The curtain has lifted on The Matinee October 27th edition. Today’s set of songs features new music by a few familiar names (including one star band) and a handful of talented artists about to make major noise. Today’s list is in reverse, alphabetical order.
The Van T’s – “Fun Garçon” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Black Honey, Honeyblood, iDestroy
There are a few certainties in indie music, such as Arcade Fire and TV On The Radio will also release albums that have us saying, “How did they come up with this?” Or a new Australian, psychedelic band will blow us away. Another fact is that when The Van T’s share a new song, it will be catchy, groovy, and an awesome rocker, which is what “Fun Garçon” is.
The trademarks of The Van T’s are all on display on this buzzing number – the swirling, blazing guitars; the titanic drumming; and the shimmering, duo harmonies of the Van Thompson sisters. In addition, “Fun Garçon” highlights the Glaswegian band’s uncanny ability to take two contrasting concepts and seamlessly fuse the together. The song is a frenetic head-banger yet a danceable garage-pop number. It is simultaneously lush yet fierce. The Van Thompsons’ vocals are sweet yet their words are biting. We’ve said it before when they released their EP A Coming Age but we’ll say it again, The Van T’s are on the verge of something really special. This band will soon be mentioned and playing alongside the likes of Wolf Alice, Black Honey, and other rising UK indie bands.
The single officially drops November 25th via Scottish indie label Bloc+Music. The Van T’s are Chloe Van Thompson, Hannah Van Thompson, Joanne Forbes, and Shaun Hood.
Sleigh Bells – “I Can Only Stare” (Brooklyn via NJ & Florida, USA)
RIYL: Pat Benetar, The Smiths, The Cure, The Kills
Watching Sleigh Bells‘ evolution has been a fascinating one. When they burst on the music scene in 2009 with their self-titled EP and followed that up with the cataclysmic pairing of Treats and Reign of Terror, they were blowing out ear drums with their fierce noise-pop. Every song and every performance was like watching a powder keg explode time and time again. But as what happens when people get older, things start to slow down a bit. Movements and ideas are more driven by thoughts and emotions as oppose to spontaneity. This is happening with Sleigh Bells, and the transformation so far has been marvelous.
Their latest single, “I Can Only Stare”, was actually released three weeks ago. It showcases the duo focusing on melody and mood, as the soundscape radiates of the doom- and Goth-pop that permeated the ’80s. The synths fill the air to create the crippling mood while guitarist Derek Edward Miller channels his inner Robert Smith. Alexis Krauss, meanwhile, is front and center with her vocals sounding fuller than they’ve ever been before. Lyrically, the song is a devastating description of the effects of depression and self-doubt. The video for the song is incredible, as Krauss plays three “doomed women”. Watch the video here.
Sleigh Bells’ fourth album, Jessica Rabbit, arrives November 11th via their own label Torn Clean.
Sir Rana – “Expectations” (Sweden)
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, Phoenix, MAINLAND
Usually a band or artist will have released a few tracks here and there. Some may never see the light of day, but they would have been tested with friends and family. For Swedish newcomers, Sir Rana, who only formed in July, their first single is absolutely terrific.
“Expectations” is a sparkling number and an impressive debut. It combines Ben Gibbard’s thoughtful songwriting with Phoenix’s ability to create infectious melodies. Although the song deals with the weight of meeting people’s expectations, Sir Rana have only raised them with this track. If they can create a near-perfect indie-pop song on their first try, imagine what the future holds for the quartet (not that I’m trying to raise the ante).
Ramonda Hammer – “Zombie Sweater” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, Slothrust, Liz Phair
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from indie-rock / post-punk band Ramonda Hammer. The last time they graced their presence here was when they released “If / When”, which we were fortunate to premiere. The song introduced us to a young band with a huge future. Their latest single, “Zombie Sweater”, only validates this belief.
Whereas “If / When” had a garage-pop tinge, “Zombie Sweater” is entirely an edgy, grunge-rock number that echoes the ’90s. The grimy guitars are awesome, highlighted by an electrifying solo. The drum work and bass line are patient but explode during the song’s climax. Frontwoman Devin Davis, meanwhile, steals the show as her powerful, menacing vocals holler lyrics that are essentially one big middle finger at anyone who questioned them. Fortunately, Ramonda Hammer have paved their own path, and we get to bask in their glory. This band is going places.
Ramonda Hammer are Devin Davis, Andy Hengl, Justin Geter, and Danny Louangxay. The single is out via New Professor Music.
Nakita – “Lost” (Christchurch, New Zealand)
RIYL: Elena Tonra (Daughter), Marika Hackman, Cloves
In the spring (or autumn in the Southern Hemisphere), teenager Nakita Turner – or simply Nakita – released her debut single, “Where Are You?” The song introduced the world to an immensely talented young artist who will one day take the electro-pop world by storm. For that matter, she already has captured the attention of New Zealand music fans.
Two days ago, she unexpectedly released a new single. The unveiling of “Lost”, however, wasn’t the only surprise, as the song showcased a completely different side of Nakita – the singer-songwriter. Whereas “Where Are You? was a pop gem, “Lost” is an emotional, stirring ballad. The arrangements are stripped back and kept at a minimum while the Christchurch native’s vocals are allowed to shine. The song is stunning and devastating, as Nakita’s songwriting showcases an artist who is mature well beyond her years and cementing herself as one of New Zealand’s great hidden talents.
