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 (05.12.12): Jacques Greene & Ango, “Untitled

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Jacques Greene & Ango
“Untitled”
Unreleased

Montreal-based post-dubstep producer Jacques Greene has made a career of creating moods rather than songs. Airy, spacious cuts like “Another Girl” bubble and build in a way that pop songs just don’t. All of this makes his recent collaboration with mercurial Canadian vocalist Ango all the more spellbinding, as it is a decidedly non-pop take on the traditional typical pop/R&B formula. Driven by Ango’s smooth vocal and a typically urbane drum machine line, it starts out as another (admittedly potent) example of the bedroom R&B that is blowing up right now. About halfway through, it takes a totally unexpected left turn, which is pure Jacques Greene. Superb.

Jacques Greene: “Untitled”

And, the brilliant “Another Girl”…..

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/11100445″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (05.11.12): Ice Choir, “Teletrips”

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Ice Choir
“Teletrips”
Afar (Underwater Peoples)

This, the first single from Brooklyn synth-pop outfit Ice Choir’s debut LP, jives well with the fantastic “Two Rings” 7″ that was released earlier this year. Led by the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s Kurt Feldman, Ice Choir lionizes a totally different part of 80’s pastiche than TPOBPAT, focusing on the warm, keyboard-driven sounds of pop radio instead of the moody, shoegazey alternative sound of the time. Like the devastating “Two Rings,” “Teletrips” pairs a rock-solid bass riff and plenty of twinkling synth filigree with a dreamy vocal melody and Feldman’s classic tenor. If you aren’t a fan of 80’s pop, you should probably skip this, but if you are, you’ll love Ice Choir.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45947349″ iframe=”true” /]

And, “Two Rings”.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29284983″ iframe=”true” /]

STREAM ME!: Beach House’s Incredible New Album, Bloom

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NPR always gets the best streams, and one week before its release, they are giving us another: Beach House’s ridiculously excellent fourth album, Bloom. I really don’t need to sell this. It’s just fantastic. It will make your life better. Just listen to it. Do it. Do it now.

Stream available here.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.07.12): Teen Daze, “What You Feel”

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Teen Daze
“What You Feel”
All of Us, Together (B-Side) (Lefse)

Thanks to the Internet, trends come and go incomprehensibly quickly, and if you don’t heed Tim Gunn’s advice, you might end up on the wrong side of Heidi Klum’s mantra (and this week’s award for unnecessarily cryptic pop culture metaphor goes to….). Though chillwave ruled the blogosphere just a few years ago, it is damn near retro nowadays, and while it’s a relentlessly nostalgia-focused genre, its artists are going to need to look to the future if they are going to remain relevant.

A chillwaver who is doing just that is Vancouver’s Teen Daze. From the bits of the ridiculously chillwaveily-titled All of Us, Together that have been released, Daze has turned up the Balearic influence and focused on songcraft, resulting in a deft, yet marked change in direction from his surprisingly excellent past EPs 2010’s Four More Years and 2011’s A Silent Planet. Though this dancefloor-friendly cut doesn’t make the album, it serves as a good example of how far he’s come and a reminder of why so many are so excited to finally hear his first proper LP.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/45189729″ iframe=”true” /]

Listen to “The Future,” a lovely pre-release cut from All of Us, Together.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/42010656″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (05.06.12): CFCF, “Exercise #5 (September)”

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CFCF
“Exercise #5 (September)”
Exercise (Paper Bag)

I like everything I post on this site, but this is especially brilliant. Inspired by legendary composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Phillip Glass, the prolific Canadian producer’s new album is a swirling, icy collection of emotive piano-driven pieces. Like a filmless film score, Exercise nails the transformative, evocative quality that made the aforementioned artists so special, and after a few listens, I defy you not to get lost in Exercise’s fascinating world. This, the only track on the album with vocals, works so well in the context in the album, beacuse the warm, comforting vocals of CFCF (né Mike Silver) form the perfect contrast to the rest of his sparse, often-chilly compositions. This is really, really special.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44402238″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch Silver perform an arresting version of the song below (courtesy of Yours Truly).

