It’s Valentine’s Day, and we have dedicated The Matinee February 14th edition to love songs!!!….

Did you actually believe that? There’s no chance we do that. Instead, we’re just going share awesome music like we always do. The love songs can wait another day (it’s not like they are an endangered species).


Aldous Harding – “Horizon” (Lyttleton, New Zealand)

RIYL: Laura Marling, Tiny Ruins, Nadia Reid

While the world of music is filled with artists with fantastic voices, very few have the ability to stop one dead in their tracks. New Zealander Aldous Harding is one of those rare birds. Her voice is unmatched, hitting a pitch that only a few can. Combine her unique vocal quality with her gripping songwriting, and you have a star in the making.

For that matter, Harding is already a star in her home country and her popularity is starting to surge overseas, particularly in Europe. 2017 should see the Lyttleton native rise to new heights, as she has signed with mega-label 4AD. Her first song for the label is the engrossing and captivating, “Horizon.” For those who have seen Harding perform over the past 12 months (like us), you will recognize this song. However, time has given this simple, bare-bones number a new life. With just the press of a few keys on the piano, Harding’s voice carries the tune. And despite its simplicity, the song is dark, enchanting, and like a psychological journey to unknown places that lurk over the horizon.

The song is from Harding’s forthcoming new album, Party. 4AD and Flying Nun Records will be releasing it later this year. In case you don’t have a SoundCloud Go account, the stunning video for the song is below (you have to watch it).

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Army of Bones – “End Of Time” (Brighton, England)

RIYL: The Killers, Twilight Sad, Snow Patrol

Ten months ago, we had the pleasure of premiering Army of Bones‘ single, “Break Away.” From that song and the other great singles they had released, it was only a matter of time before they would explode. The quartet are now getting set to deliver their self-titled, debut album next month (March 6th to be exact), and the expectations could soon become a reality.

The latest single from the LP is the pop-rock anthem, “End Of Time,” which is like a classic ’90s song that sticks in your head for days. There are love songs that make you all warm and gushy while others you back in time to a special moment. “End Of Time”, however, will make you get in your car, drive as far as you need to go, and find that special someone and tell her how much you love her. Yeah it’s a romantic tune for Valentine’s Day, but one that will never forget (assuming you actually do get in your car and drive a long ways to say, “I love you”).

Army Of Bones arrives March 6th.

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Crooked Colours – “Flow” (Perth, Australia)

RIYL: Boards of Canada, Jagwar Ma, Nick Murphy

Just as they were about to explode, Crooked Colours took an unexpected hiatus to recharge and reboot. The break lasted only 18 months, but in the world of electronica that is an eternity, as another producer or group fill in the gap and make the established artists obsolete. With their new single, “Flow”, the Australian trio have nothing to worry about.

In a nutshell, this song is pretty awesome. It’s not a raging, club-friendly tune. Instead, “Flow” is a trance. The combination of tropical and downtempo arrangements and Philip Slabber’s silent assassin-like vocals are spellbinding yet one can still groove to the intoxicating beats. So open your mind and let Crooked Colours take it over. Trust us, you won’t want to be awakened from this dizzying spell.

The single is out via Sweat It Out. Crooked Colours are Philip Slabber, Leon De Baughn, and Liam Merrett-Park.

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The Ghost Of Helags – “The Universe and Mankind” (Sweden)

RIYL: Porcelain Raft, Röyksopp, Rhye

Every single time The Ghost Of Helags drop a new tune, we get completely swept away. Their minimalistic, downtempo, cinematic approach is absolutely breathtaking, and we continue to wonder why more people have not gravitated to their music. When their debut EP drops this spring, maybe that will change, especially if the record is filled with songs like “The Universe and Mankind”.

The track is incredibly beautiful. Every note, every element is done with precision and subtlety, demonstrating that a song does not need to be explosive to blow one’s mind. The production work is, as always, sublime, and the addition of the strings add a chilling effect. By the end of it all, you’ll be lost in The Ghost Of Helags’ world and wishing to return to it immediately.

The Ghost Of Helags’ forthcoming debut EP, Shibuya, will be released by Misty Music and Warsaw Recordings.

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Gold Connections – “Faith In Anyone” (Charlottesville, VA, USA)

RIYL: early My Morning Jacket, Car Seat Headrest, The Districts

Before Wil Toledo – a.k.a. Car Seat Headrest – arrived on the scene, My Morning Jacket in their early days (late ’90s and early ’00s) were creating languid rock ‘n roll music and writing stories about their experiences and those of their friends as they grew up. Following in this tradition is Will Marsh, who is otherwise known as Gold Connections. Last month, he shared his “debut single”, the gritty, Sonic Youth-esque “New Religion”. Showing that he’s not a one-trick pony, Marsh yesterday released his second single, “Faith In Anyone.”

