It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music on the internet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love how platforms like YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud have opened the floodgates of independent artists. But navigating the flood is easier said than done.
That’s where RIFF steps in. We do the heavy lifting for you, scouring the sea of sound with ears perked for choice listens.
Enjoy this week’s memorable tunes!
Idan Raichel and Danay Suarez, “La Eternidad Que Se Perdió (The Eternity That Was Lost)” — Israeli songwriter Idan Raichel teams up with Grammy-nominated Cuban singer Danay Suarez on this spirited call for open-mindedness in the midst of bigoted dogma. Alongside singers Ernesto Bacallao Serrano and Juan Alfredo Hurtado Valero of the legendary Cuban band Orquesta Aragón, the musicians blur cultural boundaries with clave rhythms, blaring brass and modern production. The song becomes a rallying cry for those fighting for a more tolerant, loving world as Suarez sings, “Wisdom was not born out of an algorithm or conflict/ No religious doctrine or flag can suppress that voice/ It rises without borders/ It inspires the masses who desire the eternity that was lost.” Whether you understand Spanish or not, the sentiment is hard to ignore.
FOODMAN, “Moyashi Kids” — This Japanese experimental producer is no stranger to subverting normality, and “Moyashi Kids” proves his upcoming EP won’t be jumping the crazy train any time soon. Hints at house music and lo-fi hip-hop are certainly present here, but it’s fed though FOODMAN’s total disregard for anything resembling mainstream trends. And yet, the strange noises and minimalist rhythm do add up to a compellingly hypnotic soundscape. It’s not the thing you’d want to play to get clubs bumping, but it’s fun to speculate whether FOODMAN’s music will join the likes of Arca and Sophie in the party playlists of 2099.
Baroness, “Borderlines” — As one of the mainstream breakouts from the sludge metal movement, Baroness has managed to avoid dad rock tropes with a proggier sound. No, this doesn’t mean squeaky-clean performances—this song is sludgy as hell. The guitar tone and overall production brings Black Sabbath’s more aggressive material to mind, but the leads recall the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The band’s gang vocals are as barbaric as they are melodic, just as the song’s arrangement remains technical, yet gritty. The raw agression, tight execution and catchy vocals prepare these sludge metal ruffians to get over with Deafheaven’s crowd.
Petrol Girls, “The Sound” — On the first track from its upcoming LP, Cut & Stitch, U.K. feminist hardcore quartet Petrol Girls sets the tone for an experimental, emotive and conscious album. “The Sound” begins with a spoken-word rumination on how sound effects us like nothing else, before a pounding D-beat, feral screams and chaotic riffage gallop out the gate. “This is the sound, take it/ Make your own noise/ Disseminate,” vocalist Ren Aldridge snarls over the mayhem. It’s a fitting opening statement for a radical band who sees its exhilarating musicianship as a tool to spread a potent message.
Beoga featuring Devin Dawson, “Matthew’s Daughter” — The idea of a “new wave trad” band writing a song with Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid might be enough to nauseate the music-obsessed cynic, but Ireland’s Beoga manages to coral the schmaltz with memorable aesthetics. The band’s Celtic roots commingle with feel-good heartland rock as West Coast singer Devin Dawson’s warm voice perfectly marches the dynamic’s rises and falls. “Matthew’s Daughter” combines a relatable story of acceptance and redemption with layered melodies and homey singing for the perfect addition to a hipster’s wedding slideshow.
Monti, “Twisted Feet” — L.A. band Monti brings more songwriting chops than chart-toppers like Joji even hint at. The title track to a five-song EP,
“Twisted Feet” evolves from somber piano, clattering backbeat and frontman Josh Catalan’s silky vocal timbre into seismic trap production complete with clipped bass. The contrast between punchy beats and ambient texture mirrors the power and nuance in the song’s lyrical themes. The religious imagery at play in this song could send theologians back to their texts, exploring themes of the humanity’s pursuit of God in spite of imperfection. Perhaps the best part about Monti is the fact you don’t have to label it “Christian” for it to work. “Twisted Feet” works incredibly well as an ethereal, thoughtful and multifaceted hip-hop song, topped off by harmonious singing.
Max’s Pick: It’s always interesting when an obscure band comes out of the woodwork essentially doing what everyone likes at the moment—but better. That’s the vibe I get from Monti’s new material. “Twisted Feet” takes elements of emo-trap and downtempo indietronica, but bypasses faux-depth in favor of mature arrangements and haunting lyrics. The amount of attention Catalan and company pay to minutia launches this song head and shoulders above a sea of similar artists, centering their sound on something much deeper than intense beats and romantic clichés.