nearly three minutes, Thug treats us to a single unbroken, spellbinding verse, showing off the idiosyncratic vocal gymnastics that made so many fall in love with him in the first place. A true natural, he seamlessly slaloms between choppy, magnetic bars and legit R&B crooner vocal runs, stretching his voice in ways that both keep the listener on their toes and make perfect sense together. It elicits the kind of feeling that only peak Young Thug can deliver and is a reminder of what a singular, special talent the 26 year-old really is.

Father John Misty, “Just Dumb Enough to Try”

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Father John Misty
“Just Dumb Enough To Try”

God’s Favorite Customer (out 06.01 on Sub Pop)
Though his last LP “Pure Comedy” had its moments, it was an overwritten project that was weighed down by grand, mostly superficial proclamations about the frivolity of modern life. His usually sharp pen often landed with a thud as it shot for insightful and landed closer to Abe Simpson.

For me, Papa J. Misery is at his best on direct, confessional love songs like this one, a mid-tempo stunner from his upcoming fourth LP. This lovely ballad is the sound of Tillman coming out the other side of his excellent marriage LP, “I Love You, Honeybear.” Misty admits to being a shitty husband and underlines his commitment to make things right with his wife. It is an affecting and insightful track that hopefully signals that this new record will be driven more by the heart than the head.

Mazzy Star, “Quiet, The Winter Harbor”

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Mazzy Star
“Quiet, The Winter Harbor”
Still (out 06.01 on Rhymes of an Hour)
Though I was a little young for their heyday, like so many others, I fell in love with the Santa Monica group’s seminal, swooning “Fade Into You.” And though this new track will likely not hit the same dizzying heights, it packs much of the same hazy, mysterious beauty that the 1994 single did. Its simple step-wise piano melody and emotive slide guitars form the perfect canvas for Hope Sandoval’s dreamy, doleful vocals to carry you away. More like this, please.

Grouper, “Driving”

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Grouper
“Driving”
Grid of Points (out 04.27 on yellow electric)
We’re only a few weeks away from hearing the legendary Liz Harris’ eleventh solo LP, and it’s shaping up to be one of her best projects. Following the haunting, “Parking Lot,” “Driving” is also a piano-led affair that sees Harris’ doleful vocals way up in the mix. And though it’s impossible to make out what she’s saying, her voice is transportive. I’m not sure where it’ll take you, but this song pulls me far from the city to someplace quieter, foggier, and along the Northern Pacific Coast.

Kacey Musgraves, “Golden Hour”

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Kacey Musgraves
“Golden Hour”

Golden Hour (out now on UMG)
At this point, you probably already know that the 29 year-old Texan’s new album is something special. The disc is a stunning collection of impeccably sung and written modern country tunes, all of which deserve your time. However, I wanted to give one of its most low-key moments a little extra shine: this gorgeous ode to the simple pleasures of spending time with the person you love.

Kacey’s always been so adept at making little moments feel momentous (see: my all-time favorite, “Late to the Party“). And at its heart, “Golden Hour” is about appreciating the way our partners ground us, how they give us someone to rely on in an unceasingly unreliable world. Sure, it’s simple. Sure, it’s cheesy. But, it’s true. And, it’s yet another example of Musgraves’ uncanny ability to highlight the beauty in her everyday life, then distill it into a song that can help us appreciate that beauty in our own.

Westerman: “I Turned Away”

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Westerman
“I Turned Away”
Confirmation Single (out now on Blue Flowers)
I’ve been curious about the young London songwriter (and Tottenham fan) for most of this year, but his low-key, experimental pop hadn’t quite grabbed me fully until I heard this beautiful, wistful track. Though it’s drawn Arthur Russell comparisons, it oddly reminds me of some of Springsteen’s quieter moments on “Nebraska” and “Tunnel of Love.” Maybe it’s the consistent backbeat or the way the reverb-soaked guitar resonates, but “I Turned Away” has the same haunting quality of those records.