The Matinee September 22nd extends to ten songs. The list is in reverse alphabetical order. Be sure to read and listen right to the bottom; otherwise, you’ll miss a treat from a singer-songwriter with one of the best baritones on the planet.
Vaudou Game – “Revolution” (Lyon, France & Lomé, Togo)
RIYL: Fela Kuti, Konono No. 1, Bombino, James Brown
As immigration dominates the political discourse across the world, Vaudou Game demonstrate how cultures and people can come together and create something fabulous. Started by Togo native Peter Solo, who engaged his Lyonnais friends, Vaudou Game combine voodoo psychedelia, Afrofunk, and ’70s-style funk into one rhythmic and infectious product. An example of their sound is their new single, “Revolution”. The song will have you shaking your hips, bopping your head from side to side, and moving your feet because it is groovy personified. Don’t miss the James Brown-esque vocal flairs, which give the track a little bit of Motown soul. After hearing “Revolution”, you, too, might be asking, “Why haven’t I discovered Vaudou Game sooner?”
Vaudou Game’s new album, Kidayu, will be released October 7th via Hot Casa Records.
Vaudou Game are Peter Solo (lead vocals/guitar), Vicente Fritis (keyboards/backing vocals), Ghislain Paillard (saxophone/percussion/backing vocals), Guilhem Parguel (trombone/percussion/backing vocals), Jérémy Garcia (bass/backing vocals), and Hafid Zouaoui (drums/backing vocals).
Tiny Dinosaurs – “Sit And Stare” (Los Angeles, USA via Cannes, France)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Perfume Genius, Wye Oak
In four weeks, French-born singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julie Jay will release the first of two EPs under her project Tiny Dinosaurs. She shared the first single, “Shut Out the Light”, a month ago, at which time she shared the genesis of the two-part EP and it is worth repeating:
“(T)he project was born after a traumatic surgery that led to a coma. I had no idea if I was ever going to get my voice back to normal, let alone my singing voice. As soon I woke up from the coma, I asked my sister to bring me my guitar at the hospital and started writing songs.”
While “Shut Out the Light” had the conviction of a person who is determined to continue, “Sit And Stare” represents the person coming to grips with her situation. The song is heartbreaking and introspective, echoing the emotional power of Sharon Van Etten’s best work. The track’s emotion is amplified by Jay’s delicate and vulnerable vocals and the lo-fi, bedroom instrumentation, where the synths and guitars appear to be weeping. We don’t know if this was the first song that Jay wrote in her hospital bed, but we can envision her solitary figure humming the lyrics as her fingers softly strummed the guitar strings. Thankfully, her voice returned so that we, too, can sit and stare as we hear this beautiful song.
Awake is the first volume to be released, and it arrives October 21st. Pre-order it on her Bandcamp page.
Springtime Carnivore – “Midnight Room” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Neko Case, Pearl Charles
Greta Morgan’s sophomore album as Springtime Carnivore is increasingly looking like it will be a mind-blower. The first two singles she released included the pop-perfection “Raised By Wolves” and the scintillating rocker “Face In The Moon”. The third single to be released is the album’s haunting title track, “Midnight Room”. The song is gorgeous, cinematic, and dramatic, as the slide guitar and beautiful arrangements give the track the feeling of a love story set in the wild west. Her songwriting – check that storytelling – are impeccable, as it feels like a movie is unfolding within our ears. Then there are Morgan’s vocals, which are astounding and breathtaking, particuarly when she sings, “I’ll be dreaming of you”. This song is absolutely stunning.
We won’t have to dream much longer before Springtime Carnivore’s new album arrives. Midnight Room will be released on October 7th via Autumn Tone Records.
Sløtface – “Bright Lights” (Stavanger, Norway)
RIYL: HAERTS, Wolf Alice, Sunflower Bean
There is something really great happening in Norway right now. During the ’90s and into the ’00s, the country was synonymous with heavy metal. Now, the Scandinavian country is a factory of some of the best indie-rock and -pop music. One of the bands leading the charge is Sløtface. A few months ago, they gave us a weekend anthem with “Take Me Dancing”. They return with another sonic treat, “Bright Lights”.
The song is one part a delicious pop song and another part a gritty, feverish rocker. And whereas their previous song spoke of letting loose, “Bright Lights” is liberation of a different sort. It is a buzzing, fiery anthem for those looking to escape their problems. For just over three minutes, Sløtface give us an opportunity to close our eyes and runaway from everything. The song is simply awesome, and just another step towards indie stardom for the four teenagers.
The song is out on Propeller Recordings. Sløtface are Haley Shea (vocals), Lasse Lokøy (bass), Halvard Skeie Wiencke (drums), and Tor-Arne Vikingstad (guitar)
Seramic – “Greg’s Love (feat. Bootsy Collins)” (London, England)
RIYL: Bootsy Collins, Outkast, Parliament-Funkadelic
If you’re looking for a funky song, look no further than the collaboration between London-based producer Seramic and the legendary William “Bootsy” Collins. “Greg’s Love” is – to borrow a phrase from the 70s – funk-a-licious. It’s not quite the kaleidoscope, disco-funk of Deee-lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart”, which “Bootsy” but this song will have you shaking what your mother gave you. The track is an absolute riot, and it will have you yelling, “Holy Funky!”
