Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"

Lana Del Rey"Doin' Time"Sublime OST (out soon on Universal)If you grew up in California in the early 2000's, it was just about impossible to get in someone's car or go to a party that wasn't playing one of those two Sublime albums. Evidently, the same was true in wherever Read more

Images & Words: Stormzy, "Vossi Bop"

Stormzy"Vossi Bop"Digital SingleAfter a little while away, the London kingpin looks to be getting back in the game. "Vossi Bop" is a perfect comeback track because it is such a pure distillation of what makes Stormzy a true-one off. Over a tasty, yet simple beat, Big Mike goes in Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (1st Quarter)

Even though we're a solid week into the second quarter, better late than never right? Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite songs of the last three months. To keep numbers manageable, I didn't include anything from any of my favorite albums list and prioritized songs I Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of 2019 (First Quarter)

Gah, I can't believe we're already 25% through 2019. That said, Spring is in the air, and we've enjoyed an excellent, diverse crop of music during these first three months. Have a look at some of my favorite LPs of the year so far in no particular order. Dawn Richard
 “New Read more

Chief Keef, "Ain't Gonna Happen"

Chief Keef "Ain't Gonna Happen" GloToven (Glo Gang / RBC) The Chicago stalwart's new project with the legendary Zaytoven is unsurprisingly full of weird and wacky sounds, moving in innumerable unexpected and exciting ways. Its most powerful moment is its starkest, as a heartbroken Keef floats freely over Zay's gorgeous piano. "Face dried Read more

Hot Jam of the Day (08.05.12): A$AP Rocky, “Pussy, Money, Weed”

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A$AP Rocky
“Pussy, Money, Weed”

I have to admit that I keep kinda expecting 23 year-old Rakim “A$AP Rocky” Mayers to fall off, but he continues to prove me wrong. Over a characteristically syrupy, hypnotic beat, the Harlem native drops three excellent verses with his UGK-meets-BoneThugz flow. Usually when independent rappers with a distinctive sound make the leap to a major label, much of what makes them special is drained out of them (remember that Wiz Khalifa guy?), but Rocky seems destined to avoid this cruel fate. If this and the super dope “Goldie” are any indication of how LONGLIVEA$AP is going to sound, sign me up.

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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.

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

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Antony Hegarty
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.

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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.

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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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“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.

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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.

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

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“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.  

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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.

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