Listen Up

Rattlesnake sound effects, intergalactic blips, '90s piano house and much more in music this week

Tirzah: Sink In

South London-based artist Tirzah (who released her debut LP Devotion in 2018) returns with “Sink In,” a song she wrote with Mica Levi and Coby Sey. The song (her second release of the year) incorporates minimal percussion and synths, yet feels rich and dramatic. The singer-songwriter’s delicate, evocative vocals also leave just enough space for the song to be quite meditative. The video by Leah Walker features stunning choreography and movement by Lewis Walker and Tylor Deyn, who dance in the dark, lit only by a spotlight, splashing in ankle-deep water.

Muzi: Interblaktic

Starting his musical career as a DJ and producer, South African artist Muzi (aka the Zulu Skywalker) later ventured into singing, rapping and songwriting. His latest track, “Interblaktic” is a spacey, house-inflected electro tune with a decidedly laidback vibe. Beginning with the words “There seem to be a lot of Black people on Mars,” the song immediately sets the tone for an intergalactic adventure with blips, glitches and touches of classic ’90s piano house.

Curtis Harding: Hopeful

Singer-songwriter and producer Curtis Harding releases his first new music in three years with the soulful protest anthem “Hopeful.” With an overarching message of triumph and hope, the song is textured and full, thanks to rich percussion, wah-wah guitar, gospel-meets-psychedelic-soul back-up vocals, horns, strings and Harding’s tender but decisive voice. The Atlanta-based artists says in a statement, “Darkness find us all, hope allows us the fortitude to seek out the light.”

Oneohtrix Point Never + Rosalía: Nothing’s Special

Two and a half years after Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía and producer, composer and singer-songwriter Oneohtrix Point Never (aka Daniel Lopatin) were in the studio together, a song has emerged. The haunting “Nothing’s Special” originally appeared as the closing track on Magic Oneohtrix Point Never, and this collaborative version replaces computerized vocals with Rosalía’s breathy, dramatic voice.

Noah Chenfeld: Special Excess

NYC-based recording artist Noah Chenfeld returns with “Special Excess,” a dreamy indie-pop track about “coming of age, just a little late.” Directed by DXVI Designs’ Jeff O’Neill, the official music video finds quiet moments of beauty and isolation, often around modes of transportation in the city. Chenfeld tells us the track “is the first of several singles I plan on releasing this year, all of which were written during quarantine and recorded in my room. For the first time ever, I trusted my experience as a multi-instrumentalist and producer to create a small body of work that really feels like me, and captures a very specific moment in my life that was inspired in large part by personal undertakings that felt overdue, expedited by the newfound time, isolation and self-reflection created by the lockdown.”

Ìxtahuele feat. Kadhja Bonet: Manna

This rendition of “Manna,” performed by Swedish five-piece Ìxtahuele, is the first-ever recording of the song which was written by eden ahbez for the lost album Dharmaland. The atmospheric song begins with crackling fire and rattlesnake sound effects, before becoming a layered, lush and haunting slow burn.

Zella Day: Dance For Love

LA-based recording artist Zella Day releases her second track of 2021, “Dance For Love,” a celebratory ode to Roy Orbison. Produced by Jay Joyce, the track soars on Day’s passionate vocals and an array of sonic accompaniment that includes dazzling keys and guitar, as well as drums by Autolux’s Carla Azar and thumping bass by Cage The Elephant’s Daniel Tichenor. It’s a bright dance-floor-ready track and a sharp contrast to the reserved beauty of Day’s previous release this year, “Holocene,” an exquisite duet with Weyes Blood.

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 Tirzah