The term “global citizen” use to be a passing reference for a globetrotter, but now hundreds of millions of people can say wear this badge with honor. The Matinee August 22nd edition features three artists / bands who have made their homes in different corners of Earth. For that matter, the entire playlist features artists spread across this fine planet. Only one country has two homegrown artists on the list, and it’s not the USA.
Alex the Astronaut – “Not Worth Hiding” (Sydney, Australia and New York City, USA)
RIYL: First Aid Kit, Hazel English, Middle Kids
It’s always a treat to watch a young artist’s career blossom. At the start of 2016, Alex Lynn’s project Alex the Astronaut was just taking off, but like a rocket ship heading to space it accelerated quickly and now she’s among Australia’s most brightest stars. She’s become a favorite of Triple J, and her fanbase now extends to New York City, where she attends New York University on a football (or soccer) scholarship. One of the reasons she has won thousands of fans over, including ourselves, is that her songwriting is real, honest, and genuine. Her newest single, though, might be her most personal and her very best.
On “Not Worth Hiding”, Lynn reveals her soul and her personal struggles in dealing with her sexual orientation as a teenager. Through the upbeat and catchy folk-pop arrangements, Lynn shares her experiences of being uncomfortable and different and the painful things she heard and read. But she never gave in and at the age of 16 accepted who she is. In her typical I-can-do-anything spirit, she encourages others to do the same. The song if filled with great vignettes – from never being ashamed to hold another person’s hand to not live about who you are if it means living in pain. Most importantly, she hopes every will find their happiness like she did.
“Not Worth Hiding” is the lead single from Alex the Astronaut’s second EP, See You Soon. It drops October 6th via her own label, Minkowski Records.
Baby in Vain – “Low Life” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Warpaint, PJ Harvey
NOTE: if you’re unable to stream the single, Spotify link is here.
Look out world, here come Baby in Vain, Denmark’s next great export. If you don’t believe us, ask the fine folks at Partisan Records, who will be releasing the indie-rock trio’s debut album, More Nothing, on Friday. But instead of creating upbeat, blistering fare, Lola Hammerich, Benedicte Pierleoni and Andrea Thuesen are creating starker and more brooding songs. Take for instance the LP’s lead single, “Low Life”.
The song is wonderfully sinister and cathartic. It merges the throbbing melodies of Wolf Alice with the dark ecstasies of PJ Harvey, and, as a result, each and every note feels like a punch to the gut. “Preoccupy my mind, there’s no time to waste”, Hammerich sings with a deadpan, emotionless delivery, which only adds to the song’s creepiness. But instead of shying away from their quiet ferocity, you become sucked in further and further into their bleak delirium. This, however, isn’t Wonderland. It’s more like Hades’ underworld, but something spectacularly enchanting exists within the darkness.
To experience Baby In Vain’s world in person, those in London can catch them at a secret gig tomorrow (August 23rd). They’ll be sharing the stage with LA-based garage-rock duo Deap Vally and one of our favorites, alt-rockers Yassassin. Contact Fluffer Records who are hosting the Pit Parties. More information is available here. If you can get details, go to it because these ten women will put on a memorable show.
Blankenberge – “Falling Stars” (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
RIYL: Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins
The genre that just won’t die. That is shoegaze, and boy are we ever grateful for this occurrence. This year alone saw the return of Slowdive and Ride, and now we urgently await My Bloody Valentine to make an unexpected announcement that they’ll be touring again. This resurgence also has us contemplating shoegaze’s future and which bands could assume the mantle as the genre’s next great champions. Chilean band Trementina are definitely one, and right alongside them the name Blankenberge could be written.
