Listen Up

An infectious synth-pop song, a lush indie track, a silky single and more new music

Dijon: coogie

With “coogie,” LA-based artist Dijon (aka Dijon Duenas) returns with his first new music in two years. The gentle track was crafted with Mk.gee (aka Michael Gordon) and Andrew Sarlo, and features Dijon’s trademark tender, vulnerable vocals. With scattered percussion and at-times muffled guitar, the song possesses a meandering, improvisational nature that ebbs and flows effortlessly. Of the track, Dijon tweeted: “made a song in woods w my buds mike n andrew it is out because it lived on a phone and wanted out.”

SBTRKT feat. Teezo Touchdown: Waiting

Featuring vocals from singer-songwriter and rapper Teezo Touchdown, SBTRKT’s new track “Waiting” sounds quite different from what many have grown to expect from the English musician and producer. The short but poignant song will appear on his upcoming album, The Rat Road—SBTRKT’s first in seven years. As he says, “This album has been my most sonically ambitious record to create, following my own musical path, which isn’t based on others’ perceptions of what SBTRKT should be… Musically, it’s an expansion on my previous records, with a purposefully wider and more layered sound. All instruments on this song and the album were played, recorded, produced and mixed by me.”

Indigo De Souza: Smog

“Smog,” the second single and music video from Indigo De Souza’s forthcoming album, All of This Will End (out 28 April), departs from the singer-songwriter’s previous guitar-driven indie sound. Leaning into the synth-pop genre, “Smog” swings between the loneliness of isolation and the freedom of being by yourself. While it’s powered by a spacious, energetic beat, the track has De Souza written all over it, overflowing with an authentic and infectious range of emotions—from its swelling chorus to its vulnerable verses.

Róisín Murphy: CooCool

Róisín Murphy’s new track “CooCool” has been produced by her frequent collaborator, the legendary producer DJ Koze. The breezy track is a pastiche of the two artist’s styles and their shared flair for soulful dance music. “Ostensibly a fragile little flower yet it has great hidden strength at the roots,” Murphy says in a statement. “There’s classic virtuosity and a lightness of touch, while DJ Koze’s hyper-modern production makes it bounce and glide. It’s a stupidly romantic little love poem. This thing is way beyond any kind of parody. Everything in this song is true and playful. Can we fall in love and retain our sense of humor? Embrace your inner child! Timeless, ageless, unavoidable love.”

Lonnie Holley feat. Bon Iver: Kindness That Will Follow Your Tears

Lonnie Holley’s Oh Me Oh My (out 10 March) brims with music that’s just as atmospheric, experimental and spiritual as fans will expect from the musician, artist and educator. “Kindness That Will Follow Your Tears,” featuring Bon Iver and produced by Jacknife Lee, is poignant and soulful, with Holley sing-speaking about his mother and grandmother comforting and protecting him, even after their passing.

Christine and the Queens: To Be Honest

The lead single from the upcoming album Paranoïa, Angels, True Love by Christine and the Queens (the project helmed by Héloïse Letissier, aka Redcar or Chris), “To Be Honest” is a synth-pop ballad that begins gently and builds dramatically until the very end. “This new record is the second part of an operatic gesture that also encompassed 2022’s Redcar les adorables étoiles,” Chris explains in a statement. “Taking inspiration from the glorious dramaturgy of Tony Kushner’s iconic play, Angels in AmericaRedcar felt colorful and absurd like Prior sent to his insane dream-space. The follow-up Paranoïa, Angels, True Love is a key towards heart-opening transformation, a prayer towards the self—the one that breathes through all the loves it is made of.” The album (set for release 9 June) will feature Madonna and 070 Shake.

Jane Lai: Not All, But A Lot

Brooklyn-based Jane Lai’s new single, “Not All, But A Lot,” is a lush indie track coasting on the singer-songwriter’s soft vocals, violin and light keys, which hint to Lai’s roots in the Northeast DIY music scene. Over the artist’s observations and reflections, the gentle song builds toward a warbling guitar progression for a layered, meditative listen.

Dinner Party feat. Ant Clemons: Insane

Supergroup Dinner Party—comprising Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper and 9th Wonder—returns with “Insane,” another sublime track fusing jazz, R&B, soul and funk while incorporating hip-hop production. With vocals by Ant Clemons and production by Sounwave, it features the drum loop from Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” and the result is a sultry, mellow track.

Kishi Bashi: Winter’s Eve

Atmospheric, eerie and layered, “Winter’s Eve” by singer-songwriter and musician Kishi Bashi (aka Kaoru Ishibashi) is the title track for a short film by Max Lowe. Written during the annual polar bear gathering in the subarctic near to Churchill, Manitoba, the track is a haunting lament. Ishibashi explains, “The polar bears in this region spend most of the summer onshore, away from their seal prey, and begin gathering on the shores of Hudson Bay in the fall, waiting for the sea ice to return so that they can trek across the frozen bay to hunt for seals. I was deeply moved to learn that polar bears here now spend three to four more weeks off the ice than their grandparents did. It made me think about how the arrival of winter is so important for polar bears near Churchill, and how they are anticipating and awaiting their return to the ice and the cold. ‘Winter’s Eve’ is about perspective. While many of us associate the winter with darkness, restraint, and lifelessness, polar bears see the opposite. It is a time of vitality and vigor, and the anticipation of hunting and mating can be seen and felt when visiting them as they gaze upon the unfrozen ocean, waiting for it to freeze. Unfortunately, due to global warming, the Arctic ice is melting, and the winter is setting on later and is remarkably shorter, causing an incredible strain on the polar bear population. ‘Winter’s Eve’ is about embracing the perspective that all living things on this planet are infinitely intertwined within a delicate ecosystem, and that climate change will cause catastrophic failures that will ultimately leave this world uninhabitable for our future children.”

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 Beth Frey/Róisín Murphy