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MRCY leads the week’s best new music from ‘What’s All This?’

Kojo Degraft-Johnson and Barney Lister of the U.K. duo MRCY.
Kojo Degraft-Johnson and Barney Lister of the U.K. duo MRCY.

Every Monday, 88Nine music director Erin Wolf shares a sonic gem she found using her nearly 20 years of new-music exploration experience. You can hear all her discoveries at 2 p.m. every Sunday on What’s All This: Adventures in New Music

Soulful London-adjacent duo MRCY are vocalist Kojo Degraft-Johnson and producer Barney Lister. After pursuing music separately, the pair connected toward the end of lockdown and on May 10 debuted VOLUME 1 on Dead Oceans Records. The album shows off Lister’s production skills, as well as Degraft-Johnson’s ability to distill emotions and offer them up as a balm — a prime example being the track “Flowers in Mourning.”

This beautiful dedication to Degraft-Johnson’s late grandmother details the wakeful memories that followed in the long days after she passed. “Flowers in Mourning” flies into fantastical realms, evoking psychedelic sounds of the ’70s and modern futuristic production, wrapping the song’s nucleus of vocals and percussion in a hazy blanket of sound.

Degraft-Johnson shared: “'The opening voice is my mum singing a song that my grandmother wrote for my family as a kind of fun nursery rhyme to sing to the kids. My grandmother is no longer with us, and when I think about her I feel a mix of joy and sadness. [This song] is about the loss of things that kept you at peace.”

You can listen to “Flowers in Mourning” below and check out all the latest songs I'm into on What’s All This at 2 p.m. Sundays on 88Nine, as well as the show’s Spotify playlist.

Episode playlist

  • Ducks Ltd., “When You’re Outside (ft. Julia Steiner of Ratboys and Margaret Margaret McCarthy of Moontype)”
  • Illuminati Hotties, “Can’t Be Still”
  • Quivers, “Apparition”
  • Mdou Moctar, “Imajighen”
  • Bartees Strange, “Big Glow”
  • MRCY, “Flowers in Mourning”
  • Jon McKiel, “Hex”
  • HINDS, “Boom Boom Back (ft. Beck)”
  • Superfan, “Twilight Living”
  • Bibi Club, “La terre”
  • Memorial, “Guardian (ft. Lomelda)”
  • Sloppy Jane, Phoebe Bridgers, “Claw Machine”
88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee