Listen Up

Dizzying jazz, emotional indie-rock, tantalizing electronic music and more from the week

Yussef Dayes: Blackfriars

“Blackfriars” by Yussef Dayes acts an introduction to the artist’s collection with Dutch apparel brand Patta and a new album on their label, Patta Soundsystem. The track, at just over two minutes, shows Dayes in his element. The innovative, East London-based jazz drummer crafts a dizzying, almost trance-like solo filled with ups, downs, intermittent stops and an infectious underlying rhythm. Here, it accompanies an advertisement—directed by Barka—meant to promote the dual launch. The album, also called Blackfriars, is available as a part of a bundle which includes the block-colored tracksuit.

Tune-Yards: nowhere, man

Though most will notice a nod to the Beatles in its title, Tune-Yards’ first new single since 2018, “nowhere, man,” is not a cover; rather it’s a frenetic adventure into the soundscapes of the ’90s. Once again, front-woman Merrill Garbus mesmerizes with her seemingly unlimited vocal powers—allowing the song’s central message to ring loud and clear: “If you cannot hear a woman then how can you write her song?” The track’s official music video, directed by Japhy Riddle and Callie Day, constructs a surreal world of live footage (shot in their garage) and stop-motion animation—all with some Charlie Chaplin impressions.

SAULT: Free

Just three months after releasing the powerful Untitled (Black Is), UK collective SAULT returns with their second album of 2020, Untitled (Rise). This new record imparts a more exuberant sound through upbeat disco, funk and even house elements, but the topics remain just as poignant—exploring race, resilience and rebellion. A standout from the album, “Free” begins with classic boom-bap, a super-funky bass line and a little distortion, before unfolding into a soaring, soulful and exhilarating five-minute ode to independence.

Fleet Foxes: I’m Not My Season

Fleet Foxes made a statement by releasing their highly anticipated fourth album, Shore, on the autumn equinox—a move that emphasizes long-held bond between the indie-folk act and fall colors, a crisp breeze and the reflection associated with the season’s sensory elements. Thus, we found the track “I’m Not My Season” to be the album’s emotional anchor and one aligns with frontman Robin Pecknold’s desire to make an album that exists “in a liminal space outside of time, inhabiting both the future and the past, accessing something spiritual or personal that is untouchable by whatever the state of the world may be at a given moment, whatever our season.” One of Shore‘s most pared-back entries, “I’m Not My Season” combines gentle strumming with Pecknold’s reflective vocals and lyrics aswirl with seasonal references that engage with (and defy) the autumnal expectation. Fleet Foxes have also released a companion film named Shore, with lyric videos for each of the album’s tracks, that’s been shot on Super 16mm and directed by Kersti Jan Werdal.

Mustafa: Air Forces

Toronto artist Mustafa (aka Mustafa the Poet, and Mustafa Ahmed) self-describes his music as folk. That said, his newest release, the serene “Air Forces,” certainly blends genres. The Jamie xx- and Frank Dukes-produced track ruminates on violence, faith, fame, friendship and more, and furthers these inquiries in the Kid. Studio-directed visual treatment. Altogether, the intensely emotional song sounds subtle and soothing—and emphasizes Mustafa’s originality.

Bearcraft: Where the Sun Sets

From Bristol, UK-based Bearcraft comes the tantalizing electronic track “Where the Sun Sets.” A mix of unsettling lyrics and moody composition, the song could be the soundtrack to a real-life occult mystery. It’s another treasure from the band’s recently released album, Fabrefactions, and comes with an equally haunting music video, directed and shot by Paul Johnson. The visuals features eerie, obscured and occult moments—many of which are set to candlelight.

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 Tune-Yards