Youth Lagoon: The Knower
Trevor Powers, aka Youth Lagoon, returns with his trademark brand of dreamy psychedelic-pop in “The Knower” from his upcoming album Savage Hills Ballroom. It will be his first LP since 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse. The track opens with minimal keyboard and Powers’ intimate, melancholy falsetto before slowly building into a grand fanfare of horns, percussive vocal samples and splashing drums.
Mabel: Know Me Better
London-based Mabel released her debut single “Know Me Better” as its own statement: discover more about her through her music, beyond the description of being daughter to Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey. The trip hop-influenced song puts the spotlight on Mabel’s soulful voice, as her light and airy vocal riffs swim through piano chords and drums.
Wilco: Star Wars
Wilco unexpectedly released a new album Star Wars on Thursday night, surprising many by offering the 11 original tracks for free download—with vinyl and CD versions available later this year. More rock-influenced and less concerned with being polished, Star Wars is also available on pretty much every streaming platform out there (YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Rdio, etc.)—pretty savvy for a band that’s 20 years into their career.
Despot: House of Bricks
Queens rapper Despot—who’s collaborated with Vampire Weekend, Das Racist and Run the Jewels and is co-owner of Santos Party House—has been teasing at a debut album with Ratatat for years. He finally offers a polished version of “House of Bricks,” a song he’s been performing live since 2012. Despot works in well-known lines from the childhood story Three Little Pigs (though his house is being built with bricks of contraband) and producer E*Vax of Ratatat gives fans a taste of his familiar synth-y guitar lines toward the end of the track.
Toro Y Moi (feat. Rome Fortune): Pitch Black
Toro y Moi has shown his flair for upbeat disco, funk and synth-pop, but turns a little darker for his latest release, “Pitch Black.” With synth lines passing over one another like a busy pedestrian crossing, the tune is carefree yet hints at building layers of tension. Atlanta rapper Rome Fortune, who is becoming well-known for his progressive and versatile tracks (collaborating with Four Tet, Suicideyear, iLoveMakonnen and more), lends unhurried verses to this production.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that rounds up the music we tweeted throughout the week, also found in Listen. Hear the year so far via Cool Hunting Spotify.