Listen Up

A wistful lament, emotional choreography, the death of an acclaimed composer and more

Marcus Strickland Twi-Life: Amygdala

Saxophonist, clarinetist and producer Marcus Strickland shares his latest Twi-Life track, the captivating, undulating “Amygdala.” The music was written in response to a silent film of Madaline Riley dancing that director Petra Richterová sent Strickland, who matched his solos with her movements. He explains in a statement, “At times I feel that using the heart as a metaphor for our feelings can make us forget that emotions are a form of intelligence, so much so that they are located in the center of the brain, sandwiched between the location of our memories. I feel emotions are the most human part about us, and serve as evidence of purpose, a divine intelligence, a creator.”

SZA feat. Phoebe Bridgers: Ghost in The Machine

Five years since her masterful debut album, CTRL, singer-songwriter SZA (aka Solána Rowe) returns with her highly anticipated SOS. The 23-track album (which features contributions from Don Toliver, Travis Scott, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and more) is saturated in the artist’s trademark elixir, blending R&B and lo-fi beats with countless genres to create a satisfying melange. Perhaps the most anticipated song from the album, the introspective and haunting “Ghost in The Machine” features Phoebe Bridgers and is a wistful lament centered on a longing for connection.

Julee Cruise: Falling

With music by acclaimed composer Angelo Badalamenti and lyrics by filmmaker David Lynch, “Falling” was released by dream-pop singer Julee Cruise in 1989 and appeared on her debut album, Floating into the Night. Lynch utilized the track’s instrumental version as the theme for his cult hit TV series, Twin Peaks, for which Badalamenti won the 1990 Grammy for best instrumental pop performance. Lynch also worked with Badalamenti—who was raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and passed away today at age 85—on the films Blue Velvet, The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive. Badalamenti’s music profoundly influenced the tone, texture and depth of each scene it accompanied.


A clever and poetic alt-rock ode to the uniformity of retail store experiences, Ron Gallo’s “YUCCA VALLEY MARSHALLS” addresses comfort and loneliness through charming lyrics and a gently thumping rhythm. “There’s something really sad and hilarious about seeing a glowing Marshalls sign in the middle of the desert but since chain stores are all the same inside I took it as an opportunity for some familiarity,” Gallo says in a statement, describing the track’s origins which emanate from a day trip to Joshua Tree. “We recorded this song mostly live in a studio in upstate NY and added that mellotron part later at home which became my favorite part of the whole recording.” The track will appear on Gallo’s forthcoming studio album, FOREGROUND MUSIC, out 3 March 2023.

Ethel Cain: Thoroughfare (Live)

Part of VEVO DSCVR’s Artists To Watch for 2023, singer-guitarist Ethel Cain has shared a transfixing seven-minute live performance version of her ballad, “Thoroughfare,” which appears on her debut album, Preacher’s Daughter, released earlier this year. Cain recently lent her talents to a live version of Florence + the Machine’s “Morning Elvis,” and will open for Caroline Polachek during her North American tour in 2023.

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 SZA