The Matinee November 11th edition is dedicated to all the women and men who have served our countries in times of peace and conflict. On behalf of everyone at The Revue, we would like to extend our gratitude to all the veterans, women, and men and to their families for their sacrifices and service. We are deeply indebted to you in providing us with the freedoms and opportunities we currently exercise.
We also lost a legend yesterday in Leonard Cohen. He told us not long ago that he was ready to die, and we hope he passed away peacefully. While he is gone, his legacy will endure for decades if not longer. Hallelujah, to one of the world’s great poets and songwriters.
Today’s selection of music does not have a theme regarding war and peace nor pertaining to Cohen. It is just the usual list of new songs that have caught our ear. The diversity, however, reflects how far we have come as a planet thanks in many respects to those who committed their lives to protecting us and to the artists who influenced a new generation of musicians. Other than the first song (which you’ll understand why), the descriptions have been kept to a minimum so you can just enjoy the music.
COS & effekt – “The Wild One” (Los Angeles, USA) — single premiere
RIYL: The Kills, Handsome Furs, Dear Rouge
The Matinee is usually organized alphabetically, but we start things with a single premiere by a duo that is on the verge of making big noise. In the middle of summer, COS & effekt introduced themselves to the world with their awesome cover of Mumford & Sons’ “Awake My Soul”. Today, they share their debut, original single “The Wild One”, which we are pleased to premiere today.
Their remake of “Awake My Soul” showcased a groovy, electronic side, but “The Wild One” reveals a harder and more anthemic version. Like The Kills, COS & effekt have found the perfect balance between electronic and edgy indie rock. As this currently anonymous group (but not for long) explains about the song, “In life’s most critical moments, we must choose how we will begin our journey of the day. Music has an undeniable way of connecting the entire world through consciousness and pure emotion.”
This track is the perfect tonic to the events of the past three days, and it will undoubtedly stick in your head for days. Expect to hear the song more in the future, as it will be featured in an upcoming episode of Go90’s original series, Guidance. The television programme returns November 14th. COS & effekt’s debut EP, meanwhile, arrives some time in 2017. Maybe they will reveal their identities then.
ALYESKA – “Lose My Place” (Los Angeles via small town Montana, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Belle Mare, Tiny Dinosaurs
Akin to the visceral indie rock of Sharon Van Etten and Belle Mare, Los Angeles-based trio ALYESKA take us on a psychological and physiological ride of feeling separated from everyone else. A feeling of loneliness and confusion about the world around us and what the future holds. The jangly guitar arpeggios are mesmerizing while Reid’s vocals have a smokey, gritty infectiousness. Combine them with some terrific songwriting, and a brilliant, dynamic song is born. If the band was in Brooklyn, they likely would be immediate indie stars, which will eventually arrive if they continue to make such riveting music.
In addition to Reid, ALYESKA includes Ben Spear and Enzo Scardapane.
BF/C – “Upstate” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Future Islands, Work Drugs
Back in May, the new collaboration of BF/C, which is comprised of singer-songwriter Barish Firatli and producer/composer Californiaman!, shared their first single, “Temple”, which really was a spiritual experience. Six months later, they share their second single, and it’s a doozy. “Upstate” is a dazzling number, reminiscent of Future Islands’ and Work Drugs’ interpretation of ’80s and ’90s indie pop-rock. The song is catchy, groovy, and breathtaking, a formula that many have attempted but very few have succeeded. It may take the duo a year or more before their popularity skyrockets, but eventually people will gravitate to their music. It did take Future Islands years to become the stars they are today.
Blonde Maze – “Antarctica” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: TYCHO, Purity Ring, Esther Joy Lane
Since we started The Revue just over three years ago, there have been a handful of artists who have touched my soul. One of those is Amanda Steckler – better known as Blonde Maze. Eighteen months ago, the New York City resident impressed us with her debut EP Oceans. Her first song in that time only solidifies the love affair with this emerging star.
“Antarctica” is beautifully icy. The indietronica arrangements are slight, delicate, and scintillating. Steckler’s vocals are soft, engaging, and immersive. You’re left feeling like you are stepping in stride with her as she explores new depths into her and your own psyche. Could Steckler break through the glass ceiling in the crowded indietronica / electronic / electro-pop scene? She has the talent to do so and be mentioned alongside the likes of TYCHO and Purity Ring.
