The force is strong on the Melodic Tonic ’18 October 17th edition. Today’s playlist includes fierce tunes from equally fierce artists. We have a balance of indie rock and synth/electronica from indie legends and emerging talents in Germany, Sweden, and the USA.
Juliana Hatfield – “It’s So Weird” (Boston, USA)
RIYL: The Juliana Hatfield Three, Liz Phair, The Breeders, Tegan and Sara
Single girls (and guys) around the globe will soon realize that Juliana Hatfield is their ultimate role model. The 30-year veteran of indie music has exactly zero fucks left when it comes to society’s expectations of romance. Instead of pining for what she doesn’t have, Hatfield stays inside making music the world can sing along with.
“It’s So Weird” from her upcoming Weird LP explains with a raised fist why going out – literally or figuratively – is so highly overrated:
“I tore myself up for no reward behind those heavy doors, and I’m never gonna go back inside.”
Her new album explores ideas of freedom and solitude and the peace found by exploring both to their fullest. Based on this tune alone, Weird has already secured a spot on our Favorite Albums of 2019 list.
Little Dragon – “Lover Chanting” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Goldfrapp, Phantogram, Flume, ODESZA
When your body needs a boost, you can drink Red Bull for a quick fix. When your head needs a rush, you crank up Little Dragon for a guaranteed endorphin and adrenaline rush. Their indie electronic music has been a go-to remedy since the release of their 2009 self-titled debut. Now almost a decade later, the Swedish group again gets listeners on their feet with their infectious single, “Lover Chanting.”
The track is taken from the forthcoming LP of the same name that arrives next month. As frontwoman Yukimi Nagano explains, this album is about:
“The force of love. Not only between two people but the force of love in this universe as the ultimate ecstasy. Whether that is while you’re dancing at a disco forgetting where you are or just staring at the moon on a clear night, it can be anything. A swim in the ocean, a glance at a stranger–it’s a personal individual thing. Call it what you want but we have all felt it. So, embrace the great mystery of everything that your brain can’t grasp and lose track in the most beautiful sense. For all the lovers out there, chant along! Dance for peace and unity in this world of madness.”
Little Dragon are: Yukimi Nagano (vocals, percussion), Fredrik Wallin (bass), Håkan Wirenstrand (keys, synths), and Erik Bodin (drums).
Perel – “Super Venus” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: Yaz, Depeche Mode, Erasure
Most DJs spend their time playing other artists’ music. While some DJ do create original beats, it’s more unusual to find a female DJ making her own exceptional electronic music. Rarer still is a female DJ whose talents include being a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and singer. Say hello to the triple threat that is Annegret Fiedler – a.k.a. Perel – the German artist who has been composing since the age of eight. Call her a Wunderkind (the term definitely fits her) or just a badass musician, just don’t miss out on her “Super Venus” single.
“Super Venus” from her new album, Hermetica, channels the ‘80s while venturing deep into modern territory. In the first few seconds, you might expect to hear Dave Gahan’s voice. The intro does have a strong Depeche Mode vibe – that is, until the mesmerizing melody begins. This is when you’ll swear you have discovered a previously unreleased mid-’80s Yaz or Erasure track, or maybe a haunting sonic voyage that belongs on the next Stranger Things soundtrack. In fact, the folks in Hollywood should have Perel compose the entire film score for the next series. It’s a match made in music heaven.
Geotic – “Maglev” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Baths, emancipator, Kiasmos, Lindstrøm, Tycho
Will Wiesenfeld is a master at creating magical soundscapes. He doesn’t mind if you fall asleep while listening to his Geotic project. After all, his lush ambient pop tones beckon you to a place of serene bliss. One spin of his latest single, “Maglev”, is all the proof you need that his music should be prescribed to treat insomnia. But it’s not necessarily soporific; his melodies are also quite vivid and stimulating. Fans of effervescent ambient music (emancipator, Kiasmos) know how easy it is to get lost in the labyrinthine layers of a really great song. This is exactly the experience that awaits you on this song.
“Maglev” is, essentially, a vehicle for escapism. Whether your goal is to flee the mayhem of the outside world or to sink deep into slumber, this is the soundtrack for your life. Wiesenfeld says:
“If we spend most of our days wanting to escape the onslaught of news and media, the taxing rigors of stifling heat and bitter cold, the numbness of mundane existence, this is a temporary nepenthe, a refined antidote, a northwest passage offering ephemeral freedom and momentum.”
The artist who previously dazzled listeners with his Baths projects has been making music under the Geotic name for a decade. If you haven’t yet discovered either, dive in with the upcoming Traversa album. It arrives this Friday via Ghostly (US) and Tugboat Records (JP). You can also get it from Bandcamp or the label.
The Tracks – “Strange Moments” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Doors
Take a healthy dose of British rock and fuse it with some lightly psychedelic Los Angeles swagger. The result would sound a lot like The Tracks, an emerging indie rock outfit from East L.A. poised to set the music scene on fire. When their upcoming debut album, Treasured Memories, drops next month, prepare to see and hear these guys everywhere. The reason? Songs like “Strange Moments” hit all the right sweet spots for music fans.
For starters, the powerhouse vocals echo Julian Casablancas, Alex Turner, and Jim Morrison. That’s a heady combination on its own. But throw in the high-wattage energy of the jangly guitars, bass, and driving percussion, and you’ve got scorching hot hooks for days. One thing that makes The Tracks stand out is their ageless sound: theirs is a brand of indie rock that will appeal to fans of all ages and sub-genres, another staggering feat in a fickle industry.
We don’t know much about The Tracks’ background story. Those details will emerge in due time. What we do know is their sound is instantly addictive. It has plenty of grit and even more heart. Look no further than “Strange Moments” if you like rock ‘n roll that sizzles from start to finish.
The Tracks are: Venancio Bermudez (vocals, guitar), Jesiel Higuera (guitar), Felipe Contreras (bass), and Jimmy Conde (drums).
The Smoking Trees – “Who Is the Villain” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Brian Jonestown Massacre, Thee Oh Sees, Jacco Gardner
Wrapping up our LA hat trick is The Smoking Trees with a deliciously hazy interlude. Old-school trippy tones abound on “Who Is the Villain,” a three-minute odyssey to a psychedelic era. While the ’60s may seem ancient history to some, the sun-kissed sounds that emerged from Southern California then loom larger than ever on modern music.
The Smoking Trees is the project of Los Angeles-based musician Martin Nunez, a.k.a. Sir Psych. His healthy appreciation for the psychedelic sounds began in childhood. But unlike the rest of us who cannot wait to escape our parents’ music tastes, Sir Psych embraced the trippy fluidity he discovered. Even as he became a skilled musician (playing just about anything with strings), his fondness for psych rock remained strong.
Fans of modern psych (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Thee Oh Sees, Jacco Gardner) have plenty to love about The Smoking Trees. Even as colder weather approaches, you can find the warmth of summer in this music. Keep “Who Is the Villain” queued up for a hit of mellowness today or whenever you need to take a mental break from the world around you.
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