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

Hot Jam of the Day: Metro Boomin, “Forever Young”

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screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-4-36-44-pmMetro Boomin
“Forever Young”
Digital Single
The Atlanta super-producer comes through with a reflective, instrumental number for Adult Swim. While “Forever Young” would have paired well with an artist like Future, 21 Savage, or Young Thug, it’s nice to hear STL native’s deft keys and inch-perfect percussion naked and unadorned. He’s always been a master of musical geometry, crafting tracks that have the right balance between melody and negative space with each instrument in perfect conjunction with the others. And you can really hear that on this track.

Hot Jam of The Day: Kojo Funds x Abra Cadabra, “Dun Talkin”

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screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-5-09-11-pmKojo Funds x Abra Cadabra
“Dun Talkin”

Digital Single
Two of the UK’s biggest young talents link up on this monstrous new single. “Dun Talkin” works so well because both artists’ booming voices tiptoe the line between melody and malevolence, resulting in a track that is alluring and intimidating. Abra effortlessly switches between a gruff rasp and an R&B tenor, while Kojo’s earworm hook and easy verse ties the whole thing together. It’s definitely one of the biggest collabs in a year full of great ones.

Images & Words: Boogie, “N**ga Needs”

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“N**ga Needs”
Thirst 48 Part II
Though he burst on to the scene with the banger “Oh My,” the Angelino born Anthony Dixson has always been one of the most thoughtful rappers around. And on his impressive new mixtape, he doubles down on his craft, building an album that perfectly balances reflective numbers like this standout single with fun, breezy tracks like the K Camp-assisted “Slide on U.” The whole record is worthy of your time, even if he hasn’t had another single that has quite popped like “Oh My.”

Images & Words: Matt Kivel, “Forgiveness”

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screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-5-33-21-pmMatt Kivel
“Forgiveness” (f/ Bonnie Prince Billy)
Fires on the Plain (out now on Driftless)
Over the years, I’ve written a lot about the LA singer-songwriter’s brother Jesse but haven’t written much about the younger Kivel, Matt. Kivel is the architect of two really interesting folk-ish albums this year — February’s Janus and October’s excellent Fires on the Plain — and he gives one of his standout tracks some creepy visuals. His soft voice interchanges beautifully with Will Oldham’s, and his careful, delicate guitar-work forms a beautiful bed for the two to lay on. Though Fires on the Plain remains one of the most underrated albums of recent months, it does feel like more people are slowly coming around to it.

Hot Jam of The Day: Newman Wolf, “Computer”

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0004993442_10Newman Wolf
Please Keep Talking (out 11.11 on Body High)
The newest release from Samo Sound Boy’s reliable Body High imprint treads much of the same territory that the LA-based collective made its name off. Hailing from somewhere in the depths of LA County, Newman Wolf’s new single is a delicious slab of evocative dance music with touches of trance production and an emotional, mantric vocal sample. “Computer” may start off slowly, but it gradually builds to a monster crescendo before quietly slipping back into the ether.

Hot Jam of the Day: JAHKOY, “California Heaven”

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“California Heaven” (f/ Schoolboy Q)
Foreign Water (out 10.28 on Def Jam)

As a California native who recently moved out to the East Coast, listening to a song with the refrain “heaven must be somewhere in California” will be dangerous during the NYC’s frigid winter months. However, it’s still warm enough outside to listen to the Toronto native’s ode to the Golden State without being overcome with homesickness. The rising 22 year-old is blessed with a warm, easy tenor that recalls real life Californian Ty Dolla $ign and is cementing himself as one of R&B’s real up-and-coming stars.

Hot Jams of the Day: Wet, “The Middle” / “Turn Away”

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“The Middle” / “Turn Away”

The Middle / Turn Away
Even though they only released their debut album, Don’t You, back in January, the Brooklyn trio #blessed us by surprise releasing a couple of tasty new tracks. The former is a classic Wet ballad with vocalist Kelly Zutrau drifting over plaintive piano chords and decorative, reverb-soaked guitarwork. The beat picks up a little on the moody, mid-tempo latter, which feels like a slight update of their signature sound and a promising sign of things to come.

Images & Words: Tornado Wallace, “Trance Encounters”

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screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-5-23-48-pmTornado Wallace
“Trance Encounters”

Lonely Planet (out 11.28 on Running Back)
From no apparent reason, New York decided to bring back summer for the last couple of days. It’s sunny, the subway is sweaty, and the Melbourne native’s sweltering, trance-inspired house is just about the perfect soundtrack to the mid-afternoon heat. Wallace’s sound is expansive and easy with choppy electric guitars glistening over beds of synth and a languid backbeat.

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.

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