Following Hollie’s lead on yesterday’s Melodic Tonic, The Matinee April 18th features nine new songs that span the spectrum of new music.
Bedouine – “Dusty Eyes” (Los Angeles, USA via Aleppo, Syria)
RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Natalie Prass, Hope Sandoval
As we enter the third week of April, we’re still looking for this year’s breakout, singer-songwriter. An artist who could follow in the footsteps of Courtney Barnett, Natalie Prass, and Julia Jacklin. We may have found that artist, and her name is Azniv Korkejian, or simply Bedouine.
Her life to date has mirrored her pseudonym. Born in Aleppo, Syria, Korkejian lived most of her life in Saudi Arabia. She and her family emigrated to the United States after her parents won a green card lottery, setting in Boston then Houston. Korkejian attended university in Savannah, Georgia, and upon graduation immediately moved to Los Angeles with her degree in sound design. Over the years, she has worked in dialogue and music editing, but writing and performing music weren’t options. And then one faithful day, she ended up cutting a single in less than 24 hours with bass player / producer Gus Seyffert, and now the well-traveled Korkejian is commencing a new journey. And what a start to this expedition it is.
Her new single, “Dusty Eyes”, is a rare gem. It is a stunning folk single that is reminiscent of June Carter’s intimacy and simplicity, but the floating dreaminess recalls the ethereal modernity of Hope Sandoval. Korkejian’s vocals are luxuriously soft, tickling the air like a feather in the breeze. The music is warm and enticing, akin to the sounds one would hear in New Orleans in mid-20th Century. But as you listen closely to the lyrics and Korkejian’s stirring vocals, you cannot help but think the song is as much about the people in her life as it is those she left behind.
“Dusty Eyes” is from Bedouine’s self-titled, debut album. It is due June 23rd via Spacebomb Records.
Dolly Spartans – “Time Sides With No One” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser, Yeasayer
When we first came across NYC quartet Dolly Spartans a month ago, we were blown away by “Hanging Out”, calling it a song that would “ignite the adrenaline and cause an internal combustion that only the great rock songs do.” Their newest single, likewise, is another catchy number, and it reminds us that there is still a place for great indie rock.
“Time Sides With No One” is akin to the immersive and thoughtful approach of The Walkmen and Hamilton Leithauser. The soaring vocals of Michael Eliran even have a touch of Leithauser, and the stirring, guitar-driven melody echo the great indie band. And like the two iconic NYC-based performers, Dolly Spartans have written a fantastic song that will lift your spirits. This is a song about second chances and living in the moment, something we all need.
Dolly Spartans are Michael Eliran, Jesse Barovick, Steven Bartashev, and Max Beirne-Shafer.
Exhibitionist – “Hands” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Little Dragon, GEMS, Nite Jewel
Not many artists have their debut single immediately showcased on Triple J, but this was the case for Kirsty Tickle. Under the moniker Exhibitionist, the Sydney-based singer-songwriter unveiled “Hands”, a lo-fi indietronica that will completely tantalize you. The song is sultry and immensely sensual, as Tickle’s light vocals float effortlessly in the air like a whisper within the confines of a dimly-lit bedroom. The production work is subtle yet intricate, as the stuttering beats and the echo of the synth create a chilling yet arousing atmosphere.
What takes the song to another level are the additions of the saxophone and flute, which give the song a jazz club-like coolness while adding to the song’s intimacy. If you’re wondering, that is indeed Tickle playing both instruments. Prior to embarking on a solo career, she performed in Party Dozen, a two-piece improv band that played everything from jazz to Americana to even alt-pop. This young woman is a talent.
grandson – “Best Friends” (Toronto, Canada & Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Royal Blood, Drenge, Highly Suspect
Rock ‘n roll is not dead no matter what the radio stations want to tell you. There are still bands out there making great rock ‘n roll and blues rock. The return of Royal Blood last week was a subtle reminder that people will still listen to fiery and fierce music. This week, grandson is helping to sustain the momentum with his new single, “Best Friends”.
This song is a blazing rocker. The guitar work is gritty and searing, and the drum work pounds with military precision. It is also a song that we are imagining what it would sound like live, and in all likelihood the performance would be a face-melting one. In addition to the song’s musical greatness, grandson have written a heck of a track. We’ll leave it to the band to describe what the song is about:
Best Friends is the story of somebody waking up and realizing that the people around them are starting to hold them back, that the drugs don’t work like they used to, and that if they can’t find the courage to leave the safety of their old neighborhood or their old friend group they might get trapped before they become the person they have the potential to become.
MAGDALENA BAY – “Set Me Off” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Robyn, Chairlift, Rozes
Life often comes in full circle. For Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin, the former high school classmates were meant to make music together. During their formative years, they performed ’80s covers and even dabbled in prog-rock. After they went their separate ways following the twelfth grade, they reconnected and continued to channel the bands of the big-hair, acid-washed-dreams, and synth-infused era. Now they are entering a new phase of their relationship – ’90s-inspired pop music with a twist!
