Yesterday’s mini-playlist was filled with under-the-radar talent. The Matinee ’18 March 2nd edition, however, is loaded with indie stars, many of whom dropped brand new tunes yesterday. There is, of course, plenty of hidden gems, although eight of the nine artists listed have been previously featured in this space. As such, you’re likely to recognize a few of the names.
A Place To Bury Strangers – “There’s Only One Of Us” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, No Joy, Preoccupations
One thing we can say about A Place To Bury Strangers is that they’re not the typical or predictable shoegaze band. Then again, we shouldn’t pigeonhole the Brooklyn trio within this genre since they are just as likely to leave us gasping with a dazzling shoegaze number as they are to send chills down our spines with a brooding, post-punk number. The latter is on full display in “There’s Only One Of Us”, which is delightfully dark and menacing.
The shoegaze tinges are still there, but the steely delivery is more foreboding and haunting than dizzying. Lia Braswell’s drumming, though, is what really stands out, creating the dreary atmosphere for this darkly intense song. The interplay between Oliver Ackermann and Braswell, too, add to the song’s drama. The two take on the roles of two combatants trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world (at least that’s how it feels within the current political climate). This tune is just awesome.
Oliver Ackermann (guitars/vocals), Dion Lunadon (bass/vocals), and Lia Braswell (drums/vocals) are heading out on tour, which includes a few days in Austin during SXSW. Dates and information are here.
DYGL – “Bad Kicks” (Tokyo, Japan)
RIYL: A young Rolling Stones, The Strokes, Jet
Anyone who has visited Japan knows that the people love classic Western pop culture, specifically from the ’50s and ’60s. From the hairstyles to the fashion to the music, old and younger Japanese are keeping these two bygone eras alive. Four guys doing their part are Nobuki Akiyama (vocals/guitar), Yosuke Shimonaka (guitar), Yotaro Kachi (bass), and Kohei Kamoto (drums), who together form DYGL. Pronounced as Day Glow, the quartet blew our minds with “Let It Sway”. Now they’re back to literally kick us in the ass with “Bad Kicks”.
Like a young Rolling Stones on Red Bull, this song is absolutely awesome. It’s fast, furious, fun, and mind-blowing. You’ll be jumping, dancing, and recklessly flailing your head. Hearing Akiyama wail on this song sends images of a youthful Mick Jagger prancing across the stage. If you’ll be at SXSW in a couple of weeks, you can watch them do their thing live and yell, “Fuck yeah!” just like us.
Esther Joy – “Day 1 (Silipur Leaves Home)” (Oxford, England)
RIYL: Alice Glass, HEALTH, Grimes
When she’s not moonlighting in Charli XCX’s band, Esther Joy‘s brain is moving a million miles a minute. We can say this with confidence, as we’ve gotten to know her fairly well since she first dazzled us three years ago. At the time, she was a hidden gem. Now, she’s on the verge of something really special.
Over the years, she’s branched out artistically. She’s currently spending her time doing a lot of writing, and she’s putting the final touches on her sophomore EP. The theme of both activities – a futuristic world where extraterrestrial life forms (i.e., aliens) and humans coexist, but their relationships with their nature / external worlds great differ. Humans have become more robotic and synthetic unlike their neighbors in distant galaxies. We could go on, but read the premiere on Noisey to fully comprehend this new universe Esther is concocting. As you do that, spin the first single from the record, “Day 1 (Silipur Leaves Home)”.
The best way to describe this tune is a trash, electronica number that sounds like it came from Blade Runner. It’s simultaneously lush and dazzling, hard and propulsive. Esther’s production work has come a long way since we first heard her, where she’s meshed her breathtaking beginnings with an edgier, more aggressive side. But as the two sides collide, one thing remains constant – her cool and stunning vocals, which in this case act as the voice of the alien Silipur on her way to find new life.
Esther Joy’s new EP, The Acid Caves, vol. 1, drops April 27th.
Frankie Cosmos – “Apathy” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Alvvays, Jay Som, Colleen Green
Long a favorite of the underground indie scene, 2018 is the year that New Yorkers Frankie Cosmos become household names. Actually, it already is starting thanks to them signing with Sub Pop, who will release their 18-track album, Vessel, on March 30th. The band has shared a couple of songs, and the other day they unveiled the latest number in “Apathy”.
For long-time fans, “Apathy” is signature Frankie Cosmos. The shimmering pop-rock vibe is warm and inviting while Greta Kline’s vocals are sweet and blissful. But as is their style, the storyline isn’t quite the fairy tale. Instead, Kline peeks into her emotions and tries to figure out what to do next. Should and can she move forward or will she call him and ask to be reunited? “I want to feel whole”, she sings with a touch of earnestness in her voice. While she does hope for a reunion, we don’t know how the story ends. That’s for us to determine over the next four weeks when the LP arrives.
Vessel can also be picked up on Bandcamp. Frankie Cosmos will be heading out on tour in April, and initial dates are available here. The band is comprised of Greta Kline (vocals/guitar), David Maine (bass/vocals), Lauren Martin (keys/vocals), and Luke Pyenson (drummer).
