Listen Up

From ambient and experimental to neo-soul and lo-fi hip-hop, some of our favorite new songs

Andy Shauf: Try Again

Joyful and a tad flirtatious, Toronto-based Andy Shauf’s “Try Again” depicts an awkward run in with an ex. But it’s far more than a note about loneliness: Shauf does an excellent job at developing the cast of characters, an impressive feat for the just-under-four-minute track. “Somewhere between drunkenness and jealousy / I watch her talking to some old friend / What a reunion, he recognized her across the room / How many years could there be to catch up on? / And somewhere between drunkenness and honesty / I make a silent toast to the things that I do and don’t miss,” he sings. The playful, paper art video bops along to the beat. “Try Again” will appear on Shauf’s forthcoming album, Neon Skyline, out 24 January.

Bruno Major: Tapestry

Gentle, personal and beautiful from start to finish, Bruno Major’s latest single “Tapestry” evokes idyllic images of nature and pinpoints moments of shared emotion, all to tell a story of long-standing togetherness. It’s another rumination from the English singer/songwriter and guitarist, this time written with Liv Dawson and Phairo. Major has quite the croon, and it services his thoughtful lyrics to underscore their power.

Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse feat. MF DOOM: Ninjarous

Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) has unveiled a previously unreleased song made in collaboration with Sparklehorse, the inimitable MF DOOM and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. When Burton recorded 2010’s Dark Night of the Soul with Sparklehorse, he produced more music with frontman Mark Linkous, who’d pass away a few months before the record’s release. “Mark and I worked on a lot of music together, but it was the song that he and I wrote and recorded with MF DOOM that really resonated with him. It was one of his favorites, so I’m happy to have this opportunity to pay tribute to him by getting it out there,” Burton says. The song is lo-fi, incredibly rich and brimming with the magnetism that all the artists involved exude.

MishCatt: Blue Blood

With the tantalizing pop tune “Blue Blood,” singer/songwriter and artist MishCatt (aka Michelle González) offers a first taste of her second EP The Real Pavo, produced by Miike Snow’s Pontus Winnberg. Its video, directed by Albin Eidhagen, taps into the dreamy, psychedelic essence of the track. “This song is about the melancholic memory of a summer romance,” González says. “It’s idealistic but there’s something sad about it, almost a dreamy feel that makes you wonder if it ever happened.” Abstract in so many ways, the coupling of video and song paint a synesthetic landscape, powered by emotion, that’s bright and beautiful.

Dayglow: Listerine

Dayglow (aka Sloan Struble) maintains an upbeat cadence throughout “Listerine,” a surf rock-influenced single from the artist’s debut LP, Fuzzybrain, which was re-released this week. Jagged guitars and airy synths bow in and out, along with Struble’s filtered vocals. “I thought that this was something different than before / Now we’re changing shape inside your brain and starting to reform / Oh Lord, now I’m speaking words without thinking before / I knew that I wouldn’t change,” he sings.

Clams Casino: In a Mirror

Clams Casino (aka Michael Volpe) turns to piano and distortion to compose a track featured on his most recent album, Moon Trip Radio. “In a Mirror,” if you’re listening on headphones or stereo speakers, will literally glitch at times, rendering one side’s output null, while amplifying the noise out of the other. It’s all a part of the track’s grand unearthing, as supple piano guides the listener through stages of booming bass and synths, ambient noise, and digitized rips. To accompany the song, Marielle Tepper (art direction), Jakub Valtar (computational art), and Ryan Dayhoff (editing) created a bright red visualizer that’s reminiscent of depictions of black holes.

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.