Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Jan. 21

Josh Lambert, Luna Shadows, Danny Barnes, The Seshen, Pinegrove, Social Animals

Clockwise from top left: Josh Lambert, Luna Shadows, Danny Barnes, The Seshen, Pinegrove and Social Animals.

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.


Josh Lambert, “Saturday Girl” — On “Saturday Girl,” Josh Lambert zeroes in on the classic Hollywood party girl that has a reputation for playing with fire. The self-produced single recalls the glam rap of Mickey Avalon, while its different textures give it a unique flair. Lambert’s verses are stacked with vivid details, but flow with a nonchalant attitude. Meanwhile, his baritone vocals provide a stirring mood over a pounding bass line and a distinct guitar buzz.


Social Animals, “Best Years” — The latest release from Social Animals embodies a euphoric rush. From soaring vocals to a racing melody, the Minnesota quartet constantly builds momentum. The heart of the song deals with a fear of living on autopilot, which is summed up in the chorus: “And some nights when I drive/ I’m not sure who steers/ I can’t tell if I’m wasted/ Or just wasting all my best years.” It’s a bittersweet ode to the indie rock lifestyle. 


Luna Shadows, “Millenia” — Luna Shadows presents an infectious beat on “Millenia”—both frothy and fierce. It’s distinct enough to give the song its dark pop sound, while also allowing the former RIFF cover artist’s vocals to shine and propel the track forward. Each chorus opens with Luna Shadows belting, only to resolve on hush, relaxed notes. This contrast adds an effortless dynamic, texturing the song in an unexpected way. 


The Seshen, “Don’t Answer” — In a world where loudness often equates to power, The Seshen makes an argument for softness. The Bay Area sextet’s new single, “Don’t Answer,” is driven by gently fingerpicked chords, whispered vocals and a subtle harmony. As the lyrics reflect on pushing through dark times, the still soundscape mirrors the emptiness such darkness can entail. At the same time, the song’s vibe makes way for introspection. It’s a beautiful way of bringing out the compelling nature of quietness. 


Danny Barnes, “Awful Strange” — Renowned banjo virtuoso Danny Barnes lives up to the title of his latest single, “Awful Strange,” in the best way. Mixing unexpected textures like fiery banjo riffs and punk-flavored vocals, Barnes creates a delightfully eclectic sound. Where many other alternative acts use the banjo as an embellishment, Barnes approaches the instrument as a sincere form of personal expression. Even with a stacked list of collaborators on his upcoming album, it seems that Barnes’ voice will still be loud and clear.


Pinegrove, “The Alarmist” — Pinegrove creates a strong sense of nostalgia on “The Alarmist.” The song about an unfolding relationship feels personal, even for an outsider looking in. A bittersweet melody, tinged with shimmering guitars and shaken vocals, instantly wraps listeners in a pensive mood. Smaller details like the conversational flow and the hushed moments before the hook give the song Pinegrove’s distinct earnestness.


Chloe’s Pick: Danny Barnes is doing something different with his sound and I am all for it. Even as a new listener, I can already tell from “Awful Strange” that he has absolute mastery of the banjo but still has a curiosity and willingness to grow creatively. I’m excited to hear what the rest of Man On Fire sounds like.

Follow editor Chloe Catajan at Instagram.com/riannachloe.

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