Tierra Whack, "Only Child"


Tierra Whack "Only Child" Digital Single Tierra Whack's 2018 debut "Whack World" was one of the most promising debut albums I've heard in a very long time. However, I found it super hard to write about (and ultimately, fall in love with), because of her decision to chop all the tracks off Read more

CFCF, "Closed Space"


CFCF "Closed Space" Liquid Colours (out 03.01) Though I haven't listened to it as much as his ree-fucking-dick-u-lus J.Lo remix (aka: the best song of 2019 so far), the first single from Montreal mainstay Michael Silver's new album is an instant keeper. It kicks off with luxurious beds of neo-geo synths that Read more

Sade, "The Big Unknown"


Sade "The Big Unknown" Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she's only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning "The Big Unknown," Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Miya Folick "Thingamajig" Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible) With each new single, the talented LA vocalist is strengthening the case that her forthcoming LP could be one of the best debuts of the year. Her flexible vocals always stretch further than you expect, and she uses her seemingly unlimited range to exact maximum Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Welp, this is embarrassing. The week I roll out a new round-up column, I respond by posting exactly zero times. My editorial staff (of one) was pretty slammed this week, but that's no excuse. Hopefully this piece can make up for it, dear readers. I'll do better this week, because, Read more

Featured

Hot Jam of the Day (05.21.12): Nico Jaar+Sasha Spielberg (Just Friends): “Avalanche”

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Nico Jaar+Sasha Spielberg (aka Just Friends)
“Avalanche”
The 
Prism

I probably should kind of hate Nico Jaar. I’ve never met the man, but from the outside looking in, it seems like when he’s not DJing ultra-exclusive NYC club nights, playing sold-out shows, and being 194% more handsome than me, he’s making impossibly sexy jams with young Hollywood royalty. Coming off the back of his stunning collaboration with Scout LaRue Willis (Bruce and Demi’s daughter) “With Just One Glance,” he returns with a typically airy boner jam that features the breathy, alluring vocals of Sasha Spielberg (daughter of Steven and Kate Capshaw). While the studio version is only available on the pretty-damn-awesome Prism, this radio rip is indicative of why Jaar has amassed such an impressive library of work in such a short time. He has an incredible understanding of sonic space and can tactfully frame a vocal track with the touch and maturity of a seasoned producer. Did I mention that he’s still only 22? Ok, I think I hate him again….

NicoJaar+SashaSpielberg: “Avalanche”

Just in case you missed it, here’s “Just One Glance.”

Jaar+Willis: “With Just One Glance”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.18.12): Lemonade, “Softkiss”

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Lemonade
“Softkiss”
Diver (True Panther)

The same week we got a tasty video for the BK-via-SF 80’s-obsessed trio’s spellbinding slow jam, “Neptune,” they grace us with another slice of synth-slathered gold.  Though it’s a much more upbeat affair, it is cut from the same cloth as “Neptune” (one of the best ten songs of 2012 so far). Moody, expressive, and dripping with nostalgia, “Softkiss” again sees vocalist Callan Clendenin pinning over a lost lover. In the wrong hands, a refrain like “do you still wear my coat when you get cold?” would come off incredibly trite and callow, but Clendenin’s earnest croon turns it into an affecting rhetorical question that hits close to home. I thought their self-titled debut LP was forgettable, and their follow up EP, Pure Moods, was solid but unspectacular, but based off the two tracks I’ve heard, I think Diver might turn out to be an absolute gem. Watch this space.

Lemonade: “Softkiss”

Terius Tuesday: “Fancy”

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A lot of people ask me why I love The-Dream so much. The answer is simple; Terius “The-Dream” Nash is a pop music Jedi, and I fuckin’ love pop music. Every Tuesday, Thunder Penguin will celebrate and examine one of his best songs, for no other reason than to get a little more Terius in our lives.

The-Dream
“Fancy”
Love vs Money (Radio Killa, 2009)

We begin our journey through Terius Town with his finest work: the swirling, expansive centerpiece of his near-perfect sophomore LP, Love vs Money.  Though its contemplative spine makes it sonically atypical of Nash’s work, “Fancy” is the perfect introduction to Nash’s world (“trips to Monaco/designer nails from head to toe”). Beginning with a ruminative piano melody, it unfolds into a sprawling devotional to the one woman that not even Nash — the colossal cassanova — can resist, the “dream of a billion men.” In a genre known for the objectification of women, Nash prefers to deify them, a predilection nevermore apparent than on this track.

Over the next six and a half minutes, Nash’s vocals glide effortlessly over an undulating, lush arraignment that builds to an absolutely devastating climax. He’s always had a knack for a grand, unexpected finale (see: “Yamaha,” “Fuck My Brains Out”), and when he adds that pounding kickdrum, it makes for his grandest of all. Simply put, “Fancy” is a stellar introduction to Nash’s unbelievable ability as a songwriter. Easily one of the best ten songs of the decade.

The-Dream: Fancy

Hot Jam of the Day (05.15.12): The Tallest Man on Earth, “1904”

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The Tallest Man on Earth
“1904”
There’s No Leaving Now (Dead Oceans)

Ok, people. It’s officially time to start taking Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson seriously. The whole Dylan rip-off criticism needs to be put to bed. In a relatively short five years, he has cultivated an army of excellent folk songs and has crafted his own signature sound. On this, the first single from his upcoming third album There’s No Leaving Now (due out June 11), the diminutive Swede flexes his songwriting muscle, matching a light, meandering guitar line with his earnest, full-throated vocals. Like all the best folk artists, Matsson’s music has a knack for cultivating rich, transportive canvases that swallow up the listener and bring them into his reality, and “1904” is no different. One of the most distinctive and important voices in the genre today.

