The Matinee ’18 May 15th – North American Edition features four of our long-time favorites plus two “newcomers”. The latter will be releasing their debut albums later this year. We kick things off, however, with one of the great artists of this decade.
Mitski – “Geyser” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: St. Vincent, Japanese Breakfast, Lykki Li
Mitski Miyawaki is an indie superstar. There is no other way to describe the 27-year old singer-songwriter. Through four albums, including her 2016 breakthrough Puberty 2, which made several “Best Of” lists including our own, she’s tantalized, bewildered, and awed listeners with her wide-ranging musical style, lush vocals, and immaculate songwriting. Her immense gifts explain why we hoped she would be releasing a new album this year, which we predicted (more liked wished) back in January when listing our Most Anticipated Albums of 2018. Like an early Christmas present, Mitski unveiled yesterday that Be the Cowboy will be released on August 17th via Dead Oceans. If the news wasn’t enough to get people excited, “Geyser” will.
Like the natural phenomenon, “Geyser” is an unpredictable display of chaotic wonderment. It commences with an eye-opening pulse of keys and synths, and Mitski’s yearning voice arrives. She delicately expresses:
“You’re my number one.
You’re the one I want,
And I’ve turned down every hand that has beckoned me to come.”
It’s an expression of endearment and of undying love. And like this beautiful yet painful experience, the song builds towards an aching climax. Guitars, keys, synths, percussion, bass, and strings cascade into a furious swarm of emotional sound. Considering the song is only 2 1/2 minutes long, “Geyser” displays the genius and power of an artist who once again has left us in complete awe.
Basement Revolver – “Baby” (Hamilton, Canada)
RIYL: Big Thief, Sharon Van Etten, Waxahatchee
One of the great feel-good stories of the Canadian music scene over the past two years is the rise of Hamilton-based trio Basement Revolver. It wasn’t just the band’s ability to deliver dream-pop tunes a la Alvvays (“Johnny”) or Lush-like ballads (“Johnny Pt. 2”) that caught so many people’s attention. Front woman Chrisy Hurn’s deeply emotive songwriting, too, struck chords with listeners, as her approach is reminiscent of one of the ’90s great lyricists – the late Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries. Now the band are readying their debut album for all to hear, and the first song out of the gate is another ear-grabber.
“Baby” sees Basement Revolver head in a new direction. Whereas their previous songs possessed a dreamy quality, “Baby” wails with the emotional fury of Big Thief and Sharon Van Etten. As the reverb-drenched guitars and heavy plodding of the rhythms shake in the background, Hurn delivers a memorable vocal performance and her best to date. She takes us inside her mind as she struggles to figure out what the world is about. Trying to overcome the anxiety that consumes her and seeking a way out from the prison that encloses her. But come August 24th, she along with Nimal Agalawatte and Brandon Munroe will experience their breakout, as their debut album, Heavy Eyes, arrives via Sonic Unyon Records. Pre-orders available here.
Petal – “Tightrope” (Scranton, PA, USA)
RIYL: Juliana Hatfield, Soccer Mommy, Mitski
Kiley Lotz’s project, Petal, is one of our favorites. We owe it to Rich for introducing us to her, as he’s long been championing her brilliance. Now it’s time for someone else to wave her flag and exult her talents, and her newest single provides just the opening to do so.
“Tightrope” is another example of Lotz’s wide-ranging and incredible artistry. Whereas much of past music was delicate and sobering, “Tightrope” quietly rages. It is reminiscent of the gritty yet intimate indie rock of the ’90s when Juliana Hatfield, Liz Phair, and Fiona Apple reigned. As the electric guitar hums in the background, Lotz’s vocals commence like a delicate flower before intensifying into a storm of emotion. Her storytelling is marvelous, as she has written a song that isn’t completely about herself. It’s about how she and many others battle daily with stress and anxiety and how each day is like walking on a “tightrope”. This young artist is going to be a star.
Petal’s highly anticipated new album, Magic Gone, is out June 15th on Run For Cover Records.
pronoun – “wrong” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Fazerdaze, Stars
Hearing the first notes of “wrong” and then the proceeding, groovy rhythms will tell you one thing – that summer is close. This latest single from Alyse Vellturo’s one-woman band project, pronoun, is a warm piece of summertime sunshine. It is energetic, vibrant, and exhilarating, making you just want to either dance all night or run as far as you can and escape all your problems. This, to us, is what summer anthems are all about – songs that leave you move you physically and emotionally.
Despite the upbeat and intoxicating vibe, the track is a personal one for Vellturo. It’s about her trying to move on from an ex-girlfriend and what she would say to her if they were to meet again. But through the pain, she found inspiration and delivers a number that brightens our day and hopefully hers as well.
“wrong” is the second single from pronoun’s forthcoming, yet-to-be-named debut album, which is expected later in 2018.
Spaceface – “Sky And The Road” (Memphis, USA)
RIYL: The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, Masasolo
The Flaming Lips are known for their mammoth psychedelic-rock fantasies thanks in large part to Wayne Coyne’s exorbitant imagination. It’s not a surprise, then, that the Lips’ guitarist and keyboardist Jake Ingalls has adopted a slightly different approach on his own project Spaceface. His past songs, such as “Cowboy Lightning” and “In The Clouds”, did possess the trippy, cosmic Wonderland vibe, but they were a bit more accessible. Zany, but accessible. For “Sky And The Road”, he delivers more of the same psychedelic goodness.
If you have a sailboat, convertible, or any mode of transport that allows you to feel the wind blowing through your hair, even a bicycle, this is the perfect song to spin. It’s bright, hazy, and surprisingly gentile. It’s like being on a mental trip without having to take any substance. His lyrics, too, have a bit of wandering feel, as he describes how many of us are still seeking to find our place on Earth. To find our purpose in this massive crowd of people. We may never know the answer to this question, but for a few fleeting minutes we can pretend that the “Sky And The Road” revolve around us. By the way, this track would be perfect for a Spike Jonze or Michael Cera film.
Matthew Strong, Eric Martin, “Big Red” Daniel Quinlan, Peter Armstrong, and Miles “Dravis” Young join Ingalls on Spaceface.
Sun June – “Slow Rise II” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Wild Child, Margaret Glaspy
This decade has seen the rise of great, young singer-songwriters and folk-rock evolving into the preeminent genre of the indie scene. While there are numerous of great artists and bands within this category, there is always room for more, especially when they sound as fabulous as Sun June.
Founded by front woman and vocalists Laura Colwell and guitarist Stephen Salisbury, the Austin-based quintet draw immediate comparisons to Big Thief, Mother, and Wild Child. Fans of singer-songwriters Lucy Dacus and Margaret Glaspy, too, will hear a resemblance in large part due to Colwell’s enchanting voice and wonderfully intimate and personal lyrics. The two come together on “Slow Rise II”, which can only be described as perfection. It’s the perfect song to celebrate spring because it is a song about renewal and every element feels like a new day. The is soft melody is warm and breezy, and Colwell’s vocals are refreshingly light and immediate. More importantly, you’ll feel inspired in believing that you can always come home and start anew.
Joining Laura Colwell (vocals) and Stephen Salisbury (guitar) are Michael Bain (guitar), Sarah Schultz (drums), and Justin Harris (bass). Sun June head on tour next week to promote their debut album, Years, which gets unwrapped on June 15th via Keeled Scales. Tour dates and information are available here.
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