Daniel Johnston: True Love Will Find You In The End
An inspiration to so many other artists and musicians, Daniel Johnston‘s vast contribution of simple, honest and haunting works find balance between outsider art and mainstream acceptance. The singer/songwriter and visual artist’s laundry list of accolades ranges from inclusion in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, adoration for this “Hi, How Are You” mural in Austin, a brief stint signed to Atlantic Records, performances on MTV and touching the hearts of fans worldwide. An enigmatic figure who flickered in and out of public attention, Johnston leaves behind a catalog of music—much of it homemade—that bares his soul.
Bruno Major: Nothing
A delicate tune led by the charmed croon of English singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Bruno Major, “Nothing” tiptoes through a loving relationship on top of sweetly sincere lyrics (co-written with Raelee Nikole). Major released the track as a surprise to fans after honing a live version through his North American tour and completing the songwriting over dinner in London. It follows up 2017’s exquisite album, A Song For Every Moon.
Portland, Oregon-based indie-pop group STRFKR (aka Josh Hodges, Keil Corcoran, Shawn Glassford) provides fans with their first new music in three years. “Fantasy” is a spacey, funky tune with long cinematic pauses and crescendoing synths—all undeniably STRFKR. Delicate vocals float in and out, but the track puts the intergalactic instrumental front and center.
Charli XCX feat. Troye Sivan: 2099
A sonic, synth-driven tease to the future, “2099” once again sees Charli XCX collaborate with Troye Sivan. Rather than look back for inspiration, as they did with their 2018 hit “1999,” they’ve developed a futuristic soundscape of electronic accents and modified vocals. It captivates from the start and doesn’t let go. The track is set to close out Charli XCX’s LP Charli, released this Friday.
Dean Blunt feat. Panda Bear: Moments
From experimental mastermind Dean Blunt’s new mixtape ZUSHI!, “Moments” strips down to minimal but warm psychedelic accompaniment and lets the voice of Panda Bear (aka Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox) mesmerize. It’s the shorter of two Lennox collaborations on the release, and follows up Blunt’s appearance in, and direction of, Lennox’s “Token” video earlier this year.
Kills Birds: Worthy Girl
“Worthy Girl,” by LA-based rock band Kills Birds, holds no punches during its brief but raucous runtime. A searing evaluation of self-worth, the track’s propulsion comes from lead singer Nina Ljeti’s empowered delivery, paired with wild guitar work and booming bass and drums. The basement setting for the Cris Gris-directed music video supports the DIY aesthetic of the whole unit.
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.