Lontalius (New Zealand's Eddie Johnston) - Like many teens, Johnston feels everything acutely: first love, the ephemeral nature of said love, the turmoil of the larger world as well as the need to experience that world. Lontalius asks the existential questions that haunt all of us at that transitional age and couches them in these forlorn yet resonant pop songs.
Listening to his strong debut might feel akin to stumbling across a teenager's Tumblr page, where the jumble of feelings and emotions in their full array is on display. From Wellington, New Zealand, he's garnered buzz and thousands of views on YouTube and Soundcloud for his poignant and measured takes on new classic pop hits but now he turns his focus squarely on himself, capturing his interior world and feelings at this vulnerable age.
Initially, Johnston's musical tastes were mercurial, veering from Coldplay to the decidedly more alternative Radiohead, before he fully embraced pop music. Soon after, he began uploading hushed, forlorn covers of pop hits accompanied by an 808 and an old Casio MT-45 that a friend bought him for $2. In posting up these covers, Lontalius's buoyant take on Young Lean's "Gatorade" found a big online fan in hyper-networked Canadian producer/DJ Ryan Hemsworth. Soon the two were collaborating on music, Lontalius's voice gracing Hemsworth's "Walk Me Home." He also has Hemsworth to thank for spreading the rumor that Johnston was a classmate of fellow New Zealander, Lorde. It wasn't true, but both teens played along on Twitter and even met right before "Royals" blew up.
I'll Forget 17 might be a case of lightning striking twice as the ten-song debut announces a bright new voice in pop. While fans of Lontalius might have admired the teen's ability to find the sad sentiment underneath the pop exteriors, his emotional astuteness carries over into his original material. "I've always really loved dance remixes where they put an emotional breakdown with an acapella," he says, adding that a song like "Kick in the Head" remains a favorite of his as it marks when he "started writing about real experiences and real feelings."
Despite making his name on sad renditions of pop songs, Lontalius is definitely happy at the moment, "I'm not really sad," Johnston says. "I'm emotional, but I'm not depressed. I just like sad music."
Title: I'll Forget 17
Cat #: PTKF2129-1 / PODCD0819
Label: Partisan Records
Format: 12" vinyl LP + CD
Track List:1. A Feeling So Sweet
2. All I Wanna Say
3. Kick In The Head
4. Light Shines Through Dust
6. My Dreams Are Dark
7. Glow 8. It's Not Love
9. I Was More Than
10. Yr Heart Is Beating