Images & Words: Real Lies, "The Checks"

Real Lies "The Checks" Digital Single Longtime TP favorite and the trio behind my favorite song of 2014, London's Real Lies are back with their first new music in a couple years. Few artists are as good at capturing the mood of being young and on your own in a big city like Read more

Father John Misty, "Just Dumb Enough to Try"

Father John Misty "Just Dumb Enough To Try" God's Favorite Customer (out 06.01 on Sub Pop) Though his last LP "Pure Comedy" had its moments, it was an overwritten project that was weighed down by grand, mostly superficial proclamations about the frivolity of modern life. His usually sharp pen often landed with Read more

Images & Words: Yxng Bane, "Vroom"

Yxng Bane "Vroom" Digital Single When I first wrote about the East Londoner back in July 2016, he didn't even have CDQ versions of his tracks on SoundCloud. In less than two years, Bane's career has grown like wildfire with multiple videos doing crazy numbers. The hot streak looks set to continue with Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of The First Quarter

To be totally honest, I'm not sure it's been a vintage first quarter for music, as I had fewer albums that I wanted to write about than usual. That said, there are some truly excellent albums on this list, and there's a lot to look forward coming up soon. Kacey Read more

Kacey Musgraves, "Golden Hour"

Kacey Musgraves "Golden Hour" Golden Hour (out now on UMG) At this point, you probably already know that the 29 year-old Texan’s new album is something special. The disc is a stunning collection of impeccably sung and written modern country tunes, all of which deserve your time. However, I wanted to Read more

Hot Jam of the Day (08.24.12): Holy Other, “Inpouring”

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Holy Other
Held (Tri Angle, out 8/28)

Who would have known that r&b and new age would have made such exquisite bedfellows? Listening to Holy Other makes me realize that I wasn’t totally insane for digging Enya and Boyz II Men in middle school. The Manchester-based producer’s debut EP was amongst my favorites of 2011, and his debut LP is shaping up as one of the releases of the year. Holy Other is a master of mood, consistently crafting tracks that are sensual and evocative, but what really sets him apart is his use of vocals. Instead of using words to convey meaning, he merely relies on vocal tonality. He rarely lets his vocal samples get out complete words (“Love Some1” and “With U” are notable examples), but that never gets in the way of his ability to tell affecting stories. More than anything, he’s created a sound that is all his own, and it’s definitely one of the most fascinating in electronic music at the moment.

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Stream the whole album, here.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.23.12): Chad Valley, “Fall 4 U” (f. Glasser)

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Chad Valley
“Fall 4 U” (f. Glasser)
Young Hunger (Cascine, out 10/30) 

Oxford-based producer Chad Valley has always been one of the standouts of the Balearic pop/chillwave scene that peaked a couple years ago, and it’s kind of amazing that he’s still yet to release a proper LP. That wait is nearing its end, and based on “Fall 4 U,” its breathtaking debut single, Young Hunger is going to be well worth the wait. Valley (né Hugo Manuel) enlists the ultra-smooth vocal stylings of the talented, mercurial Cameron Mesirow, and the duo effortlessly glide over a characteristically evocative, beachy soundscape. Think of it as the chillwave “You Don’t Send Me Flowers” with less eyebrows. This is gonna soundtrack some serious late summer, skinny-on-skinny dry humping, and I’m not mad about it.

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Hot Jams of the Day (08.22.12): Frank Ocean Remix Trifecta

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Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” remains one of my favorite albums of 2012, and to celebrate it, I rounded up a few of the best FO remixes for your listening pleasure. 

Frank Ocean: “Pyramids” (Kastle Remix)

The San Francisco-based producer’s expansive, just-a-little-bit-screwed remix of the best song of the year is about to join his Infinite City EP on heavy rotation in Thunder Penguin’s Bionic Igloo (read: my bedroom). He absolutely nails the emotive feel of the song, while giving it a little added edge. The 8-bit synth in the bridge is worth the price of admission by itself. Crazy.

