Tierra Whack, "Only Child"


Tierra Whack "Only Child" Digital Single Tierra Whack's 2018 debut "Whack World" was one of the most promising debut albums I've heard in a very long time. However, I found it super hard to write about (and ultimately, fall in love with), because of her decision to chop all the tracks off Read more

CFCF, "Closed Space"


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 Read more

Sade, "The Big Unknown"


Sade "The Big Unknown" Windows Soundtrack (out now on Sony) Though she's only a few months shy of her 60th birthday, Helen Folasade Adu remains a force like nobody else. On the stunning "The Big Unknown," Sade proves that her quiet storm is still a Category 5, as she glides effortlessly over oceanic, Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Miya Folick "Thingamajig" Premonitions (out 10.26 on Terrible) With each new single, the talented LA vocalist is strengthening the case that her forthcoming LP could be one of the best debuts of the year. Her flexible vocals always stretch further than you expect, and she uses her seemingly unlimited range to exact maximum Read more

Since U Been Gone: The Best Of What I Missed Last Week


Welp, this is embarrassing. The week I roll out a new round-up column, I respond by posting exactly zero times. My editorial staff (of one) was pretty slammed this week, but that's no excuse. Hopefully this piece can make up for it, dear readers. I'll do better this week, because, Read more

Images & Words: LOM Rudy x Bandgang Masoe, “Died Right Now”

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LOM Rudy x Bandgang Masoe
“Died Right Now”
Digital Single
Two talented Detroit newcomers team-up for a poignant and heartfelt street-rap ballad that underlines both men’s desire to succeed and make something better of their lives. Over delicate plunks of Spanish guitar and a sticky flute melody, the pair worry about what will happen to their loved ones if they don’t make it and how their names will be remembered if they die young. It’s a heavy, sobering tune that pushes back against the dangerous young death fetish pushed by certain segments of modern rap.

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.

Images & Words: Future, “Crushed Up” / “Jumpin On A Jet”

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Future
“Crushed Up” / “Jumpin’ On A Jet”
THE WIZRD (out 01.18 on Freebandz/Epic)
Though his legendary reign was showing signs of slowing down in that 2016-17 period, Nayvadius the Great came back strong last year with a handful of monster singles and Beastmode 2, his best project of the last few years. And judging by the rock-solid pair of pre-release singles from THE WIZRD, his fertile creative streak is well and truly back on. Both tracks are weightless, wobbly, mid-tempo burners that are absolutely loaded with sticky, druggy hooks. More than anything, he sounds inspired again. And when he’s in that mood, there’s nobody better.

Images & Words: Sharon Van Etten, “Seventeen”

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Sharon Van Etten
“Seventeen”
Remind Me Tomorrow (out 01.18 on Jagjaguwar)
It’s impossible not to romanticize your first little stint in New York. Your first apartment, your first go-to bar, your first neighborhood. When you were younger, more fun, and much poorer. Sharon Van Etten, who first moved to NYC in 2005, beautifully stews up that nostalgic brew on her dreamy, but still slightly gritty new single. A love letter to the city, “Seventeen” crackles with the excitement and trepidation that accompanies your early months in the city, which never quite leaves you, no matter how long it’s been.

My Favorite Songs of 2018

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70. Ross From Friends
“There’s a Hole in My Heart”
Aphelion (Brainfeeder)
Don’t let the jokey name fool you, the London deep house producer is cranking out some of the most emotional dance music around. This expansive, meditative cut is maximum tears on the dancefloor, pairing a heartbroken vocal sample with expansive synths and subtle, inch-perfect percussion. I still haven’t seen an episode of “Friends,” but maybe this’ll make me give it a shot.

69. Christina Vantzou x Echo Collective
“Some Limited and Waning Memory”
No. 4 (Kranky)

The KC composer’s is fast becoming one of the most consistent, driving forces in ambient music. And to my ears, her fourth LP is her strongest yet. This cut is absolutely haunting, as it bleeds from lush strings to choral voices to naked piano without the slightest hitch. Some of the piano passages are Sakamoto-esque and among the most aesthetically beautiful moments of instrumental music recorded this year.

68. Nicholas Krgovich
“October”
Ouch” (Tin Angel)
If you can’t relate to Nicholas Krgovich’s placid jog through Portland, I can’t relate to you. A beautifully, simple song about trying to move on from a long relationship, “October” captures those confusing early post-breakup months where your feelings seem to shift with the breeze. He veers from the rush of meeting someone new into waves of bitterness about his ex into missing him into enjoying his freedom. Through it all, Krgovich’s ultra-lithe beam* of a voice keeps it all together, and the way it slices through the autumn chill and all the insecurity reminds us it’ll all be ok.

sorry*


67. Lil Uzi Vert
“New Patek”
Digital Single
I can’t imagine what buying a 2.5 million dollar watch would feel like, but the Philly megastar sounds pretty fucking stoked about it. In fact, he seems so overcome with post-Patek purchase ecstasy that if Dolan Beats wouldn’t have cut the beat at the 6-minute mark, Uzi probably would have just kept rapping forever. Woulda worked for me.

66. Yves Tumor
“Honesty”
Safe in the Hands of Love (Warp)
It feels criminal to put a track from the Turin artist’s incredible, shapeshifting 3rd LP this low on the list, but the project is just so cohesive, it’s hard to pull out any one song from it. Among the fascinating cacophony of sounds that range from ambient noise to club to alt-rock, I settled on the late-night groove of “Honesty.” The way Tumor balances the sticky, sung melodies (which kinda remind me of Marilyn Manson, somehow) with legit bass music is so effective, as is the way he wields the undulating beat to maximum effect.

65. Peggy Gou
“It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)”
Once EP (Ninja Tune)
No DJ made the leap in 2018 quite like the Incheon, South Korea native, graduating from promising talent to legit star. The 28 year-old headlined festivals all over the world and dropped the best music of her young career. This electro disco banger was the pick of the bunch, pairing her sing-song voice with a nasty baseline, well-placed vibraphones, and an extra helping of 90’s house grooves.

64. Foxing
“Nearer My God”
Nearer My God (Triple Crown)
The St. Louis indie rock crew’s third album is the sound of a band saying “fuck it, I’m going for it.” And nothing sums up that approach better than its title track: a cavernous emo ballad that sees Conor Murphy pleading with us to just fucking love him. It is direct, unabashed, and features one of the absolute monster crescendos of the year, which will leave you wondering if anybody out there wants you at all.

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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.