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

Images & Words: SOPHIE, "It's Okay To Cry"


SOPHIE "It's Okay to Cry" Digital Single Every once in a while, somebody puts out something that takes your breath away. "It's Okay to Cry" is absolutely one of those moments. After spending her early career lurking behind faceless, chaotic, schizophrenic experimental dance music, the 32 year-old has stepped into the light and up to the microphone. The result is Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: King Krule, "Logos"


King Krule "Logos" The OOZ (out now on XL) Archy Marshall's excellent new album feels like a collection of those wonky dream states that exist somewhere in that nether region between being wake and sleep. Though I'm still digesting all 19 of its songs, the hypnotic, jazzy "Logos" immediately stuck out. Over languid jazz chords Read more

Hot Jam of the Day: The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, "For Robin"


The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die "For Robin" Always Foreign (Epitaph) There are many, many awful things about addiction, but little is as insidious as the way it pushes its victims away from loved ones from their previous life and deeper into their illness. Anybody who has lost someone to Read more

Best Of ’13

Best Songs of 2013 (So Far): Group 1, The Best of the Rest

Posted on by TP1.COM in Best Of '13, Featured | Comments Off on Best Songs of 2013 (So Far): Group 1, The Best of the Rest

And just like that, 2013 is half over. In short, it was an incredible six months of music, and as I do around here, I’ve decided to round up all my favorite songs of the last six months. Instead of putting them all out at once, I’ve decided to group them in five groups of ten(ish), and roll them out one-by-one this week and next. For all of our sakes, I’m going to keep my write ups short and sweet.

Our first group is basically the stragglers. They didn’t really fit into any of the rest of the categories, but they were too good not to write about.

Lil Snupe
“Melo”
804 R.N.I.C. (self-released)
Jonesboro, LA

We start this countdown on a tragic note. In the early hours of June 20th, Meek Mill-protégé Addarren “Lil Snupe” Ross was gunned down in Winnfield, LA. He was only 18 years old. While the passing of any 18 year-old is a tragedy, Ross seemed to have the world at his fingertips. After signing with Meek Mill’s Dream Chaser label, Snupe seemed ready to breakthrough. His debut mixtape, 804 R.N.I.C, showed his incredible promise as a lyricist and a storyteller, harking back to Louisiana’s rich hip-hop history. “Melo” serves as both an example of his tremendous potential that will never get to be fulfilled and a chilling window into the grim reality the fresh-faced teenager spent most of his life, and ultimately death, in. Terribly sad. RIP.

Jens Lekman
“Olivia and Maddy”
Digital Single
Gothenburg, SWE

Though he’s put out three exquisite albums (one of which was my favorite album of last year), Jens Lekman is really at his best on little one-off singles like this. Released just after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, he tells a beautiful little story about a simple act of kindess from two friends. This is just about perfect.

Ace Hood
“Bugatti” (f/ Future, Rick Ross)
Trials & Tribulations (We The Best, YMCMB)
Port St. Lucie, FL

Mike WiLL Made It and Future are usually a pretty formidable combo, especially when you throw in the ever-menacing Rick Ross. And while the beat is insane and the hook is immense, the 25 year-old Ace Hood is actually the unexpected star of the show, lacing his ravenous, loquacious flow over WiLL’s menacing synths and Future’s affected crooning. The result is one of the best rap songs of the year so far. TURNUP, k thx.

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Best 13 Albums of ’13: High Highs, Open Season (3 of 13)

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In case you missed it, 2013 has had a breathtaking first quarter. In the last ninety or so days, I’ve counted no less than 25 very good albums and 13 potential classics.

In case you missed any of them, I’ll be rounding them up over the next few days. 

High Highs
Open Season
January 29th, Fine Times

One of the great hidden gems of this quarter came from this pensive Australian duo. While it may come off unassuming and quaint at first, Open Season opens up to a masterful exercise in dynamics, mood, and storytelling. Vocalist Jack Milas’ evocative falsetto wafts effortlessly over Oli Chang’s glorious dollops of warm synths and delicately strummed acoustic guitars.

The duo highlights the growing movement of electronic-leaning artists embracing traces of acoustic and traditional instrumentation to devastating effect (Cloud Boat, James Blake). While some will bemoan a lack of a true standout single, Open Season is an album to be experienced in one sitting, preferably with some good headphones on, something to drink, and a warm blanket to curl up under.

Hottest Jams: “Milan,” “White Water,” “Phone Call”

Thunder Rating: 4.25 penguins out of 5

Best 13 Albums of 2013: Dawn Richard, Goldenheart (2 of 13)

Posted on by TP1.COM in Best Of '13, Featured | Comments Off on Best 13 Albums of 2013: Dawn Richard, Goldenheart (2 of 13)

In case you missed it, 2013 has had a breathtaking first quarter. In the last ninety or so days, I’ve counted no less than 25 very good albums and 13 potential classics.

In case you missed any of them, I’ll be rounding them up over the next few days. 

Up next, we’ve got Dawn Richard’s devastating second LP. 

Dawn Richard
Goldenheart
January 15th, Our Dawn

Fresh off two brilliant genre-bending EPs last year, the ex-Dannity Kane leader could have been forgiven for putting her 4-inch stilettos up for 2013, but barely two weeks into the new year, the New Orleanian unleashed her herculean, 16-track break-up opus on the unsuspecting public. The result is startling sonic experience, that sees the 29 year-old offer an honest take on loss, while fearlessly bringing the listener into her headspace.

Richard refuses to let Goldenheart‘s heavy subject matter weigh her down and brilliantly interjects lightness and humor in all the right places. Musically, it touches on everything from mystical future R&B to full-on Broadway balladeering (see: the show-stopping title track). The album it reminds me most of is 1977, The-Dream’s headfuck of a break-up album. Though I’ve been listening to it for nearly two months, it continues to open up in new ways to me. It’s a stunning achievement from an artist with a fascinating past and a wide-open future.

Hottest Jams: “Tug of War,” “Ode To You,” “Goldenheart”

Rating: 4.9 penguins out of 5

Best 13 Albums of 2013: A$AP Rocky, LONG.LIVE. A$AP (1 of 13)

Posted on by TP1.COM in Best Of '13 | Comments Off on Best 13 Albums of 2013: A$AP Rocky, LONG.LIVE. A$AP (1 of 13)

In case you missed it, 2013 has had a breathtaking first quarter. In the last ninety or so days, I’ve counted no less than 25 very good albums and 13 potential classics.

In case you missed any of them, I’ll be rounding them up over the next few days. 

Up first, we’ve got A$AP Rocky’s triumphant major label debut.  

A$AP Rocky
Long.Live.A$AP
January 15th, RCA


Proving he’s more than a Pretty Muthafucka, the Harlem MC quashed all notions that he was just a flash in a pan with his brilliant sophomore full-length. He’s always been a fantastic cultural curator with an ear for dope beats, but Rocky shows impressive versatility and lyrical nous, here.

I’d recommend steering clear of the 16-track deluxe album, as it makes the whole thing feel a bit labored. That said, the original is a dizzyingly fun ride that is simultaneously versatile and cohesive. Rocky does a nice job of including but not overdoing it on high-profile guests (Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Schoolboy Q) and superstar producers (Clams Casino, Hit-Boy), which results in an album that feels collaborative, yet exclusively Rocky.

Hottest Jams: “Fuckin’ Problems” (f/ Drake, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz), “PMW (All I Really Need)” (f/ Schoolboy Q), LVL

Rating: 4 penguins out of 5