As we all recover from the US Election aftermath, The Matinee November 9th is inspired by something completely different. Last week, Norwegian band Sløtface released “Empire Records”, a tribute to the 1995 movie that helped define a generation with its ensemble cast of characters. Today’s mini-playlist offers nine songs that together could comprise the soundtrack to those coming-of-age movies of the ’80s and ’90s. Each of the song, as such, has a retro feel. Sit back, grab your popcorn, and enjoy.
DIANA – “What You Get” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Beach House, Hope Sandoval, Many Voices Speak
Every coming-of-age movie focuses on the trials and tribulations of a younger generation trying to find their way with love often being at the center. One of Canada’s great bands DIANA set the tone with their gorgeous new single, “What You Get”. With Carmen Elle’s angelic vocals, we are reminded of the loneliness that follows after one’s heart has been broken and trying to move forward. The instrumentation provided by Elle, Joseph Shabason, and Kieran Adams is glorious dream-pop, breathtaking and contemplative all at once.
“What You Get” is from DIANA’s forthcoming sophomore album, Familiar Touch, which arrives November 18th.
Family Friends – “Look The Other Way” (Melbourne, Australia & London, England)
RIYL: CoyoteShrivers, Haley Bonar, Alvvays
Then there are two people who really like each other but never seem to get together. They try to be friends and suppress their feelings for one another, and we all know how it unfolds. Giving us the anthem for this charade is Family Friends, who share “Look The Other Way”.
This song was made to be on Empire Records or should there be sequel (Trainspotting is being remade so why not Empire Records?). It is lush, groovy, and catchy, resonating of the pop music that occupied much of the ’80s and into the early ’90s. The jangly guitar notes are shimmering while Rebecca Fitzsimons’ vocals have a smokey smoothness that you cannot get out of your head. Speaking of which, you’ll be singing this song for days.
Family Friends are comprised of siblings Tom and Rebecca Fitzsimons. Hear more of their retro-inspired, indie pop on SoundCloud.
Iris Gold – “Revolution Riders” (London, England & Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: “Rhythm Nation”-era Janet Jackson, M.I.A., Bonzai, NAO
One day, the chemistry in the school gets shaken with the arrival of the new student. Her style and attitude are different. She often has a rebellious attitude, not giving two s**** about what other people think. Yet, everyone wants to get to know her because she’s not like anyone else. The anthem for the newcomer is the new single by Iris Gold.
“Revolution Riders” is raw, gritty, highly infectious, and wonderfully inventive. It mixes the edgy late ’80s and early ’90s R&B music with a groovy, rock vibe. It is the R&B music that many of us came to love, and Iris Gold along with a select few are bringing back its soul – much like the outsider who changed the entire school’s dynamic.
Milkpunch – “Butterflies In My Head” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Nirvana, Mikal Cronin, Brand New
Some time during the movie, a party takes place and there’s a band rocking the place. While the camera focuses on the main characters, you’re left asking yourself, “Who is that awesome band?” Filling that role is not a quartet nor even a trio. Instead, Rafael Lima is the one-man band known as Milkpunch.
“Butterflies In My Head” is his latest single, which could be the song for all the people who were kicked, picked on, and beaten down. Yet at the end of the day, they are the ones who rise to the top. The song has the raw edginess of early Nirvana yet it explodes like Brand New’s version of alt-rock. To think one guy – one guy! – wrote and performed this. Awesome.
If you like the single, pick it up on Bandcamp.
The Megaphonic Thrift – “Pilene” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: The Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Poliça
The camera now pans back to one of the main couples, who have been separated by a disagreement or something traumatic. There is a feeling of lost and uncertainty, as the two individuals try to reclaim their lives. The music in the background is purposely lush and ethereal in order to take you on this wave of emotions the characters are experiencing. To make you feel like you, too, are dazed and confused, which is what Norwegian band The Megaphonic Thrift deliver with their new single “Pilene”.
