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 (05.30.12): Miracles Club, “The Wheel”

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The Miracles Club
“The Wheel”
Ecstasy (Compilation from Ecstasy Records)

As if Thunder Penguin need more reason to crush on Portland, up pops a filthy new compilation from rising Portland progressive dance label, Ecstasy Records. Its lead single is this playful, darkly alluring new single from The Miracles Club, a group fronted by PDX deep-house stalwart Honey Owens. Like so much of the truly exceptional dance music coming out of the city, “The Wheel” is both instinctively and intellectually appealing. In other words, this works as an equally effective soundtrack to a night of drinking/dancing/whatever-that-leads-to, as well as a night in or a long drive. If you like what you hear, make sure to snap up the new comp when it drops on June 12.

Miracles Club: “The Wheel”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.29.12): Disclosure, “Control” (f/ Ria Ritchie)

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Disclosure
“Control”
The Face (Greco-Roman)

I’ve been a huge fan of this South London duo since last year’s severely underrated “I Love….That You Know,” and since then, they have been cranking out infectious, progressive post-dubstep with remarkable consistency. Consisting of brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, the duo is set to release their long-awaited four-track EP next Tuesday on simmering German/British label Greco-Roman. This is the second single from The Face, succeeding the aptly-titled “Boiling,” which doubles as one of the very best songs of 2012 so far. Very few dubstep producers handle vocals with the same care and subtly as Disclosure, and that’s apparent on all three of the aforementioned tracks. Preferring to use them to build mood rather than take the spotlight, the group uses vocals to give the listener something to hold on to without letting them run rampant and turn the wheel into radio-pop land. I’m surprised they still haven’t made a jump into our continental conscious (á la James Blake), but I really think it’s coming soon. Brilliant.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/48079700″ iframe=”true” /]

Disclosure: “Boiling” (feat. Sinead Harnett)

Hot Jams of the Day (05.28.12): D’Eon, “Transparency (pt. II)” & “Now You Do”

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D’Eon
“Transparency (pt. II)” & “Now You Do”
LP (Hippos In Tanks)

It’s always gonna be a good day when you are greeted by two expansive, new tracks from the mercurial, esoteric Montreal native. The former is an update on one of my favorite songs of 2011, the latter is a brand new thought, and both are absolutely scintillating. In the last few years, we’ve been lucky enough to experience a fascinating new crop of R&B artists determined to push the genre forward. Artists like the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Holy Other, and How to Dress Well have all garnered significantly more buzz than the former Grimes collaborator, but while all of those artists have used their distinctive voices to significantly contribute to so much to modern music, nobody has a more singular, progressive take on R&B right now than D’Eon. While his sound is probably too weird to captivate the masses like the aforementioned artists (sans, HTDW), anybody who cares about hearing some unique, fresh, and totally original shit need to sit up and take notice. Something special is going on here.

D’Eon: “Transparency pt. II”

D’Eon: “Now You Do”

Check out the Grimes-assisted clip for the original “Transparency”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.27.12): Summer Camp, “Always”

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Summer Camp
“Always”
Always (Moshi Moshi)

Even though bf/gf groups were soooo 2011, this London duo is refusing to call time on their moody, John Hughes-inspired synth-pop party. After a superlative debut EP Young and a patchy-but-still-pretty-fucking-brilliant LP Welcome to Condale, Summer Camp is back to its best with this bouncy, lovelorn jam. For a change, guitarist Jeremy Warmsley takes over lead vocal duties here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get a steady dose of Elizabeth Sankey’s signature, confident voice. They sing so well together, and when they refrain, “we’ll always be together,” you can’t help but hope they’re right. Great track for summer.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/47528678″ iframe=”true” /]

Again, just cuz, here’s Condale‘s excellent lead-off track, “Better Off Without You.”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.26.12): Antony Hegarty: “Rise”

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Antony Hegarty
“Rise”
Coral Rekindling Venus

While there aren’t a lot of certainties in this world, Antony Hegarty (frontperson of Antony and the Johnsons) making beautiful, luscious pop songs is a dead cert. Since he first warbled his way into our hearts with his self-titled debut, Antony has become one of the most enduring, distinctive, and bravest voices in independent music, and this lovely new single is yet another notch in his sequined belt. Written for a documentary on coral, it is accompanied by a visually stunning piece. Typically spellbinding.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.25.12): How To Dress Well, “Ocean Floor For Everything”

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How To Dress Well
“Ocean Floor For Everything”
Total Loss (Acephale)

How to Dress Well — the alter ego of Chicago-based philosophy professor Tom Krell — was responsible for my favorite album of 2010: the ghostly, celestial Love Remains. Krell has one of most distinctive voices (literally and figuratively) in all of popular music, and his bizarre, singular take on R&B is equal parts hopeful and melancholic. This, the first single of his follow-up Total Loss, feels a little bit more like an idea than a whole thought, which isn’t surprising. Love Remains is one of the rare albums meant to be digested as a whole, and I can’t imagine this next one being any different. Either way, it’s a nice way for folks who haven’t heard him to get a taste of what he does.

