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

Images & Words

Images & Words: i do not love., “i like you most”

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i do not love.
“i like you most”
idnl. (out now on limited 7″ on Beko)

I don’t know who he is, and I don’t know what he’s singing about, but the Mansfield, Massachusetts shoegazer’s new 4-song EP is an absolute knock-out. The singer/songwriter sets the way-back machine to the slate-grey Manchester skies of 1982 and comes out with four lovelorn, dreamy gems. I’m not going to tell you the bands the disc reminds me of, because it simply wouldn’t be fair to the kid. That said, it’s pretty obvious as soon as you hear his vulnerable baritone, the undulating basslines, the jangly guitars, and the buoyant drum patterns. One of the real hidden gems of recent times.

While you’re at it, check out the EP’s brilliant first single, “Dreams Please Too.”

Images & Words: Elbow, “New York Morning”

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Elbow
“New York Morning”
The Take Off and Landing of Everything (out 3/10 on Fiction)

After a few years away, Manchester’s kings of wide-eyed triumphant melancholia are back, and evidently they are returning with extra helpings of their life-affirming, windswept Elbow-ness. The lead single from their 6th LP, “New York Morning,” is exactly what you’d think Guy Garvey would write about falling in love with the easiest city to fall in love with in the world. As a somewhat recent NYC transplant, I’d be lying if I claimed that I don’t totally understand his wholehearted, earnest (read: cheesy af) love letter to the city, and I’m sure this will find its way into my earbuds on walks around the city. Simply put, it is Elbow at their unabashed best.

Images & Words: P. Morris, “Hold Tight”

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P. Morris
“Hold Tight”
Cold Confessions (Folie Deuce Compilation)

The young Angelino (formerly known as Morri$) flips Justin Bieber’s “Hold Tight” to perfection in the build-up to his aptly-titled debut LP, Debut, which is due out on February 25. Morris’ work has subtlety that is sometimes hard to find in the genre, and the youngster is rapidly building a very impressive back catalogue,  including production credits for our girl Kelela, LE1F, and Feist.

Images & Words: Memoryhouse, “Get Back”

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Memoryhouse
“Get Back”
Taken from NPR’s World Cafe

Since 2010, there are very few artists that I have devoted more words to than this resplendent Ontario-based dream-wave duo. Simply put, their near-perfect, celestial debut EP, The Years, is one of my favorite albums of the last five years. Its follow-up, The Slideshow Effect, didn’t glitter in quite the same gauzy way, as the group opted for a more upbeat approach, resulting in a slightly uneven effort. That said, I continue to have incredible hope for the duo, and this cut (and the other new ones played at World Cafe) show that The Years may have just been the sound of a young group scratching the surface.

Listen to the whole session, over at NPR.

Images & Words: Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”

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Arcade Fire
“Afterlife”
Reflektor (out now on Merge)

First thing’s first, I like Arcade Fire. I do. However, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to get excited about their critically-acclaimed, fourth album. Yesterday, my good friend and old roommate (who has stubbornly refused to let me ignore Reflektor) finally sent me something that has made me sit up and take notice. “Afterlife” is the kind of engrossing, epic (vomit) statement that made me fall in love with their earlier work, and the video is as disarming and emotive as the track. Hopefully, it will be the foothold that I need to get into the (supposed) majesty of this record, but even if it doesn’t turn out to be, at least there’s now a part of the front-runner for Album of the Year that I understand.

Images & Words: Sampha, “Too Much”

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Sampha
“Too Much”
Too Much/Happens 7″ (out 11/12 on Young Turks)

Fresh off the quality, Dual EP, the Central-ish Londoner takes over the Nothing Was the Same track that he guested on. It’s a gorgeous, spare take on the original (which, he stole the show on) that highlights his distinct, evocative vocals. On repeat.

Images & Words: Freddie Gibbs, “Eastside Moonwalker”

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Freddie Gibbs
“Eastside Moonwalker”
ESGN — Evil Seeds Grow Naturally (out now on ESGN)

Somehow, I totally missed the Gary, IN-native’s quality debut LP when it dropped in June, but as they say, better late than never. Admittedly, the album suffers from its bloated tracklist (nobody needs to hear 19 songs by anybody), but its many highlights remind us that when the uber-underrated, combative MC is on top form, not too many can touch him. The devastating, twinkling key-kissed “Eastside Moonwalker” is a perfect example of the 31 year-old at his superlative best.

Images & Words: Julianna Barwick, “Ash Day” (A Take Away Show)

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Julianna Barwick
“Ash Day” (A Take Away Show)

The Brooklyn-based purveyor of ethereal, sweeping ultra-gorgeousness performs a new song that is as beautiful as the serene streets of Iceland where it was filmed. Standing on a chilly-looking urban avenue, the Missouri-native graciously passes out candy to passing children while she performs a celestial, layered hymn, as only she can. Sah-wooooon.

Images & Words: Wet, “You’re The Best”

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Wet
“You’re The Best”
Wet (out now on Neon Gold)

Every once in a while, a band comes along that you just kind of want to paint your flag on. That’s currently happening for me with this downtempo, unGoogleable Brooklyn trio. Their debut EP is an affecting collection of simple, direct songs that dig their little fingers into you and simply refuse to let go. Vocalist Kelly Zutrau’s haunting vocals and plaintiff lyrics are deftly framed by swaths of reverb-soaked guitars and electro-percussion. Lyrically, “You’re the Best” stands in stark contrast to much of the rest of the heartbroken album, but sonically, it’s a great example of what makes them so special. Catching them at CMJ cemented my belief that in a year or so these guys are going to be huge. There’s plenty of room on the bandwagon now; hop on before it gets too full.

Images & Words: Kwes, “36”

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Kwes
“36”
ilp. (out 10/15 on Warp)

The South London R&B dreamer’s debut LP drops tomorrow and is one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Its undeniable second single, “36,” gets an adorable, touching treatment, dealing with a high school love in a way that everyone can relate to. All hail, King Kwes!