Melodic Tonic ’18 November 7th is a tight five tunes to help you get over hump day. Some are extremely chill while others will leave you dazzled.
Andrew Bird – “Bloodless” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Jim James, Kishi Bashi, The Tallest Man on Earth
You may not think of Andrew Bird as a protest artist. After all, violins and whistles are rarely associated with expressions of rage. The beauty of Bird’s newest single, “Bloodless”, is its subtlety. Lyrically it packs a punch, reminding us that now is not the time to be complacent. Musically, however, Bird delivers his message with his usual refined elegance. This only increases the effectiveness of “Bloodless” while giving listeners plenty to ponder:
“…the best have lost their convictions
while the worst keep
sharpening their claws
peddling in their dark fictions
while what’s left of us we just hem and we haw…”
Lens Mozer – “I Wanna Love You” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, Midlake
How has Lens Mozer escaped our notice for so long? The Los Angeles-based talent has toured with some of our favorites (Prism Tats, Nic Hessler, Dick Stusso) yet he seems to have appeared on our radar out of the blue.
Maybe we’re late to the party, but our enthusiasm abounds now for this guy. All it took was one spin of “I Wanna Love You” for full-on fawning to occur. This is because Lens Mozer is working with a guaranteed formula: he blends gauzy layers of dream pop with daydream vocals that call to you from some faraway place. His sound evokes the vocal magic of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James with the textural richness of Fleet Foxes. Three notes in and you find your mind floating away, taking your focus and your cares along with it for the next five minutes. A blissful peace remains, so bask in the sun-kissed hues of this tune. But be prepared to keep it repeat for at least an hour to receive its full benefits.
Plastic Jurassic will release the album Don’t Stop in January. But you don’t have to wait that long to get this single: it’s available in digital format on Bandcamp, along with album pre-orders. Mozer’s next show is November 16 in Los Angeles with details here.
William Tyler – “Fail Safe” (Los Angeles via Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Lambchop, Silver Jews
William Tyler makes instrumental music for travelers. Specifically, his new single “Fail Safe” conjures up every positive emotion of a road trip. In just over three minutes he captures the fluttering anticipation of the journey’s start and the excitement of changing scenery. In his case, the song’s inspiration may have come from landscapes that changed drastically when the Nashville native headed west to California.
Now based in Los Angeles, Tyler’s new music has a sunny shine. That’s not to say it lacked brightness when he was in Tennessee – far from it – but on this tune the vitality seems amplified. The intricate guitar work matches the dance of autumn’s falling leaves. Few musicians can make instrumentals come alive the way William Tyler does. You owe it to yourself to dive headlong into his entire catalog if you aren’t already familiar with his work.
His forthcoming Goes West album will have more of his signature vibrant warmth. It arrives January 25 via Merge Records with pre-orders from these links. Fans in New England states can still catch Tyler this week on the final three dates of his fall tour.
Foxwarren – “Everything Apart” (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)
RIYL: Andy Shauf, Pedro the Lion, Damien Jurado
Canadian indie singer/songwriter Andy Shauf has been a favorite of ours for many years now. His 2015 debut LP, The Bearer of Bad News, alerted the world to his musical craftsmanship. Now he’s introducing fans to his new supergroup of sorts called Foxwarren. This collaboration with fellow Canadian artists (including Avery Kissick who played drums on Shauf’s albums) is a vehicle for Shauf to express his louder folk-rock side. And express it he does.
“Everything Apart” veers off the usual path Shauf takes musically: the vocals are bolder, the hooks bigger, and the impact more intense. Even the video with its Cold War-era espionage theme quickens your pulse. The band may have shared affections for The Band and Paul Simon, but the tones they have created here are far more mystical and intriguing. Sonically they have more in common with Damien Jurado and Midlake in terms of engaging storytelling that lures you in and keeps you mesmerized.
The band’s upcoming self-titled debut will be an ideal companion on a cold winter night. Despite it being an eleventh-hour release, it may still end up on our Best of 2018 lists. Look for it when it arrives November 30 via Anti Records (US) and Arts & Crafts (CAN). You can also pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Foxwarren are: Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals), Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals), and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums/percussion).
Mint Julep – “Fall on Time” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Helios, Goldmund, M83, Tycho
Keeping up with new music from kaleidoscopic artist Keith Kenniff is a daunting, even dizzying task. His creative output is released under multiple monikers, often alone (Goldmund, Helios) but sometimes with his wife, Hollie as indie dream-pop outfit Mint Julep. Their newest joint offering is the lush and inviting “Fall on Time.”
Earlier this year the couple shared “As Far As I Can Get”, which at the time seemed to be a one-off. No details of an album followed, so fans were able to contain their piqued curiosity. This, of course, ended yesterday when Kenniff announced the new album is being mastered. Will “Fall On Time” be included or is this simply an unexpected musical token? Time will tell. While we don’t have a release date or title for the new album, one thing is certain: its arrival cannot come soon enough. We can think of no better soundtrack for wintry days than the bright, dazzling sounds of Mint Julep.
For now listeners can relish each splendid moment of this tune. The couple’s full catalog (of both singular and joint projects) is available on Bandcamp.
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