The Matinee October 20th features a lucky seven pack of new music. Many of the songs sound fresh and exciting, offering new takes on genres that may have gotten a little long in the tooth. Of the seven songs, three come from the city of Melbourne. This is also the first time we have not shared anything from the USA.
AUSTRA – “Utopia” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Kate Bush, Psychic Twin, Frankie Rose
One of Canada’s great electro-pop acts is back. Known for their infectious and dance-oriented electronica and energizing shows, Austra take a slightly different spin on their first single for their third album, Future Politics.
“Utopia” is fabulously retro. The combination of the dark disco-pop of the ’70s and the new wave synths of the early ’80s is brilliant, as the song simultaneously haunts your mind while makes you want to swirl around wherever you may be. “Utopia” is also arguably Austra’s most stunning piece of songwriting, as frontwoman Katie Stelmanis tackles the world that we live in and what it could be. A world where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, survive, and thrive. It is an ideal that we could all get on board.
The video for the song is quite striking, and it can be viewed here.
Austra’s third album, Future Politics, will be released January 20th via Pink Fizz Records and Domino Recording Co. Austra are Katie Stelmanis, Maya Postepski, and Dorian Wolf.
Communions – “Got To Be Free” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Oasis, The Verve, The Music
Five weeks ago, we shared Danish quartet Communions‘ first single with Fat Possum, “Eternity”, which bellowed of ’90s college radio. Their latest single stays in the ’90s, but they stay closer to home for inspiration.
“Got To Be Free” is a reminiscent of Brit pop-rock at its peak. Oasis, The Verve, and early Radiohead took the genre to new heights not foreseen since – anthemic music that simultaneously shimmered and rocked. Songs that were made for arenas or just blasting with the headphones on. Like early Oasis and The Verve, there is a touch of psychedelia to give “Got To Be Free” a hazy, dreamy effect, which, when you think about it, perfectly symbolizes moments of absolute liberation.
“Got To Be Free” is the lead single from Communions’ debut album, Blue. It arrives February 3rd, 2017 via Fat Possum. Communions are Martin Rehof, Mads Rehof, Jacob van Deurs Formann, and Frederik Lind Köppen.
Cross Wires – “Slow Waves” (London, England)
RIYL: early The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Wire
London indie-rock quartet Cross Wires are veterans of the London music scene, but they have yet to release a full-length album. That is going to change early in 2017 when their debut is expected to drop. To date, they have shared two songs, “Pink Dogs” and “I Want Radio”, which had a clear indie-rock vibe a la The Editors. Their third single, “Slow Waves”, however, goes in a different direction – to the late ’60s and ’70s for inspiration.
“Slow Waves” borders between classic rock and punk rock – a whiplash-inducing song that will have you bopping around. The song recalls the glory days of the era when bands would play in grubby, little basement watering holes until the wee hours of the morning, and no one wanted to leave because they were too busy having their minds blown away. That’s Cross Wires in a nutshell – an old-school band who just friggin’ rock.
Cross Wires are Jonathan Chapman (vocals), Peter Muller (guitar/vocals), Pete Letch (bass/vocals), and Ian Clarke (drums). The foursome will be releasing their debut album later this year or early next year.
Manor – “Repent” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Warpaint, Blondie, Wolf Alice
Melbourne’s music scene is booming so quickly that bands like Manor are getting lost in the shuffle. The duo have been around since 2011, and they have sporadically shared singles across this period. During this time, they’ve established a small cult following in various parts of the world, yet indie stardom has escaped them even within Australia. When listening to their single “Repent”, it is difficult to understand why this is the case because this tune is fantastic.
The song is like Blondie mixed with Warpaint – a lush but feverish rocker that will stick with you for days. Frontwoman Caitlin Duff’s vocals are dreamy yet filled with a quiet and understated ferocity and attitude. Nathaniel Morse provides the grizzled guitar riffs, which border on psychedelic. Why again do so few people know about Manor? If they continue to make music like this, it will be only a matter of time before they become a household name and people start referring to them as Australia’s answer to Wolf Alice.
Sister Socrates – “Knife’s Edge” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Radiohead, Portishead, Archive
We’ve all heard the phrase, “making a statement”, or “this is a statement game.” In some cases it applies, but most times it does not. In the case of Sister Socrates, however, this phrase more than appropriate. Actually, it requires an edit – Sister Socrates have made a resounding statement with their debut single.
“Knife’s Edge” radiates with the innovation of electronica’s and electro-rock’s leading artists. The lushness of Portishead, the haunting soundscapes of Archive, and Radiohead’s visionary approach to cinematic yet introspective music have been infused into this one track. “Knife’s Edge” has cut through our thick walls and is one of the rare songs that has made us collectively say, “Wow!” Needlessly to say, we cannot wait to hear what Adam Dean (vocals, guitars, synths), Matthew Kenneally (guitars), Justin Olsson (drums), and Lachlan O’Kane (bass) have in store.
Secret Socrates’s debut album will be released in early 2017. The official date is still to be determined.
Sykoya – “Your Silence” (London, England)
RIYL: Archive, Massive Attack, Meadowlark
One of the bands who has haunted our minds since we first heard them nearly two years ago returns. London-based electronic trio Sykoya first wowed us with their lush, Portishead-esque soundscapes. While they could have continued down that path, they have opted to evolve and head in a direction that is darker and more haunting.
Their new single, “Your Silence”, is a psychological thriller. Front woman Anna Marcella’s vocals are rich yet dour, like the voice behind the door that entices you to enter. The production and bass work by Curtis ElVidge and Joe Cross are equally harrowing, creating a soundscape that simultaneously mesmerizes and leaves chills down your spine. For four minutes, you are captivated and enchanted by this dark, mysterious world Sykoya have crafted. It feels like a dream, but the world the trio have created is a reality deep inside in our mind. Brilliant.
Young Hysteria – “Never Gonna Learn” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Sade, RHYE, Grapell, Jim James
For me, a great song does one of three things – a) makes me exclaim “F*** yeah!”; b) has me repeatedly saying “Wow!”; or c) induces me to close my eyes and experience everything happening in the song. It is the latter point which Melbourne-based duo Young Hysteria have achieved with their new single, “Never Gonna Learn”.
The clean, delicate guitar lines and percussion recall the Laurel Canyon era, yet there is a soulful vibe that echoes throughout the song. Frontman Jimmy Hawk’s vocals, meanwhile, are enrapturing, possessing the same immersive and soothing power of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Grapell’s Emil Erstrand. “Never Gonna Learn” is that rare song that relaxes you, causes you to lose your breath momentarily, and transports you to another place. Beautiful and brilliant.
Young Hysteria are Jimmy Hawk (vocals/guitars/keys) and Thomas Van Der Vliet (drum machine/keys), and their debut album will arrive late in 2016 via First Love Records.
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