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

Images & Words: Jon Hopkins, “Feel First Life”

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Jon Hopkins
“Feel First Life”

Singularity (out now on Domino)
If you are the owner of a working heart, prepare to have it crushed by this beautiful new clip from the veteran English producer. Pairing delicate, star-gazing pianos with engulfing synths, Hopkins crafts the kind of life-affirming song will stop you in your tracks and sweep you away.

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

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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, let’s be honest, I can’t do any worse.

Jessie Ware
“Overtime”

Digital Single
Deep house Jessie is the best Jessie, and holy shit does the Londoner deliver with this late-night banger. Buoyed by a nasty sub-bass line and atmospheric synths from Bicep and Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, “Overtime” feels like something that could’ve come from her classic debut, “Devotion,” and is easily one of her strongest tracks in years.

Sheck Wes
“Never Lost”

MUDBOY (out now on Interscope)
Most of the talk about rising star Sheck Wes is about his booming voice, not what he has to say. However, the hyper-unique Harlem rapper has a ton of compelling tales to tell on his break-out debut, MUDBOY. On “Never Lost,” Sheck digs into his mother sending him back to their native Senegal to shape up when he was in high school. A fascinating story, well told.

Tomberlin
“I’m Not Scared” (Live @ Paste Studios)

At Weddings (Saddle Creek)
Though I whiffed on Sarah Beth Tomberlin’s incredible debut when it dropped this summer, I’ve been more than making up for it over the last two weeks. The Kentucky native’s plaintive, fearless songwriting is only matched by her powerful voice, which is on full display throughout this stunning performance. What a talent.

Bedouine
“Hey, Who Really Cares” / “Come Down in Time”

Digital Single
Azniv Korkehian, the Angelino behind one of my favorite albums of 2017, is back with a gorgeous pair of pastoral folk covers. Though the Elton John tune is fantastic, her cover of folk master Linda Perhacs’ magical 1970 song is the showstopper. Her impossibly soft voice is a dead ringer for the perma-soothing Perhacs, and she captures every ounce of the kindness that radiates from the original.

Blueface
“Respect My Crypn”
Famous Cryp (out now on 886011)
The next in line of super original stylists from LA, Blueface dropped new visuals from another track off his breakthrough debut. It may take a few spins to get used to his choppy, off-beat flow, but once you find the beat, you’ll find yourself running it back again and again.

Lil Durk
“Downfall” (f/ Young Dolph & Lil Baby)
Digital Single
With his label drama now behind him, Lil Durk can now fully focus on music, and it shows. After enduring a down period thanks to a bumpy relationship with Def Jam, the Chicago native has been dropping consistently excellent music for the better part of two years. And it feels like he’s well set up for a second act that’s even better than his blazing first.

Mariah Carey
“With You”

Digital Single
Don’t look now y’all, Ms Mariah’s still-unannounced new album is officially 2 for 2. Though it’s a totally different vibe to the sharp-tongued “GTFO,” the DJ Mustard-produced “With You” is infused with the exact same heart and honesty. Let’s. Fucking. Go.

Nicholas Krgovich
“Lido”

OUCH (out 10.26 on Tin Angel)
Though he’s been at it for a few years, the Canadian crooner’s sweet sound was a new discovery for me last week. A little folky and a little lounge-y, “Lido” begins as a sadsack break-up tune but is boosted by its hopeful resolution. I’m officially curious to hear the rest of this project.

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

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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 songs I loved. And we’ll see, maybe I’ll start doing this every week.

Mariah Carey
“GTFO”

Digital Single
It’s been out for a few weeks, but I keep coming back to Mariah’s stunning new kiss off ballad. It reminds me so much of “H.A.T.E.U.” — her most underrated perfect song. And though it’s likely too low-key to become a smash, her ability to deliver a track this emotive and raw more than 30 years into her career is remarkable. She’ll always be remembered as a legendary vocalist and artist, but her bravery and the emotional heft of her music is just as special. People should be making more of this song.

Robyn
“Honey”
Honey (out Oct 26 on Konichiwa)
Robyn SZN is rapidly approaching, and “Honey” is our second taste of the project. Though it seems a bit of an off-speed pitch following the anthemic “Missing U,” it is also one of the most directly romantic Robyn tunes of recent years and is growing on me with each listen.

SOB x RBE
“Vibes”
Gangin II (out now on EMPIRE)
Vallejo’s finest returned with a follow-up to their excellent “GANGIN” tape from earlier in the year. Though I haven’t been through it all yet, low-RPM banger “Vibes” is a perfect example of the lyrical interplay and Bay Area slap that makes them such standouts.

Empress Of
“Love For Me”

Us (out 10/19 on Terrible)
Somehow, I didn’t write about Lorely Rodriguez’s irresistible lead single “When I’m With Him” (don’t worry, it’ll be HIGH on my year-end list). Her new track, “Love For Me,” is a bit more pulled back, but she still sounds beautiful on it, gliding over a characteristically clever, synth-driven arrangement from DJDS.

Quando Rondo
“Bacc To The Basics”

Life After Fame (out now, self-released)
One of my favorite new rappers of the year, the Savannah MC just dropped an excellent new tape. Lead single, “Bacc To The Basics,” highlights Rondo’s raspy delivery and evocative, personal storytelling. One to watch for 2019.

