The Matinee February 28th spins a nine-pack of new music. Some will dazzle you while others will simply blow you away.
Bad Sea – “Tell Me (What I Mean)” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Margaret Glaspy, Julia Jacklin
Anyone who has been to Dublin likely has visited Temple Bar, which continues to be a go-to spot for good whisky, engaging conversations with the locals, and hearing some of the best local music. In its 160 years, it has hosted bands that have become superstars, such as U2 and The Dubliners while My Bloody Valentine often rehearsed in the afternoons. Someone needs to contact this historical establishment and ask them to invite Bad Sea to play.
The project of Ciara Thompson and Alan Farrell, this young duo (Thompson turned 21 last week) remains a hidden gem within the city. Last autumn, they swooned us with their ’90s-inspired, pop tune, “Solid Air”. Today, they further entrench our fandom with their dazzling new single, “Tell Me (What I Mean)”. With dashes of alt-country and indie-rock, the song echoes the brilliant mélange that Angel Olsen has perfected this decade. It is anthemic and contagious yet intimate and engrossing, where you get swept into the band’s story of a broken heart. Thompson’s voice is spectacular even having a trace of southern twang to add to the song’s personal nature. Sure this may not be beer chugging music, but “Tell Me (What I Mean)” is just an outstanding release by a band on the verge of a breakthrough.
Brooke Bentham – “Heavy and Ephemeral” (Southshields, England)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, TORRES
With each passing day, it seems music is becoming a young person’s game. It’s not just top-40 radio, but we haven’t witnessed such a tidal wave of great, young singer-songwriters since the Laurel Canyon days. The list is long, and one name that everyone should know is Brooke Bentham.
The 21-year old English artist is set to have one remarkable 2017. In addition to graduating from university this spring, she will embark on a tour and release her new EP later this spring. The lead single from the record is “Heavy and Ephemeral”, which is a boisterous, moving indie-rock tune right out of Sharon Van Etten’s epic LP, Serpents. Bentham’s voice has hints of Van Etten, where at times it is easy to think the veteran artist is singing. Even the lyrics are reminiscent of the New Jersey native, offering a song that is vividly moving and emotionally engaging. Now all Bentham needs to do is get a role on The OA or something similar. Regardless, Bentham has the makings to be a massive star.
Carl Louis – “Come With Me” (feat. Frøder) (Snarøya & Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Maribou State, ARCHIVE, Giorgio Moroder
Take us on a journey is all we ask when listening to electronic music. Take us to places that can only be seen in our imaginations and dreams and help bring them to life. We just don’t want to be moved physically; we want the experience to be transcendent. Maybe that’s too much to ask for, but then you hear Norwegian producer Carl Louis‘ new single and you realize that such wishes can be granted.
Teaming up with singer-songwriter Frøder, who has captivated our attention in the past with her unique vocals and mystical storytelling, Louis has crafted a spectacular number. It is a hypnotic journey that spans galaxies while also channeling deep within our ids, egos, and super-egos. And as Frøder calls for us to “come with me”, we have no choice but to follow and delve deep into the worlds she and Louis take us. The trip is short but it is memorable Fortunately, Louis’ debut album, Memory Lane, is coming soon. Toothfairy in Norway will release it on May 12th.
Circles/Waves – “Rosewood” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Rubblebucket, Tennis, Beach House
Anyone who thinks pop music has become stagnant need to look towards Brooklyn, where bands like Rubblebucket and San Fermin are infusing classical instruments to give the genre, well, more pop! Following in their footsteps are relatively “new” trio Circles/Waves. Originally started in 2015 by friends Claire Lorenzo (vocals/horns) and Marissa Mazzotta (guitar), the duo have added drummer Scotty Gervais to give their music a slightly edgy and more boisterous vibe.
Last month, they released their self-titled, debut EP, and from it is the record’s highlight, “Rosewood”. The song is an absolute riot. It’s energetic and contagious, as the punk-pop guitar riffs and wailing drumming drive the tune while Lorenzo’s blaring trumpet takes the song to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It’s a brilliant marriage of multiple genres into one stupendous track. Lorenzo’s vocals, too, have a dash of smokiness, akin to Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards, which means Circles/Waves can even branch out to other genres. It will be interesting to watch this little experiment evolve over time.
Djinn City – “Red” (Russia)
RIYL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Phoenix Foundation, Jagwar Ma
We don’t much about Djinn City besides that the duo consists of Tim Mitronin and Aidar Khusnutdinov, and they live somewhere in Russia. They have a limited social presence, but they have released a couple of singles on SoundCloud, but the best one is “Red”.
This song is sultry, funky, and smooth. It is sexy goodness, akin to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s most stunning affairs. The guitar line is fantastic as is the subtle production work and rhythms. But the vocals – the dreamy falsetto – are what make “Red” a memorable, as they accentuate the intimacy of the track. This song should be spun in every bedroom on a Saturday night with candles faintly burning in the corners and only the shadows of two lovers seen.
