Jesse Boykins III feat. Luke James: Likeminded
In now-classic Jesse Boykins III style, the LA-based singer/songwriter has released a super-lush and sexy record in his latest release: Bartholomew LP. Featuring guest spots from Syd (of The Internet), Willow Smith, Trinidad James and J*Davey, it’s full of slightly left-of-center vibes but is still clearly influenced by icons like D’Angelo. Standout track “Likeminded”—which features Luke James—is sparkly but soulful. If you’re in NYC, you can see Boykins perform on Wednesday 17 August at Brooklyn Bowl.
Neon Indian: Annie
Looking like something recovered from an early ’90s VHS, Neon Indian’s “Annie” video is delightfully low-res and playful. Directed by Neon Indian (aka Alan Palomo) himself, the video matches the perky track—albeit taking place in a city rather than cashing in on the overtly tropical vibes. Undoubtedly a standout from 2015’s VEGA INTL. Night School (Neon Indian’s third album) “Annie” is made for Palomo’s endearing dance moves and the karaoke lyrics that also accompany the video.
Lana Del Rey: BBM Baby
With each passing day it becomes clearer just how many people loved BlackBerry Messenger. Included in that list happens to be Lana Del Rey, and a recent leak of her 2011 demo “BBM Baby” makes clear the ease and joy of sexting through the service. The track, produced by Penguin Prison, is definitely a sign of the times during which it was made. But that said, it’s fun, upbeat and (while dated) it hints toward Del Rey’s signature vocal stylings.
Phantogram: Cruel World
The intro to Phantogram’s new track “Cruel World” (Sarah Barthel’s vocals accompanied only by minimal piano) sounds very different from their usual dark, shimmery and sexy style, but soon the hook delivers what we’ve come to adore about the NY-based duo. The song (from the upcoming album Three) delivers a dreamy but ominous, thundering sound and the lyrics are equal parts bleak and optimistic. Considering the three tracks already released from the album (out 7 October) it’s going to be another sublime record from the band.
Frank Ocean: Endless
Finally, Frank Ocean has blessed us with a new record—four years after the lush Channel Orange, and plenty of teasing and anticipation. Last night, the NOLA-raised singer/songwriter released his visual album “Endless” which is streaming via Apple Music now. While the release was a surprise, the 18 songs on the album are unsurprisingly magnificent—from the ethereal “In Here Somewhere” to the spacey, spoken word outro “Higgs” to an angelic cover of the Isley Brothers’ “At Your Best (You Are Love).” It’s a lush, otherworldly record full of Ocean’s tender vocals. Over the weekend, it’s rumored he will release his “proper” album, potentially called Boys Don’t Cry. It’s been too long, Mr Ocean.
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.