Hot Jam of the Day: Jae Stephens, "24k"


Jae Stephens "24k" Digital Single Fuck one of the best debuts of the year. The LA-based newcomer just dropped one of the best songs of the year out of thin air. Featuring inch-perfect production from Jam City, Stephens weaves a devastating slow jam that captures the growth of a relationship from anxious first Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of May 2017


After a pair of phenomenal months of music, May's slate looked decidedly more low-key. However, now as I look back at it, there was still a handful of solid releases that deserve your time. Here are a few of my favorites. J Hus Common Sense Black Butter When I looked at the release schedule Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Lil Durk, "Pressure"


Lil Durk “Pressure” Digital Single Five years into his career, the Chicago native seems to be at a crossroads. After kicking off his career with a string of devastating mixtapes (including my favorite song of 2013), the 24 year-old has been a bit up and down of late, crafting a slew of Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Kommode, "Fight or Flight or Dance All Night"


Kommode “Fight or Flight or Dance All Night” Analog Dance Music (out June 2017 on Random Two Syllable Word) Good things come to those who wait, and Kings of Convenience fans have been waiting for the debut from Eirik Glambek Bøe’s side project for more than 10 years. Since announcing this project Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: Jlin, "Holy Child"


Jlin "Holy Child" Black Origami (out 05.19 on Planet Mu) Though there's only one more day until the Gary, Indiana footwork innovator's second LP drops, this brilliant and beguiling cut is more than worthy of standing on its own. Like her masterful debut, Dark Energy, this track features multiple, intricate polyrhythms that collide freely without Read more

Images & Words: Father John Misty, “Two Wildly Different Perspectives”

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father-john-misty-2Father John Misty
“Two Wildly Different Perspectives”

Pure Comedy (out 04.07 on Sub Pop)
The world is fucked up, and our ol’ pal Father John Misty has some thoughts about it. This poignant piano ballad is a second taste of his upcoming third LP and carries the same lyrical focus as the rambling, darkly funny, “Pure Comedy.” However, this track differs from much of the 35 year-old’s previous political work (i.e., “Bored in the USA,” “Holy Shit”), as there’s no humor at all here — just a grim exploration of a world hopelessly divided and coming apart at the seams.

Images & Words: Dave x J Hus, “Samantha”

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10-things-you-need-to-know-about-dave-1459762640Dave x J Hus
“Samantha”

Digital Single
Two artists responsible for a few of my favorite tracks of 2016 come together for a low-key singsong that highlights both of their versatile skill sets. Think of it as (sad)Boyz II (road)Men, “Samantha” is a moody, mid-tempo track along the lines of Dave’s sleeper hit, “Wanna Know.” The two MCs interchange effortlessly, switching between reflective bars and easy crooning over minor-chord piano and staccato percussion. As good as this is, it feels like it’s just the tip of the iceberg for both of them.

Images & Words: Real Estate, “Darling”

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d7d33259Real Estate
“Darling”
In Mind (out 03.17 on Domino)
Though they recently bid farewell to founding guitarist Matt Mondanile, everybody’s favorite Jerseyites are back with a follow-up to their languid 2014 LP, Atlas. More than anything, “Darling” will assuage any fears about the viability of the group sans Mondanile. Real Estate has always been known for their hooky, nimble guitar riffs, and they come through with a trademark one here that buzzes and floats with the same easy grace of much of their best work.

Hot Jam of The Day: Mount Eerie, “Real Death”

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Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.54.02 AMMount Eerie
“Real Death”

A Crow Looked At Me (out 03.24 on P.W. Elverum & Sun)
I don’t have much to say about Phil Elverum’s gorgeous elegy to his late wife except that it is the rare song sucked all the wind out of me. Adjectives fail to capture the depth and heft of “Real Death,” so I won’t try. I will just thank Elverum for his honesty and empathy, which reminds us that no matter how hard you try to wrap your head around real loss, you cannot. You can only decide to keep going and do your god-damndest to never lose sight of the grace and love that person brought into your life while they were still with you.

