Listen Up

Soulful singles, summery songs and creative sonic collaborations

Fana Hues: Drive

The lead single from the upcoming compilation album See You Next Year from Pigeons & Planes and Big.Ass.Kids, “Drive” from Fana Hues is a gloriously breezy track. Produced by multi-award-winning Mike Dean (who helmed production on the entire record), the song has a decidedly carefree, summery energy. As Hues explains, “I had a glimpse of that freedom that I hope I get in this next year creatively. When I get out of my own head and just write something that just feels good, rather than over-analyzing what it is. So ‘Drive’ was a breath of fresh air, creatively, for me, because I got to just go off and do what it is that came naturally.”

DORA: Te Vas

Sung in Spanish and English, DORA’s “Te Vas” is a summery tune from the 18-year-old Madrid-based artist. The breezy track, produced by Pional (who has worked with The xx and Empress Of), follows DORA’s debut EP, Sin Prisa No Quiero Morir. DORA describes the feel-good bop as “pure pre-summer hedonism.” She says in a statement, “I just finished high school, passed all my exams and in 15 days I’m leaving with my two best friends to explore Europe. This is all real. They are the ones who appear in this wonderful video directed by artist Rafa Castells. This song is my way of celebrating, one cycle closes and another begins—fireworks! But always with one foot in the shade, as I like.”

Flying Lotus feat. Devin Tracy: No Room

Prolific recording artist and producer Flying Lotus returns with two velvety heartbreakers—”No Room” and “You Don’t Know”—with soul singer Devin Tracy. Atop undulating bass and guitar, and haunting backing vocals, Tracy’s voice is exquisitely forlorn.

Image courtesy of Jing Zhiyong

Skott: Evergreen

Swedish pop singer, songwriter and producer Skott (aka Pauline Skott) returns with the effervescent new single “Evergreen,” another easy-to-love advanced listen from her forthcoming second full-length album. “It’s about a time-tested love, a relationship with a lot of history and growth,” Skott says of the moving, melodic song. “Like you can read it in the tree’s rings and scars. But at the same time there’s naivety, this young, unspoiled, puppy love side—an evergreen crown on a massive gnarly oak. I picture it growing taller and more beautiful with the years, while staying vibrant. I’ve always believed that this sort of love exists, and I’ve been feeling like I’ve found it. There’s someone special to me that inspired this song.”

Tei Shi: GRIP

NYC-based Colombian-Canadian artist Tei Shi returns with her first new music since her second album, La Linda (2021), was released and then pulled when her record label failed to compensate her. The singer-songwriter crafted “GRIP” as a response to the ordeal, and while there’s a tension to the track, it also illustrates Tei Shi’s emancipation. As she explains, “I wrote this song during the culmination of nearly two years of fighting to get my old label to pay me, and everyone else who had worked on my last album, for our work. Eventually I had to resort to getting the album taken down from streaming platforms and posting publicly about it to finally get paid. While all this was going on I was working with a new team, with whom I ended up finding myself in the same situation, all over again. Feeling exhausted and helpless, the only thing I could channel my frustration and rage into was making music, and this song came out of that.”

Holly Miranda: Held Together

From recording artist Holly Miranda (co-founder of The Catskills-based independent label Eye Knee Records) comes “Held Together,” a single that sets her soulful, incisive vocals atop a layered jam-band-like landscape. “We are held together by tears and heartbreak,” Miranda croons through the moving track, which was co-produced by Chris Maxwell and features backing vocals by Amb. Parsley, two of the singer-songwriter’s frequent collaborators. “Chris and Kells let us put a studio in the treehouse so me and Holly could earn extra cash writing boutique songs for strangers,” Parsley says. “Songs about sharks, and the TV show Quantum Leap, various cats, graduating etymology students and hockey. We made a Holly Miranda record, because it needed doing, each of us emptying our pockets of every song, scrap and sweetie. Today’s offering, ‘Held Together,’ was penned by our dear Chris Maxwell.”

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 Jing Zhiyong