The Matinee March 24th edition is a musical kaleidoscope of colorful sounds from across the globe. Today’s nine songs come to you from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Greece, Norway, and the USA. These gems sparkle with varying shades of indie genres to help you kick off your weekend. Be sure to check back this weekend for a full playlist of all the tunes we’ve shared this week.
Blaenavon – “Alice Come Home” (Hampshire, England)
RIYL: Wild Beasts, The National, Daughter, The Belligerents
It seems like Blaenavon have been around for a very long time, but in two weeks their debut album will finally arrive. In the six years since their formation, the trio from Hampshire have released three EPs and established a legion of fans across the UK and abroad, including ourselves. Their new single exhibits perfectly exhibits why thousands have followed BLAENAVON for years and waited patiently for the arrival of their very first LP.
“Alice Come Home” is an exhilarating, heart-racing epic. For nearly six-and-a-half minutes, Blaenavon guide us on a whirlwind journey, which rises and falls multiple times (at least five times) like a memorable roller coaster. At its most gripping point, the music is dark and brooding akin to the breathtaking soundscapes of Daughter. At its blistering pinnacle, “Alice Come Home” roars with the intensity of The National’s anthems. When it settles into a peaceful trickle, the song is akin to Wild Beasts’ unique sensuality. This song… this song is absolutely brilliant.
If you cannot stream the audio above, the video is right below.
Blaenavon are Ben Gregory (vocals/guitar), Frank Wright (bass), and Harris McMillan (drums).
Blondfire – “Here and Now” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Freedom Fry, Surfer Blood, The Sounds
To say we are enamored with the Erica Driscoll-fronted Blondfire would be an understatement. Their indie-pop is infectious and smile-inducing. But unlike other bands, their songs are timely, poignant, and immensely thoughtful. To us, their music is flawless, just like their new single, “Here and Now”.
Radiating of the shimmering pop music of the ’90s, “Here and Now” is a song that we absolutely need at this time. It is an uplifting, positive track that reminds us to take the day and celebrate our individuality and diversity. Together, we can overcome anything, even these very, very dark days, and Blondfire are leading the way.
Blondfire are Erica Driscoll (vocals), Anthony Polcino (guitar), Josh Miramontes (bass), and Reade Pryor (drums).
Hajk – “Nothing Left to Say” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Dirty Projectors, Whitney, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
So what happens when you fuse equal parts electronic indie rock, psychedelic pop, and synth-driven electronica? The result will sound something like Hajk. They’re a new Scandinavian indie whose catchy new single is sure to put a funky groove in your weekend plans.
“Nothing Left to Say” starts off with a mid-tempo pulse you can’t help but dance along with as soon as the first notes play. Each layer is woven together into a tight, finished product. Starting with the big, juicy bass riffs to the psychedelic synths at the bridge, Hajk have created quite an impressive debut here. While you can detect hints of their influences (Dirty Projectors, Unknown Mortal Orchestra), there is an undeniable freshness to their sound. If this is how good they sound on their debut, we can only imagine where they will go from here. We fully expect to see this band performing at key music festivals (maybe Iceland Airwaves this November?) before long.
Hajk are: Preben Sælid Andersen, Sigrid Aase, Knut Olva Sandvik, Johan Nord, and Einar Næss Haugseth.
Holden Laurence – “Broken Waltz” (Cleveland, USA)
RIYL: The Killers, The Cure, Ryan Adams
“Broken Waltz” is the smashing debut single from Cleveland, Ohioan Holden Laurence. Laurence has been making a name for himself as part of the cinematic pop band The Modern Electric, but here he has gone out on his own to shine. And shine brightly he does.
His deep storytelling lyrics belie his youth and draw you deep into the song, while the juxtaposition of bright guitar lines opposed by smooth and sometimes dark-edged vocals play off of each other brilliantly. Laurence has created a killer hook here too with repetitive lyrics that will be sure to take root in your brain. You’ll be singing “til the floor drops out and the music stops” long after the music actually stops.
Laurence takes you on a journey in an almost linear timeline lyrically and manages to create a heavy song, content-wise, singing of broken relationships, yet also manages to keep the song from becoming too heavy musically. His masterful songwriting has created a beautiful balance for an indie rock tune with no fluff.
“Broken Waltz” is the first single from Laurence’s upcoming album Wild Empty Promises due for a May 5th release. The album features Holden Laurence (bass, guitars, synths, and vocals) and Michael O’Brien (drums, percussion).
“Broken Waltz” can be found here and is available for free with the Wild Empty Promises pre-order.
POND – “The Weather” (Perth, Australia)
RIYL: Tame Impala, Gum, The Flaming Lips, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Let’s talk about the weather for a moment, shall we? No, not the weather forecast; we’re referring to the new single from POND called “The Weather.” This project that includes current and former Tame Impala members (multi-instrumentalist Jay Watson and guitarist Nicholas Allbrook) brings you the psychedelic trip you’d expect considering Kevin Parker is the album’s producer.