The song is a classic burner. It starts off innocently enough, although the reverb guitar riffs give an indication of what is to come. Then the climax is completely epic, but it’s not limited to just a wailing guitar and chest-pounding rhythms. Marsh’s vocals reach a level of anxiety and urgency that you can feel his confusion and sense of loss as he becomes disconnected from the world around him. With songs that speak to everyone’s experiences, Marsh is unquestionably indie rock’s next big thing.

Gold Connections’ self-titled debut EP arrives March 31st via Fat Possum.

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Leif Vollebekk – “All Night Sedans” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Jesse Mac Cormack, Jesse Marchant, Patrick Watson

Last year, we lost one of the great singer-songwriters in Leonard Cohen, but his legacy lives on in his hometown of Montreal. Leif Vollebekk is among the city’s rising talents, who are bringing back storytelling into music. His latest single, “All Night Sedans”, is just another gem in his deep arsenal.

Like some of Cohen’s classics, the song’s foundation is infused with a touch of jazz to give it a late-night, sultry vibe. But like all of his songs, Vollebekk’s storytelling steals the show. He quietly shares multiple stories – or vignettes – in just over three minutes. They are flashes in time and quick moments that catch our attention as we drive along the highway late at night. And in these instances, Vollebekk crafts the story of each person and thing he sees, but in a way that only he can do – poetically.

“All Night Sedans” is from Vollebekk’s upcoming, new album, Twin Solitude, via Secret City Records. The LP arrives February 24th, and it can be pre-ordered here.

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Tangerines – “Peckham Boys” (London, England)

RIYL: The Rolling Stones, Deer Tick, Foxygen

Not every band has successfully taken retro-inspired rock ‘n roll and made it better. The opposite is actually often the truth. But across the pond, Tangerines are reinvigorating the genre with their own zany style. Not since Foxygen came on the scene has a band made ’60s and ’70s rock ‘n roll sound glamorous, fun, and just absolutely fun. Take for instance their new single, “Peckham Boys”. This song is an absolute time warp with frontman Gareth Hoskins sounding more like a young Bob Dylan than Mick Jagger. His mates Isaac Robson, Miles Prestia, and Ricky Clark, however, do their best impersonation of Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood. And like the iconic band in their young, Tangerines have crafted a clever story based on the tales from members of Peckham Boys

Trust us: spin this song and you will be brought back in time. After it’s finished, you’ll never want to leave the era (and this was a great time for rock music).

The single is from Tangerines’ forthcoming debut album, The Flophouse. It will be released May 12th via RIP Records.

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Rousseau – “Desert Road” (Wellington, New Zealand)

RIYL: Daughter, London Grammar, The xx

Clare Rousseau – or simply just Rousseau – has already dazzled us with her first two songs. It wasn’t just the wide-ranging electronic and synth-pop arrangements of “Familiar” and “Sugar Plum” that drew us in; her songwriting for such a new artist is unparalleled. The stories she creates are provocative and sensational. For her latest single, “Desert Road”, however, she may have written her most compelling song to date.

The song is an emotional roller coaster, as the instrumentation is minimalist to give the track its stark and haunting quality. Lyrically, however, “Desert Road” is a stunning allegory for how one no longer recognizes the things around her. Rousseau cleverly puts us inside the mind of the protagonist, traveling with her as she drives alone under the pitch black sky and the sand-filled air. To where the journey goes is irrelevant because nothing is familiar, including home. If Rousseau continues to write such gripping songs, we’ll have to start recognizing her more as a storyteller and a poet in the mould of Edgar Allan Poe.

Rousseau’s debut EP, hello, i know you’re busy, will be released in April.

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The Yugos – “Weighing The Heart” (Cincinnati via Covington, KY, USA)

RIYL: Wavves, Twin Peaks, FIDLAR

We end today’s “Valentine’s Day” edition of The Matinee with a banger of a track by a band every indie-music fan should have on their radar. That band is Cincinnati-based quartet The Yugos. This is a band that could ignite in 2017, much in the same Wavves, FIDLAR, and Twin Peaks did a few years ago. Similar to these bands, they’re taking post-punk and making it anthemic and infectious.

A perfect example of their raucous music is their latest single, “Weighing The Heart”. The opening is awesome, as it gets the adrenaline flowing and raises the anticipation. Fortunately, The Yugos not only meet but exceed what we could have expected. The song is fun and immensely is exhilarating. This is like a dream first date – where the entire experience is more than anyone could have expected and finished off with the perfect kiss. These four youngsters are heading places.

The band’s new album, Weighing the Heart, is scheduled for release on March 10th via Old Flame Records. The Yugos consist of Jordin Goff (drums/vocals), Christian Gough (vocals/guitar/bass), Jackson Deal (guitar/bass), and Jeremy Graham (guitar/bass).

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