How To Dress Well – “Ocean Floor For Everything”

And just cuz, here’s the video from Love Remains cut “Lover’s Start”….my 7th favorite song of 2010.

Hot Jam(s) of the Day (05.24.12): Ab-Soul, “ILLuminate” (f/ Kendrick Lamar) & “Terrorist Threats” (f/ Danny Brown & Jhene Aiko)

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Ab-Soul
“ILLuminate” (f/ Kendrick Lamar) & “Terrorist Threats” (f/ Danny Brown, Jhene Aiko)
Control System

Though he may be the only member of Kendrick Lamar’s hyper-buzzy Black Hippy crew without a WikiPedia page, South Central MC Ab-Soul’s druggy, claustrophobic new LP Control System should land him a page on the Free Encyclopedia pretty soon. As an MC, Soul seamlessly weaves wild conspiracy theories (the Illuminati references are rampant) with audacious boasts and reflective insights, often all in the same verse. Like the rest of the Black Hippies — Schoolboy Q & Jay Rock round out the group — he also has an impeccable ear for an emotive, atmospheric beat, which are evidenced by both of these tracks. The former pairs spacious, elegiac synths with an acoustic-sounding drum line, while the former sounds like it could be on the new SALEM album. In a genre that is occasionally short on cutting-edge new ideas, the Black Hippy crew is a huge breath of fresh air.

“ILLuminate”

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45727419″ iframe=”true” /]

“Terrorist Threats”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.23.12): SoKo, “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” (Video NSFW)

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SoKo
“We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow”
I Thought I Was An Alien (Babycat)

If there’s one thing French singer-songwriter/actress Stéphanie “SoKo” Sokolinski understands, it’s how to find the beauty in the small things in life. Her recent single, the best track from her divisive debut I Thought I Was An Alien, is definitive proof of that. Over a spare arraignment with an impossibly delicate melody, Sokolinski delivers a spellbinding vocal performance. Don’t mistake her quiet voice for meekness. It’s quite the opposite. Over the song’s brief 155-second lifespan, she drops some incredibly fucking honest, arrow-through-the-heart sentiments about trying to enjoy your life and to love freely while we are still around. Some will write this off as twee, ultra-precious emotional pandering, but those people will be wrong. This is really, really great.

Video is NSFW.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.21.12): Nico Jaar+Sasha Spielberg (Just Friends): “Avalanche”

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Nico Jaar+Sasha Spielberg (aka Just Friends)
“Avalanche”
The 
Prism

I probably should kind of hate Nico Jaar. I’ve never met the man, but from the outside looking in, it seems like when he’s not DJing ultra-exclusive NYC club nights, playing sold-out shows, and being 194% more handsome than me, he’s making impossibly sexy jams with young Hollywood royalty. Coming off the back of his stunning collaboration with Scout LaRue Willis (Bruce and Demi’s daughter) “With Just One Glance,” he returns with a typically airy boner jam that features the breathy, alluring vocals of Sasha Spielberg (daughter of Steven and Kate Capshaw). While the studio version is only available on the pretty-damn-awesome Prism, this radio rip is indicative of why Jaar has amassed such an impressive library of work in such a short time. He has an incredible understanding of sonic space and can tactfully frame a vocal track with the touch and maturity of a seasoned producer. Did I mention that he’s still only 22? Ok, I think I hate him again….

NicoJaar+SashaSpielberg: “Avalanche”

Just in case you missed it, here’s “Just One Glance.”

Jaar+Willis: “With Just One Glance”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.18.12): Lemonade, “Softkiss”

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Lemonade
“Softkiss”
Diver (True Panther)

The same week we got a tasty video for the BK-via-SF 80’s-obsessed trio’s spellbinding slow jam, “Neptune,” they grace us with another slice of synth-slathered gold.  Though it’s a much more upbeat affair, it is cut from the same cloth as “Neptune” (one of the best ten songs of 2012 so far). Moody, expressive, and dripping with nostalgia, “Softkiss” again sees vocalist Callan Clendenin pinning over a lost lover. In the wrong hands, a refrain like “do you still wear my coat when you get cold?” would come off incredibly trite and callow, but Clendenin’s earnest croon turns it into an affecting rhetorical question that hits close to home. I thought their self-titled debut LP was forgettable, and their follow up EP, Pure Moods, was solid but unspectacular, but based off the two tracks I’ve heard, I think Diver might turn out to be an absolute gem. Watch this space.

Lemonade: “Softkiss”