On The Matinee April 21st edition, we have songs from familiar names and a few artists who have released their debut singles, which are just awesome. And as always, several countries are represented, namely Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, The Netherlands, and the United States.
Andy Shauf – “The Worst in You” (Regina, SK, Canada)
Andy Shauf is one of not only Canada’s preeminent singer-songwriters, but he’s one of the best in the world. The Bearer of Bad News, which he released last year, was storytelling at a grand scale. The native of Regina, Saskatchewan is now getting noticed for his lyrical prowess, having signed to ANTI- Records. The latest single from his forthcoming new album, The Party, is a little different from Shauf. Whereas his previous songs were brooding and even harrowing, “The Worst in You”, is self-deprecating and immensely whimsical. You cannot help but chuckle at lines like, “Are you running around or just running away?” If on “The Magician” Shauf seemed to channel John Lennon, he mirrors the touching intimacy of Elliott Smith on this track.
Deerhoof – “Plastic Thrills” (Brooklyn, USA)
Everyone knows the following quote from Forrest Gump, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” A box of chocolates is another way to describe iconic outfit Deerhoof, as you never know what you’ll get from these indie innovators. The two predictable things about the band, though, are 1) they will always hard at work to create new and often genre-pushing music and 2) what they release will immediately grab your attention. Their new single, “Plastic Thrills”, checks all the boxes. This indie rocker whirls with the energy and grittiness of the DIY ’90s mentality, which epitomized what Sonic Youth, Dinosaur, Jr., and Neutral Milk Hotel created.
Great Profile – “Lemonade” (The Netherlands)
One of the today’s new artists is 21-year old Lisa van Kampen, who adopted the moniker Great Profile in honor of the great actor John Barrymore. But whereas Barrymore was a classical artist, Kampen is all heart and soul. Her debut single, “Lemonade”, is edgy but catchy indie pop-rock that echoes of Liz Phair and Alison Crutchfield (a.k.a. Waxahatchee). It’s a really impressive piece of music considering the song was written and recorded in her little bedroom. I’ll wait to hear more before anointing her the next Liz Phair, but this is one heck of an introduction.
“Lemonade” is the lead track from Great Profile’s forthcoming, debut album, Fellas, which she hopes to release this summer. In the meantime, pick up “Lemonade” on Bandcamp.
inSaturn – “LADYLION” (London, England)
While Deerhoof has developed a reputation for creating spectacular, innovative music, we might also have to add inSaturn to the list. The collective from London may be newcomers but their debut single, “LADYLION” is unlike anything you’ve heard this year. The haunting, operatic vocals of Beth Cannon are enveloped by a glacial post-rock landscape. It’s a majestic song that leaves you completely tantalized and your soul in the hands of inSaturn.
With their unique and crushing sound, it won’t be long before you’ll hear more from this band and that their music will be on closing out episodes of some of the best shows on television, such as Game of Thrones or Vikings.
Maison Hall. – “Plain Life Pt.1” (Brisbane, Australia)
This song, admittedly, was a pleasant surprise. Not much is known about Maison Hall. other than they have a dry sense of humor. Whether this is the brainchild of one individual or the brilliance of a collective, what they have created on “Plain Life Pt. 1” is a blissful post-rock song that blends the mind-blowing, crystalline guitars of Explosions in the Sky and the lush, atmospheric undertones of Sigur Rós. This song is truly stunning, a masterful display of how a group of individuals could take regular instruments and create sound that is mesmerizing and unforgettable.
Spine of Man – “Vampires” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Songs about creatures of the night should be dark and creepy, but then again Copenhagen’s Spine of Man are not your ordinary band. Their latest single, “Vampires”, is a stunning dream-pop echoing the soothing and atmospheric tones of ’80s icons like Spandau Ballet and Lush with a touch of present-day The National. The song offers a romanticized view of vampires and humanizes them, where it isn’t the blood that they lust but the touch of a loved one’s skin. Imagine if there was a series or movie that blended True Blood with Chariots of Fire, and the anthem would be this wonderful tune.
“Vampires” is the second single from the band’s forthcoming EP, Cape Cod, which can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp. Spine of Man are Mads Dømgaard (drums), Joachim Christensen (guitar/bass), and Alexander Støvelbæk (vocals/guitar).
Stone Cold Fox – “Firing Squad” (Brooklyn, USA)
Brooklyn quintet Stone Cold Fox are taking us back to a different era, the late ’90s and ’00s, with their new song “Firing Squad”. The melody and blistering pop-rock resonates of Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix while the shimmering guitars recall My Bloody Valentine. It’s a song that will lift your spirits musically and lyrically, as the song speaks about overcoming disappointment and persevering through life’s most difficult moments. Like Phoenix, this could be the year that Stone Cold Fox becomes the surprise, breakout band of the year.
“Firing Squad” is from Stone Cold Fox’s forthcoming EP, Tunnel Vision, which will be released on April 29th.
Stone Cold Fox are Kevin Olken Henthorn (vocals/guitar), Ariel Loh (keyboards/synths), Aaron Hamel (drums), Graham Stone (guitar), and Justin Bright (bass).
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