Eight songs are shared on The Matinee August 16th edition. The artists are from the usual suspect of countries, but you will also find one surprising destination. Mongolia. You read that correctly – Mongolia. We get things started, however, with a favorite of ours.
American Wrestlers – “Give Up” (St. Louis, USA via Scotland)
RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure of Heart, Bleeding Rainbow, A Sunny Day in Glasgow
We are unabashedly fans of American Wrestlers, which originally started off as a living room project of Scotland native Gary McClure. Their eponymous debut album was among our 50 favorites of 2015, and they even rocked out in my wife’s and my basement. So please excuse me if I’m over ecstatic when discussing the band’s new single, “Give Up”.
The single is a change-of-pace for the quartet. Whereas their debut album was filled with shimmering, melodic pop songs that were embracing and intimate, the band dials up the volume, the guitars are more jangly with an added touch of reverb, and the tempo has been accelerated. While much has changed, a lot has stayed the same. The infectious melodies and the thoughtful lyricism of their debut remain as McClure sings about trying to make it in today’s competitive world and where the ambitious but not necessarily the intelligent succeed. We’ll be rooting hard for American Wrestlers to break the pattern and succeed in a big way in 2016 and 2017, especially when their sophomore album Goodbye Terrible Youth arrives. Release date is expected November 14th via Fat Possum Records. We. Cannot. Wait!
In addition to McClure (lead vocals/guitar), American Wrestlers are Bridgette Imperial (keys/guitar), Josh Van Hoorebeke (drums), and Ian Reitz (bass).
Andrea Silva – “the fall” (Los Angeles, USA via Bogotá, Colombia)
RIYL: Julien Baker, Lisa Hannigan
Anyone who has moved abroad will understand how difficult and even traumatic such an event could be. Family and friends are left behind. While there is excitement in exploring the unknown, loneliness, fear, and confusion also set in as you get acclimated to the new surroundings. Who can you trust? When something goes wrong, who can you turn to for help? When you have fallen, who will be there to help you? Newcomer Andrea Silva has written a song that encapsulates all these feelings.
“the fall” is a beautiful, folk song that has stripped down to the bare essentials of Silva’s delicate vocals and her acoustic guitar. The approach, however, perfectly complements the introspective lyrics, which recall Silva’s own immigration from Bogotá, Colombia to Los Angeles three years ago. The experience is summed up in the terrific chorus, which Silva sings: “You’re my father. You’re my brother. You’re my lover and my enemy. But the moon is dressed like a storm tonight, and I don’t know what it’s going to be.”
In just four minutes, “the fall” is a soundtrack for everyone who decided to take a chance and move afar. It is also a love song to all those who have touched our hearts.
Silva is currently working on her debut EP, which she hopes to release by the end of 2016.
El Perro Del Mar – “Ding Sum” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Kristin Kontrol, Bats for Lashes, Little Boots
Sarah Assbring – better known as El Perro Del Mar – is one of Sweden’s best synth-pop artists and a creative force within Gothenburg and Sweden. She’s never been one to play it safe, as she constantly explores new sounds, textures, and approaches to take her music to another level. Her new single, “Ding Sum”, illustrates Assbring’s innovative mind.
Incorporating influences for India, China, and Japan, the song is sonic fusion. It echoes the ’60s and ’70s pop scenes of these Asian countries and the love affair that young music fans in Hong Kong and Tokyo today have for classic pop. Yet there is a strong Western vibe, specifically ’80s synth-pop with which Assbring has long been associated. This is a song that one would either only imagine in dreams or on film, but then again Assbring is not just another artist.
“Ding Sum” is the second single taken from El Perro Del Mar’s forthcoming, sixth studio album KoKoro. The LP will be released on September 16th via The Control Group.
Fake Palms – “Collar Bone” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Wolf Parade, Interpol, Pre-Occupations
This year so the return of Wolf Parade, who brought energy and life back to the Canadian indie-rock scene. Taking a page out of the Spencer Krug-Dan Boeckner fronted band are Fake Palms. Late last week, they released their newest single, “Collar Bone”, and it is electrifying. The song possesses the searing rock of the aforementioned Wolf Parade while also integrating the stoic, anthemic approach of Interpol and the crippling, dark post-punk of Pre-Occupations. The piercing guitars and apocalyptic bass line are superb and will haunt your mind for days.