Yourstru.ly Presents: CFCF – September from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.05.12): Cassie, “King of Hearts” (Richard X Remix)

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Cassie
“King of Hearts” (Richard X Remix)
Unreleased

Like many others, I was tipped off to singer/actor/model/awful-hair-haver Cassie Ventura’s impeccable new single by Kanye West’s remix that came out a few months ago. At first listen, it was imminently clear that its success was due to the near-perfect original, not Mr. West’s studio trickery. Remix extraordinaire Richard X’s version betters the Louis Vuitton Don’s, simply because he understands how special Ventura’s original is. He gets out of the way and lets Cassie do her thing, resulting in that perfect remix where it makes the original track even better. Delish.

Hot Jam of the Day (05.04.12): 2:54, “Creeping”

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2:54
“Creeping”
2:54 (Fat Possum)

From one excellent guitar-driven band to another, the debut full-length from the moody duo of Colette and Hannah Thurlow is just a few short weeks away and looks to be a corker. Hypnotic, expansive, and full of hooks, “Creeping” is a perfect example of what has made them one of the most talked about groups both in their native UK and stateside. Since they hit the scene with their debut EP, 2011’s mesmeric Scarlet, the group has shown that they possess a melodic maturity and guile that belies their youth. Though they don’t really sound like the XX, the similarities are very apparent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke through in a similar fashion in the second half of 2012. Roll on May 28.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44971771″ iframe=”true” /]

Watch the group’s video for “Scarlet.”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.01.12): Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

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Japandroids
“The House the Heaven Built”
Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

Nowadays, truly excellent, young guitar-driven rock bands are really tough to find, which makes Japandroids all the more special. Coming off the back of their life-affirming debut, 2009’s Post-Nothing, the Canadian duo is back for a similarly jugular-focused follow-up: the enormous, actually-even-better Celebration Rock. Though the album isn’t out for another few weeks, you can always sink your teeth into its lead single, the anthemic, relentless “The House That Heaven Built.” If you don’t like this, you won’t like them, which, frankly, sucks for you.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44943657″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (04.30.12): Sigur Ros, “Varuo” (Radio Edit)

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Sigur Rós
“Varúð” (Radio Edit)
Valtari (XL)

Fresh off the heels of “Ekki Múkk,” the predictably stunning lead single from the group’s sixth LP Valtari, the Icelanders return with a fresh new slab of expansive, etherial magic. Though “Varúð” jives very well with their signature, crescendo-heavy sound, like “Ekki Múkk,” it is a slightly more stripped down version of the Sigur Rós we all know and fell so hopelessly in love with years ago. Vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson’s falsetto is as evocative as ever and is perfectly framed by a typically celestial, dramatic melody. Valtari was always going to be one of Thunder Penguin’s most anticipated albums of 2011, but if the rest of it lives up to its first two singles, it’s also going to be one of the best.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/44821305″ iframe=”true” /]

Check out the visuals for “Ekki Múkk.”

Download This Shit: Kool A.D. (of Das Racist), 51

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Brooklyn indie hip-hop collective Das Racist has kept itself busy this year. Alongside the release of their first properly released full-length, 2011’s Relax, both of the group’s rapping members (Himanshu “Heems” Suri & Victor “Kool A.D.” Vazquez) have already released solo mixtapes in 2012. While both were uneven affairs, 51 (A.D.’s second of the year) is a surprisingly engaging effort that highlights Vazquez’s hyper-eclectic flow, versatile musical taste, and winning personality. Because they are such a Brooklyn group, it’s easy to forget that Vazquez is from the Bay Area, and 51 sees the MC embracing those roots with some dope cameos from some of the Bay’s leading lights, including Main Attrakionz, Amaze 88, Trackademicks, and legendary (in these parts) Coup frontman Boots Riley. Like a lot of mixtapes, it’s a little long, but Vazquez laid-back, electric flow makes sure that it doesn’t drag. This is possibly the best thing from the Das Racist camp since its brilliant 2010 mixtapes.

Download it for free, here.