“My Man” – Dallan

Launched off a series of melodramatic piano chords, “My Man” blends the feeling of an old-time torch song with something unexpectedly up-to-date. If you don’t notice the subtle hints before this, check out the transition between verses from 0:38 to 0:46 and you’ll hear the sounds of a song not content with all-out nostalgia, even if nostalgia is a potent part of the mix here. A later instrumental break (1:45), concise and slightly twisted as it is, offers definitive proof.

At its heart, this is a very simple song: there is just one central melody, which swings fetchingly against the basic one-two rhythm, and with a resolution that alternates between two primary landing spots, one minor and one major. Beyond this, there are two places in the song where the melody receives a two-line addendum (first heard at 0:33), and there is the aforementioned instrumental break. Other than that, the song sticks to the business of its grounding melody, enhanced strategically by some wonderful vocal flourishes by Dayana Stoehr, the singer/songwriter who performs as Dallan. I am reminded of Björk’s “Bachelorette”—not in sound or feel but in the way that both of these songs are driven by the power of one confident melody. This is not easy to do, either because not many melodies are robust enough to support a whole song or because not many songwriters think this way. Or both.

Based in Switzerland, Dallan appears admirably disinterested in personal hype—it’s hard enough to discern her country of origin, and I wouldn’t know her real name if she hadn’t emailed me in the first place. “My Man” is a song from Dallan’s upcoming album, Overturn, which is set for release in August. Her previous release was the EP Decade, which came out in 2015; you can listen to it and purchase it via Bandcamp. You can furthermore listen to four other songs slated for the new album on her SoundCloud page. Thanks to Dayana for the MP3.

photo credit: Renato Serge Stöhr