With a vibrant strut in his groove and a gilded poetic bend to his words, Daniel Tortoledo doesn’t hold back from giving us a mountain of a melodic performance in “Spare Time,” one of my favorite songs from his album Through out These Years. Released last year to relative acclaim from critics and longtime indie followers alike, this rookie release from Tortoledo sees the singer/songwriter melding the wry wit of indie rock with the easygoing folk stylings of a young Cat Stevens in tracks like “Bottle of Wine,” the title cut and “Give Me Soul.” Through out These Years is indeed quite the multilayered affair, but for all it boasts in grandiose compositional charm, it also offers us just as much of a simplistic, harmony-centric approach to songcraft.
MORE ON DANIEL TORTOLEDO: https://www.danieltortoledo.com/
There’s a lot of Americana in these tracks, but it’s undisputedly untethered to the revivalist trends I’ve been seeing out of the underground in the last couple of years. Were this not the case, it’s difficult for me to imagine “Not Too Late” or “You Can’t Have It All” feeling as ironic and self-aware as they do in this specific instance. Context can be everything for a singer/songwriter album like Through out These Years, and Tortoledo rightly went out of his way to ensure that the mood of the music always complements the lyrical content in some fashion or another (even if it means getting a little indulgent with contrast and themes that directly conflict with each other on paper).
WATCH THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsTPxC2fgJw
I absolutely love the music video for lead single “Dark Times (Brothers and Sisters)” for its unabashedly surreal disposition, and while it’s on the simpler side of the creative spectrum without question, it’s as cerebral a document as one would expect out of such an eccentrically-arranged composition. The source material matches up with the swinging affections of “Eloise” wonderfully while steering us in a slightly darker direction when it counts the most, and in terms of selection, I think it was definitely the right choice for a lead single/video combo of all the tracks featured on Through out These Years. Tortoledo was thinking conceptually when he designed his game plan for this virginal campaign, and if this is how methodical he is at this stage, you’ve really got to wonder just how good he’s going to be after he gets just a couple more of these LPs under his belt.
There are a lot of interesting singer/songwriters making waves in the American underground this summer, but if you ask me, Daniel Tortoledo is definitely one of the more intellectually-stimulating to come out of his scene in the last year. Through out These Years is a compelling album that affords us a couple of really postmodern glimpses into the artistry of its creator without revealing the complete depth of his style, and with any luck, it will serve as but the first of many intriguing collections to come out of his camp in the next few years. Tortoledo has something special here, and I’m certain other indie rock enthusiasts will agree.