Listen Up

From ambient sounds to a psych-rock banger, our favorite new music this week

Ibeyi: Juice of Mandarins

The floating and rhythmic “Juice of Mandarins” is the newest offering from Ibeyi (aka twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz) since their third studio album, Spell 31. Longtime collaborator and beat-maker Richard Russell lends the track a pared-back production, letting it groove and glide on the Afro-Cuban-French duo’s lilting harmonies and vocal-derived instrumentals. Managing to be both relaxed yet danceable, the song is accompanied by a captivating video from COLORS Studios, where the single premiered.

Mykki Blanco: Pink Diamond Bezel

From Mykki Blanco’s upcoming Stay Close To Music (which features Kelsey Lu, Jónsi, Saul Williams and others), “Pink Diamond Bezel” demonstrates, once again, the artist’s adroitness for bending and blurring genres. The track begins as a sultry number before turning into a psych-rock banger. They say in a statement, “When I think about the vibe of ‘Pink Diamond Bezel’ I imagine a stretch limousine riding through snow-capped mountains, drinking Kahlua and cream with a group of friends in cashmere sweaters—very après-ski—then out of nowhere a shaman appears in the middle of the road, the car halts, a spell is cast, the road catches fire, and we’re forced to kneel in supplication to the forces of nature!”

Kelela: Washed Away

Five years after her debut album, Take Me Apart, Kelela returns with “Washed Away.” The atmospheric track—produced by Yo van Lenz—centers on healing. She explains in a statement, “I specifically want to speak to marginalized Black folk and highlight the work we do to find renewal in a world that’s built to make us feel inadequate. This song is the soundtrack to the relief we find after going inward.” The NYC-based singer-songwriter has promised that bangers are on the way, but “for the first point of contact out of my hiatus, it felt more honest to lead with an ambient heart-check.” The stunning video—directed by Yasser Abubeker and filmed in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, near the Eritrea border—provides a fitting visual accompaniment for the otherworldly song.

Uji feat. Nyaruach: QuemaQuema

Argentinian ethnomusicologist and electronic music producer Uji returns with “QuemaQuema,” an enthralling track featuring a kinetic beat and bold vocals by South Sudanese recording artist Nyaruach. The single is set to appear on Uji’s forthcoming album, TIMEBEING (out 21 October). Corresponding with the song’s release is one stark yet sensational segment of director Jazmin Calcarami’s eight-part visual treatment for Uji’s LP; it’s an intimate, powerful and utterly tantalizing battle through dance.

The Orielles: The Room

Born from an instrumental jam session, where collaborative lyrics were also drafted and shuffled about, “The Room” by UK-based trio The Orielles is a lush, layered and, at times, dreamlike auditory journey. The band self-directed the accompanying music video, which not only channels the track’s magic but also mirrors the way it came together. “We thought that the lyrics and the vocal delivery lent themselves well to quite a literal video, we broke the song down line-by-line to create interpretations of the words and their meanings together,” drummer Sidonie Hand-Halford says in a statement. “We really like the simplicity of this video, inspired by a lot of Agnes Vardas’ early works as well as Peter Tscherkassky’s more avant-garde films.”

Nick Hakim: Vertigo

Singer, songwriter and producer Nick Hakim shares “Vertigo,” a song about the floating feeling of falling in love. Moody and atmospheric, with layered acoustic guitar and synths, the single captures the artist’s blended style of psychedelia, soul and folk. It’s the third track to be released from Hakim’s forthcoming album, COMETA (due 21 October), and is accompanied by an Asli Baykal-directed music video aptly shot in Vojin Kusic’s spinning house in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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 Kelela