Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Sept. 1

The Knocks, Tinlicker and Helsloot, Sebastian Mikael, Black Pistol Fire, Mise en Scene, Crooked Colours

Clockwise from top left: The Knocks, Tinlicker and Helsloot, Sebastian Mikael, Black Pistol Fire, Mise en Scene and Crooked Colours.

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

Summer is coming to an end, but that’s hardly noteworthy when everyone’s still stuck at home. COVID is here to stay. Saturday feels like Tuesday and Netflix’s well of passive entertainment seems all but dry. We’re all over “social distancing,” so it’s time for new music to ease the nerves.

Somehow, it feels like there is less time in the day. Who really has the time to figure out which new tracks are worth a listen? RIFF still does! We’re happy to bring you the latest, greatest new songs in this weekly segment.

Enjoy this week’s hidden gems.


Tinlicker and Helsloot featuring Saro, “Paradise” — The Netherlands electronic dance duo Tinlicker, comprised of Jordi van Achthoven and Micha Heyboer, come together with Dutch DJ Helsloot and R&B singer Saro on “Paradise.” The simple visuals of twinkling stars captivate immediately, but it’s the sick, moody, danceable beat that truly engulfs you. “Paradise” is melancholic and buoyant, taking you away as Saro sings, “You’re my paradise.” Its emotional pull generates a need to hear more from all of the artists involved.


Sebastian Mikael, “Exit” — Swedish-Ethiopian artist Sebastian Mikael caries the torch for ’90s R&B. His influences include Pharrell, Sade, Bob Marley, Coldplay and Usher, but his voice screams classic D’Angelo. His old-school flair still sounds fresh, but the standout of “Exit” is Mikael’s vocals. His sweet voice gives the song a sultry, hot and sensual vibe that oozes sexiness. Its down-tempo beat is a natural fit for the moment a DJ slows down the music in a sweaty club.


The Knocks, “Star Design” — Electronica duo (and all-star producers and collaborators) The Knocks contribute “Star Design” to Atlantic Records’ all-star children’s music benefit compilation, At Home With The Kids. It’s a very catchy electronic dance song with fun lyrics, “If we can make the stars align/ We could be a star design/ I can’t stop/ I can’t stop/ I can’t stop.” The kids will surely love the animated video, along with the song’s funky bass line. Ben Roc of The Knocks has said that while his family was quarantining together, he got his 7- and 10-year-old nieces to sing some of the backing vocals, while his brother-in-law played ukulele.

All proceeds from this album will go to Save the Children, which works in more than 100 countries to ensure that kids everywhere grow up healthy, educated and safe.


Black Pistol Fire, “Hope In Hell” — Canadian-born, Austin-based Black Pistol Fire plays gritty and dirty Southern garage rock. The duo consists of Kevin McKeown on guitar and vocals and Eric Owen on drums and bass synth. This bluesy track comes with fuzzed-out, grinding riffs that stay with you. It’s a foot-stomping tune that will have you singing along with the ridiculously catchy vocal melodies, bursting with punchy energy to match the reverb. If you like The Black Keys, then Black Pistol Fire is definitely worth a listen.


Crooked Colours, “Love Language” — “Love Language” has a slow-burning, steady build that comes alive and turns into an electronic dance gem. One minute in, the song transforms into a hypnotic number with swirling keys. Over a cool snap-track groove, Phil Slabber’s vocals hit a lush high register as he sings the chorus, “So speak a love language to me/ I understand just what you need/ No one can hear it like me.” Crooked Colours were previously touring with fellow Australian electronic dance band Rüfüs Du Sol and hopefully will be able to continue the tour when this is all over. 


Mise en Scene, “Dollar Dreams” — Winnipeg, Canada duo Mise En Scene has set out to bring back grunge. If Courtney Love and Best Coast jammed with Gwen Stefani, it would sound a lot like Mise en Scene. “Dollar Dreams” is a gritty power-pop gem. The rich reverb-drenched guitars become the perfect support for infectious indie pop hooks. Jodi Dunlap is a drumming powerhouse, driving the song forward as the chorus leaves a lasting impression. Guitarist-vocalist Stef Johnson’s vocals grab you—gravelly and commanding—and don’t let go. As she sings, “I bet you are worth the pain,” you can feel the weight of every word and emotion.


Rachel’s Pick: I met Stef Johnson years ago at a Canadian showcase in San Francisco. While I can’t remember the details, I always remembered her band Mise en Scene. Even back then, they were a force to be reckoned with. “Dollar Dreams” is like a punch to the gut, with the snarling, yet dreamy pop vocals of Johnson bringing the song to perfection. It’s a song I could listen to over and over. Additionally, Aug. 26 was Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the amazing day women finally got the right to vote. So, it’s only fitting that my choice would feature two kick-ass women!

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

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