The Matinee December 1st features 10 songs by artists in seven countries. It’s a more energetic mini-playlist to help you power through the work day and the holiday crowds. For those in the northern hemisphere, the songs will add some heat to the cold, wintry nights. For those in the southern hemisphere, the playlist will add some sizzle to the first day of summer.
The Districts – “One To Another” (Philadelphia via Lititz, PA, USA)
RIYL: Wolf Parade, Spencer Krug, Destroyer
Besides being a great rock band, The Districts have become one of our favorite bands because they are just four cool guys with huge hearts. On Tuesday, they released two surprise songs in order to raise money for the Standing Rock Medic and Health Council. One of the singles is, “One To Another”, which is unlike anything they have written to date.
The track is heavier in its mood, and a proggy undercurrent cuts through it. Frontman Robb Groteman’s voice feels distant, deeper, and more haunting, taking on a depth that combines Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug and a mid-career David Bowie. The song, itself, is typical of The Districts – thoughtful, moving, and honest. It is a song about defiance, but it is also about unity and strength. The track is just superb, and it should be one that stays relevant for a very long time.
Purchase this single and “Alice” on The Districts’ Bandcamp page. As mentioned, all proceeds will go to the Standing Rock Medic and Health Council. The band is comprised of Robb Groteman (lead vocals/guitar), Conor Jacobus (bass), Braden Lawrence (drums), and Pat Cassidy (guitar).
Estrons – “Call You Mine” (Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: Garbage, Wolf Alice, False Advertising
In the three years-plus since The Revue was established, one of our favorite discoveries is Estrons, the indie-rock quartet out of Cardiff. It started over a year ago when they released, “Make A Man”. Our love affair with them continued with “Drop” and “I’m Not Your Girl”. It reaches a whole new level with their new single, “Call You Mine”.
The song is just one awesome, edgy, full-bore rocker, echoing the alt-rock that occupied college and mainstream radio stations in the mid-90s. Their frenetic and dynamic music perfectly complements a common theme that cuts across each of their tracks – a no-nonsense attitude and one that celebrates women’s individuality and independence. As such, with each song they share, frontwoman Taliesyn Källström’s and her bandmates’ reputations are reaching new levels. Forget comparing them to Avril Lavigne or Paramore, they are the second coming of Shirley Manson and Garbage.
Estrons are Taliesyn Källström, Hugh Parry, James Keeley, and Rhodri Daniel. They will touring across the UK tour in February 2017. Find dates here.
RIYL: XYLO, Lostboycrow, Missio
Australia’s electronic scene is flourishing. Nick Murphy – a.k.a. Chet Faker – and Flume are already international superstars. Artists like LANKS, Godwolf, Golden Vessels, and many others are among the next wave. Included in this group is Ford Miskin, who goes by the moniker FØRD.
Already making waves along the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, the young producer’s sound reflects his surroundings – sunny, tropical, and vibrant. This is all reflected on his new single, “Oblivion”, which features Melbourne singer-songwriter Rya Park. Whereas many young producers would overuse samples and be too heavy handed on the production work, FØRD takes a backseat and uses his smooth and groovy production work to be the palette and mood setter. It is Park though, that is given centre stage, and she delivers in spades. Her voice brilliantly moves from whispery to sultry to dynamic, and she offers a captivating story about the end of the world. Together, FØRD and Park deliver a club anthem that will be heard throughout the summer Down Under.
The song is out now via CloudKid Records. Hear more of FØRD’s offerings on SoundCloud, which includes rising Aussie star Woodes on one track. Park is just getting her career started, but her cover of James Bay’s “Scars” reveals an artist and a voice to remember for 2017. She could be next year’s Cloves, another Aussi who became an immediate favourite of ours in 2015 and made big waves abroad this year.
Furniteur – “Redundant Buzz” (Washington, D.C., USA)
RIYL: Porcelain Raft, Psychic Twin, Devojka
The first time we came across Furniteur was way back in February. At that time, she remixed the theme song to Twin Peaks, which was simply magical. Fast forward almost ten months, and she has shared a song that can be described as breathtaking.
“Redundant Buzz”, which is Furniteur’s first original single in over two years, is a reminder that synth-pop can be simple and yet dreamy and euphoric. The waves of synth that wash over the song are sublime, making the listener feel she is floating effortlessly in the clouds. When her scintillating voice arrives, there is nothing to do but to succumb to her enchantment and allow Furniteur to get inside your head. The song is simply synth-pop perfection.
Expect to hear more from the Washington, D.C.-based artist, as her debut album, Perfect Lavender, is due some time in 2017 via Prince George Records.
Holy Now – “Wishlist” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Alvvays, American Wrestlers, The Pretenders
You know a band has left an impression when you begin to ask what has happened to them after several months of silence. True story, the other day, I was wondering if Swedish indie-pop quartet Holy Now had already called it quits or if they were just in the process of writing new songs. Lo and behold, three days ago they released their brand new single, “Wishlist”, and the wait was worth it.
While the weather is getting quite wintry in Sweden and the holidays only a few weeks away, the song echos the surf-pop of the late ’70s and early ’80s. “Wishlist” is warm, shimmering, and vibrant, highlighted by the fantastic and jangly guitar notes, the groovy rhythms, and frontwoman Julia Olander’s sensational vocals. While this tune may be more appropriate for warmer weather, the lyrics do have a bit of the holidays in them. As such, don’t hesitate to includes this in your Christmas / Hanukkah / Festivus / whatever-holiday-you-may-be-celebrating playlist.
This is the first single from the band’s upcoming EP, which will be released early in 2017 via Lazy Octopus Records. The news means we won’t have to wait long for new music from Holy Now, which just might be the best present yet.