Corrina Jaye & PaSv – “What Do You Want?” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Florence + The Machine, Cat Power, Saltwater Sun
When Florence + The Machine arrived on the scene in 2008 with their symphonic pop, the music world exploded. There have been many artists and bands who have attempted to replicate their sound, but very few have succeeded for various reasons. Irish singer-songwriter Corrina Jaye, though, could break the streak. With her searing vocals and cinematic approach, Jaye’s latest single, “What Do You Want?”, on which she is supported by producer PaSv, has the same mind-altering quality as the more famous Welsh artist. Similar to FATM, this song could not have come at a better time, as people around the world are searching for answers and wondering if they will be heard again.
“What Do You Want?” is from Jaye’s second EP, Could You Be Mine?
Givers & Takers – “Take Your Time” (Santa Barbara, CA, USA)
RIYL: groovy My Morning Jacket, Floating Action, Fruit Bats
Another band that we were introduced to earlier this year was California quartet Givers & Takers, for whom we had the opportunity to premiere their video for “Let It Surface”. It was their submission for the NPR Tiny Desk, which they unfortunately did not win. The song, however, put them on the radar for their wide-ranging, indie-rock approach.
One of the bands that has influenced their work is My Morning Jacket, and their new single “Take Your Time” has the innovative essence of the great Louisville, Kentucky quintet. The song is part indie rock, part funk, part R&B – a shimmering melting pot of sound and texture. Listen closely to truly appreciate the genius behind this groovy, sultry, and even a touch edgy single.
Givers & Takers are Zack Greenwald, Alan Krespan, Drew Bruchs and Mark Pollack.
Hater – “Mental Haven” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Alvvays, Courtney Barnett, Sixpence None The Richer
We’ve been excited about Malmö-based quartet Hater for awhile now. Their guitar-pop is reminiscent of Canadian darlings Alvvays, yet there is an added, Scandinavian dreaminess to their music. An approach that calms every nerve in your body and leaves you in a state of enchantment, forgetting momentarily all the troubles in the world. Their new single, “Mental Haven”, incorporates all these elements. The jangly notes and smooth rhythms of Måns Leonartsson, Adam Agace, and Lukas Thomasson warmly envelope Caroline Landahl’s soothing vocals.
While it may be difficult, try to listen to what Landahl has to say because her message will make you realize that you are not alone in struggling with life, a disease, or an illness. That’s the greatness of music – it is always there with us when we need it most, and Hater have encapsulated that spirit beautifully on “Mental Haven”.
The song is from Hater’s forthcoming, debut album, You Tried. The LP is due March 10 via PNKSLM Recordings.
Her Harbour – “Hewing Crowns” (Ottawa, Canada)
RIYL: Julianna Barwick, Joanna Newsom, Aldous Harding
It was about three years ago during The Revue’s infancy when I was introduced to Her Harbour, the project of Gabrielle Giguere. She was part of a showcase of local artists being held at the iconic Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec. To be honest, I cannot remember who the other bands and artists were, but Giguere left a last impression. Yesterday, she shared her first song in several months with “Hewing Crowns”.
This gorgeous song is dark, haunting, and hypnotic, as the harrowing notes from the piano echo in the background and Giguere’s stirring vocals levitate above the noise. Enchantment would understate the power of this delicate but powerful song. We’ll just say it is simply brilliant and a wonderful reminder of Giguere’s potential – that being Canada’s answer to the great Julianna Barwick.
“Hewing Crowns” is the first track from Her Harbour’s second album, Go Gently Into the Night. The LP arrives February 3rd, 2017 via E-Tron Records.
Lilith Ai – “Rude Grrrl” (London, England)
RIYL: Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Alanis Morissette
The flood of songs inspired by (or condemning) the election of Donald J. Trump is upon us. There have been some pretty good ones and some that are interesting. The best one that I’ve heard is undoubtedly the new single by Lilith Ai, the singer-songwriter from London who impressed us over 18 months ago with her single “Hang Tough” and her artistic talents.
This song is not a critique of Trump nor about the results of the election (the song was written during the Presidential campaign). Instead, Lilith Ai has written a song about empowerment, sharing a message for young girls and women to be strong, independent, and stand up for their rights. She achieves this with a song that echoes the peace songs of the ’60s and ’70s. Music that is to be engaging, but through its delicate arrangements and thoughtful lyrics are where the courage can be found. Hopefully, Lilith will be writing more music in the future, although she’s a gifted comic book artist, too. Some of her art is on her Bandcamp page, which is where you can also pick up the song as of next Friday, November 18th.
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