Welcome to your mid-week serving of new music cocktails!
Today’s edition (the Melodic Tonic ’17 January 25 edition) is a Eurocentric blend of six artists with ties to England, Germany, Scotland, and Wales. Beat the Wednesday slump with fresh offerings from British legends and rising stars alike.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Fact 67” (Berlin, Germany via San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Black Mountain, The Black Angels, RIDE
Without gushing too much, we can sum up “Fact 67” from The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s by saying this: it’s six-plus minutes of swirling, delirium-inducing bliss. It’s also unexpected, since they just released their 15th album, Third World Pyramid, back in October. We’re certainly not complaining that Anton Newcombe is giving us a belated Valentine’s gift when Don’t Get Lost releases February 24 via his label, A Recordings. As if the new album isn’t enough of a treat in itself, “Fact 67” also features The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess.
Look, your head is probably already spinning from the insanity of everything going on in the world. Crank this one and it will spin for a deliriously good reason.
FAMILY FRIENDS – “I’m Like You” (London, England)
RIYL: Haley Bonar, Alvvays
Our fondness for siblings Tom and Rebecca Fitzsimmons – aka Family Friends – began the day we shared their single “Look the Other Way” last fall. Their shimmering indie pop helped neutralize the negative emotions we felt in November. Since the climate remains just as polarizing, we’re grateful to have this new tune in which to escape.
“I’m Like You” puts Rebecca’s honeyed vocals on display, balanced perfectly by the lightly psychedelic dream pop guitars. Many sibling bands are making waves in indie music these days, including Broods, Healyum, and Joseph. But plenty of room in the spotlight remains for related duos like Family Friends. If they keep releasing ear candy like this, their legacy as a group with winning musical DNA will be cemented in no time.
Goldfrapp – “Anymore” (London, England)
RIYL: Ladytron, Roísín Murphy, Röyksopp, Phantogram
“I can’t wait anymore” – the refrain on the pulsing new Goldfrapp single – is exactly how we’re feeling about getting our hands on a new album from these synth-pop titans. “Anymore” is as captivating as anything in their entire discography, ranking up there with the 2003 hit, “Strict Machine,” in terms of rhythmic allure. (The Soundcloud link above is a preview only; check out the video for the full experience.)
The duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory aren’t forging new territory here as much as they’re plumbing depths of their own signature sound. They’ve gone a bit darker and a bit deeper as well, and it’s irresistible.
H. Hawkline – “Last Thing On Your Mind” (Los Angeles via Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: The Beta Band, Belle and Sebastian, Meilyr Jones
It’s still winter, but H. Hawkline – the pseudonym of Los Angeles-based Welsh indie pop singer/songwriter Huw Evans – has already delivered a perfect summer song. “Last Thing on Your Mind” offers a cheerful balance to the wintry doldrums. With its jaunty bass line and sun-kissed synth foundation that call to mind The Beta Band, this song wastes no time in charming the listener. Evans is joined on the track by fellow Welsh singer (and frequent collaborator) Cate LeBon. Together they recreate the substantive whimsy (which only sounds like an oxymoron if you’ve never listened to H. Hawkline) last heard on the 2015 release, In the Pink of Condition.
“Last Thing On Your Mind” is from his upcoming LP which will possibly be out later this year via Heavenly Recordings. Until then, his Soundcloud page offers plenty of streamable tracks. He’s also on tour now thru mid-April supporting Devendra Barnhart.
Wire – “Short Elevated Period” (London, England)
RIYL: Colin Newman, Television, Guided By Voices, Mission of Burma
If you left home tomorrow dressed in vintage ’70s attire, you’d date yourself with your questionable sartorial choices. But if you cranked this tune from a band that will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, your choice would be applauded. Simply put, “Short Elevated Period” from British post-punk legends Wire proves the timelessness of their music, not that it was ever in doubt.
The group’s upcoming release (their 15th!), Silver/Lead, is out March 31st (which, coincidentally, is the anniversary of their first gig back in 1977) on the band’s label, pinkflag.
Wire’s current lineup includes: Colin Newman (guitar, vocals), Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Matthew Simms (guitar), and Robert Grey (drums).
Young Fathers – “Only God Knows” (Edinburgh, Scotland)
RIYL: THEEsatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Roots Manuva
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose the T2: Transpotting soundtrack. But why would you want to do a thing like that?
Easy: it’s got three songs from award-winning Scottish hip-hop band Young Fathers, including this ace new tune, “Only God Knows.” It’s sandwiched between the likes of The Clash, Underworld, Queen, and Iggy Pop – so of course it’s worth a listen. But man, is it a killer. Featuring the Leith Congregational Choir, it feels like a sermon on the perils of urban and moral decay preached from the pulpit of a wisened veteran. But even if you’re the type whose focus is on melodies instead of lyrics, it’s still got enough hooks to keep you fully engaged and entranced.
For those not already familiar with Young Fathers, check out our interview with the trio from almost three years ago. Then grab the soundtrack when it releases this Friday (UK) and February 3 (US/worldwide) via Polydor.
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