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

Images & Words: The Weather Station, “Thirty”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 12.16.37 PMThe Weather Station
“Thirty”

The Weather Station (out 10.6 on Paradise of Bachelors)
Don’t let the acoustic guitar fool you, the first single from Canadian folk-singer Tamara Lindeman’s upcoming fourth LP is fierce and powerful. Though it starts sweetly, it slowly unravels into a driving rock song that explores the innumerable, small moments which define lengthy relationships, causing them to grow and shift over time. Her vocals are breathy, but muscular. In fact, they are more than a little reminiscent of a certain legendary, blonde Canadian folkie who shall remain nameless (cuz blasphemy). Suffice it to say, I’m really looking forward to hearing the rest of this record.

Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, “Appointments”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 6.50.48 PMJulien Baker
“Appointments”
Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador)
“It’s the hope that kills you,” goes the old saying. But it can also be the thing that saves you and drives you through life’s dark stretches. It’s what the 21 year-old is reaching for on this breathtaking first single from her highly-anticipated second LP. Baker has the ultra-rare ability to distill life’s most complex and difficult moments into gorgeous, insightful songs that often tell you more about your life than hers.

“Appointments” is the next in a long line of stunning, stripped-back guitar ballads from the Memphis native. Over a lonely, reverb-drenched single-string riff, Baker tries desperately to old on to the hope that she knows she needs. Baker confesses all this to a disappointed lover, admitting that she’s reached a point where there’s nothing she can do but believe in the process, even though she is far from convinced that it will work. Unbelievably moving.

Images & Words: Moneybagg Yo, “Important”

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MoneyBagg-Durk-VideoMoneybagg Yo
“Important”

Federal 3x (out now on Interscope)
A week after releasing his excellent new mixtape, the rising Memphis rapper drops some visuals for one of Federal 3x’s early standout singles. One of the most exciting new talents in the country, Moneybagg Yo (né Demario White) is blessed with a flow that is smooth, muscular, and naturally melodic. Like many of his Memphis cohorts, he’s at his best on slow-mo tracks like this and is a master of exploring the negative space in between the beat.

Listen to Federal 3x on Spotify.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, “Every Time”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 1.37.01 PMJae Stephens
“Every Time”

Digital Single
After dropping one of the best singles of 2017, the LA singer returns with a low-key follow up that continues to hint at her massive potential. “Every Time” is a sweltering love letter to her hometown, from her roots in Studio City to the packed freeways that connect its residents to a wealth of possibilities. Buoyed by the pulsing, soulful production of London singer-songwriter, Burno Major, Stephens captures the excitement and anxiety of exploring an endless maze that offers a million different ways to come back home.

Hot Jam of the Day: Car Seat Headrest, “War is Coming (If You Want It)”

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car-seat-headrest-will-toledoCar Seat Headrest
“War is Coming (If You Want It)”

Digital Single
If you aren’t worried about what is happening on this planet, you aren’t an actual human. Will Toldeo is a certified human and a very talented songwriter, and he displays both on this this world-weary new single. During a tight, tuneful three and a half minutes, Toldeo decries a number of popular, corrosive views that are currently polluting the globe and calls out a need for healing. The message may not be particularly novel, but we need as many positive voices as we can in these troubled times.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jesse Kivel, “LA Story”

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kisses-03Jesse Kivel
“LA Story”
Content (out 10.06 on New Feelings)

After a couple years away, the Kisses/Princeton frontman returns with a gorgeous, slow-burning solo single. It’s unclear whether the 1991 Steve Martin film of the same name inspired this track, but the seductive keys, jazzy fretless bass-line, and massive horn chorus melody makes sure it wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack. Kivel’s warm tenor is as smooth as ever, gliding high above the lush arrangement and capturing the city’s beauty and ennui.

Images & Words: Waxahatchee, “Recite Remorse”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 2.55.06 PMWaxahatchee
“Recite Remorse”
Out in the Storm (out now on Merge)
I’ve been loving Katie Crutchfield’s break-up album for the last month or so, and it’s gorgeous centerpiece recently got some starry-eyed visuals. The clip captures the track’s celestial beauty and underwater feel. Over five transfixing minutes, Crutchfield captures the emotional paralysis of not knowing whether to escape a troubled relationship or to come back in and start working to fix it.

Images & Words: Lil Durk x Lil Reese, “Distance”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 6.05.33 PMLil Durk x Lil Reese
“Distance”

Supa Vultures (out 08.11 on OTF/Empire)
Two of the lynchpins of early/mid 10’s Chicago drill link back up for a melodic. piano-laced heater. Though the duo’s styles couldn’t be less similar — Durk is melodic without even trying, while Reese raps through gritted teeth — they are also perfect foils. Longtime collaborator Young Chop matches their fire and ice flows with a tasty combination of ultra-melodic keys, potent sub-bass, and rolling trap hats.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, “LMK”

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KelelaKelela
“LMK”

Take Me Apart (10.06 on Warp)
Our agonizing wait for the first taste of Kelela’s proper studio debut* is finally over, and my GOD, our girl came through with a banger. In lieu of just typing 4,000 fire emojis, I’ll just say that “LMK” is such a perfect distillation of what makes her such a special artist. The track lives in that ambiguous space between the club, the bedroom, and the radio. And the D.C. native devouring a club-ready Arca production and turning it into a slick, intoxicating slab of ultra-modern R&B.

And though everything about it sounds pristine, Kelela’s lyrics are never mere empty calories. She effortlessly deconstructs modern ghosting culture, reminding your local neighborhood fuckboi (or girl) that the main thing most people are looking for in the early going is honesty.

*Let’s be real, Cut 4 Me is an album

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, “Midnight”

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Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 11.58.13 AMJessie Ware
“Midnight”
Digital Single
In the years I’ve been covering music, I wrote more about Jessie Ware’s early career than just about anyone else. I first covered her back in 2011 and tracked her progression from a promising, mostly unknown, quiet storm prodigy to a true powerhouse who could command any room she was in. It all culminated with her stunning 2012 debut, Devotion, which is still one of the best albums of the decade.

Though her 2014 follow-up Tough Love accelerated her commercial progression, it left me a bit cold and felt burned by overpacked arrangements that felt more Sam Smith than Sade. Disappointed as I was, it was hard to argue with her decision. The disc was a commercial success that grew her fanbase and led to collabs with people like Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj. And her affable, low-key persona made her easy to root for, regardless of how I felt about the new sound.

All of that makes her comeback single, “Midnight,” so exciting. It doesn’t sound like Devotion, but it feels like it. Her best music tackles heavy, human topics with a weightless quality, and this gorgeous single captures recaptures that magic. Met with a descending pianos, the 32 year-old pushes her evocative voice to its upper register, capturing the baited breath and quickened heartbeat of a late-night rendezvous. The relationship she’s singing about may be rooted in deep ‘devotion’, but it still feels like the first time. Bravo.