Listen Up

From desert blues to atmospheric compositions, songs that span captivating genres

Hope Tala: Leave It On The Dancefloor

West London-based artist Hope Tala’s “Leave It On The Dancefloor” is a shimmery, synth-driven track. The buoyant tune—co-written with Mozella (aka Maureen Anne McDonald) and produced by Greg Kurstin—is an optimistic ode to the power of dancing your woes away. “I wrote this song imagining what I would want someone to tell me while I was going through a hard time. The chorus lyric encapsulates it all: ‘So come on leave it on the dancefloor, leave your worries all behind and let the night take the pain away,'” Tala shares in a statement. “Going out was something I missed intensely through the various COVID lockdowns, particularly when I was feeling down in the dumps. It was something I didn’t know how much I valued until it wasn’t possible or safe anymore. A lot of the music I’ve been writing since the pandemic started has been exploring the wonder and joy of that experience: the community that lives among the heat of happy bodies on the dancefloor—how precious that is.”

Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin: Tongo Barra

To honor the late Ali Farka Touré, the internationally celebrated Malian singer and virtuoso guitarist, Ali’s son Vieux Farka Touré partnered with pioneering music trio Khruangbin on a collaborative EP appropriately entitled Ali (out 23 September). An homage to desert blues—the genre his father invented—the album features eight tracks, including the riveting “Tongo Barra,” a refreshing, referential jam.

Frances Chang: p much deranged

Fuzzy guitar, unexpected percussion and lo-fi-leaning vocals open “p much deranged,” the first track from Frances Chang’s debut album, support your local nihilist. Ever shapeshifting, the song languidly contemplates alienation and togetherness before shattering its pace completely. Accompanying the song is a music video (premiered on Beats Per Minute) by Shlomit Strutti, with psychedelic visuals that complement the song’s trippy Moog sound and unconventional trajectory.

Brad Walsh: Derb Chtouka

From experimental art-pop recording artist Brad Walsh’s recently released album Antiglot II (a follow-up to his mesmerizing 2017 LP, Antiglot, which is comprised of just layered vocals and self-generated sound) comes the meditative single “Derb Chtouka.” Named for a street in Marrakech, Morocco—where Walsh filmed the accompanying music video—the track is a deeply expressive sonic landscape upon which the singer asks each listener to journey.

Myele Manzanza feat. Wallace: Silencing the Sun

Drummer, composer, producer and beatmaker Myele Manzanza has announced his third album, Crisis & Opportunity Vol.3—Unfold, and from it comes “Silencing the Sun,” a brilliantly layered track that, like much of Manzanza’s work, pushes the genre of modern jazz. Throughout its nearly three minutes, the single titillates, shifting between New Zealand artist Wallace’s airy vocals, robust percussion, bold keys and plucky guitar licks.

Scone Cash Players: Brooklyn to Brooklin

A dizzying, funk-filled voyage from the NYC borough to the similarly spelled São Paulo neighborhood, the soulful single “Brooklyn to Brooklin” is the latest from Miami-based act Scone Cash Players (led by the legendary Adam Scone). The psychedelic-tinged track will appear on an album of the same name, out 9 September on Daptone Records.

Amtrac feat. Samuel T Herring: Domino

LA-based recording artist and electronic music producer Amtrac (aka Caleb Cornett) taps Future Islands frontman Samuel T Herring as a collaborator on the dizzying new single “Domino.” Herring’s earthy vocals contrast and complement Cornett’s energetic, electronic instrumentals. The engrossing dance track comes with an equally enthralling music video, directed by Cameron Veitch, which twists back-to-office anxieties into a clever, comedic horror show.

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 Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin