Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Aug. 18

Emmy the Great, Only Sibling, Laurel, Needshes, Chaz Cardigan, Brad Arnold, 3 Doors Down

Clockwise from top left: Emmy the Great, Only Sibling, Laurel, Needshes, Chaz Cardigan and Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down.

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.


NEEDSHES, “You Make Me Feel” — The opening line sounds like Sister Hazel’s slightly raspy, nasally vocals, but then the chorus recalls Coldplay’s light, soaring sonics. Needshes credits that band, along with Elton John and Moby as influences for their sound. Its blend of piano riffs and uplifting lyrics become the perfect balm for these troubling times—especially the chorus line: “You make me feel right.” The alt-rock band has experienced a few lineup changes since it was formed in 2013 by Uzbekistan-born Otabek Salamov, but NEEDSHES continues to release empowering, infectious music.


Laurel, “Scream Drive Faster” — Perhaps there is a theme here: Music can still lift us up during times of unrest and pandemic. On her second album, Laurel wanted to write something happier than 2018’s Dogviolet, which came from a darker place in her life. The London native has moved to the United States and found a happier place in life and love. This poppy, but not overly peppy, tune is reminiscent of Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey, but ultimately delivers a simple purity.


Chaz Cardigan, “Middle of the Road” — Chaz Cardigan is happy to have moved away from his hometown of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. According to “Middle of the Road,” he wishes he stayed in the fast lane while getting out of town. The song’s fast beat and resounding chorus become an instant earworm. Lines like, “I’m not gonna dance in the middle of the road/ In between all the highs and lows,” are made for brisk drives. And Chaz Cardigan is no newcomer, having performed in bands since he was 11 and at Louisville bars by high school. This latest song certainly showcases his artistic diversity and maturity. He’s clearly not stuck in the “middle of the road” in terms of songwriting.


Brad Arnold, “Wicked Man” — If the name Brad Arnold doesn’t sound familiar, his band’s name should: 3 Doors Down. Yes, this new solo effort comes from the same frontman of that award-winning band. The pandemic halted 3 Doors Down’s plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, so Arnold stayed local in Tennessee and put together some new music. The voice is familiar, the guitar work is stellar, and perhaps the best part is how this song reminds us that we can still do great work—even when we feel much more alone than usual.


Only Sibling, “Selfish” — Who thinks of filming a music video of skateboarding down school hallways that culminates in smashing a guitar on that bathroom floor? Apparently, the minds behind New York City’s Nirvana-loving Only Sibling. This song combines some grunge flavors with a hint of 2000s pop, blending in some melodic motifs for maximum replay value. If you ever spent time in a locker-lined high school, this song will make you wish you did those four years in Only Sibling’s style.


Emmy the Great, “Mary” — Emmy the Great’s latest release is a gentle ode to her native Hong Kong. She wrote the lyrics in 2017 while visiting from New York City, then put the album together in 2018. However, it was delayed for maternity leave, while Hong Kong’s political landscape changed and protests ensued. “Mary” was written after Emmy went to a fortuneteller, who foretold she was “destined to fail.” The fortuneteller was clearly wrong, as the song has a peaceful, lilting melody that signifies anything but fear of failure.


Layla’s Pick: This week, Needshes makes the top of the list. My favorite Tuesday Tracks songs always seem to have one thing in common: I find myself playing them on repeat no matter what my mood is and what I happen to be doing. “You Make Me Feel” is that kind of song that doesn’t get old, whether I’m driving to work, cleaning house or just looking for a distraction. And hey, who doesn’t like a music video in which the frontman rides on an animated eagle?

Follow writer Layla Bohm at Twitter.com/laylabohm.

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