Listen Up

A moving song in support of oppressed women, a sapphic folk single, a three-part reggae piece and more new music


Named for a commonly used slogan in the Kurdish independence movement, “WOMAN LIFE FREEDOM” by Iranian-Dutch artist SEVDALIZA is a sparse, moving piece that expresses her support for oppressed women all over the world—specifically in Iran. The Tehran-born, Rotterdam-based singer-songwriter says in a statement, “I stand proud as an Iranian woman and I am supporting the fight of my sisters who shed their blood, hair, hearts and brains to give us all the hope, that one day, we will be free. At a young age I became aware of the systematic means of forcing women into obedience through violence and intimidation. To persuade women that their minds, bodies, and freedom do not belong to them. Our humanity demands we stand up against the oppression of women. Now. And forever. We must continue to speak up and fight institutions that condone oppression, violence and murder. We must face the people that deny the dignity and respect for all of us women. We are so tired of being told how to be, what to be.”

SAULT: Angel

SAULT—the UK-based group led by producer Inflo—has shared their latest surprise release “Angel,” a three-part, reggae-inflected piece that (apparently) features Jamaican artist Chronixx and British singer-songwriter Jack Peñate. It begins with a catchy riff and bass-heavy section before shifting to a piano-led ballad with spoken-word, and ultimately transforming into the soft, acoustic closer.

Men I Trust: Girl

New from Men I Trust (Emmanuelle Proulx, Jessy Caron and Dragos Chiriac), “Girl” is a slow-burning duet with lyrics in English and French. As featherweight vocals intertwine with a gravelly counterpart over soft percussion and gentle guitar, the track exudes a dreamy element. It’s the Montreal-based band’s third release this year (after summer’s “Hard To Let Go” and “Billie Toppy,” which came out last month) perhaps hinting at an upcoming album.

Gemma Laurence: Watchdog

From Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Gemma Laurence comes “Watchdog,” a reflective sapphic folk single with lyrics that flow on warm, enveloping vocals. From bell bottoms and a long, lingering gaze to gunshots and gore, the tour de force short film that accompanies the track was helmed by Kyle James Wright. “After showing Kyle the song, he presented this brilliant idea to me: ‘So it’s a song about trust. What better genre of film to explore that than a gritty 1970s mafia film?’ And thus, ‘Watchdog’ was born,” Laurence says in a statement. “It was unlike anything Kyle or I had done before, and it was one of the most wild experiences in my life.”

Tove Lo: Grapefruit

From Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s upcoming album, Dirt Femme (out on Friday), “Grapefruit” comes with a trigger warning, as the lyrics explore disordered eating. The synth-pop track is a glittery, danceable bop, despite its subject matter, which is echoed in a dark video directed by Lisette Donkersloot and with choreography by Teresa Toogie Barcelo. “I’ve tried to write this song for over 10 years,” she says in a statement. “I know I haven’t talked about it a lot in interviews or even in my music which is my most honest place. I guess I had to find the right way to share the feelings and the vicious circle of behavior I was stuck in. I’ve been free from my ED and my body issues for a very long time but they did take up too many of my teenage years. I’m not sure why I wrote this song now. Maybe the two years of stillness brought back memories, maybe I needed all this time I’ve been free from it to be able to look back without feeling pain. One of the many feelings I remember is needing to crawl out of my own skin. I felt so trapped in a body I hated. I wanted a video that portrayed that, and Lisette and Toogie knew exactly how to create that with me. It was honestly really hard putting myself back in that headspace but it was necessary for me. I’m gonna let the song speak for itself now.”

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 Gemma Laurence and Kyle James Wright