Lunch Ladies – “You’re Not There” (Long Branch, NJ, USA)
RIYL: Slowdive, Alvvays, My Bloody Valentine
It’s not often we share new music by a band in consecutive weeks. Today, we’re making an exception. Last week, we shared Lunch Ladies‘ dreamy, Mazzy Starr-esque song, “Love Is Overrated”. Their latest single adds a bit more spice to their dreamgaze, but the effect is equally as dazzling. Check that, “You’re Not There” is out of the park.
There have been bands creating dreamy shoegaze for decades, but very few have been able to make it sound equally stunning and anthemic. Yet this young New Jersey band have done it with their third official single. “You’re Not There” sucks you in with Cynthia Rittenbach’s crystal-clear vocals, which are soft and intimate but still commanding, and the crystalline guitar riffs. While most dreamgaze tunes would keep the same melody and tempo, Lunch Ladies dial up the intensity a few degrees and close it out with a burner that would make My Bloody Valentine proud. This New Jersey quartet is onto something immensely big.
Lunch Ladies are Matt Whitley (vocals/guitar), Cynthia Rittenbach (vocals/bass), Matt Ramiz (vocals/guitar), Brian DeSeno (drums), and Peter Gargano (drums).
O+S – “Hold You Down” (Omaha & Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Orenda Fink, Azure Ray, Remy Zero
2017 has already been filled with several surprises. Legendary bands Slowdive and Ride announced their return while Blondie is making a bit to regain their permanent place in clubs. New super-groups have been formed, like BNQT. But one returning collaboration that might fly under the radar for many is O+S, the project involving the great Orenda Fink (of Azure Ray and who released the haunting LP, Blue Dream) and Scalpelist, who is better known as Cedric LeMoyne (of Remy Zero).
In 2009, they released their self-titled, debut album, but their other projects and careers limited their ability to write and record a full album’s worth of new music. Over the past year or so, Fink and LeMoyne put the final touches on their sophomore album, and late last week they shared its first single, “Hold You Down”. As expected, the song is incredibly beautiful and warm. Fink’s whispery vocals are spellbounding, and LeMoyne’s deft production and instrumental work stirs every fabric of your body. The song is like observing the first light of a new day, as the sun slowly makes it way over the horizon and brings warmth and peace of mind.
O+S’ sophomore album, You Were Once the Sun, Now You’re the Moon, is due out this spring via Saddle Creek Records.
Shadowgraphs – “Scarlet Tunic” (Charlotte, NC, USA)
RIYL: POND, Meatbodies, Temples
We’ve reached the point in our mini-playlist where you need to buckle up and be prepared to be tripped out on some kaleidoscope psychedelia. Relative newcomers Shadowgraphs have already demonstrated their ability to create smooth, gentle waves with the last single, “Countryside”. This time around, they trade in the convertible for a roller coaster.
Their new single, “Scarlet Tunic”, is one wild but smooth ride. Right from the beginning, the trippy sounds of Thin Lizzy and POND are heard before the song segues into a hazy melody. For a moment, everything feels suspended in time and space as the harmonies are near blissful before we start to come down from our high. However, just as we feel like we are free-falling, the band revs up the intensity to send us back into the sky and down again. Forget the mushrooms, all we need is some Shadowgraphs to take us on a zany, psychedelic experience.
Shadowgraphs are Bryan Olson, Charles “Wils” Glade, Ethan Ricks, and Cody Hare.
TenFiveSixty – “You Say” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: The Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, The xx
It’s not secret that Manchester is one of our favorite music cities. The complexity and diversity of artists and bands that continue to come from the central English metropolis is mind-boggling. Some have gone on to achieve huge success, while others are still waiting for the breakthrough. One such group in the latter category is TenFiveSixty.
Nearly a year ago, we had the pleasure of debuting their single, the immaculate and beautiful “I Can Smell Smoke“. What we learned at the time was that Rick Hornby and Jen Devereux weren’t interested in being pigeon-holed within one genre or labeled as a one-trick pony. Instead, for now over six years, they are constantly redefining themselves and honing their craft. Their new single, “You Say”, is a perfect reflection of their continued evolution.
Channeling the synth-pop of the ’80s while mixing in the cinematic indie of the present-day, TenFiveSixty have created a captivating and hypnotic number. The synth beats have an industrial vibe, stealing your attention away from everything around you. The chime of Hornby’s guitar in the background gives the song its dark pulse. Devereux’s vocals, meanwhile, are sultry and alluring, as she spins a tale of a seduction, lies, and loss. Gripping cinema is “You Say”, and if you need more proof watch the cool video, which adds to the suspense and drama.
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