Gorillaz feat. Benjamin Clementine: Hallelujah Money
Returning after six years, Gorillaz have chosen an apt moment to release their powerful, politically charged, bleakly apocalyptic track “Hallelujah Money.” Dropping on the eve of the US inauguration, the song features vocals and spoken word by the inimitable British poet and musician Benjamin Clementine (along with Damon Albarn, of course) and hauntingly grim lyrics: “How will we know / When the morning comes / We are still humanz? / How will we know? / How will we dream? / How will we love? / How will we know?”
Spoon: Hot Thoughts
From their upcoming LP Hot Thoughts (set for release 17 March), Spoon has just dropped the title track and it builds up—like so many of the Austin-based band’s songs do—entirely effortlessly. The dance-rock track is coupled with lead singer Britt Daniels’ vocals that vary from sounding mechanized and splintered to smooth and vulnerable. With some xylophone, a simple beat and some strings, it ends up being a lush song that waxes and wanes beautifully—begging for repeat listens.
CocoRosie (feat. ANOHNI): Smoke ’em Out
A stunning new protest song from CocoRosie and the exquisitely powerful ANOHNI, “Smoke ’em Out” carries political potency set to complex musicality. As the lyrics make clear, we’ve “got children and wives waving forks and knives” to greet injustice. The vocals-rich track doesn’t just carry a strong and significant message, it’s also beautiful.
Peter Silberman: New York
Brooklyn indie band The Antler’s frontman and lyricist Peter Silberman is already two track releases deep into his forthcoming solo album—Impermanence, out 24 February. The latest, “New York,” recently debuted with an archival footage video celebrating its title city. With Silberman’s delicate but emotionally-charged vocals, the song itself pays homage to NYC with incredible beauty. Silberman will be touring the album this March and April.
William Onyeabor: Fantastic Man
The brilliant William Onyeabor, the Nigerian electronic funk musician who found fame some 30 years after leaving the music business, sadly passed away on 16 January. The groundbreaking artist composed, recorded, pressed and printed nine albums from 1977 to 1985 only to be “discovered” by the world thanks to the 2013 best of record Who Is William Onyeabor? (released by David Byrne’s label, Luaka Bop) and the documentary “Fantastic Man”—named for one of his songs—the following year. Onyeabor’s “Fantastic Man” track encompasses everything fans (old and new) adore about him: it’s super-groovy, fuzzy funk—approached in what was an incredibly futuristic way. His gentle, unmistakable vocals accompanied by female back-up singers occasionally punctuating the delightfully squelchy, rhythmic sound.
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.