Col3trane
“Tyler”
BOOT (out now on Cole Basta)
The rising London vocalist with the awful name feels like a star in the making. Though it’s hard to write about the teenager’s music without mentioning its palpable Frank Ocean influence, his easy tenor and evocative songwriting stand on their own.

Pinegrove
“Paterson & Leo”

Skylight (self-released, out now)
Without wading into the morality of songwriter Evan Stephens Hall (read these pieces, make up your own mind), the first few spins of their restrained new project have been encouraging. This subdued, pretty track captures the specific kind of big-hearted feeling that makes their best songs so special.

Westerman
“Albatross”
The Arc EP (out 11.09 on Blue Flowers)
Another curious song from the elusive London singer-songwriter, “Albatross” is a gorgeous slice of synthetic folk music. He balances synths and drum machines with washes of electric guitar and his forlorn voice in a unique way, resulting in tunes that live between a ton of different styles but are beholden to none.

It Looks Sad.
“Bike”

Sky Lake (out 11.02 on Tiny Engines)
Besides being the clear favorites for “Best Band Name of 2018,” the Charlotte duo has been cranking out sweet, gauzy dream pop this year. New single, “Bike,” is a languid late summer jam that pairs reverb-soaked guitars with Jimmy Turner’s laid-back vocals to deliciously nostalgic effect.

Lil Uzi Vert, “New Patek”

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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 with ease.

What’s most impressive is the way that he commands your attention for all six minutes, and if anything, it feels like “New Patek” could have been even longer. Already one of the true singular stylists in music, somehow Uzi keeps revealing new abilities and stretching his creativity beyond our expectations. What a talent.

Images & Words: Miya Folick, “Stock Image”

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Miya Folick
“Stock Image”

Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible)
I’m late to the LA native’s quirky sound, but “Stock Image” is simply too strong of a pop song to pass up. Folick’s elastic vocal is the obvious star of the show, but the taut, sharp arrangement catapults that voice into captivating new heights. One to watch.

Tom Demac & Real Lies, “White Flowers”

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Tom Demac & Real Lies
“White Flowers”
White Flowers EP (out now on Kompakt)
The likely London trio link up with techno producer Tom Demac for a magical new track. Vocalist Kev Kharas’ deadpan delivery is warmed by vast layers of synth blankets and a sweltering backbeat. Though it recalls the emotional dance music of groups like Underworld, this is far from a mere exercise in nostalgia. In fact, it feels timely, urgent, and totally alive.

The 1975, “Sincerity is Scary”

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The 1975
“Sincerity is Scary”

A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out 11.30 on Dirty Hit)
Aka “Jazz is Jazzy,” the fourth single from Matty & the boys’ forthcoming third LP is another example of the inherent unpredictability that makes following The 1975 so exciting. At its heart, the song is a simple down-tempo ballad about breaking up in 2018, But they inject this wobbly, off-beat drum part, which sounds woefully out of place at first but slowly grows into the most essential part of the track on repeat listens. Consummate shape-shifters, their ability to do so many different things so well sets them apart from any other band making music today.

Images & Words: Lana Del Rey, “Venice Bitch”

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Lana Del Rey
“Venice Bitch”

Norman Fucking Rockwell (out this year)
Lana’s best new single in years, the freewheeling breeze of “Venice Bitch” is a welcome antidote to much of her dense, overcooked recent work. Paired with dusky, Laurel Canyon guitars, the 33 year-old delivers a low-key, yet stunning performance, dripping with all the old Hollywood nostalgia of her unassailable early material. At her best, she has this odd quality which makes clichés like “fresh out of fucks forever” and “nothing gold can stay” feel potent and poetic coming off her tongue. This is very much that.

Images & Words: How To Dress Well, “Nonkilling 6 | Hunger”

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How to Dress Well
“Nonkilling 6 | Hunger”

The Anteroom (out 10.19 on Domino)
Though it was a little bit buried on my “Favorite Songs of 2018, So Far..” list, I’m extremely excited about the experimental direction Tom Krell seems to be going in on his fifth LP. This stunning two-parter pairs his evocative falsetto with a rave-y backbeat and opaque, occasionally harsh instrumentation.

If you follow his social media, you’ll know that he is deep into uncompromising, blistering techno, and he does such a good job of marrying those influences with his love of heartfelt pop music on this track. His tender vocals immediately soften the rough edges and inject palpable humanity into the mix. Though it may not appeal to genre purists (I can hear the FACT writers sharpening their daggers), it’s an exciting, unique sound and a more natural home for Krell than the streamlined pop of his last album.

Lucinda Chua, “Somebody Who”

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Lucinda Chua
“Somebody Who”

Digital Single
Do yourself a favor; stop what you’re doing, and let the gentle, soothing sounds of the London-based composer’s debut single wash over you. Over vast beds of ambient keyboards and touches of her aching cello, Chua laments the simplicity of our condition as mere random bodies who are all reaching out for something. As beautiful as this track is, it feels very much like a small piece of a substantial pie, and I can’t wait to hear it in its proper context.