Images & Words: Chromatics, "Black Walls"


Chromatics "Black Walls" Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I'd moved on from the idea that I'd ever hear "Dear Tommy," this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. "Black Read more

Snail Mail, "Let's Find An Out"


Snail Mail "Let's Find An Out" Lush (out 06.08 on Matador) Though I've somehow not written about them yet, I've been loving the Baltimore trio's pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, "Let's Find An Out," is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan's plaintive vocals Read more

Rae Sremmurd: "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug)


Rae Sremmurd "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug) Swaecation Though I'm still processing the Mississippi superstars' excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing "Offshore" feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums from April '18


Grouper “Grid of Points” Yellow Electric Though only 21 minutes, the haunting beauty of Liz Harris' eleventh studio LP will linger for many years to come. Penned and recorded in just 10 days, "Grid of Points" feels like a moment suspended in time — a distant memory that you just can't Read more

Images & Words: Oneohtrix Point Never, "Black Snow"


Oneohtrix Point Never "Black Snow" (f/ Anohni) Age of (out 06.01 on Warp) Though the Massachusetts native is probably best know for his otherworldly, chaotic experimental electro, some of his best tracks are his quietist. Whether it's his recent stunner with Iggy Pop or the beautiful Anohni-lead "Returnal," OPN (né Daniel Lopatin) Read more

Hot Jam of the Day (08.02.12): Grizzly Bear, “Yet Again”

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Grizzly Bear
“Yet Again”
Shields (Warp)

Admittedly, it’s a little strange to hear Grizzly Bear do something this straightforward, but damned if it isn’t lovely. They’ve always had the ability to write incredible pop songs (“Two Weeks” springs to mind), but they’ve generally refused to play nice, opting for a more experimental, ramshackle approach. “Yet Again” is the sound of the group stripping back some of those layers and focusing on writing a beautiful, heartfelt, easily digestable acoustic pop-rock song. Unsurprisingly, they nail it, but it seems like more than just another excellent Grizzly Bear track. It feels like a rustic signpost pointing toward a kinder, gentler sound. Though Sheilds’ first single, “Sleeping Ute,” is rougher around the edges, it has undoubtable pop sensibilities. It really looks like this could be the album that transforms Grizzly Bear from indie darlings to bonafide superstars, and if that change keeps sounding this good, I’m more than OK with that.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.01.12): Anna Lunoe, “Up and Down”

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Anna Lunoe
“Up and Down”
Fool’s Gold Clubhouse Vol. 1 (Fool’s Gold)

If Thunder Penguin ever gives up chasing saucy penguettes and gets into human women, I’m pretty sure Anna Lunoe would be the girl of his dreams. Already an accomplished producer and DJ, the multi-talented Australian is set to take the indie pop world by storm. On the back of her sultry Real Talk EP, “Up and Down” is an impossibly sexy jam with understated vocals and some Nicolas Jaar-esque percussive magic. The hook has a hint of “Boom Boom Boom” to it (the “if I cannot be with you, maybe I could have a taste” part), which, in my opinion, is nothing but a bonus. Either way, I’d be shocked if this one doesn’t turn into a sleeper hit of the summer, as it feels readymade to soundtrack those summer relationships that are as ephemeral as the setting sun.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/50551767″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (07.31.12): Antony, “Landslide”

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Antony Hegarty
“Landslide”
Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (Hear Music/Concord)

If Antony Hegarty ever decided to quit being a brilliant singer/songwriter, he could become the world’s best lounge singer. Though he is known for his enchanting, lush arraignments, a good chunk of Antony and the Johnsons frontperson Antony Hegarty’s finest moments are his quietest, and for whatever reason, a few of those seem to be his covers. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he is one of the five best, most important pure songwriters of his generation, but he also has an incredible knack for knocking out beautiful, subtle covers. Along the lines of his showstopping takes on Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and Bob Dylan’s “I Was Young When I Left Home” comes his newest cover: an arresting, sparse take on Fleetwood Mac’s classic, “Landslide.” Taking on a song with that much cultural capital is dangerous, but the California native handles it with incredible care, deploying his delicate warble to staggering effect. His new symphonic LP, Cut the World, is out next week, and this should do well to tie us over till then. Lovely.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51196670″ iframe=”true” /]

And just because it’s incredible, here’s the video for his cover of “Crazy in Love.”

