Like yesterday’s Melodic Tonic, The Matinee April 12th features a number of emerging singer-songwriters who will dazzle you with their poignant storytelling and intimate sound. Then there are a handful of bands who will help put a spark into your day.
Basement Revolver – “Johnny” (Hamilton, Canada)
When Alvvays released their debut album two years ago, they opened the floodgates for bands reinventing the indie pop-rock of the early ’90s (think the time around the release of Empire Records). Among these groups is new Hamilton outfit Basement Revolver, who have released their silky smooth, debut single “Johnny”. Despite the shimmering guitars, lush melody, and delicate vocals, the song tackles tough the tough themes of a one-sided relationship and how even in bad times it is tough to let go. While Basement Revolver’s sound echoes Alvvays, if they continue to write introspective and poignant songs, they’ll carve out their own niche within Canada’s indie pop-rock revival. We’ll find out soon enough when the trio of Nimal Agalawatte, Chrisy Hurn, and Brandon Munroe drop their debut EP later this year.
Esther Joy Lane – “Quest For Her Master” (Oxford, England)
Esther Joy Lane has long been one of our favorites, a young woman who found her musical calling a bit later in life than most people but who always had an innate ability for sounds and textures. Almost a year to the day she was one of our “hidden gems” and in the fall of 2015 she wowed us with her debut EP. The Oxford native continues to evolve, moving away from the haunting, Daughter-esque soundscapes of her earlier to work to more of a darkwave, trip-hop sound and one that sees her vocals become a part of the electronics. The new approach is revealed on her latest single, “Quest For Her Master”, which is hypnotic yet dazzling. While the music sound different, the one thing that continues to stand out and mesmerize is her voice, which is the element that truly transfixes once’s gaze.
Kelly Sloan – “Tracers” (Ottawa, Canada)
Kelly Sloan has been Ottawa’s little secret for a few years, captivating people with her intimate folk music. Slowly, though, Sloan has set aside the acoustic guitar for an electric one and, thus, a fuller sound. This “new” Sloan is a big reason why she made our list of Artists to Watch in 2016. Her latest single, “Tracers”, is making us look good. This song, which is the lead track from her forthcoming, new album, has a bit of a roots and blues-rock vibe a la Bonnie Raitt, but the intimacy and longing heard on “Tracers” is reminiscent of the quiet power of one of her favorites from last year – Sarah Bethe Nelson. Sloan’s self-titled album drops in May.
Ice Cream – “Receiver” (Toronto, Canada)
Describing their music as “molecular pop”, long-time friends Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist – a.k.a. Ice Cream – are also getting set to release their debut album. The latest single is “Receiver”, a brilliant conceptualization of what the future of music could be. The song is icy and glacial on the one hand, but dense and stark on the other hand. Imagine if U.S. Girls and Matthew Dear collaborated on a single, and the likely outcome would have been this startlingly gorgeous tune. Love, Ice Cream drops June 3rd via Bad Actors, Inc.
Land Lovers – “Angeline” (Dublin, Ireland)
Combining jangle-pop with the flair of ’60s pop-rock is Irish quintet Land Lovers. Already a favorite within the Dublin music scene, the band is getting set to take on the world when their debut album, The Rooks Have Returned (Popical Island), drops on May 16th. The lead single is the catchy “Angeline”, whose storyline and sound are right out of The Everly Brothers’ and Buddy Holly’s playbook. A song about a lifelong love, you’ll be screaming out Angeline’s name during the chorus and hoping the story has a fairy tale ending (which unfortunately it does not). Hmm… if there were any thoughts of creating another Grease movie, someone should sign Land Lovers to score the play / movie.
Pádraig Cooney, Ciarán Canavan, Shane Murphy, Maggie Fagan and Conor Deasy
Margaret Glaspy – “Emotions and Math” (Brooklyn, USA)
Margaret Glaspy has been compared to Joni Mitchell, and her first single, “You & I”, left no doubts that the California native has earned such accolades. If you had any doubts, then her latest single, “Emotions and Math”, should convince you. In addition to her raspy vocals and minimalist, ’70s rock stylings, Glaspy shares not only Mitchell’s but also Dylan’s prowess for writing poignant songs that always speak honestly about the people and events around. And this approach, as such, leads to a dichotomy in her music, both in the song titles and lyrics. On “Emotions and Math”, for instance, there is, on the one hand, a yearning for a loved away who is far away. On the other hand, however, when he arrives there’s a fear and loathing of what is to come.
Although Glaspy’s debut album, Emotions and Math, won’t arrive until June 17 via ATO Records, she’s already making a name for herself as one of the indie rock’s rising singer-songwriters – and even already one of the genre’s best songwriters.
Yung – “Uncombed Hair” (Aarhus, Denmark)
In August, we were introduced to, at the time, Fat Possum’s latest signing, Yung, from Denmark. It’s been a while, but the Danish quintet finally have new material to share. While their first single with the label was largely a dreamy, instrumental number in the DIIV framework, “Uncombed Hair” is the opposite. The song is a gritty garage-rock number that is filled with scuzzy guitars and harsh vocals, although it retains the melodic flair heard on the band’s debut single. With the diversity that the band has already shown in such a short time, A Youthful Dream, which comes out June 10th via Fat Possum, could be one of the year’s biggest surprises.
Yung are Mikkel Holm Silkjær, Tobias Guldborg Tarp, Frederik Nybo Veile, and Emil Zethsen, and they hail from the coastal city of Aarhus, Denmark.
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