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

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of May 2017

After a pair of phenomenal months of music, May's slate looked decidedly more low-key. However, now as I look back at it, there was still a handful of solid releases that deserve your time. Here are a few of my favorites. J Hus Common Sense Black Butter When I looked at the release schedule Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Lil Durk, "Pressure"

Lil Durk “Pressure” Digital Single Five years into his career, the Chicago native seems to be at a crossroads. After kicking off his career with a string of devastating mixtapes (including my favorite song of 2013), the 24 year-old has been a bit up and down of late, crafting a slew of Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Kommode, "Fight or Flight or Dance All Night"

Kommode “Fight or Flight or Dance All Night” Analog Dance Music (out June 2017 on Random Two Syllable Word) Good things come to those who wait, and Kings of Convenience fans have been waiting for the debut from Eirik Glambek Bøe’s side project for more than 10 years. Since announcing this project Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Jlin, "Holy Child"

Jlin "Holy Child" Black Origami (out 05.19 on Planet Mu) Though there's only one more day until the Gary, Indiana footwork innovator's second LP drops, this brilliant and beguiling cut is more than worthy of standing on its own. Like her masterful debut, Dark Energy, this track features multiple, intricate polyrhythms that collide freely without Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Tracks of the Third Quarter

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screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-12-45-56-pmPrince Bopp
Digital Single
In short, the Cincinnati native’s heartfelt single is the most slept-on great song of 2016. In just three and half minutes, the independent newcomer comes full circle, detailing his struggle to bounce back from losing his first love and his journey to find hope. The track’s bleak opening finds the young man battling through heartbreak, drugs, and deep loneliness. But as “Bandit” moves, the darkness slowly fades into light, as he moves far enough away to enjoy the new perspective difficult experiences often yield. If there’s one song I hope you listen to on this list, it’s this one.


Rae Sremmurd
“Black Beatles” (f/ Gucci Mane)
SremmLife 2 (out now on Ear Drummers)
Youthful joy distilled into sound, the Brown brothers’ towering, brash anthem sets fire to prehistoric rockist notions about what substantive music is supposed to sound like. For five glorious minutes, Slim Jimmi, Swae Lee, and Gucci Mane gleefully piss all over your idols, declaring themselves the rightful kings of the youth once and for all.


screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-11-51-09-amJenny Hval
“Conceptual Romance”
Blood Bitch (out now on Sacred Bones)

An early single from an album that will assuredly be on my Year End List, the Norwegian singer-songwriter is one of the most fascinating, original artists working in music today. Composed and analytical without sacrificing an ounce of emotion or humanity, Hval has spent her career exploring the depths of what keeps us connect… to the ones, to our society, and to ourselves. An absolute treasure.

cug9-pxxyaawr_mYoung M.A.
Digital Single

I moved back to Brooklyn in August. And one of my favorite parts of being back is the way a hit song will just naturally permeate through the city — from car speakers to apartment windows to Bodegas to earbuds on the train. Since I’ve been back, the Brooklyn native’s loose, easy banger has been the soundtrack, perfectly in sync with the rhythm of the best city in the world.
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Hot Jam of the Day: Hannah Diamond, “Fade Away”

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screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-56-57-amHannah Diamond
“Fade Away”
Digital Single
Though the much of the bloom has faded from the PC Music rose, to my ears, Hannah Diamond has always been the label’s most interesting artist, thanks to the fact that her songwriting has never taken a back seat to the label’s tiresome obsession with presentation and concept. Like many of her best songs (“Pink and Blue,” “Attachment” and “Every Night”), “Fade Away” is basically a straightforward electro-pop love song with light trance influences. Lyrics like “I always thought I’d be the picture saved on your screen” pack the emotional resonance much of the label’s other music lacks and elevates her music beyond the rest of PC Music’s trite, surface-level societal criticism.

Hot Jam of the Day: Krishane, “Found Da Boi” (f/ Wande Coal)

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“Found Da Boi” (f/ Wande Coal)
Digital Single
Why waste your time with the myriad American artists who are scrambling (and mostly failing) to cram African and Caribbean sounds into their formulaic radio pop, when you could get the genuine article? One of those artists to watch is Krishane (né St Aubyn Antonio Levy), the son of reggae/dancehall godfather Barrington Levy. The London-via-Jamaica vocalist’s sound is indicative of the thriving, increasingly international scene, as it features traces of Afro-pop, dancehall, soca, and pure pop all stirred up in a delicious sonic stew. On his newest single, the 22 year-old tiptoes through an ultra-smooth arrangement and passionately belts out one of the most ecstatic hooks of the year.

The Round Up: The Best Albums of the Third Quarter

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freshezaleEzale & DJ Fresh
The Tonight Show
Foreal Foreal Ent
Hottest Jams: “Day Ones,” “Stop Come On”

For the first time in my lifetime, the Warriors are good and East Bay rap is popping at the same time. 2016 has seen a clutch of young Oakland rappers like Kamaiyah, Nef the Pharoah, and Eazle make a dent in the national scene, while trumpeting the unique culture and sound of the city. The latter’s glorious 10-song debut uniquely blends the slap of hyphy with production legend DJ Fresh’s warm, glowing g-funk. The result is a deliriously fun, endlessly quotable collection that doubles as one of 2016’s most consistent hip-hop records.

freetown_sound_coverBlood Orange
Freetown Sound
Hottest Jams: “Best To You,” “Chance”
Dev Hynes is man of many dichotomies. He is both an adept soloist and a keen and successful collaborator. He’s a sonic chameleon (see: Test Icicles, Lightspeed Champion) and a man with a signature, easily recognizable sound. He’s as comfortable a leading man and he is a hired gun. This, the finest album of his career, is dripping with those ambiguities. On slinky standouts “Augustine” and “E.V.P,” he’s in full pop-star mode and in total control of proceedings. He also shines just as bright while supporting Empress Of and Nelly Furtado on “Best To You” and “Hadron Collider” respectively. All of these contradictions contribute to the sonic world that makes Freetown Sound such a fascinating journey.

