CFCF, "Closed Space"

CFCF "Closed Space" Liquid Colours (out 03.01) Though I haven't listened to it as much as his ree-fucking-dick-u-lus J.Lo remix (aka: the best song of 2019 so far), the first single from Montreal mainstay Michael Silver's new album is an instant keeper. It kicks off with luxurious beds of neo-geo synths that Read more

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

Hot Jam of the Day (09.11.12): Kanye West, “Clique” (f/ Big Sean, Jay-Z)

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Kanye West
“Clique” (f/ Big Sean, Jay-Z)
Cruel Summer (G.O.O.D. Music, out 09/18)

In honor of the recent release of Cruel Summer‘s tracklist, I’ve decided to do things a little different. On his excellent new single, the Louis Vuitton Don repeats “ain’t nobody fuckin’ with my clique” roughly 2,193 times, and that got me thinking.

1. Who exactly is in Kanye’s clique?
2. Which of said members would I be most likely to fuck with?

So I decided to do a little research and make a list of potential clique members and rate them in descending order, from ones I most back myself to fuck with to unfuckwitable. Here goes nothing.

Tier 1: The Krissy Humphries: “Immanently Fuckwitable” Group

2 Chainz: The artist formerly known as Tity Boi leads our list. Honestly, does Kanye owe his dad a favor or something? How he continues to get on hot tracks/what he brings to the table remain the greatest unsolved mysteries Carlos Boozer’s hair. He makes Murphy Lee sound like Andre 3000.

Big Sean: He comes in just above 2 Chainz, thanks to his cool hat collection, past collaboration with The-Dream, and the fact that my buddy Sean thinks he’s hella handsome. Comes in second-to-last because his flows are as interesting as a JWOWW TED Talk.

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Hot Jam of the Day (09.10.11): Fear of Men, “Mosaic”

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Fear of Men
Mosaic 7″ (Too Pure)

Another sumptuous single from the British dream-pop quartet, “Mosaic” is a gauzy, immersive number driven by vocalist Jess Weiss’ heartfelt vocal and miles of jangly guitar goodness. Despite its downtrodden refrain — “Break me into pieces to feel safe/Like I’m no one” — it remains hopeful, breezy and youthful, like love could still come through in the end. It feels like a lost cut from the Empire Records soundtrack. In fact, I can just see Liv Tyler listening to this on her discman, while sitting on that roof — brokenhearted and angsty. She’s alone until the last chorus, when that handsome dude with the bad sweater comes up and tells her exactly how he feels about her….all while poor Joey Lauren Adams overdoses on diet pills, and Marc (with a K) creeps out all the girls who come into the store. I digress, but suffice it to say, I really love this band and am feverishly looking forward to a full-length from them.

Fear the Men! Save the Empire! Buy the limited single, here.

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Also, check out their incredible single “Green Sea,” which was released earlier this year.

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Hot Jam of the Day (09.09.12): The xx, Coexist

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The xx
Coexist (Young Turks, out now)

Generally, the point of this site is for me to put people on to what I’m listening to, but for this post, my goal is to stick up for one of the best new bands in years and thumb my nose at the critics who are stupidly criticizing their new album. After lapping up universal plaudits for their spectacular debut LP, the South London trio are facing an unfair, altogether predictable backlash from the American online press, generally accusing the group of sounding to much like itself. When Fleet Foxes, The National, and Arcade Fire built on their signature styles, they were lionized for crafting distinctive sounds, but for some reason when The xx does it, they are accused of lacking vision, bravery, and versatility.

The truth is, when you’ve found a sound this unique, breathtaking, and penetrating, you should do everything in your power to explore it further, and I’m damn glad they did. Coexist has everything that xx did — the arresting vulnerability, the seductive vocals, the delicately beautiful arraignments — with improved songwriting and production. Though it doesn’t feel quite as seminal as their debut (“You always remember your first time”), it’s an incredible statement from one of the best bands in the world (yeah, I said it), and I have a feeling that, in time, it could even surpass their debut. Now there’s nothing left to do, but sit back, listen, enjoy, and wait for the detractors to clean the egg off their faces. Don’t buy the hate; this is still one of the absolute best albums of the year.

Hottest Jams (so far): “Unfold,” “Missing,” “Swept Away”



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“Swept Away”

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Hot Jam of the Day (09.07.12): Lapalux, “The Hours”

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“The Hours”
Single (Self-Released)

A couple of years ago, this esoteric, Essex-based producer turned my head with the spacious, heady “Time Spike Jamz” — the lead single from his devastating Many Faces Out of Focus EP. Since then, the artist governmentally known as Stuart Howard has released his brilliant Brainfeeder debut, When You’re Gone, and is set to release another EP this year. Like much of his best work, “The Hours” is all about mood, and the 22 year-old’s mood ring is colored pensive and nostalgic here. Howard has never been big on vocals — preferring to let them flitter in and out like a midmorning nap — and preferes to leave the heavy lifting to his evocative, wonky melodies. Characteristically excellent.

