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.
Laufey, “Best Friend” — “Best Friend” by Laufey sees the Icelandic-Chinese singer letting her walls down. In the first few seconds, she admits to not showing enough of her feelings, but goes on to right those wrongs throughout the rest of the song. “It’s funny ’cause you drive me half insane/ A universe without you would be thoroughly mundane,” Laufey sings fondly, professing her sentiments in the most wholesome way. The single recalls love ballads of eras past (like, way past) as Laufey’s silky croons and scats set the mood for a classic romance. Its melody twirls and floats, riding the highs of cloud nine as Laufey embraces the perfect imperfections that come with falling for a close friend.
BRIDEAR, “Daybreak” — BRIDEAR supplies pure adrenaline on “Daybreak,” the lead single off debut international album Bloody Bride. The song packs exhilarating layers that show off each member of the J-metal quintet’s musical chops. With rapidfire drums, riffs that knock you out like a one-two punch and melodic vocals that give pop-star belts a hardcore treatment, every single second is a sonic explosion. “Daybreak” makes such a statement on its own; it’s only natural to feel eager to hear more from the group’s international debut.
Aziya, “Slip!” — You might recognize Aziya from her viral cover of Grimes’ “Oblivion,” on which she deconstructs the song’s electro-pop framework and refashions it into a wickedly cool, DIY rendition. Now, she has an original song out that’s even more hypnotizing. The London musician’s debut single, “Slip!,” serves up a red-hot melody that singes with thick guitar riffs. But Aziya’s vocals bring the most heat, striking with ardor as she confesses to an intoxicating romance.
Bahari, “Jackie Kennedy” — As soon as the piano and strings come in on “Jackie Kennedy,” Bahari instantly sets a somber mood. The single tells all when it comes to processing love and loss, but it’s not so much about moving forward. With lyrics like, “We lost a lifetime/ You and I/ That’s all I know,” the song leans into grief as a means to come to terms with it. Singing with a heaviness that could make hearts sink, the pop duo’s devastating transparency is a stunning force of its own.
Annie Oakley, “Arm’s Length” — To let down your walls in order to get close to someone is an incredibly vulnerable feeling, especially if the past hasn’t been so kind. “Arm’s Length” by Annie Oakley translates that hesitation with poignant precision. “Maybe I’m not warmed up yet/ I’m wearing armor from a different past,” sisters Jo and Sophia Babb sing. Their harmonies flow delicately and at a careful pace as their lyrics tiptoe around the possibility of new love. While the question, “Would it be easier to love you from an arm’s length?,” is left unanswered, the folk duo’s tender approach leaves room for healing and hope.
Pom Pom Squad, “Lux” — Sofia Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides” draws attention to the topic of male gaze as if it were a gas leak. It lingers throughout the film and goes unnoticed among distractions of everyday life, yet its side effects prove harmful and grave. “Lux” by Pom Pom Squad pays homage to the cult classic, but tackles the same themes with a cutthroat approach. Its boisterous tempo, fizzled riffs and punchy vocals are effectively garage punk as vocalist Mia Berrin combines film references with their own reflections. Thanks to the Brooklyn quartet, the spirit of Lux Lisbon lives on with a searing ferocity and a sense of catharsis Lux deserves.
Chloe’s Pick: I saw Pom Pom Squad at Noise Pop 2020 (one of the last concerts I attended before all the lockdowns) and absolutely adored them. I was so thrilled to find out they put out a new release, let alone one inspired by “The Virgin Suicides.” The energy of “Lux” reminded me of their Noise Pop performance—fun, thrashing and perfectly in context at a club like Bottom of the Hill. They were one of my favorite personal discoveries from last year and I’m excited to hear more from them again.
Follow editor Chloe Catajan at Instagram.com/riannachloe.