The Matinee May 11th once goes global for new music. Hear 9 songs that will get you excited for what lies ahead in the world of independent music. Oh, there’s one super-group who unveiled a new song that will get older music fans excited.
Blond Ambition – “Stupid Boy / Girl” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Day Wave, Summer Heart, Beach Fossils
Not every summertime tune is the same. There are the big, booming anthems that occupy nightclubs and radio stations. The bursts of EDM will be filling numerous festivals across the planet. Then there are the tunes that feel the ocean breeze, relaxing every bone in your body while warming your soul like the mid-afternoon sunshine. Such is the case Blond Ambition‘s new single.
The project of Los Angeles-based artist, Brian Harding, “Stupid Boy / Girl” is a slice of stunning, dreamy surf-pop. The music is soothing and warm, causing one to smile endlessly throughout the day. His story, though, is more than what it seems. It’s not merely a love song, but one about redemption and second chances. For us, that’s the ideal summertime fairy time. ;
Debut album, Slow All Over, is out May 19th via Swoon City Music.
Coquin Migale – “PLANS” (Newcastle, England)
RIYL: Kasabian, The Maccabees, Mariscans
We’ve long featured UK indie band Coquin Migale, who have usually blown us away with their infectious indie pop. With “Plans”, though, they surprise us but in a spectacular way.
Their new single is an anthemic spectacle. The tickling rhythms to start the song perfectly build up the anticipation, and when the surge of guitars and keys come “Plans” reaches a whole new level. It is explosive, boisterous, and exhilarating. All you want to do is extend your arms, breathe in the roaring sound, and follow that up with a massive scream. “Plans” is not just a song; it’s the key that unleashes our true selves.
Coguin Migale are Alex Soper (guitar/vocals), Stevie Kane (bass), Mark Crab Robinson (lead guitar), and Josh Holmes (drums).
GEMS. – “Forgive Me” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Broods, London Grammar, Oh Wonder
It must be another full moon because Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher – a.k.a. GEMS – have unveiled another new song. Whereas other bands have done the monthly single thing, not many have been able to consistently release great song after great song. GEMS, though, as they have proven over the years, are the exception to the rule.
Their newest single, “Forgive Me”, might be their most beautiful. The production work is subdued to allow the delicate piano work to be the star. Lindsay’s vocals are like a whisper, giving the song an intimacy that can only be replicated in the bedroom. This song is indeed one about forgiveness and admitting to being the cause of the problems in the relationship, but very few songs sound as vulnerable and engrossing as “Forgive Me”.
HEX – “Page Of Pentacles” (Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Sleater-Kinney, White Flag, Wytches
May is New Zealand Music month, a time to celebrate the plethora of great artists and bands in this little country. The music scene in Aoeteora is immensely underrated and under appreciated. One band that people should pay heed to are HEX.
The three-piece comprised of Liz Mathews and married couple GG and Kiki Van Newtown have become favourites within the Wellington scene and beyond for their version of “witch-rock” and riot grrrl. Their approach is edgy and a bit eerie, but they never overdo it like some bands who may rev up the volume without the quality to match. Their new single, “Page of Pentacles”, exemplifies their approach. The guitar and bass are terrific, snarling with the controlled rage heard on Sleater-Kinney’s (insert album). The drum work, meanwhile, is executed with military precision, causing one to lose her marbles and just rock out. This band is awesome.
Honey Lung – “Sophomore” (London, England)
RIYL: Smashing Pumpkins, Estrons, Team Picture
It’s been a little while since we’ve written about Honey Lung, the London-based outfit who have often taken us back to the ’90s and early ’00s with their blistering alt-rock. Their latest single builds on their classic approach, but with a twist.
“Sophomore” is another blazing, boisterous number. Its first few chords, however, give the impression that this track will be a laid-back, chill tune. But when the reverb kicks in and the scratching harmonies arrive around the 45-second mark, images of scraggily-haired dudes from the Pacific Northwest wearing plaid emerge. Even the song’s theme is right out of the ’90s, as it celebrates the power of friendship and the spirit of today’s youth.
“Ooh oh I need my friends
To teach me how to forget”
Preach on brothers!
