Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Oct. 13

PREP, Yola, Spencer Burton, Tank and the Bangas, Kacey Johansing, Drew Citron, Porches, Aaron Maine

Clockwise from top left: PREP, Yola, Spencer Burton, Tank and the Bangas, Kacey Johansing, Drew Citron and Porches.

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.


Yola, “Hold On” — In this empowering, jazzy soul anthem, Yola’s powerhouse vocals come backed by an all-star supporting ensemble. The strong backing vocals of Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby, Sheryl Crow bring a heavy presence to alternating piano chords and Jason Isbell’s guitar chimes. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that Carlile and Hemby make an appearance, since Yola guested last year on their album as The Highwomen.

This track fizzes with vintage hi-hat clashes as Yola recalls a conversation with her mother when she was younger and she yearned for a career in music. Through this conversation, she derives a message of perseverance to other Black women, and not to let the world break your ambition. This song’s proceeds will go to the National Bailout Collective, which gives assistance to jailed peaceful civil rights protesters, along with MusicCares, which continues to grant tens of millions of dollars to artists to help them pay for healthcare and other financial needs.


Kacey Johansing, “All of Me” — This emotional pop-rock track is led by a smooth head-bopping electric guitar pulse and a punchy beat, thanks to multi-instrumentalist Tim Ramsey. Kacey Johansing flows with sultry singing as she finds outward confidence and inward self-acceptance. This synth-infused song strives to inspire women who struggle with body positivity in a society largely dominated by unrealistic and judgmental standards. With production and mastered by Alex Bleeker, the song more than gets the point across.


Tank and the Bangas, “Self Care” — The title of this song speaks for itself. Everyone needs a reminder to remain mindful of their own well-being, as the pandemic leaves the world on edge. This translates to the ultimate quarantine anthem. It’s a surefire solution for the down-and-out mood, complete with a mix of modern hip-hop, classic R&B and touches of early 2000s pop.

Lead vocalist Tarriona “Tank” Ball takes center stage with her energizing performance, supported by AlbertAllenback’s flute leads, bursts of Joshua Johnson’s percussion and Norman Spence’s keys and electronic textures. This quartet has an undeniable musical chemistry, as well as embodying the concept of “Friend Goals.” This track also features spirited vocal contributions from Jaime Woods, Orleans Big and Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph.


Porches, “I Miss That” — Opening with echoing synths and a dream-like presence, this track uses steadfast drum loops to blend fiery rock styles into the new wave pop formula. Singer-songwriter Aaron Maine, the architect of Porches, remains vocally memorable with a sweet, yet raspy vocal style. He exudes vulnerability as he looks back on past actions: “I couldn’t believe what I had/ So I threw it away/ I was bad.”


Drew Citron, “Free Now” — Over Gary Canino’s soothing acoustic strumming and electric guitar licks, warm bass lines by Tim Wheeler and Madeline Black’s light drumming, Drew Citron enters this ballad with a strong yet calming voice. Taking on a new-age folk form, Citron basks in the light after turning the page and letting go of a toxic relationship. She shrugs off the burden swimmingly, as she proclaims, “When they ask me, ‘Where is the man with the charismatic hands’/ I don’t even cry.”


Spencer Burton, “Memories We Won’t Soon Forget” — This folk track opens with layers upon layers of timeless country guitar strains, as this Canadian singer-songwriter dives deep into memories of where he came from, and how life was back then. He reflects on the changing times and loss of the simple joys that mattered most, contemplating on how too many houses have replaced the corn fields. Backing harmonies cue in like a gospel choir as Burton’s prevailing, gentle timbre creates a bittersweet feel. Nostalgia lays on heavy, evoking thoughts of quiet meadows, lone country roads and the beauty of nature.


PREP, “Carrie” — This upbeat piano-driven dance track immediately creates a sunny pick-me-up vibe. High-energy piano by Llywelyn Ap Myrddin punctuates the head-bopping ‘80s-style drumming of Gillaume Jambel. Meanwhile, vocalist Tom Havelock puts a luminous twist on the gut-wrenching, unfocused restlessness that often results from falling in love: “The more that I think, the less I can do/ There goes the rest of me/ I’m losing myself in you.” Electronica production flairs by Dan Radclyffe make the track all the more lively.


Amelia’s pick — Amid all this week’s eye-opening messages and incredible musicality, my pick goes to Tank and the Bangas’ “Self Care.” As many people are still stuck at home, anxiety levels have only increased and peace, fun and contentment seems even farther away. This song brings back positivity with its empowering vocals and high-powered R&B instrumentation. Even by just listening their music, the bond between these four bandmates is hard to ignore as they revel in the pure enjoyment they get from writing songs together.

Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.

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