Nashville's Hotel War, Lianne La Havas for Converse and a classic '80s #PrivateJam in our look at music this week
Lianne La Havas: Twice (Little Dragon cover)
South London songstress Lianne La Havas is known for heartfelt songwriting as much as her soulful voice, but it turns out she can breathe new life into other artists' work too—as evidenced by her cover of Swedish electropop outfit Little Dragon's "Twice." With just a bassist accompanying La Havas' rich but mellow voice, there is a certain intimacy that makes it difficult to look away or stop listening. Keeping in step with the original's downtempo vibe, La Havas brings her own soul-inspired folk twist. Catch La Havas live for an acoustic set at Converse's upcoming #GetWinterized gig in London on 30 November. Best of all, tickets are given out for free by random drawing.
She Keeps Bees: Retrograde
Brooklyn-based duo Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant—better known as the musical act She Keeps Bees—debuted "Retrograde" this week, a new track from a forthcoming full-length album produced by Nicolas Vernhes (who also worked on Deerhunter's recent Monomania album) and featuring guest vocals from Sharon Van Etten. The pair tells us of their impending fourth album, "Stylistically this album feels different and holds a more mature frame around the songs." And, like Mercury, it's obvious with "Retrograde" that She Keeps Bees is a band on the rise.
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam: I Wonder If I Take You Home
With a throwback to some seriously funky '80s R&B, "I Wonder If I Take You Home" is this week's #PrivateJam from Meyhem Lauren. "I chose this song because it's one of the best songs ever, you just wouldn't expect me to listen to it regularly," explains the Queens rapper extraordinaire and member of Smart Crew (with Action Bronson). The incredibly smooth track, with its sexy but thoughtful lyrics, is definitely a testament to the times and has been sampled time and time again by the likes of The Black Eyed Peas and Kylie Minogue.
Angel Olsen: Forgiven/Forgotten
Missouri native and Chicago adoptee Angel Olsen has been on our radar since performing at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival. "Forgiven/Forgotten," her first single off her upcoming album Burn Your Fire For No Witness (slated for February 2014 release) is a serious departure from her previous mostly acoustic album Half Way Home, which featured beautiful, stripped down folk songs. Now that Olsen has proven that her voice—with its uniquely emotional quaver—is strong in its raw state, she's experimenting with vocal filters, distortion and an overall rougher sound in "Forgiven/Forgotten." The essence, however, is still Angel Olsen.
Hotel War: Get Up
Sometimes, the best music comes in the purest form. In this case it's Nashville's latest band to watch—Dayton, Ohio natives Hotel War—who are pure, dyed in the wool, no nonsense rockers. Opting for bluesy guitar riffs, hard-hitting drum solos, distorted bass lines and whiskey-drenched vocals, Hotel War are at once a contemporary culmination of various rock influences as well as a textbook definition of American rock music. Keep an eye out for these Southern-via-Midwest rockers as they embark on a US tour in support of their upcoming full-length record.
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.