The Matinee December 13th returns to its global roots with 9 new songs. Well, one is a cover, but it sounds like a new song. Let’s get to the music.
Aurora Blue – “Cool Woman” (Orillia, ON, Canada)
RIYL: Tennis, Bec Sandridge, Alvvays
With the arrival of Alvvays, a wave of harmonious and melodic indie rock has overtaken the Canadian music scene. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially when the music is as infectious as “Cool Woman”, the new single from under-the-radar bad Aurora Blue.
Like the current blanket of snow covering most of Canada, the song is chilly, smooth, and a dazzling wintry, wonderland. Frontwoman Gaby Taylor’s vocals have an unsuspecting sultriness a la Bec Sandridge while the jangly guitar tones provided by Nathan Parker echo the Melbourne scene. Despite the melodic delirium, Aurora Blue’s story focuses on a modern woman who “takes no shit”. It’s a clever piece of songwriting by these teenagers (they’re still in high school), who could one day be opening for their famous indie cousins.
Aurora Blue are Gaby Taylor (vocals/bass), Ayden Miller (keys), Nathan Parker (guitar), and Ryan Lamb (drums).
bed. – “Girl” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Yo La Tengo, Waxahatchee, Blouse
Six months ago, Portland indie band bed. released their debut EP, Klickitat, which was a culmination of the trio’s efforts of the past two years. They’re not taking much time, however, to release new material, which could indicate that they are ready to go full throttle with their project. If so, then music fans everywhere will be receiving gifts all year long.
Their newest song is “Girl”, a lo-fi, indie rocker that resembles the intimate infectiousness of Yo La Tengo’s early work. The vocals are dreamy, and the reverb that filters throughout gives the song a touch of grit. And as we have come to expect from .bed, they write songs that are timely and relevant. The lyrics – Girl, you’re nobody’s girl until you’re everyone’s girl – reveal everything about this quietly powerful song.
Blondfire – “Monuments” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: The Sundays, The Vaselines, Sløtface
Despite their online success and acclaim, it is surprising to read that Blondfire‘s album, Young Heart, was just mastered and they were given ownership of the recordings. This news belongs in the “WTF?” category, as the Los Angeles-based quartet have long dazzled webzines, bloggers, and music fans in general. Something great, however, has come out of this, as the band celebrated the occasion by sharing three, previously-unreleased songs. One of them is “Monuments”.
As has become Blondfire’s trademark, “Monuments” is a blissful and highly contagious indie-pop tune. Frontwoman Erica Driscoll’s vocals are, as always, light and stunning while the music is like a beautiful, California, summer day. The combination provides the perfect foundation for song’s storyline. It is a look back at the difficult year that was 2016 and the legends that the world has lost and those who will fade away from the spotlight (e.g., President Obama). Meanwhile, they also look ahead and stay positive, proclaiming we will overcome. “Monuments” exemplifies why we, like so many others, have openly embraced Blondfire – they make music that is intoxicating to hear but real and honest in its message.
All three new songs can be heard here. Blondfire are Erica Driscoll (vocals), Anthony Polcino (guitar), Josh Miramontes (bass), and Reade Pryor (drums).
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Fireproof” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Jim James, Portugal. the Man, Jesse Mac Cormack
Over the past few months, Alec Ounsworth – the artist behind Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – has quietly been sharing new music. Yesterday, he made it official that the next CYHSY album will be released within the first quarter of 2017. The songs so far indicate a new direction for the band, and the latest single, “Fireproof”, is no different.
The song is more synth-driven than anything CYHSY have released before. It is also seems the band move away from their anthemic pop leanings to infusing R&B, psychedelic, indietronica, and math-rock textures. The song, as such, is simultaneously trippy, groovy, and funky. The song is a grower, but a new discovery is made with each listen. And the further one digs into the song, the more Alec Ounsworth’s genius is appreciated because this song is fantastic.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s fifth album, The Tourist, arrives February 24th. Mark it down in your calendars now!
