Are you ready for an emotional rollercoaster ride? Your mid-week serving of new music cocktails on the Melodic Tonic ’17 February 1st edition features seven tunes guaranteed to soothe, energize, and distract you from everything else that’s going on in the world!
Ambiere – “Tree of Life” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Portishead, The XX, Florence + The Machine
The lush, hypnotic dream pop of Manchester’s Ambiere will soothe away your every stress with their new single, “Tree of Life.” The trio of Jake Blythe, Amber Lane-McIvor, and Oliver Lamb serve as your guides to a place of pure bliss on this three-minute long track. Prepare to be blown away by the soaring, ethereal vocals that call to mind The XX, Kate Bush and Florence Welch.
It’s easy to envision this as a sunrise track: its tranquil glow builds gently before bursting into full radiance around the 1:30 mark. That’s when it erupts with the brilliance of a thousand suns, and you find your breath taken away. You need this gorgeous melody in your life.
Tree of Life releases February 11 from Flat Plastic Music Group.
Aquilo – “So Close to Magic” (Silverdale, Lancashire, England)
RIYL: Kiamos, Ólafur Arnalds, SOHN
Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher – the two guys behind emerging indie ambient band Aquilo – realize the power of simplicity and honesty. On their new single, “So Close to Magic,” the duo deliver a shimmering gem that grabs you by the heartstrings. Ballads as beautiful as this bring a tear to your eye, thanks to the understated elegance of their harmonies.
Piano-driven ballads are nothing new, nor are duos with cashmere soft vocals. But the potency of this song lies in its intimate warmth. Remember the first time someone caressed your cheek while gazing lovingly into your eyes? That feeling has been set to song, and it’s simply stunning. So close to magic, indeed.
BNQT – “Restart” (USA and UK)
RIYL: Band of Horses, Midlake, Grandaddy, Franz Ferdinand, Travis
Supergroup: it’s a term used so often that it often prompts listeners to shrug and say, “What’s so super about it?” You take a few members of beloved bands, throw them in a studio, and they release an album. No big deal, right? Not this time. BNQT (“banquet”) isn’t your ordinary supergroup when you consider the wattage of the indie star power here.
That’s because BNQT features members of Midlake, Band of Horses, Grandaddy, Franz Ferdinand, and Travis. The group has been working on this album for a few years now. Somehow, between the bands’ collective recording and touring schedules, they managed to make this long-rumored collaboration a reality. And what a track the “Restart” lead single is! The driving tempo has the energy of Band of Horses and Franz Ferdinand paired with the lightly psychedelic folkiness of Midlake and the indie charm of Grandaddy and Travis. Dive into this song now while you wait for the arrival of Volume 1 on April 28th via Dualtone and Bella Union. You can pre-order the album here and here.
BNQT are: Eric Pulido (Midlake), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), and Fran Healy (Travis), with backing from Midlake members McKenzie Smith (drums), Joey McClellan (guitar), and Jesse Chandler (keys).
Future Islands – “Ran” (Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: TV on the Radio, Dan Deacon, Hot Chip
Few indie bands bring the energetic enthusiasm of Future Islands. A crowd favorite at concerts and festivals, the synth-pop trio led by charismatic frontman Samuel T. Herring are back with another rousing new single. If you thought their previous singles “Seasons (Waiting on You)” and “Sun in the Morning” were runaway smash hits, then you’ll agree that “Ran” is their long-awaited sequel. It’s from the band’s forthcoming fifth album, The Far Field, that’s due in April.
Your foot will start tapping immediately. Your pulse will quicken. You might even break out a few dance moves like Sam Herring. The one thing that won’t happen? You won’t be able to get this infectious tune out of your head! Fortunately for fans, the band is scheduled to tour hard in support of the new album. They’re scheduled for most major festivals, including Bonnaroo, Coachella, Panorama, and possibly Glastonbury?
Future Islands are: Samuel T. Herring (vocals, lyrics), William Cashion (bass, guitars), and Gerrit Welmers (keys, programming).
Louis Schefano – “Come to Think” (Los Angeles & New York City, USA)
RIYL: Guster, Guided By Voices, Remy Zero, The Shins
Need an instant pick-me-up? Crank this new one from indie multi-instrumentalist Louis Schefano. He’s the veteran musician/producer whose name you may not recognize but whose work you’ve most certainly heard. The native of Birmingham, Alabama has dazzled fans since the ‘90s (Remy Zero, Azure Ray) and recently with Bright Eyes, Cheshires, and Maria Taylor. Now he’s stepping into the limelight as a solo artist with his debut LP, Opposite Side of the World.
Lead single “Come to Think” is brimming with infectious, ‘60s-power pop vitality – yet despite its sunny hooks, it’s an anti-love song. The line “I don’t love you; it’s a lie” might sound devastating coming from any other artist. But with Schefano’s warm vocals and radio-friendly charm, “Come to Think” takes the sting out of breakups. The downside of love never sounded so upbeat.
You can buy this digital single now via Flower Moon Records. Opposite Side of the World is out February 17th.
Mac DeMarco – “This Old Dog” and “My Old Man” (Brooklyn, USA via Montreal/Edmonton, Canada)
RIYL: Ariel Pink, Flaming Lips, Morgan Delt, Ween
Is the king of indie slacker rock becoming mellower with age? Or is it just exhaustion from years of high-energy shows? Whatever the reason, the two newest singles from Mac DeMarco‘s forthcoming third studio LP, This Old Dog, show a more subdued side of the Canadian artist.
The album’s title track has a languid, eyes-half-open vibe that’s best suited to listening while reclining in the warm afternoon sun. Lest its brevity lull you into a too relaxed state, “My Old Man” picks up the pace – though not by much. DeMarco’s acoustic guitar here is a departure from his usual style, perhaps influenced by his relocation to Los Angeles for the album’s recording. If you’ve ever wanted to watch DeMarco strum away the sunset on a California beach, close your eyes while you spin these tunes. You’ll get the same relaxation effect without finding sand in unexpected places.
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