The six cocktails on the Melodic Tonic ’18 February 28th edition are all potent in their own way. From dreamy indie pop to jangly Americana and psychedelic folk-rock, these artists from England, Scotland, and the USA offer plenty of variety to cure the midweek blues. This week’s playlist begins and ends in the UK.
Tracyanne & Danny – “Home & Dry” (Glasgow, Scotland & Brighton, England)
RIYL: Camera Obscura, Crybaby
Spring’s imminent arrival calls for a seasonally-appropriate soundtrack – something light and breezy, with carefree warmth. Who better to deliver such a tune than Tracyanne & Danny, the duo of Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and Crybaby’s Danny Coughlan?
Their debut single, “Home & Dry”, puts an instant smile on your face. Its radiant dream-pop tones caress your senses and fill your heart with optimism. How can you feel anything but mellow when hearing Tracyanne sing “Come what may / may as well call it a day” while Danny adds rich vocal harmonies? If this single is any indication, their self-titled debut album will be in heavy rotation this summer.
Band members include: Tracyanne Campbell and Danny Coughlan (vocals, guitar, glockenspiel, percussion), Carwyn Ellis (piano, bass, clavioline), Sean Read (sax, trumpet, backing vocals, percussion), and Stacey Hampson (drums).
The Moondoggies – “Sick in Bed” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Josh Ritter, Lord Huron
Another equally mellow tune comes from Seattle indie darlings The Moondoggies. They cast an instant spell of hypnotic delight on their new “Sick in Bed” single. Be prepared to swoon hard while you listen to this one. The opening lines (“I love you more and more each day” ) may have you contemplating whether to call into work so you can spend the day in bed entranced by this song.
While the tune is decidedly chill, it doesn’t stay that way. Instead of an upbeat bridge, The Moondoggies opt for a breather after three minutes. That sleepy, fuzz-filled, minute-long interlude then segues into a fully-amped instrumental final passage. You nearly forget it’s been almost five years since their last album, Adios I’m a Ghost. “Sick in Bed” makes you feel like the wait was only a fever dream.
The Moondoggies are Kevin Murphy, Caleb Quick, Bobby Terreberry, Carl Dahlen, and Jon Pontrello.
Hearing Trees – “Telling Peter” (Winnipeg, Canada)
RIYL: The National, Matthew Good, WIntersleep
While we are still early in 2018, one band has already delivered some of the best lyrical lines of the year. Graham Hnatiuk – the singer/songwriter behind Canadian indie folk-rock project Hearing Trees – describes feelings we all have on the band’s “Telling Peter” single:
“Gonna tell Peter at the gates
I’m in love with my mistakes”
Those honest lyrics are woven onto a moody minor chord palette that calls to mind The National. It’s an emotionally rewarding experience from a band worth getting to know ASAP. While some songwriters avoid tackling heavier issues like mental illness and depression, Hearing Trees addresses them head-on with cathartic results. Much like The National, this is a band who venture into darker areas with you but never leave your side. We look forward to what else their debut full-length, Quiet Dreams, has to offer.
Hearing Trees are: Graham Hnatiuk (lyrics, vocals, guitar, piano), Marc Murie (guitar), Michael P Falk (guitar/bass), Haley Carr (backing vocals), and Kyle Kunzel (drums/backing vocals).
Rye Baby – “Doomsday Wedding” (Chattanooga, USA)
RIYL: Shovels & Rope, Shannon & The Clams, Nicole Atkins
If you haven’t heard the charming southern duo Rye Baby yet, hang onto your hat. Their brand of rockin’ Americana will give you a high-octane jolt sure to make you feel ten feet tall and bullet-proof. You may expect a song called “Doomsday Wedding” to be a bluesy tune or a sad ballad, but that’s far from the truth. Instead, this Tennessee based band amps up the sass and delivers plenty of hip-swaying appeal. From the first note, you know you’re in for a rollicking good time.
Callie Harmon and Jennifer Brumlow are known for their bold sound and energetic performances. Between his blazing guitar work and her powerhouse vocals, this duo is the musical love child of Chuck Berry and Dolly Parton. Rye Baby’s marriage of old-school rock & roll with country swagger is a musical union that makes you want to yell, “Hell yeah!”
Major Murphy – “One Day” (Grand Rapids, USA)
RIYL: Paul Young, BNQT, Cina Polada
Another band delivering sun-kissed goodness is emerging Michigan trio Major Murphy. Their newest single revitalizes your winter-weary spirits with its warm, breezy tones.
“One Day” is the perfect accompaniment to your next leisurely adventure. That bouncy bass line is particularly irresistible, as are the warm harmonies that float between the modern dream-pop and ’70s AM radio/soft rock realm. If you need a soothing melody to reset your stress levels, look no further. “One Day” has calming, mood-lifting powers that usually require a prescription. Keep on repeat daily for maximum results.
Major Murphy are: Jacob Bullard (lyrics, guitar, vocals), Jacki Warren (bass, vocals), and Brian Voortman (drums).
Hollow Hand – “Blackberry Wine” (Brighton, UK)
RIYL: The Beatles, Fleet Foxes, Midlake, Lionlimb
The yesteryear vibe continues with this vintage-inspired tune from Brighton-based indie psych-folk outfit Hollow Hand. You’ll swear you’ve been transported back to the era of polyester clothes and lava lamps when you immerse yourself in their new “Blackberry Wine” single.
While this is very much a modern tune, there is no denying the retro influence that permeates every chord. This trio of Max Kinghorn-Mills, Pan Andrs, and Atlas Shrugs seamlessly fuse psychedelic elements with folk-rock from another time. Hollow Hand is equals parts Revolver-era The Beatles and Van Occupanther-era Midlake mixed with a dash of Kurt Vile and Lionlimb; the result is a delicious, head-spinning odyssey that does not disappoint. Hopefully they will cross the pond for some North American shows this summer.
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