Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – July 2

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San Fermin, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, Ceremony, Hundredth, MONO/POLY, Jacques Greene, Cadence Weapon, Jake Clemons

Clockwise from top left: San Fermin’s Ellis Ludwig-Leone, Ceremony, Hundredth, MONO/POLY, Jacques Greene and Cadence Weapon, and Jake Clemons.

With so much music coming out at once, it’s easy to stick to what you know and avoid the intimidating ocean of tunes.

Daunted music lovers can count on RIFF to deep dive for you. Our weekly Tuesday Tracks series provides six cuts that caught our eye during the previous week.

I am personally a firm believer in the diversity of modern music, so my picks often span a large swath of musical landscape. From neo-classical noise music to gospel-influence avant-soul, this week’s list offers quite a lot to chew on.

Have fun with this week’s standout songs!

 

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Jake Clemons, “Democracy” — With the Fourth of July approaching, Jake Clemons revitalizes a ’90s classic for the modern political era. While this song is a Leonard Cohen cover, it’s clear Clemons wanted to reinterpret the song rather than simply play it. It has a more traditional rock arrangement to it, as apposed to the original’s foundation of military snare drum, and Clemons sings where Cohen took a spoken word approach. It’s an appropriate song to release leading up to America’s birthday, as the lyrics both cheer the good and bemoan the bad. Ultimately, it’s a song that hopes for the good to outweigh the bad. An empowered chorus and some flashy guitar strains round off this plea for America to prevail and improve.



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Jacques Greene featuring Cadence Weapon, “Night Service”  — Underground dance clubs seem like the last place to find God, and that’s what Jacques Greene and Cadence Weapon spotlight on their collaboration. Rhythmic nuance and reverbed synthscapes connect churches and clubs with an infectious, undeniably spiritual vibe. “Neon beams was flashin’/ The DJ played the rapture,” Weapon’s verses emphasize the out-of-body experience of raving. “Saturday Mass” is the perfect way for him to describe Greenes’ immersive, dynamic production. The beat maker is well aware of the connection between spirituals and bangers, and the results are unexpected and a lot of fun.

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Ceremony, “Turn Away The Bad Thing” — Though far from its power-violence roots, Ceremony’s new single has gotten no less impactful. These Californians balance the guttural fury of IDLES and Titus Andronicus with dreary, gloomy post-punk. The results are hooky, atmospheric and hard-hitting. There’s a solid half-time rhythm change at the song’s midsection, showing the band’s versatility and allowing its ambient side to shine. The song is solid punk rock at its core, going to show that you don’t need to record hyper-speed bursts of anger to do the ethos justice. Complete with provocative visuals and memorable leads, it’s quite amazing how well Ceremony has progressed.



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Hundredth, “Cauterize” — Speaking of changing styles, Hundredth has come a long way since coming up on the Warped-Tour-style melodic hardcore circuit. After a 2017 stint in shoegazey indie rock, the band now adopts something more akin to The Cure or New Order. The influence from post-punk and new wave on the driving groove, growling bass and reverbed vocals is clear on “Cauterize.” With the “mall-core” fad effectively dead, it makes sense for these guys to distance themselves from that approach. Luckily, they have the songwriting chops to take on this new direction.

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MONO/POLY, “When I’m Comin’ For Ya” — This L.A. dance music producer looks beyond the conventional, influenced by everything from acid-house to G-funk. This particular cut comes off like a mad scientist take on EDM trap. The massive half-time beat and huge sub-bass is there, but his synth tones make the song a lot more song-oriented than one might expect from the genre. Beyond his attention to detail when setting up his drops, there’s a willingness to nod to other styles while remaining palatable enough for those who just want a rave anthem.



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San Fermin, “The Hunger” — With vocal support from Samia, avant-pop collective San Fermin is clearly nowhere near finished turning heads. Though it plays in a way that should be familiar to most indie rock fans, the instrumentation has much more depth than one might realize on first listen. It serves Samia’s singing, which puts her folky, uninhibited approach against the song’s dynamic arrangement. It reflects the vibe of the music video in its disregard for inhibition. She just sings how she wants, and the fact it works so well against the nuanced arrangement is a testament to the band’s chemistry with the singer.

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Max’s Pick: While those who long for the band’s savage past will remain disappointed, there’s a distinct sense of anger and angst in Ceremony’s current approach. Ben Greenberg’s vocal performance is especially reminiscent of the hardcore punk traditions, but the instrumentation is much more tasteful. It could be argued that the echoing guitar strains and down-tempo interludes are the farthest thing from punk as a music genre, but as a way of viewing the world, this band still has things on lock.

Follow editor Max Heilman at Twitter.com/madmaxx1995 and Instagram.com/maxlikessound.

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