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 Jam of the Day: serpentwithfeet, “Flickering”

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serpentwithfeet
“Flickering”
Digital Single
“Flickering” is the stunning Tri Angle Records debut from the NYC-via-Baltimore singer-songwriter/performance artist, Josiah Wise. A gorgeous rumination on trying to hang on the ones we truly love, Wise emotes that the “cord between us is made of gossamer.” Its skeletal piano arrangement only adds to the drama, as each line hangs in the air like the delicate spider webs he’s singing about. It is the super rare song that we’ll transport your mind straight back to the people you love most. Just breathtaking.

Hot Jam of the Day: Strict Face, “Murderer” (f/ K-Major)

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Strict Face
“Murderer” (f/ K-Major)
Strict Face EP (out soon on NLV Records)
The Australian grime producer links up with the man behind one of the best albums of 2015 on this modern R&B banger. Face (né Jon Santos) pairs a twinkle-toed harp melody (think: “The Boy is Mine”) with thudding sub-bass and syncopated percussion. The beat is a brilliant match for the Atlanta vocalist’s tender, elastic tenor, which slithers around the heavy drums with consummate ease.

Hot Jam of the Day: Local Natives, “Villany”

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Local Natives
“Villainy”
Sunlit Youth (out 09.09 on Loma Vista)
I left Los Angeles about nine months ago, and nothing makes me miss it more than certain music. A DJ Mustard beat, anything that sounds remotely Balearic, Father John Misty, fingerpicked guitars, the first two Frank Ocean records, and so on. This LA group certainly makes the list, and the second single from their third LP is giving me a severe hankering for the city and all its smoggy, dry-skinned, decrepit glory.

They’ve always written fantastic vocal harmonies, and “Villainy” is one of their strongest and stickiest. The melody is lithe without being flimsy, and it is expertly framed by a (surprisingly) guitar-free arrangement. It’s a strong statement from a group that’s been a way for a couple of years, and a little more inspiration for me to plan a weekend trip back down the 5.

Stream This Shit: Phoenix Martins, 47

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Phoenix Martins
47 (out now)
The London-based producer/vocalist is back with another aqueous 4-song EP. Just a year removed from her debut, Retrospective, 47 sees her emotional, ethereal sound developing, mostly when it comes to songwriting. The sparse, affecting standout, “Blue,” features a lonely guitar in a seabed of synths, and Martins’ struggling to deal with a flaky, uncommitted lover. The lovesick “Trueness” adds some bounce to her sound, courtesy of a skittering hi-hats and gentle percussion. At first glance, you might want to lump her alongside artists like Nao and FKA Twigs, but the more you listen, the more you realize how much her sound stands apart from just about everybody else working today.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kanye West: “Champions (Round & Round)

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Kanye West
“Champions (Round & Round)” (f/ Gucci Mane, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Yo Gotti, Travis Scott, Desiigner)
Cruel Winter

*listens to “Champions” once*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Jam of the Day: Seb Wildblood, “Seal of Approval”

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Seb Wildblood
“Seal of Approval”
Jazz Vol. 1 (out now on Church)
The Church Records label boss drops some heat of his own via a tasty, new 3-song EP, Jazz Vol. 1. “Seal of Approval” is a subtle, down-tempo slab of deep house that pairs an evocative vocal sample with undulating synths and a jazzy backbeat. The label has been on a tear this year, and their SoundCloud is an absolute treasure trove of late-night electronic goodness.

Hot Jam of the Day: Cass McCombs, “Opposite House” (f/ Angel Olsen)

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Cass McCombs
“Opposite House” (f/ Angel Olsen)
Mangy Love (out 08.26 on ANTI-)
About 30 minutes before I started typing, my beloved Golden State Warriors were just stomped by the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second consecutive game, nearly guaranteeing our elimination from the NBA Playoffs. Now I’m not saying that my basketball misery is the only reason that Cass McCombs’ new single sounds so fucking good to me right now, but it certainly is one reason. The 38 year-old is a master of making hard luck stories feel easy, and the first single off his newly announced LP is no exception. Along with the consistently excellent Olsen, McCombs drifts aimlessly over spare guitars and loose drums, asking “oh why, does it rain inside?” to nobody in particular. I feel you, Cass. I feel you.

Hot Jam of the Day: Craig David, “One More Time”

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Craig David
“One More Time”
Following My Intuition (release date TBA)

Craig David is back, and all is right with the world. After 2015’s sleeper hit, “When the Baseline Drops,” the Southampton slicker’s comeback has shifted into overdrive, dropping a couple of tasty collaborations early this year. His newest single, “One More Time,” is a throwback to the golden garage sound that he spun on his classic first two LPs, Born to Do It and Slicker Than Your Average. His tenor is as easy ever, and it sounds perfect over the 2-step beat, warm synths, and arpeggiated acoustic guitar. We still don’t have a release date for the comeback album, but as soon as we do, I’ll officially be counting down the days.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jordan Raf, “Hollywood” (f/ Chester Watson)

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Jordan Raf
“Hollywood” (f/ Chester Watson)
Double Negative (release date TBA, POW Recordings)
The LA crooner has been on a fucking tear over these last few months, dropping a clutch of smoky, down-tempo gems. “Hollywood” distills the city’s intoxicating allure into four delicious minutes, throwing his virile tenor over narcotic washes of synth and guitar. The refrain, “take me to Hollywood, I wanna be a star,” is trite and formulaic on paper, but Raf’s strained vocal gives it a haunting power. Rising label-mate, Chester Watson, tops it off with a low-key, potent verse.

Hot Jam of the Day: Palmistry, “Lifted”

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Palmistry
“Lifted”
Pagan (out 06.17 on Mixpak)
Benjy Keating releases another heartfelt single from his upcoming proper debut LP. Like its delicious predecessor, “Club Aso,” “Lifted” is a restrained, stripped take on dancehall that uses warm keyboards to set the beat, rather than traditional percussion. Keating manages to borrow from the Jamaican sound without crossing the line into imitation or appropriation, creating a sound that is fresh and exciting.