Listen Up

Post-punk, jazz, hip-hop, some '90s rave nostalgia and more new music from this week

Romy: Lifetime

Romy Madley-Croft of The xx offers her first-ever official solo material (under the moniker Romy) with the uplifting “Lifetime”—a song featuring her familiar silken vocals over soaring synths. Written during lockdown, it tells a story of togetherness. “I think subconsciously the upbeat energy of the song is a reaction to the stillness and anxiety I was feeling in lockdown. I was missing the pace of the outside world, spontaneous moments, the euphoria of dance floors, of love and connections with my friends and family. I realized when everything was stripped back, simple moments of togetherness, meant the most to me,” she explains in a statement. With elements of Eurodance and ’90s rave nostalgia, it’s a banger made for the dance floor—even if that’s at home for now.

Potatohead People + De La Soul feat. Posdnous + Kapok: Baby Got Work

For “Baby Got Work,” the second single from Mellow Fantasy by Potatohead People (aka production duo Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical), the Vancouver-based outfit tapped vocalist Kapok and hip-hop legend Posdnous of De La Soul. The lyrics tell the story of putting in work to make change, atop a jazzy melody replete with horns, keys, a funky bass line and an over-arching mellowness.

Spillage Village: Hapi

Spillage Village (aka J.I.D, 6LACK, EarthGang, Mereba, Hollywood JB, Jurdan Bryant and Benji.) was founded in 2015, but formalized and expanded later with the signing of J.I.D and EarthGang to Dreamville Records and the addition of Pittsburgh-based rapper Benji. in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The group released their fifth studio album, Spilligion, this week and its most soulful single (though all bear gospel references), the pared-back, piano-led “Hapi” was beautifully produced by Johnny Venus and Benji. The powerful visual treatment furthers its message—and emphasizes Big Rube’s momentous spoken-word offering.

Molchat Doma: Ne Smeshno

A pre-pandemic live favorite from Belarusian post-punk trio Molchat Doma, “Ne Smeshno” (which loosely translates to “not funny”) now appears as a cryptic music video—complete with unexpected dance numbers and zombie-like characters. Both the track (which is drawn from the band’s forthcoming album, Monument) and the video feel yanked right out of the ’80s. That said, there’s something prescient to their presentation—and it’s danceable, too.

Image courtesy of KANAPLEV + LEYDIK

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 Romy