The Matinee July 19th features 7 new songs. Because of the length, I have kept the descriptions to a minimum so you can just enjoy these sublime tracks.
DWARF – “To Close to the Flame” (Mesa, AR, USA)
RIYL: Swearin’, Speedy Ortiz, HeyRocco, False Advertising
A little band that is just trying to live life and enjoy its little delights is DWARF. Take the title of their new single, “To Close to the Flame”, which the band explains:
Yes, the grammar of the song title is wrong but we like it that way. We could have gone with “2 close 2 the Flame” but we held back. We don’t want to take the joy away from those that like to point out grammar mistakes.
But who cares about grammar when a band releases a kick ass single that reminds you of the blistering yet melodic alt-rock of Swearin’, the clever lyricism of Sadie Dupuis, and the jovial attitude of HeyRocco? We certainly do not. Given the infectious nature of the track, it would not be of any surprise if this little known trio from Arizona experiences a meteoric rise in popularity later this year, especially when their debut album, It’s About Time, is released on October 2nd.
DWARF are Bailey Stewart (bass), Sage Donaldson (vocals/guitar), and Dominic Crooks (drums).
ELKI – “Thunder” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Gotye, Bec Sandridge, Cat Power
Another Triple-J Unearthed discovery is ELKI, a singer-songwriter from Sydney whose first single “Sirens” was an online hit. Her second single, “Thunder”, is similarly brilliant. The song is cinematic in a film-noir way, where the stuttering beats and ELKI’s deep vocals provide a suspenseful enchantment. ELKI’s brilliance, however, lies in her vivid and unorthodox storytelling. Here is a woman who is not merely looking introspectively nor retrospectively for inspiration. Instead, history is her guide, specifically Greek mythology. On “Thunder”, she channels the power of Zeus to control the skies in order to communicate with her beloved. The “Thunder” is ELKI’s voice, displaying her angst against the other person. ELKI has only released two songs, but if she continues down this path we might have to consider her a goddess of songwriting.
HOO HAs – “Hanna” (London, England)
RIYL: Parquet Courts, The Stone Roses, Noel Gallagher
“So young, so sweet. So young, so incomplete”, bellows HOO HAs‘ frontman Jamie during the chorus of “Hanna”. While the song has a 90s’ Britpop nonchalance combined with a Parquet Courts-esque punk-pop, it is another track in the London quartet’s arsenal of great songwriting. Don’t mistaken the track as another one about a broken heart. Quite the contrary, the track speaks to the unraveling of an individual and her many misguided steps. Wendy once said HOO HAs are “a punk inspired male version of Courtney Barnett-esque lyrical delivery”, which is spot on.
HOO HAs are Jamie (vocals) Mark (guitar), Jack (bass) and Adam (drums)
Jesse Mac Cormack – “Never Enough” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Beck, David Byrne, Patrick Watson
You might see the comparisons to Beck and David Byrne and scoff at the suggestion, but Jesse Mac Cormack deserves the accolades. The Montreal singer-songwriter has dabbled in everything from indie (e.g., “After The Glow”) to crushing indie rock (“Repeat”) with success. His latest single, “Never Enough”, sees him combine 80s rock and new wave with touches of funk to create a stirring, groovy, and highly contagious track. Sounds like Midnite Vultures-era Beck doesn’t it?
“Never Enough” is from Mac Cormack’s forthcoming EP, After The Glow, which drops September 16th via Secret City Records.
John E Vistic – “Welcome Down The Night” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Calexico, Hiss Golden Messenger, Lucinda Williams
After achieving success with his Rock ‘n Roll Soundsystem, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter John E Vistic is embarking on a new solo journey. The new project sees the acclaimed artist move away from classic rock to taking on a more cinematic and breathtaking approach. The first single is “Welcome Down the Night”, which is a stunner. Infusing the nostalgic sounds of film-noir and spaghetti Western, Vistic has created a song that could be the introduction for a modern-day hero. For many of us, this is an introduction to one of England’s great hidden gems.
The song is the title track from Vistic’s forthcoming new album, Welcome Down The Night, which will be releaseed this Friday, July 22nd.
The Nursery – “Digital Ashes” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Architecture in Helsinki, Mother Mother, Empire of the Sun
With an anthemic and boisterous sound, Toronto’s The Nursery is well on the path to being Canada’s next great indie-pop band. Their latest single, “Digital Ashes”, is fantastic. The song is unlike much of what is being made in Canada, as they have integrated an ’80s new wave approach with modern indie-pop arrangements and a club vibe. The song, as such, mirrors the music that is coming out of Australia, such as Architecture in Helsinki and Empire of the Sun – indie pop that is simultaneously dark, hypnotic, and euphoric.
“Digital Ashes” is the title track from the quartet’s forthcoming, debut EP, which drops July 26th. The Nursery are Alexander Pulec, Victor Ess, Jared Roth, and Josh English.
Preoccupations – “Degraded” (Calgary, Canada)
RIYL: Joy Division, Eagulls
By now, you know Calgary-based indie rockers Preoccuptions will be releasing their new album, Anxiety, on September 16th via Jagjaguwar. The second single from the sophomore LP is “Degraded”. The song retains the quartet’s Joy Division-esque, stark and crushing sound while building on their debut LP’s sense of vulnerability and fragility. “Degraded” is a reminder that life is to be appreciated and celebrated, the status quo should not be accepted, and moving forward can only occur by taking a leap of faith. As they proved on Viet Cong, Preoccupations are more than just another dark indie-rock band; they are one of the most thoughtful and articulate acts in the business.
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