Well, today is one that we have dreaded for a long time, but The Matinee January 20th edition will pick up your spirits. We have a luck nine new songs on the mini-playlist. Some are heart-stoppers, others are mind-blowing rockers, and a couple will have you grooving. Happy weekend everyone (or try to have a happy weekend).
Ryan Adams – “Doomsday” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Ryan Adams (duh)
One of most anticipated albums of 2017 is only a month away from seeing the light of day. The early singles for Prisoner, the 16th studio album (19th if including Whiskeytown) from Ryan Adams, have been amazing. “Do You Still Love Me?” and “To Be Without You” were heartbreaking, soul-searching numbers that echoed a young, vulnerable Adams. The third single from the record, “Doomsday”, is similarly raw and emotional.
While the song’s title would accurately describe many of our feelings today, this song is about the immediate aftermath of losing someone. It is the longing for the blissful days and the wish to make every day matter before the inevitable happens. “Doomsday” is Adams at his finest both musically and lyrically. And we have said it before, Prisoner is shaping up to be the sequel to his outstanding 2004 album, Love Is Hell.
Arcade Fire – “I Give You Power” (feat. Mavis Staples) (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Arcade Fire (who else are we going to include?)
But a song that is unquestionably a political one is Arcade Fire‘s surprise release, “I Give You Power”. Released yesterday, the song features soul legend and civil rights activists Mavis Staples, who sounds young, energized, and full of fight. The Montreal-based band, meanwhile, has once again reinvented themselves, moving further away from the frenetic, symphonic rock of their debut Funeral to a low-key but edgy, funky electronic vibe that falls between Radiohead, Trent Reznor, and Dev Hynes.
The lyrics on the song, meanwhile, are simple but they pack a wallop.
I give you power over me.
I give you power, now got to be free.
I give you power.
Now I say, I can take it away.
“I Give You Power” is Arcade Fire’s first single in four years. It can be purchased on iTunes with all proceeds going to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). A new album is expected some time this year, as the band has confirmed it has finished recording songs for record #5.
COTE – “Cruel” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Stevie Nicks, Angel Olsen, Springtime Carnivore
When thinking about some of the great, young artists that have tickled our ears, one name is often mentioned and that is Taryn Faye Randall – better known as COTE. Her voice is sensational, one that makes us feel light and tingly inside. We get to experience these feelings once again on her new single, “Cruel”.
The song is absolutely breathtaking. It shines with the beautiful intimacy of ’70s soft rock, but it is Randall’s voice that leaves us dazzled and dazed. As stunning as the song is – the soaring finale is enrapturing – a pain lingers in her voice, giving a sense of vulnerability and innocence. That pain is more than that of a broken heart; it’s person who has been broken but not destroyed. Randall’s ability to share such difficult emotions is another reason why we have become immense fans of her. She’s a star in the making.
Dead Pretties – “Social Experiment” (London, England)
RIYL: The Black Keys, The London Souls, Dan Auerbach
When The Black Keys quietly entered the indie music landscape back in 2001, they introduced (or more accurately re-introduced) blue-collar, garage-rock. Their sophomore album, Thickfreakness, remains a classic and among the best albums of the 21st Century. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything like that record since even with the explosion of garage-rock bands over the past 15 years. Dead Pretties could change all that.
Already an underground sensation within the UK music scene, the London-based trio are about to be heard across the little big planet of ours. Their new single, “Social Experiment”, is everything that we loved about garage-rock in the early 2000s. It is raw and visceral as well as engaging and blistering. You will want simultaneously sway in the smooth melodies while rocking out to the grimy guitar riffs and crushing rhythms. Hopefully, Dead Pretties will continue to follow this path, blowing our minds out in the process.
Dead Pretties are Jacob Slater (vocals/guitar), Oscar Browne (bass), and Ben Firth (drums). The song will officially be released on February 10th via Nice Swan Records.
The Gift – “Clinic Hope” (Alcobaça, Portugal)
RIYL: Postal Service, Peaches, Brian Eno
It is a testament to a band’s talent when the great Brian Eno voluntarily agrees to work with you – not just for one song but an album and a succession of songs. Portugal’s The Gift is one of those bands who have had the great fortune to work with one of music’s preeminent minds for the past three years. Their unique blend of indietronica and alt-pop has made them stars not just in their home country but across Europe. This spring, they’ll be crossing the Atlantic and making their debut appearance at SXSW, which should see their star rise in North America.
