The Matinee December 6th features a bevy of new artists making waves within indie music circles plus some recognizable stars seeking to firmly take their place among the elite. To kick things off, however, we begin with the premiere of the debut single of a brand new artist.
Girl As Wave – “Polaroid” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Kristin Kontrol, Psychic Twin, Purity Ring
Who is Girl As Wave? It is a question to which we do not have the answer, but we will continue to investigate. All we know is that Girl As Wave started off as a folk artist and has performed throughout New York City. Only recently did she move from the acoustic guitar to synths and keys, collaborating with Los Angeles-based producer Jimmy Deer to develop her sound. The product of those sessions is her debut single, “Polaroid”, which we are proud to premiere here.
The song is reminiscent of Kristin Kontrol’s dazzling aesthetics, where the synths swirl to create a hypnotic effect. Girl As Wave’s vocals, meanwhile, have a sultry, sexy quality. They are whisper-like, making it feel she is right next to you. At the same time, there is a distance in her voice, as if she is trying to hide something. Maybe it is a secret that she does not wish to reveal to the camera. She could just bashful. Whatever it is, the song is a mystery, much like its artist. We’ll eventually learn her identity, especially if she continues to mystify us with her music.
The Great Dictators – “Dream No Evil” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Richard Swift, Nick Cave, Unloved
December is the month when the year’s best and most critically-acclaimed movies are released. It is the time where moviegoers get to momentarily escape and be taken to different eras and even distant places. Music, when orchestrated to perfection, can also achieve this. Take for example “Dream No Evil”, a single from The Great Dictators‘ new album.
The song is like a finely crafted piece of art that leaves you anticipating every second. It is one part a Robert Siodmak-esque film-noir with its dark and suspenseful rhythms. It is another part a Wes Anderson drama, where the next scene is unexpected but stunning. In this case, we take a journey into the dreams and the mind of someone close. It is their madness, confusion, and fear that we experience. We never, however, waver because a beauty and a serenity await us on the other side. And the transitions created by The Great Dictators within “Dream No Evil” brilliantly capture the storm and the calm. Give this band an Oscar.
The Great Dictators’ new album, Women, is available via Royal Toad Records. The Great Dictators are Dragut Lugalzagosi, Jakob Lundorff, and Christoffer Hein.
Jenn Grant – “Galaxies” (Lake Echo, NS, Canada)
RIYL: Hannah Georgas, Basia Bulat, Cat Power
Jenn Grant is one of Canada’s most beloved artists. For over a decade, she has captivated millions of fans across the country with her warm stories and embracing sound. For her fifth album, she is about to take us on a whole different trip if her newest single is any indication of what is to come.
“Galaxies” is arguably the most widescreen song Grant has crafted to date. Actually, widescreen isn’t accurate. The song is cosmic and absolutely breathtaking. Grant’s vocals achieve a degree of dreaminess not heard previously, and the arrangements supporting her are beautifully cinematic (don’t be surprised to hear this song on a TV show or movie). One thing, however, has not changed – the personal stories that Grant tells. In this case, it is the power of love, where no distance can break the bond between two people. Not even being divided by a galaxy.
The song is taken from Grant’s forthcoming, new album, Paradise. It arrives March 3rd, 2017 via Ba Da Bing Records.
My Expansive Awareness – “Do You Wanna Be Rich?” (Zaragoza, Spain)
RIYL: Wooden Shjips, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ty Segall Band
Maybe unfairly, but Spain is usually associated with the flamenco and wild electronic shows in Ibiza (the island has a genre of electronica named after it). If My Expansive Awareness have anything to say about this, their home country will be known for a lot more, like raging, fiery garage rock and psychedelia.
Take their latest single, “Do You Wanna Be Rich?”, as an example. This song doesn’t sound like something you would hear at Ultra Ibiza. Nope, it’s probably something you would hear at Primavera Sound or even Gizzfest that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard host each year in Brisbane. The blazing guitars, the trippy organs, the kaleidoscope melody all breathe of the brilliance of the great psychedelic bands of our time. If My Expansive Awareness continue to make such awesome music, it won’t be long before other bands will be emulating them while fans will be applauding their spacey neo-psychedelia. Here’s a band to watch in the coming year and beyond.
The song was released earlier this year as part of a split single via Analog Love Records. The band is comprised of José Briceño (guitar/vocals), Jota García (bass), Lucía Escudero (vocals/percussions), Juan Gracia (drums), and Diego Grau (synth/organ).
nilu – “What I’m Looking For” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Fiona Apple, Lera Lynn, Cloves
Over the course of two short years, singer-songwriter nilu has become an under-the-radar star. From performing during the Dali Lama’s 80th birthday celebrations to opening for The Airborne Toxic Event and The Pacific Symphony, she has won over fans within and outside the music industry, including Randy Jackson (yes that Randy Jackson). Just a few seconds of listening to her voice is all one needs to do in order to understand why the Persian-American’s star is intensifying – she has the voice that stops you dead in your tracks.
