Images & Words: The 1975, "Give Yourself A Try"


The 1975 "Give Yourself A Try" A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it's been out for about two weeks, I've listened to the Manchester quartet's new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it's totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, Read more

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, "Chin Up"


The Rhythm Method "Chin Up" Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I'm hoping that Read more

Images & Words: Chromatics, "Black Walls"


Chromatics "Black Walls" Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I'd moved on from the idea that I'd ever hear "Dear Tommy," this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. "Black Read more

Snail Mail, "Let's Find An Out"


Snail Mail "Let's Find An Out" Lush (out 06.08 on Matador) Though I've somehow not written about them yet, I've been loving the Baltimore trio's pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, "Let's Find An Out," is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan's plaintive vocals Read more

Rae Sremmurd: "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug)


Rae Sremmurd "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug) Swaecation Though I'm still processing the Mississippi superstars' excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing "Offshore" feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Now Now, “Yours”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 12.33.19 PMNow, Now
“Yours”

Digital Single
Synth-pop is rarely known for its restraint, but the second single from the Minneapolis duo’s first album in 5+ years manages to shoot for the stars while keeping its feet firmly planted on the ground. A lot of that comes from vocalist KC Dalager, who isn’t really a CRJ-style belter. Rather, she prefers to move with an arrangement rather than bombastically wrestle it into submission. “Yours” is indicative of this approach. In most hands, this same track would have the BPM, vocals, and drums amped up, turning this into a hands-up, shout-along instead of the mid-tempo, swishy seducer that it became.

Hot Jam of the Day: Grizzle, “Sermon” (f/ ShaqyDread)

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Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 6.08.28 PMGrizzle
“Sermon” (f/ ShaqyDread)
Consort (out 10.20 on Liminal Sounds)
The shadowy architect of one of the best songs of last year drops the first taste of his solo debut EP. Like the spellbinding, “Entreaty,” “Sermon” is monstrous, unique slab of neo-grime that aims for the body and the heart. The London/Manchester producer gets an assist from rising Tottenham MC, ShaqyDread, who matches the beat’s intensity, ducking in and out of the neon synths and staccato percussion with ease.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jesse Kivel, “Endless”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 5.26.14 PMJesse Kivel
“Endless”
Content (out 10.6 on New Feelings)
The former Kisses/Princeton frontman drops the second single from his debut solo EP. On “Endless,” the Santa Monica native amps up the adult contempo vibes, marrying lonely sax with twinkling piano. Don’t think of it as Yacht Rock; think of it as ‘Lost at Sea on a Pontoon’ Rock. Gorgeous.

Images & Words: Creek Boyz, “I’m The One”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 2.47.40 PMCreek Boyz
“I’m the One”

Digital Single
It’s still very early in their career, but the soulful, melodic Baltimore County crew feel like one of the freshest new groups out. Following up their magnetic debut single, “With My Team,” “I’m the One” is a triumphant, buoyant anthem that showcases their versatile talents as singers, rappers, and songwriters. Though their sound is hard to put your finger on, their nearest sonic analogue is probably Philly’s PNB Rock, a man who hails from about two hours north on I-95. It’s an exciting early statement for the group and for an increasingly promising regional rap scene.

Images & Words: Káryyn, “Moving Masses”

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tumblr_mxwe17lAJ61qzx2qxo1_500Káryyn
“Moving Masses”

Digital Single
One of the brightest and most vital new voices I’ve heard this year, the Syrian-American musician follows up her fabulous, two-part QUANTA series with an arresting vocal-led single. Somewhat reminiscent of Julianna Barwick’s timeless early work, “Moving Masses” is a dense mosaic of layered vocals that build to an overwhelming crescendo. The lyrics aren’t decipherable here, but her words still carry weight. And as the track unravels, it slowly beckons you further out to sea, untill there’s nothing you can do but let the waves overtake you.

Stream the beautiful QUANTA series at Spotify.

Hot Jam of the Day: Bruno Major, “Cold Blood”

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Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.55.47 AMBruno Major
“Cold Blood”

A Song for Every Moon (July Records)
Over the past year, the talented North Londoner dropped a new song every month, resulting in an engaging 12-song collection of jazz-influenced pop songs that recall talented (and alliterative) folks like Jamie Woon, Jamie Isaac, and James Blake. My favorite of the bunch came out in August. “Cold Blood” is a perfect example of Major’s subtle songwriting and powerful voice, as he glides over a spare arrangement that feels both classic and modern.

Images & Words: Samantha Urbani, “Hints & Implications”

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20160322-sxsw-samantha-urbani-23Samantha Urbani
“Hints & Implications”

Policies of Power EP (out now on Lucky Number)
Though the buzz has been pretty tepid, Samantha Urbani’s solo debut EP is a rock-solid collection of elastic, 80’s-inspired pop rock. The songwriting on the record is as sharp and effective as anything you’d find on Carly Rae’s last record, for example. And lead single, “Hints & Implications,” is indicative of that, pairing chunky barre chords with reverb-drenched electro drums and neon synths. It’s really an album that more people should be talking about.

Images & Words: LCD Soundsystem, “Tonite”

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screen-shot-2016-01-02-at-8-46-37-pmLCD Soundsystem
“Tonite”

American Dream (out 09.01 on DFA)
Let’s be real, no matter how good ‘American Dream’ turns out to be, it’s always going to kinda be a bummer. Nothing will change that. Then again, good tunes trump good narratives, and “Tonite” is firmly in that camp. The strongest pre-release single yet, it’s got all the hallmarks of prime-era LCD: a repetitive through line, quasi-intellectual cool bro lyrics, taught guitars, sneaky little hooks. I’m not sure I’ll actually want to dance to this, but it’s not a total disaster, which is more than I was realistically expecting from this record.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kodak Black, “Change My Ways”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 3.29.19 PMKodak Black
“Change My Ways”

Project Baby 2 (self-released)
Still just 20 years old, Dieuson “Kodak Black” Octave has already seen enough highs and lows to fill twenty lifetimes. His powerful, underrated new mixtape, “Project Baby 2,” features the most honest and frank introspection that we’ve ever heard from him. On “Change My Ways,” Octave sounds exhausted — beaten down by a lifetime of trying to outrun his own disastrous decisions and an unrelenting spotlight that glows brighter with each court case and social media story. Moreover, he sounds legitimately contrite, explaining the brutal environment that he came from without skirting responsibility. As crushing as it is, there’s still hope there. Now, it’s up to Octave to back up his words with actions.

Images & Words: King Krule, “Czech One”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 6.22.16 PMKing Krule
“Czech One”

Digital Single
I first covered the 22 year-old when he was just a random London teen named Zoo Kid. And while his potential was obvious, I doubt many predicted what an original and sonically restless artist Archy Marshall would become. In the four years follwing his excellent debut LP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, Marshall released the excellent ambient-leaning, beat tape, A New Place 2 Drown, and has collaborated with artists from all over the indie landscape.

Now, he’s is returning with new music under the King Krule moniker, and this single is another of the twisted lullabies that he’s always been so adept at crafting. On “Czech One,” Marshall pairs spare, jazzy instrumentation with his languid, almost-spoken vocals. The result is a subtle and majestic waking dream.

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