Lance Skiiiwalker | Speed

Everything is coming up gold in the Chicago rap world. TDE’s Lance Skiiiwalker is streaming a new debut track, “Speed”, produced by Rocket. It starts out with rattling bass, drum kit and static reverberations as he sings some innocuous lyrics about partying. But halfway through the song it shift gears, instrumentally and lyrically. The track…

James Blake | The Colour In Anything

Amid all the praise there’s also a slight sense of a backlash when it comes to the music of James Blake, who just released his third album, The Colour in Anything (2016), via Republic Records. The sad-sack UK singer-songwriter began his career softly with the odd EP here and there from 2010 through 2011, with idiosyncratic…

Childish Major | Window Seat

It’s good to hear more and more rap taking race head on, like parts of Childish Major’s latest single, “Window Seat”. His vocals sound a little bit like A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, as he namechecks the latter’s song “Bonita Applebum” in a verse about being impatient: “A need a check that’s thicker than Bonita…

Night School | Last Disaster (Video)

Graveface Records artist Night School will be releasing a debut 10-song record called Blush on June 17th (my birthday — if anyone wants to buy me a copy), which follows behind a 2014 debut EP “Heart Beat” and a split EP Carousel with label mates Dott. Currently, the trio of ladies (Alexandra Morte, drummer Baylie Arin and…

Radiohead | Burn the Witch

Paranoid Radiohead is the Radiohead I love best. Especially when the band interprets societal convergence as mob rule, like they do in their latest song, “Burn the Witch”. Mob rule in the face of complacency. You get these wonderfully dark fairy-tale-turned nightmare sequences of witch-burning and people losing all sense: “Stay in the shadows /…

Saba | World In My Hands (Ft. Smino and LEGIT)

Chicago’s Saba is streaming a new track, “World In My Hands”, on soundcloud — and he and Smino deliver on it. It doesn’t get much smoother. The track name drops Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and recently-deceased A Tribe Called Quest member Malik Izaak Taylor (aka Phife Dawg). One particularly slick rhyme and tongue-twister…

Sales | Ivy

Sales is streaming a new song, “Ivy”, from off the Florida natives’ upcoming April 20th LP release. Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih couldn’t have written a more lovely track. It opens with a kind of distorted drumbeat and a repeated guitar riff, but really takes off with the introduction of Morgan’s gentle opening lyrics: “Ivy, baby — sweetheart — you’re so insecure.”…

Lil Silva | Lines

“Lines” is the first single off Lil Silva’s (aka Bedford’s TJ Carter) new EP, JIMI (Journey Inside My Imagination), available May 6. Lil Silva is coming off having worked with the music of BANKS and Adele — but now finds time to unleash this frenetic techno cut featuring his own vocal phrases, utterances, and some…

Plush | Sheer Power

I just purchased one of the limited-edition 300 cassettes of Bay Area band Plush’s latest EP Please, due out April 29 via Father/Daughter Records. Mostly, I made the purchase on the strength of their streaming single, “Sheer Power”, a gigantic piece of fuzzed-out sonic bliss, before indulging in their one-word titled back catalog: Pale (2014) and…

Bat For Lashes | In God’s House

Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) will release her latest album, The Bride, via Parlophone/Warner Bros. Records on July 1. She’s already released one single, “I Do”, and has followed that track with a youtube stream of a second single, the dark-hued “In God’s House”. The record is a follow-up to The Haunted Man (2012). Follow Bat For Lashes…

Jean Deaux | “XYZ” (feat. Smino)

Chicago’s Jean Deaux is streaming her latest track, “XYZ”, via soundcloud and it’s a beauty — featuring St. Louis rapper Smino and produced by THEMpeople. “XYZ” is a slick downtempo jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun. The song calls to mind what D’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar have been touching on lately, blending a…

Emily Millard | Paradise (Video)

Emily Millard, formerly Miss Emily Brown, sheds her earlier moniker in favor of her real name — which may signal what’s to come around the bend on her upcoming LP release By Heron & By Season. The new record is being produced by an ultra-talented musician in his own right, Sandro Perri. This will be Millard’s first record…

Poliça | United Crushers

Poliça’s debut record Give You the Ghost (2012) began uniquely, with lush lounge and experimental electronic music best heard through songs like “I See My Mother” and “Lay Your Cards Out” — exquisite lead singer Channy Leaneagh tinkering with the pitch of her vocals. Sure, we’ve heard other musicians shift pitch to varying effect. But this was something different. The…

Tate Kobang | Oh My

Baltimore rapper Tate Kobang is streaming an addictive, hypnotic track called “Oh My”. The most impressive quality of the song is the triple-threat combination of inventive beats, a loop of a squawking noise, and a tin, soft and sinister percussion. The lyrics are more typical, about sexual conquest. But Tate Kobang  does find times to stutter-stop and change up…

Charlotte Day Wilson | After All

Stunning. I’ve been listening to Charlotte Day Wilson’s song “After All” for weeks now and its initial impression still hasn’t worn off. The song is a throwback to the gentle soulful style of a musician like Sade and Jessie Ware, with its heartbeat bass, jazzy accents, bright keyboard notes and lush vocal harmonies. (With a touch of indie…

Massive Attack | Take It There (Video)

Massive Attack and Tricky. Two things that go together better than bread and butter. Massive Attack announced it’s releasing it’s first new music since 2010’s Heligoland. The new EP is called Ritual Spirit, which will feature four tracks and collaborations with Young Fathers, Roots Manuva, Azekel and Tricky. The latter can be heard singing on…

David Bowie | A Remembrance: 1947-2016

A rule-breaking rock star. Brixton’s native boy. The glam girl of Ziggy Stardust. The Thin White Duke. Fame-craver and shy Davey Jones. The Man Who Fell to Earth. Space drifter. Major Tom. Prince of Spiders. Cocaine cowboy of a-lad-insane. Blue Jean. The Goblin King. An old-fashioned gentleman. An art connoisseur. Actor. (As he credits himself…

Their Bated Breath: Best 25 Albums of 2015

David D. Robbins Jr. | Their Bated Breath Here’s my quick list compiling 25 of my favorite records of 2015. Since I blog about music it’s inevitable that people offer me suggestions and even critique my taste, both of which are encouraged. So, in return, I have one request for everyone else for 2016: Try…

Kwame | don’t seem to know

Luckily, I’m one of those bloggers who seems to have great music trailing in his wake. It follows me. In this case, Boston artist Kwame wrote me an e-mail, sending along news of an upcoming EP, hey, mr. dreamer., which he’s releasing on Dec. 5. Hopefully it contains more tracks like “don’t seem to know”…

Jean Deaux | Act Right (Saturn’s Return)

“Can you feel it? / When you all alone / In yo chromosomes / Hummin thru ya bones” — asks The Village songstress Jean Deaux on her soulful track, “Act Right (Saturn’s Return)”, a track produced by Chicago’s THEMpeople as one of three songs on an EP called “Outer Body”. This astronomical jam runs through lyrics about…

Hedy Lamarr 101

Hedy Lamarr was once called the “most beautiful woman in the world” — and she was damn smart too. Born today in 1914, she was a talented actress, who clearly lacked good roles, and lamented that fact until the day she died. The actress and Austrian-Jewish immigrant was also the inventor of frequency-hopping technology, which…