The quintet from Saint Petersburg released their debut album, Radiodaze, last month, and from it is “Falling Stars”. Like watching a meteor shower on a clear night, this song is a cosmic dazzler of epic proportions. The shoegaze-y guitars burn with the brightness of a comet streaking across the sky. Frontwoman Yana’s vocals are ethereal and breathtaking, as if she is a being from another planet seducing us on to her spacecraft. The heart-ripping rhythms burst in the background, adding to the song’s radiance. For shoegaze fans, this song is six minutes of ecstasy.
Blankenberge are Yana (vocals), Daniil (guitar), Dayan (guitar), Dima (bass), and Sergey (drums).
Hero Fisher – “Push The Boat Out” (London, England)
RIYL: Adele, Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor
A month ago, singer-songwriter Hero Fisher took our collective breaths away with “Sylvie”. Despite its simplicity, the combination of Fisher’s smokey and sultry vocals and immersive songwriting left us completely captivated. She returns with yet another “OMG” moment with “Push The Boat Out”, which is even more stripped down yet equally mesmerizing.
With just her amazing voice, the simple touches of a keyboard, and the hum of a choir behind her, Fisher takes us on a slow boat trip with no destination. The soundscape is solemn yet serene, making us feel like we’re on the windless ocean and unable to make ground. But there is more to the song than just the gripping music, as Fisher has written her equivalent to Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. For that matter, the song could be its prequel, telling us a story of a man who give his boat for another chance of redemption.
“Push The Boat Out” is from Fisher’s forthcoming sophomore album, Glue Moon. It will be released in early 2018. Don’t be surprised if she’s the biggest breakout star of 2018, assuming it doesn’t happen sooner.
MOSS – “My Decision” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: The Twilight Sad, Manchester Orchestra, The War On Drugs
Every week there is at least one established band that appears on our radar for the first time. Each time we are left to how this is possible, and this get magnified when the band in question makes music that is electrifying cinematic and engrossing. This week’s nominee is Dutch quintet Moss, who have been around since 2003! It’s taken fourteen years for us to discover the Netherlands’ equivalent to The National, Future Islands, and The War On Drugs. Better late than never, and we won’t be forgetting about them thanks to their new single “My Decision”.
Like a late-night drive through the cavernous and deserted highways, the song defines subtle exhilaration. The orchestration is spectacular, never going overboard yet retaining a suspenseful vibe. The occasional burst from the electric guitar is like lightning striking the midnight sky, offering a moment of luminescence to the otherwise stark soundscape. Frontman Marien Dorleijn’s vocals are distant yet enrapturing, guiding us through the mind of a lost soul who has lost everything and everyone. Spectacular, absolutely a spectacular display of artistry by a band we will no longer ignore.
The band is comprised of Marien Dorleijn, Finn Kruyning, Michiel Stam, Daniel Rose, and Jelte Heringa.
Pelorus – “Dawn” (Bristol, England via Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Bon Iver, S. Carey, Haux
In the short time we’ve gotten to know Leon van Dijk – or better known as Pelorus – one thing is abundantly clear, the young Kiwi is among the very best at creating breathtaking, wind-swept, meditative dream-folk. Every one of his songs possesses the same cinematic brilliance and awe-inspiring effects as Justin Vernon and S. Carey. His smooth, soulful voice, however, is at a whole other level when it comes to ethereal beauty. His new single perfectly demonstrates van Dijk’s incomparable talents.
Just as you hit play, lie down and close your eyes and absorb every note of “Dawn”. Immerse yourself in the delicate orchestration, where the quiet beats are like waves breaking against rocks on the shore and the radiance of the synths feel like the warm of the first rays at sunrise. van Dijk’s voice, meanwhile, is the gentle, ocean breeze, washing over you with its cool and refreshing fragrance. In such occasions, there is only one option available – to succumb to the moment’s beauty because who knows when serenity will bestow its presence upon us again.
Pelorus’ presence, though, will be fully felt on September 11th when his debut EP, Perfect Storm, hits landfall. Funnel Music will release it.
