Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"


Lana Del Rey"Doin' Time"Sublime OST (out soon on Universal)If you grew up in California in the early 2000's, it was just about impossible to get in someone's car or go to a party that wasn't playing one of those two Sublime albums. Evidently, the same was true in wherever Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "Vossi Bop"


Stormzy"Vossi Bop"Digital SingleAfter a little while away, the London kingpin looks to be getting back in the game. "Vossi Bop" is a perfect comeback track because it is such a pure distillation of what makes Stormzy a true-one off. Over a tasty, yet simple beat, Big Mike goes in Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (1st Quarter)


Even though we're a solid week into the second quarter, better late than never right? Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite songs of the last three months. To keep numbers manageable, I didn't include anything from any of my favorite albums list and prioritized songs I Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2019 (First Quarter)


Gah, I can't believe we're already 25% through 2019. That said, Spring is in the air, and we've enjoyed an excellent, diverse crop of music during these first three months. Have a look at some of my favorite LPs of the year so far in no particular order. Dawn Richard
 “New Read more

Chief Keef, "Ain't Gonna Happen"


Chief Keef "Ain't Gonna Happen" GloToven (Glo Gang / RBC) The Chicago stalwart's new project with the legendary Zaytoven is unsurprisingly full of weird and wacky sounds, moving in innumerable unexpected and exciting ways. Its most powerful moment is its starkest, as a heartbroken Keef floats freely over Zay's gorgeous piano. "Face dried Read more

Columns

Julien Baker, “Red Door” & “Conversation Piece”

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Julien Baker
“Red Door” & “Conversation Piece”
Red Door / Conversation Piece (out now on Matador)

Julien Baker is back, and she’s here for your fucking soul. Few artists are capable of welding anything like the emotional heft that the 23 year-old so consistently delivers, and these two new tracks are as potent as they come. She has a wonderful way of crafting songs that begin stark and lonely before exploding into bold, life-affirming color.

Burial, “State Forest”

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Burial
“State Forest”
Claustro / State Forest ’12 (out now on Hyperdub)

Even by Burial’s standards, his new b-side single is a murky, foggy affair. A forlorn drone pops its head above dense layers of sonic mist and the distant crackle of fire. There’s no percussion and total darkness all around you, leaving the listener no choice but to hunker down and brace yourself for whatever comes next.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: “Joy”

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
“Joy”
Tracing Back The Radiance (out 07.12 on Kemado/Mexican Summer)

Rejoice, a new JCL project this way comes! Today, the Brooklyn-based iconoclast announced a new album and delivered its first single — the sparse, forlorn, probably sarcastically-titled, “Joy.” A wandering horn meanders through a softly undulating vast tide of synths that could easily soundtrack either slipping into a warm bath or getting lost at sea. Haunting and comforting all at once.

Jai Paul, “Do You Love Her Now” / “He”

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Jai Paul
“Do You Love Her Now” / “He”
Do You Love Her Now / Her (out now on XL)

Aside from the music, the best part about the ultra-illusive Londoner’s return this week is the collective reminder that he was just as far ahead of his time as he seemed back when he first surfaced in 2011. Neither of these songs are even really new — both are b-sides from the famously leaked debut that never came out — but they sound hyper-futuristic even seven years on from when they were originally conceived.

“Do You Love Her Now” is warm and luxurious with its velvety jazz chords and Paul’s sweet, swooning falsetto. “He,” on the other hand, is frigid — all sharp edges and clean lines — with rolling palm-muted guitars and a chunky industrial thump. That said, they’re connected by their auteur’s songwriting touch and his evocative voice. It’s hard not to feel that we’re listening to a genius at work. Hopefully, this isn’t all we get from him, but when the tunes are this good, I’ll take whatever I can get.

The National: “Hairpin Turns”

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The National
“Hairpin Turns”
I Am Easy to Find (out 05.18 on 4AD)
My god, the Brooklyn mainstays have been on a hot streak in the last few years. Just two years since their excellent return to form, “Sleep Well Beast,” the brooding brownstoners are back with what looks set to be another compelling project. “Hairpin Turns” poetically picks through the bones of a relationship on the brink, dissecting the fear and confusion that comes with a turbulent present and an uncertain future.

Images & Words: Cat Power, “Horizon”

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Cat Power
“Horizon”
Wanderer (out now on Domino)

One of the standouts from Chan Marshall’s 2018 return to form, “Wanderer,” gets deeply personal, stirring visuals. Beside the touching familial lyrics and the delicate, cyclical melody, the really magic of “Horizon” is in the way Marshall harmonizes with various forms of her own voice. The layers are subtle, yet majestic and build a sense of community, even in a solitary performance.

Big Thief, “Open Desert”

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Big Thief
Open Desert”
U.F.O.F. (out now on 4AD)

The subtly sublime centerpiece of the Brooklyn quartet’s wonderful third LP features some of the most beautiful guitar playing this side of prime Mark Kozelek. Over a carefully arpeggiated, open-stringed melody, vocalist Adrianne Lenker paints beautifully impressionistic lyrics. Though she’s often been known for her unflinching, emotionally direct lyrics, “Open Desert” finds her wandering across a vast open plane and uncovering a lot more questions than answers.

No Rome, “Rimbaud, Come Sit for a While”

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No Rome
“Rimbaud, Come Sit for a While”
Crying in the Prettiest Places (out now on Dirty Hit)

I’m not sure this tears of a fuckboi ballad is quite as good as that album title, but that is a pretty damn high bar. The Filipino artist’s second EP is a solid step forward from 2018’s RIP INDO HISASHI. Though things still feel quite low-stakes, Rome really knows his way around an ear-worm and has a knack for making subtly sweet sad songs like this.

Bruce Springsteen, “Hello Sunshine”

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Bruce Springsteen
“Hello Sunshine”
Western Stars (out 06/14 on Columbia)

The Boss rolls back the years and delivers a vintage performance in the shape of this haunting road song. The first single from his first studio LP since 2014, “Hello Sunshine” unpacks Springsteen’s long, now public battle with depression. Backed by gorgeous keyboard and slide guitar filigree and a rolling bass-line, Springsteen basks in the open road’s healing properties, hoping to hold on the freedom and relief it delivers long after his journey ends.

Images & Words: Sevdaliza, “Martyr”

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Sevdaliza
“Martyr”
Digital Single

The Tehran native continues to pump out brilliant, fascinating tracks that defy categorization and always have something to say. Taut and quivering with tension, her newest single, “Martyr,” has touches of peak Portishead with its pulsing baseline and pounding drums, and is injected with clever Middle Eastern-tinged, stringed counter melodies. Vocally, she’s so expressive, slithering through the beat dramatically and pulling so much emotion out of every word. Truly one of the best making music today.