Hot Jam of the Day: Teen Daze, “First Rain” (f/ S. Carey)

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Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 12.25.49 PMTeen Daze
“First Rain” (f/ S. Carey)
Themes For Dying Earth (out 02.10)
Though it’s been unseasonably warm in New York, we’ve had a steady stream of rain, which has been an excellent backdrop for the placid new single from Vancouver-based musician Jamison Isaak. Though neither Isaak nor Bon Iver member Sean Carey have ever been strong singers, they are unarguably adept at crafting lush, soothing instrumentals. Built around a descending keyboard melody, “First Rain” is built to soundtrack staring aimlessly out windows, finishing puzzles, laying around, and doing whatever the hell else you like doing when it rains.

Hot Jam of the Day: Sampha, “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano”

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Sampha-Noisey-1-7Sampha
“(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano”
Process (out 02.03 on Young Turks)
The soft-spoken Londoner’s delicate piano ballad feels like the first truly great song of 2017. Over his nimble, mantric piano melody, Sampha bares his soul, expounding on the way music can allow you to be yourself beyond the constraints of your everyday life. The song conjures up the image of a young, shy kid, running his fingers across the keys, slowly growing into the instrument as he grows into himself. It might not have been a piano for you — maybe it was a basketball hoop, a tree you used to climb, or (like me) your father’s guitar — but the experience is just about universal and illustrated beautifully by Sampha here.

Hot Jam of the Day: Julie Byrne, “I Live Now As A Singer”

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4321767Julie Byrne
“I Live Now as a Singer”
Not Even Happiness (out 01.13.17)
The Buffalo native’s sophomore album is one of the albums I’m most looking forward to in this young year. Its third single, “I Live Now as a Singer,” is another perfect demonstration of the warming, gentle power of her sound and the evocative timbre of her voice. Though much of her excellent debut featured dusty, fingerpicked guitars, this track is built on lush, cinematic synth chords that actually remind me of Enya, which, frankly, couldn’t be a more exciting development.

Best of ’16: My Favorite Albums of 2016

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Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 2.13.01 PM31. Huerco S
For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)
Proibito
Though the K.C.-producer’s debut LP Colonial Patterns enjoyed overwhelming acclaim, he seismically shifted his sound for his second one, veering from opaque beat music to oceanic, drifting synthscapes. Though it’s a risky move, it pays big dividends, and the disc plays like a single transportive track, destined to sweep you away.

Stream it on Spotify.

30. Mélanie De Biasio
Blackened Cities
Le Label
Don’t let the fact that the Belgian jazz singer’s rumination on modern city life is presented as a single 24-minute song turn you away. It’s a surprisingly digestible listen with more than enough footholds to latch onto. Though the instrumentation is free-wheeling and improvisational, De Biasio’s gentle vocal is always there to guide you, appearing and disappearing at just the right times.

Stream it on Spotify.

29. Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert Vs The World
Atlantic
From his hair to his sound, everything about the Philly native is vivid and colorful. LUVvsTW is nine songs of boundless, youthful energy with some of the most adhesive hooks of the year. And though his subject matter is pretty consistent, Uzi is adept at switching his flow up, often a few times in one song. One of the most fun releases of the year.

Stream in on Spotify.

28. The Hotelier
Goodness
Tiny Engines
Instead of trying to recreate the pain of their brutal, beautiful breakthrough LP, Home, Like Noplace Is There, the Worcester, Mass trio let some light and (ahem) goodness into their sound. Cathartic as they may be, the disc’s 13 songs tend to focus more on life than death, picking out a number of small, tender moments and blowing them out with their signature nimble guitars, pounding drums, and Christian Holden’s unique, strained vocals.