Honey Lung are Jamie Batten (vocals/guitar), Omri Covo (drums), and Charlie Gardener (bass).
Lo Tom – “Overboard” (West Coast, USA)
RIYL: Pedro the Lion, Starflyer 59, Mark Lanegan
If you grew up in the ’90s and listened to bands like Pedro the Lion and Slayflyer 59, then you better find yourself a seat and buckle in because this next song will have you bursting with joy. If you didn’t grow up during that time, then this song offers a history lesson.
Meet Lo Tom, the new super-group formed by David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Trey Many (Velour 100, Starflyer 59), TW Walsh (Pedro the Lion, The Soft Drugs), and Jason Martin (Starflyer 59). The four have been long-time friends and played on the side together, but they’ve finally decided to join forces. Their first single is “Overboard”, which is, well, right of the ’90s. It’s not as hard or as gnarly as when the four were in their twenties, but this tune still has its rocking moments mixed into with its melodic approach. One thing that hasn’t changed is the songwriting, as the band still seem to be chasing dreams. For us fans of the ’90s, a dream has come true with the formation of Lo Tom.
Their self-titled, debut LP arrives on July 14th via Barsuk Records.
Lusid – “Under The Carpet” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Amason, The Fontaines, Gothic Tropic
When we wrote about Lusid‘s debut single, “Plotting A Murder”, we mentioned that first impressions are crucial. Well, the song left us wanting for more, and a month later they deliver their second track. But just as important the first song is, the second one is even equally as critical to build upon the momentum the band has rightfully earned. Not every band can deliver on the promise, but Lusid once again have left our jaws dropping with “Under the Carpet”.
Whereas a “Plotting A Murder” was a stunning ballad, “Under the Carpet” is a gorgeous piece of upbeat dream-pop. It is lush, vibrant, and just candy on the ears. Yet pay attention to the song’s lyrics, as Paulina Palmgren tells a gripping, film-noir story of two lovers heading in opposite directions and one deciding to move on. This song belongs in the cinema because it is simply too beautiful and grand to be limited to audio.
The single is out now via Birds Records. Lusid are Paulina Palmgren, Fabian Ballago, Samuel Collmar, Karl Hovmark, and Johan Nilsson.
Oyama – “Handsome Devil” (Reykjavík, Iceland)
RIYL: No Joy, My Bloody Valentine, Trementina
Iceland has become known for producing the best post-rock and glacial ambient bands on the planet. The list is really endlessly despite the country’s small size. We’ll have to add dreamgaze / shoegaze to the list because Oyama are creating some of the most stunning music within the genre.
One listen to “Handsome Devil” and one immediately understands why Icelanders and the Japanese (yes, the band is pretty popular in the Land of the Rising Sun as the band’s name is taken from a city there) have embraced the quintet. The song starts off gently as frontwoman Júlía Hermannsdóttir’s soothing vocals float effortlessly within the hazy soundscape. One becomes completely locked into her spell and when the reverb and shoegaze amp up, delirium sets in. We’re sucked into this beautiful world that is as lush and brilliant as Sigur Rós’ environments but played through the filter of My Bloody Valentine.
TOPS – “Dayglow Bimbo” (Montreal, Quebec)
RIYL: Chastity Belt, Alvvays
The Montreal music machine is in overdrive this year. Plenty of artists and bands will be releasing albums this year, and one not to be overlooked is TOPS. The dream-pop trio will release Sugar at the Gate on June 2nd via Arbutus Records (pre-order from the label and Bandcamp), and they have already shared the insatiable “Petals”. This time around, they take us to la-la land with “Dayglow Bimbo”.
The song is the equivalent of musical foreplay, as frontwoman Jane Penny’s vocals are enticing and seductive while the soundscape is erotic, hazy delirium. One wants to be completely devoured by the song and enjoy every moment again and again. The lyrics, though, hints at a person of the night, which might explain the sensuality within the track. Then again, the entire album was recorded in a former brothel located in California, and this probably explains everything and why their new record will be unlike most LPs released this year.
TOPS are Jane Penny (vocals/keys), David Carriere (guitar), and Riley Fleck (drums).
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