Formerly the singer and songwriter of Austin-based rock outfit Black Forest Fire, Jay Tonne is set to release a new EP, Bridey Murphy, under the moniker of Tonne on March 13. Shaped by the echoes of artists like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and REM, the 4-track offering is heavily melodic and propelled by guitars that seem to align with eh stars of early ‘90s indie rock. Written, recorded, and performed entirely by Tonne, the EP incorporates more modern inspirations such as DIIV and older antecedents such as Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. It awash in genre-tripping adventures, veering between weightless tones and those which have considerably more muscle.
Combining narratives of biting social criticism with those more attuned to the intricacies of love, the record effortlessly bridges multiple perspectives as it doles out copious amounts of bruised guitar riffs, slithering basslines and percussion that’s apt to shake you senseless. Tonne has the curious ability to mold these sometimes-disparate elements into a cohesive mass of ideologies and emotional catharses. Buoyed by his reverb-drenched, psychedelic experiences with Black Forest Fire, he has crafted a unique and compelling vision of rock that doesn’t sacrifice creativity for inclusivity.
On recent single, “Catalina,” Tonne digs deep into his influences, carving out an old-school indie rock ethos that recalls the work of Superdrag and Teenage Fanclub, eventually allowing for some shoegaze flourishes to creep into the fringes of the track. It’s There’s weight behind the guitars, even as they constantly move to avoid settling into any recognizable routine. It feels so remarkably amorphous, and yet is guided by a firm hand in terms of how it adapts these particular sounds. Tonne may be dealing in a bit of nostalgia here, but he manages to completely reshape our expectations, delivering a song bathed in distortion but revealing a rough-hewn beauty all its own.