It might be the season to re-package gifts, but there is always new music to share as displayed on The Matinee December 8th edition. Not only will you hear new songs, but these gifts come from Greece, Sweden, England, Canada, and, of course, the USA. Be forewarned, all these songs come with side effects, so listen with extreme caution.
After London – “All The Same Now” (London, England)
RIYL: Siouxsie Sioux, Early U2, Heavy Heart
The London music scene is already bursting at the seams with its endless stream of talent. From big names to hidden gems, the English capital is the envy of all, and it could rightfully claim the title of the Music Capital of the World. Helping to make the case is the arrival of a new band that takes their name from its beloved city and encapsulates its rich history.
With their retro-style indie rock sound, After London represent the past and the future of UK indie rock. The quintet are not shy to admit that they have been influenced by ’90s alt-rock, but in listening to their new single “All The Same Now” the roots go much deeper. The clean, delayed guitar lines that open the song echo The Edge during U2’s Boy and War eras. Frontwoman Francesca Ward’s vocals, meanwhile, blur between Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux, which is hypnotizing. Yet there is a modernity to their music, specifically a driving, cinematic element as the riffs and accelerate and rhythms intensify. When you bring all these elements together, a momentarily lose of consciousness arrives, as we get absorbed in After London’s dizzying delirium. If they continue to make music this great, the quartet will one day headline the Royal Albert Hall.
After London are Francesca Ward (vocals), Byron Ward (bass), Will Ward (guitar), Jake Palmer (drums), and Alex Tiffany (violin).
RIYL: Bonobo and Rhye, Cigarettes After Sex
Every music fan at one point has dreamed about the perfect collaboration. We even took the time to share our thoughts about ideal pairings. But never in our wildest imaginations did we think Bonobo would join forces with Rhye. Yet two days ago when Simon Green shared his latest single from his forthcoming new album, the Canadian-American duo were listed as collaborators.
“Break Apart” is everything one would expect when Bonobo’s sensual soundscapes and Michael Milosh’s heavenly vocals are merged – pure bliss. This is a song that requires one to simply lay back and inhale every intoxicating note. There is not much more to say about this incredibly stunning number.
Bonobo’s new album, Migration, arrives January 13th, 2017 via Ninja Tune. What a way to start the new year.
Cayetana – “Trails” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, Sunflower Bean, Slothrust
The Philadelphia music scene doesn’t get enough credit, even admittedly in these parts. With a roster that has given us Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs, and the Crutchfield sisters, the City of Brotherly has given us some of the best and most influential indie-rock artists of the past decade. We’ll also have to add Cayetana to the list.
Like the aforementioned artists, people have gravitated to the trio for not just their sound but their personal and honest stories. Their latest single, “Trails”, exemplifies the band’s understated greatness. The music starts off subtly and even a touch jangly, which could be attributed to the influence of Australia, where they recently toured with Melbourne-based group CAMP COPE. As the song progresses, the guitars get a bit more crystalline, the bass a little harder, and the drums a touch grittier. Meanwhile, the storytelling is superb, as frontwoman Augusta Koch introspectively examines her place in the world and what lies ahead. So much has changed in such little time, and this track will make you also contemplate the times to come. Spectacular.
Cayetana are Kelly Olsen, Allegra Anka, and Augusta Koch.
Dose – “Bloom” (Newcastle, England)
RIYL: CHAIKA, Team Picture, DIIV
A great song can be like a drug, affecting our bodies and minds in unexpected ways. It can cause momentary paralysis, force our bodies to move uncontrollably, or take us to places that are beyond the realm of reality. Listening to such songs requires great care so as to not injure oneself or those around us. The new single by newcomers Dose is one of those songs that must come with a “warning when using” sign.
“Bloom” defines dreamgaze, as the song takes us into spaces that are beautifully hazy. If people consider DIIV’s music to be the journey to Neverland, this song by Dose takes us deep, deep down the rabbit hole. The guitar work is terrific, which would make My Bloody Valentine immensely proud. The vocals and rhythms are intentionally soft and fuzzy to further add to the song’s hallucinogenic qualities. And like any stimulant, its effects are felt long after its nearly four-minute duration. You’ve been warned.
Dose are Sean Turland, Ewan Barr, Matthew Collerton, and Sam Campbell.
Faith Healer – “Cry” (Godley & Creme cover) (Edmonton, Canada)
RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Dick Diver, Courtney Barnett
We’ve been waiting for new music from Jessica Jalbert – a.k.a. Faith Healer – who last year tantalized us with her debut album, Cosmic Troubles. We knew she was working on some new material, and late last week she unexpectedly dropped a new single. Well, it’s not an original song, but her cover of Godley & Creme’s “Cry” is pretty awesome.
