From a powerful political song to some cool rockers to a groovy disco-pop number, The Matinee August 25th is the perfect way to spend Friday. There are some newcomers, a couple of bands who disappeared but then returned, and a legendary group who offered another surprise.
Baula – “Nova” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Lisa Hannigan, Ali Beletic, Land of Talk
In January of this year, a new duo arrived on the scene and immediately captured our attention. Baula, the project of Ísak Ásgeirsson and Karolina Thunberg, had us collectively wowing over “Just Like Yesterday”. It was an immediate contender for song of the year. Needlessly to say, we were immensely excited to hear what they would do next. But as quickly as they arrived, they disappeared and weren’t to be heard from again. Then out of the blue, they came back much to our delights.
Their new single, “Nova”, is another “WOW” moment. Whereas their previous song sent us to a lush oblivion, “Nova” takes us to the wild west to hunt down the one who “slithers through the cracks”. But who is this entity? Is it a person, a ghost, or a figure of our imagination? Karolina’s storytelling is fabulous, taking on the cinematic flair of Ali Beletic. Ísak’s tremolo guitar work is fantastic, giving the song a dazzling grit that you wish every song would have. By the way, be warned that you might yourself firing out an air guitar attack.
Speaking of attacks, let’s hope Baula won’t disappear for long because he might go into cardiac arrest if we have to suffer through another seven months without hearing from them.
Dog In The Snow – “Child” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: PJ Harvey, Nadine Shah, Teeth & Tongue
We have no idea if PJ Harvey is one of Helen Brown’s heroes, but she has us convinced that she’s a worthy heir apparent to the legendary UK singer-songwriter. Through her project Dog In The Snow, she released a song yesterday that has us proclaiming that the future of music is in great hands. That song is “Child”, which is a powerful, political anthem for everyone to rally around. Through the throbbing bassline and hypnotic production work, Brown’s vocals move from lush to scowling, as she sings:
“I wonder if I could throw my hands up
And outwards to the sea,
To say this future is not one for me.
And I wonder if I could just live my life
Without the known calling and plea.
And say this future is not for me.
I won’t have child
Unless you show me humanity.
I won’t have child
Until you stop bombing me.
I won’t have child
Until then is safety.
I won’t have child
Until you stop selling me.
I won’t have child
Until you show me sustainability.
Towards the end, her voice becomes more sinister, and she repeats, “Fuck your TV family. Fuck your TV family”. It’s a bit obvious whose the target of our critique, and it is awesome.
“Child” is the second single from her new album, Consume Me, which arrives October 20th via Battle Worldwide.
KARMS – “We Always Lose” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Kasabian, The Arkells, Sundara Karma
Fresh off the indie music train arrives newcomers KARMS, who just released their debut single, “We Always Lose”. It’s a killer indie-rock track that commands your attention, particularly the melodic rock formula with a calculating cadence is quite addicting. In addition, their mind-blowing guitar work reminds a bit of Jimmy Eat World, but the anthemic quality of the song echoes fellow UK bands Kasabian and Sundara Karma. If this is a taste of what is to come, we’re excited to hear what else KARMS has in store.
The band is comprised of brothers Colm (vocals/guitar) and Stephen O’Loughlin (guitar/vocals) along with best friends Danny Farrelly (bass/vocals) and Jay Maleney (drums).
Mogwai – “Eternal Panther” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, A Place To Bury Strangers, Ride
Surprise! That’s the word shoegaze legends Mogwai should have named their forthcoming, new album because both the record and every single they’ve released have been unexpected. They basically just unveiled them to the world with little publicity and go about their days. We’re not complaining because these surprises make everyday feel like Christmas. And in the wee hours of the morning, the next surprise arrived with “Eternal Panther”.
This song absolutely rocks. It is a reminder that the Scottish greats can blast blistering, shoegaze-drenched riffs as ferocious and intense as My Bloody Valentine. The three-prong guitar attack is one full display with each one taking a starring role. The song’s edge, however, lies in the pummeling bass line and militaristic drumming, which together feel like a battalion has broken through the front line and started filling our chests with sonic round after sonic round. Never forget about Stuart Braithwaite’s lyrics because there’s always a hidden message in his stories. This time around, the “Eternal Panther” is the person who hunts us down at every turn and prevents us from getting to where we want. That may be ourselves or some “leader of the free world”.
If you don’t have a SoundCloud Go account, the song is on Spotify.
Mogwai’s ninth studio album, Every Country’s Sun, arrives September 1st. Rock Action (Europe), Spunk Records (AUS/NZ), and Temporary Residence (USA/Canada) will do the duties of sharing this highly-anticipated record to the world. Pre-orders are available here. The LP was produced by the band’s longtime friend, Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips).
Mogwai are Stuart Braithwaite (guitar/vocals), John Cummings (guitar/vocals), Barry Burns (guitar/keys/vocals), Dominic Aitchison (bass), and Martin Bulloch (drums).
