Listen Up

A surprise live performance from a folk icon, cover versions and new songs in this week's musical round-up

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi (Radiohead Cover)

Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela have applied their virtuoso talents to an exquisite instrumental rendition of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi.” Rodrigo shares in a statement that, “When I was young, I never took a close look into Radiohead’s music…It was not until we met John Leckie, who produced our first album in 2006 and Radiohead’s The Bends, that they got my attention.” True inspiration for the cover song came when Rodrigo heard the original “Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi” playing in a restaurant. He went home, looked it up and, “As soon as I listened to it loud and clear I knew we had to make a Rodrigo y Gabriela version of it.”

Brian Eno: There Were Bells

Penned for a 2021 performance at the Acropolis and officially released today, “There Were Bells” is set to appear on legendary recording artist and producer Brian Eno’s forthcoming album, ForeverAndEverNoMore, his first solo release in five years. The entire LP directly addresses the ongoing climate crisis. “Like everybody else—except, apparently, most of the governments of the world—I’ve been thinking about our narrowing, precarious future, and this music grew out of those thoughts,” Eno says in a statement. “Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’ve been feeling about it… and the music grew out of the feelings.”

Joni Mitchell feat. Brandi Carlile: Both Sides Now (Live at Newport Folk Festival)

At a surprise performance during this year’s Newport Folk Festival, appropriately entitled Joni Jam, the legendary Joni Mitchell returned to the stage for her first full set since 2000. Mitchell, who previously played the Newport Folk Festival in 1969, was joined by singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, who offered vocal contributions to many tracks, including a moving rendition of “Both Sides Now.” Since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015, Mitchell has rarely made public appearances. This star-studded return from the 78-year-old artist will be long remembered.

Jesse Harris: The Hanged Man

“The Hanged Man” makes for a moody, macabre and offbeat lead single from Silver Balloon (out 21 October), the forthcoming album of Grammy-winning, NYC-based songwriter and producer Jesse Harris. The song’s ribbony sonic texture is owed to a process where Harris runs guitar through an H3000 Harmonizer processor. “People have asked me and [collaborator] Kenny [Wollesen] what we did to the guitar on ‘The Hanged Man’ and the honest answer is we don’t know,” Harris says in a statement. “Often the H3000 would seem to make decisions on its own, and we began to see it as a kind of medium.” It’s strangely alluring and melodic—and an exciting glimpse of what’s to come.

Djo: Gloom

Djo (aka Joe Keery, who is best known for his portrayal of Stranger Things‘ Steve Harrington) has released the frenetic synth-pop track, “Gloom.” It’s the third single from his upcoming album Decide (out 16 September) and builds with strong percussion, rapid guitar and unexpected alto-notes. The soundscape feels slightly nostalgic with Keery’s shifting vocals recalling Talking Heads, however, off-center lyrics and frantic energy land the song squarely in its own lane.

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 Rodrigo y Gabriela