Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Aug. 27

First Aid Kit, Joywave, Lindstrom, Love Fame Tragedy, Jax Anderson, Anna Rose, the Wombats, Flint Eastwood

Clockwise from top left: First Aid Kit, Joywave, Lindstrom, Love Fame Tragedy, Jax Anderson and Anna Rose.

Every week, there’s more new music waiting to be discovered.

No one really has enough time to watch that indie channel on TV that just happens to be playing a lot of great new artists. And aside from the KEXP or Subpop’s single of the day, its often consuming to figure out what artists to check out. These days who has time to sort through all that? RIFF does!

We’re happy to bring you the latest, greatest new songs in this weekly segment. Enjoy this week’s hidden gems.


First Aid Kit, “Strange Beauty” — Only familiar with First Aid Kit by name, I was intrigued to see that the Söderberg sisters had released two songs as a tribute to David Berman. Berman, who recently took his own life, was a prolific songwriter and best known for his band Silver Jews—with Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. “Strange Beauty” is a haunting Americana folk song about the emptiness Berman left with his departure. With haunting vocal harmonies, the chorus captures the feeling of loss eloquently: “And when you are gone/ The world it moves on/ But it’s lost its strange beauty.” The song is a beautiful and fitting remembrance of David Berman.


Anna Rose, “Broken is Beautiful” — The daughter of Disney composer Alan Menken, Anna Rose has released her latest firebrand anthem from her upcoming album, The Light Between. “Broken is Beautiful” uses Rose’s gritty, bluesy and sultry vocals to serve her song for the broken, the lost and the hopeless. It’s more or less what Ann Wilson of Heart and Stevie Nicks did. The song starts off softly with Rose and her guitar, but her raw emotion reaches critical mass on the chorus. As she belts out, “No one is going to hear me/ No one would believe me,” it’s impossible not to feel every word. The song is a power ballad for women to embrace fervently.


Love Fame Tragedy, “Brand New Brain” — I’ve wondered what the side project of  The Wombats‘ frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy would sound like since it was announced. I can’t say this is what I would have expected, but it’s a welcome departure. The song and the video for “Brand New Brain” start out more reserved and melancholic but reach a satisfying climax. “Brand New Brain” has a sound that evokes a feeling of drifting in and out of something, and trying to move forward. Its catchy drumbeat blends seamlessly into the instrumentation. As the song builds, it gets more upbeat and danceable, coinciding with Murph’s hopeful lyrics: “Baby, I’m trying now.” Love Fame Tragedy will play some shows in September, including a stop at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco.


Jax Anderson, “Hard Times” — Previously using the name Flint Eastwood, Jax Anderson just released her first single under her own name. “Hard Times” centers on learning how to deal with death, pain and mental health struggles. Set against the punctuation of keyboards and drums, the song’s instrumentation remains more uplifting than the subject matter. The addition of the cello to the arrangement helps Anderson’s vocals soar into the chorus. Her powerful vocals and the instrumentation retains positivity within a heavy theme. It’s a slow burner of a song, yet two-and-a-half minutes later, it’s over—and you need to hear it again.


Joywave, “Obsession” — Foot-tapping, head-bobbing set to one incredible video, Joywave’s breakneck-speed song is made for YouTube vitality and video game marathons. The video gives the band members a backdrop of various vignettes, functioning like the opening sequence in a movie Quentin Tarantino never made. The beyond-catchy song uses an ’80s synth-pop sound to perfection, seemingly custom-tailored for the soundtrack of a horror film, a Western or a shoot-em-up action flick. I seriously hope someone makes the “Sacrilegio” segment into a full-length feature with those same two nuns and a gun. The band is actually from Rochester—home of Kodak—and this video was shot on Kodak analog film stock.


Lindstrøm, “Really Deep Snow” — This song embodies everything about its title. Lindstrøm proves himself as much more than a DJ—a producer, multi-instrumentalist and even a label owner. The song is a 10-minute sonic odyssey through time and space. Its pulsating synths and drumming generate a feeling of weightlessness—stuck in the ether. It won’t be long before this is being played at clubs everywhere.


Rachel’s Pick: I initially gravitated toward First Aid Kit’s tribute to David Berman, but I was hooked the the moment I heard “Obsession.” I’ve watched the video over and over and am still struck by this band’s cinematic vision. Each time I find another visual gem that I didn’t notice before. With catchy lyrics like, “I just need something to get me through the night/ A new obsession/ Something to hold in my sight,” this synth-pop banger makes me want to get up and dance. It’s impossible not to love. It bears repeating—can someone please turn those mini-concepts into real movies? There’s too much potential to pass up on.

Follow writer Rachel Goodman at Twitter.com/xneverwherex and Instagram.com/xneverwherex.

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