Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – March 5

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Wallet Chain

Wallet Chain

So much music, so little time. At least that’s what I hear from friends all too often.

Even with so many options to hear so much new music, how do you find it all? You could scour SXSW lineups, or CMJ New Music Monthly as I once did, but streaming platforms like Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Spotify have further saturated the amount of readily available music.

This is where RIFF steps in. We’re happy to find some of the best songs so you don’t have to.

Enjoy this week’s memorable tunes!

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Loyal, “Crave It Still” — The moment that the first note dropped from “Crave It Still,” I was sure that !!! had released a new song. I couldn’t have been more thrilled, but then learned it was not them, but Loyal. The Brighton, U.K. collective started out as a trio, but is now seven members strong. On “Crave It Still,” Loyal has added more ’70s disco- and funk-tinged pop, making it impossible not to dance to the pulsating four-on-the-floor beats. This song feels like Studio 54 reopened and the dance floor is suddenly packed to the thumping bass line and catchy pop tune. “It’s a stream of consciousness about craving nothing in particular,” the band said of the single. “Maybe a lost love, a drug, a partner you shouldn’t be with but can’t help going back to.”

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Maps, “Both Sides” — The most pleasant of surprises was discovering that artist Maps is still around. I haven’t heard much from English producer-composer-songwriter James Kenneth Chapman from since 2007 when he was playing New York clubs. His newest track, “Both Sides,” is a jangly spacey pop number infused with futuristic keyboards and pulsating drumming. He weaves his voice into the keys, enhancing the song’s electronic sound. The addition of brass and strings, courtesy of Brussels-based ensemble Echo Collective drives the song. It’s a gorgeous sonic trip to the galaxy.

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Battle Tapes, “Weight of the World” — If we started with the discotheque, it only makes sense to break out the glow-sticks for a ’90s rave. Battle Tapes come from Los Angeles, and their brooding darkwave and electro-industrial flavors have made them a buzz-worthy act. The band drives into the chorus of “Weight of the World” with the lines, “Deliver me from all the needs/ Those bitter words that taste so sweet/ Delusional until we fold/ Buried under the weight of the world.” The song maintains a lighter touch despite the despondent lyrics. The midpoint break of the song yanks you out of more pleasant tones with increasingly harder and heavier arrangements.

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Chain Wallet, “What Everybody Else Could Find” — Bergen continues to be a hotbed for music in Norway, with “Bergen wave” artists like Sondre Lerche and Kings of Convenience. Chain Wallet continues this tradition of beautiful dreamy indie-pop. The opening lush guitar of “What Everybody Else Could Find” immediately pulls the track into dreary bliss. It’s the perfect song for a rainy day—melancholic, yet full of hope. Subtle, catchy bass lines lay over synths with the soft vocals. “Can’t go back to where I was/ What everybody else could find” repeats, moving the music into a subconscious feel. The song is gorgeous, dreamy, hazy and drifts into another world.

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Banners, “Got It In You” — This song had already debuted on TV and upon first hearing it I thought it was perfect for A Million Little Things. Banners is the stage name for Michael Joseph Nelson. This acoustic number with just him and a piano is a slow-burner that builds into an anthem. The lyrics are haunting yet artful: “When the lights go out and leave you standing in the dark/ No one ever told you this would be so hard/ I know you think your fire is burning out/ But I still see it shining through/ You got it in you.” Like Keane and Coldplay, Nelson creates a massive ballad that one would expect to see live with everyone singing along.

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K.Flay, “Bad Vibes” — Kristine Flaherty, better known as K.Flay, is a gritty rapper-singer-songwriter-producer who has been covered by RIFF since the beginning. If it’s not yet in the clubs, it will be, urging bumping and grinding. The song stands out with the witty bars like, “You think it’s hot to be sad but it’s not/ You’re an ex-prom queen slipping stones in your Docs.” “Bad Vibes” has incredibly catchy pop hooks and a memorable hook to contrast with its hard beat. It’s hard not to envision everyone will soon be chanting this pop-rap banger: “You give me bad vibes/ Bad times, bad nights with you.”

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Rachel’s Pick: It’s not often that I have to make a choice for “best.” Naturally, I couldn’t come up with one. First, a big shout-out to Loyal, who has to be one of the catchiest bands in its style. If ever there was a time I wanted to just get up break out ’70s dance moves, this was that moment. Ultimately, my pick was Chain Wallet, as I have a soft spot for jangly indie pop tunes with a hint of sadness to them. I’m writing this on a rainy day and Chain Wallet is a band that feels like home to me. “What Everybody Else Could Find” is a song that I want to hear over and over again. It’s melancholy yet upbeat and danceable. The song is pop-friendly enough to bring a smile to your face in the midst of its gloomy undercurrent.

Follow writer Rachel Goodman at Twitter.com/xneverwherex and Instagram.com/xneverwherex.

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