We would love to hear the story about how Seramic and Greg, his bass player, reached out to Collins and what their reaction was when he said yes. Conversely, what did Collins think when he heard the funky grooves? All we have is the following from Seramic:
The song began as a bass line sent to me by Greg, my bass player. It was inspired by Bootsy Collins, which is why we’re so honoured he agreed to get involved. It asks its listeners to celebrate; to find something fresh and exciting, like falling in love again, and just let go.”
And this song will have you falling in love with funk again and for a few minutes letting your inner James Brown out. If you like this single, it is available now via GMF & IAMSOUND.
Peeling – “Magic Eye” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: L.A. Witch, Wytches, Death Valley Girls
Canada’s indie-rock scene is in very good hands. In the past alone, Preoccupations dropped their cathartic sophomore album, and Toronto rockers Fake Palms shared a buzzing new tune, “Frequencies”. Next up are Peeling. The band formerly known as Mexican Slang rocked our world when they released “Leisure Life” a few weeks ago. Their latest single is “Magic Eye”. This throbbing, eerie number is straight out of the ’80s with the dissonant guitars and frontwoman Annabelle Lee’s Debbie Harry-esque vocals. It is stark and creepy, but every second is thrilling. To think, “Magic Eye” and “Leisure Life” are just the appetizers to Peeling’s forthcoming, debut EP, Rats In Paradise. It will be released October 14th via Buzz Records.
The band is comprised of Annabelle Lee (lead vocals/guitar), Jimmy Tony Rowlinson (bass), Denholm Whale (drums), and Alejandro Cairncross (guitar).
Kyoto Skies – “Start Again” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: early Phantogram, Phoria, Preatures
In a recent conversation with English group Phoria, they told me it took them years to discover their sound. They are now one of the most exciting bands in the crowded indietronica field. A group that could be joining them soon are Kyoto Skies.
The quartet from Sydney, Australia are similarly separating themselves from fellow electronic outfits. Instead of blowing us away with samples and heavy beats, they have opted for the cinematic and the hypnotic. Their new single, “Start Again”, for instance, is absolutely stunning. It perfectly balances the lush vocals of Isabella Kearney-Nurse, the euphoric soundscape created by the arousing synths and effects, and the smooth grooves from the beats and rhythms. The song is cinematic indie perfection, a breathtaking and mesmerizing masterpiece.
Another one of their songs worth checking out is “Homesick”, which integrates Japanese instrumentation and melodies. This collective is without question one to watch.
Kyoto Skies are Isabella Kearney-Nurse, Sebastian de Haas, Casey Green, and Jonathan Key.
Déyyess – “Guns” (London, England)
RIYL: Bats for Lashes, Mitski, Cloves
While a lot of bands and artists try to write the perfect summer anthem, London singer-songwriter Déyyess is injecting a healthy dose of honesty and reality. Her debut single, “Guns”, is as far away as you can get from the sandy beaches and mansions with their Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Instead, the song is embedded in the gritty streets of London, New York, or Los Angeles and the broken homes that so many people live in. It is about those who have lost hope, who have no opportunities, and who have become victims and the criminals. “Guns” is a gripping, immersive, and poignant track and demonstrates the power of music. It is also a wonderful introduction to Déyyess’ immense talents. At just 19-years old, Déyyess is a natural songwriter, and one who is mature well beyond her years. It is exciting to think what the future holds for her.
American Wrestlers – “Amazing Grace” (St. Louis, USA via Scotland)
RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Ablebody, Toad the Wet Sprocket
One of our favorite bands of the past two years is American Wrestlers, the project started by former Working for a Nuclear Free City member Gary McClure. Besides an intimate yet vibrant pop-rock sound, McClure is a terrific songwriter, telling life stories of real and imaginary people.
Now with a full band, which includes his lovely wife, McClure and American Wrestlers are nearing the release of their highly-anticipated, sophomore album. The second single is “Amazing Grace”, and all the characteristics of what made us fans are on full display. The ’80s pop-rock melody is infectious, but it is the songwriting that impresses the most. This isn’t a song about opportunities or hope. It isn’t one about lost love nor a religious track. Instead, “Amazing Grace” is a political song about the state of America. It is a statement about how too many tragedies are addressed with “thoughts and prayers” instead of action. So it is a song about loss – the thousands of lives that have been taken while politicians sit idly and do nothing. “Amazing Grace” may not at first sound like it, but it is one of the most profound songs of the year.
American Wrestlers’ sophomore album Goodbye Terrible Youth arrives November 14th via Fat Possum Records. In addition to McClure (lead vocals/guitar), American Wrestlers are Bridgette Imperial (keys/guitar), Josh Van Hoorebeke (drums), and Ian Reitz (bass).
Allen Tate – “YDNF (Young Dumb Numb Fun)” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: San Fermin, TV On The Radio
A month ago, San Fermin co-lead singer Allen Tate released his debut solo single, “Being Alone”, which impressed us with its layers of jazz intertwined with indie rock. The track was reminiscent of San Fermin’s work, but his second single sees him extend himself a little further. The laid back, shimmering “YDNF (Young Dumb Numb Fun)” echoes TV On The Radio with its fusion of funk, R&B, and art rock. One thing, however, remains the same – Tate’s rich baritone, which is as captivating as the first day we heard him.
His first two singles have also shown that the Brooklyn resident is a gifted and thoughtful songwriter. Despite the song’s title, listen closely and you will discover an individual who is seeking to momentarily escape New York City’s jungle and life’s complexities. Don’t we all?
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