Macie Stewart: Maya, Please
Chicago-based Macie Stewart (of OHMME, Marrow and now-defunct group Kids These Days) released their debut solo album Mouth Full of Glass last year, and now shares “Maya, Please” which will appear as a bonus track on the record when it’s released outside the US in November. The minimal but lush track—a plea for forgiveness underpinned by gentle guitar and ethereal strings—comes accompanied by a lovely animated video by Izzi Vasquez. “Asking for forgiveness is a central and obvious theme of this song, but much of it is about feeling angry at yourself and asking someone to forgive you when you haven’t yet forgiven yourself. The A part of the song is externalizing the situation, and the B part of the song is sort of an internal monologue of the same thing,” Stewart says in a statement. “I imagine it as one of those imaginary conversations you have in your head while you’re sitting and thinking by yourself.”
Dan Wilson: On The Floor (Perfume Genius Cover)
In 2020 Perfume Genius released the upbeat, glittery “On The Floor,” a glorious track describing the overwhelming energy of a crush, and now Dan Wilson (of Semisonic) has reworked the jaunty track into a slightly more gentle, guitar-led version. Melodically and lyrically, it’s unchanged and Wilson says, “I didn’t want to mess with that. Those Perfume Genius melodies feel like they fit my voice. I wish I’d written this one myself.” The single comes with the announcement of Wilson’s upcoming EP, Dancing on The Moon.
Japanese Breakfast feat. So!YoON!: Be Sweet (Korean Version)
First appearing on Japanese Breakfast’s beloved 2021 album, Jubilee, the saccharine “Be Sweet” has been reworked and rereleased as a special Korean language version featuring So!YoON! of South Korean indie-rock band SE SO NEON. Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast’s front-woman, says “We thought it would be fun to put out a special Korean version of ‘Be Sweet’ preceding our upcoming performance in Seoul. I’m very grateful Yaeji helped me with the translation over a year ago. So!YoON! is one of my favorite indie artists in Seoul right now and I’m so happy we got to collab.” The track maintains all its original uplifting, buoyant energy that’s bolstered by the neon animated visualizer by Mary Vertulfo.
Nick Leng: Easy
From waves of ukulele and enchanting falsetto to an ever-expanding, psych-inflected soundscape, recording artist Nick Leng’s “Easy” feels both intimate and infinite. It’s the latest single from the South Africa born, Los Angeles-based indie-rocker’s forthcoming second LP, Spirals (out 22 July). “It was an idea I had almost five years ago,” Leng tells COOL HUNTING about the track. “The riff was created on a ukulele and it was the first thing I came up with when I picked up the instrument. I hope listeners take whatever they want from it! It means so many different things to me, but my hope is that people can listen and associate their own meanings and memories with it.” Speaking of the inspiration behind the entire album’s masterful production and instrumentation, Leng adds that it “Often changes—sometimes it’s with sonics, textures, production. Sometimes it’s a journal entry. Sometimes it’s just discipline.”
Jessie Ware: Free Yourself
It’s been two years since Jessie Ware’s glittery disco album What’s Your Pleasure? and now the singer-songwriter returns with another buoyant, dance-floor-ready bop called “Free Yourself.” Co-written by songwriter and producer Coffee Clarence JR along with renowned producer, songwriter and DJ Stuart Price (who has worked with Kylie Minogue, Madonna, New Order, Missy Elliott, Dua Lipa and others), the new disco-house single acts as a teaser for Ware’s upcoming fifth studio album. “I’m so excited for people to have this song for the end of their summer; to dance, to feel no inhibitions and to feel joyful because that’s how I’ve been feeling recently being able to tour again and being able to sing again,” Ware says in a statement. “Enjoy yourself, Free Yourself!”
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 Mary Vertulfo