Listen Up

From the ethereal to the chaotic, the lo-fi and laidback, our favorite songs from the week

Leonard Cohen: Happens To The Heart The first single from Leonard Cohen’s posthumous album, Thanks for the Dance, “Happens To The Heart” is gentle, mesmerizing and a somber reminder that the beloved artist is gone. On the contemplative song that dissects our universal outcome, Cohen sing-speaks, “I’ve broken every window / But the house, the house is dark / I care but very little / …

Toro y Moi: drip bounce _ 7_24_18

From Toro y Moi’s lo-fi mixtape Soul Trash (which initially debuted as raw files on Dropbox), “drip bounce _ 7_24_18” fuses bluesy guitar with textural drums and vulnerable vocals. While clearly recognizable as Tor y Moi (aka Chaz Bear), the song feels like the beginning of something—the title perhaps offering insight into future tracks or versions. While the tune and Bear’s vocals are laidback and …

Listen Up

Gospel-inflected pop, jazzy neo-soul, g-funk and more in our weekly musical round-up

Hamzaa: Breathing

The third track released ahead of her debut EP First Signs of Me, Hamzaa’s “Breathing” is beautifully uplifting. The tune is gospel-inflected (but not preachy) and the London-based singer/songwriter delivers stirring, soulful vocals. First Signs of Me is available for pre-order now, and is already proving to be a powerful piece of work from the young artist.

Naomi Banks: Anything

Neo-soul and electronic collide beautifully in Naomi Banks’ new track “Anything.” Over the course of the three and a half minutes, her voice builds from a tender, jazzy croon to an immensely powerful howl—alongside a tune that combines minimal piano with a squelchy bass line and clashing drum machines. While all this genre-bending and blending might sound messy in writing, the result is a textured soundscape that’s ultimately rich and evocative, not just experimental.

Toro y Moi: Freelance

From his forthcoming album Outer Peace (out 18 January on Carpark Records), Toro y Moi‘s “Freelance” is a g-funk-inflected tune that’s a bit surprising from the artist—considering his previous chillwave offerings. Toro y Moi (aka Chaz Bear) delights listeners with this layered, synth-heavy bop. Funky and playful, the song was apparently written as a response to Bear’s return to the Bay Area after living in Portland. Ahead of the 10-track album’s release, Toro y Moi will be touring the US through November.

Beirut: Gallipoli

Truly an amalgamation of sound and style, “Gallipoli” announces Beirut’s return—and an album of the same name. With brass instruments that beg for a parade of celebratory footfall and percussion that creates nostalgia for something lost, the track (like much Beirut music) is bound to no time or place. Beirut’s Zach Condon wrote the entire song in one session, in rural Italy. It certainly stirs excitement for the rest of the future release.

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