It’s the last Monday before the American elections conclude, and these five new music singles on the Melodic Tonic ’16, vol. 41 edition share a single purpose: to take your mind off the three-ring circus that finally concludes tomorrow! Featured artists are from Australia and the U.S., which is where we’re getting things started today.
Foxygen – “America” (Westlake Village, California)
RIYL: Flaming Lips, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ty Segall
The opening strains of Foxygen‘s new single evokes dual imagery of a slightly harrowing holiday scene. Sure, the holidays are just around the corner, but we have to survive the 2016 elections first. That’s why the timing of “America” (from their forthcoming fifth studio album, Hang) is perfect. This sweeping track covers a lot of musical ground in its five-plus minutes length. You’ll hear delicate, whimsical tones one minute and jazzy riffs followed by passages befitting a Tim Burton film score. Much like America at the present day, this song makes you feel like you’re living in a circus. The genius of a Foxygen song is that it takes your mind off the world and lets you escape. And considering this country’s insane political climate, their escapism sounds downright perfect.
Foxygen are Jonathan Rado and Sam France.
Gum – “Gemini” (Perth, Western Australia)
RIYL: Pond, Tame Impala
Casual fans of Tame Impala might not realize that multi-instrumentalist Jay Watson has side projects outside his main gig. More dedicated fans already know about Pond and his other prolific group, Gum. The term “prolific” really does apply to this 26-year-old talent, since he releases a new Gum album nearly every year.
Flash in the Pan, his third studio album, is due out this Friday, and it features the cosmic-sounding “Gemini” as its lead single. When he sings “Everyone thinks they’re right” over trippy vocal effects, you can’t help but wonder if it’s a pointed comment about the crazy opinions of politicians. But probably not. He is a Gemini, after all, so he’s entitled to sing a song about people attaching behavioral meaning to their star signs. Regardless of its meaning, “Gemini” is another stellar example of this guy’s immense talent.
Flash in the Pan drops November 11th via Spinning Top Music.
Nick Murphy – “Stop Me (Stop You)” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Chet Faker, Flume, Marcus Marr
Australian electronic artist Chet Faker announced in September that his next album would be released under his own name, Nick Murphy. Fans worried if the sound would sound drastically different. Why would he want to change what has clearly been a winning formula? After all, this is the guy who won Best Breakthrough Artist just two years ago in Australia. As it turns out, those fears are unfounded. “Stop Me (Stop You)” is the follow-up to the aptly titled “Fear Less” which he delivered two months ago. And wow, what a killer track this is!
Clocking in at just over eight minutes, “Stop Me (Stop You)” feels like two separate songs in one. The steady build includes politically germane lyrics (“They can’t stop you / You made it this far / You can’t help it / Got things you need to do”) set to a fairly restrained tempo. Mid-way through, however, the song explodes into a glorious anthem that makes us forget about the name change. It’s so good it almost makes us forget about politics!
Allison Crutchfield – “Dean’s Room” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, P.S. Eliot, Swearin’
So what do you do when you’re an artist and your twin sister already has a record deal with her own band? You make it a family affair by signing with her label. That’s exactly what Allison Crutchfield is doing in January when she delivers her solo debut, Tourist in This Town. The sister of Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield has been a member of a few sibling bands (P.S. Eliot, Swearin’), but aside from a 2014 EP, she’s never put out a full-length studio album yet.
“Dean’s Room” is lively and bright, with bold hooks that match Crutchfield’s sunny vocals. Her brand of smart, meticulously crafted indie pop is so addictive it should come with a warning label! “Dean’s Room” is an impressive start to what promises to be a successful solo venture. Tourist in This Town is due January 27 via Merge Records with pre-orders from the label’s store.
Minor Moon – “So Composed” (Chicago via Boston, USA)
RIYL: Wilco and Lord Huron crossed with Paul Simon
Indie alt-folk/Americana artist Sam Cantor is a New England transplant now based in Chicago. The former Boston-area resident relocated after the Red Sox won their World Series but before the Cubs won theirs last week. Maybe there is no connection, but who are we to speculate? One listen will tell you that Cantor’s music holds magical powers. Direct artist comparisons pose a challenge since his band Minor Moon has a unique sound. Although steeped in Americana and folk, “So Composed” is driven by a soulful, old-school folk-rock undercurrent that wouldn’t have been out of place on ’70s-era AM radio. Minor Moon effortlessly combines the best of several decades and genres. In doing so, the finished product defies a label but delights the listener.
The “So Composed” single (plus their previous releases) can be found at the group’s Bandcamp page. Their full album, What Our Enemies Know, is due in January from Ruination Records. The band’s upcoming tour dates are listed here.
Minor Moon are: Sam Cantor (vocals), Michael Downing (bass, vocals), Colin Drozdoff (keys), and Nathan Bojko (drums).
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