The Matinee August 11th is a little different today in that of the eight artists, only one comes from the United States. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and England are the other four countries represented. Take a listen and discover some of music’s brightest new stars.
Zuzu – “Get Off” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Colleen Green, Courtney Barnett, Swearin’
Very little is know about Zuzu. The enigmatic Liverpudlian started garnering attention late in 2015 when she was invited to open for Courtney Barnett. Since then, she has been on the lineups of some of the UK’s top festivals, including Leeds and Great Escape. Despite the attention, we still do not know a whole lot. A Q&A with Liverpool Echo sheds a bit of light into the mindset of the young singer-songwriter and from where her sharp tongue comes.
Given her responses in the Q&A, remaining semi-anonymous is clearly a calculated decision. Instead of allowing people to pry into her personal life, she has opted to let her music do all the talking. She released one previous single on SoundCloud, “Where You’d Go?”, but it has since been removed. In its place is her “official debut single”, “Get Off”. This catchy, edgy track is a great introduction to the latest buzz artist from England. The pop-rock riffs are catchy, the lyrics are clever and exhibit Zuzu’s no-nonsense attitude, and her vocals have an undefinable intoxication. Just listening to this one track makes us immediately realize why everyone wants a slice of Zuzu, assuming she will even allow them to get close.
“Get Off” is out now via Hand in Hive.
Whistlejacket – “Oh Brother” (London, England)
RIYL: DIIV, Tame Impala, Temples
Once you hear the opening chords to Whistlejacket‘s latest single, “Oh Brother”, you immediately know this will be an experience. Sure enough, the London quintet have delivered an awesome tune. What makes the song, though, is the juxtaposition between the shimmering melody and vocals and the explosive mix of psychedelic guitar riffs and outrageous drumming. Can a song simultaneously take us way above Cloud 9 while make us want to lose our minds? Whistlejacket have answered that question with a resounding yes. It has to be said again – this song is AWESOME!
“Oh Brother” is from the band’s forthcoming EP, Digital, which arrives September 2nd via Fierce Panda Records.
Steph Sweet – “Wolf’s Eye” (England/United Kingdom)
RIYL: Ashley Shadow, Joni Mitchell, Jesse Jones
Another artists for whom there is little information is Steph Sweet. The Englishwoman has been dabbling within the music scene for a couple of years sharing her brand of “freak folk”. Her new single is the stunning “Wolf’s Eye”.
Musically, Sweet’s style is reminiscent of Vancouver singer-songwriter Ashley Shadow, who similarly mesmerized us with her intimate and graceful style. Sweet, though, ups the ante with her storytelling, as the song is like a fairy tale or myth. Sweet is not merely singing a song; she is narrating a tale full of enchantment, mystery, and a bit of romance. The following passage, which is one of the best of the year, exemplifies Sweet’s imagination:
Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent my whole life,
Like a lamb walking amongst the wolves.
But wolves have feelings that get hurt too.
I’ll swap you my wool for a wolf’s eye-view.
Hearing storybook-like lyrics from Sweet should not be a surprise, as she is also an accomplished writer under the name Stevie O’Connor. Now which one is her actual name – assuming neither are pseudonyms – is unknown, which is part of the mystery. Whatever she is doing, she has cemented herself as an artist who deserves everyone’s attention. If this single and her literary work were not enough, then listen to a song she released in January called “Rape”. The song is about Sweet’s own experience. It is one of the most powerful and moving songs you will hear all year, and it evidences Sweet’s courage and perseverance.
MADEIRA – “Come On Thru” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Yumi Zouma, Haerts, Doprah
While her former band Yumi Zouma are criss-crossing the globe in support of their new album, Yoncalla, Kim Pflaum is putting the final touches on her own EP. The first single, “Manipulator”, was perfectly crafted synth-pop with a vengeful underbelly. The second single from the EP, “Come On Thru”, adopts a similar soundscape but the tone is different. Beneath the shimmering synths and Pflaum’s lush vocals, there is a sense of remorse and regret as the Kiwi artist reminisces about someone she has lost. “Come On Thru”, as such, is not so much about re-uniting, but about moving on and entering the unknown passage before one. Synth-pop perfection with a beautiful storyline to match – a rarity in today’s industry.
Like A Motorcycle – “High Hopes” (Halifax, Canada)
RIYL: No Joy, Death Valley Girls, Bleached
Look out Joel Plaskett, Halifax could soon have a new favorite band. Granted, Like a Motorcycle are not anywhere close to the music that Plaskett and his band The Emergency make. These four women instead make music that is harder, grittier, and edgier. Their punk-rock is fiery and fierce and performed with a no-holds-barred attitude. The quartet will release their debut album next month, and the lead single is the blistering “High Hopes”. The song is a classic punk-rock track – a two-minute, high-octane, thrash-your-hair, let-it-all-loose banger. F*** yeah!
High Hopes, Like A Motorcycle’s debut LP, drops September 2nd via Groundswell Music. The band consists of Michelle Skelding, Kim Carson, Jillian Comeau, and kt lamond.
Jinja Safari – “So Much” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Local Natives, Yeasayer, Gang of Youths
We generally share music about new artists whom we are excited about, but once in a while a beloved band is preparing for their final days. Such is the case with Jinja Safari, the Australian quintent who announced in January they were going their separate ways. Since 2010, the Sydney-based band created some of the most infectious and creative alt-pop. As their final gift to fans, they will be releasing a two-part album, Crescent Head. The latest single from the album is “So Much”, which might be the band’s most gorgeous song they have released to date. The song has all the signatures of a Jinja Safari track – beautiful, multi-part harmonies; stirring melodies; and a euphoric climax that will take your breath away. Like tens of thousands of fans, we are going to miss this band..
Crescent Head: Part One will be released on August 17th. Part Two arrives August 24th.
The Belligerents – “Caroline” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: The Beatles, Cream, Thee Oh Sees
To say we are fans of The Belligerents would be an understatement. From their cover of Fat Boy Slim’s “Praise You” to their excellent EP Outside:Inside, the quintet have blown us away with their indie rock. Their new single, “Caroline”, though, is something completely different. As oppose to channeling Foals, they have gone back to the sixties and seventies and resurrected their inner Beatles. Like the greatest band in history, The Belligerents have taken psychedelia and turned it on its head. The result is something completely different yet spectacular. The track is just another reason to be excited about this emerging band with an enormous future.
“Caroline” is the lead single from The Belligerents’ debut, full-length album, Science Fiction, which is due out later this year.
The Belligerents are Lewis Stephenson, James Griffin, Konstantin Kersting, Andy Balzat, and Samuel Sargent.
Altadore – “If Only For You” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Ultimate Painting, Whitney, Andy Shauf
The era of the singer-songwriter. Despite what is heard on mainstream radio, we are indeed in the midst of a new golden era of the storyteller. There are dozens of artists we could list (or just check out the Newport Folk Festival lineup), and one name to add is one-man band Altadore, the project of David Katz. He released his sophomore album, Opal, Luna, and Hymn, a week ago, and from it is the immaculate “If Only For You”. There are love songs – too many to be honest – but very few sound as beautiful, sincere, and graceful as this one. What Katz has crafted is a tune that feels straight out of the Laurel Canyon music scene, making it an instant classic.
“If Only For You” is from Altadore’s new album, Opal, Luna, and Hymn. It is out now via Randm Records. Altadore are David Katz (vocals/guitars/bass/Mellotron/synth) and Jeff Bond (drums). They were joined by
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