Listen Up

A track infused with otherworldly wailing, stirring choreography, a haunting collaboration and more

Caroline Polachek: Welcome To My Island

Singer-songwriter and producer Caroline Polachek has announced her upcoming album, Desire, I Want To Turn Into You (set for release 14 February next year) and from it comes the catchy, ethereal track “Welcome To My Island.” Opening with a cappella, otherworldly wailing, it quickly transforms into an undulating, punchy and twinkling pop track co-produced with Dan Nigro, Danny L Harle, AG Cook and Jim E-Stack. With a spoken-word/rap interlude, it’s a soaring tune that’s undeniably Polachek.

Samia: Sea Lions

The second of two companion singles released today by singer-songwriter Samia (aka Samia Najimy Finnerty), “Sea Lions” is itself composed of two parts, beginning with gently enveloping vocals and a minimal soundscape before transforming into an energetic rush toward emotional freedom. Both halves are powerful in their own right, but together forge something even stronger. “Sea Lions” will appear on Samia’s sophomore album, Honey (out 27 January 2023).

Isamaya Ffrench and Sam Thomas: Mantle

Atmospheric and haunting, “Mantle” by Isamaya Ffrench and Sam Thomas is an unsettling, breathtaking work. Written by London-based Ffrench (who is also a respected makeup artist and creator of wearable art) and composer, producer and session player, Thomas, it’s minimal, but expansive—with jittery percussion that adds to the mood. The song comes accompanied by an equally disquieting video.

Philip Selway: Check For Signs Of Life

Musician and songwriter Philip Selway (who is also the drummer for Radiohead) will release his third solo record, Strange Dance, early next year. From it comes the gently enveloping lead single, “Check For Signs Of Life,” and a brand new video produced by Uncommon Creative Studio, directed by William Williamson and starring a cast of renowned dancers and choreographers. “I wanted the piece to explore imagined conversations between future and past selves and to be based around this particular quartet of dancers,” Selway says. “The piece has been choreographed by Simone Damberg Würtz and Liam Francis. They both perform in the video alongside Siobhan Davies and Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp.”

Kjartan Holm, Sin Fang and Jónsi: Bakgarðar

The latest collaboration between composer Kjartan Holm, musician and vocalist Sin Fang (aka Sindri Már Sigfússon) and Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi, “Bakgarðar” sets ethereal, gently interwoven vocals atop a cocooning orchestral soundscape. The warm, wondrous track from the trio of Icelandic talent marks the first time Sigfússon has recorded vocals in his native tongue.

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 Philip Selway and Uncommon Creative Studio