Missy Elliott feat. Pharrell Williams: WTF (Where They From)
Flashy, playful and high-energy, “WTF (Where They From)” is classic Missy Elliott. A snippet of the track—a collaboration with Pharrell Williams—was released a while back, but today the all-singing, all-dancing video was released, complete with marionette versions of the two lead artists. Directed by Missy herself and Dave Meyers, it’s everything you love about Missy: futuristic while including plenty of throwbacks, and saturated in sass.
Japanese synth-loving trio Crystal has created the most fitting soundtrack for the videogame that’s become our internet-centered lives. The perfect blend of artificial nostalgia, quirky sound effects and a good squeeze of Jean-Michel Jarre meets Donkey Kong allows Crystal to charm their way into your head. Then they reveal they’re more than just kitsch. Crystal’s track “Rendez-vous” is strong on its own as a carefree, futuristic island jam, but everything just gets enhanced with the accompanying visuals: 3D modeled cats singing and soaring through the cosmic skies. (Even our dog-loving editor-in-chief was won over.) Crystal’s first full-length album Crystal Station 64 is now available from Tokyo-based label flau.
Yoko Ono: Forgive Me My Love (Death Cab for Cutie Remix)
As a sequel to Yoko Ono’s 2007 album Yes, I’m a Witch, the cleverly named Yes, I’m a Witch Too will feature musicians like tUnE-yArDs, Miike Snow, Cibo Matto and Portugal. The Man remixing and covering her back catalog. The first track to be revealed and streamed: Death Cab for Cutie transforms Ono’s pretty and poppy song “Forgive Me My Love,” recorded in 1983, into something for today’s appetites—creating a new trip-hop-on-steroids cocoon for her vocals. Feels like Death Cab for Cutie took this opportunity to experiment outside of their comfort zone, and it works.
Certain Creatures feat. ShadowBox: The Suffering Seas
Certain Creatures, aka Brooklyn-based musician Oliver Chapoy, goes the duet route in his dark experimental track “The Suffering Seas.” ShadowBox’s (aka Bonnie Baxter) rhythmic, high-pitched exhalations pair perfectly with the accompanying visuals: Butoh artists dancing under a single light. “We had a basic idea revolving around life cycles, but mostly we just wanted to capture some visuals that channeled the eeriness of the track,” says director Daniel Bellury. Certain Creatures’ debut album Vipassana is now available on vinyl via NYC imprint Styles Upon Styles.
Allen Toussaint: Southern Nights
New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint passed away at the age of 77 this past Tuesday, shortly after performing on stage in Madrid. The songs (from “Get Out of My Life, Woman” to “Lady Marmalade”) Toussaint wrote and/or produced often outshone the jazz pianist himself, as he worked with artists like Lee Dorsey and the Meters, The Pointer Sisters, Etta James, Paul McCartney and more. Covers were even more rampant, as everyone from the Rolling Stones to Glen Campbell amplified his notes and lyrics to the masses. But it’s when Toussaint was behind the piano and mic that an old world New Orleans spirit especially resounded. His 1975 track “Southern Nights” is a tender one that diverges from his usual groovy funk; his filtered voice conjures up the haunting beauty of hot, tranquil nights in the south.
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.