Listen Up

Country-inflected pop, chopped-up Beyonce samples, carnivalesque chaos and more music from this week

King Princess: Ohio

After performing “Ohio” live with consistency since her first tour, King Princess (aka Mikaela Straus) finally releases an official recording and music video for the fan-favorite track. Both the song and visuals begin with quiet intimacy, and the latter introduces Straus wearing her theatrical Cheap Queen look. As with the song, the video soon explodes into an anthemic garage-rock performance, cut from captivating live renditions. “Ohio” will be included on the deluxe re-release of her debut album, Cheap Queen, out 14 February.

Grimes: Delete Forever

Written the night Lil Peep passed away, “Delete Forever” is pretty and airy, despite tackling the topic of opioid addiction. From Grimes’ fifth album Miss Anthropocene, the tune begins with acoustic guitar (reminiscent of “Wonderwall” by Oasis) before the beat kicks in around the 50-second mark. With country-inflected violin and banjo, the song has a different sound from the Canadian musician’s recent releases, but her breathy vocals are unmistakably familiar. The video—made in collaboration with Mac Boucher and Neil Hansen—depicts Grimes sitting on a throne somewhere in Gspace, an empire crumbled around her.

The Strokes: At The Door

In addition to confirming the release date of their Rick Rubin-produced sixth LP, The New Abnormal (10 April), The Strokes dropped the album’s epic lead single, “At The Door.” Arguably one of their most dynamic tracks, the near-six-minute number transitions from precise, minimal synth work to busier, beautiful Strokes-soundscapes; all of this is tied together with an eerie outro. Lead singer Julian Casablancas demonstrates the breadth of his vocal capabilities throughout. An animated official music video from writer/director Mike Burkaroff amplifies the tone of the track with sci-fi references and a nod to the ’80s cartoon Masters of The Universe.

Against All Logic: Fantasy

Using his performance alias Against All Logic, Nicolas Jaar releases a new album, 2017 – 2019, composed of industrial drums, sound effects and pop samples—plus plenty of Jaar’s signature distortions. A standout single and the album’s opening track, “Fantasy” employs all of the aforementioned but ups the ante by sampling Beyoncé’s 2003 collaboration with Sean Paul “Baby Boy” for its hook, as well as filtered Baglama-like instrumental work throughout. Though “Fantasy” can feel chaotic, it’s a whirling, speaker-wrecking downbeat bop.

Tame Impala: Is It True

From Tame Impala’s newest album, The Slow Rush, “Is It True” spotlights the band’s affection for funk-inspired bass lines and percussion. Strutting and sultry, the track’s instrumental sets the scene for frontman Kevin Parker’s love song: “We started talkin’ ’bout devotion / The kind that goes on eternally / And I tell her I’m in love with her / But, how can I know that I’ll always be?” The first and second verses flow into an infectious chorus that furthers the story, but they’re ultimately cut short by an airy, spacey breakdown.

Caleb Landry Jones: Flag Day / The Mother Stone

From actor and musician Caleb Landry Jones’ debut album, The Mother Stone (out 1 May on Sacred Bones), lead single “Flag Day / The Mother Stone” and its accompanying music video guide audiences down a psychedelic, cinematic rabbit hole. The seven-minute song sprawls outward with colorful, carnivalesque energy. Landry Jones recorded the track, and others from the album, using his personal collection of Casios and Yamahas, along with vintage equipment from producer Nic Jodoin.

Ras: Boogie

Sparse at first but ever-growing, Berlin-based disco trio Ras’ newest single, “Boogie,” is a bop that references Mediterranean club music, poolside pop, disco and funk. Members Dekel Adin, Eden Leshem and Guy Gefen hail from rural Israel, but after recording their self-titled debut album in Berlin, the trio stuck around and worked to contrast the city’s energetic, industrial house music with laidback beats and vintage-sounding vocals. It’s an infectious song that swells into a bongo-led anthem.

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.