Welcome to the year’s first Wednesday serving of new music cocktails!
This week’s Melodic Tonic features six concoctions from artists in the U.S., England, and Belgium. From rhythmic Afropop to alt-country from Nashville, these singles offer plenty of variety to help you beat the mid-week slump. Let’s get things started down in the southern United States.
Shadowgraphs – “Countryside” (Charlotte, NC USA)
RIYL: 13th Floor Elevators, Temples, Night Beats
Prepare to find yourself hypnotized by the gently psychedelic melodies from Shadowgraphs. The sunny warmth this North Carolina group injects into their music elevates the senses and revives winter-weary spirits. Anyone who thinks California has a lock on indie psych rock needs to wake up and realize the error of this assumption. Shadowgraphs prove otherwise. Keep this band on your radar if you love addictive hooks that stay with you long after the last note has played.
Shadowgraphs are: Bryan Olson, Charles “Wils” Glade, Ethan Ricks, and Cody Hare.
Karen Elson – “Distant Shore” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Neko Case, Tiff Merritt, Laura Marling
Leave it to Karen Elson to ease us into a new year with her cashmere vocals. On her new “Distant Shore” ballad, the Nashville-based native Brit teams with Laura Marling on backing vocals, and the result will bring a tear to your eye. These two singers are forces of nature on their own; together they create breathtaking beauty. In addition to Marling, the upcoming Double Roses album features Father John Misty, Pat Sansone (Wilco), Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), and more. The yearning in this song is almost palpable. Even the album art (showing Elson neck-deep in dark waters) enforces the depths of emotion evident in the song. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.
Porcelain Raft – “Big Sur” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Beach House, Small Black, Young Magic
The calming effects of Mauro Remiddi’s music as Porcelain Raft are undeniable. Expansive and cathartic in scope, the songs on each new album offer therapeutic benefits to listeners. It’s something you can count on every time, because every song Remiddi creates sounds fresh and new. “Big Sur,” the latest single from his forthcoming third album, Microclimate, is full of shimmering synths that soar across sonic plateaus. On days when you cannot escape to a beach to unwind, this song will deliver similar results. Inhale its uplifting chorus and exhale stress.
Dom Robinson – “Good Love” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Bon Iver, The Tallest Man on Earth, Nick Drake
The music world needs to define a new genre, because “acoustic folk” doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous atmospheric fare from Dom Robinson. This emerging talent from Leeds combines the sweeping style of Bon Iver with the intimacy of Nick Drake or The Tallest Man on Earth’s Kristian Matsson. But there’s a surprise in store. The hushed intro of “Good Love” belies the heat that emerges. While the beginning of the song dances with a snowflake’s weightlessness, the crescendo at the chorus swells into a simmering tango of layered harmonies. The refrain (“You don’t know what it feels like”) will echo in your mind as you hit repeat again and again.
“Good Love” is streaming now on his Soundcloud page. It should be available for purchase soon at iTunes.
Viewfinder – “Born Ticking” (London, England)
RIYL: Spiritualized, Silver Jews, Yo La Tengo, Wilco, Pedro the Lion
Take a mellow trip down memory lane with Viewfinder, the musical project of Joel Burton. The languid, lo-fi vibe of new single “Born Ticking” will wash over you and leave you 100% de-stressed. You can hear strong traces of Spiritualized while echoes of early ‘90s-era indie Americana (Wilco, Pedro the Lion) give the track its vintage flavor. If the sunset-hued radiance of this song is any indication, Joel Burton stands poised to join Ira Kaplan and David Bazan as purveyors of chill indie lo-fi magic.
Témé Tan – Ça Va Pas La Tête? (Brussels, Belgium)
RIYL: Baloji, Teleman
Are you out of your mind? (We’re not insulting you; that’s the translation of “Ça Va Pas La Tête” for non-French speakers!) The infectious afropop rhythms from Belgian singer Tanguy Haesevoets – aka Témé Tan – might drive you mad, in a delightfully delirious way. This emerging artist who grew up in Kinshasa concocts a heady mix of Congolese beats, hip hop, Latin, soul, and pop – elements based on his global travel. It’s not every day you discover an artist whose sonic palette features hues from Africa, Central America, Japan, and Spain. But Témé Tan isn’t an ordinary artist. Beat the mid-week slump with this single that will move you from head to toe.
His debut album is due sometime this year from PIAS Belgium/Limite Records.
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