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Listen Up

From laidback R&B to energetic pop, a charitable demo and more new music

Clairo: For Now

Appearing on Bandcamp over the weekend, Clairo’s one-off song “For Now” is a previously unreleased demo that’s tender, gentle and spare. The singer, songwriter and musician (aka Claire Cottrill) has promised proceeds from the track will go to Black- and trans-led organization For the Gworls as well as Everytown for Gun Safety. With just soft keys and woodwind providing the instrumentation, the ballad drifts along led by Clairo’s delicate vocals.

Jenny Owen Youngs: sunrise mtn

With the glowing new single “sunrise mtn,” critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs offers a sonic passage into her forthcoming ambient album, from the forest floor, which the recording artist composed as a soundtrack for walks in the wilderness. The track—made in collaboration with John Mark Nelson—transports, stimulates imagination and encourages reflection. Conceptual in nature, the album’s 12 tracks are each dedicated to a swath of time in one 24-hour cycle. “This song is named for a peak in the Kittatinny Mountains in north Jersey, that lies along the Appalachian Trail in Stokes State Forest,” Youngs says in a statement. “Standing at the top, you can see New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York spread out below; it’s a popular place to watch the sun come up. This piece is an invitation to look up and to look out, toward the clean slate of another tomorrow coming up over the horizon line.”

Little Dragon: Slugs of Love

Opening with an immediately catchy bass line, Little Dragon’s “Slugs of Love” is a jaunty, sparkly, ’80s-tinged bop. The Swedish indie-pop band says in a statement, “Did you know that Leopard Slugs perform a very sensual and acrobatic dance, an exchange between two individuals carrying the same set of reproduction systems? Maybe we are all yearning for love and ecstasy, as we turn more sluggish and slimy trying to convey this urge.”

CHAI: We The Female!

Celebrating the limitlessness of gender expression, Japanese band CHAI released “We The Female!,” a fun, catchy track that comes accompanied by an ’80s-inspired video. With simple lyrics and a playful energy, the song brims with commands like “shut up… trust us, and listen.” The Nagoya-based group says in a statement, “We can’t just label ourselves into clear-cut, simple categories anymore! I’m not anyone else but just ‘me,’ and you are no one else but just ‘you.’ This song celebrates that with a roar!”

Aroe Phoenix: Ideas In Mind

Aroe Phoenix’s soulful vocals open “Ideas In Mind”—her new track co-written with Daniel Garrido (aka Boogát)—and her voice is an immediate comfort. The R&B song coasts along an easy beat, percolating percussion and hints of guitar, making for an atmosphere that is simultaneously laidback and energetic. Accompanying the single, an official music video imbues a dreamy production to capture the song’s reassertion of faith.

Organ Morgan: Figurehead

From London-based Organ Morgan (aka songwriter, musician and vocalist Harris McMillan, along with sonic collaborators Stefano Amoretti and Frank Wright) comes “Figurehead,” a lush indie-folk single composed of sparse beauty that pools into uplifting, emotion-rearing instrumentals. Mirroring the track’s atmosphere is an official video directed by Hal Hockney. “For the ‘Figurehead’ video I wanted to expand on the single/EP artwork and create a myth around ‘the pink lady.’ We drifted around the Isle of Sheppey on a delightfully dismal day gathering dubious ‘sightings’ of her—aiming to emulate the shaky footage of Bigfoot, Nessie and other creatures of fancy,” McMillan tells COOL HUNTING. “Paying tribute to the sometimes pitiful, sometimes enviable belief that something can be brought into existence by sheer force of will—in this way it felt right for the song. The Thames Estuary felt like it wanted a creature of folklore; hopefully we have planted a seed of doubt in that marshy mysterious land.”

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 Organ Morgan


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