Listen Up

New tracks that borrow elements from '90s house, lo-fi R&B, neo-soul and more

Empress Of and Jim-E Stack: Turn The Table

From Save Me by Empress Of (aka Lorely Rodriguez), “Turn The Table” with longtime collaborator Jim-E Stack has received a visual treatment by Jerome AB, shot in an abandoned building in Grand Cayman. In the rundown but tropical setting, the Honduran American singer, songwriter, musician and producer performs and dances alone—save for some multiples of herself, and a surprise guest at the end. From the massive chorus to the ’90s house elements and self-empowering lyrics, the track is made for a sweaty dance floor.

bLAck pARty feat. Childish Gambino: I Love You More Than You Know

Little Rock, Arkansas-raised, LA-based bLAck pARty (aka Malik Flint) releases his third album, called Hummingbird, today and from it comes the smooth and saccharine “I Love You More Than You Know.” The track features Childish Gambino (another in a string of collaborations) and possesses a gloriously languid energy that perfectly lends itself to the lyrics. bLAck pARty says that the album (which also features Saba, Kari Faux, Jean Deaux and more) is “a journey about self-love, romantic love and parental love” that “represents the evolution of human experience.”

Louis Cole: Let It Happen

Part meditation, part power ballad, Louis Cole’s “Let It Happen” is the LA-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first new solo music since his 2020 live album. The slow-burning track about relinquishing control begins with quiet clicks and Cole’s soft falsetto, before leading to glittery synths, uplifting key changes and soaring strings. According to Cole, it’s “a timeless modern power ballad classic that taps into a special feeling in between joy and pain.”

sona blue: soft top

East London-based artist sona blue (aka Jack Adamson) has written a slow-burning, lo-fi R&B track, “soft top,” inspired by the significance of family—specifically his little brother. “We’ve always been close and I wanted to write about how love in a family situation differs from that of a romantic one,” he explains in a statement. “It’s about growing with someone whether you want to or not and I think that’s really special.” The song, which appears on his Saint EP (released last week), was written after Frank Ocean’s younger sibling Ryan Breaux passed away, which prompted sona blue to compose a song about his own brother.

Zoe’s Shanghai: Stealing Me

From Barcelona-based four-piece Zoe’s Shanghai, “Stealing Me” is a shimmering, kaleidoscopic new track that blends jazz, neo-soul, warm percussion and floating vocals courtesy of lead singer Zoé Renié. The effect creates a complex and layered soundscape that simultaneously feels intuitive. From its opening groovy rhythm to its slowed-down, tender transition, the track is beautifully dizzying and lushly immersive.

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 bLAck pARty