Stream it on Spotify.
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Best of ’16: My Favorite Songs of 2016

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2016 was trash, but goddamn, the music was good. Here is a handful of the songs that kept me positive, no matter how bad the news was. Thanks to everyone for the continued support and readership.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-6-15-06-pm61. MUNA
“I Know A Place”
About U (out 02.13.17 on RCA)

The LA trio’s ode to the healing power of sweaty dancefloors took on an even deeper meaning, as it was released only a few hours before 36 people tragically passed away at a 100% Silk event at Ghost Ship in Oakland. And though I’ve never been to that particular venue, I grew up going to many similar spaces around the Bay Area. As rents soar and cities continue to prioritize condos and Whole Foods’ over then its long-term residents, these spaces are becoming less regulated, more dangerous, and more important than ever.

60. Grizzle
“Entreaty”
Black Label II (Blacklink Sound)

Though little is known about young UK producer Griffin Haworth, we do know that his debut single is a goddamn banger. “Entreaty” twists a line from Trey Songz’s middle school dance classic, “Can’t Help But Wait,” in Eagle Scout-level knots, then slowly lets it unravel over skittering hi-hats and kaleidoscopic synths. It’s the kind of single that should be setting dancefloors ablaze around the world, but I guess my earbuds will have to suffice.

59.Lloyd
“Tru”
Digital Single

Everybody loves a comeback story, and the velvety-voiced Atlanta crooner is hopefully gearing up for a big one. Over bluesy, contemplative guitars, the 30 year-old lays bare the scars of 20 hard years in the music business. And weary as he may be, his voice has retained the same playful, youthful timbre that we first fell in love with all those years back.

58. JSTJCK
“Honest” (f/ Yxng Bane)
Digital Single

There’s more than a hint of vintage Craig David vibes on this ultra-slick single from the rising East London vocalist. The recipe is straight forward — nimble keys, a tasty hook, jazzy drums — but the execution is first class, leaving me hungry for more from him in 2017.

57. Boosie Badazz
“Wanna B Heard” (f/ Slim Thug)
Out My Feelings In My Past (Self-Released)
If there’s one thing we aren’t doing in 2016, it’s hearing one another. For the last 15 years, the Baton Rouge native has been dutifully speaking for our country’s most marginalized, historically disenfranchised folks. On the striking “Wanna B Heard,” the 34 year-old shares the stories of members of his community, aiming to highlight their humanity that is constantly threatened by the media, police, politicians, and trash people on social media.

56. Skepta
“Man”
Konnichiwa (Boy Better Know)
An anthem in an album full of them, I could have picked a number of tracks from Skeppy’s Mercury Prize-winning fourth LP, but I decided to go with the unapologetic, cocky swagger of “Man.”  Over an unexpected Queens of the Stone Age sample, the 34 year-old lets us know how awesome and annoying it is to be the face of UK hip-hop.

gemininegative55. Negative Gemini
“Body Work”
Body Work (100% Electronics)

Queens producer Lindsey French’s second LP is one of the best balanced electronic albums of the year. Living somewhere in the nether zone between the dancefloor and the bedroom, Body Work is filled with rave music with heart. Its standout track is a perfect distillation of that potent sound, as French’s longing, wistful vocals float between trance-inspired keys, new wave drum pads, and an energizing bassline.

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Hot Jam of The Day: MUNA, “I Know A Place”

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muna3MUNA
“I Know A Place”

About U (02.03.17)
The fact that this emotional, heartfelt single dropped the same week as the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland is the cruelest irony. This gorgeous single champions the kind of special, inclusive space that Ghost Ship purported to be — places where people can safely lose themselves under neon lights and loud music. As a Bay Area native who has spent many nights in such places, it breaks my heart to know that more than 30 people lost their lives, simply looking for that feeling. Though anthemic at its core, “I Know a Place” feels elegiac to me now — both as tribute to those we lost that night and to the people who are fighting provide safe, enriching spaces that are driven by love and respect, not profit.