Arthur Russell, "You Did It Yourself"

Arthur Russell"You Did It Yourself"Iowa Dream (out 11.15 on Audika)There's something very fitting about a new project of recordings by the late, great Arthur Russell dropping 6 weeks before the end of the decade. In many ways, the multi-instrumentalist's sound feels at home along the wildly experimental, genre-fluid music Read more

Images & Words: The 1975, "People"

The 1975"People"Notes on a Conditional Form (out 02.22.20 on Dirty Hit)The Used, Head Automatica/Glassjaw, Primal Scream, Marilyn Manson, Blur, The Refused. And that's only six of the roughly 600 random bands that the new 1975 track brings to mind. And somehow, just like mother-fucking always, they pull it off. Read more

Caroline Polachek, "Ocean of Tears" & "Parachute"

Caroline Polachek"Ocean of Tears" / "Parachute"Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I'm getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer's first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single "Door," these two new tracks highlight Polachek's spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter

Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)

As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn't quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this Read more


Images & Words: Real Lies, “You Were In Love”

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Real Lies
“You Were In Love”
Digital Single (self-released)

It’s been almost five years since the moody London group released their wonderful 2015 debut LP, “Real Life,” but it looks like they’re gearing up to delver the follow-up it so richly deserves. Just in time for #greysky season, “You Were in Love” serves up a delicious batch of their signature brand of beautiful gloom. Vocalist Kev Kharas guides us through the damp cityscape, showing us all the ways that his city has changed while remaining basically the same.

Lil Peep, “Belgium”

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Lil Peep

Even though it’s been over two years since Lil Peep passed, his shadow still looms over pop music and the culture at large. There were so many different ways he could have taken his prodigious talent, which makes each of his posthumous LPs feel like important clues into where his head was at in the final period of his life.

On “Belgium,” he digs deep into grungy gloom — sounding a little bit like a SoundCloud rap Alice in Chains — clearly and affectingly singing about missing someone special to him while out on tour. I hope that he was able to make it back to them, even if it was for way too short of a time.

Images & Words: Coldplay, “Daddy”

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Everyday Life (out 11.22 on Parlophone)

Chris Martin and co. are back with another album and are ready to make it rain on your face. “Daddy” is aching, sweet, and just the right amount of cheesy — as Martin dials up his most tender falsetto for a beautiful rumination on missing your father. It also comes with a stunning clip that’s worth five minutes of your time on its own.

Mount Eerie & Julie Doiron, “Belief (pt. 2)”

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Mount Eerie & Julie Doiron
“Belief (pt.2)”
Lost Wisdom pt. 2 (out 11.08 on P.W. Elverum & Sun)

The Pacific Northwest has a pretty established color pallet — muted greens and browns with little pops of color. But if it had a sound, it’d sound a lot like Phil Elverum and Julie Doiron gorgeous, slightly creaky vocals intertwining over sweetly strummed acoustic guitars. Though the lyrics are crushing, there’s light streaming through the open strings, hinting at a brighter future and a beautiful today.

Images & Words: Davido, “Risky” (f/ Popcaan)

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“Risky” (f/ Popcaan)
A Good Time (out 11.12 on Sony)

Two of the biggest voices of the decade link up for a delirious slice of modern afropop. Though both are elite songwriters and artists in their own right, they are both vocal wizards. So it’s a joy to hear them get together get together over an ocean breeze of an arrangement and extol the virtues of being into someone that has you ready to risk it all.

Images & Words: Vagabon, “Water Me Down”

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“Water Me Down”
Vagabon (out now on Vagabon)

After a couple of years away, Laetitia Tamko is back with a follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, Infinite Worlds. Though her sound has morphed a bit toward warm, gushing pop, her voice and songwriting touch are both still undeniable. “Water Me Down” is bright and airy, matching her deep, evocative vocals with an undulating synth and plenty of negative space for her to explore. It’s an exciting step forward for an artist who can’t help but keep us guessing.

Images & Words: Sorry Girls, “One That You Want”

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Sorry Girls
“One That You Want”
Deborah (out now on Artbus)
The Montreal synth-pop duo dropped their debut LP on Friday. The solid project is led by this weightless, lovelorn weeper that finds bandleader Heather Foster Kirkpatrick pining for a lost love. It’s not an entirely novel sound, but it’s expertly executed and delivered with passion and precision.

Lucy Dacus, “Dancing in the Dark”

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Lucy Dacus
“Dancing in the Dark”
Digital Single

The Virginia native has quietly been on a tear this year, dropping four excellent new singles with little fanfare. Her detached, low-key vocals are in sharp contrast to Springsteen’s frantic original performance, but it delivers on the listless core of the song just as effectively. It’s unclear if a new LP is forthcoming, but if it sounds anything like these four singles, it’ll be a big step forward for Dacus.

Images & Words: Grimes, “Violence”

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“Violence” (Feat. i_o)
Two days after posting about the new Francis And The Lights single, the self-own continues as I am now forced to admit that the new Grimes track is very good. Though her shtick continues to be tiresome, “Violence” is a delicious slice of trance-inspired pop that frames her pitched-up vocals with gorgeous, sugary melodies.

Images & Words: Snoh Aalegra, “I Want You Around”

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Snoh Aalegra
“I Want You Around”
– Ugh, Those Feels Again (out now on Artium/AWAL)
I would say that I’ve been sleeping on the rising Swedish vocalist, but being this late on a project this good is certified coma status. Her gorgeous, sultry Sophomore LP is full of modern R&B that is built around her weightless voice and sharp, hooky songwriting. Lead single, “I Want You Around,” is damn-near narcotic and will take up residency in your brain then simply refuse to vacate. Handle with care.

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