Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Oct. 8

VenessaMichaels, Venessa Michaels, Rachael Sage, Samantha Urbani, Fea, May Erlewine, Sawyer band

Clockwise from top left: VenessaMichaels, Rachael Sage, Samantha Urbani, Fea, May Erlewine and Sawyer.

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

No one really has enough time to watch that indie channel on TV that just happens to be playing a lot of great new artists. And aside from the KEXP or Sub Pop’s single of the day, it’s often all too consuming to figure out what artists to check out. Seriously, who really has the time to sort through all that? RIFF does!

We’re happy to bring you the latest, greatest new songs in this weekly segment. Enjoy this week’s hidden gems.


Fea, “Let Me Down” – This track aligns with Fea’s usual rebellious themes, this time focusing on society’s obsession with social media. “Let Me Down” features a bass-heavy chorus, topping off a perfect angry anthem with thick punk riffs and a touch of psychedelic rock. All the while, it creates an uplifting dance feel with its bouncy tempo. Fea’s vocals match with a smashing electric guitar in the verses, as they confront this “generation of narcissists and self-absorption.” The unique, relevant message makes this song especially memorable.


Rachael Sage, “Bravery’s On Fire” – This song surfaces a plethora of emotion with its soft yet powerful presence. Sage elicits a peaceful tone with heartfelt piano phrases underlined with violin before she enters with delicate and vulnerable singing. She humbly navigates the emotions of overcoming cancer. This track not only struggles with fear but comes out with a sense of courage and triumph for those who have been through hell and back.


Sawyer, “Emotional Girls” – Sawyer’s latest track is the ultimate power jam for women to combat the continuing stigma that says we display too much emotion. The Nashville duo joins together for emotional support, intertwining classic pop with punk spunk. The song portrays a situation through the eyes of a boyfriend who metaphorically rolls his eyes at the females in his life. The song works to give control back to women who are tired of not being taken seriously by men when they express their feelings.


Samantha Urbani, “Made In Love” – This song brings a sense of nostalgia as it melds pop tropes from the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s. However, Urbani gives the song a personal touch with a substantial percussive presence and echoing synths. Urbani’s vocal performance recalls Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, updating that impressive timbre and range for newer generations. Urbani symultaneously showcases her vulnerability and strength as she moves through her post-heartbreak healing process.


May Erlewine, “Whole Again” – This song highlights the internal struggles women experience in a society that won’t listen to us when others take advantage. Through soft vocals, light percussion and piano accompaniment, Erlewine uses the metaphor of digging up and replanting her grandmother’s roses that have been “ripped apart so many times.” They’ve “taken every ounce of beauty and never learned our names,” she sings.

The song remains centered on a sense of growth and strength, as she asks, “how can you see an ocean with your head in the sand?” Even though its slow tempo carries a melancholy atmosphere, its lyrics become a comforting outlet and a source of hope.


VenessaMichaels, “Spell On Me” – With the help of Leslyn and Outlaw the Artist, VenessaMichaels’ buoyant track finds a middle ground between EDM, hip-hop and Reggaeton in a depiction of love at first sight. The surprisingly diverse production of “Spell On Me” uses regal organ samples, along with underlying laser sound effects. The track’s infectious drops and addictive melodies work splendidly against the pronounced chord progression.


Amelia’s pick: This week’s column has a running theme of girl power, and it became a close race for my personal choice. In the end, “Bravery’s On Fire” prevailed. This track gives goosebumps with each listen, between the inspiring message and the romantic piano and violin combo. To top it all off, Sage is donating everything she makes from the track to women’s cancer research at the locations she personally received care—Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Her song not only paints a beautiful story, but raises awareness and support for those who continue the long, difficult journey.

Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.

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