Listen Up

Our favorite tunes this week bounce from psychedelic and groovy to hypnotic and experimental

Steve Lacy: Playground

Psychedelic and groovy, Steve Lacy’s “Playground” pays, both visually and sonically, homage to Prince—via merch, a ruffled shirt, and sparkling purple hues throughout. The track appears on Lacy’s debut solo album, Apollo XXI, and while previously best known as The Internet’s guitarist, he has certainly proved himself as a formidable solo artist. Produced by Kathleen Heffernan and Leah Younesi and directed by Alexis Zabe, this new visual treatment is colorful, retro and infectious.

Perfume Genius: Pop Song

The delicate new “Pop Song” by Perfume Genuis (aka Seattle-based Mike Hadreas) is actually quite experimental, ethereal and not quite a pop track at all. The tune is from The Sun Still Burns Here, a touring dance and music project that Hadreas created with choreographer Kate Wallich and her company YC. Textured and layered, the song features minimal vocals, but when his delicate falsetto appears among chimes, harps and synths, the result is beguiling.

Yuna (feat. Tyler, The Creator): Castaway

Pulled from her Rouge LP, Yuna’s “Castaway” glides along, carried by a delicate and lush instrumental and her comforting vocals. Yuna (aka Malaysia-born Yunalis binti Mat Zara’ai) teams up with Tyler, The Creator on the track and, while his style is a stark contrast to hers, the artist fits in seamlessly. His bars are clever and lead into a danceable breakdown that lasts through the song’s conclusion.

Joy Crookes (feat. Jafaris): Early

With a video filmed in her grandmother’s house in Dublin, Joy Crookes’ “Early” depicts a love story doomed or destined to last—depending on how you listen. Aside from Crookes’ soulful delivery, Dublin-based rapper Jafaris contributes a catchy verse and harmonizes with the singer on the chorus. But the pair admits that they “wrote this song called ‘Early’ when were both experiencing the opposite ends of love,” further emphasizing its dual meaning.

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.