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

Hot Jam of the Day

Images & Words: Boogie, “N**ga Needs”

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screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-30-11-pmBoogie
“N**ga Needs”
Thirst 48 Part II
Though he burst on to the scene with the banger “Oh My,” the Angelino born Anthony Dixson has always been one of the most thoughtful rappers around. And on his impressive new mixtape, he doubles down on his craft, building an album that perfectly balances reflective numbers like this standout single with fun, breezy tracks like the K Camp-assisted “Slide on U.” The whole record is worthy of your time, even if he hasn’t had another single that has quite popped like “Oh My.”

Hot Jam of The Day: Newman Wolf, “Computer”

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0004993442_10Newman Wolf
“Computer”
Please Keep Talking (out 11.11 on Body High)
The newest release from Samo Sound Boy’s reliable Body High imprint treads much of the same territory that the LA-based collective made its name off. Hailing from somewhere in the depths of LA County, Newman Wolf’s new single is a delicious slab of evocative dance music with touches of trance production and an emotional, mantric vocal sample. “Computer” may start off slowly, but it gradually builds to a monster crescendo before quietly slipping back into the ether.

Hot Jam of the Day: JAHKOY, “California Heaven”

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screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-1-47-05-pmJAHKOY
“California Heaven” (f/ Schoolboy Q)
Foreign Water (out 10.28 on Def Jam)

As a California native who recently moved out to the East Coast, listening to a song with the refrain “heaven must be somewhere in California” will be dangerous during the NYC’s frigid winter months. However, it’s still warm enough outside to listen to the Toronto native’s ode to the Golden State without being overcome with homesickness. The rising 22 year-old is blessed with a warm, easy tenor that recalls real life Californian Ty Dolla $ign and is cementing himself as one of R&B’s real up-and-coming stars.

Hot Jams of the Day: Wet, “The Middle” / “Turn Away”

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screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-26-23-pmWet
“The Middle” / “Turn Away”

The Middle / Turn Away
Even though they only released their debut album, Don’t You, back in January, the Brooklyn trio #blessed us by surprise releasing a couple of tasty new tracks. The former is a classic Wet ballad with vocalist Kelly Zutrau drifting over plaintive piano chords and decorative, reverb-soaked guitarwork. The beat picks up a little on the moody, mid-tempo latter, which feels like a slight update of their signature sound and a promising sign of things to come.

Hot Jam of the Day: Hannah Diamond, “Fade Away”

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screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-56-57-amHannah Diamond
“Fade Away”
Digital Single
Though the much of the bloom has faded from the PC Music rose, to my ears, Hannah Diamond has always been the label’s most interesting artist, thanks to the fact that her songwriting has never taken a back seat to the label’s tiresome obsession with presentation and concept. Like many of her best songs (“Pink and Blue,” “Attachment” and “Every Night”), “Fade Away” is basically a straightforward electro-pop love song with light trance influences. Lyrics like “I always thought I’d be the picture saved on your screen” pack the emotional resonance much of the label’s other music lacks and elevates her music beyond the rest of PC Music’s trite, surface-level societal criticism.

Hot Jam of the Day: Krishane, “Found Da Boi” (f/ Wande Coal)

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screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-2-44-12-pmKrishane
“Found Da Boi” (f/ Wande Coal)
Digital Single
Why waste your time with the myriad American artists who are scrambling (and mostly failing) to cram African and Caribbean sounds into their formulaic radio pop, when you could get the genuine article? One of those artists to watch is Krishane (né St Aubyn Antonio Levy), the son of reggae/dancehall godfather Barrington Levy. The London-via-Jamaica vocalist’s sound is indicative of the thriving, increasingly international scene, as it features traces of Afro-pop, dancehall, soca, and pure pop all stirred up in a delicious sonic stew. On his newest single, the 22 year-old tiptoes through an ultra-smooth arrangement and passionately belts out one of the most ecstatic hooks of the year.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kate Bush, “Prologue” (Live)

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-11-41-04-amKate Bush
“Prologue” (Live at Hammersmith)
Before the Dawn (out 11.25 on Concord/Fish
 People)
Back in 2014, when Kate Bush announced her first shows since 1979, I seriously considered flying from New York to London to see the legendary Brit in the flesh. Of course, I didn’t go because money and work, but it looks like we’ll all be able to hear it thanks to the upcoming triple disc concert recording. The first taste is unsurprisingly masterful, as the 58 year-old rolls through an extended version of a cut from her ever underrated 2005 release, Aerial. The most striking thing to me is the sustained pristine clarity and vitality of her voice, nearly 40 years removed from her classic 1978 debut. The magic is clearly still there, and all I can do is sit and hope for a New York date in the future.

Here it over at Paper.

Hot Jam of the Day: Itasca, “No Consequence”

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screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-4-52-37-pmItasca
“No Consequence”
Open to Change (out 09.30 on Paradise of Bachelors)

Just a week away from the most anticipated release of her career, Kayla Cohen drops Open to Change’s beautiful, dusty third single. The LA-based singer-songwriter has a knack for crafting gentle, soothing folk music with a hints of darkness and palpable atmospheres. And on “No Consequence,” she uses a languid slide guitar line to get the desired effect, expertly framing her sublime vocals and nimble fingerpicking. Suffice it to say, I cannot wait to hear the rest of this thing.

Hot Jams of the Day: Kelela, Elysia Crampton & Adrian Piper, “Final Exam” / “Reference Track TF Scrape”

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screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-6-20-57-pmElysia Crampton, Kelela & Adrian Piper
“Final Exam” / “Reference Track TF Scrape”
Anthem (The Vinyl Factory)
Experimental composer Elysia Crampton has been playing with Kelela’s voice for the last few years, so it’s exciting to hear the duo properly collaborate on two new tracks for the upcoming Total Freedom-produced soundtrack to the 9th Berlin Biennale. Part of the joy of Crampton’s music is its ambiguity, and these tracks both live in that space — part finished product, part work in progress. Kelela’s aqueous, evocative vocals are the perfect foil for Crampton’s productions that are often both soothing and chaotic. While there is no inkling of a potential collaborative album between these two longterm Thunder Penguin faves, it won’t stop me from dreaming about it.

Hot Jam of the Day: Abhi / Dijon, “Ignore”

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screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-11-41-16-amAbhi / Dijon
“Ignore”
Digital Single
We all have at least one “DON’T ANSWER” in our phonebooks, and the ultra-smooth Maryland R&B duo’s new single is an ode to the goons of our past who had either broke our heart, creeped us out, or let us down. And next time you are contemplating picking up when they invariably call or text, remember the sage wisdom of this song. One word, six letters: I G N O R E.

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