Listen Up

Clever art-punk, reflective solo singles and more music from this week

MUNYA: Tonight, Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins Cover)

Singer-songwriter and producer MUNYA (aka Josie Boivin) has released two lovely tracks from her upcoming debut album, Voyage to Mars, and now the French-Canadian songstress delivers an unexpected but sublime cover of the 1995 Smashing Pumpkins song, “Tonight, Tonight.” The original—with its soaring 30-piece string section—lends itself to MUNYA’s folk-tinged synth-pop, but the two renditions are vastly different. The dreamy element in this cover makes sense, considering MUNYA was introduced to the song through its iconic Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris-directed video, which was inspired by Georges Méliès’s silent film A Trip to the Moon. “My sister shared the ‘Tonight, Tonight’ video with me at a very young age, I vividly remember feeling certain emotions for the first time: longing, sadness and a hopeful melancholy,” she says. “In a weird way it was also my introduction to exploring space and the infinite possibilities that humans can achieve if they embrace the urgency of now. With everything that has happened I felt like it was time to share my love for this song and hopefully inspire a new generation to realize life is a galaxy of endless possibilities when we don’t hesitate and act now.”

Christine and the Queens: Freedom (George Michael Cover)

Christine and the Queens (aka singer-songwriter and producer Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier) released the two-track EP Joseph recently, which comprises covers of Michel Fugain’s 1972 song “Fais comme l’oiseau” and George Michael’s 1990 hit “Freedom.” The latter (an iconic ode to the  liberation that comes from self-exploration) has been reimagined into a downtempo tune, abandoning the original’s jangly and funky bass line, but remaining mostly faithful to the original. Profits from the EP will be donated to Global Citizen.

Paris Texas: girls like drugs

Los Angeles duo Paris Texas are back with their genre-defying blend of rock, metal and rap on their latest track “girls like drugs.” Between heavily distorted guitar bursts, the pair (composed of Louie Pastel and Felix), effortlessly rap edgy, rhythmic verses and bars. The single is accompanied with a music video directed by Zhamak Fullad and Raheem Hercule that sees the childhood friends being just as mischievous and unique as ever.

Gustaf: Cruel

A comedic flair underscores “Cruel,” the catchy new single from Brooklyn-based art-punk act Gustaf’s debut album, Audio Drag for Ego Slobs, out today on Royal Mountain Records. The delightfully absurd, Nemo Allen-directed official music video—complete with slapstick fights, role playing, trust falls and plenty of advice on how to succeed—makes the entire experience even more enjoyable. “When I started working out the lyrics for ‘Cruel,’ I liked the idea of someone getting mad at the sunlight for shining through their window,” vocalist Lydia Gammill explains in a statement. “Ultimately ‘Cruel’ became a ‘love’ song—or as it goes with a lot of Gustaf songs, an anti-love song.”

Henry Carlyle: The Ground

For nearly six minutes, Henry Carlyle’s debut solo single, “The Ground,” entwines moody lo-fi sensibilities with reflective lyrics and unexpected sonic punctuation. The track is driven by compelling, mature guitar work and thoughtful percussion. Carlyle, the guitarist for the dance-friendly indie rock band the Orielles, traverses wintry moodiness here—and does so with beauty and nuance. Singer Julia Bardo provides backing vocals, sometimes manifesting as Nico-like accents and other times as soaring harmonies. Carlyle released the track with an official music video featuring his own artwork, as well as animation by Molly Ellison.

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 Paris Texas