This week’s serving of the Melodic Tonic ’16, vol. 7 offers six new music cocktails that have plenty of animal magnetism: rabbits and tigers and cats (oh my), as well as some beautiful harmonies from the eastern side of the States. We’ve got the latest singles from Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit, Italy’s Sequoyah Tiger, and Seattle’s Tacocat, plus hot new indie pop from Canada’s TEEN, indie bluegrass from Nashville’s Sierra Hull, and indie folk from America’s capitol courtesy of Vandeveer.
Frightened Rabbit – “Death Dream” (Selkirk, UK)
It’s been a while since Scottish indie rock stalwarts Frightened Rabbit have gifted the world with new music. Their last album, 2013’s Pedestrian Verse, was nothing short of brilliant, and the first single from their upcoming follow-up picks up where they left off. “Death Dream” is cloaked in melancholic dreaminess without being a moody, elegiac dirge. Scott Hutchison’s voice sounds as warm and inviting as ever, giving this song an intimacy that is best conveyed in heartfelt ballads like this. It’s a glorious tune with gently sweeping layers of light horns and percussion made all the more perfect with production from The National’s Aaron Dessner.
Painting of a Panic Attack releases April 8 on Warner Music. Pre-orders are available here. Frightened Rabbit are: Scott Hutchison (vocals/guitar), Grant Hutchison (drums), Billy Kennedy (guitar/bass), Simon Liddel (guitar), and Andy Monaghan (guitars/keyboards).
Sequoyah Tiger – “Hey Paul Anka” (Verona, Italy)
Leila Gharib – the voice behind Sequoyah Tiger – is an emerging talent from Verona, Italy. She draws inspiration from traditional genres (including the doo-wop sound from three generations ago) and modern sounds to create delicious, reverb-heavy layers of experimental pop. The dreamy sequencing on this first single will dance around your ears until you’re thoroughly hypnotized.
Her debut EP, Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Time, is due April 1 on Morr Music.
Tacocat – “I Hate the Weekend” (Seattle, USA)
Which music genre buzzwords best categorize Seattle’s Tacocat? You can choose from post-punk, surf-rock, indie garage punk, and it still won’t matter, because there isn’t one specific term that sums up the unbridled, energetic fun that these four talents deliver. Despite the song’s title, they don’t actually hate weekends. No, they’re railing against those annoyingly insufferable bores that invade their neighborhood on the weekend. This song won’t exactly ignite any turf wars, but it’s the most upbeat way to show disdain for invasive aliens in your ‘hood.
The band’s third album, Lost Time, was produced by Erik Blood (who lent his talents to the latest from Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction), and is due out April 1 on Hardly Art Records. You can pre-order it from the label’s online store, Amazon, and iTunes.
TEEN – “Free Time” (New York City, USA & Halifax, Canada)
New York City-based Canadian girl band TEEN is another sisterly group we can’t stop listening to lately. This newest single, “Free Time,” has a strong ‘80s New Wave vibe with plenty of whimsical, DEVO-esque synth and percussion. (The video was recorded straight to VHS in Brooklyn, for a double-dose of old-school hipster street cred.)
The band is comprised of three Lieberson sisters (Teeny on vocals/guitars/keys, Lizzie on keys/vocals, and Katherine on drums/vocals) and Boshra Al-Saadi (bass/ vocals), whose voices and instruments create dynamic harmonies together.
Love Yes released February 19 via Carpark Records. They kicked off a North American tour on Friday that wraps April 5 in Toronto.
Sierra Hull – “Black River” (Nashville, USA)
The purest voice to emerge from the bluegrass scene since Alison Krauss, 24-year-old singer/songwriter and mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull has been wowing crowds for over a decade. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut (at Krauss’s invitation, no less) at age 11 and had her first record contract a mere two years later. It’s no wonder that this talented artist landed the first-ever Presidential Scholarship for bluegrass at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston.
“Black River” is a gorgeous tune featuring a “who’s who” list of bluegrass luminaries, including Hull’s mentor, Alison Krauss, and also Rhiannon Giddens, Béla Fleck (who produced the album) and his wife, Abigail Washburn. Sierra Hull’s fourth album, Weighted Mind, released January 29 on Rounder Records.
Vandaveer – “A Little Time Off Ahead” (Washington, D.C., USA)
Love and home – two of the most pervasive themes in music – are on full display on the latest single from Washington, DC-based indie folk-pop group Vandeveer. Buoyant and uplifting with the most heartwarming animated video we’ve seen in a while, “A Little Time Off Ahead” is a shining example of folksy, Americana storytelling set to song. Mark Charles Heidinger’s lyrics and melodies are always a treat, as are the backing vocals here by Rose Guerin. This song is definitely a hidden gem.
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