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: OMB Peezy, “Loyalty Over Love”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 3.48.54 PMOMB Peezy
“Loyalty Over Love”
Loyalty Over Love (out TBD on Sick Wid It)
The Sacramento-via-Mobile rapper has been one of the shooting stars of 2017, rising on the back of two of the strongest rap tracks of the year so far: “Lay Down” and “When I Was Down.” Like the aforementioned tracks, “Loyalty Over Love” highlights the 20 year-old’s potent sound, which recalls 90’s New Orleans without sacrificing an ounce of modernity. Peezy has the rare flow that is hyperactive and unpredictable, but also smooth and catchy. And his verses are laden with hooks that will dig themselves into your brain. In short, he is just a massive talent, and the stage is set for Loyalty Over Love to be a monster debut mixtape.

Images & Words: Jaques Greene, “True” (f/ How to Dress Well)

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Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 5.13.18 PMJacques Greene
“True” (f/ How to Dress Well)
Feel Infinite (out 03.10 on LuckyMe)
The Montreal producer links up with his old friend Tom Krell for another potent collaboration. And while some of Krell’s rapping is a little off-putting, the arrangement and the hook are pure magic, as Greene’s synths swirl around inch-perfect percussion. Frankly, this is the direction I’d love to see Krell take in the future, as his voice is such a beautiful match for the kind of emotional club music that Greene makes. Greene’s debut LP comes out on Friday, and the more I hear of it, the more promise appears.

Images & Words: Future Islands, “Ran”

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future-islands-2017-promo-cr-tom-hines-670-380Future Islands
“Ran”
The Far Field (out 04.07 on 4AD)
The lead single from the ever-earnest Baltimore trio’s fifth LP gets an characteristically heartfelt treatment. The clip finds frontman Samuel T. Herring running through Maryland, spurred on by rumbling bass and mournful synths. Though there’s no hint of whether he’s running towards something or away from it, it’s an affecting little story nevertheless.

Images & Words: AJ x Deno, “Ride or Die”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.25.21 PMAJ x Deno
“Ride or Die”

Digital Single
The London teenagers have been releasing bouncy tracks together since last year, but the infectious “Ride or Die” reaches new heights. Deno Driz’s silky vocals recall a young Joey McIntyre, and his boyish voice is well balanced by AJ’s easy, slick bars and a warm, buoyant arrangement with touches of Afropop. Hopefully, this is a sign of big things to come for the duo.

Images & Words: Phoebe Bridgers, “Smoke Signals”

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phoebebridgers-630x420Phoebe Bridgers
“Smoke Signals”
Digital Single (PAXAM)
The first song from the LA folk singer’s debut LP has been in heavy rotation for me since it dropped in early January. There’s a wonderful spookiness to “Smoke Signals,” and its cinematic, uneasy atmosphere reminds me of classic horror movies from the dawn of Hollywood.  You can almost feel the smoke lingering in the air, as her fingerpicked electric guitar and haunting vocals undulate gracefully before slowly receding back into the darkness.

Images & Words: Stormzy, “Big For Your Boots”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 4.31.56 PMStormzy
“Big For Your Boots”
Gang Signs & Prayer (out 02.24 on #Merky)
About halfway through my first listen of the lead single from Stormzy’s debut LP, I got the feeling that I was listening to a future classic. Maybe it’s the way the beat shifts gears — how the hi-hats accelerate then drop off like a NASCAR. Or maybe it’s the magnetic, endlessly quotable bars, tailor-made to be screamed by hoards of sweaty kids. It could also be Sir Spyro & Fraser T Smith’s grime Game of Thrones synth chords. It’s probably a little bit of all of that, but more than that, it’s the relentlessly joyful spirit that Stormzy always brings to his music, which makes him impossible not to cheer for. All hail.

Images & Words: Father John Misty, “Two Wildly Different Perspectives”

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father-john-misty-2Father John Misty
“Two Wildly Different Perspectives”

Pure Comedy (out 04.07 on Sub Pop)
The world is fucked up, and our ol’ pal Father John Misty has some thoughts about it. This poignant piano ballad is a second taste of his upcoming third LP and carries the same lyrical focus as the rambling, darkly funny, “Pure Comedy.” However, this track differs from much of the 35 year-old’s previous political work (i.e., “Bored in the USA,” “Holy Shit”), as there’s no humor at all here — just a grim exploration of a world hopelessly divided and coming apart at the seams.

Images & Words: Dave x J Hus, “Samantha”

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10-things-you-need-to-know-about-dave-1459762640Dave x J Hus
“Samantha”

Digital Single
Two artists responsible for a few of my favorite tracks of 2016 come together for a low-key singsong that highlights both of their versatile skill sets. Think of it as (sad)Boyz II (road)Men, “Samantha” is a moody, mid-tempo track along the lines of Dave’s sleeper hit, “Wanna Know.” The two MCs interchange effortlessly, switching between reflective bars and easy crooning over minor-chord piano and staccato percussion. As good as this is, it feels like it’s just the tip of the iceberg for both of them.

Images & Words: Real Estate, “Darling”

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d7d33259Real Estate
“Darling”
In Mind (out 03.17 on Domino)
Though they recently bid farewell to founding guitarist Matt Mondanile, everybody’s favorite Jerseyites are back with a follow-up to their languid 2014 LP, Atlas. More than anything, “Darling” will assuage any fears about the viability of the group sans Mondanile. Real Estate has always been known for their hooky, nimble guitar riffs, and they come through with a trademark one here that buzzes and floats with the same easy grace of much of their best work.

Images & Words: Kodie Shane, “Sad” (f/ Lil Yachty)

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screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-3-24-32-pmKodie Shane
“Sad” (f/ Lil Yahcty)

Zero Gravity (out now on Epic)
On the day the rising Atlanta native drops her debut EP for Epic, her tasty Lil Yachty collab gets some visuals. Though Zero Gravity features a couple of tracks from her excellent EP, Little Rocket, it will hopefully propel the 18 year-old to her rightful place among the most exciting young talents in hip-hop.