Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Nov. 3

Kelsey Waldon, Kristiane, Teenage Wrist, Bakar, Anna of the North, Kit Major

Clockwise from top left: Kelsey Waldon, Kristiane, Teenage Wrist, Bakar, Anna of the North and Kit Major.

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.


Anna Of The North, “Believe” — Anna Of The North is asking the age old question: “Do you believe in life after love?” The Norwegian singer-songwriter has recently shared her version of Cher’s 1998 hit, complete with a tribute video in which she channels the pop icon scene-by-scene. But, as heard in her previous covers (like that of Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” and Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”), her signature style prevails. Anna Of The North puts a soft, dreamy spin on “Believe,” stripping the power-pop ballad down to a more intimate sound. For the singer, the song brings back fond memories of her last tour before the pandemic hit, bringing an entirely new meaning to lyrics that wonder if things could ever be as good as before. 


Bakar, “1st Time” — On his first release in over a year, Bakar sings about letting his walls down for the “1st Time.” “I’m not too good at openin’ my mind/ I used to let myself down all the time/ Until I fell into you,” sings the British indie musician over a breezy guitar lick. On top of Bakar’s warm vocals, the single bursts with a refreshing melody on the chorus—a fitting score to the artist’s rejuvenated outlook on life and love. While “1st Time” is mostly a sweet declaration of affection, it’s also upfront about feelings of hesitation. Bakar pulls off this balance of hot and cold naturally, which carries over into the music video’s aesthetic alternation between warm and cool tones. It’s a captivating, cohesive release. Bakar will play Outside Lands 2021—if there’s an Outside Lands 2021


Kelsey Waldon featuring Adia Victoria and Kyshona Armstrong, “Mississippi Goddam” — Nina Simone’s remarkable “Mississippi Goddam” called out the racial injustice taking place in America during the 1960s. Simone’s sharp words still resonate today, as relayed by Nashville singer-songwriter Kelsey Waldon with her own cover of the song. Waldon teams up with blues singers Adia Victoria and Kyshona Armstrong, who each bring powerful vocal performances to the table. Together, they deliver a country-tinged rendition that effectively reiterates the original’s fiery sense of urgency and defiance. 


Kit Major, “Mind” — Kit Major plays the main character in her new Muppets-inspired music video for “Mind.” In the clip, the Los Angeles artist spells out, “I’m going out of my M-I-N-D.” But luckily, she has some cute, animatronic friends to help her come to terms with her internal dialog. The video pairs together perfectly with the track’s colorful spirit, despite its anxious lyrics. It’s fun and sweet, but also keeps things real—a coveted trifecta that Kit Major makes entirely her own thanks to her sincere songwriting and vibrant creativity. 


Kristiane, “Wish I Could Be Your Girl” — At first listen, Kristiane’s “Wish I Could Be Your Girl” sounds like it came straight out of the ultimate coming-of-age soundtrack. It has a wistful, yet sugary guitar-driven melody to support Kristiane’s moody vocals. “Wish I could step inside your world/ I wish that I could be your girl,” she sings, unnoticed by a love interest. But the song actually deals with much heavier thoughts—wishing to be this “perfect,” easygoing partner who isn’t filled with anxieties and idiosyncrasies. That’s the girl she wants to be. Though the song doesn’t follow that expected storybook pattern, Kristiane’s authenticity and self-awareness makes her song incredibly cinematic and comfortingly relatable. 


Teenage Wrist, “Earth Is A Black Hole” — The thought of the world’s end has been more relevant in 2020. Though heavily discussed and referenced, Teenage Wrist contributes to that conversation with biting nuance. The band recently dropped “Earth Is A Black Hole,” the title track for their sophomore album, out in February. The song’s sinister refrain is unshakeable. The words “It’s just a sign of the times/ Where do we go when the river runs dry?” serve as a brutal wakeup call on mortality and where to go from that realization. The single shows a heavier, more aggressive side to Teenage Wrist’s signature shoegaze, and it’s sounding stellar. 


Chloe’s Pick: The new Teenage Wrist song stuck out to me right away. After listening once, I especially loved the resolve of the chorus melody; it reminded me a lot of something you’d hear from Jimmy Eat World’s Futures era. I ended up going back to this track a lot, which helped me pick up on the thematic elements of the lyrics. While I’m sure most people have heard a lot about “the sign of the times” these days, Teenage Wrist handles the topic thoughtfully while offering an emotional outlet to both wallow in and grow from.

Follow editor Chloe Catajan at Instagram.com/riannachloe.

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