This song, which translates to “pill”, is spectacular. The crystalline guitars, the lush melody, and the ethereal vocals combine to create a memorable number. Listening to “Pilene” is indeed like an out-of-body experience. No wonder The Megaphonic Thrift won a Spellemann Award, which is the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammys, for best indie album.
This single is from their forthcoming, new album, Få meg til verden i tide. It arrives this Friday, November 11th via Old Flame Records.
Swampmeat – “Sister Mary” (Birmingham, England)
RIYL: John Lennon, Jeff Tweedy, Jackson Browne
Of course there is a moment when the parents get involved, offering some “adult” advice to their lost children. Playing on the record player is usually a classic number, likely The Beatles, Billie Holiday, Queen, Bob Dylan, or Simon & Garfunkel. Playing that role is English band Swampmeat. Their latest single, “Sister Mary”, echoes of the early The Beatles and John Lennon. It is a simple, folk-rock tune, but a powerful, lyrical number akin to the music made by the aforementioned songwriters. “Sister Mary” just might be the first political song of this new era, and it is a doozy.
“Sister Mary” is the lead single from Swampmeat’s new album, Gin & Tonic. It will be released on November 25th via PNKSLM Recordings.
TEN FÉ – “Overflow” (London, England)
RIYL: Soft Cell, Fairchild
As the plot comes to an end, everything once again is o.k. A moment of relief and euphoria is felt, and like the characters on the screen you want to turn to your neighbor and give her/him a big hug.
Providing the music for this moment is one of our favorite hidden gems from the past two years are TEN FÉ. With their debut album finally on its way, they share the sensational single, “Overflow”. The song is romantic, hopeful, and spellbinding with the perfect amount of synth, a melody that is uplifting, and vocals that will melt your heart. Sounds like a song straight out of the ’80s, doesn’t it? And in a time when many people are disappointed about what happened a few hours ago, this song is the perfect tonic to our disappointment, offering us hope for a brand new day.
TEN FÉ’s debut album, Hit The Light, will be released on February 3rd, 2017. We cannot wait!
WHITE – “Private Lives” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Franz Ferdinand, INXS, David Bowie
To celebrate the momentous event, another party breaks out (who can forget the dance party inside Empire Records?). Of cousre, there’s a band that just happens to be in the neighborhood who performs a song that leaves everyone dancing, rocking, or just becoming delirious. Scottish quintet WHITE would be the perfect outfit for this occasion.
After amazing us with their last single, “I Liked You Better When You Needed Me”, their latest one is just as great. “Private Lives” channels some of the great artists to walk on this planet – David Bowie, Michael Hutchence of INXS, and The Talking Heads (although it has a distinct Franz Ferdinand vibe, too). The song is quirky, whimsical, but outrageously awesome. It is part funk, part art-rock, part new wave, part rock. It’s the perfect hodgepodge of music since… well, the music of the ’80s.
“Private Lives” is from WHITE”s debut EP, Cuts That Don’t Bleed, which was released on November 4th. This band is comprised of Leo Condie (vocals), Hamish Fingland (guitar), Chris Potter (guitar), Lewis Andrew (bass), and Kirstin Lynn (drums).
Young Romance – “Cracks” (London, England)
RIYL: Berlin, Roxette, Carly Simon
Closing the soundtrack is one of our favorite discoveries of the past two years. The duo of Claire Heywood (lead vocals/drums) and Paolo Ruiu (guitars) – a.k.a. Young Romance – won us over with their blistering interpretation of ’80s indie-rock. For their new single, “Cracks”, they slow things down considerably and offer a fantastic ballad.
Like Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love”, “Cracks” is a moving, beautiful number. However, this isn’t a love story by any means. Instead, Young Romance gives us a song about “the other person”. So while most of the ’80s and ’90s movies had happy endings, there was always one person who was hurt in the end. The one person who still was trying to escape his predicament, discover his path, and, thus, find hope. This song is simply sensational.
“Cracks” is from Young Romance’s forthcoming, debut album, Another’s Blood, which arrives November 25th via Banquet Records.
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