Another day, another opportunity to share some great new music. The Matinee May 5th edition has a bit of everything – gothic folk, indie rock, garage rock, electro-pop, and post-punk-pop.
Esme Patterson – “No River” (Portland via Denver USA)
Six weeks ago when Esme Patterson shared “Feel Right”, the first single from her forthcoming album We Were Wild (June 10th via Grand Jury Music), we stated the song was the start of a process of Patterson becoming “roots-rock’s / country-rock’s answer to St. Vincent but with a twist of Bonnie Raitt.” The second song from the album is “No River”, and it hasn’t changed our minds one bit about Patterson’s potential. This soulful, indie rocker is simple in its arrangement, yet it is playful and to the point. “I can’t keep running because I’m no river / I can’t run forever because I’m no river” she repeats early on before stating, “I’m human”. The lyrics could be interpreted in a couple of ways – the celebration of being alive and the proclamation that like every human one is not immune to pain and distress. These are two messages that we often forget, yet Patterson subtly reminds us what it is like to be human.
Few Bits – “Summer Sun” (Belgium)
We have another contender for the song of the summer, but it’s not a big booming anthem or a blistering rock song. “Summer Sun” by Belgian singer-songwriter Karolien Van Ransbeeck – or known by the moniker Few Bits – is a lush, atmospheric song. Van Ransbeeck’s soft, whispery voice has the same drawing power of Hope Sandoval – a voice that stays with you well after the last lyric is sung and one that you wish to hear immediately again. Combine that with a gentle, jangly melody, and you have a song that exemplifies what a summer night should be – warm, intimate, and memorable.
Few Bits’ debut full-length, Big Sparks, is out now via Play It Again Sam (Belgium).
Grace Joyner – “Knees” (Charleston, SC, USA)
One of our favorite discoveries this year is Grace Joyner, the young singer-songwriter from Charleston, South Carolina. Last month, she shared the beautiful “Real”. Her latest single, “Knees”, is another stunning track that goes into the heart of a relationship torn apart by an abusive lover, friend, or parent. It’s a powerful song that matches the brilliance of Sharon Van Etten, Allison Crutchfield, and Angel Olsen. The sample on the song is also awesome, a simple beat that echoes the work of emerging artist GEoRGiA.
“Real” is the second single from Joyner’s forthcoming, new album, Maybe Sometimes in C, which will be released on May 20th via Hearts & Plugs.
Hestina – “Big Blue” (New Orleans, USA)
The word hestina is Latin for the genus of butterflies found in southeast Asia. There are fewer things in life more beautiful than a butterfly, a creature whose beauty is exhibited later in its life. Like the colorful, fluttering entity, New Orleans duo Hestina are emerging from the sheltered cocoon and being introduced to the music world by Autumn Tone. Their first single with the label is the stunning “Big Blue”. What sticks out on this delicate, gothic-folk tune are the harmonies of Kimberly Vice and Michelle Ausman, which gracefully move from lush and enchanting at the beginning before swelling into vocals that are earnest and urgent. It is a song about growing up and letting go, a song about saying goodbye.
There are no bells or whistles on this tune – just the simple strums of a mandolin, brush sweeps of a snare drum, an acoustic guitar, and a slight hum of a keyboard – and the simple arrangements only heighten the emotional power of the song.
Taken from their debut album, Blossom Talk, which is now via Autumn Tone.
Lion’s Den – “Nothing’s Fine” (Stockholm, Sweden)
Not too much is know about Stockholm trio Lion’s Den, but that should soon change because their music is rip-roaring fun. The debut single, “Nothing’s Fine”, echoes the garage-pop-rock of the US’s west coast – a catchy, jangly guitar riff, straightforward rhythms, unpretentious harmonies, and a nonchalant style. But don’t let the sound fool you – this song isn’t about beach parties and all-night benders, but rather about the emptiness that exists all around and within us. With an infectious vibe and clever lyrics, it’s inevitable that Lion’s Den will become a name that will be mentioned within indie music circles.
“Nothing’s Fine” is the first single from Lion’s Den’s debut album, which is expected later this year via Lazy Octopus Records.
The band consists of Henrik Appel, Sabina Contreras Nässel, and Anton Strandberg
NAVVI – “Close” (Seattle, USA)
Back in November, we were introduced to the hypnotic electro-pop of Seattle duo NAVVI, who were at the time were an unsigned band. Fast forward six months later, and the band’s formula has catapulted them near the top of the electronic scene. Their new single, “Close”, has the qualities of early Phantogram – a dark yet deeply sensual track where Brad Boettger’s samples aren’t overblown but instead act as a soothing complement to Kristin Henry’s whispery and lush vocals. It’s a stunning track perfect for a romantic night.
“Close” is taken from NAVVI’s forthcoming, debut album, Omni, which arrives May 27th via Hush Hush Records.
whenyoung – “Show Me How” (London, England)
A month ago, London-based collective whenyoung released their debut single, “See How They Run”, and the B-side to it was this little gem, “Show Me How”. The song is like lightning in a bottle – the second you hit play the song bursts with a fiery, reckless energy akin to the garage pop-rock of the ’80s. The vocals of the frontwoman (whose name remains a mystery although we have an idea), meanwhile, are the knockout blow – pleasant but ferocious and, thus, giving the song its soul. It won’t be long, though, before we find out who whenyoung are because it’s difficult to remain anonymous when making music this good.
Hear the other single, “See How They Run”, on SoundCloud.
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