Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – April 23

Pieces of a Man, Nate Mercereau, Baloji, 3TEETH, Trading Wind, Quantic

Clockwise from top left: Pieces of a Man, Nate Mercereau, Baloji, 3TEETH, Trade Wind and Quantic.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music on the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how platforms like YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud have opened the floodgates of independent artists. But navigating the flood is easier said than done.

That’s where RIFF steps in. We do the heavy lifting for you, scouring the sea of sound with ears perked for choice listens.

Enjoy this week’s memorable tunes!


Pieces Of A Man, “Nothing To Lose” — Ethereal and cinematic, this song uses gospel-tinged neo-soul to stand in emotional vulnerability. The song’s foundation lies in a LGBTQ solidarity vigil the sextet attended in its hometown of Manchester. Inspired by courage the Orlando community displayed following a shooting at a  gay nightclub, the song becomes a moving call for perseverance and pride. Each singer channels a personal experiences into this universal message of empowerment, making for a resonant, inclusive experience.


Trade Wind, “I Can’t Believe You’re Gone” — Kerrang! promoting a dreamy indie rock band might seem odd, but Trade Wind actually includes Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns and Tom Williams of Stray From The Path. The singer and guitarist leave few traces of their metalcore background, bringing heaviness through concept and atmosphere rather than detuned breakdowns. The slice-of-life video ties into the song’s intimate, yet evocative arrangement. With diverse vocals and immersive sonics, Trade Wind should be the standard for heavy acts who want to go soft.


Quantic, “Motivic Retrograde” — In anticipation of his new album, Atlantic Oscillations, British producer Quantic combines meticulous arrangements and infectious dance beats on this single. “Motivic Retrograde” has the hypnotic loops of deep-house music, but the sheer amount of moving parts on this thing borders on the orchestral. Rather than upending the conventions of house-techno, he uses them as a foundation from which to bloom into mesmerizing drops.


Baloji featuring Marshall Dixon and Poison Mobutu, “Spotlights & Miroir” — Born in Congo and raised in Belgium, Baloji will be re-releasing his 2018 album 137 Avenue Kaniama as one long song. It’s a bold move that pushes for wholistic appreciation instead of today’s singles-based culture. Still, “Spotlights & Miroir” is a compelling listen taken on its own terms. Featuring fellow Congolese musicians Marshall Dixon and Poison Mobutu, Baloji’s amalgamation of traditional ethnic music with hip-hop flows and electronic stylings is on full display on this cut. It’s remarkable how he charges an ancient, almost spiritual vibe with with the power of modern production. The drops and synthetics pack a punch, but his reverence for the dance music of his ancestors remains evident.


Nate Mercereau featuring Terrace Martin, “Joy Techniques” — The recent push to contextualize jazz with different instrumentation has yielded decidedly mixed results, but “Joy Techniques” is an example of such a venture done right. Saxophonist Terrance Martin feels right at home amid wobbly synth chords and hyperactive drumming. The song grooves hard, using its eccentricity not as a crutch but as a springboard into interesting textural planes. Its seamless transition from bombastic splendor to ambient bliss exemplifies this approach the best. Martin even follows the melody of the keyboards, maintaining cohesion and expression in equal measure.


3TEETH, “American Landfill” — The nu-metal revival has been happening for quite some time now, but L.A.’s 3TEETH fronts a truly surprising industrial approach. It’s arguably the pocket of the ’90s nu-metal movement that fell off the hardest, but these guys have managed to update the sound like Emmure did for Limp Bizkit. Catchy, detuned riffs, heavy use of sampling and an aesthetic straight out of the 1998 movie Blade, the song’s pounding groove is too infectious to ignore. Alexis Mincolla’s brooding singing hearken back to the industrial metal titans, but but the smoldering hate of his harsher tones set him apart. Sean Beavan, who produced Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, ties this oddball track together with atmosphere and brutality.


Max’s Pick: It’s been really great watching musicians test the boundaries of jazz, but I’ve had trouble finding those who maintain a compelling sound within the experimentation. With that being said, Nate Mercereau’s “Joy Techniques” was a much-needed breath of fresh air. The acoustic elements not only avoid clashing with the electronics, but form a symbiotic relationship with them. Martin’s saxophone flourishes within the song’s most spacious and intense moments, proving the human element of jazz can remain intact when more a synthetic element is added to the mix.

Follow editor Max Heilman at Twitter.com/madmaxx1995 and Instagram.com/maxlikessound.

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