Music, Singles, The Revue — August 24, 2015 at 7:50 am

Melodic Tonic, vol. 13

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Welcome to a new week chock-full of new tunes! This week we’re bringing our “A” game so to speak, with singles from around the globe featuring artists from Africa, Argentina, Australia, and America. So without further ado, here’s the Melodic Tonic vol 13 …

Petite Noir (Cape Town, South Africa) – “Best”

Yesterday at New York City’s Afropunk Festival, an emerging African artist turned heads and gained new fans, proving he is an artist to watch. Yannick Iluga is Petite Noir, a 24-year-old noirwave/Afropop musician from Cape Town, South Africa. He was born in Belgium to Congolese and Angolan parents who moved to Cape Town when he was young. There he grew up listening to artists whose work shaped his sound: Nirvana, Radiohead, and Morrissey, along with R&B and soul. Those New Wave electronic influences can be heard on this first single, as well as Fela Kuti and Foals. Although he has been on the musical scene for a few years and counts Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) and Solange Knowles as friends and supporters, he is only now releasing his debut album. La Vie est Belle (“Life Is Beautiful”), is out September 11 on Double Six Records. This is his first full-length studio effort; it follows his EP, The King of Anxiety, which released earlier this year. His upcoming European tour kicks off September 15 in London.

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Fernando (Portland, USA) – “Burned Out Love”

Fernando (the Portland, Oregon-based band headed by Fernando Viciconte) doesn’t make music you simply listen to; he makes music that engulfs your senses with melodies that linger in your head for days. On this first single from the upcoming album, “Burned Out Love,” Fernando’s rich vocals are accented by irresistible harmonies reminiscent of ’60s-era surf pop. The verses have plenty of driving guitars while the chorus is impossible to stop humming. The Argentinian troubadour is not squarely confined in one specific genre but rather he fuses multiple genres – from alt/country and folk to psychedelic rock and Tex/Mex – that yields a unique sound all his own. The hiatus he took from music after his last album in 2010 ended when Fernando recently teamed up with an impressive roster of friends (including R.E.M’s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey) to record his eighth studio album, Leave the Radio On. It releases September 16 on Fluff and Gravy Records in the U.S. and next February worldwide. Fans in the U.S. Pacific Northwest can catch Fernando’s album release party in Portland on August 29.

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John Mark Nelson (Excelsior, Minnesota, USA) – “Dream Last Night”

It’s difficult to believe this catchy new single from John Mark Nelson is the work of a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Minnesota who just recorded his third album. Its polish and depth belies his youth. This comes as no surprise to fans who know he has been recording since he was 14. His first album released while he was in his senior year of high school, and his meticulous attention to his craft keeps improving. This new release, I’m Not Afraid, comes out September 11 on GNDWIRE Records (founded by Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles, with whom he recently toured).

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Pony Boy (Nashville, USA) – Marquee Man

Pony Boy is one of the hottest acts to come out of Nashville recently, and for good reason: singer/songwriter Marchelle Bradanini has an unmistakably arresting sound. The California native brings the Hollywood glamour vibe from her Los Angeles days and mixes in just enough Americana/alt-country and sultry blues to create a thoroughly chic, noir-country feel. It’s the kind of music that’s made for slow-sipping whiskey inside a bar awash in neon lights. Her songs have already been featured in popular American TV shows (Gotham and Nashville), so it’s only a matter of time before you see the name Pony Boy lit up on venue marquees nationwide when she tours. Her debut album, Blue Gold, releases this Friday on Cosmic Thug Records.

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Boy & Bear (Sydney, Australia) – “Walk the Wire”

Australian folk/rock band Boy & Bear took a different approach when creating their upcoming third album, Limit of Love, at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios: they wrote it together and recorded it live-to-tape. Produced by Ethan Johns (known for his work with Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, and Kaiser Chiefs), this release follows their highly acclaimed 2013 album, Harlequin Dream. This single finds the quintet opting for a louder, guitar-driven sound than their previous efforts, enhanced by jangly hooks and strong synth layers. The album releases October 9 on Nettwerk Records, just in time for their first six announced European tour dates in November. They performed 170 shows on three continents last year, so it’s likely they will resume their road warrior status with a full tour to support this album in 2016.

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