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 songs I loved. And we’ll see, maybe I’ll start doing this every week.

Mariah Carey

Digital Single
It’s been out for a few weeks, but I keep coming back to Mariah’s stunning new kiss off ballad. It reminds me so much of “H.A.T.E.U.” — her most underrated perfect song. And though it’s likely too low-key to become a smash, her ability to deliver a track this emotive and raw more than 30 years into her career is remarkable. She’ll always be remembered as a legendary vocalist and artist, but her bravery and the emotional heft of her music is just as special. People should be making more of this song.

Honey (out Oct 26 on Konichiwa)
Robyn SZN is rapidly approaching, and “Honey” is our second taste of the project. Though it seems a bit of an off-speed pitch following the anthemic “Missing U,” it is also one of the most directly romantic Robyn tunes of recent years and is growing on me with each listen.

Gangin II (out now on EMPIRE)
Vallejo’s finest returned with a follow-up to their excellent “GANGIN” tape from earlier in the year. Though I haven’t been through it all yet, low-RPM banger “Vibes” is a perfect example of the lyrical interplay and Bay Area slap that makes them such standouts.

Empress Of
“Love For Me”

Us (out 10/19 on Terrible)
Somehow, I didn’t write about Lorely Rodriguez’s irresistible lead single “When I’m With Him” (don’t worry, it’ll be HIGH on my year-end list). Her new track, “Love For Me,” is a bit more pulled back, but she still sounds beautiful on it, gliding over a characteristically clever, synth-driven arrangement from DJDS.

Quando Rondo
“Bacc To The Basics”

Life After Fame (out now, self-released)
One of my favorite new rappers of the year, the Savannah MC just dropped an excellent new tape. Lead single, “Bacc To The Basics,” highlights Rondo’s raspy delivery and evocative, personal storytelling. One to watch for 2019.

BOOT (out now on Cole Basta)
The rising London vocalist with the awful name feels like a star in the making. Though it’s hard to write about the teenager’s music without mentioning its palpable Frank Ocean influence, his easy tenor and evocative songwriting stand on their own.

“Paterson & Leo”

Skylight (self-released, out now)
Without wading into the morality of songwriter Evan Stephens Hall (read these pieces, make up your own mind), the first few spins of their restrained new project have been encouraging. This subdued, pretty track captures the specific kind of big-hearted feeling that makes their best songs so special.

The Arc EP (out 11.09 on Blue Flowers)
Another curious song from the elusive London singer-songwriter, “Albatross” is a gorgeous slice of synthetic folk music. He balances synths and drum machines with washes of electric guitar and his forlorn voice in a unique way, resulting in tunes that live between a ton of different styles but are beholden to none.

It Looks Sad.

Sky Lake (out 11.02 on Tiny Engines)
Besides being the clear favorites for “Best Band Name of 2018,” the Charlotte duo has been cranking out sweet, gauzy dream pop this year. New single, “Bike,” is a languid late summer jam that pairs reverb-soaked guitars with Jimmy Turner’s laid-back vocals to deliciously nostalgic effect.

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