Listen Up

The gay agenda according to Shamir, the tasty return of Kelis, a cameo by Robyn, plus more new music this week

Shamir: Gay Agenda

A song about “radical acceptance internally and externally,” Shamir’s “Gay Agenda” arrives along with an engaging Jenny He-directed video in which Shamir appears in antlers and furry hooves. The singer-songwriter teamed up with Hollow Comet (of Strange Ranger) who produced the synth-laden, glitchy, distorted track. “You’re just stuck in the box that was made for me / and you’re mad that I got out and I’m living free,” the Philadelphia-based artist croons.

Smile feat. Robyn: Call My Name

Smile is the side project of Björn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John) and Joakim Åhlund (of Teddybears and Caesars) and sounds undeniably like work from both artists. Their buoyant, hopeful track “Call My Name” will appear on Smile’s upcoming LP Phantom Island (out 19 November) and features vocals by Robyn—who Åhlund has collaborated with for years, producing songs for Body Talk and Robyn. The sweet, synth-heavy song includes some gospel and vintage elements. Åhlund says, “We’ve had the song knocking about for quite some time, but when Robyn sang it, she really lifted it to another level, her vocal is just packed with so much emotion.”

Kelis: Midnight Snacks

It’s been seven years since Kelis (singer, songwriter and chef) released her glorious Food album—and she’s continuing her culinary theme with the new single “Midnight Snacks.” The beat, created by London-based, three-person production, writing, DJ and remixing team The FaNaTix, conjured up images of late-night noshing for Kelis. “I heard the beat, thought it was dope, and the first thing that came to mind was ‘Midnight Snacks,'” she says. “The FaNaTix were like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I was like, ‘It makes you feel like a midnight snack!’ And that was it. It’s funny to me, but I like the fact that you can take sex and food, and you can put these two things together, and they’re totally interchangeable.” The Adrienne Raquel-directed video continues the theme, with plenty of gooey, frothy, creamy and jiggly treats. “Food is a very carnal thing,” Kelis says. “Everyone can relate to it. It’s very human, it’s sensual, it’s something that you crave. And it’s sexy.”

Snail Mail: Ben Franklin

Snail Mail (aka Lindsey Jordan) is poised to release Valentine on 5 November and from it comes “Ben Franklin,” along with a Josh Coll-directed video. “I wanted to sonically and lyrically get out of my comfort zone with ‘Ben Franklin,'” the singer-songwriter says. “It felt only right that the visual accompaniment should include dancing in front of a camera and holding a 10-foot snake close to my face.” As Jordan dances through despair, the hook’s delightful melodrama—”Sucker for the pain huh, honey / but you said you’d die / you wanna leave a stain forever / but you said you would’ve died for me”—is balanced by her effortless, languid vocals.

PinkPantheress: All my friends know

“All my friends know” is the eighth track from internet sensation PinkPantheress’ debut mixtape, to hell with it. Like her other songs, this melancholy breakup bop evokes a futuristic world using nostalgic vocals. While short and sweet, the less than two-minute track embodies the young artist’s signature lo-fi rave sound with nuance and sincerity. Briefly, she whispers of turning to nature to mend a broken heart, as calming birds and piano—sampled from Sven Torstenson’s “Wind Glider”—perfectly draw the sonic scene’s beauty and sorrow to a close.

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 Kelis