Mosa Wild – “Smoke” (Ashford, England)
RIYL: The National, Frightened Rabbit, City Calm Down
Anyone questioning whether the UK music scene is at a crossroads should quickly turn their attention to Mosa Wild. This quartet from Kent will make you believe that the best is yet to come.
For the past three years, the band in its different incantations drew a following among their high school and university peers for their anthemic pop-rock. However, a couple of changes to the band signaled a new direction, which they reveal on their official “debut single”, “Smoke”. Released just last week, the song echoes the brooding cinema of The National. The first half of the song leaves you transfixed, but its slow-building climax leaves you breathless and exhilarated. The next step for Mosa Wild – to get signed by a label, which is inevitable.
Mosa Wild are Jim Rubaduka (lead vocals/guitar/keys), Alex Stevens (guitar), Edwin Ireland (bass), and Charlie Campbell (drums).
Noa May – “Hey” (Pixies cover) (Tel Aviv, Israel)
RIYL: Cate Le Bon, PJ Harvey, Ali Beletic
So many covers tend to either a) re-enact the original or b) completely transform them that the song is completely unfamiliar. But then the perfect rendition comes along that still respects the original’s main yet offers a whole new song. Israeli singer-songwriter has achieved that perfect balance with her cover of the Pixies’, “Hey”.
With a bit of soul, a touch of the Middle East, and a little bit of jazz, May has made “Hey” into something that no one has envisioned a Pixies song before. It is sexy and sultry, full of suspense and moxy, and intoxicating. May hasn’t just transformed this classic song; she’s made it her own.
The cover is a bonus track from Noa May’s sophomore EP, Grace Under Pressure.
Rainbrother – “Break Out” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Woods, Morgan Delt, Plants & Animals
With each single they release, Copenhagen’s Rainbrother are cementing their place among psychedelic-folk’s elite. A genre that was first ruled by English artists and later Americans has to make room for the Bjarke Bendtsen-led quintet.
With the control chaos of Woods, Rainbrother’s new single, “Break Out”, is, well, a psychedelic freak out. The trio of guitars sizzle and wail. The bass and drums set the crazy pace with head noodling effect. The harmonies, though, are smooth and even verge on dreamy. Together, we are taken on a frenetic yet deliriously fun, three-and-a-half minute ride. We dare you to find another song – no, another amusement park ride – that provides the same feeling of exhilaration.
forthcoming debut album, Tales From the Drought, due February 3 from General Bird.
Syd Arthur – “Death Wish” (Canterbury, England)
RIYL: Temples, Gengahr, The Doors
English indie band Syd Arthur have become one of the most difficult groups to describe. Indie pop, indie rock, neo-psychedelic, they’ve pretty much done it all and with aplomb. But just as you think you have heard everything from the band, they release a single like “Death Wish”.
The song goes even further than their past efforts. The arrangements and tempo are oft-kilter, and not your standard 4/4 material. Musically, “Death Wish” is a treasure trove of delights. There’s a bit of sultry acid jazz thrown into their gritty, neo-psychedelic approach. A hint of theatrical pop can be heard in the melody while the guitar riffs are bluesy. Despite the many moving parts, Liam Magill, Joel Magill, Raven Bush, and Josh Magill are able to rein them all in and create one heck of a song. Brilliant would be underselling Syd Arthur’s creativity, so we’ll just settle for ingenious.
Tripnaha – “Water” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Massive Attack, Portishead, Maribou State
There is nothing creative in Tripnaha‘s name. Their music sounds exactly what their name says – hypnotic trip-hop right out of Massive Attack’s lengthy songbook. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.
Not much is known about the electronic duo, but this gem from Gothenburg won’t be hiding in the shadows for very long. Their new single, “Water”, is sensational. The vocals are enchanting, the production work is spectacular, and the two together create the feeling that the listener is being submerged in an ocean of sound. If you prefer to visually experience the song, the video can be viewed here.
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