Sade, "The Big Unknown"


Sade "The Big Unknown" Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she's only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning "The Big Unknown," Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Miya Folick "Thingamajig" Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible) With each new single, the talented LA vocalist is strengthening the case that her forthcoming LP could be one of the best debuts of the year. Her flexible vocals always stretch further than you expect, and she uses her seemingly unlimited range to exact maximum Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Welp, this is embarrassing. The week I roll out a new round-up column, I respond by posting exactly zero times. My editorial staff (of one) was pretty slammed this week, but that's no excuse. Hopefully this piece can make up for it, dear readers. I'll do better this week, because, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


I was on vacay in England last week, and as I sat back down at my desk this morning, I realized that a massive amount of new music came out while I was gone. I'm going to try something new with quick one to two sentence recaps of some Read more

Lil Uzi Vert, "New Patek"


Lil Uzi Vert "New Patek" Digital Single Easily one of most joyful songs of the year, the hyperactive, hypertalented Philadelphian returns with six (6!) electric minutes of swirling, tuneful hip-hop. Over Dolan Beats' glorious crystallized piano keys and tiptoeing hi-hats, Uzi goes the fuck in as only he can, slaloming through the beat Read more

Kacey Musgraves, “Space Cowboy”

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Kacey Musgraves
“Space Cowboy”
Golden Hour (out 03.30 on UMG)
Very few country artists can crush my heart like the 29 year-old Texan. Whether it’s the swooning, wedding-worthy, “Late To The Party” (one of my Top 5 Songs of 2015) or the heartfelt, sad-sack tale about small-town life “Merry Go ‘Round,” Musgraves has that rare ability to capture the beauty or pain of a moment and distill it into four empathic, gorgeous minutes.

Now we can add “Space Cowboy” — the first single from her third proper LP — to that list. A touching ode to the moment you realize that no matter what you do, the person you love will never truly commit to you. It hurts like hell, but there’s also a freedom that goes with it — a realization that it’s finally okay to let go and find someone who will appreciate you. A little part of you is relieved. And Musgraves captures both of those emotions masterfully here. One of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Bad Gyal, “Internationally”

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Bad Gyal
“Internationally”
Worldwide Angel (out now on Puro)

Though I haven’t yet written about it, the Catalan reggaeton alchemist’s new record has been in heavy rotation in 2018. A lean, 8-song collection, “Worldwide Angel” sees Alba “Bad Gyal” Farelo working on a grander scale than she ever has before. Of course, I’m not saying it’s better than her breakthrough “Slow Wine” tape, only time will tell. But she’s unarguably shooting for the fences more than ever before.

The disc’s towering leadoff track is a perfect example of that. Boasting production from two of the hottest around, Jam City and Dubbel Dutch, “Internationally” is Farelo at her most potent, switching between languages and deftly slithering through the beat. Though the it’s a bigger statement, much of the immediacy and intimacy of her work remains. Or in other words, there’s more people at the club, but it still feels like she’s only singing to you.

Images & Words: oklou, “Friendless”

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oklou
“Friendless”
The Rite of May (out 03.16 on NUXXE)
It’s impossible not to get swallowed up by the rising French vocalist’s spellbinding breakthrough single. “Friendless” is a an aqueous, sensuous track that undulates like the calm sea depicted in the video clip. Though the production is spot-on, Marylou “oklou” Mayniel’s vocals are the real star of the show, aching for the love of someone who is far away. One to watch in 2018.

Frank Ocean, “Moon River”

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Frank Ocean
“Moon River”

Digital Single
Every time Frank Ocean puts out a new song, it feels like an event, no matter what it is. Case in point: this loose, simple cover of a song from the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s Soundtrack basically shut down the Internet when it dropped on Valentine’s Day. Reminiscent of his cover of the Isley Brothers-penned Aaliyah classic “At Your Best (You Are Love),” it’s a pretty faithful rendition that mostly works because of that rare, beguiling quality of his once-in-a-lifetime voice.

Images & Words: S. Carey, “More I See”

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S. Carey
“More I See”
Hundred Acres (out 2.23 on Jagjaguwar)

Maybe it’s because of the weather, but it just feels so go to cuddle up with these new Sean Carey tracks. Though it’s just as lambswool soft as previous singles “Fool’s Gold” and “Still, Still, Still,” “More I See” has the kind of glorious hook that his tracks don’t tend to, which feels tailor-made to soundtrack a pivotal moment of some network TV show that I don’t watch. That might not sound like a big deal, but in 2018 indie rock, that can be a career changer.

Julianna Barwick, “Garland”

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Julianna Barwick
“Garland”

Digital Single
When Julianna Barwick sings, I listen. On “Garland,” she pairs her celestial, angelic voice with a slow-burning pulse that deftly rises to a stunning climax. Though there’s no official word, hopefully this track will foreshadow a full-length follow up to her wonderful third LP, “Will.”

Images & Words: Chloe x Halle, “The Kids Are Alright”

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Chloe X Halle
“The Kids Are Alright”

Grown-ish Soundtrack
This sweetly acerbic swooner is the perfect antidote to the innumerable, tiresome “Millennials Are Trash” think-pieces that have become a cottage industry these days. The Beyoncé-backed familial duo, Chloe and Halle Bailey, are the perfect pair to deliver the message, blending their gorgeous voices together to stand up for their generation.

Soccer Mommy, “Still Clean”

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Soccer Mommy
“Still Clean”

Clean (out 03/02 on Fat Possum)
I was a little late in discovering Sophie Allison’s bedroom guitar-pop, but this forlorn heartbreaker hooked its fangs into me real quick. “Still Clean” is a downcast track about the way young love makes you learn that what’s real to you isn’t always real to someone else. Over a delicate, but busy guitar-line, Allison realizes she’d mistaken love for lust and that it’s time to move on. No matter how universal that feeling is, it’s such a difficult pill to swallow.

Images & Words: BlocBoy JB x Drake, “Look Alive”

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BlocBoy JB
“Look Alive” (f/ Drake)

Digital Single
Young Angel links up with Memphis’ most promising young rapper for a monster single. Bristling with the electricity and urgency that was sorely lacking on his recent singles, “Look Alive” features some of Drake’s sharpest barbs, and he sounds refreshed and empowered by his 21 year-old counterpart’s infectious energy. Though he’s still making his way in the industry, BlocBoy isn’t overawed by his co-star, dropping a memorable, sticky verse of his own. This one has the potential to be huge.

Images & Words: Jamie Isaac, “Doing Better”

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Jamie Isaac
“Doing Better”
Digital Single

After a year or so away, the low-key Croydon singer-songwriter returns with the first song from his forthcoming sophomore LP. “Doing Better” is another tasty slab of the bleary-eyed, late-night soul that made his debut, “Couch Baby,” my 14th favorite album of 2016. Isaac is blessed with a warm, soft tenor and is a talented piano player — both of which are on full display on this broken-winged ballad. More like this please, Jamie.

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