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.
Arlissa, “The House We Live In” — When Arlissa starts to sing on “The House We Live In,” her voice takes full control of the song. The London singer-songwriter, now based in Los Angeles, delivers a tone sweet and soothing to the ear, while simultaneously unveiling her stunning vocal range. “The words that we speak out loud become the house we live in/ The fire inside has the power to build or burn bridges,” she sings, calling attention to the much bigger message of police brutality and systemic racism in America.
The single discusses how our actions directly affect our social, economic and political systems. It was originally written for the 2018 film “The Hate U Give” but still resonates with the current state of the nation. The video shows the names of those who have lost their lives due to police brutality and systemic racism. To continue raising awareness, all proceeds of “The House We Live In” will go to the BTFA collective in support of Black trans women and non-binary femmes.
Cherie Currie and Brie Darling, “Black Hole Sun” — In 2019, Cherie Currie of The Runaways and Fanny’s Brie Darling teamed up on The Motivator, a collection of original songs and classic rock covers that introduced the world to the newfound duo’s creative chemistry. Now, they’ve returned with a solid rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” to honor Chris Cornell’s legacy and as part of We Are The Highway, a project benefitting the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. The two bring a unique flavor to the ’90s grunge anthem with Darling’s warm, soulful tone and Currie’s fiery belts. Still, the pair upholds the original version’s haunting twistedness, especially each time their voices collide.
Elaine, “Risky” — Soul singer-songwriter Elaine is checking off all the risks when it comes to love. From soft spots and letting your guard down to caring more than you should, “Risky” retraces the vulnerable moments of a romance and blames them for the downfall. Ultimately, Elaine accepts the heartache and rides it out, repeating “Cry all you need/ Just let it bleed,” on the chorus. But redemption turns into revenge in the video.
“Risky” is off Elaine’s debut EP, Elements, which put the Pretoria, South Africa singer at No. 1 on Apple Music’s Sub-Saharan African charts. Her forthcoming full-length album is said to take an even deeper dive into South Africa’s growing music scene.
Genevieve Artadi, “All I Want For Now” — If another season of “Twin Peaks” were in store, Genevieve Artadi’s “All I Want For Now” would make a perfect fit for a Roadhouse performance. Every note is equally divine and haunting, from the way Artadi’s cloud-like vocals cascade into dissonant whispers to the soft hums of the organ. But as the video shows, the DIY singer-songwriter has no problem creating a compelling universe of her own. As she reflects on romance, she makes it a point to take things easy and savor good times as they come. She brings out the harmony between self-awareness and the mystery of leaving things up to fate.
LISEL, “Die Trying” — Eliza Bagg, also known as Lisel, accomplishes such an ethereal sound on “Die Trying;” you’ll be nearly convinced that everything is just peachy. The track layers Bagg’s angelic vocals coupled with an iridescent, bubbling melody. But the song title alone begs for a closer listen. “Say that we will but we won’t/ Next time might be true,” Bagg sings on the hook. As she narrates, she continues to come to terms with hanging onto false hope but still keeps a sense of escapism within reach.
No Joy featuring Alissa White-Gluz, “Dream Rats” — It only takes 20 seconds for “Dream Rats” to go from stunning to shocking, to absolutely exhilarating. An adrenaline rush of sounds, the latest No Joy release features Jasamine White-Gluz and her sister, Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz, piling on atmospheric vocals, shoegaze riffs and death metal screams. It’s a trip to the center of chaos and bliss, and though the ride might be jarring to some, No Joy took that risk with grace. The video stars both sisters and a duck named Success all basking in nature in between flashing clips of childhood relics. While “Dream Rats” and No Joy’s new album, Motherhood, explores themes of family, the video specifically spotlights Le Nichoir Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre, a nonprofit that conserves wild birds as part of Quebec’s natural heritage.
Chloe’s Pick: As soon as I heard the first scream in No Joy’s “Dream Rats,” I knew it would be my pick of the week. Without knowing what to expect, I was completely caught off guard in the best way. The elements of deathcore fall together so naturally with the larger shoegaze sound, too. I’m also interested to hear how the rest of the album explores themes of family, so I’m looking forward to giving Motherhood a full listen.
Follow editor Chloe Catajan at Instagram.com/riannachloe.