Images & Words: SOPHIE, "It's Okay To Cry"


SOPHIE "It's Okay to Cry" Digital Single Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. "It's Okay to Cry" is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, "Logos"


King Krule "Logos" The OOZ (out now on XL) Archy Marshall's excellent new album feels like a collection of those wonky dream states that exist somewhere in that nether region between being wake and sleep. Though I'm still digesting all 19 of its songs, the hypnotic, jazzy "Logos" immediately stuck out. Over languid jazz chords Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, "For Robin"


The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die "For Robin" Always Foreign (Epitaph) There are many, many awful things about addiction, but little is as insidious as the way it pushes its victims away from loved ones from their previous life and deeper into their illness. Anybody who has lost someone to Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "4PM in London"


Stormzy "4PM in London" Digital Single Turning freestyles into anthems is nothing new to the ultra-talented Londoner. And though the ravenous "4PM in London" was probably written, it feels alive in the same way that many of those aforementioned tracks did. Unlike Drake (the man who originally rapped on this beat), Stormzy's got the rare ability to Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of The Third Quarter


As you may have noticed, I've done my annual "fall behind on a monthly column" thing over the last couple months. That said, that just gives me more ammo for a proper Q3 round up, featuring the best records of that period in alphabetical order. 21 Savage Issa Album Slaughter Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Hot Jam of the Day: Cusp, “Adam”

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Cusp
“Adam”
Digital Single (out now on TAR)
Cusp is a collaboration between three up-and-coming UK artists — Xeno, Buchanan, and Kai Whiston (pictured) — and Louisiana-based producer Joe Petersen. While details about the group are still scare, this track is a tasty, noisy slab of future grime, pairing busy percussion with shadowy walls of synth. Any track this dense runs the risk of tipping over, but “Adam” strikes a balance masterfully, exploding with ideas without overflowing into a mess.

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.