Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, "Appointments"


Julien Baker "Appointments" Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador) "It's the hope that kills you," goes the old saying. But it can also be the thing that saves you and drives you through life's dark stretches. It's what the 21 year-old is reaching for on this breathtaking first single from her highly-anticipated second Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, "LMK"


Kelela "LMK" Take Me Apart (10.06 on Warp) Our agonizing wait for the first taste of Kelela's proper studio debut* is finally over, and my GOD, our girl came through with a banger. In lieu of just typing 4,000 fire emojis, I'll just say that "LMK" is such a perfect distillation of what makes Read more

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, "Midnight"


Jessie Ware “Midnight” Digital Single In the years I’ve been covering music, I wrote more about Jessie Ware’s early career than just about anyone else. I first covered her back in 2011 and tracked her progression from a promising, mostly unknown, quiet storm prodigy to a true powerhouse who could command any room she was Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2017, So Far...


Rating albums at the mid-point of the year, just to re-rate them in six months seems dumb, so I decided to go with an NBA Draft-style tier system to pick out a few of my favorites so far. TIER 1: THE FAVORITE Stormzy Gang Signs and Prayer #Merky The Londoner's debut LP is an Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, "24k"


Jae 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 Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jams of the Day: Lydia Loveless, “Same To You” / “Longer”

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Lydia Loveless
“Same to You” / “Longer”
Real (out now on Bloodshot)
While I — along with the rest of America — spent most of my weekend in a Blonde-induced k-hole (more on that later), I took a detour today to give the Columbus, OH singer-songwriter’s fourth LP a couple of spins. What I found was rock-solid songwriting and delicious guitarwork with a welcome dose of Whiskeytown vibes. The disc’s first two tracks — “Same to You” and “Longer” — highlight all of those traits, along with Loveless’ powerful, evocative vocal. At first listen, Real will hit all of your alt-country nostalgia pressure points (if you have them). But I have a pretty good feeling that over time, it will do a helluva lot more than that.

Hot Jam of the Day: serpentwithfeet, “blisters”

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serpentwithfeet
“blisters”
blisters (out 09.02 on Tri Angle)
Though it’s been out for a couple of weeks, I had to write a little bit about the second single from Jonah Wise’s debut EP for Tri Angle. Like the spellbinding, “flickering,” “blisters” is a mesmeric, unique ballad with devotional touches that pairs Wise’s haunting vocals with a deft, orchestral accompaniment. While he dials back the trill a touch, his vocal remains aching and stretched, overflowing with emotion and heart. True originality is hard to find in 2016, but with every track, Wise is further cementing his status as one of the rarest working today.

Hot Jam of the Day: Dej Loaf, “Miami”

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Dej Loaf
“Miami”
Digital Single
In the D***ld Tr**p Era, we need as many sweet love songs as we can get, and Young Deja comes through with a heartfelt swoon-fest that is sure to chase the Newsfeed blues away. To my ears, she’s at her best when she’s jumping genres, effortlessly shifting between singing and rapping, as she does here and in classics like “Easy Love,” “Me U Hennessy,” and the smash Lil Durk collab, “My Beyoncé.” The track’s sunny keyboards and bouncy percussion (courtesy of regular collaborator Izze the Producer) are the perfect match for her light, playful vocals. She’s likely too versatile to consider doing a full album of down-tempo songs, but if she does, I’ll be first in line to pick it up.

Hot Jam of the Day: The Tallest Man on Earth, “Rivers”

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The Tallest Man on Earth
“Rivers”
Digital Single
Swedish folk singer, Kristian Matsson, returns with his second new track of 2016. “Rivers” is a potent example of the 33 year-old’s light, dexterous fingerpicking and evocative, Dylan-inspired vocals. I tend to like Matsson most when his arrangements are at their sparest, which made it tough to get into the fuller sound of his 2015 LP, Dark Bird is Home. That said, he’s back to his best here, as he impressively frames the track’s gentle guitar with delicate touches of horns and strings, adding a subtle dynamism to proceedings.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jacques Greene, “You Can’t Deny”

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Jacques Greene
“You Can’t Deny”
Digital Single
The ever-reliable Montreal producer has been uncharacteristically quiet since 2014’s purple patch, but his new single proves that he’s still on top of his game. Built around bouncy snyth droplets and a pitched-up vocal sample, “You Can’t Deny” is a delicious, swirling slab of modern house that I’ll look forward to hearing in a packed, sweaty room when I next catch one of his bulletproof sets.

Hot Jam of the Day: J Hus, “Playing Sports”

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J Hus
“Playing Sports”
Digital Single
After a monster 2015 (and one of the best songs of last year), the London MC had been conspicuously quiet in recent times. However, he emphatically broke that silence this week with this massive new single. Living in the sweet spot between grime and dancehall that he’s made his own, “Playing Sports” is yet another example of his sharp, hooky songwriting and intoxicating sound. More like this please.

Hot Jam of the Day: Itasca, “Buddy”

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Itasca
“Buddy”
Open to Chance (out 09.30 on Paradise of Bachelors)
The first taste of LA-based folk singer Kayla Cohen’s third LP is a languid, easy love song that takes me back to lazy weekend drives through the canyons of west LA. “Buddy” feels less pastoral than its excellent predecessor, 2014’s Unmoored By The Wind. This time, Cohen frames her soothing vocals and fingerpicked guitarwork with an electric lap steel, rather than pan-flutes, giving “Buddy” a slightly more modern, American vibe.

Hot Jam of the Day: Tinashe, “Superlove”

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Tinashé
“Superlove”
Digital Single
On her new single, the LA crooner teamed up with The-Dream and Tricky Stewart to craft possibly the strongest pure radio single of her career. Terius and Tricky’s fingerprints are all over this thing, from the rolling drums to the ultra-bouncy verses. Tinashé is in fine form here as well, damn-near channeling Paula Abdul here. And her flirty, breezy vocals are the perfect partner to the track’s timeless arrangement. More like this please.

Hot Jam of the Day: Lil Yachty, “Pretty” (f/ Burberry Perry)

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Lil Yachty
“Pretty” (f/ Burberry Perry)
Summer Songs 2 (Quality Control)
The Atlanta native’s excellent, youthful new mixtape, Summer Songs 2, is full of highlights, but none are as disarming as this emotional love song. “Pretty” is the type of track that makes you text your girl/boi or pine for the one that got away. Along with BFF Burberry Perry, Yachty expresses his devotion over a delicate bed of synths. You just don’t hear many love songs this direct, which gives it a weight and a realness that is so affecting. This might be one of my favorite songs of the year.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jamie Isaac, “Pigeon”

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Jamie Isaac
“Pigeon”
Couch Baby (out 07.08 on Marathon Artists)
A few years on from 2014’s underrated, electro-soul EP, Blue Break, the South Londoner is back with a proper debut LP. Third single, “Pigeon,” is a great example of what he does best — low-key keys, yearning vocals, and subtle, understated hooks. Jazzy pianos and spare percussion color meandering synth chords, setting an evocative stage for Isaac’s gentle tenor, reminiscent of James Blake and Jamie Woon. It is far from a summer jam, but this song’s gentle listlessness feels right for the long, hot days that await.