Listen Up

From Brazilian bossa nova to Australian dreampop and beyond

Sampa The Great: OMG

From Zambia-born and Sydney-based Sampa The Great’s forthcoming debut album, Return (out 13 September), “OMG” is an upbeat and eclectic anthem. The track’s artful video, which was directed by Sanjay De Silva, is set in South Africa and is an apt accompaniment to Sampa’s cadence. Dripping in confidence, she reminds former friends, forlorn lovers and foes that you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. “Never underestimate your highness / dripped in melanin / galaxy’s finest,” she raps in her first verse.

Alice Ivy feat. Ecca Vandal: In My Mind

Melbourne-based Alice Ivy and Ecca Vandal have teamed up on the ephemeral track “In My Mind,” which follows Ivy’s 2018 debut album I’m Dreaming. Combining atmospheric layers with dreamy vocals, the song has a sublime, buoyant quality. Ivy and her luminous tunes will be touring with Northeast Party House through Australia in September.

Loony: Tread

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Loony (aka Kira Huszar) has just released the rich and stirring “Tread.” With impassioned, layered vocals and plenty of neo-soul and R&B influences, it’s a soulful and sophisticated song from the young artist. Loony will be touring with RHYE through Canada this summer.

BANKS: Sawzall

From BANKS’ latest album, iii (out now on Harvest Records), “Sawzall” is a delicate dreampop tune that floats along delicately until it bellows into industrial drum-heavy and autotune-drenched electronics—with ’80s-era harps sprinkled on top. Despite all these elements at play, careful attention should be paid to BANKS’ elastic vocals, as the lyrics tell an emotional tale of love, loss and guilt.

Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals: Keep Your Faith to the Sky

The Time For Peace Is Now, indie label Luaka Bop’s second installment in their World Spirituality Classics compilation series, features a soulful number by Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals. This ’70s-era secular gospel track, “Keep Your Faith to the Sky,” calls upon spirituality—not religion—and addresses how we exist with one another. Soul DJ Greg Belson compiled all of the secular gospel tracks on the album, many of which were discovered on obscure 45s long hidden in attic spaces. The Time For Peace Is Now releases 13 September.

João Gilberto: Rosa Morena

The “father of bossa nova,” João Gilberto has passed away at 88 years old. His debut album Chega de Saudade was released in 1959 and is widely credited as the first-ever bossa nova record. It blends traditional samba with contemporary jazz, Gilberto’s unique guitar style, and his unhurried, effortless vocals. Gilberto frequently teamed up with Antônio Carlos Jobim as well as American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz—most famously on 1964’s Getz/Gilberto, where “The Girl From Ipanema” appears. A perfectionist, Gilberto apparently insisted upon some 28 takes of “Rosa Morena” on his debut, in order to perfect the pronunciation of “Rosa.”

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.