Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – June 11, 2019

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Kidsmoke, Yokosawa Shunichiro, Stonefield, Dollyrots, Bad Books, Fruit Bats, Deanna Petcoff

Clockwise from top left: Kidsmoke, Yokosawa Shunichiro, Stonefield, Dollyrots, Bad Books, Fruit Bats and Deanna Petcoff.

Summer is finally here. The weather is beautiful and San Francisco is getting sunshine. Which really means, who on earth has time to sit at home and check out new music? That playlist you were hoping to make with new tracks is no doubt on hold. Thanks to RIFF, now you don’t have to stay indoors mulling through the summer bangers. We’re happy to bring you some great new songs in this weekly segment.

Here’s to some good listening to start your week off right.

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Fruit Bats, “Ocean” —  “Ocean” is the perfect song for a road trip, perfect for a drive down Highway 1 with the top off and the Pacific Ocean in your sights. Singer-songwriter Eric D. Johnson’s vocals have a light, airy feel that recalls ’70s folk artists like John Denver. He tells vivid stories that you can easily visualize, evoking blissful feelings of nostalgia. “This is a song about late bloomers, late discoveries, adult baptism, coming-of-age when you’re way past the right time to do that,” the artist said in a news release. “About growing, I guess.”



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Yokosawa Shunichiro, “This Kind of Story” — It’s hard to believe this album was written in a Tokyo apartment on a laptop. From the opening notes, I was swept into a French film and reminded of Serge Gainsbourg. This song is a cinematic revelation beginning with disco and quickly turning into a lounge-like act. “This Kind of Story” is pure bubblegum pop music made to get people dancing in record time. Before you can write the song off as wallpaper, it flips itself into a prog jam. Shunichiro clearly won’t be getting himself pigeonholed into any singular genre.

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Kidsmoke, “She Takes You Under” — Kidsmoke, a North Wales quartet, is already making a name for itself with a track on a Black Mirror episode and performing at SXSW. “She Takes You Under” is dream-pop bliss with hints of shoegaze, as well as sunny and fuzzy hooks and layered guitars. During the jangly, chorus lead singer Lance Williams sings, “Falling, I’m falling apart, falling, I’m falling apart/ She takes you under.” It’s impossible not to get swept up in this indie pop song.

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Stonefield, “Dead Alive” — Crunchy, fuzzy guitars open this gritty number. The guitars have a sludge-like, gravelly sound that these four Australian psych-rock sisters have crafted to perfection. Lead singer and drummer Amy Findlay’s warm vocals are a soft counterpoint to the riffs. As she sings the song’s title over the heavy tones, her voice grows alongside the wall of sound. The swells of the guitars continues as the melody swims in and out. The song grows more trippy and more experimental. It’s no surprise Stonefield is opening for fellow Aussie psych-rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on their tour this summer.



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Deanna Petcoff, “Stage Lights” — Following the breakup of her band formed in Girl’s Rock camp in Toronto, Petcoff went out on her own. Crediting Joan Jett and Patti Smith as influences, she clearly wears them on her sleeve. The shimmering guitars blend seamlessly into her vocals. Instrumentally, “Stage Lights” is a toe-tapping, infectious bop, but the lyrics are angsty and melancholic. “You were flying so low/ ‘Cause you never wanted to be seen/ Stage lights and staged nights/ But I am left alone now/ Midnights internal fights/ I’ve gotta watch you go now/ Oh I’m always left alone now,” she sings.

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Bad Books, “UFO” — It has been six years since Bad Books last performed. Andy Hull, Robert McDowell (of Manchester Orchestra) and Kevin Devine described their new music as “Simon & Garfunkel in space” in a news release. “UFO” is sparse yet expansive. The song’s gorgeous layers boil down to simple melodic harmonies. Much like John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, Bad Books tell a complete story—in this case one of space, loss and longing. “UFO” is haunting and chilling, both visually and musically. As Hull’s voice and lyrics create a visceral emotion: “There is nothing in your eyes/ There is nothing in the wind … I’m a million years away/ You’re another million more/ So we count the days until until they just don’t need us anymore/ What an empty gorgeous place.”

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The Dollyrots, “In Your Face” — This L.A. pop-punk duo pack a husband and wife punch. “In Your Face” lives up to its name. Its hard-hitting grittiness brings a garage rock undercurrent to a pop-punk vibe. Singer Kelly Ogden’s vocals are sweet and soft yet by the anthemic chorus, she is loud and sassy. Not surprisingly, the band is joining up on Vans Warped Tour reunion shows this summer. The Dollyrots will fit right in, and everyone will be singing along in no time to this catchy chorus: “So who cares/ I don’t anymore/ I’m not gonna be running scared/ I’ve got things I wanna say/ I will do it like I can/ Right in your face.”



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Rachel’s Pick: There is nothing like being transported to another place by a piece of music, especially if that place resembles a French film. Yokosawa Shunichiro is weirdly charming and totally addictive. I want to be in his world in any way possible. I don’t have a clue what he is singing about, but his voice has an undeniable cheeriness. And if it’s not as happy as it sounds, I’m still adding to “this kind of story” to my own story. It’s a song that makes me want to sing and dance in my own world, and that makes it a truly remarkable tune.

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

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