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

Hot Jam of the Day: Joan Shelley, “Wild Indifference”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 11.48.29 AMJoan Shelley
“Wild Indifference”

Joan Shelley (out 05.05 on No Quarter)
Though the Louisville native is perhaps best known for having one of the most beautiful voices in folk, the lead single from her fifth LP highlights her impressive writing chops as well. Over a tasteful, gentle guitars, Shelley opens up about the frustration of dealing with a particularly self-centered person. However, instead of lashing out, she offers empathy, seeing through the facade and centering on the loneliness and sorrow that such behavior often tries to hide. And though she offers her thoughts, she stops there. Admitting that she’s grown tired of chasing lost causes.

Hot Jam of the Day: Demen, “Niorum”

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Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.52.13 PMDemen
“Niorum”
Nektyr (out 05.19 on Kranky)
The new single from Swedish songwriter Irma Orm is a perfect soundtrack to your impending weekend… if your weekend plans involve cemetery lurking, dropping by an exorcism, or some light grave robbing. This creepy, atmospheric single features traces of shoegaze, goth, ambient, and devotional music. Though personal details about Orm remain scarce, her ghostly, breathtaking sound says more than enough about the artist.

Hot Jam of the Day: J Hus, “Did You See”

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JHusJ Hus
“Did You See”
Digital Single
The ascendent Londoner arrives with some more melodic mastery. “Did You See” is a low-key affair that pairs airy, island percussion with Hus’ trademark charismatic, winding delivery. Though it doesn’t feature one of his biggest hooks, the chorus is incredibly catchy, leaving Hus’ vehicle of choice replaying in your head all day. 2017 is starting to feel like his year, and hopefully this will only be the tip of the iceberg.

Hot Jam of the Day: Jean-Michel Blais & CFCF, “In a Landscape” (Rework)

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Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 4.23.33 PMJean-Michel Blais & CFCF
“In a Landscape” (Rework) 
Cascades (out 03.15 on Arts & Crafts)
The weather is beautiful today in New York, but it’s still February. And when that wind chill returns, you’ll want to curl up in the gorgeous, ruminative piano playing of Jean-Michel Blais and CFCF. Both artists hail from Montreal and are known for crafting reflective, careful instrumental music. “In a Landscape” — the second single from their forthcoming EP — is a characteristically well-constructed, stirring version of  a John Cage composition that builds beautifully to a string-laced crescendo.

Hot Jam of the Day: The 1975, “By Your Side”

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The-1975-Madrid-2017The 1975
“By Your Side”

Digital Single
While covering one of an icon’s most beloved songs is always risky business, the 1975’s Sade cover captures a little bit of the overwhelming warmth and love of the original. Though auto-tune seems like a wonky choice for a song as intimate as “By Your Side,” frontman Matt Healy’s robo-croon is surprisingly successful, and that left-field approach offers some much needed divergence from the unmatchable original. This version is obviously never going to hit Ms Adu’s dizzying heights, but it will hopefully expose some young people to its timeless source material and inspire a few IRL tender moments in a time where everyone can really use them.

Hot Jam of the Day: Mr. Mitch, “Priority” (f/ P Money)

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Mr-MitchMr. Mitch
“Priority” (f/ P Money)
Devout (out 04.21 on Planet Mu)
Today, the London grime-ish producer announced his second LP, the follow-up to 2014’s excellent Parallel Memories. Lead single, “Priority,” is a contemplative, mid-tempo cut that features the twinkling, emotional synth melodies that he’s known for. And Lewisham veteran P Money comes through with some reflective, low-key verses that touch on parenthood, sobriety, and growing up. Mitch is that rare artist who has crafted a signature sound without being beholden to it, constantly looking for new ways to branch out while staying true to his sound. Can’t wait to hear the whole project.

Hot Jam of the Day: Kingdom, “What Is Love” (f/ SZA)

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Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 6.32.43 PMKingdom
“What Is Love” (f/ SZA)

Tears in the Club (out 02.24 on Fade to Mind)
The third track from the Fade To Mind honcho’s debut LP is the perfect soundtrack for your Valentine’s Day. Kingdom (né Ezra Rubin) has a sparkling track record of crafting forward-thinking slow jams, and “What is Love” is another notch on his musical bedpost. His seductive synths and choppy percussion sets the mood, and SZA knocks it out of the park, never raising her voice but still pushing all the right buttons.

Hot Jam of the Day: The XX, “Performance”

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Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 3.27.32 PMThe xx
“Performance”

I See You (out now on Young Turks)
Unlike most, I am an xx classicist. Jamie xx seems like a talented guy, but I tend to prefer Romy and Oliver-centric, hyper intimate tracks like this (see also: “Night Time,” “Fiction,” “Stars,”), my favorite moment on their very good third LP. “Performance” ranks right up there with Romy Madley Croft most affecting compositions. Never one to spill her guts, Croft would rather pull you in and whisper in your ear, achieving the sweetest, most delicate catharsis possible.

Hot Jam of The Day: Mount Eerie, “Real Death”

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Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.54.02 AMMount Eerie
“Real Death”

A Crow Looked At Me (out 03.24 on P.W. Elverum & Sun)
I don’t have much to say about Phil Elverum’s gorgeous elegy to his late wife except that it is the rare song sucked all the wind out of me. Adjectives fail to capture the depth and heft of “Real Death,” so I won’t try. I will just thank Elverum for his honesty and empathy, which reminds us that no matter how hard you try to wrap your head around real loss, you cannot. You can only decide to keep going and do your god-damndest to never lose sight of the grace and love that person brought into your life while they were still with you.

Hot Jam of the Day: Teen Daze, “First Rain” (f/ S. Carey)

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Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 12.25.49 PMTeen Daze
“First Rain” (f/ S. Carey)
Themes For Dying Earth (out 02.10)
Though it’s been unseasonably warm in New York, we’ve had a steady stream of rain, which has been an excellent backdrop for the placid new single from Vancouver-based musician Jamison Isaak. Though neither Isaak nor Bon Iver member Sean Carey have ever been strong singers, they are unarguably adept at crafting lush, soothing instrumentals. Built around a descending keyboard melody, “First Rain” is built to soundtrack staring aimlessly out windows, finishing puzzles, laying around, and doing whatever the hell else you like doing when it rains.