Four Fresh New Tracks

I’m sent so much new music each week that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it all, let alone write about every single, EP or album that enters my inbox or various social media messaging platforms. With that in mind, I’ve decided to try posting a weekly digest containing several new tracks, so that I can feature more artists. For my first such post, I’m including some fantastic new songs by (in alphabetical order) Blue Vines, Oli Barton & the Movement, Tobisonics and Vanity Fear. All four tracks are timely and topical, addressing issues relating to politics, sexual harassment and the pandemic.

“Disavow” by Blue Vines

Blue Vines is the music project of New York City-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Gonzalez, who makes innovative indie music with punk-rock elements. In August 2019, he released his wonderful debut EP Fever Dreamy, which I reviewed. He’s just dropped a terrific new single “Disavow” that was inspired by his contempt for Donald Trump and those who enable his unrelenting mendacity and lies – a sentiment I strongly share. With a fervent sense of frustration, Nick laments “Do I need special glasses for your alternate reality, or just adjust my moral compass? Cause it’s this lack of character that knows just how to make me scream. All at once cowardly and pompous.” The track has a bouncy, mid-tempo vibe with some pretty cool jangly guitar work.

“Get Out” by Oli Barton & the Movement

London-based Oli Barton & the Movement are a favorite of this blog; I’ve written about them numerous times since first featuring them in May 2017, and their brilliant songs “Kinky” and “44” both ended up on my 100 Best Songs of 2018 list. The band is headed by singer-songwriter Oli Barton, and includes Ryan Wilson on lead guitar, Jamal Lagoon on rhythm guitar, Marco Paone on Bass, and Josh Needham on drums. With a winning combination of talent, creativity and personality, their eccentric style of alternative rock is a crazy-good mix of post-punk and psychedelia, fortified with touches of funk, grunge and pop.

Their latest single “Get Out” is a deliriously catchy pop-rock song with a decidedly darker message. The song addresses sexual harassment and assault against women within the music industry, and seeks to raise awareness of this issue that Barton and the band feel quite strongly about. All proceeds from streaming during the first month after its release will go to the charity organization Women In Music. “Get Out” is the lead single from their long-awaited forthcoming album pipe dreams, and it’s a fantastic banger with a driving dance beat so irresistible, it’ll have even the most committed wallflower up and moving! I love Barton’s colorful vocals, and he’s in fine form here as he belts out the lyrics urging women to get themselves out of abusive situations. I love it!

“Military Industrial Complex” by Tobisonics

Tobisonics is a longtime alternative electro-pop artist, composer, songwriter and music producer based in Luxembourg. I’ve previously featured him twice on this blog, most recently this past March when I reviewed his single “All These Things”. Now he returns with a powerful new single “Military Industrial Complex“, a politically-charged electronic track featuring important speeches by Presidents Eisenhower and Trump. 

Like Blue Vines, Tobisonics was angered by recent actions of President Trump, namely his incendiary Rose Garden speech on June 1st in reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests. Here, he juxtaposes Trump’s speech with Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell Address warning of the need for perpetual vigilance to safeguard the liberties of the American people against the military industrial complex. Tobisonics explains: “I’d finished the production back in July and was looking for the right artist to add vocals, but then I remembered Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. The contrast between the dignified, nuanced, and hopeful tone of his speech and the macho, antagonistic and fatalistic language of Trump’s speech was so striking, I knew I had to put them together.” The result is an immensely compelling track featuring a dramatic and pulsating groove that magnifies the chilling words contained in the speeches.

“Virus” by Vanity Fear

Vanity Fear is an outstanding cinematic rock band based in Columbus, Georgia that I recently learned about when they followed me on Twitter, and I have to say their music was a revelation at first listen. Drawing on influences ranging from alt rock and metal to pop and hip hop, their music is dramatic, sweeping and harshly beautiful in ways that call to mind such bands as Evanescence, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater and Linkin Park. Vanity Fear was founded in May 2019, and consists of husband and wife Brandon Diaz and Heather Gevonovich, Matt Hardy, Jeff Cobb and Kyle Netherland. In their brief existence, the prolific band has already dropped two full albums Vanity and Fear in 2019, an EP Faith this past June, and several singles, the latest of which is “Virus“. It’s the first single from their forthcoming EP Optophobia, and it’s magnificent. I love this song more with each listen!

The track starts off tentatively, with spooky synths and an arresting drumbeat, then gradually builds into a gorgeous soundscape of glittery synths, haunting piano keys, skittering percussion and sweeping strings. The band has three great vocalists – Heather, Brandon and Matt – each of them contributing their own unique vocal textures to the mix. Heather and Brandon’s vocal harmonies are wonderful, while Matt’s impressive rapping/screaming later in the song adds drama and tension that takes things to a whole new level. The song’s lyrics speak to the uncertainties of life and our feelings of helplessness and vulnerability that have been laid bare by the pandemic: “Everything we thought was right is wrong. Yeah it’s all broken / Everyone’s talking, nobody knows.”

TEARS FOR FEARS – Single Review: “I Love You But I’m Lost”

I Love You But I'm Lost

Tears For Fears are one of my favorite bands of all time. I’ve been a fan from the moment I heard their single “Change” back in 1982. (I lived in Los Angeles then, and though their previous single “Mad World” was a massive hit in the U.K., it got little airplay in the U.S., nor did it make the U.S. music charts, so I never heard it until later.) When their monumental Songs From the Big Chair – unquestionably one of the greatest albums of the 1980s – came out in early 1985, I fell head over heels in love (pun intended) with their music. So it goes without saying that I was thrilled to discover they’d released a brand new single “I Love You But I’m Lost.” It’s one of two new tracks that will be included on their forthcoming greatest hits compilation album Rule The World, scheduled for release on November 10.

Though they’ve remained active, including touring and performing quite a bit recently (my sister saw them a few months ago in St. Louis, where they appeared with Hall & Oates), the single is their first new music in four years. And it’s been 13 years since their last album Everybody Loves a Happy Ending was released in 2004, so we fans have longed for new music from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith for quite some time.

Tears For Fears

“I Love You But I’m Lost” is a gorgeous, exuberant song with a captivating dance beat that instantly grabbed my attention and held it straight through to the end. It features their signature sweeping orchestration, sparkling synths and lush harmonizing vocals, along with some terrific guitar work. Smith and Orzabal’s vocals are in fine form, thought Orzabal’s are softer and at a higher octave than he’s normally sung, but still very effective for the song’s dreamlike quality. Though not of the same caliber as their masterpieces “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or “Shout,” “I Love You But I’m Lost” is a great song nonetheless. It’s incredibly gratifying that Tears For Fears is still relevant, and making new music for us to enjoy.

Follow Tears For Fears:  Website / Facebook / Twitter