Welcome to the first installment of your weekly Melodic Tonic, a collection of singles served up every Monday like Happy Hour cocktails for your ears. These posts are for those of you whose busy schedules make it hard to consume entire albums. We get it! Full albums require a time commitment, but these audio apéritifs are designed for quick enjoyment. And who doesn’t need a quick musical fix to get their week started?
Wire – “Blogging”
What better first song in a music blog than the latest from the legendary post-punk band, Wire? These guys – who formed in London in 1976 and influenced countless bands from The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, R.E.M., Built to Spill and Sonic Youth, just to name a few – released their 14th album, the self-titled Wire, in April. “Blogging” is the first track, a scathing indictment of our impersonal communication methods in the modern age: “Blogging like Jesus / Tweet like a Pope / Site traffic heavy / I’m YouTubing hope.”
Ceremony – “Your Life in France”
When it comes to influential bands, Joy Division have few rivals. Despite only recording two studio albums in their too-brief existence, they left an indelible mark on countless groups, including Ceremony, the American punk band from the San Francisco Bay area. Their fifth release in 10 years, The L-Shaped Man was released on Matador Records the same week as the 35th anniversary of Ian Curtis’s passing. In purely coincidental timing, I first heard this album the day after seeing Peter Hook perform Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Closer. The L-Shaped Man – clearly influenced by those albums – is proof that the legacy of Ian Curtis lives on.
Other Lives, the indie rock trio from Oklahoma who I first discovered when they opened for Radiohead in 2012, released their third full-length studio album, the mesmerizing and lushly layered Rituals, in early May on TBD Records. The songs are dazzling and addictive, and there is a good chance I’ll wear out the CD long before tiring of it thanks to infectious songs like this one:
Vaadat Charigim – “Hadavhar”
This is the second appearance of the Israeli shoegaze band Vaadat Charigim on The Revue. While the band sings in Hebrew, their music is immediately accessible and captivating. The songs transcend language barriers in ways that prompt the listener to experience the songs on an emotional level. Their sophomore effort, Sinking As a Stone, is scheduled for release in mid-July on Burger Records.
The Helio Sequence
Fans of The Helio Sequence have waited three years for a follow-up to the Portland duo’s last album, Negotiations, and this self-titled effort, released on May 15 on SubPop Records, delivers in a big way. The album exudes fresh, cohesive vitality between singer Brandon Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel. The album is energetic and intoxicating, with tracks like this that I can’t stop playing:
Desperate Journalist are a North London quartet whose debut eponymous album is a sonic tsunami of fiercely unbridled alternative pop. With a band name inspired by an early song from The Cure intended to diss a pompous reviewer, Desperate Journalist have the chops to silence critics and delight fans. Lead singer Joy Bevan belts out lines like “I was driven into this voluptuous abyss,” backed by searing guitars, blistering bass, and driving percussion. This has quickly become one of those songs that remain on repeat all summer long because of these irrepressible hooks:
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