Tuesday Tracks: Your weekly new music discovery for Dec. 5

Alice Russell

Alice Russell, courtesy.

This week’s column features dreamy soft rock from Loving, bumping electronic rock from the Snuts, a melancholy examination of growing up by The Umbrellas, a soulful fusion of electro-pop and blues from Alice Russell, Bridget Kearney’s new quirky alternative track about how hard it can be to move on, BALTHVS’ psychedelic jam dedicated to their cat and Genesis Owusu’s powerful rap about survival.

Loving, “Medicine” — Loving made a sonic cure-all with new cleverly titled “Medicine.” The soft Beatles-like vocals over looping guitars, brushed drumming and hopping bass creates a happy, dreamlike atmosphere. It’s a song for getting lost in your head. Loving, the duo of Jesse Henderson and David Parry, says the song was inspired by a “friend’s recent psychedelic adventures.” With “Medicine,” given their friend the right prescription.

The Snuts, “Deep Diving” — The latest preview from the Snuts‘ upcoming album, Millennials, hits heavy and brings the energy. “Deep Diving” features an infectious beat paired with catchy lyrics. However, those lyrics paint a darker picture about mental health and the norm of suppressing the things that weigh heavy on our minds. “I’m deep diving drowning in my feels tonight/ Tomorrow I’ll be fighting trouble in the back of my mind,” Jack Cochrane sings. Still, for a song about our own fragility, it’s easy to dance to.

The Umbrellas, “Echoes” — This melancholy song is about accepting reality. Morgan Stanley describes it as, “watching dreams become an echo down the hall.” Somehow, the driving beat, keys and surf guitar makes it feel like it’s still all going to be OK. The chorus comes and reinforces the message. To me, this song isn’t so much about giving up on dreams but about growing up. Sometimes that means letting go of old dreams before looking ahead to something new. A band born in San Francisco, The Umbrellas will be playing at Cafe Du Nord with the Lemon Twigs on Dec. 11 and 12.

Alice Russell, “Rain” — “Why you always chasing your tail?” Alice Russell asks on her new single. This soulful track encourages you to stop chasing distractions and look inward. The smooth blues guitar lines working with her layered vocals creates a powerful sound that feels as if it’s saying something important. The slow churn doesn’t ever reach too high, but it builds effectively. Producer TM Juke, Russell’s longtime collaborator, did an excellent job using less to make the song feel like more. Together, they made this song feel like a long shower at the end of a hard day. By the end, you’ll feel refreshed.

Bridget Kearney, “Don’t Think About the Polar Bear” — Lake Street Dive bassist Bridget Kearney’s latest is a quirky song that addresses a problem almost everyone faces: not being able to stop thinking about an ex. Kearney enjoys blending emotions in music, and she’s done so again here. Her voice sounds almost happy and the song’s general mood is unusually positive. She may not be able to avoid the polar bear in the room, but is still able to express her appreciation for the good times they had. This song is of course powered by a strong bass line keeping the groove in tandem with some soft brass.

BALTHVS, “Anouk” — The second single off of Colombian trio BALTHVS’ new LP, due next March, “Anouk” is an uplifting jam designed for relaxing. It’s the type of song you’d want to hear as you fall asleep outside. BALTHVS dedicated it to their cat, “a sphinx-like guardian” watching over them as they created their album—and who may even have a little feature at the very end of this song. The drums, bass and guitar continuously layering on top of each other sucks you in. The psychedelic desert rock sound remind me a lot of Khruangbin.

Genesis Owusu, “Survivor” — Genesis Owusu uses chanting beats and gasping vocals to create a sense of urgency on “Survivor.” This beat is awesome and fills the whole song full of energy. The lyrics flow hard and fast. Even with the uneasiness, “Survivor” makes you want to get up and move.

Peter’s Pick: Alice Russell takes my pick of the week. Her soulful vocals and the smooth instrumentals locked me into this song from start. The way she takes you on an inward journey and leaves you feeling rejuvenated by the end is a feeling so many artists are striving for with their music, but so few are able to accomplish. “Rain” does that.

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