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: Disclosure x AlunaGeorge, “White Noise”

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Disclosure x AlunaGeorge: “White Noise”

Rising Brits, Disclosure & AlunaGeorge, treat us to some of the fiercest dude-dancing-by-himself action since Kevin Bacon tore up that factory.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.20.13): London Grammar, “Metal & Dust”

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London Grammar
“Metal & Dust”
Metal & Dust / Hey Now 7″ (out 02/25 on Metal & Dust)

I approached young London trio, London Grammar, with quite a bit of apprehension after their admitedly very impressive debut single, “Hey Now,” hit late last year. Simply put, they felt a little too good to be true. Their sound and image seemed a little too fully realized for such a young band, and as we learned from our dear friend Señorita Del Rey, it’s simply too easy to effusively praise and set unrealistic expectations for young artists nowadays.

However, their follow-up single — the remarkably restrained, exquisitely crafted, “Metal & Dust” — makes it even tougher not to fire up the “these guys are going to be FUCKING huge” hype machine. Hannah Reid’s evocative, pliable voice combines the sensual power of Jessie Ware with the vulnerability of Romy Madley Croft (hyperbolic, but accurate) and is nimbly supported by a delicate, swelling arraignment that recalls Ms. Croft’s group. Their true acid test will come when they unleash their debut full-length (lest we forget that Lana had “Video Games” AND “Blue Jeans”), but they are off to a hell of a start.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.19.13): Rhye, “Open” (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

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Rhye
“Open” (Ryan Hemsworth)
The original will appear on Rhye’s Woman (due out 3/5 on Loma Vista)

There are some songs that you know you love before you even hear it. I’ve been moderately obsessed with the Sade-recalling duo, formed by Canadian producer Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal of soulful Danish group Quadron, and everything Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth turns to solid, body-rockin’, Trinidad-James-level gold. Sure enough, Hemsworth adds his signature deft touch to the spellbinding, seductive original, resulting in a re-imagination that feels new and essential without compromising the magic of Milosh and Hannibal’s vision. Beautiful.

Hot Jam of the Week (02.16.13): Shy Girls, “Under Attack”

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Shy Girls
“Under Attack”
From Upcoming Debut LP

This luscious, expansive slow jam from Portland septet Shy Girls is guaranteed to make you feel feelings — even if they aren’t positive ones. You can scoff at 80’s guitar tone, roll your eyes at vocalist Dan Vidmar’s charmin-smooth falsetto, or legitimately LOL at the opulent, Hornsbyish sax solo, but the seductive “Under Attack” will make you feel something, which is, of course, the whole point of pop music.

It certainly makes me feel something. It makes me feel like this is one of the three best songs I’ve heard this year. Just about perfect.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.18.13): CHVRCHES, “Recover” (CID RIM Remix)

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CHVRCHES
“Recover”
Recover EP (out March 25 on Virgin)

Last year, likely Scottish synth-pop trio, CHVRCHES (pronounced “Churches”), parlayed a pair of delicious, blogosphere-wankfest-inducing singles (“Lies” & “The Mother We Share”) into a coveted spot on BBC’s Sound of 2013 shortlist. Their upcoming debut’s lead single, “Recover,” is bristling with the virility and directness of their past successes, and while the original is brilliant, this remix from UK veteran, CID RIM, stretches it to new heights with a mind-bending barrage of synth droplets and swirling MIDI.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.14.13): Tyler, The Creator, “Domo 23”

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Tyler, The Creator
“Domo 23”
WOLF (out April 2 on Odd Future Records)

5 reasons to care about Odd Future mainman Tyler, The Creator’s new song and video.

1. That it caused “Fookie Bookie” to trend on Twitter.
2. That Domo is doing the fat dude in a pool thing by wearing a t-shirt in a wrestling ring.
3. Surprise Frank Ocean at the end! Even a little Frank is better than no Frank at all.
4. The realization that Earl resembles a young Marvin Harrison.
5. Death by lougies.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.13.13): James Blake, “Retrograde”

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James Blake
“Retrograde”
Overgrown (out April 1 on Polydor)

I feel pretty comfortable writing about most tracks after listening to them three or four times, but James Blake’s majestic new single is not “most tracks.” After letting it sink in for about a week, I feel comfortable calling this his most spellbinding original work (ie, not counting his perfect cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”) since the genre-defining title track from his seminal 2010 EP, CMYK.  This, of course, includes all of his break-out debut LP — one of my Top 5 albums of 2011 — so there’s no hint of faint praise.

In many ways, “Retrograde” is the most fully-realized pop song he’s ever released and one of the few with something that approaches a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, but that isn’t what makes it stand out. It’s Blake’s ability to embrace and combine those sensibilities with his experimental roots and challenging, innovative sonic palette. His debut hinted that he was capable, yet uncomfortable with the notion of reinventing himself as a pop musician, and “Retrograde” is very much the sound of the Londoner fulfilling that potential. I can’t promise that it’ll end up as my song of the year, but I can promise that it’ll take some serious beating.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.11.13): Giraffage, “All That Matters”

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Giraffage
“All That Matters”
Needs (out now on Alpha Pup Records)

San Francisco-based, sample-driven producer Charlie Yin described his moody, brilliant new LP, Needs, as an album he created while going through some of his best and worst times of his life. While I don’t know the album’s real backstory, emotionalism is all over its exquisitely crafted tracks. By picking vocal samples that are simultaneously mournful and sensual, Yin creates an album that is an adept soundtrack for both mourning lost love and making it. Needs‘ stand-out track, “All That Matters,” is a devastating example of this and is driven by a sumptuous sample of Ready For the World’s classic, “Love You Down.”  Even though his music is sample heavy, don’t get it twister — these tracks are very much original compositions. One of my favorite albums of the first quarter.

Download the album for free, here.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.09.13): Kisses, “The Hardest Part”

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Kisses
“The Hardest Part”
Kids in L.A. (out 5/14 on Cascine)

In 2011, the Los Angeles-based BF/GF duo released one of my favorite debuts of recent years — the bubbly, beachy The Heart of the Nightlife — so I rejoiced when the group (made up of Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson) announced their follow-up late last week. Frontman Kivel may have spent most of 2012 with his other group — the underrated indie rock quartet Princeton — but from the album’s first proper single, it seems like he hasn’t been neglecting Kisses. In short, “The Hardest Part” is basically everything that I loved about the group’s debut.

Its light and airy feel is anchored by a rock-solid, driving bassline and a touch of melancholy and urgency, resulting in a track that is easy without feeling devoid of substance. Kivel’s remarkably smooth tenor is reminiscent of velvety vocalists like Jens Lekman and (less so) Arthur Russell, and while it is often the highlight of his tracks, it is the slithering outro synth line that steals the show here, which suggests that the duo might have some new tricks up their sleeve on Kids in L.A. I can’t wait to find out.

Hot Jam of the Day (02.04.13): A/T/O/S, “A Taste of Struggle”

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A/T/O/S
“A Taste of Struggle” (Clip)
 Unknown Release (on DEEP MEDi)

Almost nothing is known about this mercurial UK-based outfit. Their debut single is a murky, alluring slinker that recalls TP-favorites Face+Heel and Evy Jane. Though this is just a radio rip from Mary Anne Hobbs’ essential BBC show, it is a serious statement of intent from a young artist that I’d expect we’ll hear a lot more from in the coming months.