Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"


Lana Del Rey"Doin' Time"Sublime OST (out soon on Universal)If you grew up in California in the early 2000's, it was just about impossible to get in someone's car or go to a party that wasn't playing one of those two Sublime albums. Evidently, the same was true in wherever Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "Vossi Bop"


Stormzy"Vossi Bop"Digital SingleAfter a little while away, the London kingpin looks to be getting back in the game. "Vossi Bop" is a perfect comeback track because it is such a pure distillation of what makes Stormzy a true-one off. Over a tasty, yet simple beat, Big Mike goes in Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (1st Quarter)


Even though we're a solid week into the second quarter, better late than never right? Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite songs of the last three months. To keep numbers manageable, I didn't include anything from any of my favorite albums list and prioritized songs I Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2019 (First Quarter)


Gah, I can't believe we're already 25% through 2019. That said, Spring is in the air, and we've enjoyed an excellent, diverse crop of music during these first three months. Have a look at some of my favorite LPs of the year so far in no particular order. Dawn Richard
 “New Read more

Chief Keef, "Ain't Gonna Happen"


Chief Keef "Ain't Gonna Happen" GloToven (Glo Gang / RBC) The Chicago stalwart's new project with the legendary Zaytoven is unsurprisingly full of weird and wacky sounds, moving in innumerable unexpected and exciting ways. Its most powerful moment is its starkest, as a heartbroken Keef floats freely over Zay's gorgeous piano. "Face dried Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week

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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 songs I loved. And we’ll see, maybe I’ll start doing this every week.

Mariah Carey
“GTFO”

Digital Single
It’s been out for a few weeks, but I keep coming back to Mariah’s stunning new kiss off ballad. It reminds me so much of “H.A.T.E.U.” — her most underrated perfect song. And though it’s likely too low-key to become a smash, her ability to deliver a track this emotive and raw more than 30 years into her career is remarkable. She’ll always be remembered as a legendary vocalist and artist, but her bravery and the emotional heft of her music is just as special. People should be making more of this song.

Robyn
“Honey”
Honey (out Oct 26 on Konichiwa)
Robyn SZN is rapidly approaching, and “Honey” is our second taste of the project. Though it seems a bit of an off-speed pitch following the anthemic “Missing U,” it is also one of the most directly romantic Robyn tunes of recent years and is growing on me with each listen.

SOB x RBE
“Vibes”
Gangin II (out now on EMPIRE)
Vallejo’s finest returned with a follow-up to their excellent “GANGIN” tape from earlier in the year. Though I haven’t been through it all yet, low-RPM banger “Vibes” is a perfect example of the lyrical interplay and Bay Area slap that makes them such standouts.

Empress Of
“Love For Me”

Us (out 10/19 on Terrible)
Somehow, I didn’t write about Lorely Rodriguez’s irresistible lead single “When I’m With Him” (don’t worry, it’ll be HIGH on my year-end list). Her new track, “Love For Me,” is a bit more pulled back, but she still sounds beautiful on it, gliding over a characteristically clever, synth-driven arrangement from DJDS.

Quando Rondo
“Bacc To The Basics”

Life After Fame (out now, self-released)
One of my favorite new rappers of the year, the Savannah MC just dropped an excellent new tape. Lead single, “Bacc To The Basics,” highlights Rondo’s raspy delivery and evocative, personal storytelling. One to watch for 2019.

Col3trane
“Tyler”
BOOT (out now on Cole Basta)
The rising London vocalist with the awful name feels like a star in the making. Though it’s hard to write about the teenager’s music without mentioning its palpable Frank Ocean influence, his easy tenor and evocative songwriting stand on their own.

Pinegrove
“Paterson & Leo”

Skylight (self-released, out now)
Without wading into the morality of songwriter Evan Stephens Hall (read these pieces, make up your own mind), the first few spins of their restrained new project have been encouraging. This subdued, pretty track captures the specific kind of big-hearted feeling that makes their best songs so special.

Westerman
“Albatross”
The Arc EP (out 11.09 on Blue Flowers)
Another curious song from the elusive London singer-songwriter, “Albatross” is a gorgeous slice of synthetic folk music. He balances synths and drum machines with washes of electric guitar and his forlorn voice in a unique way, resulting in tunes that live between a ton of different styles but are beholden to none.

It Looks Sad.
“Bike”

Sky Lake (out 11.02 on Tiny Engines)
Besides being the clear favorites for “Best Band Name of 2018,” the Charlotte duo has been cranking out sweet, gauzy dream pop this year. New single, “Bike,” is a languid late summer jam that pairs reverb-soaked guitars with Jimmy Turner’s laid-back vocals to deliciously nostalgic effect.

Lil Uzi Vert, “New Patek”

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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 with ease.

What’s most impressive is the way that he commands your attention for all six minutes, and if anything, it feels like “New Patek” could have been even longer. Already one of the true singular stylists in music, somehow Uzi keeps revealing new abilities and stretching his creativity beyond our expectations. What a talent.

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.