Culture (and TV)
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Persona La Ave, "We Are"

RELATION / TEMPATION by PERSONA LA AVEJust one of a small handful of standout tracks on Persona La Ave's warbly, synth-driven twin EPs, out this week. Try "Cheers Big Ears" for something more upbeat, then "She Dances" to slow things down almost to a stop.

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Only Real, "Pass the Pain"

A wobbly and proudly silly pop song from London's Only Real. Like "Cadillac Girl," "Pass the Pain" tips back and forth between endearing and slightly irritating, and never quite lets us know if its relationship with the 90s is pastiche, tribute, or coincidence.

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Premium Gore

The first episode of Steven Soderbergh's The Knick, which is streaming for free, is worth watching just for the street scenes in turn-of-the-century New York. It's a nasty, crowded place, but the shots aren't overstuffed and bustling—the show knows it has time, so it doesn't feel the need to introduce you to every rag peddler and slumlord at once. In this way, it is not like a movie.

Here is how The Knick is like a movie: It's beautiful, and it's totally disgusting. The Knick is possibly the most visually arresting show in TV, not only for its setting but for its portrayal of the human body, inside [...]

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iLoveMakonnen ft. Drake, "Club Goin Up on a Tuesday"

This is an unusual song, constitutionally. Atlanta upstart iLoveMakonnen (Makonnen Sheran) released a video for his track, "Club Goin Up On A Tuesday," last month, and it was a hit. Not huge, but it got noticed. Quite noticed! So Drake shows up to guest on a remix of the same track. He doesn't bigfoot, though: he sings with deference to Sheran's style, almost in Sheran's style, higher and smoother than we've really heard him before.

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Cate Le Bon, "Duke"

Cate Le Bon gets the occasional Belle and Sebastian comparison, but her songs are a few full degrees less tense—they're a relief to listen to, always unwound and loose, but never sleepy. Further listening: "I Can't Help You" and "He's Leaving."

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Ryn Weaver, "Promises"

A month after materializing out of the fog of Tumblr with the surprising and extremely catchy "OctaHate," Ryn Weaver has posted another song.

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Lewis, "So Be In Love With Me"

Here is a track from the second album by the mysterious Lewis, who, with his exhumed debut vanity record, L'Amour, became a small internet sensation. This one was recently discovered in storage at a Calgary record store. Still no sign of the man himself: Sourced soon after the re-release of L’Amour, Romantic Times is the 1985 follow-up to L’Amour – and it’s released as Lewis Baloue. The name may be slightly different, but this is absolutely our man: a familiar blond posing on the sleeve, a familiar, tortured voice pouring his heart out over languid synths and synthetic waltz beats.

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Jay Prince, "Polaroids"

Jay Prince, the East London rapper, tells The 405: "I don't know, I mean it wasn't really much else, there was no big thing that happened behind it—it was just me getting back into the swing of things and just trying something new." Good enough for me!

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Shabazz Palaces, "#CAKE"

Here is Shabazz Palaces with its first full video from Lese Majesty. The group, like this song, is all sharp edges and extreme angles—the album's tracks often don't take shape until halfway through, which is exhilarating and disorienting. In "#CAKE," Catherine Harris-White shows up about a minute and half in, starts to give us something we can hold on to, then recedes into the chaotic background again.

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Kelela with Le1f, "OICU"

Kelela, sounding pained but calm. Le1f, floating easily in P. Morris's murky production. A good song for staring blankly into the middle distance! [Via]

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Nick Hakim, "Cold"

In the mode of the New New New Music Criticism, which lives exclusively in Soundcloud and YouTube comments and is actually possibly an improvement, overall: "Chills!!" Nick Hakim is very good at singing. [Via]

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Doja Cat, "Beautiful"

After "So High," the single from LA-based Doja Cat's new EP, Fader tags "Control" as the standout track. I'll point to "Beautiful," but just listen to the whole thing; it's all great, and streaming for free right here.

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The Last Ever Song of the Summer

Where is the song of the summer? American music writers have been asking this question every week since summer began, usually with Iggy Azalea playing in the background:

We Deserve a Better Song of SummerWhat’s The Song Of The Summer?What's Our Anthem? Searching For the Song of The Summer of 2014The Summer Without a Song

This transitioned to rationalization:

Changing habits make it tough to identify top summer songsCan anything truly be called “song of the summer” anymore?

Then grieving:

Flashback: Seven Memorable Songs of Summers Past

This situation [...]

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Spoon, "Inside Out"

Here is a video from Spoon's new album, They Want My Soul, which is the second most important thing you need to know about today if you like listening to Spoon: Here, free for now, are all ten songs streaming for free. [Via]

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The War on Drugs, "Under The Pressure"

The second single from Lost in the Dream, and a rare example of a song that's cheery despite its constituent parts signaling, in unison, overwhelming depressiveness.

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Travis Scott, "Quintana Pt. 2"

"THIS IS NOT A MIXTAPE FREE ALBUM AND VIDEO FOR THE KIDS," tweeted Travis Scott after posting the sprawling, guest-packed Days Before Rodeo in full. You can stream it here; listen in the track above for an uncredited guest from T.I.

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Mick Jenkins ft. The Mind, "Shipwrecked"

The first track on a languid but powerful mixtape from Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins. The whole thing is streaming here; the title track and "Healer" are two highlights among many. (Via Fader)

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Bel Esprit, "Lose My Mind"

A funny consequence of the way people find new music now is that it's not always easy to remember where a song came from. The physical circumstances are irrelevant: Were you sitting in a chair in front of your work screen, or standing in line looking at your pleasure screen? Who cares. Did a friend send you a link, and how? Was it on one of your sites? Did an algorithm match you with it? If so, what chain of actions led it to think you might like this song? There are too many of those to replicate; who's to say where the chain started, anyway? Here is a song [...]

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Mr. Twin Sister, "Blush"

Here is a smoky, four-minute flop on the couch from Mr. Twin Sister, formerly known as Twin Sister. It's gorgeous in a way the band pulls off regularly; this song is a spiritual successor to 2010's excellent "Other Side of Your Face," which you can listen to here. (Via GvB.)

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FKA Twigs, "Pendulum"

The aesthetic incongruity of each new FKA Twigs song is starting to wear off, and all the styles are starting to settle together; if you were trying to make some kind of point, you could probably get away with saying she makes industrial music.