From reggae to rock, the Melodic Tonic ’18 August 29th edition offers six refreshing musical cocktails. This playlist features songs from two Americans, two Canadians, and one Aussie and British artist alike. We get started with a subtly ferocious collaborative tune.
POSTDATA – “Erase Your Heart” (Halifax, NS, Canada)
RIYL: Wintersleep, Frightened Rabbit, Manchester Orchestra
One of the year’s best albums made a quiet entrance earlier this summer, but we are just now sharing one of its stellar tracks. Canadian musician Paul Murphy (Wintersleep) recently released the second LP for his side project, POSTDATA. This stunning effort has been in heavy rotation lately, thanks to the powerful “Erase Your Heart.”
Originally released May 18th, Let’s Be Wilderness features two members of Frightened Rabbit (drummer Grant Hutchison and multi-instrumentalist/producer Andy Monaghan) plus two of Murphy’s Wintersleep bandmates. This collaborative effort accounts for the white-hot creative synergy evident in each note. From explosive intro that sears with heart-pounding percussion to Murphy’s intimate delivery, every second of this tune is engaging, emotional, and cathartic.
This song alone places Let’s Be Wilderness on our short list of Favourite Albums of 2018. The rest of the LP is full of equally stellar gems. The album is out now on Bandcamp and iTunes from Paper Bag Records.
Eric Bachmann – “Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter” (Athens, GA, USA)
RIYL: Crooked Fingers, Archers of Loaf, Josh Rouse
Another highly anticipated album is No Recover, the fourth solo release from American indie singer/songwriter Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers, Archers of Loaf). His stirring new single “Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter” is melancholy yet hopeful – sentiments many of us feel in these uncertain times. He wrote the song about “love surviving the impending apocalypse” because he wants to be a “positive force” in the world.
The positive forces in this song are downright palpable. The steady crescendo carries you to a elevated mental place, Here, after a tense journey, you feel welcomed and less alone. Bachmann’s stripped-down style here reinforces the calming message. With minimal production and an acoustic guitar, the melody offers comfort. Bachmann reminds us we’re all jaded, but together we can overcome the empty spaces and adversities we encounter in a cruel world.
Ainslie Wills – “Society” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Patti Smith, Brandi Carlile, Titt Merritt
The indie folk music scene is thriving worldwide on account of new singer/songwriters emerging from all corners of the globe. One future star to watch is Australia’s Ainslie Wills. Just as her fellow countrywoman Courtney Barnett made a massive impression with her no-frills musical style, Wills stands poised to repeat that path.
With a scorching ballad like “Society”, Wills demonstrates her talent not only as an artist but as a voice of her generation. On this song she bemoans the ways society projects stereotypical expectations on women. The lyrics “Why the hell they gotta put these clothes on me” will resonate with every woman of any age. But the lines that stand out for their raw emotional honesty reveal another truth that unites women: our desire to be accepted, acknowledged, and loved regardless of where we are on our journeys:
“I just want someone to love me quietly
for who I am for real
and not for who I try to be”
Keep an eye on this talent. She’s been making waves in Australia for a while now; her 2013 debut, You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine, received an Australian Music Prize nomination. Her new album, All You Have Is All You Need, is due next year. Meanwhile, “Society” is streaming now from these sources.
Den-Mate – “Charlotte” (Washington, D.C., USA)
RIYL: Japanese Breakfast, Mitski, Jay Som
It can be easy to dismiss “bedroom pop” as lacking substance. Too often the genre invites sleepy descriptions due to its soporific tones. It takes an artist like Jules Hale – the voice of emerging lo-fi indie outfit Den-Mate– to challenge preconceived notions with just one song. The Washington, DC-based group silences any naysayer who thinks DIY projects lack substance. In fact, their new single “Charlotte”is a dazzling indie pop gem.
Its magic lies in the perfect balance of Hale’s ethereal vocals and rich instrumentation. Calling this “lush” is a criminal understatement. This is indie pop of the blissful fever dream perfection variety. Call it addicting and intoxicating instead. It still won’t fully scratch the surface, but it’s an accurate start.
If you missed the band’s debut five years ago, now is the time to become acquainted – and inevitably fall hard for – Den-Mate’s incomparable sound.
Pre-orders for Den-Mate’s forthcoming LP, Loceke, are available at Bandcamp and Babe City Records ahead of its September 28 release date.
Other members of Den-Mate include: Jonah Welt, Jon Weiss, Peter Lillis, and Rick Irby.
MUNYA – “Hotel Delmano” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Isobel Campbell, Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura
If you love female singers with breezy, heavenly vocals, then meet Josianne Boivin. Her indie pop project, MUNYA, is sure to delight music fans with discriminating tastes. The lush tones she creates on her new “Hotel Delmano” single are a seamless fusion of baroque pop (Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura) with mellow ‘60s-era accents.
It doesn’t hurt that Boivin sings en Française; her Québécoise native tongue only increases the song’s sultry allure. But even if she sang in English, Boivin has one of the most beguiling voices we have heard lately. Join us in watching as this future star’s career ascends to stratospheric heights.
Hollie Cook – “Sweet Like Chocolate” (London, England)
RIYL: The Slits, Xenia Rubinos, The FRIGHTNRS
Does the term “cosmic/tropical pop” remind you of a summertime cocktail party that suddenly became a bit hallucinogenic? Picture fruity cocktails paired with microdoses while you saunter barefoot around a pool – then you’ll be in the perfect frame of mind for Hollie Cook’s latest concoction. Her take on the Shanks & Bigfoot late-‘90s classic “Sweet Like Chocolate” is the only tune you’ll need for the rest of the season.
Cook’s naturally sumptuous vocals glide over the reggae melodies. The sun-kissed intro sets a cheery tone. But even the brightest of steel drums cannot prepare you for the radiance that Cook infuses into this cover. Keep this one queued up for an instant mood boost as summer starts to wind down. “Sweet Like Chocolate” will keep you in a state of sunny bliss long into winter.
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