Hot Jam of the Day: T-Pain, "Textin' My Ex" (f/ Tiffany Evans)


T-Pain “Textin’ My Ex” (f/ Tiffany Evans) Oblivion Tomorrow, T-Pain drops his long-awaited fifth LP, the culmination of the most trying era of the R&B innovator’s career. Through no real fault of his own, Pain (né Faheem Najm) went from the jolly ringmaster of a multi-million dollar radio empire to a Read more

Images & Words: SOPHIE, "It's Okay To Cry"


SOPHIE "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 Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, "Logos"


King Krule "Logos" 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 Read more

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


The 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 Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "4PM in London"


Stormzy "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 Read more

Hot Jam of the Day (05.06.12): CFCF, “Exercise #5 (September)”

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CFCF
“Exercise #5 (September)”
Exercise (Paper Bag)

I like everything I post on this site, but this is especially brilliant. Inspired by legendary composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Phillip Glass, the prolific Canadian producer’s new album is a swirling, icy collection of emotive piano-driven pieces. Like a filmless film score, Exercise nails the transformative, evocative quality that made the aforementioned artists so special, and after a few listens, I defy you not to get lost in Exercise’s fascinating world. This, the only track on the album with vocals, works so well in the context in the album, beacuse the warm, comforting vocals of CFCF (né Mike Silver) form the perfect contrast to the rest of his sparse, often-chilly compositions. This is really, really special.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44402238″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch Silver perform an arresting version of the song below (courtesy of Yours Truly).

Yourstru.ly Presents: CFCF – September from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.05.12): Cassie, “King of Hearts” (Richard X Remix)

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Cassie
“King of Hearts” (Richard X Remix)
Unreleased

Like many others, I was tipped off to singer/actor/model/awful-hair-haver Cassie Ventura’s impeccable new single by Kanye West’s remix that came out a few months ago. At first listen, it was imminently clear that its success was due to the near-perfect original, not Mr. West’s studio trickery. Remix extraordinaire Richard X’s version betters the Louis Vuitton Don’s, simply because he understands how special Ventura’s original is. He gets out of the way and lets Cassie do her thing, resulting in that perfect remix where it makes the original track even better. Delish.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.04.12): 2:54, “Creeping”

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2:54
“Creeping”
2:54 (Fat Possum)

From one excellent guitar-driven band to another, the debut full-length from the moody duo of Colette and Hannah Thurlow is just a few short weeks away and looks to be a corker. Hypnotic, expansive, and full of hooks, “Creeping” is a perfect example of what has made them one of the most talked about groups both in their native UK and stateside. Since they hit the scene with their debut EP, 2011’s mesmeric Scarlet, the group has shown that they possess a melodic maturity and guile that belies their youth. Though they don’t really sound like the XX, the similarities are very apparent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke through in a similar fashion in the second half of 2012. Roll on May 28.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44971771″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch the group’s video for “Scarlet.”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.01.12): Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

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Japandroids
“The House the Heaven Built”
Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

Nowadays, truly excellent, young guitar-driven rock bands are really tough to find, which makes Japandroids all the more special. Coming off the back of their life-affirming debut, 2009’s Post-Nothing, the Canadian duo is back for a similarly jugular-focused follow-up: the enormous, actually-even-better Celebration Rock. Though the album isn’t out for another few weeks, you can always sink your teeth into its lead single, the anthemic, relentless “The House That Heaven Built.” If you don’t like this, you won’t like them, which, frankly, sucks for you.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44943657″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.30.12): Sigur Ros, “Varuo” (Radio Edit)

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Sigur Rós
“Varúð” (Radio Edit)
Valtari (XL)

Fresh off the heels of “Ekki Múkk,” the predictably stunning lead single from the group’s sixth LP Valtari, the Icelanders return with a fresh new slab of expansive, etherial magic. Though “Varúð” jives very well with their signature, crescendo-heavy sound, like “Ekki Múkk,” it is a slightly more stripped down version of the Sigur Rós we all know and fell so hopelessly in love with years ago. Vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson’s falsetto is as evocative as ever and is perfectly framed by a typically celestial, dramatic melody. Valtari was always going to be one of Thunder Penguin’s most anticipated albums of 2011, but if the rest of it lives up to its first two singles, it’s also going to be one of the best.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44821305″ iframe=”true” /]

Check out the visuals for “Ekki Múkk.”

Download This Shit: Kool A.D. (of Das Racist), 51

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Brooklyn indie hip-hop collective Das Racist has kept itself busy this year. Alongside the release of their first properly released full-length, 2011’s Relax, both of the group’s rapping members (Himanshu “Heems” Suri & Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez) have already released solo mixtapes in 2012. While both were uneven affairs, 51 (A.D.’s second of the year) is a surprisingly engaging effort that highlights Vazquez’s hyper-eclectic flow, versatile musical taste, and winning personality. Because they are such a Brooklyn group, it’s easy to forget that Vazquez is from the Bay Area, and 51 sees the MC embracing those roots with some dope cameos from some of the Bay’s leading lights, including Main Attrakionz, Amaze 88, Trackademicks, and legendary (in these parts) Coup frontman Boots Riley. Like a lot of mixtapes, it’s a little long, but Vazquez laid-back, electric flow makes sure that it doesn’t drag. This is possibly the best thing from the Das Racist camp since its brilliant 2010 mixtapes.

Download it for free, here.

Concert Review: Frankie Rose Live at the Brick and Mortar, SF

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This review originally appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, you can read the original here.