Lapalux: “The Hours”

Hot Jam of the Day (09.06.12): Cat Power, “Cherokee” (Nico Jaar Remix)

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Cat Power
“Cherokee” (Nico Jaar Remix)
Sun (Matador, out now)

Chan “Cat Power” Marshall is simply not made for the Internet era. Marshall has thumbed her nose at a music world (and culture at large) that demands that an artist constantly be connecting with their audience, whether it’s with new music, through social media, or via an endless touring schedule. That’s never been the Atlanta native’s modus operandi, and it never will be. It’s been six years since she’s given us an album full of new material — an absolute eternity nowadays — but Sun is well-worth the wait. One of its standout tracks, “Cherokee,” was given a pensive, lush remix by electronic music Jedi, Nico Jaar. The NYChilean has a touch like few other producers and brings absolutely everything out of the heartbreaking original.

Cat Power: “Cherokee” (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

Hot Jam of the Day (09.05.12): Flying Lotus, “Until The Quiet Comes”

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Flying Lotus
“Until the Quiet Comes” a Short Film By Kahlil Joseph
With music from Until The Quiet Comes (Warp, out 10/2)

Today’s Hot Jam of the Day isn’t really a jam at all, but when Flying Lotus releases any glimpses of new music, it qualifies. Accompanied by some arresting visuals courtesy of rising filmaker Kahlil Joseph, we get tastes of three new evocative FlyLo (né Steven Elliot) tracks. All three feature his signature impossibly layered arraignments, lush melodies, and spot-on drum patterns. They also all feature soulful, accesible vocal parts (one of which is by the great Erykah Badu). Though Elliot has worked with plenty of singers, it’s a bit surprising that all three tracks feature vocalists, as he has generally used them sparingly on his previous LPs. That said, a lot of my favorite of his tracks have singing, so I’m not mad if that’s the case. Either way, all three cuts serve as reminders that nobody does it quite like FlyLo. Don’t be surprised if Until the Quiet Comes is one of the albums of the year.

Hot Jam of the Day (09.04.12): How to Dress Well, “& It Was U”

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How to Dress Well
“& It Was U”
Total Loss (Tri Angle, out 9/17)

One of the great fallacies that surrounded ethereal R&B singer Tom Krell’s debut album, Love Remains, is that it was “depressing.” While it dealt with heavy issues (mostly the passing of Krell’s close friend) openly and bravely, How to Dress Well’s first LP had its fair share of playful, inspiring, and hopeful moments. The Colorado native has never hidden his love of saccharine radio R&B, and this cut is perhaps the clearest manifestation of this affinity to date. The buoyant, fingersnap-led devotional highlights his elastic falsetto and approachable disposition. Total Loss was one of my most anticipated albums of the year, and with every single, I’m more sure that it’s going to live up to the brilliant Love Remains.

How to Dress Well: “& It Was U”


Hot Jam of the Day (08.02.12): Elite Gymnastics, “Andreja 4-Ever”

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Elite Gymnastics
“Andreja 4-Ever”
Digital Single

When Josh Clancy left Elite Gymnastics earlier this summer, sole remaining member James Brooks assured fans that the group’s sound wouldn’t be affected, as Clancy mostly contributed to group’s design. Based on this track alone, that statement rings false, and that actually might not be a bad thing. “Andreja 4-Ever” is easily the most accesible thing to be released under the Elite GZ moniker with much of their ever-present, chaotic wall of sound stripped away. Frankly, I’m not sure if I’m ready for an entire album of this, but as a one-off, it works. That said, I hope I haven’t seen the end of the Elite Gymnastics that I fell in love with over the last couple of years.

Elite Gymnastics: “Andreja 4-Ever”

Hot Jam of the Day (09.01.12): Sky Ferreira, “Everything Is Embarrassing”

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Sky Ferreira
“Everything is Embarrassing”
Ghost (EMI, out 10/2)

Everybody knows that a brilliant hook is essential to a great pop song. But what separates a great pop song from a special one? The bridge: the most under-appreciated, overlooked, difficult-to-nail facet of a truly satisfying four minutes. The best middle 8’s dive headlong into the spotlight, snatching it away from the prima donna choruses that they are surrounded by. Most of the best pop tracks — Wham’s “Careless Whisper” & Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You” spring to mind — have barnstorming, explosive bridges that end up working like ancillary hooks, turning excellent songs into truly incredible ones.

Sky Ferriera’s new single isn’t quite one of those, but it’s certainly one of the best of the year, thanks largely to its gargantuan bridge. Like her model looks and public persona, “Everything is Embarrassing” is meticulously crafted, driven by a potent combo of breathy vocals, dear-diary lyrics, and razor-sharp production à la mode from Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion, Blood Oranges) and Ariel Rechtshaid (the dude who produced Usher’s “Climax”). After two seductive verses and a killer chorus, the track goes to another level thanks to an immense bridge, that sees the vocally-limited Angelino open it up a little and let her carefully styled blonde locks down. It’s not “BUT NOWWWW WHO’S GONNA DANCE WITH MEEEEE, PLEASE STAYYY,” life-affirming, but it’s not a million miles away.

Sky Ferreira: “Everything Is Embarrassing”

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

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Angel Olsen
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.