Eight songs occupy The Matinee August 25th edition. Lots of sizzle and a bit of shimmer in this mini-playlist.
As Was – “Stains” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Diane Coffee, Portugal. The Man, AXIS: SOVA
There is very little information about Los Angeles band As Was other than they have been around for three years already and fronted by Kosta Stanisavljevic. In that time, they have released a cover of a Taylor Swift song and released an EP called Stray. Their presence on the internet is also very limited, having just Bandcamp and Facebook pages. Living in relative anonymity defines the lives of many independent artists, which As Was articulates in their startling new single “Stains”. The song captures the fear, isolation, and deteriorating hope of so many singer-songwriters. Lyrically, the song is brilliant with some of the most hardest-hitting and honest lyrics you will come across this year.
“I can’t heal you, I can’t break through, its everything you did. Push me farther, make it less harder, will it always feel this way?“
Musically, it melds the vocals of Portugal. The Man’s John Baldwin Gourley with the oft-kilter, pop-rock arrangements of Diane Coffee. The track is absolutely terrific – thoughtful in its execution and awe-inspiring in its delivery.
Black Coast – “Sleep Alone” ft. Soren Bryce (New York City, USA)
RIYL: PUMAROSA, GEMS, LANKS
There are plenty of producers who could be labeled “the next big thing” in the genre, and Black Coast, the project fronted by New York City-based Stan Rapoport, is making a strong case. Recently signed with super indie-electronic label Ultra Music, Black Coast recruited the assistance of Los Angeles singer-songwriter Soren Bryce for their new single. The chemistry between the two is evident on “Sleep Alone”.
The song spurs a number of emotions – it is uplifting yet sensual as well as breathtaking and intoxicating. Black Coast’s production work is sublime, showing restraint in order to create an ethereal soundscape that you could escape inside. Bryce’s voice is lush, vibrant, and beautiful, and one that you immediately fall in love with after one listen. “Sleep Alone, for that matter, will have you falling head over heels for these two artists. Heck, they should just become a duo and blow us away time and time again.
Douse – “Speak To Carry Us” (New Westminster/Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Daughter, The Belle Game, The National
In 2014, a little band from outside Vancouver, British Columbia caught our attention. They were called Alea Rae at the time, and their Daughter-esque songs made them one of our hidden gems. We were so impressed by them that we would invite them to our make-believe RevueFest (and if it does happen one day we definitely would).
Two years later, this little band’s star has incrementally become brighter as they have matured. With their evolution, which includes a change in sound from their dark folk-rock beginnings to shivering art-rock, Alea Rae have re-branded themselves as Douse. The new name is perfect, as their new sound is immersive and immensely personal. This is evidenced on their new single, “Speak to Carry Us”. The song starts off slowly and the oft-kilter arrangements give off a haunting but alluring vibe. The track then slowly builds into a cinematic and breathtaking fantasy, where frontwoman Alea Clark’s vocals take on a mystical quality. The storyline, though, is anything but a dream; it is a crushing tale of loss, bewilderment, and uncertainty. Although the band has changed, they continue to make the brooding sound beautiful.
Douse are Alea Clark, Jeremiah Ackermann, Patrick Farrugia. “Speak to Carry Us” is the lead single from the band’s forthcoming debut full-length, The Light in You Has Left. It arrives October 1st.
Sad13 – “Get A Yes” (Philadelphia and Allston, MA, USA)
RIYL: Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES), Fazerdaze, Sky Ferreira
Most know Sadie Dupuis as the principal songwriter and frontwoman of indie-rock band Speedy Ortiz. For a little while, she has teased about the possibility of a solo project with her own social media accounts. On Tuesday, Dupuis announced the launch of Sad13, which included her first single, “Get A Yes”.
The song is unlike anything Dupuis has created – a whispery, sensual bedroom-pop tune that leans on synths and an electric drum beat. But beyond the new sound, the same thoughtful and intelligent songwriter is heard. “Get A Yes” is not about a night of sex, but concerns the issue of consent. This is Dupuis reclaiming ownership of an experience that should be intimate, affectionate, and pleasurable to both parties. It should not be described as a self-gratifying event for one party and where women are glorified as nothing more than sex objects, as is the case with so many songs today. Dupuis, however, does this with a lot more tact and grace, and in the process has created a song that just might redefine pop music.
“Get A Yes” is taken from Dupuis’s forthcoming, debut solo album Slugger. The LP arrives November 11th via Carpark Records.
