Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Feb. 4

Leslie Mendelson, Kevin Garrett, Kinley Dowling, Cheerleader, Nora Jane Struthers, Cobi

Clockwise from top left: Leslie Mendelson, Kevin Garrett, Kinley Dowling, Cheerleader, Nora Jane Struthers and Cobi.

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

Artists on platforms like 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.


KINLEY, “Washington” — In honor of hundreds of the thousands who marched throughout the nation in support of women’s rights last month, KINLEY presents this soft rock piece to inspire women all over the world to fight for their dreams. Kinley Dowling uses her delicate vocals as an instrument of uplifting encouragement while Aaron Comeau lines the track with electric guitar riffs and the percussion creates a “marching” atmosphere. The track’s name is inspired by march for suffrage in Washington in 1913.


Cheerleader, “Things We Regret” — This electro-pop track, set to appear on Cheerleader’s sophomore album, Almost Forever, provides a look back at a past love. The band analyzes wrongdoings with a hope to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Vocalist Joe Haller sets an apologetic mood with the sultry vocals. Guitarist-keyboardist Josh Pannepacker, bassist Paul Impellizeri and percussionist Sean Donaghy complement Haller’s upbeat melodies.


Nora Jane Struthers, “Slow Climb” — Struthers shows depth and vulnerability with her new album’s second single, which acts as a message to her future self. She hopes she’ll look back to this song’s advice when she falls into moments of self-doubt. The upbeat traditional folk melodies pair with Struthers’ strong yet sweet vocals, building to a guitar solo in the bridge. Lyrics like “no one can make me feel small” bring out Struthers’ courage and show how, even in the tougher of times, she can find comfort and contentment in her own skin.


Leslie Mendelson, “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice” — This bass-heavy grunge rock tune acts as a release of emotion. Mendelson addresses the anger, depression and anxiety brought on by the hatred and violence that has tragically become the norm. With a focus on distorted guitar and haunting vocals, the song speaks out against rampant negative forces. The title line repeats numerous times throughout to reiterate her message alongside solid riffs and dreary steadfastness.


Kevin Garrett, “Gone Again” — Garrett’s unique, soulful sound highlights a theme of trying to cling to love while also pushing it away. His vocals find a middle ground between the powerful gospel-like tones of Sam Smith and the sassy yet sweet voice of Ed Sheeran. Garrett lowers his expectations that a love will remain in his control—in doing so relinquishing his defense mechanisms against the hurt he feels will result from him letting his walls down. He keeps the bar low and his emotions at ease by way of a suave beat and smooth vocal lines.


COBI, “No Way Out” — COBI becomes enthralled with vulnerability as he addresses mental health struggles and addiction. He captures the feeling of being swept away by a rush of intense feelings and regret over past mistakes. He opens with gospel-like vocals and slow piano phrases—like he’s painting a picture of his light at the end of the tunnel. His relatable lyrics tell a story of being “high and dry with nowhere to go… trying to face the world alone,” a state most people find themselves facing at one point or another. His moving instrumentation pairs with his strong voice, remaining present and emotive throughout the track.


Amelia’s pick: As is often the case for me, the choice among these tracks was difficult. Each presented unique qualities and touching stories, but this week goes to COBI’s “No Way Out.” From the moment I pressed play, life slowed down. I closed my eyes and took a breath. It left me truly stunned, speechless and mesmerized. COBI’s musical and emotional presence shows the heart and soul he puts into his songwriting, making for a pure and arresting work of art.

Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.

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