What Are You Listening To? is a weekly run-down of what A.V. Club staffers are streaming. Listen to these songs and more on our Spotify playlist, updated weekly with new stuff.
Roísín Murphy, Plaything/Like
I was way late to Roísín Murphy, but it’s not entirely my fault. I was still too young to make informed decisions about music when the Irish singer was making her name with trip-hop duo Moloko in the ’90s, and though the intervening decades have seen her evolve into something of an electro-pop icon, she remains criminally underrated and underreported. A couple of years ago when I stumbled upon the video for “Ten Miles High,” the second single from Take Her Up To Monto, I didn’t know anything about her—I just knew her sound and swagger made me want to hit “repeat” at the end. (Then Take Her Up became one of my favorite albums of 2016.) Which is to say that I’m glad Murphy is back this year, quietly owning 2018 without even releasing a full-length album of her own. Not only did she feature on two cuts from DJ Koze’s Knock Knock, an A.V. Club favorite, back in the spring, but since May she’s been releasing a four-part series of EPs made with house producer Maurice Fulton. My favorite so far is Plaything/Like, with its gigantic ’90s grooves, but both reveal an inspired collaboration. And there’s still more to come! [Kelsey J. Waite]
Hermit And The Recluse, “Hades”
Ka is a front-runner for the coveted title of “most slept-on rapper working,” a grizzled and poetic stylist quietly plying his trade for years. A Ka record is instantly recognizable—swirling, gloomy film samples, his metered growl casting his life in sweeping, mythic terms—a quality which has tended to make all of them feel vaguely interchangeable. The new full-length collaboration with producer Animoss (as Hermit And The Recluse) is no different, but, like all of them, it still feels instantly essential; when you listen to Ka, you wonder why you ever listen to anything else. The biggest change here is the framework: rather than casting himself as a samurai wandering through the rubble of Shaolin, Orpheus Vs. The Sirens takes inspiration from Greek myth. Start, maybe, with “Hades,” all dream-sequence synthesizers and rapturous lyricism. At the very least, it has drums. [Clayton Purdom]