The Tallest Man on Earth: “1904”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.13.12): Best Coast, “How They Want Me To Be”

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Best Coast
“How They Want Me To Be”
The Only Place (Mexican Summer)

Without a doubt, no album has taken me off guard this year like the shimmering sophomore LP from the divisive Eagle Rock duo. As I’ll get into more when I review The Only Place later this week, it’s just such a huge step forward for the group. Channeling one of her heroes, Stevie Nicks, oft-derided vocalist/songwriter Bethany Cosentino dials back the reverb and really lets her voice shine, and the result is absolute magic. Cosentino paints an articulate, affecting reflection of what it’s like being a reluctant Internet celebrity. When she sings, “cuz when I wake up in the morning or the middle of night, I wonder who’s there and what they’ve said. But when I wake up in the morning or the middle of the night, I look at you and I know it’s alright,” it gives us an insight into who she is in a way that nothing she’s ever done has. An absolute standout from an incredibly special album.

Best Coast: “How They Want Me To Be”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.12.12): Jacques Greene & Ango, “Untitled

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Jacques Greene & Ango
“Untitled”
Unreleased

Montreal-based post-dubstep producer Jacques Greene has made a career of creating moods rather than songs. Airy, spacious cuts like “Another Girl” bubble and build in a way that pop songs just don’t. All of this makes his recent collaboration with mercurial Canadian vocalist Ango all the more spellbinding, as it is a decidedly non-pop take on the traditional typical pop/R&B formula. Driven by Ango’s smooth vocal and a typically urbane drum machine line, it starts out as another (admittedly potent) example of the bedroom R&B that is blowing up right now. About halfway through, it takes a totally unexpected left turn, which is pure Jacques Greene. Superb.

Jacques Greene: “Untitled”

And, the brilliant “Another Girl”…..

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/11100445″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (05.07.12): Teen Daze, “What You Feel”

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Teen Daze
“What You Feel”
All of Us, Together (B-Side) (Lefse)

Thanks to the Internet, trends come and go incomprehensibly quickly, and if you don’t heed Tim Gunn’s advice, you might end up on the wrong side of Heidi Klum’s mantra (and this week’s award for unnecessarily cryptic pop culture metaphor goes to….). Though chillwave ruled the blogosphere just a few years ago, it is damn near retro nowadays, and while it’s a relentlessly nostalgia-focused genre, its artists are going to need to look to the future if they are going to remain relevant.

A chillwaver who is doing just that is Vancouver’s Teen Daze. From the bits of the ridiculously chillwaveily-titled All of Us, Together that have been released, Daze has turned up the Balearic influence and focused on songcraft, resulting in a deft, yet marked change in direction from his surprisingly excellent past EPs 2010’s Four More Years and 2011’s A Silent Planet. Though this dancefloor-friendly cut doesn’t make the album, it serves as a good example of how far he’s come and a reminder of why so many are so excited to finally hear his first proper LP.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45189729″ iframe=”true” /]

Listen to “The Future,” a lovely pre-release cut from All of Us, Together.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42010656″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (05.06.12): CFCF, “Exercise #5 (September)”

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CFCF
“Exercise #5 (September)”
Exercise (Paper Bag)

I like everything I post on this site, but this is especially brilliant. Inspired by legendary composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Phillip Glass, the prolific Canadian producer’s new album is a swirling, icy collection of emotive piano-driven pieces. Like a filmless film score, Exercise nails the transformative, evocative quality that made the aforementioned artists so special, and after a few listens, I defy you not to get lost in Exercise’s fascinating world. This, the only track on the album with vocals, works so well in the context in the album, beacuse the warm, comforting vocals of CFCF (né Mike Silver) form the perfect contrast to the rest of his sparse, often-chilly compositions. This is really, really special.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44402238″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch Silver perform an arresting version of the song below (courtesy of Yours Truly).

Yourstru.ly Presents: CFCF – September from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.04.12): 2:54, “Creeping”

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2:54
“Creeping”
2:54 (Fat Possum)

From one excellent guitar-driven band to another, the debut full-length from the moody duo of Colette and Hannah Thurlow is just a few short weeks away and looks to be a corker. Hypnotic, expansive, and full of hooks, “Creeping” is a perfect example of what has made them one of the most talked about groups both in their native UK and stateside. Since they hit the scene with their debut EP, 2011’s mesmeric Scarlet, the group has shown that they possess a melodic maturity and guile that belies their youth. Though they don’t really sound like the XX, the similarities are very apparent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke through in a similar fashion in the second half of 2012. Roll on May 28.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44971771″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch the group’s video for “Scarlet.”

Hot Jam of the Day (04.30.12): Sigur Ros, “Varuo” (Radio Edit)

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Sigur Rós
“Varúð” (Radio Edit)
Valtari (XL)

Fresh off the heels of “Ekki Múkk,” the predictably stunning lead single from the group’s sixth LP Valtari, the Icelanders return with a fresh new slab of expansive, etherial magic. Though “Varúð” jives very well with their signature, crescendo-heavy sound, like “Ekki Múkk,” it is a slightly more stripped down version of the Sigur Rós we all know and fell so hopelessly in love with years ago. Vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson’s falsetto is as evocative as ever and is perfectly framed by a typically celestial, dramatic melody. Valtari was always going to be one of Thunder Penguin’s most anticipated albums of 2011, but if the rest of it lives up to its first two singles, it’s also going to be one of the best.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44821305″ iframe=”true” /]

Check out the visuals for “Ekki Múkk.”