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: Mac Demarco, “One More Love Song”

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Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 1.03.13 PMMac Demarco
“One More Love Song”

This Old Dog (out 05.05 on Captured Tracks)
Though he’s spent much of his career lapping up critical plaudits, the 26 year-old’s hipster goofball persona never resonated with me. Maybe I’m a killjoy, but I always struggled to find any real heart or heft in his music. However, his third LP’s pre-release tracks have been consistently excellent, and this windswept ballad is the best of the bunch.

The tears of the clown motif is old and tired, but it’s damn near impossible to avoid when writing about “One More Love Song.” Over languid jazzy chords and a timeless piano chorus melody, DeMarco examines the moment when the freedom of playing the field is replaced by a deep desire to find real connection. More than anything, he just sounds exhausted here — sick of the whole goddamn thing. And in my experience, that’s usually when you meet someone. So hang in there Mac, I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for soon.

Images & Words: Laurel Halo, “Jelly”

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download (1)Laurel Halo
“Jelly”
Dust (out 06.23 on Hyperdub)
The lead single from the Berlin-via-Michigan producer/vocalist’s forthcoming third LP is one of the poppiest and most direct tracks of her career. I mean, it’s Laurel Halo, so it’s fucking weird. But it features a mostly clean, surprisingly smooth vocal line that guides the listener through the off-kilter drum patterns and eclectic instrumentation. The result is an exciting, unexpected trip that isn’t a drag to get through.

Hot Jam of the Day: How to Dress Well, “Strong Enuff”

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.13.02 PMHow to Dress Well
“Strong Enuff”

Our First 100 Days (for Stereogum)
To this day, there’s still nothing that sounds like Tom Krell’s early, pre-Love Remains work. And though his development has been extremely impressive, it’s nice to hear him lurking back in those sonic swamps on this gorgeous Sheryl Crow cover. Krell has always been a wizard at reinterpreting pop songs and dragging them to unexpected emotional places. “Strong Enuff” is another example of this, fitting in well with other magical versions of R. Kelly’s “I Wish,” Janet’s “Again,” and Smog’s “Teenage Spaceship,” among others.

Hot Jam of the Day: War on Drugs, “Thinking of a Place”

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Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 7.39.30 PMWar on Drugs
“Thinking of a Place”
Digital Single
“Thinking of a Place” is first new piece of original music from the Philly group since Lost in the Dream — one of the best albums of 2014. And, my god, was it worth the wait. An expansive and beautiful mid-tempo ballad, it features some of Adam Granduciel’s richest and most melodic songwriting.

Over windswept acoustic strums and a restorative lead riff, Granduciel yearns for a fading connection with an affecting restlessness and melancholy. You can feel him reaching for something that he can’t quite grab and trying to find his way back to a place that doesn’t exist anymore. Most rock songs have no right to go on for 11 minutes, but this one could go on for twice as long. Just stunning.

The War On Drugs – Thinking Of A Place from Record Store Day on Vimeo.

Hot Jam of the Day: Julianna Barwick, “Wade In”

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new-web-juliannabarwick_0Julianna Barwick
“Wade In”
Our First 100 Days (for Stereogum)
Though Julianna Barwick’s music tends to glide ethereally above the clouds, this cut feels grounded, anchored down tightly and rooted in concrete. It isn’t surprising that she wrote a song like this for a compilation about the president. And it’s easy to imagine her sitting at her piano, shaken but not defeated. Though “Wade In” is heavy and doleful, there’s still hope and beauty seeping through the cracks. As there always is.

Hot Jam of the Day: Playboi Carti, “Magnolia”

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Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.47.07 AMPlayboi Carti
“Magnolia”
Playboi Carti (Interscope)
It’s mid-April. The weather’s warming up. And it’s about that time we start thinking about songs of the summer. “Magnolia” — the best moment from the 21-year old rising star’s debut LP — is an early candidate for the crown. For three exhilarating minutes, Carti rides a magical wave of delayed synths, provided by the previously unknown Pierre Bourne. What he lacks as a lyricist, Carti makes up for in raw charisma, dropping a handful of quotable bars that I’m looking forward to hearing blasting out of windows all summer long.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mount Kimbie, “We Go Home Together” (f/ James Blake)

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Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 1.50.13 PMMount Kimbie
“We Go Home Together” (f/ James Blake)
Digital Single
It’s been nearly five years. But the highly influential Londoners are back with their ol’ pal James, and they brought a gorgeous, organ-kissed love song with them. Though it doesn’t feature their signature, innovative percussion, it boasts one of the duo’s strongest ever melodies. And Blake sounds revitalized here, pushing his tenor into its upper register and pulling all of the emotion out of it. Hopefully, a third LP beckons.

Hot Jam of the Day: Leonce, “Advent”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 2.51.54 PMLeonce
“Advent”

Insurgence (out 04.12 on Fade to Mind)
Though he is currently based in Atlanta, Leonce’s sound has deep roots in his home city of New Orleans. Late last year, the producer dropped the excellent mixtape Heatwave, one of the strongest dance efforts of the year. The disc featured eight inch-perfect edits that seamlessly fused New Orleans bounce and house with the sound of modern R&B, giving cuts by artists like Beyoncé, Tory Lanez, Jeremih, and Tinashe a dancefloor-ready sheen.

Now, Leonce is ready for his close-up, with a seven-track, debut project for the ever-reliable Fade to Mind. Lead single, “Advent,” pairs characteristically banging percussion with a pair of slithering synth riffs that wind together and unravel over the course of six minutes. Though you can feel the bounce and house influences, it’s far from a throwback track and confirms that the talented young producer is focused on crafting a sound that defies labels.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kareem Lotfy, “Fr3sh”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 5.58.43 PMKareem Lotfy
“Fr3sh”
mono no aware (out now on PAN)
I don’t know much about the man behind the first track from the new PAN Records compilation. But “Fr3sh” is a gorgeous, delicate piece of ambient music, that matches deep synths with a swelling string arrangement. Lotfy is a graphic designer and artist from Cairo who has a handful of affecting, experimental tracks on his SoundCloud that should appeal to anybody who is feeling this single.

Hot Jam of the Day: Charli XCX, “Drugs” (f/ Abra)

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Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 2.27.59 PMCharli XCX
“Drugs” (f/ Abra)
Number 1 Angel
The trouble with shapeshifters is that as soon as you find a form that appeals to you, they’ve already moved on. That’s been my experience with the hard-to-pin down Brit, who has dabbled in more trends than H&M. So while I was ready roll my eyes at her new ‘mixtape’ (lol), I was immediately grabbed by this track’s intoxicating, slow-mo baseline and its undeniable hooks. Sure, the second verse completely jacks the melody from Dream’s classic, “He Loves You Not,” and it has a grating, totally unnecessary drop tacked on at the end. But it’s also a mean, strong pop record that will get stuck in your brain. It’s a good look for Charli, but she’s unlikely to wear it for long.