“The Weather” is a treasure trove of fuzzy guitars drenched in warm reverb. It delves deeper and flies higher than Pond’s 2015 release, Man It Feels Like Space Again. Where that album soared in the clouds, this one aims for the cosmos in its own trippy way. Its expansive, shimmering tone is more akin to Flaming Lips than Tame Impala, although Parker’s production touch is unmistakable. Like this album’s previously released singles (“30000 Megatons” and “Sweep Me Off My Feet”), “The Weather” delivers enough auditory pleasure to keep it in constant rotation for the rest of the year.
The Weather arrives May 5 from Marathon Artists with pre-orders here. Fans attending Coachella next month will hear these songs live. The band’s other tour dates (which puts them in the vicinity of Glastonbury in late June) are listed on their website.
Pond are: Jay Watson, Nick Allbrook, Joe Ryan, and Jamie Terry.
She-Devils – “Hey Boy” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: TOPS, Le Couleur, Tennis
It’s Friday, which means there will be a lot of cat-and-mouse scenarios playing out, especially with Spring having arrived. Such occasions require a soundtrack or just an anthem, like “Hey Boy”, the new single from Montreal duo She-Devils. With an air of ‘60s bubble-gum pop, a swirl of ‘70s psychedelia, and a twist of Beach Boys-era surf-pop, “Hey Boy” is a witty number. Audrey Ann Boucher’s vocals are tantalizing, and for three minutes and forty seconds she charms us with her innocent daydreaming. As she sings…
“I’m sitting here waiting for Prince Charming. When I close my eyes, I can feel the man I long to touch.”
…you feel like you are living out her fantasy. Maybe you are the one waiting for Prince Charming or the knight-in-shining armor himself. It is Friday night, so let your imaginations go wild just like the She-Devils have done.
The song is from She-Devils’ self-titled album, which is due May 19, 2017 via Secretly Canadian.
She-Devils are Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka.
So Many Wizards – “Sic Boys” (Echo Park, CA, USA)
RIYL: Jay Reatard, The Feelies, Deerhunter
“Sic Boys,” the latest single from dream-punk band So Many Wizards is the culmination of a time period in core member Nima Kazerouni’s life that brought about fatherhood, a series of deaths (a family member and a best friend), and the end of an 8-year long relationship. The resultant nervous breakdown, or “nervous breakthrough” helped Kazerouni create the tracks, including “Sic Boys,” on the upcoming album, Heavy Vision.
One can easily feel the nervous energy and chaotic mindset that went into writing this frenetic song. A poppy, fun, dream-punk song on the surface, but scratch a little deeper and the repetitive lyrics and hectic pace give you a glimpse into the singer’s psyche. In signature falsetto he sings to himself (with the clever use of panning on the vocals), “I need to to keep it together,” repeating this phrase over and over, quite possibly in an attempt to convince himself that he can. Haven’t we all done that at one time or another?
So Many Wizards is Nima Kazerouni (vocals), Erik Felix (drums), Devin Ratliff (bass), and Tomemitsu (guitar). Heavy Visions will be available April 14th and can be pre-ordered on cassette, vinyl, colored vinyl, and CD through Lollipop Records.
Victory Collapse – “Younger Than Before” (Athens, Greece)
RIYL: The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, early U2
Some songs have the ability to invade your ears and take up permanent residence in your head. This new single from Greek post-punk band Victory Collapse will do just that, so be prepared. “Younger Than Before” is highly addictive, and not simply because of its retro, New Wave-inspired sound. It’s simply captivating. This song evokes grey skies churning into storm clouds just before raindrops start to fall. That electric energy you sense in those moments is captured here. The hypnotic bass line creates a buoyant foundation as the guitars and percussion complete the brooding soundscape. The moodiness of The Cure’s “A Forest” pairs nicely with this one.
You can find this single on a compilation put out by Inner Ear Records. To mark their 10th anniversary, the label is releasing a new 7” each month throughout 2017. Each release from A Distant Victory Singles Club is limited to 100 copies, so grab yours from Bandcamp.
Victory Collapse are: Dennis Dasios (guitars, sax), Kostas A. Varotsos (vocals, percussion), Kostas V. Varotsos (bass), and Yorgos Kollias (drums).
Wooly Mammoths – “Water Slide” (Brussels, Belgium)
RIYL: Temples, POND, Tame Impala
Wooly Mammoths are a relatively new Belgian band, founded in 2014, who are putting out some great music that just skirts the edges of psych and indie-pop.
This quintet have just released their latest single “Water Slide,” a gem of a tune with hazy, dreamy synth and guitar. If you close your eyes, you can virtually see the rainbow-colored visualizations blooming and dissolving before you. While the song is about a seemingly one-sided unrequited love, the result is a romantic and super breezy tune that would make a great accompaniment to a summer drive in a convertible.
Wooly Mammoths are: Sean Michael Raab, Cedric Vaessen, Freek Welkenhuyzen, Mikey Buffa, and Wouter Carlens.
The track can be streamed or downloaded by your preferred service here.
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