Last night, I heard Eddie Johnston's music for the first time and was washed by the immediacy of subdued emotion and introverted melancholy. Under the name Lontalius, he has released an album entitled "I'll Forget 17."
With his debut album being put on a small internet label out of Brooklyn, it seems that Eddie will be ironically have his teenage years documented. He recently traveled from New Zealand, where he gained attention doing lo-fi covers in his bedroom, to a rooftop in New York where he performed for Fader Magazine.
Interestingly, Lontalius first made an impression by covering Beyonce and Drake. But, his own understated pop tunes, with minimalist arrangements that mix live guitar, drums and vintage synths express vastly more emotion than so much of the records coming out today, belabored with 808 bass and spiffy hi-hats
Eddie's use of auto-tune on his mellow, whispery, almost whiny (in the most endearing way) vocals, is infectious and undeniable. It sounds to me a lot like what would happen if Justin Bieber had flawless aesthetics and a sense of humility.
For his age, at any age for that matter, Lontalius is a work of simple melody and sublime pop sensibilities. That is why I chose to cover his song "Glow." It's not because I thought I could do an interesting new arrangement, or that altering the song greatly would be interesting, but just that the song touched me and inspired me to sing.
I admit that this song is rudimentary in harmony and melody and took a matter of minutes to begin playing a long with. But, it's irrelevant: A great song can be complicated or simple. It is the effect that it has what matters. Lontalius' music has a timeless and powerful effect that great songs and singers should have, regardless of skill or age.
Eddie is a true artist. He is someone with an instinct for artistry -- just look at his choice of album art, or even his Twitter layout. As a self professed introvert and internet hobbyist, his influence of Tumblr aesthetics and the apathetic, existentially sad youth generational disposition is rich and yet tasteful. I hope to see much more from this young artist.
What do you think of his songs?
How do you like my cover?