Today’s Melodic Tonic ’16, vol. 32 features a refreshing serving of new music cocktails. The five songs are by artists from Australia, Belarus, Germany, Sweden, and the U.S.
Since today is Labor Day in the U.S., it seems appropriate to kick off today’s post with some Americana geared to hard working people and hardworking bands who are told their work doesn’t qualify as a “real job”. Let’s start our global tour in sunny Florida.
This Frontier Needs Heroes – “I Love Immigration” (Jacksonville, FL USA)
RIYL: Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Wilco, Clem Snide
Meet this generation’s Woody Guthrie: Brad Lauretti of This Frontier Needs Heroes is an Americana troubadour who speaks truth to power with conviction and wry lyrics, one chord at a time.
“I Love Immigration” is the kind of song that proves folk music is timeless. Its honest message emphasizes the importance of a hot-topic issue that too often is political fodder. It tells the story of Lauretti’s immigrant ancestors while also subtly chastising politicians with anti-immigration stances. With lyrics like “Forget your walls and end this exploitation”, this single is an upbeat protest song. But the depth of the message – not to mention the talent of the musicians behind it – rings true and timely.
The self-released Real Job is due out October 14. Their current tour includes dates this month in North Carolina and Florida.
This Frontier Needs Heroes are: Brad Lauretti (vocals, guitar), Sadie Frederick (violin), Ryan Vogel (bass), Adam Kurtz (pedal steel), Jon Loyd (keys), and Cash Carter (drums).
The Tallest Man on Earth – “Rivers” (Dalarna, Sweden)
RIYL: José Gonzalez, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you probably know that The Tallest Man on Earth has another gorgeous new song out. It’s his second single this summer, following the surprise release of “Time of the Blue” in June. While we don’t have any details about an album, we can bask in the glow of “Rivers” for now.
This acoustic folk ballad is another example of Kristian Matsson wooing listeners with his gently melodic tales. The nearly four-minute track evokes melancholy feelings of faded love: “When the love is gone but the need remains / When the house is gone but the street remains.” Wistful and contemplative, “Rivers” only makes us more anxious for a new album. He’s currently on tour through early December. Maybe he will head to the studio next year to record a follow-up to his 2015 album, Dark Bird Is Home. Until then, this song is streaming from his label’s Soundcloud page.
Agnes Obel – “Golden Green” (Berlin, Germany via Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Ane Brun, Bat for Lashes, Emilíana Torrini, Laura Marling
The hauntingly beautiful new single from Berlin-based Danish singer Agnes Obel will send chills up your spine. “Golden Green” showcases Obel’s ethereal vocals paired with stripped-down instrumentation. This minimalist approach puts greater emphasis on the vivid imagery of her lyrics: “Who are you to take over my mind / with your eyes on me / All for you I am climbing the sky of golden green.” After only a few listens, this song is already one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard all year.
“Golden Green” is from Obel’s forthcoming third album, Citizen of Glass. In addition to piano, the album also features vibraphone, harpsichord, spinet, and a rare 1920s-era synthesizer called a Trautonium. Citizen of Glass releases October 21 via PIAS Records with pre-orders from Amazon, iTunes, and the artist’s Bandcamp page. Her upcoming European tour runs from October 28 through December 1.
The Ocean Party – “Restless” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Belle and Sebastian, Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Folds Five
Prolific is one word to describe Aussie indie pop outfit The Ocean Party. Though it’s not the only word (talented also tops the list), it certainly fits this six-piece Melbourne band. They’ll release Restless – their sixth output since 2012 – at the end of this month, proving they are anything but restless. The title track is a shimmering gem of indie pop brilliance. After a long intro, the song really takes off around the one-minute mark. That’s when it soars with lush layers of keys and sax that are warmer than a tropical breeze.
Hopefully this album will help the band (who are originally from the small NSW town of Wagga Wagga) gain a foothold outside Australia. Their sun-kissed indie sound would be a welcome addition to the summer festival scene in North America and Europe.
The Ocean Party are: Lachlan Denton (guitar, vocals), Liam Halliwell (guitar, vocals), Curtis Wakeling (guitar, vocals), Jordan Thompson (keys, vocals), Mark “Crowman” Rogers (bass, vocals), and Zac Denton (drums, vocals).
Yuppies Indeed – “Be May She Ghost” (Molodechno, Belarus)
RIYL: Led Zeppelin, Temples, Thee Oh Sees
If you think England or the U.S. has a monopoly on indie psych rock, think again. Yuppies Indeed are an emerging band from Belarus, and this single is blowing our minds. “Be May She Ghost” excels at extracting the groovy psychedelic rock riffs of the late ‘60s and ‘70s with just a hint of California sunniness. It’s a short song (only 2:14 in length) that spares nothing musically. The lead singer’s vocals sound a bit like Robert Plant at times, but they’re clearly not trying to be a Led Zeppelin imitator. Since they’re from Belarus, we don’t expect to see them at every major festival next summer. But our fingers are crossed for an international tour, if only to experience their music in a live setting.
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