Music, Singles, The Revue — May 5, 2017 at 5:25 am

The Matinee May 5th

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Today is the mother of music days. There is so much great music and albums dropping over the past 6 to 24 hours, and The Matinee May 5th is just a microcosm of this great day.  We have a myriad of tracks for your listening pleasure. We have artists representing Australia, Iceland, Sweden, and the US  We hope you find your new favorite band or song, and we kick things off with two of indie’s most influential and great bands. Happy Weekend, everyone!

Grizzly Bear – “Three Rings” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Wild Beast, Deerhunter, Department of Eagles

It has been five years since indie-rock innovators Grizzly Bear released Shields, an album many considered to be among the best of the decade. For that matter, the Brooklyn-based quartet are one of the most important, influential, and best bands of this century, rivaling Radiohead and Arcade Fire for sheer brilliance. Consequently, when they teased photos on their social media account that they were working on new material, we got excited and wishfully included them among our Most Anticipated Albums of 2017. Then late last night, the first song arrived.

“Three Rings” is another innovative track by Grizzly Bear. Whereas their previous album Shields and Veckatimest were largely introspective and challenged us in how we interpreted indie rock, Grizzly Bear look more outwardly with this new single, and the song feels more like an out-of-body experience. It is more spatial, distant, and even interstellar in its approach, and some parts are fleeting. The entire track, though, is incredibly hypnotic and at times breathtaking. The final 90 seconds, in particular, are remarkable and contain truly “My God!” moments. If “Three Rings” is a sign of what is to come, we are in for another wild and unforgettable ride. Then again, we shouldn’t expect anything less from these indie-rock magicians.

If you have a SoundCloud Go account, click the audio above to hear the song in its entirety. Otherwise, spin the video below.

Grizzly Bear are Chris Bear, Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, and Chris Taylor.

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LCD Soundsystem – “American Dream” and “Call the Police” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Future Islands, early U2, David Byrne

At midnight EST, LCD Soundsystem released their first two new songs (not counting the Christmas track they released in December) in over five years. Well, they’ve played these songs live, but they’ve been fine-tuned and mastered for public consumption. The first impressions of these songs for us were different and unexpected. What the two songs demonstrate is that James Murphy and friends are still evolving and refuse to be pigeon-holed within a specific genre. Fortunately, the results are stupendous.

“American Dream” is an exquisite, synth-pop ballad akin to the work of Future Islands. It is serene and lush in its delivery, and Murphy’s voice is vulnerable, breaking at times to reflect the hesitation and pain of the protagonist of this terrific story. This woman is one hoping to achieve the American dream, but as Murphy describes it is just a distant wish.

“Call the Police”, on the other hand, commences with a more upbeat, synth approach. As this 7-minute epic progresses, it turns into a rocker with the band channeling early U2, specifically the Irish greats’ underrated track “The Electric Co.” Murphy’s vocals even resemble Bono in some moments. Yet at the same time, the song feels like one that U2 wishes they would have created – an ’80s-inspired rock number translated for modern listeners with hard-hitting, poignant lyrics about the state of the world. Is this a protest song? It most certainly is, and it is fantastic.

If you have a SoundCloud Go account, click the two audio streams above to hear the song in its entirety. Otherwise, spin the videos below.

The singles are not available for purchase, but a new album is nearly completed. James Murphy offers a detailed explanation on Facebook. When the LP is released, it will be distributed via Murphy’s own DFA Records as well as Columbia Records.

LCD Soundsystem are Murphy and a whole cast of people, including at any given time: Pat Mahoney, Phil Mossman, Tyler Pope, Nancy Whang, Matt Thornley, Al Doyle, David Ascot Stone, Gavin Russom, Jerry Fuchs, J.D. Mark, Phil Skarich, Justin Chearno, and Korey Richey.

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Axel Flóvent – “Quiet Eyes” (Húsavík, Iceland)

RIYL: Ásgeir, Bon Iver, Haux,

Axel Flóvent has exploded online after his 2015 EP Forest Fires was released. He is now working on new material after being signed to Epic Records/Sony Music.

“Quiet Eyes” is the title track to his upcoming EP and it’s a beautiful ballad that has lyrical meaning and is definitely worth sharing. Mr. Flovent has an impressive vocal range similar to fellow countryman Ásgeir that immediately draws you in. The harmonies on “Quiet Eyes” have a simplistic and acoustic feel that perfectly frames Mr. Flóvent’s inviting vocals.

Mr. Flóvent shares a bit about his newest track: “Quiet Eyes is about co-dependency and a message to whom it may concern in an inspirational way. It’s a way of reminding myself and others to take action, look at your feet and see where you’re at because you’ve not been yourself lately.”

Flóvent’s new EP, Quiet Eyes, arrives May 12th.

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Calais – “Seeing It All” (Brisbane, Australia)

RIYL: Blue October, Mew, White Lies

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Brisbane-based Calais, and they are back with a brand new single, “Seeing It All”. Their newest track is the first offering of new music since their 2015 EP, Silhouettes.

“Seeing It All” is a great indie rock track that includes a proper dose of synth, beats and fast paced guitar. The chorus is addicting and has us wanting to sing along, “I’ve been lookin for you in my reflection, and time is passing me by.  I’ve been lookin for you in my direction and I don’t know why.” 

With this newest single being release, we are assuming 2017 will include more new music from this talented Australian based quintet.

Calais are Tim Lollback (vocals), Joseph Fleming (guitar), Guy Stacey (guitar/synth), Liam Roberts (bass), and Will Mogg (drums).

