The Matinee May 19th edition is another extended one featuring eight great new songs (well, relatively new). There are some upbeat numbers, some euphoric pop-rock anthems, and cool, intimate songs. It’s perfect for a Thursday or Friday, wherever you may be.
Alex the Astronaut – “Holes In The Story” (New York City, USA via Sydney, Australia)
Before getting into the raucous tunes, we’re going to ease into things. “Holes In The Story” is the splendid indie-folk / folktronica / Americana tune by Sydney, Australia-born, New York City-based singer-songwriter Alex Lynn, who goes by the moniker Alex the Astronaut. Her name is likely has to do – I think it does anyway – with her aspirations to one day fly in space (her Instagram has a couple of pictures of her at the NASA facilities and decking out a NASA T-shirt). In the meantime, she’ll be taking us to new dreamy heights with her intimate music and clever songwriting. “Holes In The Story” has the whimsical but biting lyricism of Courtney Barnett mixed with the raspy yet engaging style of Shakey Graves. It’s a tune that will have you swaying side to side while leaving a permanent smile on your face. Whether Alex Lynn ever makes it to space remains a question, but she undoubtedly has the potential to be indie folk’s next star.
Animali – “Who?” (Lyon / Paris, France)
Here is a song that will stick in your head for days if not weeks. “Who?” by Paris-via-Lyon band Animali is is deliciously addictive, like your favorite candy that you need to sample multiple times so you can savior the flavors over and over again. In this case, Animali gives us a psychedelic pop treat that has the euphoric pop brilliance of MGMT combined with the dizzying psychedelia heard on Tame Impala’s Lonerism. But a better comparison is that Animali is France’s answer to Portugal. The Man with their thoughtful lyricism and kaleidoscope, psychedelic sound.
This single is part of Animali’s latest EP, This Plane is going down, are we all gonna die?, which can be picked up on Bandcamp.
ARMS – “Keep It Light” (Brooklyn, USA)
How about so many people, including us, have not heard about Todd Goldstein’s project ARMS? Here’s a band that is preparing to release its third full-length album but done so with little fanfare. Well, that’s all about to change. One of the singles from the forthcoming LP is “Keep It Light”, a firecracker of a pop-rock anthem that catches your attention immediately with the infectious drum roll that kicks off the tune before the shimmering guitar enters the frame. And as the song builds to its glorious finish and Goldstein’s vocals increasingly sound similar to Conor Oberst, “Keep It Light” could be a Bright Eyes’ tune if the Oberst-fronted aimed for such anthemic heights.
PATTERNS, ARMS’ third album, arrives June 3rd via Paper Garden Records.
Bugeye – “Disco Dancer” (London, England)
You might be telling yourself right about now, “I know that band, Bugeye!” Indeed, the underground, disco-punk / riot grrl / indie-rock trio from London are making their long-awaited return after nearly fifteen years away from the circuit. They’ve been playing gigs in and around London the past few months and dropped a couple of singles, which have heightened buzz for their official return. The announcement is official and made so emphatically with the parallel release of their latest single, “Disco Dancer”. This. Song. Is. Awesome. It is three-and-a-half minutes of blistering disco-punk that will have you parading around your living room or bopping unconsciously on the bus or subway. The song is Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets Sleater-Kinney meets Death Valley Girls. If you’re in the London area, be on the look out for the shows (next gig is June 4th at The Spice of Life in Soho).
Bugeye’s new EP, Never Let You Go, will drop July 8th via Repeat Records/Badger Recording Co. The trio are Angela Martin (vocals/guitar), Paula Snow (bass), and Jack Houston (drums).
Chief Ghoul – “Train” (Louisville, USA)
A year ago, we were introduced to Chief Ghoul, the spooky blues-rock trio from Louisville, Kentucky fronted by Lee Miles, whose voice is a throwback. Their album III amazed us with its recapturing of ’70s-inspired blues-rock. The band is back with another terrific tune, “Train”. Sonically, the song leans towards the melodic and meticulous rock of The Arcs (Dan Auerbach’s latest project) mixed the grittiness and snarl of Steve Earle. While the song may not be as spooky as their last album, one thing has not changed – Miles’ masterful storytelling. He’s one of America’s hidden gems, whose vivid and honest stories are akin to those told by Johnny Cash.
Along with Miles (guitar/vocals), Chief Ghoul are also Chase Coryell (bass) and Justin Brown (drums).
Gang of Youths – “Strange Diseases” (Sydney, Australia)
One of the most exciting bands in Australia right now is Gang of Youths. If you have yet to hear the name, it won’t be long before their music is filling up radio stations. The quintet are already stars Down Under and have a fast-growing fan base in the UK and parts of Europe, as their mix of indie-rock and indie-pop is explosive, anthemic, and infectious.
The band is now preparing to release its forthcoming EP, Let Me Be Clear, this summer (or winter Down Under) and the lead single is, “Strange Diseases”. This song was actually demoed way back in 2012, but the band has remastered it into this glorious rendition. There are traces of David Bowie and his talent for mixing pop with rock opera; the melodic electricity of The Killers; and the multi-instrumental euphoria of Arcade Fire. This track has hit written all over it.
The band commences a short tour through Europe and the US beginning May 21st. See dates here. Catch them if you can!
Gang of Youths are Max Dunn (bass), Jung Kim (guitar/keyboards), David Le’aupepe (lead vocals/piano), Joji Malani (lead guitar), and Donnie Borzestowski (drums).
Glenn Davis – “Off The Line” (Columbus, OH, USA)
Jim James has one of the most unique voices in the music world, and there won’t be another male vocalist with his angelic qualities and range. Glenn Davis, though, might make a case for nearly mirroring (though not quite) James’ quality. The front man of Columbus band Way Yes, Davis is embarking on a solo project. His first single is “Off The Line”, which is a warm, sincere, and engaging number in the mould of Yim Yames (Jim James’ solo side project from nearly a decade ago). Just sit back, listen, and get lost in Davis’ unique vocals and story about letting go.
Davis’ debut, full-length album, Waves & Webs, will be released later this year via Gold Robot Records.
MiNNETONKA – “We Fight Fires” (Wirral, England)
We end today’s The Matinee the way we started – well, sort of. A relative new arrival on the indie music scene is Wirral / Manchester singer-songwriter MiNNETONKA. Last year, she released her debut single, “Birds of Prey”, which was well-received in the UK. Her second single and first of 2016 is “We Fight Fires”, which is a stunning electro-pop tune. The ambient textures and MiNNNETONKA’s soft vocals give the track a bedroom intimacy while also providing the song with a quiet urgency. It’s a beautiful song by an emerging artist who understand how less can be more.
The single will officially be released on May 27th via War Room Records.
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