Indoor dining and other business is finally opening up in California. The vaccine is here, and much like getting concert tix to the hottest show, the vaccination is the hottest ticket! Yet, somehow, I’m still stuck inside like most of us. Anyway… The aching earnestness of Cale Tyson, the pop bop of Ralph, rustic rawness of Fences and disco-infused beats of Sam Gellaitry, as well as fantastic tracks by The Foreign Films, Kulick and Almost Monday, make up this week’s installment of Tuesday Tracks.
RALPH, “Tommy” — Move over, Dua Lipa! Same to you Ari! We’ve got a “new” (to you, this is her third spin through Tuesday Tracks) pop princess in town. For those of us who have not heard of Ralph, “Tommy” is an awesome treat. I’m not sure which is more catchy, the infectious bop that will have you dancing, or the Sofia-Coppola-inspired Marie Antoinette video. The song is bubblegum pop friendliness and will be stuck in your head for days. I guarantee you’ll want to get your hair done and join in on the fun.
Fences, “Fake Snow” — “Fake Snow” is rustic, folky and achingly, emotionally beautiful. The weight of this song pours out from Christopher Mansfield. He excels in the expressiveness of his words. You can feel the spirituality and torment as he sings. Guitars bring a lightness to the song, yet the harmonies of Mansfield and vocalist Lindsey Starr are heart-wrenching. The simplicity is beautiful.
Mansfield says of the song, “In this way perhaps the song is me cursing out this vague heavy energy I felt rejected by at times. All the same, I’m also apologizing because we can never truly hate our father because then we would hate ourselves.”
Sam Gellaitry, “Duo” — Scotland’s Sam Gellaitry’s foray into electronic dance music initially began as a producer. He was influenced by the likes of Daft Punk, and you could easily expect to hear “Duo” in the French house clubs. Oddly enough, this is Gellaitry’s first song on which he sings. Hopefully it’s not his last. Disco beats, high falsettos and funky loops, this song has got them all. The video is trippy and feels like it’s moving at warp speed, yet somehow contains the frenetic energy. Too bad the song is only two minutes short, because it’s over far too soon, leaving me wanting more!
Cale Tyson, “Alone” — This alt-Americana song is not as twangy as one might expect from the first shot of the video. “Alone” has an Elliott Smith vibe, with an earnestness to Tyson’s lyrics. He wears his heart on his sleeve but this ballad tugs at your head more than your heart. The song has a way of planting seeds of doubt in your mind as Tyson sings, “I don’t think you’re alone.” Yet, the simplicity of the guitars, drums and vocals gives off an intimacy. Perhaps, this is not the best song to listen to during COVID!
“It’s about being convinced that your lover (or ex-lover) is seeing someone else and how that can potentially mess with your head,” Tyson said of the song. “To me, it kind of has that character-slowly-going-insane-
Kulick, “Just Be Friends” — This song might be the perfect complement to Cale Tyson’s “Alone.” “Just Be Friends” is an emotional ballad about the end of a relationship. Kulick has a yearning to his voice that draws you into the song. Stripped down with an acoustic guitar, it has an angsty draw along with a beautiful melody. But it’s the hook that really sticks with you—and not in a catchy way. It haunts you. Kulick captures the end of a relationship perfectly, putting together words that many of us are unable to articulate.
almost monday, “hailey beebs” — Full disclosure: With a title like “Hailey beebs,” I so wanted to hate this. Alas, I didn’t. San Diego alt-pop trio almost monday starts with a down-tempo beachy vibe before coming alive. As lead singer Dawson Daugherty sings, “I’m alive with you,” it bursts into a full-blown pop ballad. The band oozes energy as glimmering keys join the fold. There is a brightness and happiness that feels like summer has hit us. There’s a sunny bubblegum pop song buried deep inside this ballad.
The Foreign Films, “The Fortune Teller (Pretty in The City)” — This song is exactly how I envision an amusement park coming to life in the ’60s. There are psychedelic flashes and groovier guitars. It’s easy to picture the flowers in your hair and the laidback times through the Infectious hooks and a delightful chorus. Still, the song by Hamilton, Ontario artist Bill Majoros, doesn’t feel dated.
Rachel’s Pick: If therapy was ever more needed, perhaps I’d just lock myself into a room and play a few of these songs on repeat. It might not be the cure, but on 4/20 it might be an alternative to the alternative. These songs are therapy onto themselves.
Between Fences, Cale Tyson and Kulick, I feel like there’s no wrong choice here. Those three songs stuck with me from the moment I heard the lyrics. And while Cale Tyson writes about a lover (ex or not), the lyrics also really stuck with me due to the current situation. There are moments when you’re at home “Alone” for far too long and your mind starts to play tricks on you. The video is haunting and sad, yet there is no looking away.