Jose Gonzalez: Stay Alive
Gothenburg, Sweden's Jose Gonzalez is known for his comforting vocals and stripped-down acoustic sets that buzz with energy. It's been a few years since Gonzalez released new solo material, so we were happy to see his latest release "Stay Alive" pop up on the internet as part of the soundtrack for Ben Stiller's new film, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." While the new tune's production features a more finessed production than previous work, the track still boasts Gonzalez' trademark, soft-spoken voice at the forefront of its calmly uplifting melody— just the kind of harmonious respite needed on a cold winter day.
Matthew Dear: Pale Shelter (feat. Tegan and Sara)
British rock duo Tears For Fears haven't released an album since their 2004 reunion for Everybody Loves A Happy Ending but they have offered some pretty epic covers of younger artists like Arcade Fire and Animal Collective, showing that New Wave is still elegant and relevant. Matthew Dear and Tegan and Sara return the favor by reinterpreting the band's 1983 single "Pale Shelter" into a six-minute, modern day, slower-tempo groove. As Matthew Dear conducts a rain of descending synth arpeggios, Tegan and Sara capture the dignified angst of the original song with their vocals. It's a sonic teaser for the Tears For Fears album that's scheduled for release in 2014.
Hi-Five: Never Should've Let You Go
For this week's #PrivateJam we checked in with the unabashed Buzzfeed creative and Sorry Mom founder Alix McAlpine, who told us, "My musical taste is generally embarrassing more often than not—my guilty pleasure right is Ariana Grande! Especially this one Christmas song she has, 'Snow In California.' I am so lame. I also still listen to this one song, 'Never Should've Let You Go,' from the Sister Act 2 soundtrack, by an R&B group called Hi-Five. I found out a few months ago that the lead singer died from huffing air conditioning coolant in 2007 and the song just really bums me out now."
Christian Tiger School + Bilal + World's Fair: Spanish Robin Williams
As part of Okayplayer's ongoing collaboration series that brings divergent musicians together for one-off tracks, South African hip-hop production team Christian Tiger School traveled to Brooklyn to lay down "Spanish Robin Williams," an unexpected, eclectic banger with New York MCs World's Fair and neo-jazz trailblazer Bilal. Something of a musical buffet, à la the UN's cafeteria, the track mixes genres and styles seamlessly—the tripped out hip-hop house production is perfectly complimented by World's Fair's thinking-person verses while Bilal throws in just enough soul in the bridge.
Gavin Lucas: Outline Zone #1
CH's London-based contributor and DJ extraordinaire Gavin Lucas—aka G the P—has been quietly creating a variety of eclectic mixes for several years, stemming from his days spinning 45s at the Boogaloo's old-school dance party, Gerry's Joint. Always one to add a creative touch, he recently teamed up with Outline Artists for a series of streamable mixes featuring album art by one of the boutique agency's talented artists. A steady mix of deep cuts and obscure tracks, "Outline Zone #1," with artwork by Andreas Neophytou is as pleasurable through a pair of headphones as you finish up 2013 as it will be over a booming sound system at holiday parties.
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.