Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – May 22

Every week, there’s a plethora of new music at our fingertips.

Artists on platforms such as Spotify and Bandcamp are plentiful, and the radio offers a steady deluge of new singles, but who has time to sort through all that? RIFF does!

We pooled our resources to find some of the best new singles from all genres and backgrounds, so you can find your newest earworm without all the drama. Enjoy this week’s hidden gems:


Phil Cook, “Another Mother’s Son” – In the wake of the Texas high school shooting on May 18, the sentimental lyrics and raw emotions expressed in this song couldn’t be more relevant. “And another one is gone/ And another mother’s son is gone away,” Cook sings, humanizing the daunting experience of loss by gun violence. In a news release, Cook explained how Black Lives Matter is the rallying cause behind the song. “Mothers teach their sons that what they say around cops, or how they subtly shift their body language, could be the difference between life and death,” he said. “They can do just about everything to prepare them and still there’s never a guarantee, no life preserver for living in a country that sanctions violence against black people.” Cook delivers these sentiments with the softness of a single guitar. The gradual addition of other instruments builds up to a powerful choir at the end. Cook’s album PEOPLE ARE MY DRUG is out June 1.


RALPH featuring TOBi, “Girl Next Door” – Both hailing from Toronto, pop singer RALPH and MC TOBi team up to deliver a smooth alt-R&B song. The track opens up with a semi-tropical flare, and RALPH’s crisp vocals takes hold of all attention. “Change is gonna come/ But you better believe/ I’m still the girl next door,” RALPH sings, in attempts to assure her friends that success won’t change her and that they’ll be the ones to keep her grounded. TOBi’s anecdotal verse stays on topic and adds the perfect dose of coolness to the song.


Fantastic Negrito, “Duffler” – Fantastic Negrito (Oakland artist Xavier Dphrepaulezz) released a groovy and funky blues track that starts off rather spookily. Reminiscent of the sound and feel of Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!” album, “Duffler” stirs together haunting and scary emotions with the smooth and suave effects of the electric guitar. As a follow-up to his last single, “Plastic Hamburgers,” this track propels the former rebellious call to revolution, where Negrito comments on the sad state of American society. You can catch Fantastic Negrito at the Fillmore on June 15, which is also the release date of his new album, Please Don’t Be Dead.


Dear Nora, “Simulation Feels” – Dear Nora (Katy Davidson) released a smooth, laid back track where the artist contemplates the impact technology has on people. At just roughly two minutes long, the song will likely garner a press on replay. Davidson is gentle with the vocals, and even the percussion and rhythm follows without hurry. This allows listeners to relax and ease into the perspective Dear Nora offers. Dear Nora’s Skulls Example is out May 25.


Jesse Saint John, “Fake It” — What starts off as a high-energy dance pop song takes an unexpected slow-down when Jesse Saint John plays with the effects of Auto-Tune. It’s intimate and passionate, but also sad. “Going through the motion of emotion/ Fake it until we feel it,” the artist sings. The lyrics hit the psyche alongside the infectious layers of synths.


Tarandeep’s Pick – I appreciate the thoughtfulness Phil Cook brings with “Another Mother’s Son.” I think it’s such a timely song given America’s ongoing gun violence, from mass shootings to the slaughter of black Americans by police officers. Of course, people have been discussing this issue for a long time, most recently after the release of Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video earlier this month. Diverse representation on this issue matters, and here, Cook offers a roots and gospel-infused song that focuses on the heartache felt by families of the fallen, and calls for “No More Bodies!”

Follow writer Tarandeep Kaur at Twitter.com/Tarandeep8 and Instagram.com/tokyotara.

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