Listen Up

Gospel-inflected pop, jazzy neo-soul, g-funk and more in our weekly musical round-up

Hamzaa: Breathing

The third track released ahead of her debut EP First Signs of Me, Hamzaa’s “Breathing” is beautifully uplifting. The tune is gospel-inflected (but not preachy) and the London-based singer/songwriter delivers stirring, soulful vocals. First Signs of Me is available for pre-order now, and is already proving to be a powerful piece of work from the young artist.

Naomi Banks: Anything

Neo-soul and electronic collide beautifully in Naomi Banks’ new track “Anything.” Over the course of the three and a half minutes, her voice builds from a tender, jazzy croon to an immensely powerful howl—alongside a tune that combines minimal piano with a squelchy bass line and clashing drum machines. While all this genre-bending and blending might sound messy in writing, the result is a textured soundscape that’s ultimately rich and evocative, not just experimental.

Toro y Moi: Freelance

From his forthcoming album Outer Peace (out 18 January on Carpark Records), Toro y Moi‘s “Freelance” is a g-funk-inflected tune that’s a bit surprising from the artist—considering his previous chillwave offerings. Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bear) delights listeners with this layered, synth-heavy bop. Funky and playful, the song was apparently written as a response to Bear’s return to the Bay Area after living in Portland. Ahead of the 10-track album’s release, Toro y Moi will be touring the US through November.

Beirut: Gallipoli

Truly an amalgamation of sound and style, “Gallipoli” announces Beirut’s return—and an album of the same name. With brass instruments that beg for a parade of celebratory footfall and percussion that creates nostalgia for something lost, the track (like much Beirut music) is bound to no time or place. Beirut’s Zach Condon wrote the entire song in one session, in rural Italy. It certainly stirs excitement for the rest of the future release.

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.