Listen Up

A Britney Spears cover, rare gospel track, playful love song and more music from the week

Boychik: Dust After Rest

Boychik—a moniker for singer, composer and actor Ben Levi Ross—arrives with “Dust After Rest,” a debut single of profound depth and beauty. This ethereal exploration of queer identity is coupled with visuals both imaginative and life-affirming, directed by Ross and John Novotny, that transition from intimate close-ups to puppetry and idyllic landscapes. “I actually live just a few blocks away from Puppet Works,” Ross tells COOL HUNTING. “One day I was walking around the neighborhood listening to a recent mix of the track and was sort of just thinking about visual representations that might work and I walked by the children’s puppet theater. I stopped dead in my tracks and was like ‘that’s it. I’m a puppet.'”

Image courtesy of John Novotny and Erin Mommsen

Asa: Morning Man

From Nigerian-French artist Asa’s album V, “Morning Man” is a softly luminous love song. The singer-songwriter (also known as Bukola Elemide) has created a tender track that’s befitting of her fifth studio album, a vibrant 10-track work that’s imbued with Afrobeat and features tinges of jazz, funk, pop and more—with glorious percussive elements.

Ethel Cain: Everytime (Britney Spears Cover)

Replacing the tinkling keys of Britney Spears’ haunting 2003 ballad “Everytime” with a guitar, Ethel Cain reimagines the sad bop as a slowed-down, even more somber lament. The song (written by Spears and her back-up singer Annet Artani) is an ethereal, shapeshifting creation that’s carried by Cain’s melancholy voice and almost eerie backing vocals. The singer-songwriter says in a statement, “I’ve always loved this song and immediately knew I could take Britney’s melodies and make something super-dreamy with it… I think Britney wrote a very lovely song and it was an honor to put my spin on it.”

Staples Jr Singers: When Do We Get Paid

In 1971, in Aberdeen, Mississippi, 11-year-old Annie Brown Caldwell, 12-year-old ARC Brown and 13-year-old Edward Brown formed Staples Jr Singers, an family gospel group that fused the urgent struggles of Black Americans with infectious, breezy funk and cruising melodies. They went on to create one of the rarest gospel recordings of the ’70s, When Do We Get Paid, by selling copies on their front lawn. Now, nearly 40 years later, the band is reuniting for a re-issue of this album (out 6 May). Ahead of the release comes the titular track, with poignant lyrics that attest to the timelessness and legacy of the trio.

Amelia Moore: moves

Atlanta-born, LA-based singer-songwriter Amelia Moore’s latest single, “moves,” is a playful love song about a fledgling romance—wherein the object of her affection is hung up on their ex. The upbeat, languid track combines pop, ’90s R&B and more for a glossy, sweet treat.

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 John Novotny