Wet, "There's A Reason"

Wet “There’s a Reason” Digital Single I’ve gone back and forth about the subtle stylistic shift that the Brooklyn group has made on their first single as a duo. After enjoying widespread acclaim early in their career, their debut LP was met with tepid reviews, which mostly complained about their dogged commitment Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Tracks of January and February

I've been a little slow to get cranked back up in 2018, but I quickly realized that a shitload of great music has dropped in January and February. Here's a quick wrap-up of a few of my favorites. Bad Gyal “Internationally” Worldwide Angel (out now on Puro) It sounds hyperbolic, but Read more

Grouper, "Parking Lot"

Grouper "Parking Lot" Grid of Points (out 04.27 on Kranky) Every time Liz Harris drops a new track, it's up to us to savor it and appreciate it for the little miracle that it is. It may sound like hyperbole, but everything she's put our since her wonderfully shut-in 2007 LP Cover the Read more

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

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 Read more

Kacey Musgraves, "Space Cowboy"

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,” Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Rhye, “Taste”

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Digital Single
The L.A. duo is the musical equivalent of being draped in layers of 1,000-thread count sheets. And after a couple of years away, it appears that they’re prepping a follow-up to their tasty 2013 debut, “Woman.” “Taste” is the third track they’ve dropped recently, and it’s very much in their wheelhouse: swooning falsetto vocals, gentle piano, and just that little kick of percussion. There’s still no word on whether an official LP is on the way, but if it sounds anything like this, I’ll look forward to burying my little head in it.

Images & Words: The National, “I’ll Still Destroy You”

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the-national.graham-macindoe.4366_wide-2c5d8eef9bddef8bffb630b84ec075ecfe72d043-s1900-c85-1504652399-640x360The National
“I’ll Still Destroy You”
Sleep Well Beast (out now on 4AD)
Frankly, I’m shocked by how much I’ve grown to love the Brooklyn vets’ seventh LP. After 2013’s tepid “Trouble Will Find Me,” I’d sort of assumed that their misery porn had reached its zenith, now ten years on from the seminal “Boxer.” However, “Sleep Well Beast” finds the band regaining their emotional heft, nowhere more evident than this stunning rumination on escapism, be it by drugs, dreams, or nostalgia. Looking more than a little bit like Heisenberg, vocalist Matt Berninger gets lost in nights and dreams gone by, reveling in their narcotic power, while despairing at the knowledge that no matter how he tries, those harsh lights are going to come on before he knows it.

Images & Words: Mayorkun, “Mama”

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Digital Single
Already a big hit in his native Nigeria, “Mama” is a gorgeous swoon of a love song that beautifully matches soca and R&B. It’s the latest in a string of impressive singles for the 23 year-old. Blessed with a pure, easy tenor, Mayorkun manages to capture the silly way falling headlong in love can make you feel without coming off jokey or insincere. Delish.

Stream This Shit: Grizzle, “Consort”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 2.28.31 PMGrizzle

Liminal Sounds
Put down “Super Slimey” for a second, and spend some time with the criminally underrated Mancunian’s long-awaited, Liminal Sounds debut. The grime futurist has been a long-time TP fave, and Consort is exactly the project I’ve been hoping he’d make. Each of the disc’s four tracks is a meticulously crafted, hyper-melodic banger. Though there’s an obvious MssingNo influence on this disc, there’s a ton of new ideas on here as well, and it’s a massive step forward for one of the most promising young producers in music today.

Images & Words: SOPHIE, “It’s Okay To Cry”

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“It’s Okay to Cry”

Digital Single
Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. “It’s Okay to Cry” is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is pure magic.

Built around a twinkling, celestial piano melody, “It’s Okay To Cry” plays out like a tender, ultra-modern Disney ballad. Her voice is sweet and confident, as she consoles a heartbroken loved one. The depth and power of the message is ratcheted up by the stunning visuals, which depict Sophie as an angelic figure. More than being Sophie’s first public appearance, it’s also the first time she’s clarified which pronouns (she/her) she’s using. It’s a massive statement in so many ways, and truly one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, “Logos”

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King-KruleKing Krule

The OOZ (out now on XL)
Archy Marshall’s excellent new album feels like a collection of those wonky dream states that exist somewhere in that nether region between being wake and sleep. Though I’m still digesting all 19 of its songs, the hypnotic, jazzy “Logos” immediately stuck out. Over languid jazz chords (think: 7’s and 9’s) and faraway sax, a mumbling Marshall welcomes us into a world that is both racked with childhood terrors and infused with an medicated calm. It’s a perfect example of his rare ability to craft engulfing sonic worlds that draw you in and keep you there.

Images & Words: Julien Baker, “Turn Out the Lights”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 5.11.37 PMJulien Baker
“Turn Out the Lights”

Turn Out the Lights (out 10.27 on Matador)
We are officially two weeks away from the 22 year-old’s hugely anticipated second LP, and it’s second single hits just as hard as the confessional, heart-crushing “Appointments.”

“Turn Out the Lights” opens as a sparse and haunting take on isolation, as Baker wonders “so why is it easy for everyone else?” The truth is, of course, it isn’t. And when its skyscraping crescendo hits, a sense of hope and community joins her solitary vocal, reminding us that we’re never truly alone.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jaws of Love., “Lake Tahoe.”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 3.03.11 PMJaws of Love.
“Lake Tahoe.”

Tasha Sits Close to the Piano (out now of K-Rizzla)
Last week, Local Natives vocalist Kelcey Ayer quietly released a subdued, piano-driven debut solo LP. Though the response has been tepid so far, it’s a gorgeous, grown-up collection of mid-3o’s love songs dedicated to the way that your loved ones can shepherd you through uncertain waters. Though it’s most potent when listened to as one cohesive collection, “Lake Tahoe” is a real standout, showcasing Ayer’s flexible tenor and affecting songwriting. It’s sweet, it’s cheesy, and it’s just the kind of ballad that could add a bit of levity to these desperately heavy times. Go listen to this record with someone you love.

Hot Jam of the Day: The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, “For Robin”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.53.21 AMThe World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
“For Robin”
Always Foreign (Epitaph)
There are many, many awful things about addiction, but little is as insidious as the way it pushes its victims away from loved ones from their previous life and deeper into their illness. Anybody who has lost someone to addiction will relate to this crushing funeral dirge’s first lines. “Mike called once a week, and then he called once a month. / He called once every few years, which turned into never at all.”

When a friend dies, you’re obviously robbed of a future with that person, but I’ve found that the years that you had already lost hurt more. The ones where you’d slowly floated apart, the common cords that once held you together — the interests, passions, and shared experiences — snapping one-by-one, clipped by the all-encompassing nature of addiction. And all of a sudden, you’re left with your remaining friends trying to make sense of how we all let that person drift so far and why you’d not made the most of your time together. That’s what this song is about. It may be the stunning, versatile post-emo disc’s quietest moment, but it’s also its most powerful and haunting.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “4PM in London”

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Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 6.43.10 PMStormzy
“4PM in London”
Digital Single
Turning freestyles into anthems is nothing new to the ultra-talented Londoner. And though the ravenous “4PM in London” was probably written, it feels alive in the same way that many of those aforementioned tracks did. Unlike Drake (the man who originally rapped on this beat), Stormzy’s got the rare ability to make any line feel like a hook, so he doesn’t need a chorus or a sticky melody to make a track stick. “4AM in Calabasas” was about as memorable as a 72° day in the Valley, but Big Mike’s delicious, adhesive bars makes you want to run it back again and again. All hail.