D’Angelo feat. Princess: Sometimes It Snows in April
D’Angelo was joined by Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum (aka Princess, a Prince cover band) last night to perform a tremendously moving version of Prince’s “Sometimes it Snows in April.” The song, from the legend’s 1986 album Parade (perhaps most famous for “Kiss”), is a heartbreakingly poignant choice. D’Angelo has cited Prince as a huge influence many times and has performed “She’s Always in My Hair” at plenty of live shows, but this performance was difficult, with the teary performer choking up toward the end. He nonetheless paid a beautiful tribute to his hero—bathed in purple light and tender vocals. While it’s still very painful to have lost Prince, in his own words from the song, “Sometimes it snows in April / Sometimes I feel so bad / Sometimes, sometimes I wish that life was never ending / And all good things, they say, never last.”
Holy Fuck: Tom Tom
Six years after Latin was released, Holy Fuck is back and not a moment too soon. The Toronto-based quartet released the lead single from their upcoming album Congrats a couple months ago and now the song, “Tom Tom,” has a high production video to match. Directed by Michael Leblanc, it was filmed in Romania (mostly in Sirnia, a small village near Brasov) and builds on a tremendous sense of unease. With lots of eerie natural light and some intriguing characters, it’s the kind of engaging visuals that the discordant track demands.
New from prince of grime Stormzy—who still has yet to release a full-length album—is “Scary,” an audiovisual message of intimidation for those who doubt his success. “But don’t get gassed cause you got the headline / You only got it cause I declined it” are just one of the South London MC’s many lines to pocket and save for your own use, later. In the words of Kaylum Dennis, who filmed and edited the quick-cutting music video: “Remember to click the 4K option people.”
Laura Groves: Gamma Ray Blue (Cleaners From Venus Cover)
London-based songwriter Laura Groves previously released an album on XL under the moniker Blue Roses. Under her real name, however, Groves transitions from acoustic instruments like piano and guitar to a more electronic set-up, and her voice glows anew among the vintage synthesizers. In her cover of the track “Gamma Ray Blue,” Groves polishes up the lo-fi track from ’80s band The Cleaners from Venus (Martin Newell’s DIY pop project) for a honeyed aural rush befitting of pop tastes today. “Best song ever about waiting for your lover to come round,” she tweeted. “Gamma Ray Blue” is one of 12 contributions to DEEK Recordings’ compilation of contemporary covers Extraordinary Renditions, out next month. On it, Gwilym Gold covers D’Angelo, Jesse Hackett covers Captain Beefheart, Nautic covers Thundercat and more.
Future Punx: How To Dance
Brooklyn-based act Future Punx—one of our faves at CMJ a few years ago—will embark on a two-week American tour later this May. Their debut album This is Post-Wave (released last August and streaming in full on Spotify, Bandcamp and more) is filled with 15 simple grooving tracks that have fun with squiggly synth lines and retro ideas. They now release a music video for their instructive song, “How to Dance” with lyrics like “If you’re not sure what’s a rhythm / stop and listen to your heart.” The clip features trippy animation work by Brooklyn-based illustrator John Lisle, depicting the four band members as video game characters who know how to bust out a good dance move.
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.