The Matinee March 2nd features a few familiar names and several names you ought to know. Eight songs are on tap, many which will get you ready for the arrival of spring.
Calvin Love – “Warm Blindness & A Cool Breeze” (Edmonton, Canada)
RIYL: John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, American Wrestlers
Last year, Canada lost a legend, an iconic figure of the songwriting and poetic worlds in Leonard Cohen. His legacy, however, lives on in the multitude of rising singer-songwriters across the country, and one name to know is Calvin Love. A veteran of the burgeoning Edmonton indie scene, Love, like Cohen, is an artist you remember, whether hearing him for the first time or seeing him perform live. His new song is just another example of the lasting impression he’ll leave.
“Warm Blindess & A Cool Breeze” is a magnificent portrait of a lost soul in the Canadian wilderness. Love’s songwriting is poetic, as he uses the vast Canadian landscape as the protagonist’s prison.
Tomorrow will be a new day.
Another chance to be misunderstood like all the rest.
I’m lying here, staring at the moon trying to find you again.
He later repeats, “Maybe I should have been born another time”, and quite possibly because he is a throwback to the time when songwriters were revered figures. However, we’re immensely glad he’s around to sweep us away into his powerful stories.
The song is from Love’s new EP, ECDYSIS. It comes out April 7th and preorders are available on his Bandcamp page.
Catholic Action – “Doing Well” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: No Age, Sundara Karma, Black Honey
When we first caught wind of Glasgow quartet Catholic Action over a year ago, we thought they could have a Temples-esque breakout. Well, the prediction didn’t come true – at least not yet. This year, they will release their debut album, which could be the start of something big.
The lead single from their LP is “Doing Well”, which defines why we are fans of the band. The song is controlled chaos. Just as it seems the track can spiral out of control, Catholic Action rein it in and offer an anthemic and contagious number. The guitar riff will stick in your head for days while the band offers a message for us to shoulder on during these dark days. This could be the anthem for the week (or maybe the rest of the year).
Catholic Action’s debut LP will be released later this year via new independent label Modernsky.
The Districts – “Ordinary Day” (Philadelphia / Lititz, USA)
RIYL: Wolf Parade, David Bowie, Moonface
Last December, The Districts shared “One To Another”, a song they wrote to raise money for the Standing Rock Medic and Health Council. The single was awfully revealing, showcasing a new sound for the quartet from little Lititz, Pennsylvania. This week, they shared another new song that builds upon the late-2016 single.
“Ordinary Day” is a marvel of a tune. It is heavier and moodier than what they’ve shared in the past. Rob Grote’s vocals (yes it is still him singing) are deeper and more distant, giving the song a feeling of isolation and discord. As you dig deeper into the song, early Wolf Parade – particularly the songs written by Spencer Krug – can be heard along with mid-career Bowie. However, “Ordinary Day” typifies The Districts’ greatness, as they share a thoughtful and moving track about feeling alienated in a changing world.
The single is out now via Fat Possum. The band is comprised of Rob Grote (lead vocals/guitar), Conor Jacobus (bass), Braden Lawrence (drums), and Pat Cassidy (guitar).
Great Profile – “True Blue” (Dronten, Netherlands)
RIYL: Frankie Cosmos, Jay Som, Colleen Green
We’ve been smitten with Lisa van Kampen’s solo project Great Profile since the very beginning when she released her debut, “Lemonade”. Despite being only 21-years old, the Dutch singer-songwriter writes some of the most personal and clever songs, combining Liz Phair’s honesty and Courtney Barnett’s witty lyricism. On her latest single, “True Blue”, which was released yesterday, she adopts a more stripped-down, bedroom-pop approach. The results, though, are still as spectacular as the first time we heard her.
The song is like the oncoming arrival of spring. It is warm and jittery, light and refreshing, as the jangly notes of van Kampen’s guitar hover effortlessly in the air. van Kampen’s vocals, meanwhile, are sweet as honey, which masks the heartbreak and regret in the song. Eventually, people will start gravitating towards Great Profile, but for now she’ll remain one of our favorite hidden gems.
