Elliott Smith: Waltz #2 (XO)
10 years ago this past week, the world lost Elliott Smith: Songwriter, musician and vocalist whose masterful catalogue of brooding alternative folk inspired legions of fans and acts that followed. A centerpiece to his emotional potency, "Waltz #2 (XO)" might very well be Smith's best track ever. Moreover, it's a secret autobiography. Chronicling the tumult of relationships with his family and lovers. Slightly masked behind allusion and a player-piano aura, the song shatters spirits with its beauty. It also happens to be quite ominous.
John Talabot: Without You (reduced mix version)
After the success of 2012's critically acclaimed ƒIN, Spanish electronic musician John Talabot is beginning to release material from his upcoming 11 November release DJ Kicks. His first single from the anticipated record, "Without You" (reduced mix version) continues in the artist's style of layering and looping abstract samples on top of highly textured house drums and synths. Both upbeat and relaxing, it's easy to discern Talabot's Iberian influence in the meandering rhythm. For fans of Talabot (as well as his label mates on Young Turks Records) looking to ring in the New Year in style, check out the label's end of year bash taking place on the beaches of Tulum, Mexico.
Ace of Base: Living in Danger
Sweden's musical output to the world is a colored one, from the bleak and dark to the boisterously Eurovision-victorious and cheesy. This week's #PrivateJam comes from Selectism and HighSnobiety's Jeff Carvalho, who looks to the land of the midnight sun for his musical vice. Opting for '90s Europop icons Ace of Base's "Living in Danger," Carvahlo describes the song in its larger, influential role in pop music. "The reggae-infused bassline and Swedish vocals and production were precursors to the Scandinavian hit machines that brought us the very best from Britney Spears and others in the 2000s."
Beach Fossils: Generational Synthetic
Brooklyn's own Beach Fossils are keeping the lo-fi spirit alive with their latest release: A video for their February hit "Generational Synthetic." The final product is downright reminiscent of a Beach Fossils concert experience. The classic atmospheric vocals are paired with warped effects, color-tinted strobes, and the most VHS-level graininess we've seen in a while—but that's the charm. It's essentially the result of the boys running around town with a camcorder and, though it's tough to tell what you're looking at most of the time with all kinds of '80s rock-style overlays, nothing could be more Beach Fossils.
Cut Copy: Free Your Mind
The Australian masterminds of indietronica Cut Copy are following up their 2011 hit Zonoscope with Free Your Mind, out 5 November—and they were kind enough to make the entire album streamable a week before its release. The 14-track effort was recorded in their hometown of Melbourne and produced by band-member Dan Whitford. Both the album name and title track of "Free Your Mind" were influenced by the Summer of Love for a house-revival style mix of beats—some of which sooth inner-hippie hankerings and others that hold back nothing. As the album’s release notes, freedom—much like the mood of the entire album—is "universally positive and timeless."
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted about that week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's surprising personal interests—#PrivateJam exposes their musical guilty pleasure.