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

Images & Words: Chromatics, "Black Walls"


Chromatics "Black Walls" Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I'd moved on from the idea that I'd ever hear "Dear Tommy," this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. "Black Read more

Snail Mail, "Let's Find An Out"


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 Read more

Rae Sremmurd: "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug)


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 Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, “24k”

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Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 11.51.59 AMJae Stephens
“24k”

Digital Single
Fuck one of the best debuts of the year. The LA-based newcomer just dropped one of the best songs of the year out of thin air. Featuring inch-perfect production from Jam City, Stephens weaves a devastating slow jam that captures the growth of a relationship from anxious first fling to a fully realized adult thing. Her vocals are transfixing — seductive, yet powerful — and Jam City’s unexpected choices (see: the dissonant guitar chord at the beginning of the hook, the chopped “dun-dun-dun” in the final chorus) are consistently sublime. At this point, there’s not much info about Stephens going around, but I’ll definitely be on the look-out.

Hot Jam of the Day: Japanese Breakfast, “Boyish”

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Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 10.59.14 AMJapanese Breakfast
“Boyish”
Soft Sounds from Another Planet (out 07.14 on Dead Oceans)
Only one year removed from dropping one of the best albums of last year, Philly songwriter Michelle Zauner is back with what is shaping up to be her best project so far. “Boyish” is the second single we’ve heard from the record (somehow I neglected to write about the wonderful, “Machinist“), and on it, Zauner channels heartache and rejection into a gorgeous synth-kissed ballad. The lyrics are brutal and characteristically candid (“I can’t get you off my mind / I can’t get you off in general”), but the soaring melody brings hope that our narrator can find the love they deserve.

Hot Jam of the Day: Lil Durk, “Pressure”

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redeye-lil-durk-redeye-cover-shoot-20150601Lil Durk
“Pressure”
Digital Single
Five years into his career, the Chicago native seems to be at a crossroads. After kicking off his career with a string of devastating mixtapes (including my favorite song of 2013), the 24 year-old has been a bit up and down of late, crafting a slew of solid material that probably hasn’t quite done the numbers that he’d want.

He seems to be a little stuck a little bit between his street rap roots and romantic, R&B fare (á la, the recent gold-certified, “My Beyoncé). For me, his best recent work has tended to veer toward the latter, as this lusty new single does. Durk’s always managed to sing with auto-tune so well, using it to pull even more emotion out of his vocals. And they sound brilliant here, over this airy, luxurious mid-tempo beat. I’m not sure “Pressure” is going to be the big, crossover single that he is clearly looking for, but to my ears, it sounds like a step in the right direction.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kommode, “Fight or Flight or Dance All Night”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 5.37.31 PMKommode
“Fight or Flight or Dance All Night”
Analog Dance Music (out June 2017 on Random Two Syllable Word)
Good things come to those who wait, and Kings of Convenience fans have been waiting for the debut from Eirik Glambek Bøe’s side project for more than 10 years. Since announcing this project all the way back in 2006, the group has released only two vaguely official singles, and it was starting to feel like the disc would only exist in KOC fanfic. However, earlier this month, the low-key Norwegian surprisingly announced that the quintet’s debut LP would be dropping in June.

Best of all, the news came with this phenomenal, buoyant first single, which conjures up memories of one of KOC’s finest tracks — the one that started my 10+ year love affair with the group — “I’d Rather Dance With You.” Bøe’s voice is calming and flexible, and it glides beautifully over a descending keyboard riff, nimble electric guitars, and swinging drums. Incredibly, not only is it as good as I’d hoped it would be all those years back, somehow it’s actually better.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jlin, “Holy Child”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.42.25 AMJlin
“Holy Child”

Black Origami (out 05.19 on Planet Mu)
Though there’s only one more day until the Gary, Indiana footwork innovator’s second LP drops, this brilliant and beguiling cut is more than worthy of standing on its own. Like her masterful debut, Dark Energy, this track features multiple, intricate polyrhythms that collide freely without ever tripping over themselves. It also features one of her strongest, most coherent melodies — thanks to operatic samples and undulating synths — which help elevate “Holy Child” to incredible heights.

Hot Jam of the Day: Dawn, “Break Me”

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dawn-richard-plaidDawn
“Break Me”

Digital Single
For the better part of five years, Dawn Richard has been dutifully blessing us with a consistent stream of progressive, beautiful music that lurks in the grey area between R&B, dance music, pop, and a host of other micro-genres. “Break Me” is the second of her collaborations with promising bounce(ish) producer and fellow New Orleans-native Leonce. It highlights her affecting writing and vocals, as she spills tears all over Leonce’s spare synths and carefully crafted percussion.

Hot Jam of The Day: Grizzly Bear, “Three Rings”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 5.41.54 PMGrizzly Bear
“Three Rings”
Digital Single
The sound of 2009 white guy indie rock is thriving in 2017. We aren’t even at the halfway point, and we’ve already heard new music from Fleet Foxes, the National, LCD Soundsystem, Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, and Animal Collective. And while it has basically ranged from -__- (see: Projectors, Dirty) to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, Ed Droste and co.’s first track in about five years is a gorgeous, haunting ballad. Droste’s voice floats beautifully here, but drummer Chris Bear steals the show here, as his off-kilter, busy drumming gives the track an syncopated touch and injects it with unexpected life. More than anything, “Three Rings” doesn’t fall into the same trap as many of their peers, as it is neither a rehash of old ideas nor an unnecessary stylistic u-turn. Rather, it’s the sound of a fantastic band evolving naturally and exploring new sonic space.

Hot Jam of the Day: J Hus, “Common Sense”

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JHusJ Hus
“Common Sense”
Common Sense (Black Butter)
The wait is almost over. Though the East Londoner’s highly-anticipated proper debut LP drops on Friday, he graced us with another taster to hold us over. Though the lush, soulful instrumentation and live drums are a different look for the MC, it proves to be another monster single that highlights his underrated versatility. The beat feels a little bit 90’s, but Hus’ delivery is purely modern. And he shifts from rapping to singing with ease and delivers sticky bars with melodic hooks for days. One of the biggest talents in music today.

Hot Jam of the Day: Sinjin Hawke, “Onset”

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sinjin_hawke_188Sinjin Hawke
“Onset”
First Opus (out 06.10 on Fractal Fantasy)
Though the Canadian producer/DJ has been crafting relentlessly progressive club music for more than five years, he’s just getting around to dropping his first LP this summer. Its lead single, “Onset,” highlights Hawke’s tuneful, yet club-ready sound, pairing hyperactive droplets with pounding kick drums and his signature, triumphant horns.

Hot Jam of the Day: Ryan Adams, “The Empty Bed” / “Broken Things”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 11.15.47 AMRyan Adams
“The Empty Bed” / “Broken Things”

Prisoner B-Sides
In much of the press surrounding his excellent 16th studio LP, the ever-prolific songwriter talked about writing nearly 100 songs for the album and struggling to cut it down to just 12. Last Friday, he proved he wasn’t lying when he surprise dropped 17 of those b-sides. And though they don’t all shine, it makes you appreciate how difficult it must be to make these cuts.

Two of its early standouts are a pair of acoustic tearjerkers: its closer “The Empty Bed” and “Broken Things.” When I initially heard that the record would deal with Adams’ divorce, I assumed that it would sound a lot more like this, rather than the 70’s stomp and Tunnel of Love vibes that permeate the disc. I get why he decided not to go that route, but it’s great to hear a couple of stripped down moments from the sessions.

Listen to the whole thing on Spotify.