Playlist: New Discoveries 1/11

New Discoveries: Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Smile, alt-J
Graphics by Ainsley Basic


Five years since their last album, Alynda Segarra's project Hurray for the Riff Raff is gearing up for an eighth record with the release of new single “RHODODENDRON.” Compared to the earlier stripped-back folk sound of her earlier works, the song shows that Segarra is continuing to evolve in a new direction as an artist. The avant-garde music video with a disturbing bloody twist is further proof that the singer-songwriter originally from Bronx, New York is not afraid to embrace creative visions full force. 

“RHODODENDRON” has a calming sound, with layers and textures built through acoustic guitar, bass, gentle drums, and organ. In a statement about the song, she grasps at the multitude of themes conjured through the lyrics. “Being called by the natural world and seeing the life that surrounds you in a way you never have. A mind expansion. A psychedelic trip. A spiritual breakthrough. Learning to adapt, and being open to the wisdom of your landscape. Being called to fix things in your own backyard, your own community.” After lines of poetic plant-filled imagery, it is with a refreshing vigor that she concludes in the chorus, “don’t turn your back on the mainland!” 

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator



Summing up their latest single, alt-J writes in a statement that “how ironically you interpret its message is entirely up to you.” “Hard Drive Gold,” they share, is a song about a young boy who transforms into a millionaire overnight from his involvement with cryptocurrencies. The song’s verses chronicle the boy’s neighbor and teacher reacting to his newfound fortune. And for the chorus, lead singer Joe Newman repeats “don't be afraid to make, to make money, boy,” his voice rising an octave every time. The track’s musical style is just as playful as its lyrical concept. A jarring cat-like vocal roll appears early on, and later, what sounds like a child choir joins in the background. Features like these make it an explosion of creativity and fun.

“Hard Drive Gold” along with previously released singles “U&ME” and “Get Better” are a part of alt-J’s upcoming fourth album The Dream, out sometime this year. 

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator



Radiohead is back to releasing new music! Well… kind of. Newly formed rock band The Smile sees Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood team up with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner. The trio just shared their debut track, titled “You’ll Never Work In Television Again.” Nigel Godrich, a frequent Radiohead collaborator, produced the track. Compared to the more gentle, ethereal sound I associate with most of Radiohead’s discography, — “The Bends” and a few others not included — the amps are turned up for this one. It’s got a driving drumbeat and strumming pattern and Yorke lets loose with feverish vocals. The end result is almost a punk-rock sound. 

While this is the first single put out officially, the band showcased eight original songs in a livestream performance last year. No release date for the album has been set yet, but fans are clearly eager for a listen — The Smile announced launch concerts in London at the end of this month and sold out all three shows within hours. Luckily for those unable to snag a spot, there are still tickets to virtual broadcasts of the shows available.

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator


Each week, our intrepid music staff picks out some new songs you can't miss. For even more new releases, listen to All New From 8-9 every evening on 88.9

Read more of our New Discoveries here

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