Protoje feat. Popcaan: Like Royalty
Grammy-nominated reggae singer-songwriter Protoje (aka Oje Ken Ollivierre) taps fellow Jamaican recording artist Popcaan for “Like Royalty” from his recently released album. “The song is about letting my people know that, as long as I’m healthy and strong, they have nothing to worry about,” Protoje said in a statement accompanying the track. Popcaan provides contrasting vocals, but the duo works seamlessly together on the song, which appears on In Search of Lost Time—named for the Marcel Proust novel.
_BY.ALEXANDER feat. 070 Shake: TRUMPETS
Alex Da Kid’s new album 000 CHANNEL BLACK is the first under his new moniker, _BY.ALEXANDER. His previous releases catered to pop and hip-hop audiences, while under this alias, he explores modern jazz. “TRUMPETS”—a standout single featuring recording artist 070 Shake—epitomizes this new style for the producer and songwriter. Toe-tapping, funky and fierce, the track features a steady piano, crisp drums, synths and bass—and, fittingly, it’s being distributed by acclaimed label Blue Note Records.
From Montreal-based dream-pop group Bodywash (aka Rosie Long Decter, Chris Steward, Rian Adamian, Ryan White and Tom Gould) comes “Follow,” a hazy tune about attempting to fix people and eventually letting them go. Singer-songwriter Long Decter wrote the visceral lyrics (“you pull apart so quickly / I would’ve wrapped your bones in lace”) after various catalysts, “a gig gone wrong; a run-in at a birthday party; a coat rack I was too lazy to put up. I wrote it during a period when I was realizing that a lot of my relationships were rooted in trying to ‘help’ or change people. Mostly, it’s about wanting to break that pattern, and to make peace with the fact that some people are better off apart.” With textured synths, languorous vocals and distorted, scuzzy guitar at its climax, “Follow” slowly burns over four minutes.
With a dash of disco and a dollop of psychedelia, Temples’ latest single “Paraphernalia” swirls together a mass of sonic influences into a danceable return track. Sean Ono Lennon produced the tune, which was initially recorded as a demo for (but not included on) the British psych-rock outfit’s 2019 LP, Hot Motion. Amidst the kaleidoscopic instrumentals, the lyrics question our ability to make real connections in the digital age of distraction.
Nicolas Michaux: Parrot
From the Danish island of Samsø, Belgian singer-songwriter and producer Nicolas Michaux assembles tracks (and tends his garden). The latest release from his island sessions, “Parrot” pairs a message of political alienation with a musical composition of precise drums, bouncing bass and groovy guitar work. It’s a taste of Michaux’s forthcoming album, Amour Colère, out 25 September.
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. Hero image courtesy of Temples