Listen Up

From classic hip-hop to a reissue and a remix in our musical round-up this week

Tertia May: In My Head

Premiering on Wonderland, Tertia May’s “In My Head” is a dreamy, dusky approach to jazz—complete with polished, hip-hop-influenced production from Subculture. Soulful and rich, the song sees May maneuver between almost spoken-word to stirring, soaring vocals. Combining elements of soul, hip-hop, house and beyond, May continues to carve out a unique space for herself.

Stereolab: French Disco [Early Version Mix]

Stereolab—the London-based, English/French quartet that rose to epic heights in the ’90s—pioneered the genre of avant-pop. They disbanded in 2009, but return now with a reunion tour and gargantuan reissue series. Seven albums will return in limited edition vinyl and CD iterations, each with a hand-numbered strip from the original master-tapes. Demo tracks, alternate takes and scrapped mixes also accompany the releases. The first, “French Disco [Early Version Mix]” offers new life to the original “French Disko,” initially released in 1993 as a Flexidisc single. It arrives electrified and dance-ready.

Madlib + OHNO: Big Whips

The third single released from a compilation created by Gangster Doodles (aka Marlon Sassy), Madlib and OHNO’s “Big Whips” is a perfectly produced, head-nodding tune with a David James-directed music video. Both the track and visuals will hit a nostalgic nerve for many. Each song on the album Gangster Music Vol. 1 has an original illustration by Sassy, and the entire record is made up of tracks by talented DJs, producers and rappers including the likes of KAYTRANADA, House Shoes, Quelle Chris and more.

Sam Cohen: Something’s Got A Hold On Me

Danger Mouse has once again teamed up with BK-based singer/songwriter/producer Sam Cohen, for the latter’s upcoming LP The Future’s Still Ringing In My Ears. With a ’60s psychedelic vibe, “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” (premiering today on Stereogum) draws from that golden age of protest songs, describing a bleak view of the USA: “The future’s been a terrific disappointment / it’s not one thing specifically / just look at America / she’s too fat to riot.” Still, the song is decidedly contemporary—thanks in part to its impeccable, lush production.

Aldous Harding: The Barrel

From New Zealand folk singer Aldous Harding comes “The Barrel,” an acoustic guitar-backed track about the perils and trickery of love. It’s a lovely tune, led by Harding’s vocals, and releases alongside a playful video with obscure props (a big hat, ghoulish mask and maracas included). The single comes from Harding’s forthcoming album, Designer, due out on 26 April.

Wet: Old Bone (Jim-E Stack Remix)

NYC-based band Wet’s single “Old Bone” was a string-plucked tune with an emphasis on lead singer Kelly Zutrau’s vocals. But the remixed version, by Jim-E Stack, leans into the track’s core rhythm. With an upbeat drum and looming synths, the guitar is replaced by darker, distant strumming. Zutrau’s vocals are buried under a bit of distortion, but still bear the same raw emotion. Catch Wet on their US tour starting 24 February.

Shy Girls: Lay And Be Lonely

Shy Girls (aka Dan Vidmar) returns with a lighthearted, slightly melancholy tune from his forthcoming album Bird On The Wing—set for release 1 March on Keep Cool / RCA Records. The song is lyrically sparse and, despite its vulnerable subject matter, infectious. “But if there is something I could belong for / It would be tranquility / When I’m quiet there is a motion” Vidmar croons in the song’s only verse—perhaps actually singing the praises of being alone. Shy Girls will be on tour throughout the US in April and May.

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.