We have not had a huge focus on US-based artists this week, so The Matinee June 23rd leans heavily towards the stars and stripes with a couple of overseas bands. Unlike past The Matinee features, today’s list is filled with both newcomers and veteran singer-songwriters and bands, who have been longstanding hidden gems in the industry and waiting to be discovered.
Young Mister – “Anybody Out There” (Charleston, SC, USA)
RIYL: The War on Drugs, Eagles, Strand of Oaks
Kicking things off is the splendid new single by Young Mister, the project of Charleston, South Carolina’s Steven Fiore. The track has the feel of The War on Drugs in that Fiore has been able to take a classic rock sound and make it feel fresh and contemporary. The inclusion of the horns at the end of the song is a great addition to add a sense of urgency to this driving song, which has Fiore taking us on a winding journey in search for the one thing we all seek – true love.
To find out if Fiore finds what he is seeking, you will not have to wait long as Young Mister’s self-titled, debut album comes out this Friday, June 24th, 2016 on Refresh Records.
Spencer – “Hidden From The Sun” (Baden & Zurich, Switzerland)
RIYL: Editors, Interpol, Glasvegas
To be honest, this is the first time any of us have heard of Spencer, who have been rocking Switzerland for the better part of the decade. The quintet recently released their fourth album, We Built This Mountain Just To See The Sunrise, and from it is “Hidden From The Sun”. This anthemic, indie-rocker drips with hallow Brit-rock riffs and the soaring choruses. It echoes with the intensity and infectiousness of Editors, although frontman Leo’s vocals are almost a dead-on impersonation of Interpol’s Paul Banks. The song is awesome, and one that will have you saying along us, “I have another favorite band.”
The Regrettes – “A Living Human Girl” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Shannon and The Clams, Bleached, Tacocat, The Coathangers
Calling their music “cupcake punk”, newcomers The Regrettes are among a new breed of bands, ones who do not dawdle around the edges and play nice but instead just tell things how they are, but with a witty and often whimsical flair. Their debut single, “A Living Human Girl”, is the anti-Barbie song. Front woman Lydia Night offers lyrics that are real and honest as she speaks about the “imperfections” of the average woman. One who has pimples, stretch marks, grease in her hair, and a bra size that may not be ideal according to the image that men and the mainstream media depict. But the most important message taken from this song played over a ’60s vibe is that no individual – woman or man, girl or boy – should be ashamed about who they are. At the end of the day, popularity contests are only important in politics, and look at the candidates running for President and who the richest people in the world are. They are hardly perfect. Thank you The Regrettes for offering a song that for celebrates who we are.
The Regrettes are Lydia Night (vocals/guitar), Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Nicole (bass), and Maxx Morando (drums).
Psychic Twin – “Lose Myself” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Bats for Lashes, Nite Jewel, Crystal Castles/Alice Glass, Grimes
If you know the work of Erin Fein – the driving force behind Psychic Twin – you would be familiar with her Grimes-eque approach. The Brooklyn-based artist, however, takes a step towards the rabbit hole in offering a spellbinding new single, “Lose Myself”. Teaming up with drummer Rosana Caban, Fein offers a song that teeters on the divide between lush, dreamy, ambient soundscapes a la Nite Jewel and the haunting, harsh, and dark environments of Crystal Castles and Alice Glass. “Lose Myself” is a fantastic balancing act, resulting in a song that is hypnotic and spine-tingling.
“Lose Myself” is the lead single from Psychic Twin’s forthcoming, debut, full-length album, Strange Diary, out September 9 via Polynvinyl Records. To get a sneak peek at what is to come, catch Psychic Twin on tour with Ladyhawke. See dates here.
Natural Child – “Now and Then” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Futurebirds
There are still a handful of bands who are making great, classic rock ‘n roll. The Futurebirds, White Denim, and, to an extent, Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs are just some of the names. We cannot forget to add Nashville collective Natural Child, one of indie rock’s great bands. Recently, they shared their first new music in two years with “Now and Then”. This aptly titled single takes us “there and back” to an era when lazy summer evenings grooved with slow jams and anthems that gently rocked in the cool breeze. This weekend while you are barbecuing, lazying the days away on the boat, or just having a cold one on the deck, spin this album and let Natural Child take you back to a time when all music meant something.
“Now and Then” is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming, new album Okey Dokey, which arrives September 9th via the band’s newly created label Natural Child Records and Tapes.
Natural Child are Zack Martin (drums), Wes Traylor (bass/vocals), Seth Murray (guitars/vocals), and Benny Divine (keyboards).
Amy Syed – “You Go To My Head” (London, England)
RIYL: Bats for Lashes, Janelle Monae, FKA Twigs
How else to re-introduce yourself to the music world than to re-work a classic song. This is exactly what London-based singer-songwriter Amy Syed has done. Her new single is an out-of-this-world cover of Billie Holiday’s classic song, “You Go To My Head”. While there are still undertones of jazz in the song, Syed has turned the track into a mix of trip-hop, indietronica, soul, and R&B. The experimental approach is reminiscent of FKA Twigs and Bats for Lashes while the vocals of Syed, who is a trained jazz musician, takes on a Janelle Monae quality. This isn’t hyperbole when I say Syed’s rendition is one of the best cover songs I have heard.
Syed is not exactly new to the industry, having worked with notable artists, such as Florence Welch and Bats for Lashes, and being a YouTube star with her jazz quartet, who re-interpreted deep-house tracks. Now, though, she is about to make a name for herself with her imaginative approach.
Amy Blaschke – “Running My Heart To You” (Los Angeles via Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Gillian Welch, Amy Helm, Patti Yang
Another artists that we admittedly were not familiar with until this week is Amy Blaschke. The veteran singer-songwriter is about to release her sixth album – sixth! – next week, which makes it inexcusable that so many people, including ourselves, to have not discovered this hidden gem sooner. From her new album is the terrific “Running My Heart To You”. It is part Americana and part cinematic pop, and together they create a song that is enchanting, although this adjective severely understates its emotive and stunning beauty. Maybe all that needs to be said is that this song is perfect.
Blaschke’s new album, Breaking The Blues, will be released on July 1st.
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