Listen Up

Playful J-pop, a disco-driven track about anxiety and more new music this week

Spencer Tweedy: Everyday Apostle

Three years after his debut EP, Chicago’s Spencer Tweedy has released Sleep Is My God. This new four-track EP segues from one pithy folk-rock track to another. It’s cohesive, artful and begins with “Everyday Apostle,” our pick from the release. There are traces of Elliott Smith here but altogether it’s refreshingly Tweedy.

Cage the Elephant + Beck: Night Running

Ahead of Beck and Cage the Elephant’s co-headlining tour—and the latter’s upcoming album Social Cues (out 19 April)—”Night Running” offers up groovy afterparty moves. The incredibly prolific Beck co-wrote the dub-reggae tune with the band’s Matt and Brad Shultz—who’d been toying with it for years. Beck sent over his verses in 24 hours. It’s an inspired collaboration and hints at the fun the tour will offer.

CHAI: Curly Adventure

A jubilant and uplifting tune by Japanese four-piece CHAI, “Curly Adventure” was released a couple of weeks ago and now has a delightful animated video to match. Directed by Sean Solomon, the video is just as pleasant and playful as the song itself—a glorious track in which J-pop meets indie and rock. The song is about freedom and changing mindsets, with a lyric loosely translating to “We won’t stop going, even if there’s no destination”—a perfect message for this joyfully feminist band.

Lee Fields & The Expressions: You’re What’s Needed In My Life

With a discography dating back to 1969, Lee Fields—now of Lee Fields & The Expressions—hasn’t slowed at all. Their newest tune, “You’re What’s Needed In My Life,” is a classic love song with horns, a bluesy guitar and soulful back-up singers. Chivalrous, jubilant and gushing, Fields croons about his love’s endless list of qualities—it’s delightful listening for all ears. The release will appear on the group’s forthcoming album It Rains Love, out 5 April on Big Crown Records.

Phum Viphurit: Hello, Anxiety

Packed with funk- and disco-powered riffs and breakdowns, “Hello, Anxiety” is the newest single from Bangkok-based Phum Viphurit. The 23-year-old made noise with last year’s “Lover Boy,” and this new release is an encouraging and understanding tune about coping (and sometimes not coping) with anxiety. With a video by Khamkwan Duangmanee, that ends in a cheerful dance party, the song is ultimately hopeful and supportive—and surely a message that will resonate with many. “Heaven knows you’re lost / but you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine,” he sings.

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.