A current of uplifting energy permeates the Melodic Tonic ’18 June 6th edition. From soul-stirring R&B and mind-bending experimental fare to vibrant indie pop, these six tunes offer the boost you need to get through the rest of the week.
Curtis Harding – “It’s Not Over” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: Michael Kiwanuka, Leon Bridges, Son Little
Have you heard the new Curtis Harding? Even if the answer is yes, your To-Do List now has just one item. Because no matter your preferred music genre or your mood right this moment, what you need in your life is “It’s Not Over” because of its transformative power. His last LP, Face Your Fear, was one of our Favorite Albums of 2017 for that very reason. There are plenty of soulful singers out there, but when it comes to indie soul, Curtis Harding has few peers.
We all experience hardships that test our limits. Harding accepts those feelings of weariness and in return hands you a heaping dose of soulful encouragement with the same heartfelt delivery of Michael Kiwanuka and Leon Bridges. You can hear the sincerity in every note. Each verse leaves you feeling more inspired and ready to keep going thanks to uplifting lyrics like these:
“Though life has its struggles / And its ups and downs
See, you are the fighter, baby / It’s only the first round
So don’t you cry / Dry your tears
We’ll get by / Have no fear…”
Harding’s whirlwind tour begins June 8 in Poland. (He crosses the pond between Europe and the U.S. three times between now and November!) A full list of events is here.
Kutiman – “Lucid Dream” (Tel Aviv, Israel)
RIYL: Beats Antique, Imarhan, Polyrhythmics
Israel’s Kutiman dazzled listeners with his 6AM album three years ago. His originality first caught our attention – after all, it’s not every day you encounter such an impossible-to-categorize blend of psychedelic downtempo celestial Afro-tronica. But what kept our attention is the depth of the layers that this multi-talented composer/musician/producer (whose real name is Ophir Kutiel) delivers on each piece he creates. Fortunately he hasn’t kept us waiting too long for more magic on par with his “Inner Galactic Lovers” that first captivated us.
Kutiman’s equally engaging “Lucid Dream” leads you on a sonic journey of otherworldly delights. While his previous works have incorporated electronic elements, “Lucid Dream” is a bolder fusion of genres. This epic track (it clocks in at over seven minutes!) evokes feelings of a cosmic voyage, with synth pulses emulating solar flares that illuminate your weightless travel. It’s just another example of Kutiman’s masterful mixing of tones and rhythms. Need a new vibe for your hot yoga session? Look no further.
His forthcoming Don’t Hold Onto the Clouds album arrives July 6 with pre-orders at Bandcamp.
Wild Nothing – “Letting Go” (Virginia, USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Deerhunter, Talking Heads
It seems like yesterday when Wild Nothing released Life of Pause, but in reality it’s been over two years. The soaring bliss of that album marked a career high point for project mastermind Jack Tatum. Now he has shared the upbeat, Talking Heads-esque “Letting Go” from his upcoming fourth album, Indigo. It’s stellar.
This multi-faceted lead track calls to mind the brilliance of his 2010 debut, Gemini, yet nothing seems derivative or rehashed. The urgent energy here keeps you transfixed and delivers unexpected twists and turns along the way. Between the shimmering melody and the bright vocals, this is a song you can dive into and spend countless hours lost in all its nuanced textures. If this is an indication of what lies in store on Indigo, we’ll need to go ahead and add this to our Favorite Albums of 2018 list. Sure, other albums will be released between now and December, but the fresh vitality of this one will be hard to top.
Indigo arrives August 31 via Captured Tracks with pre-orders here and at Bandcamp. Wild Nothing currently has eight tour dates announced across the lower half of the U.S.; check here to find the show nearest you.
The Regrets – “Houndstooth” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, Catfish & The Bottlemen, The Libertines
Put down that latte you’ve been sipping; you won’t need it now. Seattle indie rockers The Regrets produce enough energetic goodness on their new “Houndstooth” single to keep you fueled until this time next week. Think that’s an overstatement? Try listening to this slice of jangly indie garage-rock perfection and see if you don’t feel invincible afterwards. Go on; I’ll wait. I’ll bet you can’t keep from bopping along to its infectious riff. The first notes provide instant gratification; 10 seconds in, you realize you’re hooked.
What makes “Houndstooth” such an unbelievably addictive charmer is its almost scientific accuracy to hit all the sweet spots for music. Catchy hooks and swagger? Check. Lively tempo that makes you want to dance wherever you are the moment you hear it? Check. Perfect union of tight instrumentation and Britpop-inspired vocals? Ohhh yeah. “Houndstooth” belongs on everyone’s Songs of the Summer playlists.
If every song The Regrets make sound this irresistible, it should be a matter of minutes until they’re signed to a major label and start wowing huge festival crowds. Seriously, why have they not been scooped up already?
The self-released “Houndstooth” is available now from these streaming and purchase links.
Tim Carr – “Take Me There” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Tallest Man on Earth, Lord Huron, Iron and Wine
Sunset warmth awaits you on the newest offering from Los Angeles dream-folk artist Tim Carr. The mellow intimacy of his vocals on “Take Me There” draws you in and beckons you to the nearest beach. If this is your first time hearing him, you are in for a treat!
“Take Me There” reveals itself as a tapestry rich in textures. You’ll hear the ambling tempo of Lord Huron or Iron and Wine paired with sun-kissed harmonies that would make the Beach Boys proud. This is the song you need on a leisurely drive up the California coast – or wherever the road takes you. It’s a classic traveling tune. Leave behind the noise of the city and lose yourself in Carr’s dulcet tones. You won’t regret it.
We don’t have details yet about a follow-up to his 2016 LP, The Last Days of Fighting, but hopefully more gems like this one are coming soon.
St. Jude the Obscure – “I’m The Wolves” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: First Aid Kit, Of Monsters and Men, CHVRCHES
Powerful. Soul-stirring. Stunning. Whichever term you fancy, the rush you get from hearing “I’m The Wolves” from Liverpool duo St. Jude the Obscure will leave you searching for extra synonyms to describe the beauty of this song. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a mellow folk song. No, despite its low-key intro, this tune has incendiary properties: what starts as a tempered spark soon erupts into a spectacular explosion of intensity. There’s a reason this song is featured last on this playlist: it’s a terrific song for a finale. You can envision fans scrambling to grab future set lists that have “Wolves” written at the end. The triumphant swell of the last half makes for a perfect conclusion of a live show – one that leaves everyone feeling euphoric. But let’s step back a bit first.
We need to talk about the amazing vocals of Adele Emmas and Christian Sanford. If you love the vocal chemistry of First Aid Kit and Of Monsters and Men as well as the vibrance of CHVRCHES, then St. Jude the Obscure will likely become your newest musical obsession. Their sound is powerful. The production is flawless. “I’m The Wolves” has everything needed to become a massive global hit. The question is: how long will it take for the rest of the world to discover this hidden gem of a band? Hopefully not long.
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