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

Hot Jam of the Day (08.30.12): Angel Olsen, “Acrobat”

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Angel Olsen
“Acrobat”
Halfway Home (Bathetic, out 09/04)

Angel Olsen’s breathtaking debut LP is the kind of album that you dream of finding buried in some dusty cardboard box in the attic of your grandparent’s house. A beautiful, seminal folk LP from the late 50’s that somehow everybody else missed but you discovered. It, of course, isn’t, but it sure feels like it is. Halfway Home is the follow-up to St. Louis-bred, Chicago-based folk singer’s debut cassette (yes, they still make those), Strange Cacti, and it has more than realized the potential that she showed on that release. Olsen is both a powerhouse and delicate vocalist and her full-throated delivery is disarming and arresting. One of the most fascinating voices in new folk, Halfway House is a must-hear for anyone who dug Laura Marling’s new album or one of Joni Mitchell’s timeless, old ones. Brilliant.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.29.12): Jeremih, “Late Nights” (Chopped & Screwed)

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Jeremih
“Late Nights” (Chopped & Screwed)
Late Nights with Jeremih (Chopped & Screwed by Kp’da Truth)

The artist formerly (and probably still) known as Mr. Birthday Sex’s mixtape Late Nights with Jeremih has been one of my surprise releases of the year. Clearly taking cues from the new breed of experimental R&B artists (ie the Weeknd, Frank Ocean), the Chicago native unleashes a potent sound made up of his  traditional radio roots, seductive croon, palpable hip-hop edge, and the progressive influences of the aforementioned artists. Buoyed by a pair of undeniable singles — “Go to the Mo” and “773 Love” — the mixtape is solid all the way through and excellent in places, notably on the disc’s excellent de facto title track. Heady, atmospheric, and infectious, it’s among the best things he’s ever done and is easily one of the best R&B tracks of the year. Download the mixtape for free, here.

Jeremih: “Late Nights” [Chopped & Screwed]

Also, here’s the “Late Nights” video.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.28.12): Dan Bodan, “Aaron” (Video is NSFW)

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Dan Bodan
“Aaron”
DP/Aaron Single (DFA)

Canadian-bed, Berlin-based Dan Bodan is the most exciting new DFA signing in recent memory, and his recently-released single features two romantic, graceful slabs of 80’s electro-lounge that have more than a hint of Bryan Ferry, Spandau Ballet, and Paul Weller’s group the Style Council. “Aaron” is a slick, lovelorn ballad that highlights Bodan’s easy, yet passionate delivery and provocative lyrics. It’ll be interesting to watch where Bodan goes from here, but he’s certainly off to a good start.

Here’s the A-side, “DP.”

 

Hot Jam of the Day (08.27.12): How to Dress Well, “Cold Nites” (Koreless Remix)

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How to Dress Well
“Cold Nites” (Koreless Remix)
Digital Single

I’ve written thousands of words about the admiration that I have for How to Dress Well’s fractured, lo-fi bedroom R&B, so I thought I’d focus a little on the Scottish teenager behind this remix. The 19 year-old Glaswegian burst on the scene with his pensive neo-dubstep meditation, “Lost in Tokyo” and a release on buzzy UK label, Pictures. His ability to craft emotive, drippy compositions makes him a natural partner for the perpetual heart-on-sleeve HTDW (né Tom Krell), and Koreless handles the delicate original with the utmost care. The single note melody sounds like falling rain and frames Krell’s crushing vocal beautifully. When the Chicago-based singer lets out “I pray for myself again,” it’s impossible not to feel it. Stunning.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/57276115″ iframe=”true” /]

Bonus Track: Check out Jacques Greene’s sumptuous remix of “Lost in Tokyo” below.

New Video Alert: Major Lazer, “Get Free” / Kisses, “Johnny & Mary”

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Though these two artists have nearly nothing in common, their most recent videos struck me in a similar way. Both are awesome micro-explorations of one of the world’s most fascinating cultures (Jamaica and Brazil, respectively) put to pretty dope soundtracks. And both really make me want to visit the country they are about. I’ve never been a huge Diplo guy, but it’s hard to argue with “Get Free,” and Kisses have long been favorites of mine. Dig in…

Major Lazer: “Get Free”

Kisses: “Johnny & Mary”

Hot Jam of the Day (08.24.12): Holy Other, “Inpouring”

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Holy Other
“Inpouring”
Held (Tri Angle, out 8/28)

Who would have known that r&b and new age would have made such exquisite bedfellows? Listening to Holy Other makes me realize that I wasn’t totally insane for digging Enya and Boyz II Men in middle school. The Manchester-based producer’s debut EP was amongst my favorites of 2011, and his debut LP is shaping up as one of the releases of the year. Holy Other is a master of mood, consistently crafting tracks that are sensual and evocative, but what really sets him apart is his use of vocals. Instead of using words to convey meaning, he merely relies on vocal tonality. He rarely lets his vocal samples get out complete words (“Love Some1” and “With U” are notable examples), but that never gets in the way of his ability to tell affecting stories. More than anything, he’s created a sound that is all his own, and it’s definitely one of the most fascinating in electronic music at the moment.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/57001158″ iframe=”true” /]

