Kamasi Washington: Truth
Just released by the very talented jazz saxophonist, composer and producer Kamasi Washington (who has performed with Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Flying Lotus, Thundercat and more), “Truth” is the beautifully transcendent sixth movement from his upcoming Harmony of Difference EP. The 14+ minutes of avant-garde jazz is accompanied by a stunning short film directed by A.G. Rojas that will dazzle viewers. Washington (who also played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly) has made yet another magical piece of music that will surely introduce jazz music to a new generation.
Beth Ditto: Fire
Gossip’s front woman, the electric Beth Ditto, just released the first track from her upcoming solo record Fake Sugar. “Fire” starts off quieter than many of Ditto’s previous tracks, but builds up in a blaze and to become a booming track. Once again, Ditto proves she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Villagers + Nico Muhly: Fortunate Child
Set to time-manipulated footage of iconic New York City landmarks shot by Donal Dineen, “Fortunate Child” marks a nuanced and emotive collaboration between Villagers and Nico Muhly. A compositional magnificence bathes the vocals of Villagers’ Conor O’Brien—beginning delicately and building force. O’Brien says the collaborative process was quite intuitive, with the “chord structure and frequencies of Nico’s initial soundscape” allowing him to explore string-of-consciousness lyrics.
J. Geils Band: Centerfold
Almost anybody who has been to a wedding, prom or late-night venue in a beachside town in the Western world will have heard the J. Geils Band. The American band (which started out as a three-piece) is responsible for the 1981 hit “Centerfold”—as well as “Freeze Frame” and “Love Stinks.” Sadly John Geils Jr (who played guitar in the band) has passed away aged 71. Geils—who started out playing jazz trumpet before switching to blues guitar—was also a singer, songwriter, producer and released a solo record in 2005 which garnered critical acclaim.
Saint Etienne: Magpie Eyes
A first single from a new Saint Etienne album since 2012, “Magpie Eyes” stands as a joyful, catchy return for the English dance rock troupe. There’s a signature dreamy vibrance encapsulating all-too-sweet but relatable lyrics. The band’s forthcoming album Home Counties releases on 2 June and Saint Etienne will be embarking on a UK tour starting in May and hitting the US in September.
Asphixiation: Aural Risk
Premiering on Stereogum—despite having been recorded in 1980—Asphixiation’s “Aural Risk” is an art project worth paying attention to. Created by Philip Brophy (of experimental group → ↑ →) Asphixiation was a performance art creation in which Brophy recorded an entire disco album called What Is This Thing Called “Disco”? and had a fake band perform it. Chapter Music is reissuing the album for the first time this June.
BOSCO feat. St Beauty: Castles
Fool’s Gold artist BOSCO has teamed up with duo St. Beauty (aka Alex Belle and Isis V) for a sublime tune, “Castles.” The accompanying video—directed by Lacey Duke—is all pastels and lollipops, but steers clear of becoming saccharine. BOSCO and St. Beauty were all raised in Atlanta, and along with the haunting and dreamy sound of “Castles,” there’s something distinctly Southern. Breathy vocals and melancholy lyrics stand up against a steady groove.
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.