We go globetrotting on The Matinee January 24th edition. Nine songs by artists in seven countries are featured. There are some rockers, one tantalizing number, and a handful of songs that will leave you breathless. Take a listen and discover a few of these hidden gems, two of whom were among our favorites of 2016.
A Festival, A Parade – “People Person” (Newcastle upon Tyne, England)
RIYL: The National, Frightened Rabbit, Twilight Sad
It only took one song for us to proclaim our fandom for A Festival, A Parade, who were one of our Favorite Hidden Gems of 2016. Their first single of 2017 only cements our belief in the English quartet and should lead to many others getting on the bandwagon.
“People Person” is a remarkable achievement. It is not just a song, but an anthem of epic proportions. The multiple transitions are fantastic, moving from a soothing melody to an accelerated, heart-racing tempo to an eye-popping climax to a serene ending. The song’s peak is memorable, as the guitars, bass, and the fantastic drumming collide into a cataclysmic wall of sound. What stands out, however, is the message. The roller coaster approach is the perfect foundation for this song about a person living with mental illness, living in seclusion in a hospital while his illness slowly eats away at him. Only a handful of bands can take a serious issue and communicate it in such a moving fashion, and most of them, like The National and Frightened Rabbit, are among the industry’s bests. A Festival, A Parade will soon be joining them.
A Festival, A Parade is comprised of Joe Allan (vocals/guitar), Reece Spencer (lead guitar), Ollie Winn (bass) and Liam Tellum (drums).
Baula – “Just Like Yesterday” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Raveonettes, Hater, The Kills
As we enter a time of great uncertainty, music will increasingly become our escape from reality. It will also give us hope that the present won’t annihilate history’s progress and the future’s potential. One such song that has swept us away is Swedish-Icelandic duo Baula‘s second single, “Just Like Yesterday”.
This song is in rare category: one that has us saying “Wow” by the time its 3 minutes and 17 seconds has elapsed. “Just Like Yesterday” is breathtaking cinema, as Kallo’s lush vocals swirl within the dreamgaze haze created by her partner, Ísak. This is a song that is made for a long night out, driving down the deserted roads in search for an answer to your heart’s deepest desires. Just stunning, absolutely stunning.
Find Us In Slumberland – “Fisherman” (Utrecht, Netherlands)
RIYL: Deidre & The Dark, Amber Arcades, Belle Mare
The small country of the Netherlands is full of surprises. They are often celebrated for their progressive thinking on social, economic, and environmental issues; their rich art history; and, of course, tulips and speed skating. The country’s music scene, though, does not get nearly enough love. It’s indie scene is booming with the likes of Amber Arcades, Pip Blom, and Mozes and the Firstborn. Another new band to keep an eye on is Find Us In Slumberland.
Last week, the quartet from Utrecht released their eponymous, debut EP (which can be heard here). From the record is the striking and gripping single, “Fisherman”. Like so many of the songs on this mini-playlist, this track is like a drama coming to life. It starts off patiently and beautifully, as frontwoman Sophia Keck tells the story of a lonely “Fisherman”. The song then builds and builds to its harrowing finale, as the guitars transform into a wall of crushing shoegaze. And at this moment, we do not learn the fate of the “Fisherman”, but we can assume he has found his home in the place he lived most of his life. This song is amazing.
The video for the song is also quite captivating, and it can be viewed on YouTube.
The band is comprised of Sophia Keck (vocals/guitar), Robin de Geus (guitar/vocals), Hugo Zuiker (bass/vocals), and Samuël de Smit (drums).
Goodman – “Hourglass” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Cameron Avery, very early Oasis, John Lennon
The list of underrated singer-songwriters is lengthy. It would probably stretch for miles, and near the top of the list would be Michael Evan Goodman, or simply Goodman. The young native of New York City resembles a young Noel Gallagher, and his style isn’t far off from the Britpop that Oasis once perfected. However, Goodman has a bit of a crooner side to him thanks to a spectacular voice that will leave chills down your spine.
His latest single, “Hourglass”, reflects his multi-dimensional nature. His vocals soar over the dreamy and infectious ’60s-influenced, pop-rock melody, which is highlighted by a superb guitar line. As you get lost in this terrific song, you’ll be reminded of a time when a special person entered the picture and changed your life forever. It is that moment when the hourglass turned for you. Or maybe you are still waiting for that moment come, then this song is your anthem.
