Arthur Russell, "You Did It Yourself"


Arthur Russell"You Did It Yourself"Iowa Dream (out 11.15 on Audika)There's something very fitting about a new project of recordings by the late, great Arthur Russell dropping 6 weeks before the end of the decade. In many ways, the multi-instrumentalist's sound feels at home along the wildly experimental, genre-fluid music Read more

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

Columns

Hot Jam of the Day (03.06.12) Rustie (f/ Nightwave): “SURPH”

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Rustie (f/ Nightwave)
“SURPH”
Unreleased

Fresh off his fantastic breakthrough LP, Glass Swords (Warp), Scottish beatsmith Russell Whyte returns with a reworked version of one of the disc’s most fascinating tracks. Featuring a hyped up vocal from UK Katy B wannabe, Nightwave, “SURPH” is the kind of swirling, frenetic, synthy stew that we’ve come to expect from the prolific young producer. Rustie’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach is most effective when balanced by a vocal line, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come .

HJ of the Day (2.27.12): memoryhouse, “Little Expressionless Animals”

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memoryhouse
“Little Expressionless Animals”
The Slideshow Effect (SubPop, 2012)

Our first Hot Jam of the Day comes from one of my favorite new bands of the last 18 months. This, the leadoff track from the Canadian-duo’s debut long player (due out tomorrow), finds the group at their subtly stunning best with vocalist Denise Nouvon’s gentle coo gliding over an ethereal soundscape from partner in crime Evan Abeele. The group has a rare knack of building to quietly devastating climaxes (see: “Lately” and “Bonfire“), and this is no different. Before I heard the record, I had a hunch that it was going to land near the top of my 2012 year-end list, and after hearing the The Slideshow Effect all the way through, that hunch hasn’t been anything but strengthened.

The Best Tracks of 2011 (20-11)

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20. Holy Other
“With U”
With U (Tri Angle)

In lieu of waxing lyrical about the ghostly, undulating debut from this masked Mancunian, I’ll let my buddy AJ — a man who doesn’t give a shit about music — explain it. In response to a Facebook status update of mine that claimed With U was my favorite EP of the year, Apple Jack posted simply and succinctly “Yeah, maybe of [sic] you want to meditate.” Replace “meditate” with “fuck,” and I think AJ’s in business. The sexiest indie record since The XX’s debut.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/15628329″ iframe=”true” /]

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The Best Tracks of 2011 (30-21)

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30. Girls
“Honey Bunny”
Father, Son, Holy Ghost (True Panther Sounds)
It was another incredible year for San Francisco’s best band. The group followed up their excellent debut, Album, with a solid EP and the critically acclaimed Father, Son, Holy Ghost. “Honey Bunny,” showcases exactly what makes the group so special. Vocalist/songwriter Chris Owens’ deftly combines his disarming sense of humor (“They don’t like my boney body/They don’t like my dirty hair”), unfiltered honesty, and an incredible ear for melody into a fitting opener to one of the best albums of 2011.


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The Best Tracks of 2011 (40-31)

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40. Nico Jaar
“Darkside”
Darkside (Clown & Sunset)

Nico Jaar had the license put his fuckin’ feet up over his Christmas break. You think your year was mega busy because you got promoted to project manager? Please. Dude dropped one critically acclaimed LP and two fantastic EPs, all while attending an Ivy League school and running his own label. The three tracks on Darkside are basically just one long track broken into three parks and show a different side of the masterful, meticulous post-dubstep alchemist.

Album Stream: Link

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/31060423″ iframe=”true” /]

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The Best Tracks of 2011 (51-40)

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So here it goes. A little more than a month late, these are my favorite 51 songs of 2011. If you’ve read my previous work, you’ll know how this works. It’s basically a countdown from 51 to 1. I’ll be releasing ten songs per day over the next week. Also, at the end of the week, I’ll be linking to a Spotify playlist that will allow you to get all of the songs in one place. As always, I am incredibly grateful for anybody who reads my tiny corner of the interwebz, and hopefully there will be something new and interesting for everybody.

And without further ado…

51. Drake
“Look What You’ve Done”
Take Care (Young Money)

It feels fitting to start this list off with a track from the biggest commercial album of the year. I went back and forth a lot about what track to choose, but I settled on this one because it highlights Young Angel’s underrated storytelling and the disc’s dreamy, sublime production mostly courtesy of Noah “40” Shebib (the real star of Take Care), though this isn’t one of his tracks. Drake is at his best over these type of airy beats, as he has the rare ability to be easy to relate to, even though he lives a life we could never imagine. Remember, this is a dude who made having sex “four times this week” into a point of vulnerability, even though many of his listeners haven’t had sex four times in the past four years.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29801200″ iframe=”true” /]

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About Thunder Penguin

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Thunder Penguin is a journal of the best in current progressive pop music.

It is maintained by a stuffed penguin from Cuba.

He is sometimes assisted by his intern Dan Alvarez, a Brooklyn-based copywriter + freelance journalist.

Please direct inquiries, demos, takedown notices, and marriage proposals to DNAlvarez60@gmail.com.

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