Listen Up

Exuberant indie-pop, '80s influences, bright melodies and more music from the week

Kat Cunning: BOYS

Every individual in the cast and crew of the music video for recording artist Kat Cunning’s exuberant single “BOYS” identifies as either transgender or non-binary. This purposeful act underscores the ebullient visuals and lends deeper meaning to the anthem. “I wanted to do my part to help represent the diversity and beauty of the transmasculine community that is so often erased, exploited or hardly peppered into the media,” Cunning says. “Representation matters, especially to young people.”

Mykki Blanco feat. Blood Orange: It’s Not My Choice

Another track from Mykki Blanco’s highly anticipated Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep, “It’s Not My Choice” features vocals from Blood Orange. With a tinge of the ’80s, the track tells the story of a troubled relationship via Blanco’s distinctly energized rhymes. The album (out 18 June on Transgressive Records) will feature cameos by Jamila Woods and Blanco’s brother Jay Cue, with writing contributions from Big Freedia and Kari Faux, and production by Daniel Fisher (aka Physical Therapy).

anaiis: reverie

South London-based, French-Senegalese soul artist anaiis returns with the laidback, jazz-tinged “reverie.” She composed the pretty song—which is written through the eyes of somebody watching a loved one deal with fear and regret—with Itai David Shapira. With slightly raspy, breathy vocals, delicate percussion and soft horns, the song is set to appear on her upcoming second album.

Valborg Ólafs: Holiday

Icelandic indie four-piece Valborg Ólafs returns with “Holiday,” a bright and melodic track, driven by the thoughtful vocals of Valborg Ólafsdóttir and underscored by majestic harmonies. The upbeat, beautiful ode to vacations will appear on their forthcoming album, Silhouette, which they self-produced inside a church under the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on the southern coast of Iceland.


Off San Diego musician and visual artist TEMPOREX’s multidimensional 10-track LP Bowling, the single “New Lane” infuses ’80s and ’90s cartoon and video game pop culture into funky, electric bedroom pop. TEMPOREX (aka Joseph Flores) recorded most of the album at home, aligning layers of diverse sonic influence into imaginative tracks that sometimes encourage wonder and other times instigate dance parties.

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. Hero courtesy of TEMPOREX