Give It A Spin: Noname’s TELEFONE

Remember last month when we talked about Chicago singer Jamila Woods’ debut album for Debut Album Appreciation Month? Well, we’re going back to Chicago to shine some light on another excellent, enlightening debut project in Telefone from the rapper Noname.


The artist formerly known as Noname Gypsy (her reasoning for the change can be found here) was first introduced to me and many others on “Lost” from Chance the Rapper’s breakout project, Acid Rap. Since then she has continued to build with her fellow Chicagoians Saba, Mick Jenkins, Donnie Trumpet on Surf, and the aforementioned Jamila Woods.

On each feature Noname’s verses carry with them the freshness of the ever-underheard black woman, in a rapping style and flow that is not gendered or tailored or compromised in any way; one that’s as natural as and more robust than any given newcomer (on this year’s all male XXL Freshman list, for example). So the people began to wonder, when would Noname would drop a project all her own, and now she has. Continue reading

Follow My Playlist: Rihanna Impala


Earlier this month I got the bright idea to make a playlist featuring just Rihanna and Tame Impala as earlier this year she covered — and improved — Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” on her most recent album ANTI with “Same Ol’ Mistakes”.

So I took 10 of the more recent Rihanna songs I like, plus 10 of the more recent Tame Impala songs I like, and voila: Rihanna Impala — just because, and it kind of works. Rihanna and Kevin Parker should make an album together, but that would probably make Drake feel some kind of way.


[Image via LA Times/Getty]

Follow My Playlist: Where There’s Water 2


The heat and sun have finally returned to Austin for the end of summer so now’s a good time to share one last summer playlist before long days are soon gone. I liked last year’s Where There’s Water playlist so much I decided to run it back this year and share more sounds for when you’re out in or lounging near a body of water: Where There’s Water 2. Continue reading

Give It A Spin: KAYTRANADA’s 99%

It’s the end of July and so it’s the end of Debut Album Appreciation Month. How about we close it out with a brief introduction to (the other) Canadian wunder-producer Kaytranada, who set the standard for album of the summer back in May with the release of his debut 99% — which has been in heavy rotation for me, and generally good for my mood, ever since.


To get to know the man behind the music allow me to point you in the direction of this profile by Alex Frank for The Fader, it too is one of the best works of its kind this year. And yes, to really get the full Kaytranada musical experience you have to explore the depths and range of the numerous mixes and re-mixes on his Soundcloud. Soundcloud isn’t what it used to be, and that’s a topic for another day but, seeing “prod. Kaytranada” on a track meant an auto-repost, regardless of who provided the vocals for the track. Trusting Kaytranada to deliver production that’s sharp, capable of surprise and sparks curiosity at times; production that builds upon a groovy, life-affirming bounce hasn’t led me wrong yet.

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Give It A Spin: Jamila Woods’ HEAVN

While it’s Debut Album Appreciation Month — a thing I made up that could be a reason (not that you need one) to go back and listen to albums such as Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Country Grammar, or, say,
Hot Fuss, to name three random debut albums from the early 2000s — allow me to direct your attention to a new one and encourage you to download HEAVN, the timely and deeply personal debut album from Chicago artist Jamila Woods.

HEAVN_Front copy

HEAVN has all the freshness you’d want out of a debut in terms of sound, but Woods’ lyrics are the real juice of the album; her message is what drives the connection to the listener and is worth sharing widely. Plus there are a few you-got-me, I-got-you features from fellow Chicagoians NoName, Chance the Rapper (you probably first heard Jamila Woods on “Sunday Candy“), Saba, and Donnie Trumpet, which is a wonderful thing as the music and art coming out of Chicago seems to, well, keep coming; an uplifting bright spot amongst such deadly times there. Continue reading

Give It A Spin: Gallant’s OLOGY

When actively seeking new artists and albums on a daily basis — or at least trying to — you find there’s a lot to like out there, good work that’s worth sharing for one reason or another (I collect what new music I come across regardless of genre in this playlist here). But, on more rare occasions, you come across a work that speaks perfectly to who you are or what you’re into at that particular moment in time, something that conveys relatable feeling yet is endlessly enjoyable. For me, back in April when it was released and still now, that’s the modern soul album, Ology; the debut album from singer Christopher Gallant.


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