The Matinee May 10th has a cinematic quality – every one of the seven songs would be perfectly placed on the soundtrack of a present or future movie. And like the direction of today’s film industry, the songs are by artists from different countries across the globe.
Alexander Biggs – “Out In The Dark” (Melbourne, Australia)
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When the awesome Australian radio station Triple J includes your music on their “Unearthed” series, you know that as an artist you’ve created something pretty special. Alexander Biggs’ second single, “Out In The Dark”, is just that. Actually it’s more than just pretty special, it’s really great. Stylistically, the song echoes early Sufjan Stevens and American Wrestlers’ lo-fi, bedroom approach while lyrically it has the imagination and sincerity of Elliott Smith. Biggs’ vocals even approaches the delicate intimacy of Smith, singing about the memory of someone they have lost. “They say the dead stars always burn so bright / You’ve been gone for months but you’re still burned in my mind / Out in the dark, you shimmered and you shone, you lit a spark.” Gorgeous, just a gorgeous tearjerker.
Biggs will be releasing his debut EP some time in 2016. Check his social media for updates.
Among Pines – “The Island” (Stockholm, Sweden)
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The future of Sweden’s electro-pop scene has arrived in the form of Among Pines, the new project by Annelie Åkerlund and John Åhlin. This isn’t a duo that is creating cheery, uplifting, generic electro-pop. They are instead channeling the frigid and remote landscapes of their country for inspiration to create an electro-pop sound that is dark yet tantalizing. Their debut single, “Wild and Free”, exemplified their edgy experimentalism. Their second, “The Island”, may be a little less edgier, but it is a more sultry and hypnotic affair. The deep samples provided by Åhlin have a trance-like effect while Åkerlund’s vocals are captivating, drawing you in to the song’s story of cat-and-mouse charade between two prospective lovers. Maybe Sweden has found its next Roxette?
The Duke Spirit – “Hands” (London, England)
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Veteran indie-rock band The Duke Spirit continue to be one of England’s best kept secrets. Despite releasing three albums since 2015, The Duke Spirit have only achieved modest success. Their fourth album, KIN, which is out now via Red Essential, plus strategic performances this spring and summer followed by an extended tour in the autumn could change the London quartet’s fortunes. If the record’s lead single, the whirling and delirious rocker “Hands”, is any indication of what to expect, then all signs point to a breakout. The song has the anthemic rock of Silversun Pickups but the dizzying and dazzling effect of The Joy Formidable. The highlight comes during the song’s climax, where frontwoman Liela Moss’ voice spirals above the glistening fray of guitars, bass, and percussion and the combination creates an unimaginable form of euphoria. This song is just awesome, and it would be perfect in the next Jack Black film or the next Avengers.
The Duke Spirit are Liela Moss (vocals/piano/harmonica), Luke Ford (guitar/keyboards), Toby Butler (guitar, bass, keyboards), and Olly Betts (drums, keyboards).
FM-84 – “Running in the Night (feat. Ollie Wride)” (San Francisco, USA / Brighton, England)
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It was only a couple of weeks ago when we shared FM-84 and Ollie Wride‘s single, “Don’t Want To Change Your Mind”, but their ’80s-inspired power-pop / synth-pop / retro-wave is too good to ignore. Their latest single, “Running in the Night”, feels like a continuation of their previous song. Whereas “Don’t Want” was a person coming to grips with the inevitable, “Running in the Night” is the moment of clarity where the same person decides to not give up on the love of his life. The production work by FM-84 is spot on, where the samples and beats give the song its urgency. Wride, meanwhile, once again provides all the emotion and soul on the track with his wonderful voice. This song is tailor- made for an ’80s soundtrack. If you grew up during that time and watched movies like Heathers, St. Elmo’s Fire, or pretty much any John Hughes movie, you’ll know exactly the moment in the film where this song would be played – right at the moment when the guy goes after the girl, finds her, and professes his undying love. Very few songs can inspire some deep emotions (and memories), but FM-84 and Ollie Wride have done that with this great tune.
The song is from FM-84’s album, Atlas, which is out now, and it can be purchased on Bandcamp.
Memoryhouse – “Sarah” (Toronto, Canada)
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In February, Toronto-based duo Memoryhouse quietly released their sophomore album, Soft Hate, a collection of ethereal dream-pop. In case you missed it, Memoryhouse have shared “Sarah (Bedroom Demo)”. The shimmering, cosmic tinges of the synthesizer and electronic samples, and Denise Nouvion’s understated but dreamy vocals all combine to create a highly seductive song. It is a breathtaking and gorgeous tune, epitomizing the emotive power that dream-pop can have when done masterfully.
Soft Hate is out now via Beko Disques, and it can be ordered digitally on iTunes. For physical copies, order the album at the label’s store, and copies should be delivered in the coming days. Memoryhouse is the project of Guelph, Ontario natives Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion.
Pollyanna – “Old Rockers” (Paris, France)
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The French have had a long love affair with American music, especially psychedelic and gritty Americana. Take the music by Pollyanna, a sextet from different parts of France but who use Paris as their base. Their latest single, “Old Rockers”, which was actually first released three years ago, is an awesome western-infused, Americana rocker that percolates with a ’70s sensibility. The pace on the song is brilliant – midtempo and infectious at the beginning before slowing down to the sounds of a geared down, single guitar. This is a song that Lucinda Williams might play for a remake of Clint Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales, particularly as he takes on the entire Union army unit to revenge the slaying of his family.
“Old Rockers” is from Pollyanna’s new album, Mainland, which is out now via Melmax Music. Pollyanna are Isabelle Casier, François fuchs, Abdesslem Gherbi, Jean-Michel Blécon, Emma Hooper, and Guido Eva.
Sky Cathedrals – “Elysium” (feat. Florence Glen) (Leeds, England / Lisbon, Portugal)
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Sky Cathedrals is the new project of producers Mighty Kid and Paul James, and they fittingly call their music “cinematica”. Their debut single, “Elysium”, which features singer-songwriter Florence Glen (a name to remember), is absolutely gorgeous. The glacial, electro-pop is breathtaking and haunting while Glen’s vocals are stunning and alluring. The song is beautifully paced where the song reaches euphoric levels not once, not twice, but three times. While the song’s title is taken from the novel by Jennifer Marie Brissett and later turned into a movie starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, this song would have been perfect for another post-apocalyptic film – Oblivion, which starred Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, and Olga Kurylenko. To be honest, this single is better than anything M83 did for the latter film.
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