Tommy Newport is building an empire from the ground up. The 18-year-old singer/songwriter and producer is based in Wichita, Kansas, but has reached international audiences with his smooth, atmospheric, sink-into-the-couch blend of bedroom pop, indie rock and funk. After his independently released So Long And Thanks album saw over a million streams across platforms (under the moniker Milmine), Tommy Newport is both on the brink of his first headlining tour and back with a new album, Just To Be Ironic. Co-produced by Toronto-based producer 4th Pyramid, expect painfully honest lyrics, skilled production, and a dreamy trip into the mind of Tommy Newport himself.
The album kicks off with “Gold,” a buttery smooth track with statement drum hits. “Mr. Angel” comes next, with orchestral elements cushioning the lyrics, “Say Mr. Angel, I’m lost. Would you guide my way if you knew what it cost?” The tracks on Newport’s album are threaded together by jazz-based chords and dream-like production, the next track “All Eyes On” being no exception. The song drips in the decadence of a smoky jazz bar, keeping the listener on the edge of their seat with rhythmic stops.
“On Top” flaunts Newport’s playful production style as the vocals on the chorus are doubled an octave up, creating a lively, almost comical effect. “Bad Choice My Boy,” a cheery track with distorted guitar, leaves space for Newport’s vocals to take the limelight. “Black Wedding,” an interlude that could accompany a trip to a haunted mansion, bleeds into “Where The Roses Grow,” a hazy sequence with glitchy falsetto vocals chops. The title track, “Just To Be Ironic,” is laidback with a hard groove and fuzzy atmospheric elements.
Newport shows his versatility with “La Riviera” and “Do You Wonder Why,” oscillating between an upbeat, classic rock-inspired sound and a train of thought style ballad. “My Woman,” probably has one of the best lines of the project. Emerging through synth, guitar and bass, Newport sings,
“Interstellar travel when I’m in between your thighs. Lazerbeams are shooting right out of my eye, cuz you’re my woman.”
The next track, “I Forgive You,” was one of the tracks released as a single, and outlines the end of a relationship. The verses explore why it just won’t work, while the chorus erupts into an upbeat declaration of forgiveness, as long as it’s desired. Finally, “Your Fault” wraps up the album with memorable guitar licks and textured instrumentals.
Newport commented on the making of Just To Be Ironic, saying
“This record was the most fun I’ve had making music; it’s the first time I’ve had people really look over it and help the creative side on it and it was great to step out of that box. It took me to many new places I’ve never been before and tested me in many ways In which I have grown from.”
The concept and sound Tommy Newport has put forth for his debut album is remarkable, and this level of musicianship coming from an 18-year-old is worth noting as well. Newport is just getting started, but he clearly has a vision for his music, and he’s running toward it. He’s headlining a tour this January, and you’ll want to be able to say you were there.