Listen Up

From animated hip-hop to a song in support of sex workers, a few of our favorite tracks from the week

Alex Cameron: Far From Born Again

Alex Cameron’s releases continue to delight and surprise. In the video for “Far From Born Again,” his newest single from Miami Memory (out 13 September), Cameron struts into a strip club, backed by a smooth instrumental, and sings about sex work. “The song was a moment for me to clearly express my stance on the job and the people that do it,” he says. “I support sex workers, I know many of them, I believe that educating the public on its very existence is extremely important. Writing the song was also a chance to speak directly to those who oppose it.” The track is lusty and fun, all the while juxtaposed with interviews of real-life sex workers.

Cautious Clay: Swim Home

Written with John Mayer, “Swim Home” is Cautious Clay (aka Joshua Karpeh) at his most delicate and spacious. “Swim home / Without a phone / Then say you love me / Kamikaze,” he pleads alongside a sparse instrumental. The track appears on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why but does well, and warrants repeat listens, on its own. Clay will be on his Context Tour from September until December of this year.

Brockhampton: Boy Bye

Set to appear on the group’s forthcoming LP Ginger, due out 23 August, Brockhampton’s “Boy Bye” is their most worldly release yet—from the underlying Samba tone to the upbeat rhythm. Although each member—there are more than 10—contributes something unique here, the track feels cohesive and as concentrated as ever. Accompanied by a Spencer Ford-directed video, the track may not tell a discernible story but it’s certainly in the vein, both sonically and visually, of previous releases.

Big Thief: Not

Lead by vocalist Adrianne Lenker’s desperate calls, Big Thief’s “Not” fuses folk-influence and scorching guitar solos to form a track that’s both cohesive and beautifully chaotic. At the halfway mark, Lenker’s grasping for air and a massive instrumental track haunts the background—then a three-minute-long guitar solo bursts in. It continues until the track’s end, when it all but whimpers away. The band’s second album of 2019, Two Hands, is out 11 October via 4AD.

Theophilus London feat. Ian Isiah: Pretty

Funky and fun-loving, Theophilus London and Ian Isiah’s “Pretty” is a love song to women everywhere that’s influenced by R&B, funk and soul. Though London’s love interests are unabashedly plural throughout, the track dissolves into a make-up plea by its end. Assisted by Blood Orange (aka Dev Hynes) and Isiah, this release is London at his best: lively, eclectic and exciting. It’ll appear on his forthcoming album, Bebey.

Deca: Edenville

Accompanied by an (unofficial but approved of) stop motion video from O’Honey Studio!, Deca’s “Edenville” track reflects what loneliness and boredom can do to one’s mood and determination. The rapper references lore around the birth of humanity and traces it into modern day—dissecting things like paranoia and self-worth along the way. The animated video also depicts a character’s journey from self-loathing to floating, both literally and emotionally.

The Nicholas: Call Me Back

Relaxed but purposeful, “Call Me Back” by The Nicholas (aka Amsterdam/LA-based Rutger van Woudenberg) is dreamy but tactile. “Your heart’s like a star / I saw you from afar / Maybe it’s time for you / to call me back,” he rings out on the track, which is from Woudenberg’s Lighthead EP. It’s altogether sonically pleasing and reminiscent of bygone eras, though influenced by psych-stars of today—from the drums and the guitars to van Woudenberg’s breathy-but-bold vocals.


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.