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

Images & Words

Images & Words: KAMI, “Payload”

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Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 5.00.44 PMKAMI
“Payload”
Superstar (Self-Released)
Not sure how I missed the Chicago native’s 2017 EP, Superstar, but I’m damn glad I found it. The Savemoney affiliate just graced the disc’s second track with a similarly energetic video. Kami is one of those rappers who doesn’t save hooks for choruses, and his bars are teaming with melodies that will get stuck in your head. Definitely one to watch in 2018.

Images & Words: G Perico, “Affiliated”

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G-PericoG Perico
“Affiliated”

2 Tha Left (out 12.08 on So Way Out)
Though he’s already dropped two rock-solid projects this year, the LA MC isn’t done feeding the streets this year. “Affiliated” is yet another example of Perico’s potent sound, which recalls a bygone era when California ruled the hip-hop. That said, the 29 year-old is far from an imitator and is infinitely more interested in writing new history than trying to recreate someone else’s.

Images & Words: Smerz, “Have Fun”

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das-duo-smerz-erklrt-dir-1490023826Smerz
“Have Fun”

Digital Single
The rising Norwegian deconstructed electro-pop duo come through with one of their most potent tracks to date. Vocalists Henriette Motzfeldt and Catharina Stoltenberg nonchalantly glide through proceedings, mantrically repeating “nothing is embarrassing” over lazy sci-fi synths and bouncy percussion. In short,”Have Fun” sounds like a disassociated party jam for an event that probably looked a lot more fun on Instagram than it actually was to attend.

Images & Words: DaVido, “Like Dat”

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download (1)DaVido
“Like Dat”

Digital Single
Who needs albums when you drop singles like this? While the world waits with baited breath for official album news, the 25 year-old mega-star doesn’t have time for all that, preferring to drop smash after smash. By my count, “Like Dat” is the Lagos native’s 10th single of the year. And like the vast majority of those songs, it fucking bangs. His warm vocals are second to none, and they slither through a seductive deep house chords and bouncy percussion. Album or not, this guy’s on fire.

Images & Words: Ariel Pink, “Feels Like Heaven”

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9def5329blog_cropped-580Ariel Pink
“Feels Like Heaven”

Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (Kemado)
Ariel Pink’s psych-pop is very hit and miss for me. It’s partially because of his odious persona, but it’s primarily the fact that I’ve never had much time for his very obvious, bizzaro 70’s and 80’s influences. That said, the man can write one hell of a pop song, and “Feels Like Heaven” is another example of that rare knack. Lovesick and bathed in neon light, Ariel beautifully distills his intoxicating early-relationship jitters into an airtight, dreamy, reverb-soaked package. He’s rarely this direct, but he’s so much better when he is.



Images & Words: Miles From Kinshasa, “FIREWORKS”

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Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 3.04.13 PMMiles From Kinshasa
“FIREWORKS”

LIMBO (out now on Quality Time)
It’s crazy that it’s been more than two years since Miles From Kinshasa dropped his lovely debut single, “IVRY.” What’s even more crazy is that I somehow totally missed the release of his debut LP, “LIMBO,” and this, its glorious lead single. Like “IVRY,” this cut is a slab of urbane, smooth city soul that pairs the Londoner’s affecting, easy vocal with modern, quiet-stormy instrumentation. It’s indicative of the rest of the project, which is well worth diving deeper into.

Images & Words: The Golden Filter, “End of Times”

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GoldenFilter_The Golden Filter
“End of Times”

End Of Times EP (out 11.10 on Optimo)
On their new single, the London synth-pop duo turn the melodrama up to 11 and dial up a slow-mo swooner that will leave you basking in the neon glow. Inspired by the absurdity and unpredictability of the modern world, vocalist Penelope Trappes finds solace in the only thing we can rely on in such times: the arms of another. It’s smooth and slick but also warm and human.

Images & Words: The National, “I’ll Still Destroy You”

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the-national.graham-macindoe.4366_wide-2c5d8eef9bddef8bffb630b84ec075ecfe72d043-s1900-c85-1504652399-640x360The National
“I’ll Still Destroy You”
Sleep Well Beast (out now on 4AD)
Frankly, I’m shocked by how much I’ve grown to love the Brooklyn vets’ seventh LP. After 2013’s tepid “Trouble Will Find Me,” I’d sort of assumed that their misery porn had reached its zenith, now ten years on from the seminal “Boxer.” However, “Sleep Well Beast” finds the band regaining their emotional heft, nowhere more evident than this stunning rumination on escapism, be it by drugs, dreams, or nostalgia. Looking more than a little bit like Heisenberg, vocalist Matt Berninger gets lost in nights and dreams gone by, reveling in their narcotic power, while despairing at the knowledge that no matter how he tries, those harsh lights are going to come on before he knows it.

Images & Words: Mayorkun, “Mama”

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MayorkunMayorkun
“Mama”

Digital Single
Already a big hit in his native Nigeria, “Mama” is a gorgeous swoon of a love song that beautifully matches soca and R&B. It’s the latest in a string of impressive singles for the 23 year-old. Blessed with a pure, easy tenor, Mayorkun manages to capture the silly way falling headlong in love can make you feel without coming off jokey or insincere. Delish.

Images & Words: SOPHIE, “It’s Okay To Cry”

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Screen-Shot-2017-10-19-at-9.05.23-AM-1508418344-640x328SOPHIE
“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 pure magic.

Built around a twinkling, celestial piano melody, “It’s Okay To Cry” plays out like a tender, ultra-modern Disney ballad. Her voice is sweet and confident, as she consoles a heartbroken loved one. The depth and power of the message is ratcheted up by the stunning visuals, which depict Sophie as an angelic figure. More than being Sophie’s first public appearance, it’s also the first time she’s clarified which pronouns (she/her) she’s using. It’s a massive statement in so many ways, and truly one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.