Look, I hate to do it, I don't want to do it, but I have to do it. Reader, it's my job: I have to come up with a new term to encompass a clutch of music. I know, I know, we need another darkwave/coldwave/drumstep/chillstep/witch house/shithouse like we need a hole in the head. But we have to do it. Writers, editors and maybe even readers (big maybe) need a word to throw around, make fun of, feel depressed about. Like, how are we going to be nostalgic for this shit in ten years if we never figure out what to call it?
So which shit? Right. It's the shit that none of us are content to simply call Alt-R&B or, god-forbid, PBR&B anymore because: a) No one liked those terms to begin with; and 2) the shit in question has mutated beyond them. Back in August, 2012, my colleague Barry Walters cogently lassoed the initial explorers of this sonic space – Frank Ocean, Miguel, How to Dress Well, among others – characterizing their synthesis of "soul-baring singing and songwriting" with "vanguard electronics" as a potential boon for music, and at that point it seemed like it would be: channel Orange, Kaleidoscope Dreams, Total Loss were richly rewarding records.