Images & Words: The 1975, "Give Yourself A Try"


The 1975 "Give Yourself A Try" A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit) Though it's been out for about two weeks, I've listened to the Manchester quartet's new single roughly two million times. Compositionally, it's totally unremarkable. Built around a repetitive, simplistic guitar riff and three chords, Read more

Images & Words: The Rhythm Method, "Chin Up"


The Rhythm Method "Chin Up" Digital Single Every two years*, I get afflicted with the same illness. It usually starts up a few weeks before every major international football tournament and lasts until somewhere around the quarterfinals. Who knows how long my believesthatEnglandcanwinthewholething-itis will last for this year, but I'm hoping that Read more

Images & Words: Chromatics, "Black Walls"


Chromatics "Black Walls" Dear Tommy (out PROLLY NEVER on Italians Do It Better) Goddamn it, Johnny Jewel. Just when I'd moved on from the idea that I'd ever hear "Dear Tommy," this guy drags me back in with a luscious new track and a (probably fictional) release date for Fall of 2018. "Black Read more

Snail Mail, "Let's Find An Out"


Snail Mail "Let's Find An Out" Lush (out 06.08 on Matador) Though I've somehow not written about them yet, I've been loving the Baltimore trio's pre-release singles for their hotly-anticipated debut LP. The stripped-back third single, "Let's Find An Out," is my favorite of the bunch, pairing songwriter Lindsey Jordan's plaintive vocals Read more

Rae Sremmurd: "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug)


Rae Sremmurd "Offshore" (f/ Young Thug) Swaecation Though I'm still processing the Mississippi superstars' excellent, new 27-song project, the free-flowing "Offshore" feels like an instant classic. Producer Mike Will is a genius at negotiating sonic space, and his gooey, descending synth chords leave plenty of room for Thug to play in. And Read more

Hot Jam of the Day (05.17.12): Lil’ B, “3 Stacks”

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Lil’ B
“3 Stacks”
Unreleased 

I’LL NEVER LET GO BASED GOD! #TYBG

Hot Jam of the Day (05.16.12): Yeasayer, “Henrietta”

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Yeasayer
“Henrietta”
Unnamed Upcoming LP (Secretly Canadian) 

Oh Sayers of Yea, it’s so nice to have you back. Your bizzaro, vaguely-ethnic pop feels like an old sweater on our creaking bones, and it feels so long since you sprinkled your Odd Blood upon us and bludgeoned us into submission with All Hour Cymbals. Oh you benevolent Brooklynites, enchant us again with your delectable vocal harmonies and sonorous shapeshifting. My fair mates and I have spent countless hours lost in your majestic meadow of musical madness and look forward to many more moons of malarky.

Translation: I love Yeasayer. I listened the absolute shit out of their last two albums, and I am unbelievably stoked to have them back. I can’t wait for their new album. It’s late, and I need to go to bed. I’ve never read Shakespeare (in case you hadn’t noticed).

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/46512446″ iframe=”true” /]

Terius Tuesday: “Fancy”

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A lot of people ask me why I love The-Dream so much. The answer is simple; Terius “The-Dream” Nash is a pop music Jedi, and I fuckin’ love pop music. Every Tuesday, Thunder Penguin will celebrate and examine one of his best songs, for no other reason than to get a little more Terius in our lives.

The-Dream
“Fancy”
Love vs Money (Radio Killa, 2009)

We begin our journey through Terius Town with his finest work: the swirling, expansive centerpiece of his near-perfect sophomore LP, Love vs Money.  Though its contemplative spine makes it sonically atypical of Nash’s work, “Fancy” is the perfect introduction to Nash’s world (“trips to Monaco/designer nails from head to toe”). Beginning with a ruminative piano melody, it unfolds into a sprawling devotional to the one woman that not even Nash — the colossal cassanova — can resist, the “dream of a billion men.” In a genre known for the objectification of women, Nash prefers to deify them, a predilection nevermore apparent than on this track.

Over the next six and a half minutes, Nash’s vocals glide effortlessly over an undulating, lush arraignment that builds to an absolutely devastating climax. He’s always had a knack for a grand, unexpected finale (see: “Yamaha,” “Fuck My Brains Out”), and when he adds that pounding kickdrum, it makes for his grandest of all. Simply put, “Fancy” is a stellar introduction to Nash’s unbelievable ability as a songwriter. Easily one of the best ten songs of the decade.

The-Dream: Fancy

Hot Jam of the Day (05.15.12): The Tallest Man on Earth, “1904”

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The Tallest Man on Earth
“1904”
There’s No Leaving Now (Dead Oceans)

Ok, people. It’s officially time to start taking Swedish folk singer Kristian Matsson seriously. The whole Dylan rip-off criticism needs to be put to bed. In a relatively short five years, he has cultivated an army of excellent folk songs and has crafted his own signature sound. On this, the first single from his upcoming third album There’s No Leaving Now (due out June 11), the diminutive Swede flexes his songwriting muscle, matching a light, meandering guitar line with his earnest, full-throated vocals. Like all the best folk artists, Matsson’s music has a knack for cultivating rich, transportive canvases that swallow up the listener and bring them into his reality, and “1904” is no different. One of the most distinctive and important voices in the genre today.

The Tallest Man on Earth: “1904”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.14.12): Twin Shadow, “Five Seconds”

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Twin Shadow
“Five Seconds”
Confess (4AD)

I must confess (yuk yuk yuk) that I’ve been a little slow posting this because I simply can’t quite tell whether I like it or not. Like so many others, I absolutely fell in love with artist officially known as George Lewis Jr’s hyper-slick 2010 debut, Forget, and while this undoubtedly still sounds like Twin Shadow, it still feels different to me. There are a ton of ideas living in this track, which feels like it weighs it down just a bit. That said, I love its driving backbeat, punchy 80’s guitars, and Lewis’ trademark powerful delivery. It sounds like something that could have been on the Dazed & Confused soundtrack, and frankly, I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not. Hopefully, once I hear it in the context of the album, I’ll be a little bit more sure. I’m a little worried, but still confident that I’ll love it.

Twin Shadow: “Five-Seconds”

And just because it’s awesome, here’s the hilarious video for Forget’s “Slow.”

Hot Jam of the Day (05.13.12): Best Coast, “How They Want Me To Be”

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Best Coast
“How They Want Me To Be”
The Only Place (Mexican Summer)

Without a doubt, no album has taken me off guard this year like the shimmering sophomore LP from the divisive Eagle Rock duo. As I’ll get into more when I review The Only Place later this week, it’s just such a huge step forward for the group. Channeling one of her heroes, Stevie Nicks, oft-derided vocalist/songwriter Bethany Cosentino dials back the reverb and really lets her voice shine, and the result is absolute magic. Cosentino paints an articulate, affecting reflection of what it’s like being a reluctant Internet celebrity. When she sings, “cuz when I wake up in the morning or the middle of night, I wonder who’s there and what they’ve said. But when I wake up in the morning or the middle of the night, I look at you and I know it’s alright,” it gives us an insight into who she is in a way that nothing she’s ever done has. An absolute standout from an incredibly special album.

Best Coast: “How They Want Me To Be”

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” /]