Listen Up

Music for outer space, the country fair and everywhere else

Noga Erez feat. Reo Cragun + ROUSSO: Views

Tel Aviv-based musician Noga Erez may be speaking about her own industry when she drops the lines “People buy views / I know it’s old news / but I got bad news / for everybody” in her latest single, “VIEWS,” but the sentiment applies to self-promotion everywhere. Featuring LA hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, and frequent Erez collaborator ROUSSO, the track confronts over-saturation and does so with a mean hook. Indy Hait’s music video services the track with a sharp, magnetic perspective.

Sufjan Stevens + Lowell Brams: The Runaround

Drawn from Sufjan Stevens’ forthcoming instrumental/new-age/ambient album, Aporia—made in collaboration with his stepfather and Asthmatic Kitty record label co-owner, Lowell Brams—”The Runaround” veers sharply from the artist’s more bombastic works (as well as his quietly devastating ones). Though Stevens’ (modified) voice appears toward the track’s end, the focus here is on the melody and its electronic power. Equally mesmerizing, the music video from abutta492 (aka Adama Filmz) documents black dirt-bike culture in slow motion—and it pairs perfectly with the song.

Jaga Jazzist: Spiral Era

With “Spiral Era,” Norwegian eight-piece Jaga Jazzist weave together a psychedelic, experimental—and science-fiction-like—jazz track. The eight-minute-long cosmic journey is only one part of the band’s forthcoming album Pyramid (out 24 April), their first LP since 2015’s Starfire and ninth overall in a career that now spans four decades. It’s also the first they’ve self-produced—and they’ve done so with symphonic success.

Orville Peck: Queen of the Rodeo

Using two tracks—”Queen of the Rodeo” and a brief rendition of “Roses Are Falling”—off his 2019 debut album, Pony, Orville Peck weaves together a tale of rodeo woes conveyed by a cast of drag performers and cowboys. A few dramatic bull rides are set to the former, and a bit of western pageantry is backed by the latter. Peck (known for his deep vocals, fringed mask and hat) appears intermittently, starring alongside “Miss Bitter Prairi,” who ultimately dons the “Queen of the Rodeo” sash.

Lianne La Havas: Bittersweet

Lianne La Havas returns with “Bittersweet,” her first release of new material in five years. The soulful track acts as a reminder of La Havas’ powerful vocal capabilities, intoxicating songwriting and the underlying emotional pull of their harmonious mission. It’s a first taste of the British singer/songwriter’s forthcoming studio effort and will likely leave fans hoping for more.

Briston Maroney: The Garden

The latest from Nashville’s Briston Maroney, “The Garden” moves along with earnest wisdom and an eager hook. It falls within the young artist’s Miracle single series, and follows up his recent—and acclaimed—Indiana EP. Producer John Congelton worked with Maroney on the track, marking the first collaboration with the singer/songwriter/guitarist.

Chicano Batman: Color my life

The first single off the band’s forthcoming studio album, Invisible People (out 1 May), Chicano Batman’s “Color my life” lulls listeners with a hazy groove and toys with Tropicaliá influences, as well as funk and soul. A bassline sets the pace and synths, drums, guitar, and other tones chime in as the song bops along. “Are you a lucid dream? / That’s what it seems / I’m not really sure if it’s real,” Bardo Martinez, the lead vocalist, sings—setting the tone for the track and the psychedelic visual treatment. The band sets off on a North American tour on 8 April in Santa Fe.

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.