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-12-00-38-amCamp Cope
Camp Cope
Poison City
Hottest Jams: “Song for Charlie,” “Flesh and Electricity”

Like all truly great cathartic albums, the Melbourne trio’s debut album is equal parts comedy and tragedy. Over the stunning LP’s eight songs, songwriter Georgia Maq tackles the death of her father (the incredible “Song for Charlie”), the dissolution of a relationship (“West Side Story,” “Lost: Season One”), and workplace disaffection (“Flesh and Electricity”) with stunning insight, bravery, and most of all, humor. I’ve found that when confronting loss you have to keep laughing — to keep remembering the things about your loved ones that made you smile. Georgia knows that, and she highlights that truth on just about every song on this very special album.

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Hot Jam of the Day: Kate Bush, “Prologue” (Live)

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-11-41-04-amKate Bush
“Prologue” (Live at Hammersmith)
Before the Dawn (out 11.25 on Concord/Fish
Back in 2014, when Kate Bush announced her first shows since 1979, I seriously considered flying from New York to London to see the legendary Brit in the flesh. Of course, I didn’t go because money and work, but it looks like we’ll all be able to hear it thanks to the upcoming triple disc concert recording. The first taste is unsurprisingly masterful, as the 58 year-old rolls through an extended version of a cut from her ever underrated 2005 release, Aerial. The most striking thing to me is the sustained pristine clarity and vitality of her voice, nearly 40 years removed from her classic 1978 debut. The magic is clearly still there, and all I can do is sit and hope for a New York date in the future.

Here it over at Paper.

Hot Jam of the Day: Itasca, “No Consequence”

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“No Consequence”
Open to Change (out 09.30 on Paradise of Bachelors)

Just a week away from the most anticipated release of her career, Kayla Cohen drops Open to Change’s beautiful, dusty third single. The LA-based singer-songwriter has a knack for crafting gentle, soothing folk music with a hints of darkness and palpable atmospheres. And on “No Consequence,” she uses a languid slide guitar line to get the desired effect, expertly framing her sublime vocals and nimble fingerpicking. Suffice it to say, I cannot wait to hear the rest of this thing.

Hot Jams of the Day: Kelela, Elysia Crampton & Adrian Piper, “Final Exam” / “Reference Track TF Scrape”

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screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-6-20-57-pmElysia Crampton, Kelela & Adrian Piper
“Final Exam” / “Reference Track TF Scrape”
Anthem (The Vinyl Factory)
Experimental composer Elysia Crampton has been playing with Kelela’s voice for the last few years, so it’s exciting to hear the duo properly collaborate on two new tracks for the upcoming Total Freedom-produced soundtrack to the 9th Berlin Biennale. Part of the joy of Crampton’s music is its ambiguity, and these tracks both live in that space — part finished product, part work in progress. Kelela’s aqueous, evocative vocals are the perfect foil for Crampton’s productions that are often both soothing and chaotic. While there is no inkling of a potential collaborative album between these two longterm Thunder Penguin faves, it won’t stop me from dreaming about it.

Hot Jam of the Day: Abhi / Dijon, “Ignore”

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screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-11-41-16-amAbhi / Dijon
Digital Single
We all have at least one “DON’T ANSWER” in our phonebooks, and the ultra-smooth Maryland R&B duo’s new single is an ode to the goons of our past who had either broke our heart, creeped us out, or let us down. And next time you are contemplating picking up when they invariably call or text, remember the sage wisdom of this song. One word, six letters: I G N O R E.

Hot Jam of the Day: How to Dress Well, “Can’t You Tell”

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htdw_tomkrell_014How To Dress Well
“Can’t You Tell”
Care (out 09.23 on Domino)
Ignoring the awkward, highly sus “consent pop” tag that Tom Krell is running with, Care‘s third single should delight the Colorado native’s growing fanbase. “Can’t You Tell” is a slab of swooning soft pop that is mostly about the very legitimate joys of fucking someone you actually care about. Sonically, the single also affirms Krell’s love of the emotional radio pop of yesteryear and highlights its increasing influence, recalling artists like Everything But the Girl and Simply Red.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jenny Hval, “Period Piece”

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Jenny Hval
“Period Piece”
Blood Bitch (out 09.30 on Sacred Bones)
We are now just two weeks away from hearing the Norwegian composer’s hugely anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Apocalypse, girl — my second favorite album of last year. Third single, “Period Piece,” tells the story of a trip to the OBGYN with an foreboding bassline, spare percussion, and faraway synths. Though the mood is unsettling, Hval reassures us that we shouldn’t be afraid because “it’s only blood.”

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