Listen Up

From the enjoyably odd to playfully political, our favorite new songs

Moses Sumney: Virile

From his upcoming album græ (which will be released in two parts), Moses Sumney’s “Virile” is a huge, stirring song that explores the concept of masculinity. Beginning with delicate strings, the piece builds with guttural guitar, raucous percussion and Sumney’s stunning falsetto. The accompanying video is the artist’s directorial debut and proves equally colossal. As Sumney puts it, “In a post-human world, the last remaining man is caught between beauty and brutality’s battle to dominate the earth and his body.”

Neon Indian: Toyota Man

Neon Indian (aka Alan Palomo) returns with his first song entirely in Spanish, “Toyota Man.” Upbeat and glitzy, it’s a pro-immigrant tune with a little playful satire. In the music video (also directed by the artist), Palomo creates an alternate self-history that stars a piñata version of Trump. Palomo says that more recently, “the story of my family, which before felt commonly American, was suddenly politicized”—leading to this piece of work.

TNGHT: WHAT_IT_IS

TNGHT (aka Hudson Mohawke and Lunice), after seven years apart, return with their widely anticipated II EP. From it comes “WHAT_IT_IS,” a noisy, Timbaland-esque track with vocal samples, drums and space-like sounds. The end result proves enjoyably odd, courtesy of an unconventional formula. Other tracks on the EP follow suit, although most are darker and more aggressive. From boom-bap and early 2000s hip-hop to modern electronic, influences abound here and meld nicely, despite being so drastically different.

FKJ: Ylang Ylang

From FKJ’s EP of the same name, “Ylang Ylang” grows into a sprawling arrangement of strings, grand piano, and ambient vocals, courtesy of elusive singer ((( O ))) (aka June Marieezy). The producer, French multi-instrumentalist Vincent Fenton, can be seen in the accompanying video playing the piano in extravagant locales, from the center of a lush forest to the edge of the ocean at rising tide. It’s altogether delicate, and finishes with a crescendoing solo that tickles the upper octaves of the instrument.

Tennis: Runner

Lustful and romantic, “Runner” by Tennis (aka husband and wife Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley) sets the tone for the duo’s forthcoming album, Swimmer, which is set for release in February. The song—which happens to be the first tune written for the new record—is paired with a video directed by long-time collaborator Luca Venter. Inspired by a “love for old musicals and all things Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Bob Fosse,” the visual treatment is full of sequins, night skies and satin—the ideal accompaniment for Moore’s falsetto, crescendoing synths, and lush production.

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.