On her stunning new single, “What I’m Looking For”, nilu’s smokey and sultry vocals shine through, as they are reminiscent of Jessie Ware and two of 2016’s breakthrough stars, Lera Lynn and Cloves. It is a voice you expect to hear in an exclusive jazz club, where patrons pay $50 for a glass of their favorite whiskey and sit idly at their table gazing at the singer on stage. It is, however, the singer’s – in this case nilu’s – voice that is intoxicating, and not a single patron has taken a sip from their crystal tumbler. That is the effect of this future star, whose debut album, which was written with Randy Jackson, arrives early in 2017.
oddnesse – “Somewhere Somehow” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Frankie Rose, Teeth & Tongue
Another artist sharing her debut single is oddnesse. Unfortunately, not much is known about the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, who has chosen to allow her one song to speak for her. When the song sounds as dazzling as “Somewhere Somehow” does, it is difficult to question oddnesse’s strategy.
The song radiates of the bedroom intimacy of ’80s synth-pop. It is warm and vibrant, as the soothing synths and oddnesse’s stirring vocals envelope our every thought. Consequently, one becomes momentarily suspended in her place, taking in every breathtaking note and absorbing the LA-based artist’s story of perseverance and undying love. By the end of its two minutes and forty-four seconds, all he can do is smile and collect oneself before moving on. What an introduction to this semi-anonymous artist, who is planning to release three more songs in the coming months.
Rebel Kind – “Just For Fools” (Detroit / Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
RIYL: Jay Som, Alvvays, Japanese Breakfast
Liz Phair burst on the scene in the early ’90s with her blend of non-apologetic garage pop, alternative, and indie rock. Her arrival signaled a shift in music and opened the door for thousands of artists to freely express themselves and not succumb to the wishes of the male-dominated industry. So instead of pining over the guy who got away, she was going to tell the ex to fuck off while emphatically stating she will soldier on. While Phair’s influence diminished in the early 2000s (thanks to the monopolization of radio stations by the big labels), many artists and bands have once again taken up Phair’s mantra and started creating music that was theirs alone. One of those bands is Rebel Kind.
Originally started off as the bedroom project of Autumn Wetli (vocals/guitar) before expanding to include Shelley Salant (bass), and Amber Fellows (drums), Rebel Kind have already released three albums. Their fourth one arrives in ten days, and from it is the gorgeous title track, “Just For Fools”. Like Phair, the Michigan trio have created an enrapturing, lo-fi number. Whether in Wetli’s delicate, fuzzy guitar riffs, her soft vocals, or the smooth pacing of Salant and Fellows’ rhythms, it is easy to get completely lost in the song. The song may seem at first like one about heartbreak, but listen closely and Wetli shares with us a different message. It is Wetli proclaiming she will not be a victim of a broken heart and that she is the master of her destiny. Sounds just like a young Liz Phair.
Rebel Kind’s new album, Just For Fools, arrives December 16th via Urinal Cake Records.
Strange Hellos – “We Are Trouble” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Alvvays, American Wrestlers, Heavy Heart
The last time we checked, Norway should be just starting to experience the arrival of Old Man Winter. The expectation, therefore, is that the music would reflect the times – dark, cold, and even a bit dreary. Don’t tell this to super-group Strange Hellos, who seem to disregard anything associated with time.
In August, they introduced themselves to the world with their dazzling nostalgic single, “Summer”. Their second song, “We Are Trouble”, is similarly retro in its origins and summery in its vibe. The melodic soundscape, which is driven by the swirling synths and keys, is akin to the carefree indie-pop of the ’90s. Consequently, the track is bright, highly infectious, and like the oncoming sunshine expected during summer. Maybe this song is perfectly timed, giving something to look forward to.
The song is available now via Brilliance Records. Strange Hellos are Odd Martin Skålnes (O. Martin, Aurora), Birgitta Alida Hole (Lumikide), Fredrik Vogsborg (The Megaphonic Thrift, Casiokids), and Even Kjelby (Great News).
Tennis – “In The Morning I’ll Be Better” (Denver, USA)
RIYL: The Ronettes, Pure Bathing Culture, Springtime Carnivore
Some bands are unforgettable because of their style. Others are permanently embedded in our minds because of their sound. Denver-based married duo Tennis fall in the latter category, as they are a band like no other.
With their retro-inspired indie-pop, Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore have firmly established themselves as one of indie’s most recognizable artists. Their debut album, 2011’s Cape Dory, was a critical hit with its ’60s-era pop sound, and it was listed on many “Best Of” lists of the year. Two more well-received albums, a celebrated EP, and several singles would follow, and along the way their fan base has increased exponentially. Now their fourth album is quickly approaching, and Tennis recently shared its second single, “In The Morning I’ll Be Better”.
Akin to their debut album, Tennis have returned to the ’60s-era sound that launched their careers. From the body-swaying tempo to the bedroom intimacy to the lo-fi production, everything about “In The Morning I’ll Be Better” echoes the time of mini-skirts, bouffants, and beehives. It is a gorgeous track which would fit perfectly in any of The Ronettes’ albums. The song is that good – it sounds like a classic.
Tennis’ new album, Yours Conditionally, will be released March 10th, 2017 via Mutually Detrimental.
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