Joseph of Mercury – “Without Words” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Roy Orbison, Morrissey, Spandau Ballet
This week, we shared Molly Burch’s debut album, which was remarkable in many ways including her incredible voice. On the other side of the spectrum is Joseph of Mercury, the veteran singer-songwriter who splits his time between Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles. Joseph’s voice is breathtaking, akin to the great vocalists and crooners of the ’60s and ’70s. It’s difficult to explain, although his closest comparison may be the iconic Frankie Avalon – a voice that will completely hook you in after a single listen.
And if his voice doesn’t first grab you, his new single, “Without Words”, will. Like one of Orbison’s love songs, “Without Words” is memorable. The song is flush with beautiful vignettes that will have even the hardest heart fluttering. Simply spectacular. While Valentine’s Day may have passed, wedding season is around the corner and this would make a great song for any couple tying the knot.
Levi Robin – “Airplane” (Huntington Beach, CA, USA)
RIYL: Ray Lamontagne, James Vincent McMorrow, Hozier
In these turbulent times, we not only need protest songs but music that will move and motivate us. Music that gives us a reason to continue on and resist and provides us with hope that brighter days are ahead. A song that perfectly fits the categorization is the brand new single by Levi Robin.
“Airplane” is not a song about a trip or a journey to an exotic place. It’s not a summertime anthem nor a banger of a tune. Instead, it is a thought-provoking, inspiring tune. The classic Americana sound perfect envelopes Robin’s smooth vocals. The imaginary he evokes in his lyrics is like being in an art gallery, where around every corner there is a picture that captures our attention. “Would you believe me if I told you, I told you, there is a sign beyond the clouds?”, asks Robin at the beginning, setting the stage for the possibilities to come over the horizon. “Airplane” is storytelling at its finest by an artist waiting to reveal his heart and soul to all.
Robin’s new album, When Night Meets Day, is expected later in 2017.
Lowly – “Mornings” (Aarhus, Denmark)
RIYL: HAIM, Jagara, London Grammar
For a year-and-a-half, Danish quartet Lowly have tantalized our ears with their mix of noise-pop and dreamy indie pop. Our fandom began with “Fire” back in October 2015, and it only builds with their new single, “Mornings”.
Not many electro-pop tracks can sound as intimate as a camp fire song, yet Lowly have delivered exactly that. The song is like the hour at dawn, as the sky brilliantly glows with a range of colors as the sun’s first rays are revealed. And like that moment, the song is breathtaking and all one can do is stare at the sight while reflecting on what was and what is to come. Calling this song beautiful would be an understatement.
The band is comprised of Nanna Schannong (vocals/guitar), Soffie Viemose (vocals), Thomas Lund (bass/synth), and Steffen Lundtoft (drums/percussion).
Strange Hellos – “Monumental” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Teenage Fanclub, Alvvays, Belinda Carlisle
One of our favorite discoveries from 2016 was Norwegian quartet Strange Hellos, who are an indie super-group of sorts from the Nordic country. They blew us away with their radiant, summery sound, making them an easy choice to be one of our Artists to Watch in 2017. Their first single of the year is delicious.
“Monumental” is exactly that how it sounds. Right out of an ’80s, coming-to-age movie, the song soars immediately with shoegaze-y guitars and a titillating keyboard melody. Then Birgitta Alida Hole’s vocals kick, which echo the memorable chime of Belinda Carlisle. And like the former member of The Go-Go’s, Hole and her bandmates take us on an exhilarating ride about endless love. If we could only turn back time and undoubtedly Strange Hellos would have been a massive success three decades ago. That said, we still believe in the potential of this band, who are so close to a massive breakout.
The song is available now via Brilliance Records. The video for the song is below as well, and it has an ’80s vibe to it.
Strange Hellos are Odd Martin Skålnes (O. Martin, Aurora), Birgitta Alida Hole (Lumikide), Fredrik Vogsborg (The Megaphonic Thrift, Casiokids), and Even Kjelby (Great News).
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