Images & Words: Creek Boyz, "I'm The One"


Creek 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 Read more

Images & Words: King Krule, "Czech One"


King 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, Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Julien Baker, "Appointments"


Julien 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 Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Kelela, "LMK"


Kelela "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 Read more

Images & Words: Jessie Ware, "Midnight"


Jessie 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 Read more

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.

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.