Live Review:
Frankie Rose w/ Dive
The Brick and Mortar Hall, San Francisco
April 21

In case you hadn’t noticed, Frankie Rose’s got the Internet goin’ nutz. The 33 year-old has served time in two super buzzy groups of girls (Dum Dum & Vivian) and NYC critical darlings the Crystal Stilts and is about to kick off a tour with Real Estate.

The blogosphere’s thickest rims have been falling over themselves to praise her sparkling sophomore LP, Interstellar (Slumberland, 2012), and on Saturday night, Rose took herself and that buzz (I hear it needs its own van) to a sold-out Brick and Mortar Music Hall for an brief yet enthralling 10-song set.

She was supported by fellow Brooklyn-based dream popsters, Dive, a band with a fair bit of indie cred of its own. Featuring sometime Beach Fossil Zachary Cole Smith and ex-Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, the group banged out a jangly, wistful set that was heavy on reverb, sepia-tinged melodies, and (just-the-right-kind-of) awful haircuts.

Though watching young men gaze at their shoes is generally a surefire way to kill an early Saturday evening buzz, Smith and his bandmates cut energetic, engaging figures, bee-bopping along with their very blog-friendly, Beach Fossil-y tracks. Judging from this performance and the success of their pre-release singles, I’d wager that we’ll be seeing them headlining their own tour in the coming months.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/28357786″ iframe=”true” /]

30 minutes of sweet, easily digestible Dive jams provided the perfect appetizer for Rose’s main course, as she took the stage to rapturous applause. Upon surveying her minions, the diminutive frontperson flashed a sheepish, toothy grin and kicked directly into Interstellar‘s celestial penultimate track, “Moon in My Mind.” Flanked by a lean four-person band, Rose rattled off an incredibly tight set that struck a nice balance between her most recent LP and her 2010 stunner, Frankie Rose and the Outs.

And though her old cuts still sound fresh (“Candy” was a particular stand-out), Saturday night was really a celebration of the triumphant Interstellar. This was most evident during a four-song run that featured “Gospel/Grace,” the title track, “Daylight Sky,” and the undeniable “Know Me” – probably the best four songs on the record.

The run highlighted Rose’s uncanny ability to craft cathartic, introspective songs that are also incredibly danceable and full of pop hooks. She also has a devastating ear for dynamics, especially evident in her gauzy guitar lines. Though simple technically, they add so much depth to the tracks’ bones, which are basically just rock-solid pop-rock songs. Rose didn’t do a ton of talking, but when she did, she showed a humble, disarming sense of humor that made her instantly likable.

Throughout her catalog, Frankie Rose has a keen sense of when it’s time to say goodnight — that the best things are always over too soon — which is why only two of Interstellar’s tracks clock in at over four minutes. So while we all could have probably done with a few more, Rose hopped off stage after only ten songs, signing off with an inspired rendition her most expansive work to date, “Save Me.”

Unfortunately, unlike Spotify, I couldn’t start the whole thing over again, but if I could have, I definitely would have, and I surely wouldn’t have been the only one.

Hot Jam of the Day (04.27.12): Javeon McCarthy, “Precious”

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Javeon McCarthy
“Precious”
Precious (PMR)

For whatever reason, I’ve always thought of R&B as a very American genre. Of course, it’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of excellent R&B performers from outside the 50 that aren’t named Craig Fucking David. In recent years, our transcontinental cousins are enjoying quite the R&B renaissance thanks mostly to a handful of fascinating young artists putting their own unique spins on the genre. Artists like Jessie Ware, Sampha, bedroom R&B producer Holy Other, and Kwes have been churned out plenty of great tracks, and now it’s time to add another name to the list, Javeon McCarthy.

The Bristol native first broke ground in January with the dreamy, jilted “Lost Time,” which pits his graceful tenor next to a choppy, decidedly English backing track. While “Precious” is more direct and accessible, it’s just as eccentric and fresh-sounding. Of the aforementioned artists, his delivery is most reminiscent of Sampha’s thanks to his vocals that are simultaneously alluring and tinged with just the right amount of melancholy and his production, which always just has that little hint of dub-step (not the Skrillex kind). He’s got a huge, huge future.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42758484″ iframe=”true” /]

Download This Shit: The Weeknd, Live for This (Live At Coachella)

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Five reasons to download the Weeknd’s new bootleg, Live for This, captured at his performance at Coachella.

1. The performance put a perfect cap on a head-spinning 12 months for The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye, the runaway winner of Thunder Penguin’s ultra-prestigious award for 2011’s newcomer of the year.

2. It’s the probably the only way you’ll get to hear the Weeknd live anytime soon, unless you’ve got 150 bucks lying around.

3. You get to hear Tesfaye’s incredibly channel Michael Jackson in about 45 seconds of “Dirty Diana.”

4. You get to hear the drummer try to break the Guiness World Record for most uses of the crash cymbal per minute (currently held by the dude from Stryper).

5. Above all else, you get to hear an incredible feat of self-awareness from the Coachella crowd. After absolutely belting out the first few lines of “Crew Love,” the crowd suddenly clams up when they realize the next lines is, “this ain’t a fuckin’ singalong, so girl what you singin’ for.” Hearing an entire crowd realize that they are doing exactly what the song is mocking and changing their behavior because of it is just priceless.

Download it for free, here.

“Crew Love”

Hot Jam of the Day (04.26.12): Simian Mobile Disco, “Put Your Hands Together”

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Simian Mobile Disco
“Put Your Hands Together”
Unpatterns
(Wichita Recordings)

In anticipation of the weekend, check out this undulating, hypnotic new single from the UK electro heavyweights’ third album, due out May 14. Built around a repetitive, staccato piano melody, the duo (as they’ve done so many times throughout their brilliant career) expertly drops a vocal sample on top that builds to a stunning climax. Hands in the sky.