Listen Up

From synth to soul, folk to falsetto and beyond, our favorite songs from the week

Kilo Kish: SPARK

Digital and distorted, Kilo Kish’s “SPARK” proves catchy and enjoyably offbeat. Comprised of a glitchy, buzzing synth, the every-so-often output of a drum machine and Kish’s drawn out vocals, the single deviates from the artist’s recent releases, but does so in a way that feels natural. “This time, I really lost it / Don’t know where you are / Let’s hope I come across it / In the water,” she sings, positioning herself as the flame that needs to be extinguished.

Khruangbin + Leon Bridges: Texas Sun

Fusing Texas trio Khruangbin’s physchedelic style and Leon Bridges’ soulful sounds, “Texas Sun” pays homage to the collaborators’ home state without succumbing to stereotypes. Khruangbin (aka Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Ray Johnson on drums) handles the instrumental, while Bridges lends his rich vocals. Southern twang surfaces from time to time, but the track is more hazy and heady than yeehaw. This single will appear on a collaborative EP, out 7 February on Dead Oceans.

Yussef Dayes: Duality

Intergalactic but with references from the golden eras of jazz, Yussef Dayes’ aptly titled single, “Duality,” fuses two of the artist’s tracks—“For My Ladies” and “Othello”—into one expansive, complex performance. The first half, or “Side A,” as Dayes refers to it in the video’s description, is sultry and slow-moving, and carried by synths and a bass guitar. The second half is when Dayes—on the drums—takes over, leading listeners through a frenzying chase all the way to the track’s end.

Birthh: Yello / Concrete

Newcomer Birthh (aka Florence-born Alice Bisi) marks her debut London show with a new song, “Yello / Concrete.” Blending folk, hip-hop, neo-soul and lo-fi, Birthh creates a pretty and distinct soundscape. The song ebbs and flows with gentle guitar, keys and laidback percussion, but it’s Bisi’s sweet speak-sing vocals that draw it all together.

Tame Impala: Posthumous Forgiveness

Another single from Tame Impala’s forthcoming album, The Slow Rush (out 14 February), “Posthumous Forgiveness,” proves far more personal than the band’s typical releases. Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker lucidly details several moments that he longs for with his late father: “Wanna tell you ’bout the time / I was in Abbey Road / Or the time that I had / Mick Jagger on the phone / I thought of you when we spoke / Wanna tell you ’bout the time / Wanna tell you ’bout my life / Wanna play you all my songs,” he sings. The track, which stretches just past six minutes, feels like an act of discovery at first, with the brooding bass line and eclectic drums and synths filling a void. By the end, it all feels lighter as an airy guitar accompanies Parker’s personal, verse-long letter.

SiR (feat. Zacari): Mood

Lighthearted and groovy, SiR and Zacari’s “Mood” burns at a steady tempo, highlighted by falsetto from both singers. Zacari (Zacari Pacaldo) commands the chorus, while SiR (Sir Darryl Farris) leads the verses with breathy, layered vocals. The Mez for Heirs-directed video puts the pair into an action movie, culminating war scenes from Farris’ nightmarish dreams. The west coast-influenced track appeared on SiR’s recent Chasing Summers album.

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.