Let’s get The Matinee August 25 edition started – six singles from artists you ought to or may know. The artists on today’s playlist are from Australia, Sweden, the UK, and the US of A.

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Banoffee (Melbourne, Australia) – “With Her”

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There have been hundreds of aspiring artists who have attempted to establish a name for themselves as an equal to Grimes when it comes to innovative electro-pop. While many have come close to replicating her sound, very few have been able to match. One artist and producer making a huge push is Melbourne-based Martha Brown. Using the moniker Banoffee, Brown has become a favorite of the Australian music scene, and well-regarded site Indie Shuffle named her as one of 2014’s best.

Her latest single, “With Her”, sees Brown take another step in her songwriting. Moving away from a club and house feel, Brown incorporates an R&B vibe and soft piano chords into her stuttering electro-pop. The groovy rhythm of the song perfectly complements Brown’s vulnerable voice and the heartbreak she experienced in seeing her (ex-)partner with another woman.

Brown has recently signed with Dot Dash / Remote Control Records. “With Her” is the lead single from her forthcoming debut album, expected late in 2015 or early 2016.

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Alberta Cross (Brooklyn, USA) – “Ghost of Santa Fe”

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Fresh off his terrific collaboration with long-time friend Jamie Biden on Dicey Hollow, Petter Ericson Stakee has jumped right back into writing new music, this time with his band Alberta Cross, whose last release was 2012’s Songs of Patience. Much has changed in the three years for the band, the biggest being the departure of bassist and co-founder Terry Wolfers two years ago. And with change and new projects comes potentially a new sound.

While Alberta Cross have always teetered on the line between country-rock and indie-rock, their latest single, “Ghost of Santa Fe”, has more of an Americana feel. In addition, “Ghost” is more uplifting and vibrant than their previous efforts, which were more moody and even brooding. The new approach is warmer, livelier, and more cinematic, potentially reflecting a band – in particular Stakee – that has been reinvigorated and reborn. For that matter, “Ghost” feels like an extension of Dicey Hollow, both musically and lyrically as the song once again speaks about a hero’s return. If this is the new Alberta Cross, then music fans are in for a treat.

“Ghost of Santa Fe” is the lead single from Alberta Cross’ forthcoming, self-titled album. The LP will be released on October 16 via Dine Alone Records, the same label that released Dicey Hollow’s eponymous, debut EP (coincidence, I think not!).

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Riley Pearce (Perth, Australia) – “Brave”

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Whereas Alberta Cross has captured our imaginations with their cinematic approach, Riley Pearce captures our hearts. The Perth, Australia-based singer-songwriter has a talent for connecting with his listeners due to his ability to share his most vulnerable thoughts and feelings while creating music that that is either stunning or quietly euphoric. His approach that perfectly balances intimate songwriting and cinematic alt-folk is reminiscent of The Tallest Man of Earth.

His new single, “Brave”, perfectly captures Pearce’s style. With “Brave”, he has crafted a breathtaking and serene dream-folk track. You can’t help but feel Pearce’s pain and struggles as he attempts to overcome loss and separation. If the song doesn’t hit you emotionally, the video will (see it below).

“Brave” is the lead single from Pearce’s forthcoming new album, expected some time this year or early in 2016.

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Sun Drug (Los Angeles, USA) – “Soaked”

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Sometimes starting over can be more rewarding. For Steven Wilkin, Collin Desha, Taylor Brown and Cameron Dmytryk, the truth to this statement will be determined over time, but the early hints are that they have something extremely special on their hands.

Originally consisting of 80% of indie-rock band Vanaprasta, who were considered one of LA’s best live bands, the four Los Angeles-based musicians have relaunched their careers as Sun Drug. Not only has the name changed but so has the sound, as the quartet has adopted a blasting electro-rock approach. The band’s first single, “Easy In Your Attitude”, received some coverage from notable blogs like The 405 and within the LA metro area. To be honest, the single, while catchy, is the safest of the band’s releases to date and echos of The Editors and Interpol. Their second single, “Wildman”, is wildly euphoric and recalls R&B-infused rock of Prince, in particular during the song’s high points, and Twin Shadow’s innovative take on R&B.

Their latest track, “Soaked”, further expands the band’s musical palette. Harder and grittier than the first two single, the track is what you would hope Muse would sound like if they decided to just create a blues-infused, electro-rock tune. The varying tempo and pace are used brilliantly to create a controlled chaos while the crystalline guitars during the song’s climax are Depeche Mode perfected.

The three tracks are from Sun Drugs’ eponymous, debut EP, which is due out October 9. Pre-order it on iTunes and get “Easy In Your Attitude” and “Wildman” now.

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Ritual ft. Lisa Hannigan (Birmingham, UK) – “Josephine”

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Speaking of mind-blowing music, the latest from UK electronic/ambient trio Ritual is just that. Featuring acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, the dual voices combined with lush ambient textures and gentle piano chords give the song the feel of a serene jaunt into a lush and gorgeous dream. While the song is serene and solemn, it is a powerful track about love and forgiveness. Absolutely stunning.

“Josephine” is the lead single from Ritual’s forthcoming, second EP, From the City to the Wilderness, which is due out October 16th. The EP will continue the trio’s approach of collaborating with female singer-songwriters. If you cannot wait for the EP, the single can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic now.

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City Calm Down (Melbourne, Australia) – “Wandering”

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Two months ago, we were absolutely amazed by Melbourne quartet City Calm Down and their single “Rabbit Run”. They’ve returned with the second single, “Wandering”, from their forthcoming debut album, A Restless House. Whereas “Rabbit Run” has an ’80s feel, “Wandering” closely resembles the euphoric indie-rock of The National – from frontman Jake Bourke’s baritone to the lyrics focused on finding meaning and escape. It’s a fabulous track from a band whose star will only explode when their debut album drops on November 6 via I OH YOU Records. City Calm Down is on the course to be Australia’s next great export band, following in the footsteps of Tame Impala, Pond, and Wolfmother.

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