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

Christina Vantzou: “Some Limited and Waning Memory”

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Christina Vantzou
“Some Limited and Waning Memory”
no.4 (out 04.06 on Kranky)
The lead track from the Kansas City-born, Brussels-based composer’s fourth LP is a ghostly, gorgeous piece that balances haunting strings with a delicate, meandering piano line. Film and photography has always been at the heart of her work, and this track is sure to evoke strong visuals and distant memories of days long gone.

Images & Words: MoStack, “What I Wanna”

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MoStack
“What I Wanna”

Digital Single
We’ve officially entered that annoying part of winter where spring feels close but also further than ever. On days like these, we need sunny jams like the buzzing Londoner’s breezy, Big Pun-sampling new single. Though Stack’s bubbly flow may not bring the sun back out, it is guaranteed to put a little extra bounce in your step as you trudge through the dog days of winter.

Swae Lee, “Hurt To Look” (f/ Rae Sremmurd)

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Swae Lee
“Hurt To Look”

Swaecation (out soon on Ear Drummers)
Sremm Season is rapidly approaching, and on Wednesday, the venerable Mississippi brothers treated us to the first three tasters from their upcoming triple disc. Each of the three deserve some shine. “Powerglide” is the kind of airy, hyperactive banger that they built their name on, and Slim Jxmmi absolutely snaps on his electric debut solo single, “Brxnks Truck.”

But, as an eternal sucker for smooth R&B, Swae Lee’s solo single was the one that really stood out to me. Lee doesn’t sing, he glides. His vocals are effortless, and they just cruise over any arrangement he encounters, especially mid-tempo, luxurious Mike Will beats like this one. On “Hurt To Look,” he plays the role of a jilted lover, looking sadly over at what could have been. It’s a role he was born to play, and I cannot wait to hear what he does with an entire album of his own.

Kacey Musgraves, “Space Cowboy”

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Kacey Musgraves
“Space Cowboy”
Golden Hour (out 03.30 on UMG)
Very few country artists can crush my heart like the 29 year-old Texan. Whether it’s the swooning, wedding-worthy, “Late To The Party” (one of my Top 5 Songs of 2015) or the heartfelt, sad-sack tale about small-town life “Merry Go ‘Round,” Musgraves has that rare ability to capture the beauty or pain of a moment and distill it into four empathic, gorgeous minutes.

Now we can add “Space Cowboy” — the first single from her third proper LP — to that list. A touching ode to the moment you realize that no matter what you do, the person you love will never truly commit to you. It hurts like hell, but there’s also a freedom that goes with it — a realization that it’s finally okay to let go and find someone who will appreciate you. A little part of you is relieved. And Musgraves captures both of those emotions masterfully here. One of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Bad Gyal, “Internationally”

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Bad Gyal
“Internationally”
Worldwide Angel (out now on Puro)

Though I haven’t yet written about it, the Catalan reggaeton alchemist’s new record has been in heavy rotation in 2018. A lean, 8-song collection, “Worldwide Angel” sees Alba “Bad Gyal” Farelo working on a grander scale than she ever has before. Of course, I’m not saying it’s better than her breakthrough “Slow Wine” tape, only time will tell. But she’s unarguably shooting for the fences more than ever before.

The disc’s towering leadoff track is a perfect example of that. Boasting production from two of the hottest around, Jam City and Dubbel Dutch, “Internationally” is Farelo at her most potent, switching between languages and deftly slithering through the beat. Though the it’s a bigger statement, much of the immediacy and intimacy of her work remains. Or in other words, there’s more people at the club, but it still feels like she’s only singing to you.

Images & Words: oklou, “Friendless”

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oklou
“Friendless”
The Rite of May (out 03.16 on NUXXE)
It’s impossible not to get swallowed up by the rising French vocalist’s spellbinding breakthrough single. “Friendless” is a an aqueous, sensuous track that undulates like the calm sea depicted in the video clip. Though the production is spot-on, Marylou “oklou” Mayniel’s vocals are the real star of the show, aching for the love of someone who is far away. One to watch in 2018.

Frank Ocean, “Moon River”

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Frank Ocean
“Moon River”

Digital Single
Every time Frank Ocean puts out a new song, it feels like an event, no matter what it is. Case in point: this loose, simple cover of a song from the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s Soundtrack basically shut down the Internet when it dropped on Valentine’s Day. Reminiscent of his cover of the Isley Brothers-penned Aaliyah classic “At Your Best (You Are Love),” it’s a pretty faithful rendition that mostly works because of that rare, beguiling quality of his once-in-a-lifetime voice.

Images & Words: S. Carey, “More I See”

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S. Carey
“More I See”
Hundred Acres (out 2.23 on Jagjaguwar)

Maybe it’s because of the weather, but it just feels so go to cuddle up with these new Sean Carey tracks. Though it’s just as lambswool soft as previous singles “Fool’s Gold” and “Still, Still, Still,” “More I See” has the kind of glorious hook that his tracks don’t tend to, which feels tailor-made to soundtrack a pivotal moment of some network TV show that I don’t watch. That might not sound like a big deal, but in 2018 indie rock, that can be a career changer.

Julianna Barwick, “Garland”

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Julianna Barwick
“Garland”

Digital Single
When Julianna Barwick sings, I listen. On “Garland,” she pairs her celestial, angelic voice with a slow-burning pulse that deftly rises to a stunning climax. Though there’s no official word, hopefully this track will foreshadow a full-length follow up to her wonderful third LP, “Will.”

Images & Words: Chloe x Halle, “The Kids Are Alright”

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Chloe X Halle
“The Kids Are Alright”

Grown-ish Soundtrack
This sweetly acerbic swooner is the perfect antidote to the innumerable, tiresome “Millennials Are Trash” think-pieces that have become a cottage industry these days. The Beyoncé-backed familial duo, Chloe and Halle Bailey, are the perfect pair to deliver the message, blending their gorgeous voices together to stand up for their generation.