The Melodic Tonic ’18 June 20th edition is full of international flavors, including a trio of Swedish artists, a duo from Chile and two American bands. As the summer approaches and the temperatures rise, let the cool tunes from today’s playlist bring some relief.

FREYR – “Over My Head” (Stockholm, Sweden via Iceland)

RIYL: Bon Iver, José González, Nick Drake

Several years ago a Swedish duo called Brother North created a beautiful indie folk album that impressed us all. Since falling in love with the sun-kissed tranquility of their sound, we have craved more of those blissful melodies. Now the wait is over as the multi-instrumentalist Freyr Flodgren – a.k.a. FREYR – has released another dazzling gem in his new “Over My Head” single.

The simple beauty of FREYR’s music surrounds you from the first note. The mellow, atmospheric tones of “Over My Head” echo the serene calm of Bon Iver and José González while his intimate vocals call to mind indie folk legend Nick Drake. This song rises to greet you like the dawn, shining its steady warmth with each passing minute. Sweden is home to many indie artists, but few possess FREYR’s gift for creating such understated musical elegance.

This single is available now on iTunes.

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Sam Florian – “Morning Lights” (Karlstad, Sweden)

RIYL: Washed Out, Deerhunter, Wild Nothing

Get to know the name Sam Florian: this emerging Swedish talent is poised to make a major breakthrough this year. One listen to “Morning Lights” tells you this guy will soon make waves in the indie music world.

The connection you have with this song is first with the sleek, downtempo beats that evoke Washed Out. It’s confident with subtle soulful flourishes. Then you begin to feel a connection with Florian’s lyrics. They’re intimate and honest, in a way that makes you relate to him as more than just a songwriter. Something about these lyrics make you feel like you’re having a conversation with a close friend who is struggling to get through some personal issues. These lyrics, in particular, offer personal insight:

“I can’t pretend anymore
I can’t comprehend anymore”

Florian says this song is inspired by skateboarding, an activity that helped him find release as a teenager:

It’s about a confused teenager that had to take care about a sick parent and growing up at the same time. It’s about getting out of this situation, one of my escapes was skateboarding. I have been skateboarding for 15 years and it’s always been a getaway for me.

Clearly the escape he found then is now available to listeners through his music. We look forward to hearing more from this emerging talent.

“Morning Lights” is out now via Hybris Records on iTunes and Spotify.

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The Holydrug Couple – “I’ll Only Say This” (Santiago, Chile)

RIYL: Tame Impala, Jacco Gardner, Moon Duo

If you don’t already know that The Holydrug Couple is a duo from Chile, you might think they were from sunny California or maybe Australia. After all, the mellow psychedelic haze that floats through their new “I’ll Only Say This” single sounds like a fusion of The Beach Boys with the modern psych pop of Tame Impala. Regardless of geography, this song is the soundtrack for your next vacation – whether physical or mental.

“I’ll Only Say This” guides you on a sonic adventure to distant realms. If you have ever taken a hot-air balloon ride, you remember the gentle soaring feeling as you floated weightlessly through the skies. A similar lightweight, breezy warmth is found on this tune, and the result is instant calm. Let musicians Ives Sepúlveda Minho and Manuel Parra guide you to a blissful place. That’s the experience that awaits you on this tune.

It’s from their forthcoming album, Hyper Super Mega, which is due from Sacred Bones Records on September 14. You can pre-order it from Bandcamp and the label.

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Altopalo – “Terra” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Alt-J, The XX

Prepare to feel a tingling down your spine as you get lost in “Terra” from Brooklyn-based Altopalo. This emerging four-piece weave together lush electronic textures that leave you spellbound.

This is a soundscape that draws you in with the allure of Alt-J and The XX. The tones intrigue you; the vocals pique your interest and leave you powerless to resist its unfolding layers. As you listen to frontman Rahm Silverglade’s whispered delivery of the lines, “Show me everything you’ve got,” you can’t help but become entranced. Many who listen to this gem of a tune will set new speed records on how quickly they can hit the play button repeatedly. It’s simply that compelling. If this single is any indication, their upcoming debut album, frozenthere, will be one of our favorites for 2018.

“Terra” is out now on Samedi Records while frozenthere is due later this year.

Altopalo are: Rahm Silverglade (vocals), Mike Haldeman (guitar), Jesse Bielenberg and Dillon Treacy (percussion).

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Seaside Heights – “The Invisible One” (Gothenburg, Sweden)

RIYL: Editors, Interpol, Simple Minds

Anyone who reads The Revue knows we are all huge fans of cool synth-pop. We welcome the recent trend of New Wave-inspired bands, but some of those artists seem content to skim the surface of retro influences. Bands who emulate The Cure or Depeche Mode don’t make much of a lasting impression. It’s the bands like Sweden’s Seaside Heights who turn heads and make us pay attention. Their new single draws from some ’80s bands while remaining completely modern and original.

“The Invisible One” is instantly familiar yet new. The bold intro will remind you of Simple Minds while the synths may send your mind drifting down memory lane with Echo & The Bunnymen or A-ha. But “The Invisible One” also features the boldness of Editors and Interpol. This gives the song its modern energy and adds to its “wow” factor. Seaside Heights might be a new band on our radar, but based on the brilliance of this single, we are excited to hear what else they have in store.

The band’s new self-released EP, Made Up Minds and Bad News, is out now on iTunes.

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Cannons – “Round and Round” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Toro y Moi, Phantogram, GEMS

Does your summer playlist need an infusion of sleek, danceable synth pop? Of course it does! And one tune we will keep in steady rotation for the next few months is “Round and Round” from Los Angeles trio Cannons.

A tune with hooks this hypnotic should come with a warning about instant addiction. We have heard plenty of synth-driven songs this year (this is never a bad thing!), but not many songs have dazzled us as much as this dazzling tune. For starters, it is impossible not to fall under the spell cast by vocalist Michelle Joy. She rivals Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel in terms of sheer sultry charm. Meanwhile the expertly crafted melodies and pulse laid down by Ryan Clapham and Paul Davis energize your body and soul on a cellular level. Keep this tune cranked and its mesmerizing layers will become ingrained in your DNA – and that’s not a bad thing, either.

This tune is the first we’ve heard since the band’s 2017 LP, Night Drive; their upcoming EP, In a Heartbeat, is due this summer. Fortunately you don’t have to wait to get this single as it’s out now on iTunes.

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