Hot Jam of the Day (07.30.12): Animal Collective, “Today’s Supernatural”

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Animal Collective
“Today’s Supernatural”
Centipede Hz (Domino)

Sometimes to go forward you’ve got to go back, and that seems to be the direction Animal Collective have decided to go with their ninth album, Centipede Hz. The Brooklyn noise pop quartet’s triumphant 2009 LP, Merriweather Post Pavilion, very much felt like the summation of around a decade of hard work and experimentation, and is, without a doubt, one of the best albums of its decade. The thing about masterpieces is they are damn hard to follow up. Instead of continuing their slow ascent (or descent, depending on your tastes) into pop world, the group seems to have decided to go back to their chaotic, explosive roots. While “Today’s Supernatural” recalls both Feels and Sung Tongs, it doesn’t feel like a retread, mostly because they have matured so much as songwriters. It’s a brilliant amalgam between their frenetic, carnival-y early sound and their newfound pop sensibilities. It’s goofy and crazy, but is still inherently sing-along-able, which is a hell of a potent balance. Judging Animal Collective records by their singles is about as dangerous as taking the Chik-fil-A guy to a Lady GaGa concert, so I’m doing my best not to jump to any conclusi… Ah, fuck it. This album is gonna be fucking amazing. Bank on it.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/54548349″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jams of the Day (07.29.12): Sean Blackthorn, One Night EP

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Sean Blackthorn
One Night EP

In the last few months, I’ve written so much about this Toronto-based soul singer that you could be forgiven for thinking that the dude must have me on the payroll. But as long as he keeps pumping out downtempo R&B/neo-soul this good, I’m going to have to keep writing about him. In many ways, this feels like the culmination of a thought that started with the hauntingly beautiful single, “Hymns & Questions,” which was released all the way back in February. One Night does more than fulfill the promise of the excellent previously released singles and is very much the fully-realized, cohesive statement that we’ve been waiting for from the talented vocalist. Blackthorn’s music always feels like it was recorded in some chilly, cavernous cathedral (though it’s actually recorded in his bedroom), and that’s never been more apparent than on the opener, his arresting take on “Ave Maria.” From there, the Canadian’s tenor leads us through love (“Just to Say I Love You”), sex (“GIRLS I,” “GIRLS II”), and heartbreak (“Best/Friends”) with startling honesty and perspective. When listening to this EP, it’s easy to forget that Blackthorn is still in his early twenties, and as brilliant as One Night is, it feels very much like the final act of the first volume of his career. I can’t wait to see where he goes from here, and it really feels like he is just getting started.

Hot Jam of the Day (07.28.12): Jeremih, “773 Love”

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Jeremih
“773 Love”
Late Nights (Self-Released)

The artist formally known as the Birthday Sex Dude has had the internet goin’ nutz this week, mostly for his raunchy new clip for “Go to the Mo,” which lies somewhere between “Tip Drill” in a motel room and a straight up porno. However, what’s been most interesting about having Jeremih back is his new sound, which is not-so-subtly influenced by bedroom R&B du jour. His new mixtape drops August 7, and its most recent single, “773 Love,” is a dreamy, herky jerky  jam that is sure to slide in easily into any sexy time playlist (or wherever else you wanna put it). Though it’s just a radio rip, the Texas native sounds terrific, as his effortless tenor glides over a synth-heavy backing track. From what we’ve heard, Late Nights looks to be one of the real surprise gems of the second half of 2012, and on the off-chance that it doesn’t exonerate him from being known as a guy who wrote only one truly great song, he can always fall back on a career in the adult entertainment industry.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/54364128″ iframe=”true” /]

