Six stellar tracks are coming your way in the The Matinee September 30th edition. Covering the range of synth-pop, soul, disco pop, indie rock and alternative rock, this track listing would make a great (short) road-trip playlist.


Julian Azar – “Givenchy Ghosts” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Glass Animals, Bloc Party, Foster the People

julianazarIndie pop. Disco. Techno. Put those together and you have Stockholm’s Julian Azar. Classic poppy guitar melody opens the track with ping-pong like effects chiming in soon after. Super crisp. Super clean. Striking effects of techno percussion punctuate the up-front vocals.

Released on September 27th, Azar’s second single “Givenchy Ghosts” released by Waves, is colored with melancholy and self-awareness. He reminds us both by his music and through his lyrics that everything changes, everything loops, everything comes back around. Even the echo effect on his vocals are representative of ghosts of words already spoken and soon fading. And while you may think this would lend itself to an eerie song, “Givenchy Ghosts” is anything but.  It’s playful, rhythmic, and empowering.

Azar says of his song, “This is my in-obvious way to illustrate my romantic relations, with fashion as a parable. Givenchy Ghosts is a depiction of ever changing season by season fashion trends, a metaphor of broken romances and the power in overcoming addictions which doesn’t serve you in life.” We like the metaphor and the trust he places in his listeners that not everything needs to be spelled out.

Look for Julian Azar’s full length solo album set for release February of 2017.

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Lee Fields & The Expressions – “Special Night” (New York, USA)

RIYL: Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, The Stylistics


If Charles Bradley is the screaming eagle of soul, then Lee Fields is a purring panther. His vocals glide and slink toward you with confidence. And with a message. He didn’t like being lonely. Nor does he want YOU to be lonely. He wants you to have a “Special Night”.

The legendary soul singer whose career spans 50 years has brought his timeless talent to his latest single. Backed up by the stellar musicianship of The Expressions, the keys, percussion, and horns lay down a groove that will make you want to slow dance. With a short keys and drum intro, it doesn’t take long for Lee Fields to launch into his musical love letter. This 6 minutes long song will feel short if you’re dancing with your love. And if not, you most assuredly won’t feel alone in your loneliness (yes, that’s possible). Because he knows how you feel. He was there once, and thankfully no longer. But, as Lee Fields cautions, “Loneliness can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible. And for those of you who are lonely right now, I urge you to find someone, soon. ” It shouldn’t take long if you play them this song.

“Special Night” is the title track off of an upcoming album of the same name. The single is available to stream on his website. The album is set for a November 4th release date on Big Crown Records.

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Luxury Death – “I Feel Your Pain” (Manchester, England)

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Pavement, Grizzly Bear


Although new to the scene, the boyfriend/girlfriend duo of Ben Thompson (vocals/guitar) & Meg Williams (vocals/keys) in Luxury Death have seemingly perfected that lo-fi sound on songs that ring bittersweet. Recently signed to PNKSLM Recordings, their second single “I Feel Your Pain” is a prime example of the emotive aspect of their music. Sharp snare sounds set the tone, quickly supported by fuzzed out guitar and vocals. A white noise drone underscores the song lending that bitter to the sweet.
Midway through the song you’re treated to a stand out guitar which is so expressive it feels like another vocal. The lo-fi feel is so convincing you’ll envision them recording this to cassette while casually sitting on their shared bed spontaneously jamming together. And perhaps that’s how the song came to be. Lo-fi yet well produced, luxury in death, bitter and sweet, this band likes their juxtapositions. It suits them well and is clearly indicative of their complexity.
One thing is certain, Luxury Death have already made a name for themselves with their month-old first single, “Radiator Face” and now they’ve done it again with “I Feel Your Pain”.

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Northern National – “The New Age” (Dallas, Texas, USA)

RIYL: JohnnySwim, Echosmith, Jamestown Revival


Launching straight away with loud distorted guitar, Dallas, Texas’ Northern National immediately grab your attention in their new EP’s title track “The New Age”.  It’s hard to believe this energetic blues tinged alt rock and roll is the band’s first studio EP.  There’s nothing stripped down here. The 5 bandmates each play their parts well, but come together in dramatic fashion, each driving the song forward with a rich, full rock sound. As a matter of fact, they set a pace creating a sense of urgency. “We run, we run, we run, we run, like the sun’s burning in our veins”, sings frontman Michael Rossi. Lyrics expressive of reflection on their generation, Northern National obviously want to lead the anthem for a New Age.