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Frank Ocean: “Thinking About You” (Ryan Hemsworth Edit)

Our next remix comes from the blogosphere’s producer du jour, the talented Ryan Hemsworth. The Canadian obviously has a serious background in hip-hop, and he takes the original out of your bedroom and into your ride…even though it still works great in your bedroom.

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Frank Ocean: “Thinking About You” (Nite Jewel+Nicholas Krgovich ReWork)

Last up, we’ve got a pensive take from Nite Jewel’s Ramona Gonzalez and Canadian, velvet-voiced troubadour Nicholas Krgovich. I haven’t heard every remix from Channel Orange, but I’ll happily wager that this is the only one that prominently features a flute. Would have loved to hear Gonzalez really open it up here, but it’s still a nice, breezy version of it.

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Hot Jam of the Day (08.21.12): King Krule, “Rock Bottom”

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King Krule
“Rock Bottom”
Rock Bottom 7″ (Rinse, out 08/25) 

King Krule’s music is the audio equivalent of Greg Oden. I’m not talking about the bad knees, awful beard, or gigantic peni… er, hands. Oden is still in his mid-twenties, but he’s looked like he’s about 41 since he was in high school. The artist formally known as Zoo Kid (né Archy Marshall) is still a couple of years away from his 20th birthday, but he sounds and writes like a 60-some-odd year-old Mississippi Delta blues man. For the better part of three years, he’s been crafting affecting, musically progressive gutter soul, and he just continues to get better.

Coming off the back of his excellent self-titled 2011 EP (and its a-fucking-mazing lead single “The Noose of Jah City”), “Rock Bottom” has all the hallmarks of a Marshall classic: razor-sharp guitar stabs, reflective lyrics, and his dropdead vocals, which lie somewhere between Joe Strummer after ten packs of Marlboro reds and a feral coyote. To top it off, he throws in a nod to a key song on one of my favorite albums of all time. Imagine how good he’ll get when he can legally drink!

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And just because it’s still that fucking brilliant, check out “The Noose of Jah City,” my third favorite track of 2011.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.20.12): Gang Colours, “Fill Me In”

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Gang Colours
“Fill Me In”
Digital Single

Great covers come in many forms. That said, they generally are at their best and most enduring when an artist so stamps their authority and style on the original that it almost comes off as an entirely new track. Such is British down-tempo producer Gang Colours’ take on Craig David’s seminal middle-school slow jam. Over a moody keyboard line, drippy percussion, and ambient filigree, the Southampton native (né Will Ozanne) retells David’s classic story of hooking up with the girl next door in his delicate, alluring tenor. It’s so good that even if you hated the original, you still might like this. However, if you are like me and already love the original, you’ll dig this and end up falling back in love with Craig’s version: the ultimate sign of a great cover.

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Hot Jam of the Day (08.18.12): Brother Ali, “Mourning In America”

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Brother Ali
“Mourning in America”
Mourning in America, and Dreaming in Color (Rhymesayers, out 09/18) 

For many years, I considered Minneapolis-MC not only one of my favorite rappers on the planet, but also one of my favorite overall musicians. While I still hold his trifecta — 2003’s Shadows on the Sun, 2004’s Champion EP, and 2007’s The Undisputed Truth — in ridiculously high esteem, nothing he’s released since has hit me that hard. At his best, Ali (né Jason Newman) is an incisive writer, blessed with incredible insight and a razor-sharp sense of humor. He can write about brutal, honest truths without having it feel like a history lesson, an ability lost on most of his backpack-toting brethren. That grace was conspicuously absent on 2009’s preachy, politically-obsessed Us, which ended up feeling like a hard slog. This — the leadoff single of his ominously titled fifth LP — finds Ali still in “fight the power”-mode. While I appreciate the importance of politically conscious music (especially in an election year), I hope it won’t be the only topic Ali touches on. He’s way too interesting to pigeonhole himself.

