Now Hear This is a daily dive into the standout songs of the day. Today, Dev Hynes' new LP is a gorgeous, heartbreaking memoir, Vic Mensa rallies for LGBT rights, and Baby Cages become forces of nature.
Blood Orange, Freetown Sound
Dev Hynes' follow-up to 2013's Cupid Deluxe wasn't supposed to arrive yet, but he's granted us an early gift. It's named after Freetown, Sierra Leone, where Hynes father was born.
"I have just finished making an album about my life, my upbringing, being black in England, being black in America… my movement to this country at the age of 21," he says in the press release, "the same age that my mother moved from Guyana to London, and my father from Sierra Leone to London."
As its narrative traces a cartography of identity and experience, Hynes — one of the biggest influence on pop music today — charts a musical pathway through new wave, Afrobeat, Jacksonian soul and retro-tone disco. His map marker never rests.
Blood Orange's Freetown Sound is out now digitally. Physical copies can be pre-ordered here.
Vic Mensa ft. Le1f, Halsey, Lil B, Malik Yusef, "Free Love"
In honour of Pride Month, Chicago rapper Vic Mensa dropped a loosie Sunday rallying for LGBT rights alongside an impressive collection of collaborators. In an accompanying tweet, Mensa says he's always been a supporter, but he wasn't vocal because it didn't feel like his fight. He's come to realize, though, that "as a creature of love, the battles of all people fighting to love are also mine."
— still alive (@VicMensa) June 26, 2016
The song comes just a couple weeks after Kid Cudi challenged hip-hop to be better supporters of LGBTQ communities.
BABY CAGES, "Gold"
Toronto and Halifax goth pop doom-hailers BABY CAGES deliver a live performance of "Gold" off their forthcoming album, shot and edited by Basement Studio's Heather Rappard & Natalie Logan. Its guitars and spectral noise pull in and out like waves against Halloway Jones' formidable voice, the weighty cliff by which some pass by gracefully and others might wreck.
Baby Cages are performing at Noise Against Sexual Assault on July 10, an event creating awareness about sexual assault and harassment in the local music industry and promoting a safer, healthier scene for all.