The Melodic Tonic ’18 June 27th edition serves up six sonic cocktails with distinctly North American flavors. From indie dream pop to psychedelic roots-rock, these tunes will quench your new music thirst.
Ava Luna – “Deli Run” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Chastity Belt, Frankie Cosmos, The Mystery Lights
Before noise-cancelling headphones were de rigueur accessories, an interesting thing would happen while you rode the subway in New York City: you’d hear what other people were jamming. That now-archaic experience let you absorb an eclectic mix of rock, pop, disco, rap, and hip-hop (whether you wanted to or not). The mix might not always be congruous, but it was always something different. While those days are mostly ancient history, one indie group from Brooklyn maintain that spirit of genre fluidity on “Deli Run.”
Ava Luna achieve what few bands can: they fuse together elements of disco and soul with modern pop without sounding like any of their influences. This is fresh and inventive, and it invigorates you from head to toe. Ava Luna refuse to be bound by genre stereotypes. The flow of their sound transcends your preconceived notions of what “indie music” should sound like. So just flow with them and enjoy where the journey takes you.
Ava Luna are: Ethan Bassford, Felicia Douglass, Julian Fader, Carlos Hernandez, and Becca Kauffman.
Cordovas – “Frozen Rose” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Grateful Dead, Turnpike Troubadours, Upstate Rubdown
You can’t swing a dead cat in East Nashville without hitting a half dozen indie bands. OK, nobody is literally swinging animals (though it’s a wonder a band hasn’t chosen that name!) – no, it’s just an expression to indicate saturation. While the east side of Music City is crammed with emerging (and some fairly established) artists, not all of them sound alike. And precisely none of them sound like Cordovas. One listen to their “Frozen Rose” will have old-school Deadheads smiling just as much as their hipster grandkids.
This band makes some delicious indie Americana roots-rock with a psychedelic twist. There’s no easy way to classify their sound, but you’ll be too busy dancing in the sunshine to care. “Frozen Rose” begins with a heady riff and caramel-smooth harmonies. From there the band explores the edges of their Americana sound without veering too far off-course. That is to say, this tune doesn’t get too heady or become too rock-sounding. But that’s OK. Needless to say we are already imagining how great these guys will sound this summer at Newport Folk Festival. Cool, ocean breezes and warm, southern folk-rock is a winning combo in our book.
You can pre-order the band’s upcoming That Santa Fe Channel LP from ATO Records ahead of its August 10th release date.
Dilly Dally – “I Feel Free” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: The Joy Formidable, Estrons, Wolf Alice
If you have ever wondered what causes the dreaded “sophomore slump” for bands, Dilly Dally can shed some light. The Canadian indie rockers released a critically acclaimed debut album, Sore, in late 2015, then spent the following year on a touring loop. And we all know what they say about familiarity… Still, the four-piece triumphed over exhaustion to reinvent themselves. The result of their tenacity is the fiercely hopeful follow-up album, Heaven. The album’s lead single is quite simply a triumphant anthem.
“We’ll start it again / in a moment of silence”, sings frontwoman Katie Monks as chills ripple up and down your spine. Can an indie rock song be both fierce and intimate? Most definitely. In the video, Monks utters that line after digging up her three bandmates. You’ll need to watch it to understand, but one thing’s for certain: there is no denying the band’s tour de force sound.
Dilly Dally are: Katie Monks (vocals, guitars), Liz Ball (lead guitar), Jimmy Tony (bass), and Benjamin Reinhartz (drums).
La Force – “You Amaze Me” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Feist, AroarA
Ariel Engle – the voice and mastermind behind La Force – makes what she calls “nocturnal electronic pop.” That’s not a far stretch for a member of Broken Social Scene, those darlings of Canada’s indie music scene. But what sets Engle’s solo project apart from her better-known collective is the dreamy romantic qualities she displays on her new “You Amaze Me” single.
Engle is singing this modern love song for her husband and Broken Social Scene bandmate, Andrew Whiteman (Apostle of Hustle), but she’s not alone on the project. She gets some assistance from other members of BSS plus Plants & Animals and Suuns, but the charm of this song is all Engle. Her sultry smooth vocals elevate what would be an ordinary love song to a sophisticated and danceable pop ballad. Trust us: you can listen to this gem of a tune many dozen times in a row and never grow tired of it. It’s just that irresistible.
Versing – “Silver Dollar” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Remy Zero, Love Spit Love, The Dandy Warhols
We like to keep tabs on the indie labels from Seattle, because that scene never fails to deliver. One emerging band has been building a name for themselves around the Emerald City for the last couple of years, and now they stand poised to make a global splash. If you aren’t already acquainted with them, let us introduce you to Versing. These four talents make jangly rock that appeals to a broad spectrum of indie music fans, especially on their latest effort, “Silver Dollar.”
The detached coolness you hear in the minimal vocals may remind you of New Wave/early goth while the rest of the instrumentation echoes early ’90s college rock. This song is the subtle raised eyebrow/head nod move instead of a sweaty hug. “Silver Dollar” has hooks that will leave you nostalgic for the days when MTV played music you actually wanted to hear. (If you’re under 30, maybe Google “120 Minutes” for a quick explanation.) The only thing that would improve this song would be an extra minute or two so these guys could display more of their talents. But then again, keeping the song at 2:46 only whets your appetite for more.
Daniel Salas on vocals and guitar, Graham Baker on guitar, Kirby Lochner on bass, and Max Keyes on drums
Wild Pink – “Jewels Drossed in the Runoff” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins meet Tom Petty
Wild Pink paint their musical canvas with such vivid imagery you should close your eyes while you listen. Mentions of “canopy tops dripping with Spanish moss” infuse “Jewels Drossed in the Runoff” with authentic southern humidity. This languid tone hangs heavy over the song, though not in a swampy, oppressive way. No, the mellowness you get here evokes the leisurely pace of a summer afternoon down south. In fact, you can easily describe how Florida feels in June just by playing this song for anyone who’s never been. There is no rushing; you simply amble toward your destination with calm, steady purpose. This song does just that.
Fans of Tom Petty will appreciate the laid-back delivery of frontman John Ross. Together with TC Brownell and Dan Keegan the trio create lush soundscapes that are ripe for exploring. Take a detour from the predictable mainstream and venture down a new trail with Wild Pink. Inquisitive minds will be rewarded.
The band’s forthcoming Yolk in the Fur album arrives July 20 via Tiny Engines with pre-orders from the label and Bandcamp. Look for Wild Pink to hit the road later this year with the equally amazing Thunder Dreamer. The band’s album release show is July 25 in Brooklyn.
Share This Article On...
Follow The Revue On...