Because my mom sometimes reads this blog, I won’t post the “Go to the Mo” video, but you can find it if you want to. Do not. I repeat do not watch it at work. Here’s the audio. The song’s pretty dope.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/41885475″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (07.26.12): Friendzone, “I Have Nothing”

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Friendzone
“I Have Nothing”
Single (Self-Released)

I don’t know much about this production duo, except that they are from the Bay Area and have released some devastating collaborations with rising stars Main Attrakionz. The group sporadically releases new music, and their most recent track, “I Have Nothing,” is indicative of their evocative, yet head-nodding style. Though the group hasn’t ascended to the heights of producers like Araabmuzik and Clams Casino, they definitely populate similar sonic real estate, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them blow up if they keep going like they’re going.  

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/37390193″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (07.25.12): Twin Shadow, “Run My Heart”

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Twin Shadow
“Run My Heart” (Live Session for Yours Truly)
Confess (Terrible)

This is the second best love song of 2012. Ironically, it deals with the exact same feelings as the year’s best love song, Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion.” “Run My Heart” is also about unrequited love, but it examines it from a completely different perspective. Where Ocean opines that he “could never make him love me,” Twin Shadow mainman George Lewis Jr. remains characteristically defiant, issuing the cocksure, brazen warning: “You don’t know my heart/So don’t you dare.” Make no mistake, this woman does know Lewis’ heart and has affected it deeply, all you need to do is listen to the conviction in his voice. But he simply refuses to give her the satisfaction of admitting the truth.

Somebody told me that the first step to getting over someone is simply telling yourself that you are over them, no matter how untrue that may be. This is the sound of a man trying to take that first step. He does such a good job of trying that if you’ve never been through heartbreak, you might actually believe him when he wails, “This isn’t love/I’m just a boy, and you’re just a girl.” But those of us who have, know better.

Finding one love song this penetrating is difficult enough; finding two in a matter of a few weeks is a godsend.

 

Hot Jam of the Day (07.24.12): Beat Connection, “The Palace Garden, 4 AM”

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Beat Connection
“The Palace Garden, 4AM”
The Palace Garden (Tender Age)

I remember legitimately being appalled at an MTV News break (remember those?) about the band Smashmouth. I was mostly offended when their portly, spikey-haired singer described their brand of brain-dead beach pop as “fun in the sun music.” So am I a hypocrite for lionizing this Seattle-based Balearic pop band, whose music is clearly fixated on the crashing waves and the sand? No, not really. I just kinda got older and got over it. Nowadays, I think I’d even agree that “Walkin’ on the Sun” is a pretty bitchin’ tune. Maybe that’s a little strong. Either way, The Palace Garden is a more than worthy follow-up to their fabulous debut Surf Noir (2011), and this is one of its strongest cuts.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/47398176″ iframe=”true” /]

The video’s kinda cool too. Check it out!

Hot Jam of the Day (07.23.12): Goldroom, “Fifteen” (f/ Chela)

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Goldroom
“Fifteen” (f/ Chela)
Single (Self-Released)

Earlier today, I trolled through my recent posts to see if I had written about this shimmering, dreamy single from LA-based producer Josh Legg. Incredibly, I hadn’t — even though it’s been one of the absolute standout songs of the summer so far. Featuring gorgeous, gauzy vocals from Australian singer Chela, “Fifteen” is easily Legg’s most impressive, melodically rich effort to date. Plenty of artists aim for that 80’s nostalgia, “Somebody’s Baby”-type vibe, but very few nail it as expertly as Legg does here. I have no clue what a “slipstream” is, but whenever I listen to this song, I am definitely float back through it. And it feels so fucking good.

 

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45708341″ iframe=”true” /]