Literally, thousands of new songs are released each and every day of the year. Some good, some great, some not-so-great. Rather than say this song is good, you need to listen to it, with Under-The-Radar, The Young Folks attempts to bring new music to your attention, music that might interest you. Here are four artists you might have missed: alt-rock outfit Diver Through, which premieres “To Death:” The Eaton Wash’s “Interrupted Sweatshirt; queer artist Bobby Blue’s Latin-laced version of Madonna’s song, “Don’t Tell Me;” and the latest single/music video from Nikki Paige.
Diver Through – Premiere of “To Death”
Brooklyn-based Diver Through introduces their new single, “To Death,” a track lifted from their forthcoming album, All Nighter, slated to release on September 9 via Subluna Records. The album was produced by Alex Dezen (Broken Baby, The Damwells), who also guests on the record.
Made up of Michael Baynes (vocals, guitar), Mike Rellah (bass), and Ken Nasta (drums), Diver Through’s name is based on a phrase in a poem by a friend. In 2013, Michael and his friends recorded a set of new songs in one night – released as the EP, Scattered Days.
Prior to Diver Through, Michael was the principal songwriter for a fledgling modern rock band HAVEN in Jacksonville, FL where he received his first taste of airplay on commercial radio as an unsigned artist. Later as an independent solo artist in New York City on Subluna Records, he received airplay on college radio stations across the country – charting on many university playlists. His songs appeared on compilations for CMJ, Magnet Magazine, and 93.3 Planet Radio (Jacksonville, FL/Clear Channel). He played shows from NYC to FL including a BMI songwriter showcase at NYC’s The Living Room.
In 2020, Diver Through released The Way We Were. The upcoming album, All Nighter, reflects Diver Through’s evolving sound, featuring more resonance and bigger, more upbeat songs.
“To Death” opens on feedback flowing into gleaming guitars riding a deliciously smooth alt-rock rhythm topped by Michael’s lush voice. Reminiscent of the Gin Blossoms and R.E.M., there’s an ozone-smelling mist infusing the song, residual ethereal energy that makes it at once alluring and evocative.
The lyrics narrate the way we use the word ‘death’: “She jumped from a dark door with a mask on her face / Yeah, she scared me to death.” And “I love her to death.”
Brimming with scintillating sonic colors and a compelling melodic flow, with “To Death,” Diver Through offers an alt-rock gem.
The Eaton Wash – “Interrupted Sweatshirt”
The new project of K.C. Maloney, The Eaton Wash releases his debut single, “Interrupted Sweatshirt (Different Blood), an appetizer for his upcoming album, Stay Around, slated to drop later this fall.
Known for his previous project, Adult Karate, when COVID and lockdown hit, Maloney’s touring dates as Adult Karate were canceled, resulting in depression and writer’s block.
Maloney shares, “I have a wonderful husband and two cats, and some of my friends had a much harder time. It wasn’t as bad as it could be, but it’s still probably the worst period of time for me and my husband. And I’ve been through drug addiction and all kinds of messed up stuff.”
He goes on to add, “I think a lot of artists got this idea that they were going to get so much songwriting done during the lockdown. And I thought the same thing. But the world was so messed up that I couldn’t write. I tried almost every day to write something, but everything that I came up with sounded trite. It just seemed unimportant at the time.”
After nearly a year, Maloney began to find inspiration again. Picking up an acoustic guitar – a birthday gift from his husband – Maloney started small: writing little riffs and recording them to his phone, then revisiting them a day later with renewed perspective. The first song to come out of this process was Stay Around’s opening and the title track.
Maloney explains, “It didn’t sound like anything I’d done for Adult Karate. It just started growing from there.” Around the same time, his song “Keep Watch” under the Adult Karate moniker was used prominently in the Season 8 finale of the NBC show The Blacklist. “That was a definite confidence booster!”
“Interrupted Sweatshirt” probes existential concepts like morality and mortality, with Maloney lamenting the lack of answers we have here on earth. “Am I supposed to be good during my life? Does it matter?” he questions. “If it doesn’t matter, why am I programmed to feel like it does? Was what I did during my life ‘good enough’ to get me to the next phase, whatever that is?”
“Interrupted Sweatshirt” travels on a mid-tempo rhythm topped by staccato keyboards and edgy synths. Maloney’s dreamy voice imbues the lyrics with quizzical tones as he narrates his search for empirical evidence of the implications of virtue. There’s a lysergic, kaleidoscopic feel to the tune as well as a subdued wall-of-sound effect, giving it a hypnotic allure.
Innovative, suffused with hints of retro new wave flavors, “Interrupted Sweatshirt (Different Blood)” exhibits layers of captivating sonic textures.
Bobby Blue – “Don’t Tell Me”
Costa Rican-American singer-songwriter Bobby Blue recently released his reimagined version of Madonna’s song, “Don’t Tell Me,” about discovering your inner light and holding onto it no matter what.
Originally, from Bedford, Indiana, where a teacher once threatened to beat the sissiness out of Bobby with his fists, Bobby prayed to the Virgin Mary to deliver him from Bedford. When she didn’t arrive to rescue him, he left.
Once Bobby Blue moved to NYC he began performing at open mics, independent art galleries, and late-night underground circuses. Because of his countertenor 4-octave voice, the music industry eschewed him, viewing him as “not All American/too gay.”
Yet Bobby kept on keeping on, releasing an album, an EP, and singles. International DJs came across his music and remixed it. Bobby Blue has performed at Joe’s Pub, The Knitting Factory, and festivals across the country.
“Don’t Tell Me” opens on a sensuous Latin rhythm topped by fiddles, classical guitars, and an accordion. The feel and flow of the tune roll and undulate on luscious leitmotifs as Bobby’s crystalline, velvety vocals infuse the lyrics with yearning, quixotic flavors.
Deliciously innovative and seductive, “Don’t Tell Me” is wonderfully wrought.
Nikki Paige – “IMPORTANT”
Alternative singer-songwriter Nikki Paige recently released the music video for “IMPORTANT,” a song about uncertainty and loneliness.
Talking about the song, Nikki says that she created a song and titled it ‘IMPORTANT’ because she realized the entire time, that she was like everyone else, people who feel as if they are not important. If they were important, people would be there for them, right? It is not unusual, it’s relatable. We can’t blame others for being lonely. Just remember, to be lonely, maybe isn’t so lonely. If we all feel that way at times, then are you so alone?
“IMPORTANT” rolls out on a low-slung thumping rhythm topped by piano accents. When Nikki’s lush, expressive voice enters, the tune takes on a captivating essence. At once delicate and bewitchingly penetrating, it’s a voice full of passion, as well as exotic edginess.
Full of shadows and luminous tones at the same time, “IMPORTANT” smolders with style and substance.