5 Songs to Hear This Week: Björk, Blood Orange, Gabriels

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Otoboke Beaver, Björk, and Gabriels. Photos by Jumpei Yamada, Viðar Logi, and Amelia Troubridge

Hey! Did you know that there’s an entire aspect of KCRW music discovery that you might be missing out on? Fear not, because our 5 Songs to Hear This Week newsletter is now a weekly feature on our website. Watch this space for rundowns of the five songs that you need in your life immediately, curated by KCRW Music staff. Don’t want to wait for your latest taste of fresh tunes? Sign up for the Friday newsletter here, and always be the first to know.

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our current obsessions, including 5 Songs to Hear This Week, Bent By Nature: Deirdre O'Donoghue and The Lost SNAP Archives (The Music), and our weekly sampler of KCRW’s Top 30 most played records

Björk – “Atopos”

Raise your hand if you were lucky enough to see Björk live at the Shrine back in January — yeah, we’ll never be the same either. On this track — so fresh and dewy that it smells of petrichor — the singer, innovator, and consummate artist peers out from inside a series of elaborate headpieces and implores us to connect. Featuring recontextualized winds and horns, percussion to shatter the status quo, and Bjork’s signature vocal abandon, this tune is a challenge in the very best way.

Hercules & Love Affair & ANOHNI – “One” 

Better find some pearls to clutch… “One” ain’t for Sunday school. Choral harmonies, pretty piano, and resounding synth chords gather ‘round a hypnotic beat. Together they form a foundation worthy of ANOHNI’s deeply confessional lyrics on a head-turning track from scene-defining nu-disco project Hercules & Love Affair. With strongly referential religious imagery, this powerful single and its artists’-statement music video evoke themes of renewal, evolution, and reclamation of self. 

Blood Orange – “Jesus Freak Lighter”

It’s been a pandemic minute since we got new music from Dev Hynes, a.k.a. Blood Orange, the UK producer and vocalist who brings a Prince-ly hue to the pool of light where electronica meets R&B under a street lamp at midnight. With gleaming guitar work, tunnel-length echo, and a studio-jam video visualizer, this latest creation is thick with purpose, arresting and fully realized. If you need to feel something, “Jesus Freak Lighter” can provide.

Otoboke Beaver – “i am not maternal”  

Did you miss the debut from Kyoto punk outfit Otoboke Beaver back in March? No worries, it’s been waiting for you, and it’s still loud as hell. Musically demanding, relentlessly full-throttle, and loaded with fuck-you energy despite the appearance of kawaii, this punk gem is here to help you unload all your Millennial guilt about not giving your parents grandchildren to fawn over in their old age. Procreation is a choice!

Gabriels – “Angels & Queens” 

If you’ve been hanging around here for juuust more than a little while, you’ve heard Gabriels all over our airwaves. Rich, resonant, and featured significantly by nearly every one of our varied slate of DJs, the trio are hometown heroes. They debuted straight from these LA streets (or studios) within the past few years and earned serious forever-cred as KCRW’s Best Breakthrough Artist. This new single is essential listening for a moment sick from heatstroke and cynicism. Click play to experience musical rapture.