Listen Up

A banger with rave energy, genre-blurring funk, an orchestral rumination and more new music

Old Fire feat. Adam Torres: Dreamless

“Dreamless,” the eerie second single from the forthcoming sophomore album of Old Fire (aka recording artist and producer John Mark Lapham), features haunting guest vocals from singer-songwriter Adam Torres. Nathan Driskell directed and edited the track’s surreal, slow-burning music video, which reinforces the artfully disconcerting experience. “‘Dreamless’ was the last piece of the puzzle for this album,” Lapham says of Voids (out 4 November). “It came together spontaneously from some guitar recordings given to me by Alex Hutchins, who sent me a lot of improvised takes that I cut down and sequenced into something resembling a traditional pop structure (at least as ‘pop’ as Old Fire ever gets). As I was imagining a vocal, I heard someone like Peter Gabriel singing and looked for someone who could give me the shivers like he could. Enter Adam Torres.”

Blue Mena: Knocked Out

Brooklyn-based singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ Mena Sachdev has released their debut single under the moniker Blue Mena. The very pretty “Knocked Out” is a psych-tinged pop song that explores identity, gender, sex, love and authenticity. Part breezy bop, part introspective indie, it comes accompanied by a retro-leaning video directed by Clare Severinghaus and Madeleine Olson.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Suite for Krug 2008

Renowned Japanese composer, producer, pianist and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto has unveiled an enveloping reflective three-part symphony inspired by the prestigious Champagne from the House of Krug. Aptly entitled “Suite for Krug 2008,” the exquisite composition—which was developed over 18 months—translates the sensations that Sakamoto experienced while touring the maison in 2019 and sipping the Krug Clos du Mesnil 2008, Krug 2008 and Krug Grande Cuvée 164ème Édition. This is a powerful addition to the Krug Echoes series of musical commissions (anchored in the concept that sonic accompaniment influences taste) and it will appease fans of Sakamoto’s beloved “Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence” and his critically acclaimed score for The Revenant.

Weyes Blood: It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody

Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) is set to follow up 2019’s critically acclaimed Titanic Rising with the new 10-track release And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow (out 18 November). It’s the second LP in a trilogy from the singer-songwriter. From it comes the lead single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” a sprawling, orchestral rumination on loneliness, instability and interconnectedness. Mary Lattimore’s lush harp arrangement and Mering’s warm vocal delivery lend the six-minute track a halo of optimism.

Floating Points: Problems

Simmering with rave party energy, the new drum-heavy Floating Points track “Problems” borrows elements from UK garage to create an absolute banger. The video, directed by frequent collaborators Hamill Industries, features dancers within lights that are created using vector rescanning. “‘Problems’ is meant to agitate every single room that its ecstatic sound waves reach,” Hamill Industries says in a statement. “We wanted to celebrate it with movement and dance and reshape it through sound, by using techniques that allow the signification of images. We have used lasers that spin and move with the music, making visible their sinuous shapes. It was important that this video shaped the electrical feeling you get when being on a dance-floor, the urge of dancing when sound waves reach your ears.”

Flo: Not My Job

UK girl group Flo returns with “Not My Job,” a bonus track from their latest EP, The Lead, that sees the trio continuing to blend old-school R&B with modern sensibilities. The track surges forward on floating harmonies, jumping baselines and synths, all produced neatly by frequent collaborator MNEK. Singing about (and with) confidence, the three-piece’s latest offering is a melodic ode to empowerment.

Phony Ppl: Nowhere But Up

Phony Ppl’s new track “Nowhere But Up” further solidifies the Brooklyn-based band’s flair for blending genres—from jazz to hip-hop, pop and beyond. This new song incorporates retro funk and R&B, borrowing from Cherrelle’s 1984 hit “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” (later covered by Robert Palmer) for a playful, spirited and optimistic bop.

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 Hamill Industries