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Hot Jam of the Day (08.17.12): Husky, “Did You Forget”

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“Did You Forget?”
Transition One EP (Zip Sound Recordings, out now)

Every once in a while, I’ll come across something I love that I know nothing about. Usually a few Google searches or a press release will answer my questions, but I couldn’t find any info on this rising producer. Basically, I know he’s American, signed to an Atlanta-based label called Zip Sound Recordings, shares my love of Pretty Ricky, and made one of my favorite EPs of the summer. On Transition One, Husky serves up a tasty amalgam of neo-dubstep, R&B, and hip-hop, very much in the vein of TP-favorites like Disclosure and Kastle. Though I was immediately sucked in by its opening track — a fire remix of Pretty Ricky’s unfuckwitable “Grind on Me” — I quickly fell for the rest of album’s three tracks, particularly the moody, evocative “Did You Forget.” The soulful vocal sample combines with the jazzy, airy back track to form a devastating cut that begs repeat listens. I have no idea who this dude is, but I predict big things.

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Hot Jam of the Day (08.16.12): How to Dress Well, “Again”

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How to Dress Well
Ocean Floor for Everything 7″

We’ve heard How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell kill covers before — his stunning version of R. Kelly’s seminal “I Wish” and his re-imagination of Ready for the World’s “Love You Down” spring to mind. His sparse, lo-fi version of Janet Jackson’s 1993 smash-hit, “Again,” is similarly potent. Though it is stripped of the original’s lush string arraignment, Krell stays mostly true to the original in his trademark, heart-on-his-sleeve style. When it comes to his music, “irony” is simply not in the Chicago-based vocalist’s vocabulary, and Krell’s passionate falsetto is stirring and affecting. His sophomore LP drops in a little less than a month (9/21), and it looks set to live up to its incredible successor, which I rated as the best album of 2010. Can’t wait.

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Hot Jam of the Day (08.13.12): Jessie Ware, “Sweet Talk”

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Jessie Ware
“Sweet Talk”
Devotion (PMR, out 8/21)

One more week. That’s all that’s left until we finally get to hear the debut album from London-based siren, Jessie Ware. I’ve spent so much of this year writing about her that I’m running out of superlatives, so let’s keep this one short. “Sweet Talk” is the fourth single from Devotion, and it sees the sultry, versatile vocalist slide into some seriously Sade-esque territory. Earlier this year, she stated that she was interested in making music that worked at home or on a night out, a la Chaka Khan and the aforementioned Ms. Adu. It’s safe to say she’s achieved that and a hell of a lot more. The best new artist of 2012 by a country mile.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.12.12): Jens Lekman, “I Know What Love Isn’t”

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Jens Lekman
“I Know What Love Isn’t”
I Know What Love Isn’t (out 9/4) 

I’m going to make declaration here, and it might be hyperbolic, short-sided, or downright insane, but I’m going to make it anyway. Jens Lekman is the best pure singer/songwriter of his generation. Armed with an irresistible wit, advanced melodic/compositional chops, an impossibly easy tenor, and the ability to write frankly and emotively about life, the 31 year-old Swede brings so, so much to the table. That said, it could be argued (though not particularly convincingly) that he is yet to write a true masterpiece (2007’s Night Falls Over Kortedala qualifies for me and many others).

But even that flimsy argument is set to be put to bed by the impending I Know What Love Isn’t. Penned in the wake of a dissolved relationship (a citizenship-based marriage), Lekman’s third proper LP is an arresting, breathtaking exploration of love, loss, and moving on. The disc’s title track highlights his rare ability to simultaneously write about the minutiae of everyday life (first verse) and the most important moments (second verse) with the same understated grace and in a way that is totally relatable to the listener. It’s one of the main things that sets him apart from other songwriters; he knows that the devil is in the details, and oftentimes the most trivial aspects of our lives say as much as our biggest. Should be one of the albums of the year, if not the album.