To celebrate the occasion, the band released a new song a couple of weeks ago. “Clinic Hope” demonstrates the band’s creative brilliance. It is a lively yet blissful number that will have your chest swelling while your mind suddenly becomes at ease. The song is the chaos of the world unscrambled and transformed into the “summer breeze”. This is the song that we desperately need today, as reality settles in on the uncertain future to come.
The Gift are Sónia Tavares, Nuno Gonçalves, John Gonçalves and Miguel Ribeiro.
Hater – “Had It All” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Alvvays, Hinds, Sixpence None The Richer
For about a year now, we’ve had a love affair with Malmö quartet Hater. Their jangle, guitar-pop consistently sends shivers down our spine and take us back to our youth. Although they have released several superb songs, their latest just might be their most spectacular.
“Had It All” is stunning. It is warm and soothing, enveloping you like a blanket on a cold, winter’s night. The song’s bedroom intimacy and delicate nature is reminiscent of Alvvays, and frontwoman Caroline Landahl’s vocals even have a Molly Rankin quality. The bassline on the song is terrific, reflecting the nervous energy of a person meeting an old friend or love for the first time in years. Lay back, close your eyes, and get lost in this song that will have you reminiscing of a time you wish you could re-live.
“Had It All” is the second single from Hater’s debut album, You Tried. It will be released March 10th via PNKSLM Recordings.
Hater are Måns Leonartsson, Adam Agace, Lukas Thomasson, and Caroline Landahl.
Leif Vollebekk – “Into The Ether” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Bob Dylan, David Gray, Bahamas
We’ve been following this talented Canadian for some time now. Leif Vollebekk forever cemented himself in our hearts with his song “Off The Main Drag” and now he’s created another masterpiece in his latest single “Into The Ether”.
His unique style of piano and vocal-driven indie folk will leave you breathless in its beauty. Vollebekk creatively uses his voice and takes it to unexpected places in this lush song that hits all the right notes. Using it not just for lyrics but as an additional instrument in the arrangement, he’s able to emit sounds that drip with pure emotion.
His lyrics are so introspective that when he sings “quit putting me on”, you’ll wonder if he’s speaking to someone else or looking in the mirror trying to be honest with himself.
This is a sparse arrangement with delicate layering that adds nothing except everything that belongs exactly where it’s at. Vollebekk has written a song with no added fat, just carefully chosen and well thought out notes in just the right amount.
“Into The Ether” is the second single off of Vollebekk’s upcoming album on Secret City Records titled, Twin Solitude. The LP arrives February 24th. The single can be purchased and the album can be pre-ordered here.
Plaza – “Origami” (Hartlepool, England)
RIYL: Maps & Atlases, 65daysofstatic, Minus The Bear
Sometimes it only takes one song to fan hard over a band. This is that song and this is that band. The up-and-coming post-indie band Plaza is sure to grab your attention with their latest single “Origami”. This UK quartet has been garnering a reputation for their energetic live shows and anthemic songwriting supporting great acts like Gengahr, High Tyde, and Rat Boy.
The single, released today, opens with a brilliant wall-of-sound guitar that instantly places your ears at attention. As the song plays out, the wall of sound is decreased and replaced with trippy time signatures punctuated with well placed percussion. Singer Bradley Lennard clearly knows how to use his voice, not just lyrically, but sonically as well. Clear vocals in the verse result in an almost cold detachment while his vocals in the punchier chorus push his emotion to the limit, all the while matching the layering of the instrumentation.
“Origami” is the first single from a forthcoming EP release due in April on Beyond The Wall. Plaza is Bradley, William, Matt, and Matt.
Ty Segall – “Break A Guitar” (Laguna Beach, CA, USA)
RIYL: Just listen to this rocker
You just never know what to expect from Ty Segall, who does not have a comparable. Last year, he surprised us with the bleak, creepy Emotional Mugger. What will his new album hold for us? If the first couple of songs are any indication, Segall is going straight out classic rock and funk. The latest single is “Break A Guitar”, and it is a rocker.
At first listen, the song could be the sequel to The Beatles’ classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. The single, however, is edgier and harder, as if Jimi Hendrix and Prince joined Sonic Youth on stage and turned the song into an intense, neck-spraining, mind-blowing number. Segall’s vocals are controlled yet have a Lennon-esque quality, the riffs are catchy and awesome, and the rhythm section is on fire. “Break A Guitar” has instant classic written all over it.
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