Welcome to another week of new music cocktails – i.e., the Melodic Tonic ’16, vol. 16! Today we’re serving up a mixture of several genres, from good ol’ American indie garage rock, dreamy psych-pop and folksy Americana to British soul-folk and alt-pop plus some Swedish experimental psych rock, just to balance things out. Let’s get started with a bit of lo-fi goodness from upstate New York.
Attic Abasement – “Show Up to Leave” (Rochester, NY, USA)
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Lo-fi indie rock isn’t dead, and it certainly hasn’t retired. Nope, it’s alive and thriving on Attic Abasement’s new single, “Show Up to Leave”. The New Yorkers have been silent for a few years (their last offering was the 2010 LP, Dancing Is Depressing), but in that time they’ve tweaked their lineup and finally recorded a new album that’s due out next month. If this first single is any indication, they haven’t lost their edge. The main difference here is that Dream News (an apt title for our reaction to the news of its release) was recorded in a studio instead of at home. Fortunately for long-time fans, the rapier wit of frontman Mike Rheinheimer is sharp as ever. Songs like “Guarantee Jesus” and “Statuesque Mess” share a similar charm as “Sorry About Your Dick” and “Problems Getting Numb”, dispelling any fears that time may have mellowed him. If you appreciate true indie garage rock that’s cooler than a craft beer on a hot summer day, then check out Attic Abasement.
Attic Abasement are: Mike Rheinheimer (vocals/guitar/keys), Keith Parkins (bass), and Joe Parker (drums).
Future Elevators – “Alabama Song” (Birmingham, AL, USA)
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Remember when you discovered a new band before anyone else? It’s natural to feel smug when this happens. We completely understand the feeling. That’s why we cover new music, so you can join the “hey, we’ve loved them since they first started” ranks. “Alabama Song” is the latest single from a band you need to be “in the know” about right now. Indie psych/dreampop quartet Future Elevators may be new on the scene, but 2016 promises to be their breakthrough year. Since their self-titled debut album released in February, you can still get in on the ground floor now. What makes Future Elevators special is their fluid blend of shimmering, lightly psychedelic pop that floats with a substantive tenderness. That might seem contradictory (how can anything of substance have an airy ambience?), trust us when we say this is very possible. “Alabama Song” is a lullaby for grownups that is unashamedly optimistic. The lyrics (“Let’s take it day by day / I’ll be your shadow in the night / Rest your head and know that I will keep you safe and sound”) are heartfelt and poetic. Lead singer Michael Shackelford is a new father, so his infant daughter is the song’s likely inspiration. Still, positive sentiments like these pair perfectly with the music and appeal to listeners of all ages. Fans of Lord Huron, The Shins, and Bright Eyes will fall in love with Future Elevators.
Future Elevators are: Michael Shackelford, Ramy Noureddini, Robert Wason, and John-Mark Dorough.
Josiah & The Bonnevilles – “Cold Blood” (Morristown, TN, USA)
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The indie folk/Americana revolution that hit full stride with the emergence of Mumford and Sons seemed to drown many upcoming artists. Many new bands found a label of “Mumford-lite” to be the kiss of death that doomed them as imitators before they could even make their break into the business. An original sound is the only way to avoid this curse. Fortunately for Josiah & the Bonnevilles, their sound is fresh and unique enough to summon the spotlight. Take some of the best parts of modern indie folk – the organic purity of Tallest Man on Earth with the harmonies of The Lumineers and a dash of The Rural Alberta Advantage – and you’re on the right path to meeting these east Tennessee musicians. As the song “Cold Blood” ends with the words, “Oh Lord…my Lord,” you may find yourself saying the same. These guys have the talent to make jaws drop. “Cold Blood” is from their four-song EP of the same name.
The band is currently on a North American tour (including several dates with Iowa folk crooner William Elliott Whitmore) through the end of June.
Josiah & The Bonnevilles are: Josiah Leming (vocals, guitar), Stephen Johnson (guitar, vocals), and Josh Nyback (bass).
Rukhsana Merrise – “Money” (London, England)
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A new artist quietly stormed onto the music scene last September. When British singer Rukhsana Merrise released her debut EP, September Songs, it was only available on Soundcloud. But word quickly spread about this emerging talent, and now the world is starting to take notice. Her new single, “Money”, displays her contemporary hybrid of soul, folk, and hip-hop – and those powerhouse vocals will knock your socks off.
Considering she cites Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Haim, and Frank Ocean as influences, it’s no wonder that Merrise’s music is eclectic and fresh. She played Glastonbury last year and toured as support for James Bay and Leon Bridges, so we expect 2016 will be her big breakout year. “Money” was on released April 1 via Communion Music. You can get it from Amazon, and iTunes.
Goat – “I Sing in Silence” (Stockholm, Sweden)
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If there was a music prize awarded to the most consistently fascinating experimental fusion band on the planet, Swedish band Goat would win it every time. There is just something about this band’s ability to stretch the limits of the experimental genre in a way that never fails to be both surprising and rewarding. On this latest 7” release, “I Sing in Silence” (which, by the way, is not what the song is about!), singer Christian Johansson has again concocted a magical potion of trippy psychedelic indie rock that will blow your mind. Yes, it even has flutes. Not many bands can use flutes in their music and make it sound good, but Goat gets away with it. This song is paired with an instrumental B-side track and is available for pre-order from the group’s Bandcamp page.
Gorgeous Bully – “Beaucoup” (Manchester, England)
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Another band with a split 7” coming out on May 27 is Gorgeous Bully. The brainchild of Manchester artist Thomas Crang, Gorgeous Bully make fantastic indie lo-fi alt-pop, and this new single is no exception. “Beaucoup” is awash in layers of fuzzy guitar that have an easygoing summery vibe. “Let it all just wash away” they sing on the chorus – and that’s exactly what you’ll want to do when you hear this track. Its mellowness melts stress and sets the mood for a great chill session.
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