Listen Up

A tribute to Zamrock, the influence of The Corrs, an entrancing sonic spell and more music this week

Rina Sawayama: Catch Me In The Air

Aiming to craft a song that sounds as if Irish group The Corrs “pitched something to Gwen Stefani,” Rina Sawayama has released “Catch Me In The Air,” a soaring pop anthem that’s a tribute to her mother. The British-Japanese singer/songwriter says of the uplifting track, written by Oscar Scheller and Gracey, “I wanted the whole song to sound like it was on an Irish coastline, like a Corrs video. We put in a key change to go into the chorus, at the end of the pre-chorus to make it lift and soar like a bird.” It’s the second track from Sawayama’s highly anticipated second album, Hold The Girl, out in September.

Sampa The Great feat. Chef 187, Tio Nason + Mwanjé: Never Forget

Sampa The Great (aka Sampa Tembo) has announced her highly anticipated second full-length album, As Above, So Below, with the dramatic, powerful track “Never Forget” featuring Chef 187, Tio Nason and Mwanjé. The stirring song is a tribute to Zamrock—a genre combining elements of psychedelic rock, blues, funk and traditional Zambian music—with elements of Kalindula, contemporary hip-hop and more. The Zambian-born, Australia-based artist returned to her homeland during the pandemic and says that it influenced her new work. “This tribute was inspired by the band WITCH and their lead singer Mr Jagari Chanda, who has become one of my musical mentors. I discovered Zamrock later in my life and was surprised that this music was known globally, yet not fully celebrated and acknowledged in Zambia today. It hit home for me as I felt similarities in my own journey, having had my career take off outside my birth country. I thought it was fitting to pay homage to those who came before me and merge past, present and future through music and imagery; passing the baton from one generation to the next.” The video—by Rharha Nembard, Imraan Christian and Furmaan Ahmed—features archival footage of Zambian musician Paul Ngozi, Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda and WITCH.

Broken Bells: We’re Not in Orbit Yet…

The vision of James Mercer (founder and frontman of The Shins) and producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), alt-rock act Broken Bells return with the psych-inflected single “We’re Not in Orbit Yet…” It’s the first release from the duo’s upcoming full-length, Into the Blue, their first new album since 2014’s After the Disco. A retro-futuristic music video, directed by Johnny Chrew, accompanies the releases and pairs grainy texture with sci-fi scenes.

Up Is The Down Is The: Dawn

From the genre-defiant avant-rock quartet Up Is The Down Is The (aka Andrew Martin, Zach Sherwood, Cameron Brizzee and Casey Cathy), the track “Dawn” casts an entrancing sonic spell. Inspired by situations where people feel overwhelmed about the inevitable, the slow-burning single is the first to be revealed from Pulling The Wool, the brand’s forthcoming full-length album. It debuts with an eerie official music video, wherein a rabbit-headed figure flees from a bird-like stalker.

Lasse Matthiessen: Emotional

Berlin-based indie-electro recording artist Lasse Matthiessen debuts “Emotional,” a stirring single driven by the singer’s baritone vocals and an ’80s-influenced electronic production. Between the poetic lyrics and shifting soundscape, the track balances optimism with an omnipresent gloom. “I wrote ‘Emotional’ in Hamburg after a concert,” Matthiessen says in a statement. “It was created by the neon lights of the night, the noise, the sweat, the beat and the pumping pulse in the Reeperbahn neighborhood. It came from everything that you can’t control in your life… and then comes the chorus where I shut out all noise and sing while sitting next to the listener’s ear: ‘I get so emotional and I can’t seem to control myself.'”

Ruby Tingle: Familiars

Premiering with a mystical music video that’s saturated in crimson hues, multidisciplinary artist and singer-songwriter Ruby Tingle’s “Familiars” is the second single to be released following her debut solo EP from earlier this year. Once again, Tingle’s robust vocals take listeners on a celestial voyage through the track. It releases in conjunction with Tingle’s solo exhibition at Manchester’s PAPER Gallery, also entitled Familiars, which runs now through 6 August.

Lil Silva feat. Skiifall: What If?

A producer, singer, songwriter and DJ, Lil Silva announced his upcoming album, Yesterday Is Heavy, with two collaborations: “What If?” with Skiifall and “Leave It” with Charlotte Day Wilson. The former—with classic UK club influences—has an electric energy, bolstered by Skiifall’s patois flow. Lil Silva says, “I really channelled inspiration from our roots on this record. You can hear the reggae, bashment and grime influence weave in and out. It’s about the course we find ourselves on without even thinking, how love and family play a huge role in our life but staying grounded and never forgetting what got us here.”

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 Sampa the Great