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Jamila Woods – “Holy” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige

For the past three years, Jamila Woods has emerged as a can’t-miss artist. Her collaborations with Chance the Rapper on his songs “Sunday Candy” and “Blessings” caught the attention of music fans for her vibrant, soulful voice. Her debut album, 2016’s HEAVN, was critically acclaimed by many, including Pitchfork, with her honest and passionate songwriting standing out. Here was a young woman who wasn’t afraid to shy away from addressing many of America’s social ills, from police brutality on African Americans to the growing inequality between rich and poor.

With her newest single, Woods takes a slightly different approach, but her songwriting remains poignant. “Holy”, in a word, is empowering. It celebrates the strength of the individual, as Woods sings about having self-respect and confidence. “I’m not lonely. I’m alone, and I’m Holy by my own,” she sings sweetly, as if she’s our subconscious and whispering these words into our ear. This is a magnificent song with a fabulous message by a remarkable young woman, who is a modern-day blend of Joan Baez and Diana Ross. Forget the sky being the limit; it’s to Andromeda or bust for Woods.

The single is available via Jagjaguwar.

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Lauren Ruth Ward – “Blue Collar Sex Kitten” (Los Angeles via Baltimore, USA)

RIYL: Ty Segall, Fiona Apple, Grace Mitchell

Look out Ty Segall, Lauren Ruth Ward is about to take over your mantra as garage rock’s ruling royal. The Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter has been rising quickly in 2017 for her edgy, raw, rock approach and no-nonsense songwriting. She’s not here to make friends; rather she’s come to challenge us with brutal honesty and keen observations. Her previous single, “Did I Offend You?”, illustrated her intelligent and witty songwriting style, although it was more of a cinematic rocker. With her newest single, she has taken off the gloves and come out swinging.

“Blue Collar Sex Kitten” is a bombastic, grimy, and gritty rocker. The fuzz that fills the air is adrenaline inducing while the rhythm section rises the blood pressure. Ward’s vocals, meanwhile, are mesmerizing, as they move fluidly from a blues-rock, Janis Joplin vibe to a sweet and sultry aura and back. Throughout this four-and-half minute epic, she challenges every notion of what is real and not and what truly is important. Are we willing to free ourselves from the chain or just be another blue collar sex kitten to be taken advantage? Ladies and gentlemen, we have the next great singer-songwriter and rock star among us.

Ward is supported by Eduardo Rivera (guitar and songwriting partner), Deanna Passarella (bass), and Doug Walters (drums).

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Mt. Joy – “Cardinal” (Philadelphia & Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: The Lumineers, The Head and The Heart, Shakey Graves

Mt.Joy started as a creative part time outlet for Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper until “Astrovan” took off online and they decided this needs to be a full time thing.

We are glad the internet agreed with us and shared the track, too as we are loving Mt. Joy’s way of providing thought provoking and sometimes dry humored lyrics with their folky-alt-country vibe. The mix of the two is quite endearing and we keep wanting to hear more from Mt. Joy.

The lyrics on “Cardinal” talk about numerous things yet the theme is about acceptance now matter what is going on in your life with the fitting lyrics “I just wanted you to know, you don’t have to come clean to me / yeah, everything’s exactly where it needs to be.” The acoustic based harmonies along with the added touch of whistling throughout the track makes for a simple way to deliver their stand out talent – songwriting.

Mt. Joy are Matt Quinn, Sam Cooper, Michael Byrne, Sotiris Eliopoulos and Andrew Butler.

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T O F F E – “Painting Pictures” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Icona Pop, MGMT, Twin Shadow

We don’t know a lot about T O F F E except that the Swedish pop artist is creating some addicting modern day synth pop with a bit of an ’80s slant.

It seems that “Painting Pictures” is his debut track, and we are putting it on repeat. With the upbeat, danceable harmonies, this song definitely belongs on early soon-to-be-created summer playlist.

The lyrics are also slick, as it chronicles the struggle of moving on past a breakup. The truth is it’s always hard to push out the memories of the past, especially if the person you are trying to get over comes back around with lyrics that question “Where have you been hiding while I’ve been healing?” the ending also proclaims “I’ve been painting pictures without you/you can’t make me erase them/ cuz this time I’m coming through”.

“Painting Pictures” is  out now and released via Quiet One Recordings/AWAL.

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Wavves – “No Shade” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: METZ, Japandroids, The Men

In the early to mid 2000s, a wave of post-punk, hard garage-rock bands emerged. Japandroids, Parquet Courts, METZ, The Men, Ice Age, Cloud Nothings, and Wavves were among the leading groups of the era. They gave hope to all the people who grew up during the rise of grunge a decade earlier that alt-rock was making a comeback in a new form. Over time, however, many of the aforementioned bands evolved, turning into rock ‘n roll bands with great success. Wavves, however, have stayed the course, continuing to produce music that is meant to melt faces, blow minds, and cause incessant perspiration when heard live.

Just to prove that they still have it, Wavves are readying their new album. The third song out of the gate is the wild and anti-summer anthem, “No Shade”. In prototypical fashion, this song is short, snappy, and intense. For 107 seconds, the LA-based quartet hurl fuzzy guitar riff after another and shoot rapid-fire, face-pounding rhythms. The song feels like a battle with Mike Tyson, where the final uppercut absolutely floors us. However, we’ll jump right up off the canvas waiting for the very next blow to arrive.

And that will occur on May 19th when You’re Welcome is released on the band’s label Ghost Ramp. Pre-order the LP here.

Wavvves are Nathan Williams, Alex Gates, Stephen Pope, and Brian Hill.

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