Wesley Fuller – “Someone to Walk Around With” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Mikal Cronin, Ty Segall, Ron Gallo
Wesley Fuller‘s meteoric rise continues. The Aussie psychedelic-rock artist was once an unknown commodity, whose following just over two years consisted mostly of friends and family. Heck, he was a hidden gem of ours when we were still doing these features (which were dedicated to artists with very small followings). Through a combination of catchy singles and Chuck Berry-like live shows, Fuller has become one of Australia’s fastest-rising artists and a can’t-miss performer.
His debut album, Inner City Dream, arrives next month (September 22nd, specifically) via 1965 Records, and it should catapult him into star status. That is assuming the rest of the album sounds as great as the first two singles. The aptly titled “#1 Song” was a fun and whimsical psychedelic pop number. Song number two from the album, which was released yesterday, heads in a slightly different direction, but it is equally as entertaining and energetic.
With “Someone to Walk Around With”, Fuller has delivered a hook-laden, catchy rock ‘n roll number that echoes an era well before his time. It’s a song that his grandparents likely were jittering to in their youths and something heard on Happy Days. The guitar work is gnarly, and the rhythms (hand clap and all) are right out of the ’50s and ’60s. All we need is a jukebox, an empty diner, and a disco ball to get the party started.
Whispertown – “Born To Ride” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Jenny Lewis, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Dana Falconberry
Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” is one of the great songs of the past 35 years. Not just musically, but lyrically it was a masterpiece, as he described the presence of a woman with no name and her impact on those around her. Now what if someone wrote a song that was the flip side to Young’s masterpiece? A song that was written from the viewpoint of the “Unknown Legend”? I’m not sure if anyone had done this, but Morgan Nagler’s – a.k.a. Whispertown – new single could very well be it.
“Born To Ride” is a dazzling, intimate folk-rock number that is akin to Young’s classic approach, where the familiar acoustic guitar melody sweeps you away. What makes the song, however, is Nagler’s storytelling. A carefree spirit can be heard in her voice and in the lyrics, as she tells us to own the road and not allow anything to stop us.
“Hey hey look out,
The road will try to own.
But we’re four-wheel drive, all-terrain.
We were born to ride.”
Yet the “Unknown Legend” lingers within the song.
“Hey hey now,
There’s a move I want to show you.
Just pass the lights,
Hang a right.”
Just like what Young did in 1992, Nagler has crafted an instant classic with “Born To Ride. It is a must-add to any late-summer road-trip playlist.
The song is taken from Nagler’s forthcoming new album, I’m a Man, which is due out September 1st via Graveface Records.
The Zephyr Bones – “Juglar Child on the Carousel” (Barcelona, Spain and Chile)
RIYL: Beach Fossils, Craft Spells, DIIV
While summer is coming to an end and the songs get a bit darker and moodier to reflect the oncoming autumn, there are still some groups refusing to admit that cooler weather is on the horizon. Instead, bands like The Zephyr Bones are creating music that make summer feel endless. The surf-rock band from Barcelona (with some members from Chile) are doing their part to keep each day feel like the heart of July and August, where the sun’s heart and the Mediterranean’s cool waves collide on a daily basis. This description also applies to their new single, “Juglar Child on the Carousel”.
With the shimmering qualities of Beach Fossils and Craft Spells, The Zephyr Bones’ new song defines late summer. It is warm, fresh, and completely delightful, as the jangly guitar notes are smile-inducing and the light, breezy harmonies are smile-inducing. A carefree attitude also circulates throughout the song, kind of like how a child feels like when they’re being spun around in a carousel. We all know that feeling, where for a moment all our worries are brushed away and all we feel are exhilaration and happiness. And this song makes us immensely happy.
“Juglar Child on the Carousel” is from The Zephyr Bones’ debut album, Secret Place, which will be released November 10th on La Castanya.
The band is comprised of Brian (guitar/vocals), Jossip (guitar/vocals/synth), Carlitos (bass), and Marc (drums).
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