July 24, 2015
I've already made my near-obsessive stance on Ramriddlz, the weirdly compelling, genre-bending singer from outer borough Toronto, fully known. But though "Sweeterman" has been my song through-and-through for the past few weeks, his latest drop, a deep dancehall tune called "Call Me," is really the one. Over a Chillaa- and Jaegen-produced riddim, Ram and dancehall spitter Nemesis go all the way in. Bring your bogle to the dancefloor. — Rawiya Kameir
You could probably stand to have Tame Impala's entire new album <i>Currents</i> in your life. But the standout track "Yes I'm Changing" is legit a great place to start. On the slow-burning four-minute song, as on the rest of the album, the Australian psych-rock band somehow manages to make something as tough as a breakup sound warm and promising. You could call it bittersweet, I suppose, just like these wise-words-turned-lyrics—<i>There's nothing left that I can do/ So don't be blue/ There is another future waiting there for you</i>. — Rawiya Kameir
The other week, I watched a skin-crawling viral short film by a British filmmaker who was attempting to make a point about how online dating has impacted IRL hook-ups. He had a male actor approach women at random in streets and parks to ask them for a date. The film totally missed the point that women don't dislike being approached in the street by strange men because of Tinder—they dislike it because it happens to them frequently, and it's often uncomfortable and, at worst, threatening or dangerous. It's a phenomenon that we're so often told to just ignore, or be flattered by—but dealing with it can be exhausting. But this week, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Empress Of gave me a reason to breathe a sigh of relief with her song about cat-calling, "Kitty Kat." Because "Kitty Kat," with the searing comeback line don't 'kitty kitty kat' me like I'm just your pussy, just gets it. Its swarm of razor-sharp synths transform this pretty pop song into an angry protest against the mentality that being approached or shouted out in the street is harmless. I'm with Empress Of; let me walk away. — Aimee Cliff
The production on “Another World,” the swift-paced track from Royal Headache’s finally-almost-here sophomore LP, might seem somewhat chiseled compared to the Australian band’s earliest ramshackle recordings. But it’s still got that great frazzled quality, like it’s bursting at the seams with anguish; soulful-voiced crooner Shogun even lets out a scratchy, exasperated <i>Yeaaahhh</i> a few times. Listen to it really loud and let it out along with him, you’ll be better for it.— Patrick D. McDermott
Kurt Vile never fails to lift my spirits. The first single off my favorite shaggy-haired stoner's sixth solo record (the upcoming b’lieve i’m goin down, slated for September 25th release via Matador), “Pretty Pimpin’,” is a goddamn cool breeze of a song: it hits home but isn’t a bummer. <i>I woke up one morning/ Didn’t recognize the man in the mirror/ Then I laughed and I said/ Oh silly me, that’s just me</i>, he sings. His sweet and salty voice chilled me out on a particularly difficult day this week. He just gets it, man. — Leah Mandel
This Breakbot remix brought me back to earth this week. It's old as shit and I've written about it at least four times before but there's no expiration date on songs this therapeutic. It finds a way of rolling back into vision every summer: this time, Breakbot's "Baby I'm Yours" popped up on shuffle and it hit me like old familiar lightening. Who says it can't strike twice?
Living in New York, I spend a lot more time in the car during the summer—escaping to places with less pavement than here—and am therefore more versed in the Top 40 during these few months. This year I've been struck by how strong Diplo's grip on the radio seems to be—and not the occasional Usher hits that happen to be produced by Diplo, but actual Major Lazer and other stuff that sounds like it could be Major Lazer. "Lean On," which features MØ, is good, but I really love "Powerful," a sultry, slippery duet between the sateen-voiced Ellie Goulding and reggae singer Tarrus Riley (who actually sounds more like he might be in Imagine Dragons on this song). The way they sing about one another is representative of my relationship with this song.<i> It's so powerful</i>.