Images & Words: The 1975, "People"


The 1975"People"Notes on a Conditional Form (out 02.22.20 on Dirty Hit)The Used, Head Automatica/Glassjaw, Primal Scream, Marilyn Manson, Blur, The Refused. And that's only six of the roughly 600 random bands that the new 1975 track brings to mind. And somehow, just like mother-fucking always, they pull it off. Read more

Caroline Polachek, "Ocean of Tears" & "Parachute"


Caroline Polachek"Ocean of Tears" / "Parachute"Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I'm getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer's first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single "Door," these two new tracks highlight Polachek's spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter


Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)


As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn't quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019 (So Far)


A little bit late this year due to real-world commitments, but here is my annual list of the best songs of the first half of 2019. Look for my honorable mention coming later in the week. This year, instead of going with an actual ranking system, I'm going to Read more

Hot Jam of the Day

Chromatics, “Time Rider”

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Chromatics
“Time Rider”

D**r T**my (out never on Italians LOL it better)
At this point, I’ve kinda exhausted the “Dear Tommy is never fucking coming out jokes,” so I’ll just say this. “Time Rider” is yet another gorgeous, evocative slab of neon, taut synth balladry from the Portland quartet. Whether or not it ever appears on a full-length album that is or isn’t called “Dear Tommy” is up for debate, but its quality isn’t. IDIB 4ever.

default genders, “when it’s over” (ft. no rome)

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default genders
“when it’s over” (f/ no rome)
main pop girl 2019 (out now, self-released)
File this one under: “did not see this one coming.” But my goodness, James Brooks (formerly of Elite Gymnastics) just put out a fucking stunner. Though I’ve liked bits and pieces of his post-Elite-GZ solo work (mostly just this track), “main pop girl 2019” feels like a watershed album for him — fusing breakbeats with evocative samples, cleverly-pitched vocals, and affecting lyrics about Midwestern misery — the project feels unique and utterly modern. Though many tracks that grabbed me on first listen, this gooey, gorgeous, No Rome-assisted daydream is a great place to start and a worthy introduction to a truly exciting LP.

CFCF, “Closed Space”

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CFCF
“Closed Space”
Liquid Colours (out 03.01)
Though I haven’t listened to it as much as his ree-fucking-dick-u-lus J.Lo remix (aka: the best song of 2019 so far), the first single from Montreal mainstay Michael Silver’s new album is an instant keeper. It kicks off with luxurious beds of neo-geo synths that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pure Moods comp before kicking in with a hyperdrive break-beat that drives the track to an unexpected conclusion. I don’t think I’ve heard a CFCF record that I didn’t love, and “Liquid Colours” doesn’t look likely to change that any time soon.

Better Oblivion Community Center, “Dominos”

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Better Oblivion Community Center
“Dominos”
Better Oblivion Community Center (out now on Dead Oceans)
Though I’m not hugely familiar with Connor “Bright Eyes” Oberst’s work, his melancholy folk feels like a great match for Phoebe Bridgers on their surprise joint LP. The disc’s final track is lonely, but beautiful mope-fest. For four spellbinding minutes, the pair embark on the long trudge to Nowheresville accompanied only by languid, reverb-soaked guitars, a little bit of piano, and, crucially, each-other. It’s unclear whether this duo is built to last, but it’s clear they’ve found solace in one another.

Ryan Adams, “Fuck The Rain”

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Ryan Adams
“Fuck The Rain”

Big Colors (out 4/19 on PAXAM)
I’ve been holding off on writing about the deluge of Ryan Adams news until the disc’s wonderful second single, “Manchester,” got properly released.* It looks like Adams isn’t planning on putting it out any time soon, so I’ll go with “Fuck The Rain.” It’s a solid Prisoner-era tune that seems to be getting a ton of press, partially due to an utterly forgettable John Mayer guitar solo. It’s the kind of mid-tempo, easy rider that Adams can make in his sleep, but it’s also extremely pleasant to listen to. If all three of his records sound like this, I’ll be a bit disappointed but still probably listen to them a lot.

*You can find it on the Internet if you look. It’s worth it.

Silk Road Assassins, “Bloom”

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Silk Road Assassins
“Bloom”

State of Ruin (out 02.08 on Planet Mu)
A few years on from their excellent debut EP, Reflection Spaces, the Bath-based instrumental grime experimenters are back with their first full-length project. The disc’s cinematic first single, “Bloom,” is packed with the creeping dread, futuristic keys, and skittering percussion that they’re known for. This is definitely one to look out for early next year.

American Football, “Silhouettes”

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American Football
“Silhouettes”

American Football (out 03.22 on Polyvinyl)
It’s year-end season at ThunderPenguin, so our writing staff (of one) is a little bit pre-occupied by our annual songs and albums lists. However, this gorgeous, atmospheric new track from the dreamo Ohio vets is simply too good to pass up. The expansive slow-burner starts pairs lush beds of vibraphones with their signature arpeggiated, melodious guitar work. Nice to know that we won’t have to wait another 15 years for an American Football record.

Jessica Pratt, “Poly Blue”

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Jessica Pratt
“Poly Blue”

Quiet Sings (02.08.19 on Mexican Summer)
The second taste of the San Francisco singer-songwriter’s third LP is a characteristically gorgeous, atmospheric slice of pastoral folk. Pratt’s voice has a mystical quality that takes me back to falling in love with my mother’s Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez records when I was a kid. This will be one of the soundtracks of my winter.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, “Tides IV”

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
“Tides IV”

Tides: Music For Meditation And Yoga (out January 2019 on Touchtheplants)
I’m not much for Yoga, but the Washington-born, LA-based composer’s new album might change that. The project was penned for her mother’s yoga practice, and the first track from it is gorgeous, ambient piece that breathes right along with the listener. Any project like this will be best heard in context, but this is a delicious first taste.

Lapalux, “ABOVE”

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Lapalux
“ABOVE”

ABOVE_BETWEEN_BELOW (out now on Brainfeeder)
Low-key London producer Stuart Howard recently dropped a 3-track, ambient collection, and its lead-off track is an expansive, aqueous number. Though he’s somewhat known as a club-friendly producer, the Essex artist couldn’t be further from a night out here, gradually guiding the listener deeper out into the track’s placid waters.