Look out Wolf Parade and Pre-Occupations and make way for Canada’s next great indie-rock band.
“Collar Bone” is the lead single from Fake Palms’ forthcoming EP, Heavy Paranoia, and it arrives released September 30 via Buzz Records.
Jess Williamson – “Say It” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Lera Lynn, Margaret Gaspy, Lucy Dacus
2016 has been a fantastic year within the blues-rock, folk-rock, and indie-folk communities. Several young singer-songwriters and bands – such as Margaret Glaspy, Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Mothers – have had huge years and been mentioned as music’s new stars. Who will be the next one? If her new single, “Say It” is any indication of what is to come, Austin-based Jess Williamson will likely be the artist whom people will be talking about for months.
“Say It” is cinematic gold. The bluesy tinges of Williamson’s guitar are raw and gritty while her gripping vocals have a charming, steely coldness that echo P.J. Harvey. The suspenseful storyline is brilliant, and it would be perfectly placed on a past (or future) episode of True Detective. We’ll get to learn more about Williamson soon, as her sophomore album, Heart Song, will be released on November 4th. Brutal Honest will be distributing the record.
Magnolian – “The Bride & The Bachelor” (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia)
RIYL: Shovels & Rope, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Head and The Heart
In a first for us at The Revue, we are sharing a single from a Mongolian artist. The project of Dulguun Bayasgalan, Magnolian is not what you would expect. His music isn’t exotic. There aren’t any noticeable Chinese or Russian influences. His music actually might startle you for how closely it resembles the intimate indie-folk and Americana being produced. The perfect example is his single, “The Bride & The Bachelor”, which echoes the dual harmonies and atmospheric soundscapes of notable artists like Shovels & Rope and The Head and The Heart. The lyrics of the song, too, are also brilliant, as the song recalls the fairy tale-like story of The Decemberists’ “Crane Wife” suite. What a wonderful introduction this is to Bayasgalan and his partners’ music. Maybe we need to start scouring the northern Asian country to discover more surprising gems like this.
“The Bride & The Bachelor” is from Magnolian’s debut EP, Famous Men, which can be heard in its entirety on SoundCloud.
Mercury Girls – “Holly” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: The History of Apple Pie, Wildhoney, Happy Hollows
There are bands that are cool, but then there are bands that personify the word. Philadelphia-based Mercury Girls are one of those bands. The quintet stunned us earlier this year with their single, “Ariana”, which was a jubilant display of indie pop. If that single was a celebration, then their newest single, “Holly”, is an extravagant gala. The shoegaze-y and jangly- guitars, the lush and vibrant vocals, and the shimmering rhythms perfectly merge together and, thus, create a pop tune that is pure bliss. We could spin this song over and over again, at least until more new music arrives.
The track is on Continental Drift, a mini-LP involving three other artists – Wildhoney, The Spook School, and Tigercats. The record arrives August 26th on Slumberland Records and Fortuna Pop! Pre-order the record here.
Mercury Girls will be going on tour shortly. Find tour dates here. This must mean an album must be coming soon, and it will be interesting to see what other names they will choose for their new songs. Maybe there will be songs about Hillary, Donald, Mike, and Tim. Ah, I digress.
Mercury Girls are Sarah Schimineck, Kevin Attics, Chris Schackerman, Kevin O’Halloran, and Andrew Hagiwara.
Psychic Twin – “Hopeless” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Crystal Castles meets Electric Youth, Devojka
When Erin Fein released her first singles as Psychic Twin back in 2013, she stole my heart. The infatuation will only intensify as Fein and long-time collaborator Rosana Caban prepare to release their debut full-length. They have shared a handful of singles to date, and they have only validated why many people, like myself, have become engrossed by the duo’s synth-pop approach.
Their latest single, though, may be the one that wins over many more fans. “Hopeless” is deliriously breathtaking and tantalizing. Immediately, the combination of Fein’s delicate vocals and the groovy synths and bass casts a dreamy, lush spell. As the delirium sets in, we are presented with three choices. One, we could dance all night to the shimmering beat. Two, we could succumb to Fein and Caban’s enchantment. Or three, we could opt for both. You can figure out which option I’ve selected. This song is absolutely intoxicating. What else does Psychic Twin have in store? We’ll find out when Strange Diary drops September 9 via Polynvinyl Records.
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