As we close out these last Dog Days of summer (which have been particularly rainy and bleak here in NYC), I've been looking to music to get my fix re: warmth and vibrancy. And praise be, Ann Arbor via Long Island singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Josh Tobias dropped “Summer Thing” on Friday, a track that departs from his high-intensity, funk-pop style in favor of some acoustic auditory R&R. With a melody that’s as consistent as the West Coast sun and a refreshing breeze of a hip-hop beat, we're welcoming this genre sabbatical with open arms and bare feet. After all it’s still summer, and we all want to be romanced by a track that has vocals as smooth as sea glass and a beat we can sashay our sarongs to.
I was first introduced to Tobias two years ago with his breakout “Beachside Lover” – the steamy season of love clearly working for him – and was taken by his ability to create a retro-R&B sound that was approachable, unique and grounded. “Summer Thing” deviates slightly from his genre(s) of choice, but that’s okay, sometimes I go for the one-piece over the two-piece. Change is good. At the same time, we can rest assured, because his silky, signature tenor is the thread carrying us through the seasons. Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber might have to scoot over in the indie crooner spotlight because there’s a new tenor on the scene. (Lofty references, yes, but what I’m trying to say is: Josh Tobias can compete.)
On Memorial Day weekend, summer starts. We dust off our white and wave our stars and stripes high. Similarly, "Summer Thing" doesn't make us ease in; we have Tobias' vocals and supporting guitar from the get-go. At :43 the tempo dips into the chorus; if you started off swiveling your heads, now's the time for the hips to dive in. (Easier with a standing desk.) At 1:06 harmonies and a live bass build the drama, and reiterate that Tobias really does just want a summer thing. Which is cool. But I hope he's fine with unrequited allegiance, because our love for Tobias? No seasonal fling.