Whereas many artists have slowed the song down to make it into a sultry affair (like Gayng’s incredible version), Jalbert adds her own flair, transforming it into a ’70s-esque, psychedelic and disco-pop experience. The tempo is quickened, the guitars are a bit more jangly, and the vibe radiates of disco balls and rainbows. The cover is incredibly infectious and flat out fun. Could this rendition be a sign of things to come on Faith Healer’s next album? Hopefully we’ll learn more in the coming months. In the meantime, the cover is out now via Mint Records.
Honeymilk – “The Nothing New” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Beach Boys meet The Strokes, The Smith Westerns
First it was Peter Bjorn and John who brought us summery, feel-good pop music from Sweden out of all places. Now, Honeymilk have seized the mantra and taken it to another level with their new single, “The Nothing New”.
The song is something you would expect to come from the warm breezes of the California shoreline or the seaside towns along Australia’s Gold Coast. The track is light, airy, and beachy, as the groovy melodies effortlessly linger in the air and the drum work is Dennis Wilson-esque. Then there are the jangly and shimmering guitar notes, which will cause some hip shaking. Even the storyline gives the sense of a lazy, summer day that has us wasting away in the afternoon’s heat. Who cares if it is winter right now in the northern hemisphere; there’s always room for a song that will brighten our days.
Linnea Olsson – “Weekend” (Sweden)
RIYL: Agnes Obel, Emilie and Ogden, Jenny Hval
Not many artists have been able to achieve fame in both classical and mainstream pop circles. Sarah Brightman is likely the first, but she is primarily a vocalist. Agnes Obel may be the most acclaimed artist currently operating in both spheres while Jennie Abrahamson, Julia Holter, and Emilie Kahn (of Emilie and Ogden) have also tasted success. Linnea Olsson, too, is an artist on the rise.
Already recognized in her native country of Sweden for her impeccable work as a cellist and her fusion of classical music, Scandinavian folk, and pop, she has the talent to achieve mega international stardom. Case in point her new single, “Weekend”, which showcases her multitude of skills. The song is a rarity in today’s music – one that is simultaneously enchanting, haunting, and seductive. Olsson’s cello playing hypnotizes the mind before her delicate vocals enter and lure us to a place only envisioned in the grandest fairy tales. “Weekend” feels like a fantasy come to life, which is a description usually set aside for filmmakers. The song, as such, depicts Olsson’s vast and incredible talent.
Roadkill Ghost Choir – “Classics (Die Young)” (Athens, GA via Deland, FLA, USA)
RIYL: Strand of Oaks, Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs
In a short time, Roadkill Ghost Choir have evolved from an upcoming collective from Florida to making a claim as America’s next great rock band. Their classic American rock approach appeals to people of all ages. For us older folks, they recall the legends like Eagles and Bob Seger and for contemporary indie-rock fans the soaring sounds of Strand of Oaks and The War on Drugs. Similar to these greats, their music is timely, telling stories about ordinary people facing difficult times.
Their latest single, “Classics (Die Young)”, though, takes a slightly different approach. Through the anthemic rock sound highlighted by the peddle steel, saxophone, and keys, their focus is on the difficult year that was 2016. Instead of expressing anger, they celebrate the lives of the greats who passed away today. As the old saying goes, they may have left us, but their legacies live on. And on this song, Roadkill Ghost Choir offer us a reminder through one remarkable song, which is their homage to those who inspired all of us.
“Classics (Die Young)” is the first single from the band’s forthcoming EP, False Youth Etcetera Volume 1. It drops February 3rd, 2017. Roadkill Ghost Choir are Andrew Shepard (vocals/guitar), Zach Shepard (bass), Maxx Shepard (drums/vocals), Stephen Garza (guitar/vocals), and Kiffy Myers (pedal steel/banjo).
Σtella – “I’ll Never Be” (Athens, Greece)
RIYL: Bats for Lashes, Cate Le Bon, Lykki Li
Early in 2015, singer-songwriter Stella Chronopoulou released her debut album under the moniker Σtella. It was one of the year’s most surprising records, as its synth-pop, disco, and New Wave aesthetics recalled the rapturous and carefree music scene of the late ’70s and ’80s. The album, as such, was a celebration of youth and its innocence. Her new project, though, may head in a completely different direction if her latest single is any indication of what is to come.
“I’ll Never Be” is still steeped in the music of the ’70s and ’80s. The deep synths are retained, but a darker, more melancholic pop approach replaces the euphoria of her debut. The song is also highly introspective, as she speaks about the distance between herself and loved ones and how those relationships failed. It is a moving, contemplative song, and the opening lyrics hit squarely in one’s soul: “If you ever need peace, I’ll be near waving a white flag.” Just enrapturing.
“I’ll Never Be” is from Σtella’s forthcoming sophomore album, Works For You. It arrives February 12th, 2017 via Inner Ear Records.
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