Holy Now are Julia Olander, Ylva Holmdahl, Samuel von Bahr Jemth, and Hampus Eiderström Swahn.
Jesca Hoop – “The Lost Sky” (Manchester, England via Santa Rosa, California)
RIYL: Marissa Nadler, Radical Face, Bat for Lashes
To say we are enraptured with Jesca Hoop would be an understatement. From her fantastic album Undress to her involvement with Shearwater to her work with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam, she has captivated us with her imaginative storytelling, her vast musical styles, and her soaring vocals. She is like seeing snow fall on December 25th – a most welcome sight and presence that just makes everything seem better. As such, when news broke two weeks ago that she will be releasing her sixth album (seventh if her collaboration with Sam Beam is included), there was a minor celebration in these parts. Fans, like us, had more reason to rejoice when she shared the record’s lead single, “The Lost Sky”.
It is easy to say a song is brilliant, but in this case “The Lost Sky” truly is. The slight and delicate instrumentation give the song a mystical enchantment, echoing the alt-folk from Scandinavia. Hoop’s vocals, meanwhile, begin gracefully before intensifying with a quiet rage to reflect the anger of a heart that has been cheated upon. The song and its story are incredibly haunting yet mesmerizing, one that will long be etched in your mind. If the music doesn’t do it for you, then check out the dramatic and slightly eerie video.
Hoop’s new album, Memories Are Now, arrives February 10th, 2017 via Sub Pop.
Monico Blonde – “Bad Thoughts” (Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: Sundara Karma, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Peter Bjorn & John
Over a year ago, Sundara Karma took us by storm, and we predicted big things for them. Could newcomers Monico Blonde follow in the footsteps of their Reading cousins? It is too early to give a definitive answer, but their newest single, “Bad Thoughts”, indicates the answer will be a resounding “Yes!”
Like Sundara Karma, Monico Blonde have delivered a huge, memorable anthem. The bass line and drumming set the torrid pace before the wailing guitar and seismic keys come in. The harmonies are terrific, akin to Peter Bjorn & John. While the music rips along with one infectious guitar riff after another, the quartet also demonstrate skill as storytellers. This isn’t just another pop-rock song with no lyrical depth. It is quite the opposite – a song about unrequited love and the painful long that comes with it. Maybe, just maybe we have our next Sundara Karma.
Over the Trees – “Hello Oslo” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Plants & Animals, My Morning Jacket, Floating Action
Everyone knows the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” In music, the equivalent would be to never judge a song by its first minute because you just might miss something spectacular. Keep this in mind as you hear “Hello Oslo”, the latest single by Norwegian folk-rock group Over the Trees.
The song starts off gently and even romantically, as the music swirls with a lush, hypnotic groove and a summery, beach-like vibe. For two-and-a-half minutes, all you can do is smile. But then the surprise occurs, beginning with a short saxophone interlude. The song intensifies, and for the final two minutes it gradually turns into a monster. An absolute monster that finishes with a double climax. The finale is reminiscent of My Morning Jacket’s live shows, where they take even the most humble of songs and turn them into mind-bending, whiplash-inducing jams.
The single is out via KAjAK Recordings / Leisure Music.
Over the Trees are Eivind Frustøl (guitar/vocals), Mathias Christoffer Jensen (guitar), Tobias Flottorp Heltzer (bass), Arne Steinar Myrvang (drums), and Fredrik Rafael (vocals).
Should We Run – “Grownup Kid” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: mélange of Bon Iver, ABBA, Gayngs
Very few songs leave us speechless. Those who know us will tell you that such a feat is an extremely rare occasion. It is even more rare for a song to make us say, “Whoa!” The odds of these two events colliding is as frequent as San Diego having a white Christmas. There is a first for everything, and Should We Run have the distinction of making us gasp, ooh, and just be silent with their new single, “Grownup Kid”.
This song is unbelievably great. It is dreamy, breathtaking, endearing, and a marvel to listen. The song has the hypnotic effects of Bon Iver’s early works, the mystique of Scandinavian pop and folk, and the lustful qualities associated with Mazzy Star. The story, though, is one that will leave a tear in your eye. It is about grief and overcoming the loss of someone dear. For Should We Run, this is a farewell to a father who was lost to cancer. Saying goodbye to a grandmother who succumbed to the same illness. It is a the song of a childhood that was taken away far too soon. The arrival of this track could not have been any more appropriate, as this is the season to remember. And we will remember this song when the year is over.
Tim Darcy – “Tall Glass of Water” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Marlon Williams, young Bob Dylan, Steve Earle
When an artist embarks on a solo project, often times his “new” material sounds like the music of his original band. This is not the case with Tim Darcy, the frontman for the critically-acclaimed, Montreal-based band Ought.
Whereas his main outfit channeled the depths of art-punk, post-punk, and noise-rock, Darcy explores a completely different genre on his debut single, “Tall Glass of Water”. Channeling the likes of Bob Seger, Steve Earle, and even Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, Darcy takes us back to the ’60s and ’70s and the height of the roots-rock era and delivers a fantastic track. The instrumentation is stripped back and very un-Ought-like. Instead, Darcy showcases his songwriting chops, as the song is filled with clever lyrics and allegory, such as:
If at the end of the river, there is more river, would you dare to swim again?
Yes, surely I will stay, and I am not afraid. I went under once, I’ll go under once again.
From sonic genius with Ought to poetic, lyrical genius, Tom Darcy is setting out to conquer the musical world. We will get to know if he does on February 17th, 2017, when his debut, solo album, Saturday Night, arrives via Jagjaguwar. An accompany video is also available for the song, and it can be viewed on YouTube.
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