Listen Up

Singles from London's Babeheaven and Girlhood, a pair of sonic farewells and more music from this week

Fleetwood Mac: Albatross

This weekend, Peter Green—guitarist, singer-songwriter and Fleetwood Mac co-founder—died in his sleep. He was 73 years old. While playing music as part of British blues band John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass guitarist John McVie recorded several songs together and soon formed Fleetwood Mac in 1967. A year later, Green composed “Albatross,” an ambient but haunting instrumental. Though just over three minutes, the song feels sprawling and boundless. After a performance in 1970, Green left the band, but appeared uncredited on Penguin (1973) and Tusk (1979). He told Music Express of his departure from the band, “I want to change my whole life, really, because I don’t want to be at all a part of the conditioned world, and as much as possible, I am getting out of it.” Despite serious struggles with his mental health, Green went on to release seven solo albums and is widely lauded as one of the world’s greatest blues guitarists. B.B. King said, “He was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”

Girlhood: Sister

London-based duo Girlhood (aka Christian Pinchbeck and Tessa Cavanna) share “Sister,” another glowing track from their forthcoming, self-titled debut album. Cavanna’s charismatic vocals weave soulful spirit throughout the catchy tune. In a statement accompanying the release, Cavanna shares that “For me, ‘Sister’ is about celebrating love in all her shapes, colors and sounds! These beautiful people throw their loving arms around us! I am thankful for Love and for ALL my sisters!”

Babeheaven: Cassette Beat

A new release from the forthcoming debut album by London-based five-piece Babeheaven, “Cassette Beat” takes a languid swim through the warm vocals of frontwoman Nancy Andersen. “I wanted to write a song about creation,” Andersen shares in a statement. “Whenever we create we subsequently end up destroying something in a huge way or a small way. But there is always light behind the dark even when you can’t see it yet.” The track comes with a 35mm music video directed by Margot Bowman, wherein scenes of stunning beauty come together with touches of surrealism. Babeheaven’s debut, Home For Now, will be available on 6 November.

The Roots: 100% Dundee

An immensely talented rapper, singer and songwriter, and founding member of the legendary hip-hop group The Roots, Malik “Malik B” Basit has passed away at just 47 years old. Basit began performing with Black Thought and Questlove in Philadelphia in 1987 and appeared on The Roots’ first four albums—widely considered their best—Organix (1993), Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996) and Things Fall Apart (1999). He also returned to cameo on others. After leaving the band, he released two albums, Street Assault (2005) and Unpredictable (2015), the latter of which was made with DJ/producer Mr Green. A nimble rapper, he told rich, visceral, moving stories, and “100% Dundee” is one of our favorites.

Nya Bloom: Better Man

Latinx recording artist Nya Bloom (aka ICON Collective marketing director Aaron Perez) made his solo debut in March. He follows up that initial release with “Better Man,” a massive tune that fuses electronic and alternative influences. On the track, a steady bass line, Perez’s raspy vocals and moments of sonic ascension culminate in a hazy string arrangement and a layered, airy rendition of the chorus: “You know I’m trying, trying to be a better man.” Perez is using the single to encourage listeners to seek out mental health help if needed and to amplify the mission of the Free Black Therapy organization, which strives to pair individuals with therapists of the same racial background free of charge.

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.