Equal parts percussion, guitar, and confident vocals, this catchy song is sure to follow the success of their first single, “Love Is Fire”. Produced by industry heavy hitter Daniel Stringer (X Ambassadors, Ms. Lauryn Hill), this lead single has been streamed over 15,000 times and charted on Billboard’s “Spotify Viral 50”. You can find “The New Age” on their similarly titled EP independently released September 23rd on their website. Stay tuned for upcoming tour announcements.  If their live performance is as energetic as their studio sound, a Northern National show will be a do not miss.

Michael Rossi (lead vocals/electric guitar), Michael Kanne (percussion/keys), Andrew Supulski (lead electric guitar), Dylan Green (bass), and Anthony Comas (drums).

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Sacred Paws – “Everyday” (Glasgow, Scotland & London, England)

RIYL: Vampire Weekend, Sleater Kinney


The weather may be turning colder, but Sacred Paws‘ new single “Everyday” is pure pop perfection worthy of a drive with the windows down and the volume up. Released just in time to still catch some of that summer sun, you’re going to want to take advantage and crank this tune. Infectious rhythms brought by playful guitar and sweet vocals are punctuated by a well-timed beat. This feel good tune is a strong follow up to their critically acclaimed debut EP titled Six Songs. Listen closely to the lyrics and you’ll find that this afrobeat flavored pop song is talking about the break of a relationship.

Guarded almost as well as State secrets, you’ll soon find band members are often only listed as “R.A.” and “E.R.”. But if you spend some time digging you’ll discover that R.A. is Rachel Aggs (vocals/guitar) and E.R. is Eilidh Rodgers (vocals, drums), both formerly of lo-fi band Golden Grrrls. And if being intensely involved in other projects (Aggs is also currently in Shopping and Trash Kit) weren’t enough of a challenge, this power duo create this amazing music divided by Glasgow (Rodgers) and London (Aggs). You’d never know it by how perfectly they support each other on “Everyday”.

Last week we brought you a new song by Veronica Falls’ frontwoman Roxanne Clifford, and in a cool twist, Clifford is tapped to soon put out a new Sacred Paws video. “Everyday” was released as a single by download or 7″ on Rock Action Records. Expect another stellar afrobeat pop song on October 21st when Sacred Paws release their next single, “Rest”.

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STRFKR – “Open Your Eyes” (Portland, USA)

RIYL: Psychic Twin, Cults, Passion Pit


With 4 studio albums and a handful of EP’s and singles under their belt, STRFKR is no stranger to putting out new music. This 3 member synth-pop band from Portland, Oregon have put out another single, “Open Your Eyes”, the fifth track off of their upcoming LP, Being No One, Going Nowhere set to release November 4th.
Founding member Josh Hodges has described the goal of the music as “dance music that you can actually listen to, that’s good pop songs, but also you can dance to it.”. STRFKR has reached and exceeded that goal in “Open Your Eyes.” A supremely catchy tune with a driving beat it wouldn’t be surprising to see a festival crowd going crazy bouncing along to the groove. While the music remains light and airy, the lyrics hold true to classic STRFKR form, rife with existentialism and depth. You can ride the wave of vocal range going from upper register to lower only to be drawn in full force by the repetitive lyrics in the chorus “take my body, take my body, let it take my body, take my body, let it take my body, take my body, let it take my body, take my body, take my body, let it take me, back to the river.”
If the 19,500 plays on Soundcloud in 7 days is any indication, STRFKR fans are not only playing this track on repeat but are also understandably chomping at the bit to get to the rest of the album when it’s released on Polyvinyl Records.
Members include Joshua Hodges (vocals/keyboards/guitar/drums), Shawn Glassford (bass/keyboards/drums), and Keil Corcoran (drums/keyboards/vocals).

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