Stream the whole album, here.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.23.12): Chad Valley, “Fall 4 U” (f. Glasser)

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Chad Valley
“Fall 4 U” (f. Glasser)
Young Hunger (Cascine, out 10/30) 

Oxford-based producer Chad Valley has always been one of the standouts of the Balearic pop/chillwave scene that peaked a couple years ago, and it’s kind of amazing that he’s still yet to release a proper LP. That wait is nearing its end, and based on “Fall 4 U,” its breathtaking debut single, Young Hunger is going to be well worth the wait. Valley (né Hugo Manuel) enlists the ultra-smooth vocal stylings of the talented, mercurial Cameron Mesirow, and the duo effortlessly glide over a characteristically evocative, beachy soundscape. Think of it as the chillwave “You Don’t Send Me Flowers” with less eyebrows. This is gonna soundtrack some serious late summer, skinny-on-skinny dry humping, and I’m not mad about it.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/54872654″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jams of the Day (08.22.12): Frank Ocean Remix Trifecta

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Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” remains one of my favorite albums of 2012, and to celebrate it, I rounded up a few of the best FO remixes for your listening pleasure. 

Frank Ocean: “Pyramids” (Kastle Remix)

The San Francisco-based producer’s expansive, just-a-little-bit-screwed remix of the best song of the year is about to join his Infinite City EP on heavy rotation in Thunder Penguin’s Bionic Igloo (read: my bedroom). He absolutely nails the emotive feel of the song, while giving it a little added edge. The 8-bit synth in the bridge is worth the price of admission by itself. Crazy.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/57078542″ iframe=”true” /]

Frank Ocean: “Thinking About You” (Ryan Hemsworth Edit)

Our next remix comes from the blogosphere’s producer du jour, the talented Ryan Hemsworth. The Canadian obviously has a serious background in hip-hop, and he takes the original out of your bedroom and into your ride…even though it still works great in your bedroom.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/54680105″ iframe=”true” /]

Frank Ocean: “Thinking About You” (Nite Jewel+Nicholas Krgovich ReWork)

Last up, we’ve got a pensive take from Nite Jewel’s Ramona Gonzalez and Canadian, velvet-voiced troubadour Nicholas Krgovich. I haven’t heard every remix from Channel Orange, but I’ll happily wager that this is the only one that prominently features a flute. Would have loved to hear Gonzalez really open it up here, but it’s still a nice, breezy version of it.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/52215807″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (08.21.12): King Krule, “Rock Bottom”

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King Krule
“Rock Bottom”
Rock Bottom 7″ (Rinse, out 08/25) 

King Krule’s music is the audio equivalent of Greg Oden. I’m not talking about the bad knees, awful beard, or gigantic peni… er, hands. Oden is still in his mid-twenties, but he’s looked like he’s about 41 since he was in high school. The artist formally known as Zoo Kid (né Archy Marshall) is still a couple of years away from his 20th birthday, but he sounds and writes like a 60-some-odd year-old Mississippi Delta blues man. For the better part of three years, he’s been crafting affecting, musically progressive gutter soul, and he just continues to get better.

Coming off the back of his excellent self-titled 2011 EP (and its a-fucking-mazing lead single “The Noose of Jah City”), “Rock Bottom” has all the hallmarks of a Marshall classic: razor-sharp guitar stabs, reflective lyrics, and his dropdead vocals, which lie somewhere between Joe Strummer after ten packs of Marlboro reds and a feral coyote. To top it off, he throws in a nod to a key song on one of my favorite albums of all time. Imagine how good he’ll get when he can legally drink!

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/56276321″ iframe=”true” /]

And just because it’s still that fucking brilliant, check out “The Noose of Jah City,” my third favorite track of 2011.

Hot Jam of the Day (08.20.12): Gang Colours, “Fill Me In”

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Gang Colours
“Fill Me In”
Digital Single

Great covers come in many forms. That said, they generally are at their best and most enduring when an artist so stamps their authority and style on the original that it almost comes off as an entirely new track. Such is British down-tempo producer Gang Colours’ take on Craig David’s seminal middle-school slow jam. Over a moody keyboard line, drippy percussion, and ambient filigree, the Southampton native (né Will Ozanne) retells David’s classic story of hooking up with the girl next door in his delicate, alluring tenor. It’s so good that even if you hated the original, you still might like this. However, if you are like me and already love the original, you’ll dig this and end up falling back in love with Craig’s version: the ultimate sign of a great cover.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/56526928″ iframe=”true” /]