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: Lil Durk, “Pressure”

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redeye-lil-durk-redeye-cover-shoot-20150601Lil 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 solid material that probably hasn’t quite done the numbers that he’d want.

He seems to be a little stuck a little bit between his street rap roots and romantic, R&B fare (á la, the recent gold-certified, “My Beyoncé). For me, his best recent work has tended to veer toward the latter, as this lusty new single does. Durk’s always managed to sing with auto-tune so well, using it to pull even more emotion out of his vocals. And they sound brilliant here, over this airy, luxurious mid-tempo beat. I’m not sure “Pressure” is going to be the big, crossover single that he is clearly looking for, but to my ears, it sounds like a step in the right direction.

Images & Words: BAD GYAL, “Jacaranda”

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img_20170415-105650_badgyal_11-kieG-U421709349948e5-1126x636@RAC1-WebBad Gyal
“Jacaranda”
Digital Single
Fresh off dropping one of the most thrilling debuts of last year, the rising reggaeton alchemist returns with her first release of 2017. Hailing from Spain’s sleepy Catalan coast, about 20 miles from Barcelona, Bad Gyal (né Alba Farelo) has cooked up a sound that feels anything but local. Reggaeton is the most obvious ingredient, but there’s also strong hints of dancehall, bachata, R&B, and merengue (to name a few) in her wildly versatile sound. But no matter where the arrangements go, Farelo’s laid-back, seductive vocals are ever-present, keeping things ticking over and running smoothly. One to watch in 2017.

Images & Words: Vince Staples, “Big Fish”

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custom299be6c8b27b518485fb5c4544625af6Vince Staples
“Big Fish”

Big Fish Theory (out 06.23 on Def Jam)
A couple of years ago, the 23 year-old Long Beach rapper caught a bunch of (mostly unfair) shit for calling 90’s music overrated. If you’d never heard a Vince Staples track before that, you’d be surprised when you first heard his music, as much of shares the spirit and aesthetic of 90’s West Coast rap without sacrificing any modernity. “Big Fish” is a perfect example of that fine line Staples walks, as he flows over a beat that wouldn’t sound out of place on a classic Too $hort album. That said, his flexible flow and impressive storytelling guarantees his music remains contemporary and vital.

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

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Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 5.37.31 PMKommode
“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 all the way back in 2006, the group has released only two vaguely official singles, and it was starting to feel like the disc would only exist in KOC fanfic. However, earlier this month, the low-key Norwegian surprisingly announced that the quintet’s debut LP would be dropping in June.

Best of all, the news came with this phenomenal, buoyant first single, which conjures up memories of one of KOC’s finest tracks — the one that started my 10+ year love affair with the group — “I’d Rather Dance With You.” Bøe’s voice is calming and flexible, and it glides beautifully over a descending keyboard riff, nimble electric guitars, and swinging drums. Incredibly, not only is it as good as I’d hoped it would be all those years back, somehow it’s actually better.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jlin, “Holy Child”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.42.25 AMJlin
“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 ever tripping over themselves. It also features one of her strongest, most coherent melodies — thanks to operatic samples and undulating synths — which help elevate “Holy Child” to incredible heights.

Hot Jam of the Day: Dawn, “Break Me”

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dawn-richard-plaidDawn
“Break Me”

Digital Single
For the better part of five years, Dawn Richard has been dutifully blessing us with a consistent stream of progressive, beautiful music that lurks in the grey area between R&B, dance music, pop, and a host of other micro-genres. “Break Me” is the second of her collaborations with promising bounce(ish) producer and fellow New Orleans-native Leonce. It highlights her affecting writing and vocals, as she spills tears all over Leonce’s spare synths and carefully crafted percussion.

Hot Jam of the Day: MoStack, “Ussy Ussy”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 5.06.47 PMMoStack
“Ussy Ussy”

Digital Single
After dropping one of the songs of the year, the Londoner returns with another winning, Afrobeats-influenced cut. Like “Let it Ring,” the buoyant, undeniable “Ussy Ussy” features both memorable bars and hooky vocals that help cement MoStack in the class of rising stars like J Hus, Abra Cadabra, and Kojo Funds. If the summer sounds anything like this, we’re in for a great one.

Images & Words: Burna Boy, “Hallelujah”

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Burna-Boy-1-600x400Burna Boy
“Hallelujah”

Digital Single
Friday is always a great day to give thanks, and the 25 year-old’s new single is here to inspire you to do just that. Hailing from Nigeria’s poverty-stricken south coast, Burna Boy has spent the better part of seven years crafting electric afrobeat with touches of R&B and dancehall. Like many stateside, he first popped on my radar with his gorgeous, low-key 2016 EP, Redemption. Now, Burna has his sights set on world domination, and if he keeps dropping songs like this airy, lithe charmer, he’ll get there soon enough.

Hot Jam of The Day: Grizzly Bear, “Three Rings”

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Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 5.41.54 PMGrizzly Bear
“Three Rings”
Digital Single
The sound of 2009 white guy indie rock is thriving in 2017. We aren’t even at the halfway point, and we’ve already heard new music from Fleet Foxes, the National, LCD Soundsystem, Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, and Animal Collective. And while it has basically ranged from -__- (see: Projectors, Dirty) to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, Ed Droste and co.’s first track in about five years is a gorgeous, haunting ballad. Droste’s voice floats beautifully here, but drummer Chris Bear steals the show here, as his off-kilter, busy drumming gives the track an syncopated touch and injects it with unexpected life. More than anything, “Three Rings” doesn’t fall into the same trap as many of their peers, as it is neither a rehash of old ideas nor an unnecessary stylistic u-turn. Rather, it’s the sound of a fantastic band evolving naturally and exploring new sonic space.

Hot Jam of the Day: J Hus, “Common Sense”

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JHusJ Hus
“Common Sense”
Common Sense (Black Butter)
The wait is almost over. Though the East Londoner’s highly-anticipated proper debut LP drops on Friday, he graced us with another taster to hold us over. Though the lush, soulful instrumentation and live drums are a different look for the MC, it proves to be another monster single that highlights his underrated versatility. The beat feels a little bit 90’s, but Hus’ delivery is purely modern. And he shifts from rapping to singing with ease and delivers sticky bars with melodic hooks for days. One of the biggest talents in music today.