Shyla Buff – “Mess With Love” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Craft Spells, Wild Nothing
Another Los Angeles-based band that we have very little information about is Shyla Buff, which obviously is a take on actor Shia LeBeouf. The secret about Shyla Buff, however, won’t last very long if they continue to make great music, like their latest single, “Mess With Love”.
What immediately catches one’s attention is the complexity of “Mess With Love”. It is full of textures and layers, which meld beautifully and easily together – the shimmering, crystalline guitars; a groovy bassline; a stirring drumline; and the serene and easy-flowing vocals. The combination yields an experience that feels surreal and dreamlike, as one is transported into a different dimension. The description is akin to that of DIIV, and the comparisons will be inevitable and rightfully deserved. Now will they achieve the success of their East Coast cousins? In our minds, the potential is there for Shyla Buff to be huge indie stars in a very short time.
Sorcha Richardson – “Walk Away” (Brooklyn, USA via Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Weyes Blood, TORRES
From artists for whom we have little information, The Matinee also has its share of artists that we have come to adore over the years. Sorcha Richardson is one of them. The Dublin native now Brooklyn resident tantalized us with her song “Petrol Station” a year ago. At the time, Richardson’s music revolved around her splendid stories and a synth-pop approach. Now, she has exchanged the synthesizer for an electric guitar and bass, and the results are startling and ear-popping.
Her new single, “Walk Away”, is brilliant. The gritty strum of the bass provides the perfect, sparse soundscape for this story about the ending of a relationship. Her whispery, cracking vocals make us feel like we are lying next to Richardson as she describes her loneliness and pain. Richardson has always been a songwriter who was introspective and considerate, but never has she been as vulnerable as she is on “Walk Away”. The intimacy and immediacy of the song reveals a singer-songwriter approaching the pinnacle of her craft, a level very few artists have been able to achieve.
We will get to witness Richardson’s progression over the coming weeks and months, as “Walk Away” is the first of a multi-song project.
Sundara Karma – “She Said” (Reading, England)
RIYL: Gengahr, Spring King, Wolf Alice
The philosophy within the industry has been to create pop music that has a catchy beat and repetitive lyrics. Who cares about telling a story or sharing a meaningful message as long as people are buying the music? Well, bands like Sundara Karma are putting this long-held belief to test.
For nearly five years, the British quartet has seen their popularity grow, particularly over the last 18 months, despite never having released a full-length album and for creating expansive and meaningful indie-rock and pop-rock songs. Their single, “Flame”, for instance, was among the best songs of 2015. “She Said”, their newest track, builds on their previous work, but this one is even more ear-pleasing that what they have previously created. There is a tickle of ’50s jitterbug rock ‘n roll that can be heard in the track along with the anthemic pop-rock of the ’80s. The result is a song that is euphoric, raucous, and danceable.
The story is also pretty great, telling the tale of two people who are headed in opposite directions. There is an air of the ’50s in the plot, where the woman wants to go dancing to forget about her worries while the man chooses to go drinking with his buddies. Images of Paula Abdul’s video for “Rush Rush”, which features a young Keanu Reeves, might come into your mind (or maybe that’s just me).
“She Said” is the lead single from Sundara Karma’s long-awaited debut album, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect. It will be released on January 6th via RCA and Chess Club. Sundara Karma are Oscar Pollock, Haydn Evans, Ally Baty and Dom Cordell
Ulrika Spacek – “Everything, All The Time” (London, England via Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: A Place to Bury Strangers, Preoccupations, Yung
Everyone has been in a situation where they hang out with a person for a long time before realizing that the two of you share something a strong bond for the same thing. Sometimes that relationship evolves into a love affair that lasts a lifetime. Other times, it leads to the creation of an awesome rock band, which is the case with Ulrika Spacek. The project of longtime Rhys Edwards and Rhys Williams was born in Berlin but the duo returned to London to advance their career. The decision has been a wise one with the duo having signed previously with Lefse and Tough Love Records.
Their debut album, The Album Paranoia, which was released earlier this year, received solid to great reviews. To keep the momentum going, they will be releasing a 7″ split single next month. The lead song is “Everything, All The Time”, which is a quiet rocker. There are elements of A Place to Bury Strangers with the reverb, shoegaze guitars and the cold catharsis of Preoccupations. There is even a hint of Radiohead, specifically with the song’s multiple progressions and dramatic undertones. “Everything, All The Time” is one of those songs that could rock out to while sipping on your morning coffee or afternoon tea, offering an extra jolt of energy without disturbing your routine.
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