Listen Up

Chill alternative rap, enthralling indie-rock, a bright road trip song and more

Yo-Yo Ma + Anna Clyne: In The Gale (The Birdsong Project)

The second volume of music supervisor Randall Poster’s awe-inspiring, five-volume The Birdsong Project—composed of songs and spoken-word recordings that draw attention to the beauty of birdsong, as well as the plight of bird life—releases today. From the astounding list of contributions comes “In The Gale” by Yo-Yo Ma and Anna Clyne. These two collaborators (and their exquisite track) join a roster of unmatched talent for volume II, which includes Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips, Natasha Lyonne, Florence Welch, Alice Waters, Stephin Merritt, Mary Lattimore and more. Volumes III, IV and V will follow later this year, as will a limited edition 20-LP boxset that features all 242 recordings, original artwork and essays.

Art d’Ecco: Run Away

In advance of Victoria, British Columbia-based Art d’Ecco’s new album, After the Head Rush (out 24 June), the pop singer and producer debuts one more stirring single, “Run Away,” that’s equal parts road trip song and bright dance-floor bop. “I was trying to capture that feeling of autonomy and freedom one feels when they buy their first car and a whole new world opens up,” the recording artist says. “Pile in, fill it up and skip town. It is a rite of passage for many, and a defining moment in my life came when I could finally break free and crank up that stereo.” Through each advanced listen of the forthcoming LP, d’Ecco teased retro influences, playful production and enough charisma to amassed plenty of anticipation.

dichotomi: STF 17

From Toronto-based alternative rapper dichotomi comes the chill, summertime bop “STF 17.” Infused with dichotomi’s clever lyricism, lo-fi instrumentation and playful synths, the track evokes carefree days under the sun—a fantasy the artist kept coming back to during lockdown. “The track quickly took a political lean as I began to ruminate on the social, political and economic forces that forced me into such a fragile position in the first place,” they say. “‘STF 17’ is most definitely a critique of our capitalist society, but with the added goal of offering some levity—allowing us to hope for a more equitable future. Be critical, be angry, be sad, but don’t let the state of this world keep you from turning your face to the sun every chance you get and tirelessly seek the tiniest moments of joy.” A sweet sensation is further conveyed in the single’s accompanying music video animated by Rin Marshall.

Alex G: Runner

Twinkling piano and playful guitar open Alex G’s new track “Runner,” a pleasant indie-rock song enriched by the singer’s enthralling and shapeshifting vocals. These vocals span from baritone to yelps, altogether making a bright, melodious listen. It is the second track from the artist’s upcoming album God Save The Animals (out 23 September) and is accompanied by an Aldo Fisk-directed music video.

Thomas Abban: Don’t Leave

Born in Wales but raised in Minnesota, recording artist Thomas Abban returns with “Don’t Leave,” another spectacular showcase of his exquisite vocal capabilities and impassioned lyrical storytelling. The track will appear on Abban’s forthcoming EP, Ambienic, out 24 June. “This EP was made alone by me,” Abban explains in a statement. “It consists of songs predating my last album which I was unable to release. The EP was crafted with certain styles and emotions in mind. I had a particular sound I was pursuing for this project that I wanted to explore within a smaller medium like an EP. I wanted something with a more immediate core yet with deep and distant surroundings.”

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 dichotomi