Images & Words: Jamie Isaac, "Doing Better"


Jamie Isaac "Doing Better" Digital Single After a year or so away, the low-key Croydon singer-songwriter returns with the first song from his forthcoming sophomore LP. "Doing Better" is another tasty slab of the bleary-eyed, late-night soul that made his debut, "Couch Baby," my 14th favorite album of 2016. Isaac is blessed Read more

Images & Words: Mabel x Not3s, "Fine Line"


Mabel x Not3s "Fine Line" Digital Single Mabel and Not3s both appeared on my "Best Songs of 2017" list as solo artists, so it's not surprising that their second single together is an absolute heater. "Fine Line" has more crossover potential than anything either artist has released before, bringing an anthemic, radio-ready chorus to go with their signature, lithe, Read more

Images & Words: 03 Greedo, "Never Bend"


O3 Greedo "Never Bend" Money Changes Everything (out now on Golden Grenade Empire) Not gonna lie, I slept on 03 Greedo last year, but I'm not going to make the same mistake twice. The Watts rapper is one of the most unique, exciting new voices rising today, pairing soulful crooning and sticky bars for a Read more

Best of '17: The Best Songs of 2017


So that's it. 6 years of ThunderPenguin are in the books. As always, here's a round-up of my favorite songs of the year. This was one of the toughest lists I've ever made, and I hope something on this list brings you the light it brought me. Thanks so Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: T-Pain, "Textin' My Ex" (f/ Tiffany Evans)


T-Pain “Textin’ My Ex” (f/ Tiffany Evans) Oblivion Tomorrow, T-Pain drops his long-awaited fifth LP, the culmination of the most trying era of the R&B innovator’s career. Through no real fault of his own, Pain (né Faheem Najm) went from the jolly ringmaster of a multi-million dollar radio empire to a Read more

Frank Ocean, “Moon River”

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Frank Ocean
“Moon River”

Digital Single
Every time Frank Ocean puts out a new song, it feels like an event, no matter what it is. Case in point: this loose, simple cover of a song from the original Breakfast at Tiffany’s Soundtrack basically shut down the Internet when it dropped on Valentine’s Day. Reminiscent of his cover of the Isley Brothers-penned Aaliyah classic “At Your Best (You Are Love),” it’s a pretty faithful rendition that mostly works because of that rare, beguiling quality of his once-in-a-lifetime voice.

Images & Words: S. Carey, “More I See”

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S. Carey
“More I See”
Hundred Acres (out 2.23 on Jagjaguwar)

Maybe it’s because of the weather, but it just feels so go to cuddle up with these new Sean Carey tracks. Though it’s just as lambswool soft as previous singles “Fool’s Gold” and “Still, Still, Still,” “More I See” has the kind of glorious hook that his tracks don’t tend to, which feels tailor-made to soundtrack a pivotal moment of some network TV show that I don’t watch. That might not sound like a big deal, but in 2018 indie rock, that can be a career changer.

Julianna Barwick, “Garland”

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Julianna Barwick
“Garland”

Digital Single
When Julianna Barwick sings, I listen. On “Garland,” she pairs her celestial, angelic voice with a slow-burning pulse that deftly rises to a stunning climax. Though there’s no official word, hopefully this track will foreshadow a full-length follow up to her wonderful third LP, “Will.”

Images & Words: Chloe x Halle, “The Kids Are Alright”

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Chloe X Halle
“The Kids Are Alright”

Grown-ish Soundtrack
This sweetly acerbic swooner is the perfect antidote to the innumerable, tiresome “Millennials Are Trash” think-pieces that have become a cottage industry these days. The Beyoncé-backed familial duo, Chloe and Halle Bailey, are the perfect pair to deliver the message, blending their gorgeous voices together to stand up for their generation.

Soccer Mommy, “Still Clean”

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Soccer Mommy
“Still Clean”

Clean (out 03/02 on Fat Possum)
I was a little late in discovering Sophie Allison’s bedroom guitar-pop, but this forlorn heartbreaker hooked its fangs into me real quick. “Still Clean” is a downcast track about the way young love makes you learn that what’s real to you isn’t always real to someone else. Over a delicate, but busy guitar-line, Allison realizes she’d mistaken love for lust and that it’s time to move on. No matter how universal that feeling is, it’s such a difficult pill to swallow.

Images & Words: BlocBoy JB x Drake, “Look Alive”

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BlocBoy JB
“Look Alive” (f/ Drake)

Digital Single
Young Angel links up with Memphis’ most promising young rapper for a monster single. Bristling with the electricity and urgency that was sorely lacking on his recent singles, “Look Alive” features some of Drake’s sharpest barbs, and he sounds refreshed and empowered by his 21 year-old counterpart’s infectious energy. Though he’s still making his way in the industry, BlocBoy isn’t overawed by his co-star, dropping a memorable, sticky verse of his own. This one has the potential to be huge.

Images & Words: Jamie Isaac, “Doing Better”

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Jamie Isaac
“Doing Better”
Digital Single

After a year or so away, the low-key Croydon singer-songwriter returns with the first song from his forthcoming sophomore LP. “Doing Better” is another tasty slab of the bleary-eyed, late-night soul that made his debut, “Couch Baby,” my 14th favorite album of 2016. Isaac is blessed with a warm, soft tenor and is a talented piano player — both of which are on full display on this broken-winged ballad. More like this please, Jamie.

Warren Wolfe, “Careful U”

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Warren Wolfe
“Careful U”
Digital Single
Released as an unfinished demo on SoundCloud, “Careful U” is my favorite thing the rising Brooklyn singer-songwriter has put out yet. Though he’s best known for his gorgeous, aching falsetto, he dials back the vocals here, using his angelic voice as hypnotic window dressing rather than the main focus. The result is a swirling slice of dark-wave that wouldn’t sound out of place on a packed dance-floor. Whether it’s a one-off or a sign of a stylistic pivot to come, it’s an encouraging sign that Wolfe won’t be tied down to one particular sound.

Clara La San, “Unplanned”

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claralasan-1Clara La San
“Unplanned”

Good Mourning (out now on OCLONES)
I’m not proud of it, but somehow I completely missed the UK singer’s long-awaited debut mixtape when it dropped back in late November. So to make up for that oversight, I wanted to write about one of my favorite tracks on it — this emotional ode to mixing things up in a relationship. “Unplanned” highlights La San’s soft, evocative vocals and subtle songwriting, which are in abundance all over the exquisite, “Good Mourning.”

Images & Words: Mabel x Not3s, “Fine Line”

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Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 12.01.22 PMMabel x Not3s
“Fine Line”

Digital Single
Mabel and Not3s both appeared on my “Best Songs of 2017” list as solo artists, so it’s not surprising that their second single together is an absolute heater. “Fine Line” has more crossover potential than anything either artist has released before, bringing an anthemic, radio-ready chorus to go with their signature, lithe, Afropop and R&B infused sound. Though Not3s is a rising star in his own right, Mabel sounds incredible here, and it’s starting to feel like she’s the next UK artist who will make true waves in the American pop landscape. Probably my favorite song of this young year.

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