CFCF, "Closed Space"

CFCF "Closed Space" Liquid Colours (out 03.01) Though I haven't listened to it as much as his ree-fucking-dick-u-lus J.Lo remix (aka: the best song of 2019 so far), the first single from Montreal mainstay Michael Silver's new album is an instant keeper. It kicks off with luxurious beds of neo-geo synths that Read more

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

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.

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Scott Street”

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Phoebe Bridgers
“Scott Street”

Stranger In The Alps (out now on Dead Oceans)
The mopey Angelino’s debut album was my second favorite of last year, and I’ve found myself consistently coming back to it in 2018. One of its sweetest moments gets a lighthearted visual that captures the subtle humor and loneliness of the track. The 24 year-old begins the story walking through Echo Park, disassociated from herself and her surroundings. And the clip mirrors that odd feeling by casting a bunch of different Pheobes who all come together to ride an open-top bus through the city, bash her effigy into oblivion, and play trampoline dodgeball.

Troye Sivan, “Postcard” (f/ Gordi)

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Troye Sivan
“Postcard” (f/ Gordi)

Bloom (out now on Universal)
Spoiler alert: the 23 year-old’s spectacular, super consistent second album will be all over my year-end lists. All of Bloom’s ten songs are worthy of further consideration, but this piano ballad is an early standout. Sivan is blessed with the kind of voice that effortlessly gets under your skin. And he puts it to good use here, chronicling the early days of falling in love and the excitement and anxiety that comes with giving your heart to someone.

Images & Words: Blueface, “Deadlocs”

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Famous Cryp (out now on 886011)
The next in a line of talented, unique LA artists, Blueface’s simply refuses to adhere to the traditional boundaries of hip-hop. On his breakout single, the young Angelino dips in and out of the skeletal keys and percussion, swerving and accelerating wildly like a drunk driver on the 405. At first listen, his freewheeling, occasionally offbeat style might be a turn-off, but with every successive listen, you’ll find yourself more and more on his wavelength.

Liza Anne, “Dreams”

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Liza Anne

Dreams EP (out 09.14 on Arts & Crafts)
I almost never write about covers on here, mostly because I struggle to keep up with all the great original music that’s coming out every day.

But every once in a while, one jumps out at me that is simply too good to pass up. Rising Nashville artist Liza Anne’s haunting take on this timeless Cranberries tune more than qualifies. Her elegiac, crushing vocals are worthy of the eternal Dolores O’Riordan, and she captures much of the wistful sorrow that DEFINED one of the best songs of my youth.

Make sure you check out her under-appreciated 2018 LP, “Fine But Dying.”