Christine and the Queens: Heart of Gold (Neil Young Cover)
Christine and the Queens (aka French singer/songwriter and producer Héloïse Letissier) just released an emotive and haunting cover of Neil Young’s 1972 hit, “Heart of Gold.” With spacey blips and echoing vocals, this minimal version (with Letissier’s sublime voice the focus) diverges from the acoustic, country-meets-folk original—yet carries all the same intense yearning.
Dirty Projectors: Lose Your Love
For “Lose Your Love,” an introduction to the Dirty Projectors’ second EP (of five) to be released in 2020, keyboardist/percussionist Felicia Douglass infuses the bright track with exuberant vocals. Both Maia Friedman and Kristin Slipp harmonize beautifully. Dave Longstreth produced the tune and penned the lyrics with Douglass. Each EP will feature a different band member as lead singer.
Bibio: Sleep On The Wing
New from Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson), “Sleep On The Wing” sees the prolific British musician lean further toward his folk tendencies. Void of percussion, the lullaby-esque tune comprises delicate mandolin, violin and other string instruments, as well as Wilkinson’s gentle vocals. Minimal but textured, the song fades out into a somewhat surprising end, but never waivers from its lush, bucolic foundation. With a peaceful animated video by Sonnye Lim, “Sleep On The Wing” is the lead single from an upcoming 10-track EP of the same name, which will be released in June.
Ian Isiah: N.U.T.S
Brooklyn-based Ian Isiah’s sultry, silken vocals glide atop the funky Chromeo-produced “N.U.T.S”—a song from the upcoming AUNTIE album. While the disco-inflected beat by Chromeo (aka David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel) diverges from Isiah’s spacey, sexy R&B (like on his Shugga Sextape Vol. 1), the sublime, effortless blend of styles satisfies. The song features recordings of shouted homophobic slurs, but the video teaser sees the artist dancing throughout the city streets, unfazed. “You gotta make some room for people that wanna love you,” he croons.
Kraftwerk: Computer Love
Founding member of wildly influential German electronic band Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider has passed away at 73 years old. Along with Ralf Hütter, Schneider created an experimental act, Organisation, in the late ’60s and embraced electronic music—experimenting with instruments and sounds. Soon after, the duo started Kraftwerk, whose self-titled debut came out in 1971. While known for innovative sound (the band paved the way for all kinds of electronic music including electro-pop, synth-pop, art-pop and more), Kraftwerk also broke the boundaries of music technology, making their own instruments and custom-building various devices. Schneider himself used to warp the sound of his primary instrument, the flute, in mesmerizing ways. He also played synths, guitar, saxophone, drums, violin and sang. From 1981’s Computer World (the band’s eighth studio album), “Computer Love” features minimal vocals that could be described as robotic or clinical, but song somehow brims with emotion.
Chris Funk: Knifey Vellocet
Multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk—best known for his work with The Decemberists—released his solo album The Painted Porch in late April, from which all proceeds are being donated to the COVID-19 Oregon Musicians’ Relief Fund. (It’s also available to pre-order on vinyl, limited to 250 records.) From that album, the instrumental “Knifey Vellocet” merges twangy guitar with strings and synths for an atmospheric tune that could be as easily used for meditation as placed on a horror movie soundtrack. Equal parts ominous, haunting, psychedelic, peaceful and serene, this rich and layered song mesmerizes and demands listen after listen.
LA Priest: Beginning
LA Priest (aka Sam Eastgate, Samuel Dust, and half of Soft Hair—along with Connan Mockasin) returns with “Beginning,” the second single from GENE—the artist’s second LP, named for the drum machine Eastgate built himself. The delightfully buoyant, off-kilter tune comes accompanied by a video directed by LA Priest and Joseph Bird Jr, in which the artist wanders the wilderness of North Wales (dressed in a costume that’s a bit Sun Ra, part Gong, and part future-past shaman) playing a Flying V guitar.
Gordon Koang + Ginoli: Mal Mi Goa (Ginoli Remix)
Part of the Music In Exile project—an artist-driven initiative that offers space and resources to “artists working in culturally or linguistically diverse communities in Australia”—comes “Mal Mi Gao (Ginoli Remix).” By South Sudanese-born, Melbourne, Australia-based vocalist and instrumentalist Gordon Koang—who busked his way to local fame—and producer Ginoli (aka James Ireland), the song is an upbeat, danceable bop. Since arriving in Australia, Koang has worked with a variety of producers to search for “a new sound to pay tribute to his adopted home” and this tune fuses Sudanese funk with synth-heavy, psychedelic-inflected touches—all carried by Koang’s ebullient vocals.
Dayglow: Run the World!!!
An expression of pent up energy, indie artist Dayglow’s “Run the World!!!” video expands upon a simple sentiment: “Quarantine sucks; I want to run the whole freaking world.” The track first appeared on Dayglow’s 2018 album, Fuzzybrain, but feels particularly current. Upbeat and catchy, with a chant-based chorus, the song leans into surf-rock influences with success. Plus, the video depicts Dayglow (aka Sloan Struble) at home, engaged in an intergalactic battle with aliens, aided by “my mom, a childhood neighbor and lifelong friend, and a ramp I got from Walmart when I was 11 that still sits in our driveway to this day.”
Listen Up is published every Sunday and rounds up the new music we found throughout the week. Hear the year so far on our Spotify channel.