The Matinee December 5th edition gets your Monday going with a double dose of funk and soul followed by some indie electronica, indie rock, and dream pop. It’s a perfectly balanced blend of American and European artists to take you through your day. Hopefully you’ll find a new favorite artist amongst these singles.
Since I’m filling in for Wendy today, let’s start with a band from her ‘hood, the Live Music Capitol of the World.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – “PTP” (Austin, TX USA)
RIYL: James Brown, Lee Fields, Gary Clark Jr., Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal
One album we’re looking forward to next year is the latest from bluesy funk/soul man Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. When you listen to “PTP” you’ll understand why! This single will knock your socks off with its smokin’ hot sound. (What do you expect from this Texas band? Everything is bigger and hotter there!) You almost expect the instruments to burst into flames from all the heat they generate.
Be prepared to move and sweat with this song thanks to its Stevie Ray Vaughan-meets-Nile Rodgers grooves. Lewis is in top form here, with help from a fierce horn section. It’s appropriate that his fifth studio LP, Backlash, comes out next year since 2017 marks the band’s 10-year anniversary. Always a festival favorite, hopefully Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears will appear on lineups that are coming out this week. His other tour dates through April are already posted on his website.
The Proof. – “Happy Street” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Amos Lee, Dumpstafunk, Galactic, JJ Grey & Mofro
We’ve been singing the praises of LA funk/soul band The Proof. for over a year now. Since delivering their debut EP, Bang Bang, in January, these guys have been garnering new fans by the thousands. (Within six months they had more than 100,000 Soundcloud spins!) Since that time they have been hard at work on new tunes, and “Happy Street” is the fruit of those labors. Another groove-filled number that’s heavy on funk and equally overflowing with soul, this song again reminds us why we first fell hard for this band.
Their charisma is off the charts, eclipsed only by their talent. With sultry vocals and strut-inducing riffs (those kick in around the :55 mark), this is your new anthem to crank as a pick-me-up. With each listen you’ll feel a little bit taller and a lot more badass.
As a thank-you to fans, the band is offering the “Happy Street” single as a free download at their website. While you’re at their site, grab their Bang Bang EP. You can thank us later.
The Proof. features Drew Dolan (vocals/keys), Geramie Laufersky (guitar, vocals), Ian Murry (bass), and Lucas Crouch (drums).
Husky Rescue – “My Shelter” (Helsinki, Finland )
RIYL: Lykke Li, Austra, Röyksopp, Phantogram
The first 48 seconds of the new “My Shelter” single from Finnish electronic band Husky Rescue make for an eerie start. It’s haunting and full of intrigue, conjuring imagery of a deserted cobblestone street shrouded in fog. The scene you envision is tense, and this music matches the mystery. But once the ethereal vocals usher in the chorus, the intrigue gives way to a gentler atmosphere. These peaks and valleys of dynamic range are not unusual for Husky Rescue. Like many Scandinavian bands, they expertly balance the icy synths with warm vocals for a stunning result. With this song you feel like it is revealing only a portion of the story, but that’s a selling point. They pull you into their sonic adventure and you willingly follow.
Just don’t go looking for this song on a full album of new material from them. Instead, it’s featured (along with five other Husky Rescue songs) on the Catskills Records special compilation, 20 Years of Victory. You can find the band’s previous releases on the El Camino Records website.
Husky Rescue are: Marko Nyberg, Johanna Kalén, and Antony Bentley.
Lunacre – “Schtum” (Cambridge, England)
RIYL: Radiohead, Travis crossed with Tycho, Moby
Imagine if you combine Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” with the hit TV program Black Mirror. The result would sound something like “Schtum” from emerging British indie band Lunacre. This song exposes the addictive nature of social media and how its users have become validation-seeking zombie slaves. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying “likes” on your Facebook or Instagram accounts, “Schtum” sets its warning message to a gentle, comforting melody that subtly echoes “Paranoid Android”. Even the opening lyrics (“Midway up the wall we’re climbing”) and the video allude to Radiohead, making Lunacre a new favorite for Thom York devotees.
The whispered vocals on this track have a haunting quality which pair nicely with the electronic undercurrent. Don’t let this album escape your attention. There is still time in 2016 to add these guys to your EP of the Year list.
Seafret – “Blank You Out” (Bridlington, England)
RIYL: Coldplay, Kodaline, Keane
It’s easy to ID certain bands as “indie pop” despite a myriad of nuances within the genre. Some indie pop veers towards the folksy (Mumford and Sons) or bluesy (Hozier) while remaining under the pop header. That’s the general starting point in labeling emerging British indie duo Seafret. But dive beneath that surface descriptor and you’ll find a treasure trove of serious hooks and smart lyrics. This is still indie pop that makes you feel good, but it’s not saccharin. It’s honest and very relatable. These guys may be young; however, it’s clear they’re no strangers to the slings and arrows of romantic misfortune. If this single is any indication, Seafret are definitely a group to watch in 2017 and beyond.
Their sound is refreshing, so hopefully they’ll announce album details soon. Until then, this single is out now on iTunes. Their debut LP, Tell Me It’s Real, is available from Amazon, iTunes, and Seafret’s website.
Seafret are: Jack Sedman (vocals) and Harry Draper (guitar).
Shady Elders – “Trust” (Denver, USA)
RIYL: Beach House, Wild Nothing, The XX
How about a nice dose of shimmering indie dream pop to complete today’s mini playlist? Ever since we heard the newest single, “Trust”, from Denver-based Shady Elders, we haven’t been able to get enough. Mix the electronic dreaminess of The XX with the languid vibe of Mazzy Star, and you’ll be near the vicinity of Shady Elders’s sound. Oh, that lush, vibrant sound. If this song were a body of water, you’d want to dive deep into it to immerse yourself in Fox Rodemich’s gorgeous vocals. Seriously, “Trust” is one of those unexpected gems that shows no signs of losing its luster even after several dozen listens. We don’t have details about a 2017 LP release, but you can bet we’ll keep you posted.
You can stream “Trust” from their Soundcloud page while their previous EPs are available at their Bandcamp page. Fans in Denver can catch Shady Elders (along with Diane Coffee) in concert this Thursday at the Marquis Theatre.
Shady Elders inclue Fox Rodemich (vocals/guitar), Miles Eichner (guitar/synth), Dan Vollmar (bass), and Nick Berlin (drums/synths).
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