“Hourglass” is from Goodman’s forthcoming, third album, The Vicissitudes. It arrives February 3rd via Invertebrate Music.
Her Harbour – “Chime and Knell” (Ottawa, Canada)
RIYL: Julianna Barwick,Tiny Ruins, Aldous Harding
Gabrielle Giguere – a.k.a. Her Harbour – is one of Canada’s most unique and undiscovered talents. Her melancholic, ambient-driven freak-folk requires patience, but the most discerning listener will be rewarded. Her latest single, “Chime and Knell”, is one of those songs that requires your utmost attention.
Like all of her music, every note and layer on “Chime and Knell” share the same purpose, which is to envelope us within a soundscape that is gentle, lush, and captivating. Her voice is slight yet radiant, offering a calming effect akin to Enya. The song, as such, personifies what music is – something to be experienced, where we completely lose ourselves inside Giguere’s beautiful fantasy. More of what Giguere’s world is will be heard on February 3rd, when her sophomore album, Go Gently Into the Night, is released. E-Tron Records will distribute the LP.
Kraków Loves Adana – “Never Quite Right” (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Emma Ruth Rundle, PJ Harvey, Vita and the Woolf
For a decade, Deniz Cicek and Robert Heitmann have been music partners and in the process have released two records and a couple of EPs as Kraków Loves Adana. They define the term “hidden gem”, although this could change soon. Their previous single, “False Alarm”, was a quiet online hit, capturing our attention with its brooding approach. Their newest single is equally as eye-popping.
“Never Quite Right” is even starker and more brooding than “False Alarm”. Heitmann’s delicate guitar lines are engrossing, creating a dark, haunting soundscape. Cicek’s deep vocals, meanwhile, carve out a story of a person at her most vulnerable, as she seeks answers to life and death. Her voice is paralyzing, as her emotionless delivery only heightens the dreariness of the message. Calling this song beautiful would be an understatement; it is absolutely mesmerizing.
“Never Quite Right” is the second single taken from Call Yourself New, which will be released on March 24th via Better Call Rob.
LUCIA – “Saturday Is Dead” feat. ROXY AGOGO (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Black Honey, MGMT, Blondie
Another one of our Favorite Hidden Gems of 2016 recently unveiled a new single. Formerly known by her full name Lucia Fontaine, LUCIA has unleashed a titanic number in collaboration with fellow Glaswegian band ROXY AGOGO. “Saturday Is Dead” is not your typical party rocker. It’s not about getting slammed or scoring with someone. It’s not even about dancing the night away. This song is essentially one big f*ck you at everyone who has cheated on someone while offering an anthem to those who have had their hearts broken. And in typical LUCIA fashion, she has crafted a song that is upbeat, intense, and just a riot. This is a song to lose yourself in and to wash away your problems for three minutes.
LUCIA’s debut EP, Bad Boy, is expected anytime now via Dead Beet Records.
Niterunner – “Out Of Your Hands” (Brisbane/Byron Bay, Australia)
RIYL: M83, Postiljonen, Still Corners
Another year arrives, and Australia delivers another band to quickly know. Niterunner is the project of brother-sister duo Daniel and Andrea Suesskow, and they could very well be the country’s next big electronic / synth-pop export.
The siblings have been performing for a few years, but last year they started to make waves Down Under with their debut EP, Anonymous. The record showcased the duo’s smooth melodies, spatial soundscapes, and stunning production. Their new single, “Out Of Your Hands”, sees them raise the stakes and take their music from the warm waters of the Pacific to the interstellar. Imagine M83 collaborating with Mia Bøe of Swedish stars Postiljonen, and the result is an experience that can only be described as spellbinding.
Test – “7th Street Metro” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: METZ, Eagulls, Death from Above 1979
You might want to dig out the earplugs for our final song on the mini-playlist because it is a scorcher. Following in the footsteps of METZ and Eagulls, Los Angeles-based trio Test are taking post-punk to epic levels. Their new single, “7th Street Metro”, isn’t a wall of indiscernible sound; instead, it is a bone-jarring, head-spinning, super-charged rocker. For nearly four minutes, the song is absolutely relentless in its energy. As such, all you can do is gyrate around, bob your head back and forth, and do your best air guitar impersonation. When it is all done, just yell out a big “Fuck yeah!”
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