Whereas yesterday we traversed the globe for new music, The Matinee March 28th edition is a bit more stationary. That said, we still think you’ll enjoy this selection of nine songs. We did!
Agent blå – “Rote Learning” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Alvvays, A Place To Bury Strangers, Sløtface
When Swedish quintet Agent blå arrived on the scene at the end of 2015, our immediate reaction was, “When are they going to release an album?” Their first single, “Strand”, was an edgy rocker that combined Savages with Pat Benatar. In the fifteen months since, Agent blå have expanded their sound and mixed soaring rockers with indie-pop anthems. Now their long-awaited debut album will come out later this spring, and they’ve shared the first single that should have old and new fans in a celebratory mood.
“Rote Learning” is, in one word, awesome. It combines the two sides of the band into one glorious song. It shimmers with the contagious jangle-pop of Alvvays while blisters with the shoegaze of A Place To Bury Strangers. This song is for any generation, any person trying to figure out where they will go next. It is an anthem for every lost soul and every person seeking a second chance. Just awesome.
Agent blå are Lucas Gustavsson, Emelie Alatalo, Felix Skörvald, Josefine Täck, and Arvid Christensen.
Big Tooth – “Annie Girl” (London, England)
RIYL: Gang of Youths, Jagwar Ma, Big Smoke
Big Tooth are unlike most bands today. They don’t attempt to create hit singles. They have avoided falling into the trap of writing formulaic songs with overused arrangements. Their sole intention is to make music that they like and that will captivate the most discerning music listener. In many ways, they are indie rock’s version of Fleet Foxes, who have carved out their own path with their unique style.
“Annie Girl” exhibits the uniqueness of this five-piece. The song is more fitting to be heard in the cosy confines of a church than on the radio, as its cinematic and theatrical qualities would fill the rafters. The vocals and harmonies are stirring, and the lyrics are splendid, as Joe Weightmann brings us inside his mind as he says goodbye to a woman he loved. Pain, love, ecstasy, and disappointment are all heard on this song that will break your heart.
Big Tooth are George Crossland, Joe Weightman, Adam Blake, Patrick Hann, and Tom Blake.
Cajsa Siik – “White Noise” (Stockholm/Umeå, Sweden)
RIYL: Sia, Lucius, Lykke Li
It’s been amost two years to the day since we first discovered Swedish singer-songwriter Cajsa Siik. With a heavenly voice and a sound that sends chills throughout one’s body, we’ve been long been under Siik’s spell, and our infatuation will only get stronger when her album, DOMINO, arrives on May 5th via Birds Records. Just to tantalize us on what is to come, Siik has shared the LP’s second single, which is what we expected it to be.
Like the first day we heard her, “White Noise” is an ethereal dream. It is romantic, intimate, and exhilarating. As the song progresses, it turns from elegant to breathtaking with every element slowly intensifying in its impact. Siik’s vocals, in particular, are radiant. While it is just her voice, her single harmony has the same immersive, stunning quality as Lucius. So as you hear this song, immediately succumb to the power and beauty of this gifted artist, and the reward will be immense. The song is simply just stunning. Suffice it to say, we cannot wait for DOMINO to be released.
Diet Cig – “Link In Bio” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: PWR BTTM, Swearin’, Speedy Ortiz
The countdown has begun for one of our Most Anticipated Albums of 2017. Diet Cig‘s debut album is 10 days away, and yesterday they shared another single to whet our appetites even further!
“Link In Bio” is another melodic rocker of a tune. In only a way Alex Luciano (vocals/guitar) and Noah Bowman (drums) can do, the song will make you want to simultaneously sway from side to side by joining a mosh pit. It’s edgy yet sweet, blistering yet poppy. And in their typical fashion, the wordplay is immensely clever. “Link In Bio” is not what it iseems. It’s not about social media per se. Instead, the song’s title is more of a reference to the growing divide between people, where intimacy and understanding are replaced by 140 characters, selfies, and 15-second Snapchats.
Swear I’m Good At This will be released April 7th via Frenchkiss Records. The album should see Diet Cig’s popularity reach new levels and take on the mantle that Paramore assumed a decade ago.
Jordan Mackampa – “Saint” (Coventry, England via Democratic Republic of the Congo)
RIYL: Michael Kiwanuka, Leon Bridges, Allen Stone
While some artists would like to take soul in an electronic direction, there are still those who wish to honor the legends of the genre and music in general. It’s not solely about using actual instruments and keeping that groovy vibe, but also retaining the spirit of soul – i.e., creating music that is meaningful. We are immensely grateful that artists like Mavis Staples, Charles Bradley, Macy Gray, Lee Fields, Michael Kiwanuka, Leon Bridges, Allen Stone, etc. are around to lead the charge and open avenues for new artists, such as Jordan Mackampa, to showcase their talents.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and now calling Coventry, England home, Mackampa has established a solid following around the UK and northern Europe. Just one listen of his new single, “Saint”, explains why. His soft, soulful voice is a blend of Bill Withers and Seal while his approach is a mix of Kiwanuka and Bridges. The song is uplifting, and the message is optimistic without being pretentious.