Iceage – “Pain Killer” (feat. Sky Ferreira) (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: The Men, Wavves, Eagulls
Just as we had hoped two-and-a-half weeks ago, Iceage will indeed be releasing their first album in four years. It seems the time off have led the Danish outfit into new territory. Their early days were defined by their relentless punk-rock / alt-rock approach, but lead single from Beyondless, “Catch It”, revealed a more mature sound and a darker tone. With “Pain Killer”, the quartet head into another new direction without compromising what made them indie favorites for the past decade – urgent and fearless music.
Featuring Sky Ferreira on backing vocals, Iceage take a page out of fellow indie rockers The Men’s playbook and infuse some classic rock and old-time soul into their fiery approach. The blasting horns and soaring strings are brilliant additions to give some extra spice and drama to the tune. The heavy guitars and rhythms, however, remain, but they’re more controlled and riveting. Front man Elias Bender Rønnenfelt and Sky Ferreira, meanwhile, form a fantastic duet, playing off each other and describing how one can find solace in another person. Just like their new sound, the theme is a surprising one, as it is full of optimism and hope.
More jubilation awaits on May 4th, which is when Iceage’s new album, Beyondless, drops via Matador Records. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals/lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar) will be heading out on the road in the spring. They start with a few stops in Europe and followed by a transcontinental tour of North America. Dates and information are on their website or here.
Kluster – “Over My Head” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Hater, Superorganism
From the label that introduced is to Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes comes another Swedish band to fall head over heels for. Their name is Kluster, and they’ll immediately become favorites of the indie underground scene if they continue to deliver rambunctious tunes like “Over My Head”.
Like the label mates, Kluster deliver an incredibly enjoyable and memorable tune. The opening melody and jangly guitar lines plus front woman Linnea Hall’s saccharine vocals are delightful, hooking you immediately from the start. But then something unexpected happens – the quintet suddenly become Broken Social Scene, turning the tune into a chaotic but exhilarating wave of noise. It’s a clever piece of orchestration, as the bombarding effect brilliantly mirrors Hall’s lyrics about being lost, uncertain, and alone. Hmm…the Swedish version of Broken Social Scene. We’ll learn soon enough if the band can live up to these early expectations.
The song is out on Rama Lama Records. Kluster are Linnea Hall (vocals), Pontus Örnstrand (keyboard), Sebastian Hegedüs (guitar), Adam Jonsson (guitar), and Andreas Pollak (drums).
Malena Zavala – “A Vision That’s Changed” (London, England via Argentina)
RIYL: Bedouine, Hope Sandoval, Julia Jacklin
Sometimes when we choose songs for the daily mini-playlists, we keep in mind what we want to hear on the Weekend Showcase. Some songs just stand out, where we immediately say to ourselves that they would be the perfect openers. Or in the case of Malena Zavala‘s new single, “A Vision That’s Changed”, it would make the ideal closer. We always leave the last song of the mega-playlist as the one we think will leave the lasting imprint, and this number certainly does that.
Breathtaking is the first word that comes to mind when listening to “A Vision That’s Changed”. Zavala’s vocals are heavenly, and the instrumentation is light, intimate, and engrossing. For over five minutes, Zavala embraces you like a blanket, bringing comfort, warmth, and serenity to your day. While there is longing in her words and voice, Zavala also offers us a respite and helping us to forget all our problems for a moment with this wonderful tune. A song that we’ll definitely be remembering for a long time.
Zavala’s debut album, Aliso, drops April 13th via Yucatan Records. It should be unforgettable.
Palace Winter – “Empire” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Work Drugs
Some bands replicate the music of the ’80s. Others, like Palace Winter, perfect it. Since we first heard from Carl Coleman and Caspar Hesselager back in September 2015, the duo have never ceased to amaze us with their widescreen approach. Just when you think they’ve done it all, they create “Empire”, which is the pair’s version of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. In other words, the song is magical.
Mixing the cinematic style of The War On Drugs, the synth-driven sunscapes of Work Drugs, and the homely vibes of Kurt Vile, “Empire” is sheer brilliance. Coleman’s vocals are dazzling while his and Hesselager’s production work is masterful. With the addition of the strings to complement the synths, Palace Winter have created the perfect song for a long road trip or just for a momentary break from chaos around us. The song personifies escapism, as it not only takes us to sublime places but urges us to run as far as we can.
Pole Siblings – “Carve” (Falun, Sweden via Finland)
RIYL: London Grammar, Wy, Luluc
Arresting, absolutely arresting is “Carve”, the new single from Pole Siblings. This is a song that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you forget everything that is going on around you. It will also have you believe in the potential of siblings Sofia and Johan Stolpe, specifically as dream-folk’s next great duet.
Johan’s guitar work is executed with delicate precision, slightly tingling in the background to build the haunting, almost spiritual atmosphere. It is Sofia, however, who steals the show with her angelic vocals and piercing words. Her stunning voice fills your soul, but her lyrics leave your mouth agape right from the beginning.
“I’m gonna cut you with my knife, I’m going to haunt you.
I’m going to carve my name into your flesh,
I’m gonna feel your limp body,
So I can forget. So I can forget.
I’m going to carry it through,
I’m going to kill you
‘Cause I feel anger.”
Beautiful. Devastatingly beautiful.
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