Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Jan. 5

Mitchell Tenpenny, The New Mastersounds, Matt Jaffe, Aly and AJ, Amanda Shires, Another Sky

Clockwise from top left: Mitchell Tenpenny, The New Mastersounds, Matt Jaffe, Aly and AJ, Amanda Shires and Another Sky.

Every week brings a plethora of new music to our ears.

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.


Mitchell Tenpenny, “Bucket List” — It’s a new year and we’re still in a pandemic. Nashville artist Mitchell Tenpenny, along with Chris DeStefano and Laura Veltz, wrote this reflective country pop anthem to remind the world that “Life is like a first kiss/ You don’t know how long it’s going to last,” encouraging others to make a New Year’s resolution to “Love a little more/ Dream a little deeper/ Leave all the leavers/ Keep all the keepers.” The song features soft acoustic guitar strumming mixed with light electric synths on the verses. The chorus takes off with Tenpenny’s soft twangy vocals and high-energy drum clashes with more layers of guitar.


Aly & AJ, “Potential Breakup Song Explicit” — Millennials who grew up listening to Radio Disney will appreciate this reimagined version of the nearly two-decades-old pop heartbreak anthem. The sister duo presents this darker, electro-pop re-release that replaces choice words with more explicit lines. Maybe this shows how the sisters matured. Maybe the opposite. But it definitely shows how they’ve become fed up over time, especially in 2020. This new version couldn’t come at a better time as people yearn to break up with the “new normal.”


Another Sky, “Sun Seeker” — With mellow acoustic strumming and light keyboard undertones, vocalist and songwriter Catrin Vincent turns a new page in life by rising up after being torn down by a toxic relationship, shouting, “I take the world in my hands.” About a third of the way through the song, bass and percussion takes charge as she sings, “I say who I am and I say when I’m done.” The rock track soulfully paints a picture of the sun rising after days of darkness.


Amanda Shires, “That’s All” — Convinced that it makes for a perfect “COVID anthem,” Amanda Shires puts a sassy, sultry twist on the Genesis classic. The track starts out with layers of jazzy piano phrases before Shires enters with vocals that appear both sensual and a bit on the somber side. The song is kept up with light clashes of the cymbal before electronic synths take the lead on the second verse to parallel a new wave vibe.


Matt Jaffe, “Beacon In the Night” — After finding inspiration in Tom Petty’s “Crawling Back to You,” Bay Area artist Matt Jaffe added a higher-energy twist on his latest single. Through layers of guitar riffs and blends of bass and dynamic percussion, Jaffe opens 2021 with a call for hope in times of desperation. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter polishes his sound with vocals that recall the Beatles but with a touch of punk.


The New Mastersounds, “Fast Man” — This newly released track was originally recorded two decades ago, but didn’t make the band’s debut record, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds. This heavily instrumental funk song takes listeners back to the dominant sound of the 1960s. With high-energy jazz rhythms, the chemistry is clearly alive as each member of the quartet play off of each other. Bandleader Eddie Roberts’ guitar solo leads into blasts of saxophone that blend with Pete Shands’ bass that rides Simon Allen’s exhilarating drumming, while Joe Tatton takes off with soulful keyboard progressions.


Amelia’s pick — What a way to start the New Year, with an incredible lineup of new sound to feed the soul. After much contemplation, I’m giving this week’s pick to Matt Jaffe. This contemporary, yet retro-inspired anthem’s sonic balance pulled at my heartstrings, leaving me with no choice but to play it on loop. Not only that, but Jaffe’s deep and complex lyrical style is one like no other, pushing listeners to think about its message with each push of the play button.

Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.

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