Their new single, “Set Me Off”, brims with the infectious and catchy pop music that made Britney Spears and Mandy Moore stars. A sweet innocence resonates across the song, as Tenenbaum sings about her inability to completely get over an ex. But instead of talking about mix tapes, the stuffed animal won at the fair, or the promise ring, Tenenbaum speaks about checking his SnapChat and other social media. While the times have changed in terms of what connects people, the feelings of a broken heart remain the same – and so does the fun nature of the pop music many of us we grew up with thanks to Magdalena Bay.
Natalie Bouloudis – “Firebird” (London, England)
RIYL: Fiona Apple, Ali Beletic, Soffía Björg
From the first note of the twangy guitar and Natalie Bouloudis‘ smokey voice, it becomes immediately clear that “Firebird” will be a different experience. This song isn’t for late-night dance clubs or top-forty radio stations. Instead, this blues-folk tune belongs in the caverns of a secretive bar where only the city’s most notorious figures lurk and people seek shelter from the mayhem above. And we say this with every ounce of respect because this is the type of music and place we gravitate to on a Saturday night (although we’re hardly notorious).
“Firebird” is wonderfully dark, gritty, and cinematic, and it is highlighted by Bouloudis’ gripping vocals and her suspenseful storytelling. The arrangements are fantastic, particularly the horns bellowing quietly in the background and the accordion occasionally peaking under the corner. Maybe this song doesn’t belong in a city’s underground music scene. Instead, it should either be performed in an immaculate theatre (like London’s Royal Albert Hall) or on the third season of True Detective because this song is creepy good.
“Firebird” is from Bouloudis’ forthcoming, debut EP, Dead Sea Scripts. It will be released on May 12th.
PEP – “As Lovers” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: La Sera, Fascinations Grand Chorus, The Ronettes
Sometimes we wish we lived during the ’50s and ’60s because various genres of music were blossoming. Rock, jazz, blues, pop, folk, and country were entering new phases. If you think about it carefully, these two decades were among the most inventive times in popular music history. Different streams and sub-genres were created, and one of them was doo-wop. Honestly, who doesn’t like a good doo-wop song? It’s one sub-genre we wish would return, and thanks to bands like PEP it is slowly making a comeback.
The Brooklyn-based trio, though, are not just recapturing the shimmering quality of the era but adding a modern touch. Take their new single, “As Lovers”, for instance. The stunning harmonies of Karys Rhea, Ilana Webber, and Christina Connerton and the groovy bass line are straight out of the ’50s, recalling bands like The Ronettes and The Shirelles. However, as the song progresses, it gets a bit more intense and gritty to reflect the friction between two people. These three young ladies aren’t cooing over boys and sweeping problems under the rug. Instead, they’re meeting them head on and telling their stories in way that is both classic and contemporary. Hopefully, their “nu-wop” will take flight, and PEP could be the new Spice Girls.
PEP are Karys Rhea, Ilana Webber, and Christina Connerton with David Origlieri, Teddy Williams, and Sharif Mekawy.
Satori Blue – “Empathy” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Massive Attack, Archive, The xx
Another set of newcomers shared their debut single last week, and it will absolutely mesmerize you. Meet the latest export from Seattle in Satori Blue. But before you hit play, be forewarned this is not your typical band from the Pacific Northwest. Don’t expect blistering guitars, hammering guitar lines, and face-melting rockers. Instead, expect to be hypnotized by the duo’s alluring indietronica.
“Empathy” is a stunning introduction to Satori Blue. The song beautifully combines Massive Attack’s suspenseful trip-hop, Archive’s penchant for creating cinematic masterpieces, and The xx’s low-key but intoxicating arrangements. The song is simply breathtaking.
In addition, “Empathy” comes at the perfect time. The message is moving and extremely relevant, as the world becomes consumed by hatred and fear without understanding why. “So I ask you, what I asked before”, the band reiterates. It’s a question that should be asked over and over again.
Vök – “Breaking Bones” (Hafnarfjörður / Akranes, Iceland)
RIYL: JFDR, Samaris
There are a few bands that we could endlessly listen to, and one of them is Vök. The Icelandic quartet are a musical bridge, connecting the glacial ambient-electronica of their country with the enchanting and dark indietronica and trip-hop of England and Germany. Their newest single, “Breaking Bones”, reveals their fantastic artistry.
Like the great masters of these countries, Vök have created an immensely sensual and intoxicating number, but the experience is otherworldly. It is like we have taken the red pill and spiraled down into a dimension where only our deepest fantasies reside and reality is just a dream. Such is the power of the music of Margrét Rán (vocals/guitar/keyboard), Andri Már (saxophone/APC), Ólafur Alexander (guitar/bass), and Einar Stef (drums). And on April 28th, the rest of the world will be speaking their names when their new album, Figure, arrives.
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