Welcome to another week of new music singles – aka Melodic Tonic ’16, vol. 26! Since today is the national holiday when Americans celebrate their independence (the original Brexit, if you will), it seems fitting to focus solely on American music. Just like the USA, these artists represent a variety of genres, from indie folk/rock, blues/rock, indie pop, bluegrass/folk-pop, and shoegaze. Let’s get things started in Tennessee with a new single from an energetic, emerging band.
Cereus Bright – “River Run” (Knoxville, TN, USA)
RIYL: The Avett Brothers, The Head & The Heart, Trampled By Turtles
Americana at its finest – that’s the best way to describe this new single from emerging Tennessee indie folk-rock band Cereus Bright. Uplifting and jubilant, “River Run” boasts warm harmonies and a steady beat that will leave a joyful smile plastered on your face. The song starts strong from the first note and never lets up. Fans of The Avett Brothers’ guitar-driven folksy indie rock and The Head and The Heart’s soaring melodies will likely find Cereus Bright is one of their favorite new bands. Be prepared to keep this one on repeat all day.
“River Run” is available for immediate download from their Bandcamp page, Amazon, and iTunes. It’s from their Excuses LP which releases July 29 and is available for pre-order from the group’s Pledge Music page and iTunes. While the album was recorded in a cabin in Tennessee, its production was anything but rural: it was mixed in Wilco’s studio in Chicago by Tom Schick (who has previously worked with Wilco and Ryan Adams).
American fans can catch the band on their current tour through the end of September.
Cereus Bright are: Tyler Anthony, Evan Ford, Matt Nelson, and Luke Bowers.
Dex Romweber – “Trouble of the World” (Carrboro, NC, USA)
RIYL: Flat Duo Jets, Tom Waits, Jack White, The Black Keys
Picture a dusty saloon that could be the set of an old Western movie. You hear a bluesy saxophone playing and a gravelly-voiced singer belting out a tune about trouble. You order a whiskey as you park yourself on a barstool. The singer has you spellbound with his tale that has a mile-wide melancholy streak. You pinch yourself to gauge whether this is a dream or reality.
The song is “Trouble of the World” sung by North Carolina crooner Dex Romweber. Only it’s not a dream. This is the bitter south where blues and rock & roll fit like a well-worn glove. And damn, if this guy doesn’t blow the roof off the joint with this slow-burning scorcher. Epic, majestic, and aching – if this song doesn’t move you, then you’ve got no soul. It’s from his upcoming album, Carrboro, named for his hometown.
Hardcore fans will recognize Romweber’s voice from the indie rockabilly group, Flat Duo Jets. He’s influenced countless musicians from Jack White, Neko Case, The Black Keys, and many more. Blast this one loud to understand why.
Carrboro is out September 9 via Bloodshot Records with pre-orders from the label. Romweber’s summer tour of the eastern U.S. is ongoing now and wraps up at Nashville’s Americana Fest in late September.
Hoops – “Cool 2” (Bloomington, IN, USA)
RIYL: Real Estate, Beach House, The Clientele
Indie quartet Hoops hail from Indiana, a state where the sport of basketball has a long, storied past. (If you’ve seen the movie Hoosiers, then you’re in the know.) The fact that Drew Auscherman chose Hoops as his musical moniker might have nothing to do with basketball, but you needn’t know the story of the Hoops name to fully appreciate their sound. When it comes to sparkling indie pop that is cooler than ice-cold beer on a hot summer day, you can’t go wrong with “Cool 2” for a perfect song. Our one complaint (if you can even call it that) is the song’s brevity. The only way we could love this song more would be if they stretched this 1:55 gem into a five-minute jam.
Hoops are: Drew Auscherman (guitar, vocals), Kevin Krauter (bass, vocals), Keagan Beresford (guitar, keys, vocals), and James Harris (drums).
Sara Watkins – “Young In All The Wrong Ways” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Nickel Creek, Brandi Carlile, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan
Indie folk/bluegrass/pop artist and fiddle player Sara Watkins first made a name for herself as part of the fantastic Nickel Creek band. She began her music career in that group when she was a child; by age 22 she was a Grammy winner. This title track from her third solo album shows Watkins is at the pinnacle of her career. (Did we mention she shared a stage with Roger Waters at last year’s Newport Folk Fest?)
“Young in All the Wrong Ways” can’t be classified as country, bluegrass, or folk – it’s got elements of all three, but like Watkins herself, it refuses to be bound by traditional genre definitions. It’s a gorgeous song that shows off not only her fiddle skills but her lovely voice as well. We dare you not to fall in love with this instant classic. We have a feeling it will be a timeless track in her repertoire.
Young in All the Wrong Ways released July 1 via New West Records. The album is available from her Bandcamp page, the label’s online store, and iTunes. Her ongoing North American tour runs through October 9, then she heads to Europe for three weeks of shows starting October 31 in Dublin.
STAR – “Liars in Love” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, pinkshinyultrablast
While we at The Revue love nothing more than introducing readers to brand new music, occasionally we get a chance to introduce you to not so new music that’s been re-released. That’s the case here with Chicago shoegaze band STAR. The group’s critically acclaimed 2007 release, Devastator, was an underground hit before it slipped quietly into obscurity. Fortunately for die-hard fans (and those who are just now discovering their sonic magic), the indie label Saint Marie Records has given the album a proper updating. As of June 24th it’s once again available thanks to a limited run vinyl pressing of 500 transparent red LPs.
If you’re a fan of the brooding genius of My Bloody Valentine, then the sweeping “Liars in Love” should be on repeat in your music library. The dreamy vocals of lead singer Shannon Bright pair in perfect harmony with the backing of shoegaze veteran Scott Cortez on guitar and Theodore Beck on bass.
Music this dense and lush from nearly a decade ago sounds just as fresh now as when it was first released nearly a decade ago. You can get the digital version directly from the group’s Bandcamp page or order the vinyl version from the Saint Marie store.
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