Yeasayer: I Am Chemistry
Having teased their new album Amen and Goodbye in bite-sized morsels over the holidays, three-member band Yeasayer released the track “I Am Chemistry” with a music video that hands-down wins weirdest of 2016—regardless of what comes in the next 11 months. (Update: Animal Collective’s video for “FloriDada” comes in close second.) Unfolding like an acid trip taking place on an alien planet, the video features human-form sculptures (some disfigured, some naked) giving birth and performing sensual choreography among other things. This eerie dancing in unison over an intense instrumental climax, followed immediately by a choir breakdown, demonstrates Yeasayer’s flair for writing excellent yet peculiar pop. Amen and Goodbye, an album recorded to tape, releases 1 April 2016 via Mute.
Rosie Lowe: Woman
After two years of releasing solid gold singles and an EP, British singer-songwriter Rosie Lowe will finally be releasing her debut album Control on 19 February 2016 via Polydor. From it, she shares “Woman,” singing thoughtfully on what it’s like to be one (“I have analyzed every single inch of my skin / and comparisons I can’t seem to break in my daily routine”). Lowe’s lower register and jazz-trained vocals make for a tension-filled but soulful introspection that picks up the beat two minutes in.
Busta Rhymes feat. MF Doom and BJ The Chicago Kid: In The Streets
Busta Rhymes returned with a new mixtape The Return of the Dragon: The Abstract Went on Vacation over the holidays and it features new tracks, remixes and plenty of impressive guests like Mary J Blige, Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa, Waka Flocka, Fabolous and more. One track in particular, “In The Streets,” features verses from MF DOOM, vocals from BJ The Chicago Kid and a beat (which is equal parts gritty and warm) by Dilla. Busta’s gruff voice sounds almost exactly the same as it did 25 years ago when he co-founded the East Coast group, Leaders of the New School.
RJD2: Peace Of What
Veteran “beat-making nerd” RJD2 has wrapped up his sixth album, Dame Fortune, recorded while the Columbus, Ohio-based hip-hop instrumental producer was living in Philadelphia. Despite the upbeat, jazzy vibe in the album’s debut single “Peace of What” (with vocal snippets sung by Jordan Brown), there’s unrest within, relayed through the crisp, penetrating drums and repeating orchestral hooks: the frustration regarding inaction towards actual peace in the country. Dame Fortune releases 25 March 2015 from his own label, RJ’s Electrical Connections.
Porches: Be Apart
NYC band Porches, founded by Aaron Maine (who also writes music through his alter-ego Ronald Paris), take up residence in a English mansion in the music video for “Be Apart.” As the camera zooms in and out of a lonely-looking “family,” the ambiguous lyrics resonate for anyone who’s ever moved to a new city. “I wanna be apart,” sings Maine. “I wanna be a part of it all.” The way you hear the chorus (“apart” or “a part”) reveals what’s stronger: wanting to belong or wanting to escape. Porches’ LP Pool releases via Domino on 5 February 2015.
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.