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: Nite Jewel, “How it Was”

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Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.44.22 AMNite Jewel
“How It Was”

Real Low (out now on Gloriette)
Ramona Gonzalez has been on an absolute tear this year. She’s already dropped an excellent LP and a 12” on Italians Do It Better, and now there’s a new collection of b-sides for us to sink our teeth into. The disc also comes with a new video for the seductive and gentle ballad, “How it Was,” which originally appeared on the IDIB release.

Images & Words: Pi’erre Bourne, “Water Boy”

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Pierre-BournePi’erre Bourne
“Water Boy”
Life of Pi’erre Vol 2. (self-released)
Already the architect of one of the best rap singles of 2017, the Atlanta native is also building a burgeoning solo career of his own. Like his production work, Bourne’s solo stuff is driven by delicious, glossy synths and wobbly percussion. To me, he sounds more comfortable when he’s singing than when he’s rapping, and “Water Boy” is an excellent representation of his potential as a songwriter and a vocalist.

Images & Words: Kamaiyah, “Build You Up”

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kamaiyah-depressionKamaiyah
“Build You Up”
Don’t Get it Twisted (out soon)
While her growing army of fans wait patiently for her follow-up to last year’s incredible A Good Night in the Ghetto, the East Bay native hooks us up with this feel-good new single. Packed with undeniable melodies, an uplifting message, and all sorts of delicious 90s vibes, “Build You Up” is an ode to the restorative power of true friendship. It also highlights her developing talent as a singer, which will help cement her place as one of the most versatile, exciting talents on the planet right now. <3 <3 <3

Images & Words: AJ Tracey, “False 9”

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Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 8.36.52 PMAJ Tracey
“False 9”

Digital Single
This video combines two of my favorite things, grime and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Spurs have let me down many times in my life, but this new single to commemorate the 2017 kit is a 5-0 win against Ar**nal. BRB, gonna go buy three of those new track jackets. 😍😍😍

Images & Words: The National, “Guilty Party”

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the-nationalThe National
“Guilty Party”

Sleep Well Beast (out 09.08 on 4AD)
Though their relevance has wained since their triumphant mid-00’s run, the Brooklyn quintet is still capable of crafting beautiful miserabilism like this. The overarching feeling captured here is resignation, the grim realization that something important to you is slipping through your fingers. As per usual, Matt Berninger’s downcast vocals are the song’s centerpiece, and they are swallowed up gorgeously by its powerful outro. I’ve found it difficult to muster much excitement about their upcoming seventh record, but this is promising.

Images & Words: Future, “PIE” (f/ Chris Brown)

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Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 10.06.39 AMFuture
“PIE” (f/ Chris Brown)
Digital Single
The fuel all your summer midsummer misadventures, Future and Chris Brown’s new surprise single is an infectious bop that celebrates their hedonistic personas. The duo is armed with a pair of earworm verses, a nasty hook, and enough drug references to make Hunter Thompson blush. It’s hard to tell what kind of staying power it will have, but it definitely has the potential to stick.

Images & Words: Turnover, “Super Natural”

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Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 4.32.33 PMTurnover
“Super Natural”
Good Nature (out 08.25 on Run for Cover)
The Virginia trio has been a longtime favorite around these parts, since their excellent 2015 LP, Peripheral Vision. Much of their previous work reminds me of the alt-rock of my pre-teen years (weirdly, especially the Gin Blossoms). But the lead single from their forthcoming album feels (a little too much) like a Real Estate song to me. It’s a solid, if unspectacular first step that will hopefully lead to much more.

Images & Words: Toro Y Moi, “Girl Like You”

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toro-y-moi-surprise-album-samantha-download-715x418Toro Y Moi
“Girl Like You”

Boo Boo (07.07 on Carpark)
Throughout his nearly 10-year career, Chaz Bundick has blown hot and cold for me. He’s a solid songwriter, but often his singing voice felt slight and polite to me, too timid to make a real dent. However, on his breezy new single, “Girl Like You,” the 30 year-old treats his vocals with some light autotune, which adds that little bit of oomph that much of his old work was missing. It’s a subtle but impactful adjustment, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Images & Words: MoStack, “Screw & Brew” (f/ Mist)

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Cg5en1HWsAI3CH6MoStack
“Screw & Brew” (f/ Mist)

High Street Kid (MizerMillion)
If you’ve been reading my site, you’ll know that the North Londoner is one of my favorite new artists of the year, and his excellent debut mixtape will do nothing but make that flame even bigger. His third single, “Screw & Brew,” perfectly exemplifies his intoxicating sound: a little bit Afropop, a little bit grime, a little bit of dancehall, and a whole fuckload of melody. Sleep on MoStack at your own peril; this boy’s got the tools to go all the way to the top.

Images & Words: BAD GYAL, “Jacaranda”

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img_20170415-105650_badgyal_11-kieG-U421709349948e5-1126x636@RAC1-WebBad Gyal
“Jacaranda”
Digital Single
Fresh off dropping one of the most thrilling debuts of last year, the rising reggaeton alchemist returns with her first release of 2017. Hailing from Spain’s sleepy Catalan coast, about 20 miles from Barcelona, Bad Gyal (né Alba Farelo) has cooked up a sound that feels anything but local. Reggaeton is the most obvious ingredient, but there’s also strong hints of dancehall, bachata, R&B, and merengue (to name a few) in her wildly versatile sound. But no matter where the arrangements go, Farelo’s laid-back, seductive vocals are ever-present, keeping things ticking over and running smoothly. One to watch in 2017.