Listen Up

Sizzling disco-pop, shape-shifting neo-soul, ethereal sonic experimentation and more new music from the week

SAULT: Time is Precious

Expectedly unexpected, SAULT’s latest album AIR appeared seemingly out of nowhere a few days ago. The enigmatic UK-based collective—led by Inflo (aka Dean Josiah Cover)—has made a habit of sharing gorgeous new music without any pre-release marketing or teasers. The neo-soul-leaning outfit has ventured into different territory with their sixth album, which features soaring orchestral music, non-lyrical choral vocals and some a capella gospel. The latter appears on “Time is Precious,” which shape-shifts from a spacey instrumental with soaring choral singing and horns to serene a capella humming leading to lyrics, “Don’t waste time ’cause time is precious.”

Hot Chip: Down

Anchored by a sample of Chicago-based Universal Togetherness Band’s glorious early ’80s track “More Than Enough,” Hot Chip’s new track “Down” feels both retro and contemporary. The song and its kinetic music video (directed by Pulp’s Steve Mackey and Douglas Hart of the Jesus and Mary Chain) also act as an announcement for the five-piece (Owen Clarke, Al Doyle, Joe Goddard, Felix Martin and Alexis Taylor) group’s eighth album, Freakout/Release, which is slated for release on 19 August.

Jane Inc: Human Being

Toronto-based recording artist Jane Inc (aka Carlyn Bezic of the U.S. Girls, Ice Cream and Darlene Shrugg) debuts the sizzling disco-pop track “Human Being” in advance of her forthcoming sophomore record, Faster Than I Can Take, out 22 April. It’s the third advanced release from the album and it premieres with a clever music video—directed and edited by Shelby Fenlon and Lee Henderson—that translates the track’s “lips red and glittered” lyrics.

Meditations On Crime feat. Geologist: Heloise

Experimental project Meditations On Crime greets listeners with an eerie, ethereal introductory single, “Heloise,” featuring lyrics and vocals from recording artist Julia Holter in collaboration with co-lyricist and producer Harper Simon, as well as musical contributions from Animal Collective’s Geologist. “When Harper mentioned the theme was crime, a book of the letters of Heloise and Abelard was next to me and I thought medieval sinning would be a nice topic, from Heloise’s perspective,” Holter says in a statement. Harper and Holter exchanged lyrical couplets and with Geologist’s soundscape crafted something entirely unexpected.

Thao: Ambition

Thao (aka Thao Nguyen, formerly of the ebullient Bay Area-based alt-folk act Thao & the Get Down Stay Down) has digitally released the self-produced rock single “Ambition,” which first appeared on a seven-inch from a 2021 tour. “‘Ambition’ is the first of a new batch,” Nguyen says of the compelling track, wherein the narrator questions how they will get free. “We play it in the set on tour and I love to see and hear it change a bit each night. I don’t know where it will reside in the future. I am happy for it to be out in the world now, as I aim to be more precious about evolving with songs and less precious about sharing them,” she adds.

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 Jessica Craig-Martin