David Bowie: Starman
While the world mourned the passing of David Bowie earlier this week, it’s difficult to comprehend that he was—in fact—mortal. With a career that crossed six decades and a mesmerizing ever-evolving sound and aesthetic, Bowie had (in his own words) “a repulsive need to be something more than human,” which is all too accurate. With “Starman”—a late addition to 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars—Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust spreads a message of hope for Earth. Apart from reassuring us it’s all worthwhile, he urges listeners, “Let all the children boogie.” His death is a loss of a true legend, but there’s no doubt that Bowie has gone home. As he said in The Man Who Fell to Earth, “I’m just visiting.”
Kelsey Lu: Morning After Coffee
Brooklyn-based cellist Kelsey Lu—who grew up in a strict Jehovah’s Witness community and found her escape at the North Carolina School of The Arts pursuing music—enraptures in her music video for “Morning After Coffee.” The bare-it-all song, made up of just her incredibly tender yet strong vocals and cello pizzicato, fills the air. It’s a beautiful acoustic performance and meditation for which the natural setting makes perfect sense. Catch her on tour supporting fellow NYers, Wet.
Juan Wauters: This Is I
After his band The Beets organically disbanded a few years ago, Uruguay-born, Queens-based eccentric singer-songwriter Juan Wauters has, armed with an acoustic guitar, been opening up over the course of two solo albums. In the uncomplicated ballad “This Is I,” he swaps out the guitar for some simple synth strings, but the overall tone of exposed honesty is still there; he’s good at bringing on the feelings. In the new music video for the track, Juan Wauters gets knocked around by a gang of badass girls, comforted by a grandma figure and awaits his death by soccer ball. The unusual choice for end credit music (bouncy theme song to the Mexican sitcom “El Chavo del Ocho”) reminds us it’s OK to laugh—even when you’re sad.
FloFilz feat. Barney Artist + Anthony Drawn: The Verb
Aachen, Germany-based producer and jazz-lover FloFilz, who also happens to be a classically trained violinist, wowed us with his 2014 album “Metronom”—full of tranquilizing two-to-three minute hip-hop instrumentals (be sure to also check out his take on D’Angelo’s “Left & Right“). From his new album Speakthru (now available via Jakarta Records) FloFilz shares a music video for “The Verb”—you won’t find him in it, but London-based rapper Barney Artist offers an engaging performance throughout.
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.