Listen Up

Ballads, bops, break-up songs and an '80s anthem in our round-up of music this week

Orville Peck: Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat Cover)

Since its 1984 release, Bronski Beat’s seminal “Smalltown Boy” has remained an expression of hope and liberation from isolation and homophobia—and now masked cowboy Orville Peck has recorded a cover of the electro-pop anthem. Replacing the synth riff with a twangy one, and Jimmy Somerville’s soaring falsetto with his own booming, classically trained vocals, Peck transforms the classic (along with some steel guitar) while remaining just faithful enough.

Tei Shi: Goodbye

Lush and spacey, “Goodbye” by Tei Shi (aka Valerie Teicher) appears on the singer/songwriter/producer’s EP Die 4 Ur Love—following last year’s La Linda. It’s mellow and graceful, while remaining a tenacious break-up song with no-nonsense lyrics like “Thought I’d let you know you’re so boring / Also I’m sick of your shit.” Moreover, it’s an ode to finding freedom and self-worth and Teicher’s vocals float elegantly atop the layered synths.

Eddie Chacon: My Mind is Out Of Its Mind

From his upcoming album, Pleasure, Joy and Happiness, Eddie Chacon’s “My Mind is Out Of Its Mind” feels at once nostalgic and current—with a hint of ’80s smooth soul/jazz/pop, coupled with contemporary flourishes. The meditative, self-reflective song—produced by the brilliant John Carroll Kirby—proves Chacon’s immense songwriting ability. The music industry veteran started his first band when he was 12 years old, and was half of the ’90s duo Charles & Eddie. He also worked behind the scenes, writing music for various artists (including British R&B group Eternal) and engineering (he was second engineer on 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be), too. A photographer and later creative director for AUTRE Magazine, Chacon seems to have been hiding in plain sight since his fame with Charles & Eddie. This is the first time he has written and released music under his own name as a solo artist.

Baby Yors: Suddenly

Argentina-born, New York-based recording artist Baby Yors (aka Marco Palou) wrote “Suddenly” nearly three years ago and has performed the vocal-flexing ballad at almost all of his live shows since. During quarantine, however, the song has taken on new meaning for the queer artist, and several realizations about confinement, communication and expression led him to choreograph, produce, direct and edit an official music video himself—with support from the non-toxic beauty brand Emilie Heathe, and hair by Alejandro Luccheta, styling by Harry James Hanson and photography by Haley Varacallo. Almost five minutes long, the video weaves together staged visuals with diary-like entries that Palou captured on a ’90s camcorder, all to an entirely theatrical effect.

Breakbot: Translight

French producer/DJ Breakbot (aka Thibaut Berland) returns with the EP Be Mine Tonight which features the buoyant “Translight.” Shimmering synths, a soaring vocal loop and the delightful dings of a glockenspiel all combine for a poolside disco tune that’s made for summer. The song’s boppy, feel-good energy is quintessential Breakbot.

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.