Concerning the song’s story, Nakita is best placed to describe its meaning:
This song was written from a time in my life where hospitals became home, life support beeps were a normal frequency and sickness terminology grew to be my second language. My little sister was born three years ago, but she only stayed with us for 7 weeks after being diagnosed with Spina Bifida. Her death left a deep void. I’d planned on having a sister, to watch her grow into my companion and friend. So here is a piece of my heart that I hope you will grow to appreciate just as I have.
Miya Folick – “God Is A Woman” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Dusty Springfield, Angel Olsen, Weyes Blood
It is time to anoint Miya Folick as one of music’s great songwriters. This is not hyperbole. Her résumé is filled with thoughtful and mind-blowing songs, such as “Talking With Strangers”, “I Got Drunk”, “Oceans”, and “Pet Body”. These songs had us comparing with some of music’s heavyweights – PJ Harvey, Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Sharon Van Etten, and Angel Olsen. Her new single, though, takes her to a whole new level.
“God Is A Woman” is a majestic and brilliant number. The song is beautifully written, as Folick shares her most intimate thoughts and struggles and what gives her hope. The instrumentation is dramatic, cinematic, and breathtaking. Then there are Folick’s engrossing and powerful vocals, which reach heights that she has not reached before. “God Is A Woman” is Folick’s Mona Lisa in a catalogue full of masterpieces. Finally, people around the world are starting to take notice of this wonderful talent.
Many Voices Speak – “Away For All Time” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Hope Sandoval, Berlin, Barbara Streisband
Earlier this month, Many Voices Speak shared her debut single, “Video Child”, which took our collective breath away. The story of Matilda Mård, the woman behind MVS, was shared at that time, but it is worth repeating again. After years of toiling in Stockholm’s music scene, Mård left the capital for the much smaller Borlänge, where she spent days writing. However, it was in the city’s karaoke bar where she discovered and honed her new sound, and Many Voices Speak was born.
Her debut EP is coming just around the corner, and from it is the beautiful title track, “Away For All Time”. The lush synths, stripped-back instrumentation, and Mård’s soft but gorgeous vocals give the track a late-’70s / early-’80s vibe. It recalls an era when ballads pulled at every heart string and left you yearning for a loved one who is no longer next to you. There are not many such artists around these days, making Mård a rarity – a singer-songwriter who dazzles through simplicity.
Bossie – “A Lot Like Love” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Sadie Dupuis, Grimes, Lowell
Ask anyone about Canadian music, and they’ll likely cite Drake, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and The Barenaked Ladies. The country’s synth- and electro-pop scene, however, doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Canada has only produced some of the leading artists within this genre, such as Grimes, Purity Ring, Crystal Castles, Allie X, Lowell, and Austra. New-ish Toronto-based artist Bossie will likely quickly join this talented list.
Her new single, “A Lot Like Love”, is a catchy, spellbinding affair. The waves of synth move effortlessly through the air while Bossie’s vocals are soothing yet enticing. The song is a sugary but not too sweet, recalling Grimes’ early work of building drama into a delectable pop song. The storyline is one that any person will be able to relate – about trying to find love and learning what it means. Heck, plenty of older people still do not understand what it means. Maybe Bossie can offer some lessons.
“A Lot Like Love” is from Bossie’s forthcoming, debut album, NOT PICTURED. It is expected in Spring 2017.
Affordable Hybrid – “Bat” (Vänersborg, Sweden)
RIYL: Weezer, Black Flag, Wytches
In the mid to late 2000s, Affordable Hybrid were one of Sweden’s top new, post-punk bands. After releasing their well-received sophomore album, 2009’s No Area, they took an unexpectedly hiatus. Sounds like another one of our favorite bands (Wolf Parade).
The quartet from Vänersborg, which lies to the north of Gothenburg, announced they were re-uniting to release a new album. The lead single from their third album is the rocking “Bat”. Calling them a post-punk band would be a bit of misnomer because Affordable Hybrid are, well, a hybrid of genres. The unpretentious and even quirky lyricism of mid-career Weezer can be heard while the edginess of Black Flag is infused with a ’50s rockabilly sound. It’s an odd combination that surprisingly works, where you might find yourself banging your head while shaking your hips a la Elvis. If the rest of Affordable Hybrid’s new album is like this, their live shows should be one lively party. (By the way, you might not want to try the aforementioned dance at home, as you might strain something.)
Album number three, Bat / Roky, will be released tomorrow, October 28th via Flannel Gurl Records. Afforable Hybrid are György Barocsai, Lars Ludvig Löfgren, Mikael Björklund, and Samuel Järpvik.
A.L. Day – “Myrror” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Nick Cave, The National, Allen Tate
There is not much information about English singer-songwriter A.L. Day. Eventually, however, this mystery about this man will be resolved soon if he continues to make music as captivating as his new single, “Myrror”.
The dark, dramatic soundscape heightened by the combination of piano, guitar, keys, and synths recall Nick Cave. Day’s baritone, though, is reminiscent of The National’s frontman Matt Beringer. And like the great indie band from Ohio, Day is making the bleak sound sensational and turning the devastating into something astounding. This is a remarkable number, which also happens to be Day’s debut single. Simply awesome.
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