I’m not a saint, I’m not a sinner.
I’m just a man without a cause.
Take me for what I am, but you cannot take what’s not yours.
Those are words to live by and from an artist who could very well ascend to the top of his genre.
“Saint” is from Mackampa’s forthcoming EP, Tales From The Broken, and it will be released on May 15th.
Marlon Brando Island – “True Heroes” (London, England)
RIYL: Blaenavon, False Heads, Palm Honey
By now, everyone knows about the UK’s burgeoning indie-rock scene. From the largest metropolis to the smallest hamlet, there is a band on the cusp of exploding. The latest name to add to your music directory is Marlon Brando Island.
Like the celebrated actor, Marlon Brando Island are creating something truly memorable with their debut singles. One of them is “True Heroes”, a heart-racing, anthemic number that will get you out of your seat. The pounding rhythms and the driving guitar line are reminiscent of early Japandroids. As the song progresses and reaches its soaring climax, you will want to let everything out and just scream. In this moment, your emotions will come pouring out and everyone around will know you are here – here to be a hero to yourself.
Marlon Brando Island are Marcus Fulcher (vocals/guitar), Edd Thrope (bass), and Marco Testa-Ryan (drums/backing vocals).
Seeing Hands – “Love You Still” (Newcastle, England)
RIYL: Real Estate, Washed Out, Wild Nothing
Newcastle-based indie dream-pop outfit Seeing Hands understand the need for soothing music after a breakup. On their newest single, they apply a healing balm to broken hearts. “Love You Still” uses gently swirling layers of fuzzy guitars to convey warmth and reassurance. If you live long enough, you experience the sting that comes from parting ways with someone you love. The tender thoughts expressed in “Love You Still” (“I don’t mean to pull you down / you know I love you still / and you know I always will”) provide much-needed comfort during the healing phase.
But even if you’re in a perfectly happy relationship, “Love You Still” remains an immensely charming and formidable slice of indie dream pop. It lacks for nothing, as its substantive depth proves. This isn’t the light-as-clouds variety that’s so pervasive in this genre. You won’t be lulled to sleep. Instead, the sunny aura of “Love You Still” will revive your spirit.
Seeing Hands are Kev Curran, Nick Hodgson, Jon Varty, and Liam Guillan.
Note for the record, Hollie did the write-up for this one.
Steady Holiday – “More Than One Way” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Natalie Prass, Springtime Carnivore, Cat Power
2016 as a huge year for Steady Holiday, the project of singer-songwriter Dre Babinski. She was named LA Weekly‘s Best New Solo Artist, and her cinematic debut album, Under The Influence, was highly critically acclaimed. But instead of resting on her laurels, Babinski went immediately back to work and wrote four new songs, which will be on her new EP. The second single from the record is “More Than One Way”, and it perfectly demonstrates why so many people, including ourselves, have fallen for Babinski.
The song is delicate and intimate with Babinski’s soft vocals floating gracefully in the air. Despite the song’s elegance, a sinister mood percolates beneath the surface, giving the track a suspenseful quality a la ’60s film-noir. Why spend $10 to go to the theaters when all one needs to do is spin Steady Holiday’s music? Her songs are literally works of art, and “More Than One Way” is just another example of her ingenuity.
Babinski’s new EP, Terror, arrives April 7th via Infinite Best Recordings. Under The Influence will also be re-released in case you missed it the first time.
Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes – “Dreaming Of You” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Sade, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala
The band with one of our favorite names is back! In less than a year as a band, Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes have released three singles that have all gone viral. They’ve become favorites of tastemakers around the world and have received significant buzz in the UK. Their fourth single should experience a similar fate.
“Dreaming Of You” is a dazzling, blissful heartbreaker, and one of those rare “wow” moments. Unlike the indie-pop leanings of their original songs, “Dreaming Of You” beautifully merges old-school R&B with psychedelic pop. The soundscape, as such, is sultry, sensual, and hypnotic. Co-frontwoman‘s vocals take on a soulful and intimate quality. When she lustfully says, “All the time I am dreaming of you keeps me busy from the things I should do”, you will feel yourself melting into her words. If Sade ever teamed up with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, it would like sound like this stunner.
“Dreaming Of You” is available now from Rama Lama Records.
Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes consist of Edvin Arleskär (drums), Tilde Hansen (vocals/bass), Siri Sjöberg (vocals/synth), and Elias Mahfoud (guitar).
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