Listen Up

Surf-rock, dance-pop, and funk-inflected tunes, as well as a few of our other favorite tracks this week

U.S. Girls: 4 American Dollars

A playful tune about the perils of living in our money-driven society, “4 American Dollars” by U.S. Girls (aka Meghan Remy) features poignant lyrics about the inner workings of our economy and Remy’s bank balance: “In this world where they say: ‘It’s not personal, it’s business’ / Moving numbers from account to account / Keeping secrets in an offshore fount / My money is quick to count / I got four dollars to my name.” Back-up singers chime in for the chorus, repeating the phrase “You can do a lot with four American dollars.” The ’70s pop-influenced tune is a little subversive and sarcastic, and is accompanied by a colorful video directed by Remy and Emily Pelstring. The single will appear on U.S. Girls’ forthcoming album, Heavy Light, due out 6 March.

Yves Tumor: Gospel For A New Century

Tennessee-raised pop-electronic artist Yves Tumor (aka Sean Bowie) announced his follow-up to the 2018 EP, Safe In The Hands Of Love, in the form of 3 April’s Heaven To A Tortured Mind. The project’s first single, “Gospel For A New Century,” harkens back to looming funk releases from experimental groups like Parliament-Funkadelic, but pulls in elements reminiscent of eclectic acts ranging from Prince to TV On The Radio. The Isamaya Ffrench-directed video depicts Bowie as a mythic creature performing with majesty.

King Krule: Cellular

Well-known for his rap-sung dystopian, surf-rock tunes, King Krule (aka Archy Ivan Marshall) released a new single that doesn’t deviate from his signature style but offers something undeniably different too. Within, there are moments of expansion and ascension. Krule doesn’t make his vocal presence known until the one-minute mark, when he drops his anticipated cadence. The accompanying visual treatment, animated and directed by Jamie Wolfe, lends to the psych- and jazz-influenced indie rock feel.

The Voodoo Children: Caroline

An indie rock composition centered on the subject of support in times of emotional tumult, Nashville-based The Voodoo Children’s “Caroline” churns and stirs and chugs along. Steered by musician and artist JT Daly, the music collective’s debut EP, Instant Nostalgia, will release sometime later this year. If this lead single is any indicator, one can expect more thoughtful, moody tunes from the band and its collaborators.

Papooz: Figs and Gorgonzola

French dance-pop duo Papooz (composed of rhythm guitarist Armand Penicaut and vocalist/lead guitarist Ulysse Cottin) returns with “Figs and Gorgonzola,” a laid back and charming tale of love. The comfortably catchy single follows up the group’s well-received 2019 album release, Night Sketches. Papooz embarked upon a North American tour that started 18 February in Brooklyn.

ONR feat. Carina Jade: Sober

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and self-taught producer ONR (pronounced “honor”) channels sonic energy from the ’80s in his latest track, “Sober,” which features guest vocals from Carina Jade. It’s ONR’s debut release on Warner Records and a first glimpse at his forthcoming Must Stop EP (out 15 May). Directed by Omar Al-Zidjali, the music video for the Scottish artist bleeds color and form in a bedroom dreamscape.

The Weeknd: After Hours

The Weeknd’s new six-minute single, “After Hours,” the title track off his forthcoming album, combines three separate acts: an ambient beginning reminiscent of the artist’s earlier works; a strobing, ballad-blending middle that references sub-genre singles by producers like Attlas and Lane 8; and an ending that interpolates Gesaffelstein’s “Opr.” Roaring synths carry the track to its peak—a moment that marks The Weeknd’s strongest vocal delivery, two tender lines sung over harp-like twinkles: “Cause this house is not a home / Without my baby.” After Hours is due out 20 March.

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.