Moon Taxi – “Two High” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Colony House, Milky Chance, Half Moon Run
It’s been a while since we have heard from Nashville based indie pop band Moon Taxi. They have been super successful with past singles that have normally been a tried-and-true formula of laid-back indie rock.
With “Two High”, however, they have released a solid single with a danceable, upbeat pop vibe that has proven successful for the quintet. “Two High” is not only a track that begs us to hit the repeat button, but it’s super inspiring as the song talks about unity and proclaims: “We can come together. We won’t give up on the fight”. It’s a great message fostering hope in any situation.
Moon Taxi are now receiving well-deserved radio play and are on the precipice of blowing up. Their rigorous past touring schedule and philosophy of getting in front of as many people as possible certainly have helped their cause. So it’s not just their sound, they’ve earned every bit of their success and continue to criss-cross the globe. Speaking of touring, they are in the middle of touring the US, and you can check out dates here.
Moon Taxi are Trevor Terndrup (vocals, guitar), Tommy Putnam (bass), Spencer Thomson (guitar, programming), Tyler Ritter (drums), and Wes Bailey (keys).
New Portals – “Feel Good” (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
RIYL: CLAVVS, GEMS, Oh Wonder
New Portals recently released a new single called, “Feel Good”, and the description is quite fitting. It’s a melodic, synth-pop gem that has a nostalgic quality. As Ruth and Mike Aicken’s vocals seductively enter our mind, they guide us into the past and have us recall memories that illicit warm feelings. It’s a great end-of-summer track to chill out to while getting ready for the oncoming arrival of autumn.
Siblings Ruth (vocals, percussion) and Mike Aicken (vocals, synth, keyboards) have impressed us with past tracks “Stereo” and “Stay Here Tonight”. You could say they’re favorites in these parts.
Pink Milk – “Awakening of Laura” (Sweden)
RIYL: No Joy, Slowdive, Lush
A year when we first were introduced to Swedish duo Pink Milk, we compared them to “an assassin who sneaks up and surprises you”. Their weapons of choice, though, are shoegaze-y guitars and vocals that cause the hairs on the back of your neck to shrivel up. Just like the trained sharp shooter, Maria and Edward have once again snuck up on us and delivered another pulse-accelerating number.
“Awakening of Laura”, which was officially unveiled to the world yesterday, is a stark yet lush number that feels more like a fantasy than a reality. The shoegaze guitars are filled with distortion, yet they are sensual and warm. Maria’s distant vocals are haunting, as this time around she takes on the role of an Enya-like enchantress. There’s only one thing left to do with a song this gorgeous – succumb to its seductiveness and spin it over and over again.
Pink Milk’s debut album, Purple, will be released this fall via Black Hair Records.
Tennis – “No Exit” (Denver, USA)
RIYL: Boney M, Yumi Zouma, Olivia Newton-John
We’ve arrived at the point in the mini-playlist where we get to celebrate the brilliance of a band we’ve loved for a long time. Tennis‘ lo-fi, laid-back approach to pop music always made us smile. Even though we’ve never met them, they were like our best friends, saying the right thing and lifting our spirits in difficult times. So when they unexpectedly dropped a new single two days ago, we had to share it because, well, it makes us awfully happy.
With “No Exit”, Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley turn back the clocks and head to the ’70s with a disco-inspired pop tune. This song is groovy, sexy, and just outrageously fun. It will turn a calm evening with friends into a dance party. There won’t be a single soul sitting on the sofa when you press play. And as addictive and invigorating as this song sounds, Moore’s lyrics are also inspiring. “From where we are, we’re never going to come back”, she seductively sings. It’s basically a gentle “fuck you” to the past and to everyone and everything who tried to stop us from going places. As always, Tennis serve up the perfect song at just the right time.
Tennis will be on tour later this autumn and into the early part of 2018. Check their website for details.
WHARVES – “Love Decide” (Lennox Head, Australia)
RIYL: City Calm Down, Arctic Monkeys, The Editors
Australian quartet WHARVES are back with a new single, “Love Decide”. It’s an expertly crafted song that includes fuzzy bass, screaming guitar with an in your face Foals-esque tempo. The track has completely grabbed our attention, as the vocals of frontman Matthew Collins are quite enthralling. And as his bandmates offer up more in-your-face rock ‘n roll, Collins’ smooth vocals float effortlessly over the noise to create a song that is near perfect.
Mr. Collins shares a bit about the track:
“’Love Decide’ is about accepting that some things are bigger and more powerful than you and that you aren’t always in control. It’s a reminder to myself that it’s o.k. to be on my own and if a relationship isn’t working, I can let go and I will be happier and free. I’m not lying to myself or the person I’m with by forcing something that’s not meant to be”.
WHARVES are Matthew Collins (vocals, guitar), Mike Watson (guitar), Scott Finch (Bass) and Fraser Rojo Perrott (Drums).
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