Listen Up

Disco-inflected funk, raucous hip-hop, French pop and more of our favorite new music

Run The Jewels feat. Greg Nice + DJ Premier: Ooh LA LA

Filmed just weeks before the current crisis spread across the USA, the video for “Ooh LA LA” by Run The Jewels (aka Killer Mike and El-P), Greg Nice and DJ Premier depicts the hip-hop duo’s vision of utopia as people of all classes come together to dance, celebrate and destroy symbols of capitalism. Featuring an apt cameo from Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha, the video (directed by Brian and Vanessa Beletic) begins with a statement: “One day the long-fought battle between humanity and the forces of greed and division will end, and on that day, finally free, we will throw a motherfucking party.” What ensues is a fiery, unequivocally RTJ track.

Khruangbin: Time (You and I)

“Time (You and I),” the first single from funk three-piece Khruangbin’s forthcoming album, Mordechai (out 26 June on Dead Oceans), expands upon the band’s signature sound by adding more substantial vocals, and leaning into their glittery disco influences. Recorded at the band’s studio estate in Burton, Texas, the funk-laden song features a chant-like chorus: “That’s Life / We had more time / We could live forever / Just You and I / We could be together / Just you and I.”

Cautious Clay feat. Remi Wolf, Still Woozy, Sophie Meiers, Claud, Melanie Faye + HXNS: Cheesin’

Recorded remotely, the Cautious Clay-led “Cheesin'” features six collaborators: Remi Wolf, Still Woozy, Sophie Meiers, Claud, Melanie Faye, and HXNS. Budding stars in the indie genre, the group aims to drive attention to and raise funds for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. Net proceeds from all streams and purchases of the joyous track go to the organization and its numerous beneficiaries. So far, the song has raised nearly $40,000.

Big Thief: Love In Mine

A previously unused track from the recording sessions for Big Thief’s Two Hands, “Love In Mine” lulls listeners with hushed vocals and a whimsical, folk-inspired instrumental. Delicate and intricate, Adrianne Lenker’s lyrics read like poetry, and twangy acoustic guitars and straightforward drums prove just as sweet: “Whatever comes / When it comes / Whatever leaves / What we leave behind / Bare exsiccated shells / Will be hollowed / And eaten by the hands.” A handful of demos just like “Love In Mine” are available now, packaged in an EP titled Demos Vol. 1 – Topanga Canyon, CA – Feb 2018, and 100% of the funds will go directly to the band’s tour crew who would have been working with the band throughout Australia, New Zealand and Japan this month.

Yelle: Je T’aime Encore

“It’s a love letter to our country France,” dance-pop duo Yelle (Julie Budet and Jean-François Perrier) explain of their new single, “Je T’aime Encore,” the first release from their fourth studio album, expected in September. The love letter, of course, is a complicated one—writhing atop danceable but classical French pop chords and a syncopated beat. The intimate, transfixing music video (directed by fashion documentary filmmaker Loïc Prigent) finds Budet in a chair being styled Charlie Le Mindu and requires viewer attention to the very last second.

Geographer: Slave To The Rhythm

“I think this song is about being an artist, a creator of consumable emotions, a performer,” Geographer (aka Mike Deni) says to us of “Slave To The Rhythm,” the spellbinding lead track off the celestial synth-pop musician’s upcoming LP, Down And Out In The Garden Of Earthly Delights (out 4 December). Deni recorded the track, a warm wave of emotion and instrumentation, in Tiny Telephone’s B room in San Francisco. He adds, “Perhaps ironically, I decided with this one to not cater to the traditional pop song structure, I guess kind of in opposition to the outcry of the song. I stretched it as far as I could, the vocal chopping section with the saxophones. Recording it was deeply satisfying.” Mirroring that, the experience of listening satisfies, too.

SG Lewis: Chemicals

Carried by a buoyant bass line, “Chemicals” by SG Lewis (aka singer/songwriter Samuel Lewis) provides a dreamy, poolside disco soundtrack for a Friday morning. From the upcoming album (also called Chemicals), the song was written by Lewis, along with Steph Jones, Julian Bunetta, and Chad Hugo (The Neptunes and N*E*R*D) on the synth. “‘Chemicals’ is about being convinced to try something new by someone you are infatuated with, and the emotions that follow. It’s about feeling helpless knowing the control that person has over you, but knowing that deep down you love that fact. The song is written about one specific night out I experienced in London a while back,” Lewis says of the glitzy, soaring tune.

Tom Misch + Yussef Dayes: The Real

From vocalist and instrumentalist Tom Misch and drummer Yussef Dayes, “The Real” features a pitched-up sample of “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The song (appearing on Dayes and Misch’s collaborative album, What Kinda Music) mixes electronic elements with percussion and a bass line more typically used in hip-hop—all layered under Misch’s sultry vocals. The result is a hybrid piece of music that’s rich with sonic stimuli.

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.