Listen Up

Covers, collaborations and a farewell to a rap legend

Anjimile feat. Jay Som: In Your Eyes (Reflection)

Indie-folk artist Anjimile Chithambo—known professionally by their first name—has announced the new EP Reunion, which comprises reimagined, orchestral versions of songs from their 2020 album, Giver Taker. From it comes “In Your Eyes (Reflection)” featuring Jay Som. Gentle, warbling vocals—replete with disarmingly beautiful harmonies—glide over the orchestral arrangement, which is just as glorious as the original. The new string arrangements were written by composer Daniel Hart and lend themselves sublimely to the powerful, but tender tune.

Fiona Apple: Love More (Sharon Van Etten cover)

Releasing 16 April, epic Ten is an anniversary double-LP including Sharon Van Etten’s 2010 album, epic, and a complementary album featuring seven covers by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Shamir, Courtney Barnett with Vagabon and Big Red Machine. Revealed today, the final track, “Love More” finds Fiona Apple imparting a warmth and humanity into an already beloved Van Etten anthem. epic Ten: the accompanying documentary and concert will stream on 17 April and all profits will benefit the music venue Zebulon LA.

Requin Chagrin: Fou

Off BYE BYE BABY, the new album from French dream-pop artist Requin Chagrin (aka Marion Brunetto), “Fou” would feel at home within the tantalizing emotional spectrum of a David Lynch project. For all the airy synths and cosmic jangles, Brunetto casts a spell that transcends time and genre. The entire album is a wonder, and the artist began recording it prior to the first French lockdown of 2020 but completed it at ICP studios in Brussels at the end of last summer.

Royce Wood Junior: Slush

Soulful, funky and squelchy, “Slush” by singer, songwriter and musician Royce Wood Junior lives up to its name. The satisfying, undulating bop teases the London-based artist’s new album (his first in five years, since his debut The Ashen Tang) and features extra vocals from Jamie Woon, Lucey Way and Ross Hutchison.

Sonder feat. Jorja Smith: Nobody But You

Sonder (aka vocalist Brent Faiyaz with producers Dpat and Atu) enlists singer-songwriter Jorja Smith for an emotional, acoustic duet about a dramatic breakup. Faiyaz and Smith trade verses and then go back-and-forth on the chorus: “Don’t think you cared about me / Oh girl, I care about you / But you don’t care ’bout nobody / Nobody but you.” The track will appear on Sonder’s forthcoming album, TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG, out later this year.

DMX: Who We Be

After suffering a heart attack, DMX—considered to be one of the most influential rappers of all time—passed away last week, at 50 years old. Born Earl Simmons, and part of the Ruff Ryders collective, DMX balanced a gruff machismo with sincere vulnerability during a hyper-masculine era of hip-hop. His lyrics traced his struggles and spirituality, he spoke candidly about addiction, and he often cried during live performances. Surviving a rough childhood pervaded with abuse, DMX often found comfort, companionship and affection with stray dogs—an animal that became a common motif throughout his work. The prolific rapper (and sometimes actor) began writing lyrics at 14, and went on to sell 20 million albums. “Who We Be” from 2001’s The Great Depression is a list of sorts, with contrasting entities illustrating the dualism of DMX’s existence—and that of many others. As he told GQ in 2019, “I’d rather make music for people that I come in contact with, people that I can count on. That’s what I make my music for. People in the hood.”

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 courtesy of Anjimile