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Love Ssega's debut, a protest anthem by Janelle Monae, Alabama Shakes' most soulful jam yet and more in this week's musical round-up

by CH Editors
on 16 August 2015
Hot Chip: Started Right

"Started Right"—the endearing single from Hot Chip's recently released sixth full-length album, Why Make Sense?—has been given video treatment in the form of a beautiful woman singing solo karaoke in a dimly lit bar. It's much more low key than Hot Chip's alternate universe post-breakup music video for "Need You Now," but its subtle enough to let the reliable British electronic outfit's trademark quaint but punchy sound shine.

Janelle Monáe: Hell You Talmbout

Janelle Monáe—a day after leading a Black Lives Matter march in Philadelphia—has released a new version of "Hell You Talmbout"—a bonus track from her most recent album The Electric Lady. A heartbreaking and powerful protest song, it is six minutes of military-style tattoo percussion with chants of "Say his/her name!" as the performers list victims of police brutality. Monáe—along with Deep Cotton, George 2.0, St Beauty, Jidenna and Roman GianArthur—passionately shout names including Sandra Bland, Philip White, Trayvon Martin and others, so we don't ever forget.

Alabama Shakes: Over My Head (Live at Capitol Studio A)

Alabama Shakes indeed shook things up with their sophomore album Sound & Color, which shows the southern rock band's eagerness to experiment—to great success. In this live rendition of "Over My Head," a barefoot Brittany Howard lays down the guitar and puts her entire body and soul into the sparsely arranged song, which she's called her favorite off the album in interviews. It stays quiet throughout, avoiding the easy reward any sort of climax, with each word dripping with tension.

Joanna Newsom: Sapokanikan

There's no voice quite like that of Joanna Newsom, and once again her signature warbling vocals and acute, whimsical songwriting play their part in the comeback track "Sapokanikan." Supported by a brand new video by film auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, the song is the first off of Newsom's forthcoming album Divers, due out on 23 October. Tinkling pianos, rich horns and the occasional drum flourish bolster Newsom's poeticism, while the video of her singing along NYC streets lends a casual edge to the extraordinary talent.

Love Ssega: Minds

One of the founders of the electronic-meets-classical outfit Clean Bandit—who left to pursue a PhD in laser sensing—British-Ugandan singer Love Ssega returns to the music scene with the single "Minds." From an upcoming EP (due to release in October) of the same name, "Minds" blends elements of funk, disco and pop together for something that's bubbly and summery—with Love Ssega bouncing between spoken word, rap and soulful vocals in his delectable British accent.

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.

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