Neil Young: A Letter Home
As the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis points out, it’s odd that Neil Young—creator of the ultra-high resolution music player Pono—would release an album like A Letter Home—a crackling, distorted, “retro-tech” LP recorded in a phone booth at Jack White’s Third Man Studios. For Young, it’s all about capturing not just the vocals and instruments, but also the environment in which it all happens, from the engineers to the equipment they’re manipulating. And for this new album, that’s nostalgia. From a letter to his mother as the intro to the acoustic covers of classics like Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind,” the 12-track record is a throwback to the early days of rock’n’roll.
Robyn + Röyksopp: Do It Again
We’ve been waiting for more Robyn + Röyksopp love since their past two collaborations: the haunting “The Girl and the Robot” and the ultimate build-up, “None of Dem.” Their mini-album Do It Again dropped this week and since listening to the five songs, it’s become evident that working with Robyn brings out a different side of Röyksopp and vice versa—it’s a synthesis of something new. While it’s easy to brush off the first single “Do It Again” as another EDM song, the cheekily ambiguous lyrics beg the question of the title itself, while the tight, complex synth work in the background will have you hitting play over and over. Their tour kicks off 13 June at Sonar Festival.
Hercules & Love Affair: The Feast Of The Broken Heart
The summer months are all about throwing on a dance record and letting the party take on a life of its own. Andy Butler’s Hercules & Love Affair features a rotating cast of collaborators with one thing in common: consistently dropping solid, party-ready disco albums. Their latest release, The Feast Of The Broken Heart, comfortably situates itself among the alternative sub-genres born out ’70s disco. A wide range of vocalists—from alt-folk singer John Grant to stage performer Rouge Mary—keep each track fresh, with Butler’s production as sharp as ever.
Mariah Carey: Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse
An album from legendary songstress Mariah Carey, with her golden voice and uncontested upper-octave range, is always welcome. But as devout Mimi fans know, the latter years of her career have often been filled with a little too much glitter. The diva supreme is back though with Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, which features a slew of songs that are downright catchy. “#Beautiful” (a track with Miguel) and “Money” (which features Fabolous) are classic Mariah from the Fantasy era—while “You’re Mine (Eternal)” makes it clear she still knows how to work a ballad.
Ben Frost: Aurora
Australian-born, Reykjavík-based film composer and producer Ben Frost has released a highly anticipated fifth solo album called A U R O R A, which delivers an intense 40 minutes of experimental electronic sounds that reflect both his musical talents and time spent being mentored by Brian Eno. But most of all the album channels Frost’s time in the DR Congo with photographer Richard Mosse, for whom he created the exceptional soundscape to the infrared-shot short film “The Enclave.” Certainly more of an abstract art piece, A U R O R A transcends music’s emotional pull with its chaotic but wholly fascinating allure.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we’ll include a musician or notable fan’s personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.