Listen Up

Emotive indie, psych-tinged R&B, a swirling remix and more new music from the week

Figmore: Black Velvet

Figmore—the LA-based duo consisting of 10.4 ROG and JUICEB☮X—is poised to release their debut album Jumbo Street next week, and from it comes the insouciant “Black Velvet.” With spoken word and languid vocals from JUICEB☮︎X and production by 10.4 ROG, the tune contains elements of psych, indie, R&B and hip-hop—a sublime amalgamation that trails off into spacey bleeps and twinkling sound effects.

Lucy Dacus: Thumbs

A fan favorite since its 2018 live debut, “Thumbs” by singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus has been recorded in haunting fashion. From the gripping story that unfolds within to the minimal, eerie instrumentation behind it all, the track wastes no note as it burrows into the listener. “Like most songs I write, I wasn’t expecting it and it made me feel weird, almost sick,” Dacus explains in a statement. “It tells the story of a day I had with a friend during our freshman year of college, a significant day, but not one that I had thought of for years. I started playing it live a month or so later during the boygenius tour after Phoebe and Julien encouraged me to. I knew I wanted a long time to get used to playing it since it made me feel shaky, so I ended sets with it for about half the shows I played in 2019. Before I played it, I would ask the audience to please not record it, a request that seems to have been respected, which I’m grateful for.”

Remi Wolf feat. Dominic Fike: Photo ID

A few tweaks and work from Dominic Fike create the remix of Remi Wolf’s 2020 track, “Photo ID,” which appeared on I’m Allergic To Dogs!. Energetic and infectious, the song premiered with a Florida Man-directed music video depicting Wolf in a disco ball helmet, Fike getting acupuncture in his head  and, as the song swirls into a distorted breakdown, the duo dancing in matching hats.

Kalbells: Diagram of Me Sleeping

“Diagram of Me Sleeping” is a fitting name for the most recent release by Brooklyn-based collaborative art-pop project Kabells (led by Kalmia Traver with Angelica Bess, Sarah Pedinotti and Zoë Brecher). From unexpected sultry saxophone to dream-logic lyrics, textures twirl into a relaxed but playful tune. The bedroom-pop track will appear on their upcoming sophomore full-length, Max Heart, releasing 26 March.

Ashlynn Malia: open

From 19-year-old recording artist, dancer and choreographer Ashlynn Malia, the melodic single “open” channels the intimate fear associated with letting someone understand who we are inside. Through Malia’s urgent, emotive delivery, the track’s message resounds as it is swept upon rising instrumentation. “I wrote this song a few years ago, when my sense of alienation was completely mental,” Malia tells us. “I felt like an outsider socially, and I was struggling to find the ‘right’ way to connect with people. Any time I would meet somebody, I’d be so caught up in wanting to say the ‘right’ things and paint a view of myself that I thought would fit them better. The thought of removing those personality filters terrified me.”

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