Arthur Russell, "You Did It Yourself"

Arthur Russell"You Did It Yourself"Iowa Dream (out 11.15 on Audika)There's something very fitting about a new project of recordings by the late, great Arthur Russell dropping 6 weeks before the end of the decade. In many ways, the multi-instrumentalist's sound feels at home along the wildly experimental, genre-fluid music Read more

Images & Words: The 1975, "People"

The 1975"People"Notes on a Conditional Form (out 02.22.20 on Dirty Hit)The Used, Head Automatica/Glassjaw, Primal Scream, Marilyn Manson, Blur, The Refused. And that's only six of the roughly 600 random bands that the new 1975 track brings to mind. And somehow, just like mother-fucking always, they pull it off. Read more

Caroline Polachek, "Ocean of Tears" & "Parachute"

Caroline Polachek"Ocean of Tears" / "Parachute"Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I'm getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer's first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single "Door," these two new tracks highlight Polachek's spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter

Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)

As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn't quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this Read more

Caroline Polachek, “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”

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Caroline Polachek
“So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”
Pang (out 10.18 on Columbia)

Caroline Polachek is fuckin’ on one right now, and you absolutely, goddamn love to see it. Her new project’s fourth single is a flirty, confident stunner that sharply and relatably chronicles the struggle of being apart from someone that you are super into. “Not like I’m countin’ the days, but it’s been 25” she coos, admitting her hopeless affection while still seeming unflappable and effortlessly cool. It’s a difficult balance to hit, but she does it with ease.

Images & Words: Men I Trust, “Numb”

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Men I Trust
Oncle Jazz (out now, self-released)
Though I’ve been late on the Montreal dream-pop trio, I’ve spent most of the day falling in love with the languid 24-track debut. Though the lazy haze of “Numb” sets a soothing mood, vocalist Emmanuelle Proulx’s lyrics are sharp as hell, as she picks through the bones of a failed relationship. “Hon, I never meant to cheat you out of time” she coos with the kind of palpable care that never quite leaves us when we break-up with someone. It’s aching, honest, and beautifully delivered.

Men I Trust – Numb from menitrust on Vimeo.

Future, “What It Do”

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“What It Do?”
Digital Single

Future Vandross is back in his bag on this low-key, seductive new loosey. Over a luxurious, spare piano arrangement, he hollers at his new girl, sounding legitimately giddy about spending time with her. With Fewtch, it’s hard to imagine that the good times will last, but I’m damn sure hoping they do.

Lucy Dacus, “Dancing in the Dark”

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Lucy Dacus
“Dancing in the Dark”
Digital Single

The Virginia native has quietly been on a tear this year, dropping four excellent new singles with little fanfare. Her detached, low-key vocals are in sharp contrast to Springsteen’s frantic original performance, but it delivers on the listless core of the song just as effectively. It’s unclear if a new LP is forthcoming, but if it sounds anything like these four singles, it’ll be a big step forward for Dacus.

Images & Words: Boy Scouts, “Get Well Soon”

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Boy Scouts
“Get Well Soon”
Free Company (out now on Anti)

Oakland singer-songwriter Taylor Vick’s brilliant new project is full of softly crushing break-up strummers. Lead-off track “Get Well Soon” pairs Vick’s elegiac vocals with stringed guitars and a languid backbeat. The easy feel of the song is belied by the sharp, subtly bitter lyrics that mirror the way we wish our exes luck… without totally meaning it.

Images & Words: Grimes, “Violence”

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“Violence” (Feat. i_o)
Two days after posting about the new Francis And The Lights single, the self-own continues as I am now forced to admit that the new Grimes track is very good. Though her shtick continues to be tiresome, “Violence” is a delicious slice of trance-inspired pop that frames her pitched-up vocals with gorgeous, sugary melodies.

Francis and the Lights, “Take Me to the Light”

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Francis and the Lights
“Take Me to the Light” (f/ Bon Iver, Kanye West)
Take Me to the Light (out soon)

I genuinely don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but I have to admit that I’m feeling some shame for loving this new song by Francis and the Studio Wizards. Only an absolute murderers’ row of producers (Francis, Kanye, Justin Vernon, Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat, BJ Burton, Caroline Shaw) could make a song with lyrics like “Tree gotta listen, tree gotta mind. It can feel the vibe. It can touch the sky” feel life affirming. But, goddamnit, they pull it off. They dial the synth warmth up to Icelandic spa levels and wash the Super Friends’ vocals in delicious filters. Maybe they’re empty calories, but they’re motherfucking delicious.

Kate Teague, “Sweetheart”

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Kate Teague
Kate Teague (out 09.20 on Muscle Beach)

Don’t let its soothing, languid guitars fool you, the Oxford, MS native’s wonderful “Sweetheart” is anything but. A frustrated pushback of our sexist work culture, Teague warns over-friendly men “don’t call me sweetheart.” And though the tone of her voice is warm, you can tell that she’s dead fucking serious.

Images & Words: Snoh Aalegra, “I Want You Around”

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Snoh Aalegra
“I Want You Around”
– Ugh, Those Feels Again (out now on Artium/AWAL)
I would say that I’ve been sleeping on the rising Swedish vocalist, but being this late on a project this good is certified coma status. Her gorgeous, sultry Sophomore LP is full of modern R&B that is built around her weightless voice and sharp, hooky songwriting. Lead single, “I Want You Around,” is damn-near narcotic and will take up residency in your brain then simply refuse to vacate. Handle with care.

Pinegrove, “Moment”

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Digital Single (Rough Trade)
It’s impossible to talk about the Montclair sextet without bringing up frontman Evan Stephens Hall’s confusing and disconcerting coercion allegations from a few years ago. Everything about the story was hard to get a handle on — from the fuzzy details to Hall’s even more oblique statement — and you can feel the unease on their new single and first for UK powerhouse Rough Trade. The guitars are characteristically gorgeous, but ESH sounds extra strained here, struggling to enjoy the moment even though he’s not where he wants to be.