The Matinee March 30th edition features nine songs with the “wow” factor. Songs that will take you to heaven, others that will take you back in time, many that will just steal your breath way, and others that will have your rocking. We start things off with a singer-songwriter on the verge of international stardom.


Aldous Harding – “Imagining My Man” (Lyttleton, New Zealand)

RIYL: Laura Marling, Lydia Cole, Nadia Reid

One of New Zealand’s brightest stars is about to become an international sensation. With buzz growing around her thanks to her tremendous SXSW showing, Aldous Harding has become the singer-songwriter to watch in 2017. From her incomparable voice to her intimate stories to her graceful, pastoral dream-folk, her music is unforgettable. Or in the case of her new single, “Imagining My Man”, it is breathtaking yet heartbreaking at the same time.

The slight tinges of the piano, acoustic guitar, drums, and saxophone create an intimate soundscape akin to a solemn room where a couple spends their weekends. It provides the perfect palette to “Imagining My Man”, which sees Harding at her most introspective and sharing a story of a person afraid of commitment and losing the one in the process. That solemn room now is filled by a lonely heart that still dreams of what was and what could have been.

“All my life I’ve had to fight to stay.
You were right, love takes time. Hey hey.”

If you cannot hear the audio above, view the lovely video below.

The song is from Harding’s forthcoming new album, Party. It will be released May 19th, and 4AD and Flying Nun Records will be jointly releasing it.

Aldous Harding will embark on a worldwide tour in May, which includes stops at the prestigious Latitude, Green Man, and End of the Road Festivals in the UK.

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Celebration – “Freedom Ring” (Baltimore, USA)

RIYL: Future Islands, Lower Dens, Heartless Bastards

Excuse the pun but it is time for a Celebration!!! One of our favorite bands from long ago unexpectedly announced yesterday they would releasing a new album. Since the release of their fourth album, Albumin, in 2014, Celebration have been relatively quiet with the exception of frontwoman Katrina Ford lending her voice to a handful of products. Leave it to the state of the today’s world to bring them out of hibernation and unveil a, well, celebratory song.

Their new single, “Freedom Ring”, is a piece of glorious, euphoric pop music. It’s not your standard pop song, as it is part orchestral, synth, and pastoral. The synths and keys taking on an organ-like sound is tremendous, making you feel like you’re listening to the song within the beautiful auditory caverns of a St. Paul’s Cathedral. Ford, meanwhile, is the diva at the front of the altar, her incredible voice booming off the marble pillars and filling the room. When it is all said and done, the room is energized, and those three words Martin Luther King, Jr. once expressed is embedded in our minds and souls. “Let Freedom Ring!” Thanks Celebration for giving us a song that reminds of what we’re fighting for.

“Freedom Ring” is the lead single from Celebration’s forthcoming, new album, Wounded Healer. It will be released June 2nd via Bella Union.

The band is comprised of Sean Antanaitis, David Bergander, Katrina Ford, Walker Teret, and Tony Drummond.

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KWAYE – “Cool Kids” (London, England via Zimbabwe)

RIYL: Blood Orange, D’Angelo, Talk Talk

The world has changed in extraordinary ways over the past six months, and not all of it has been positive. As divisions grow between groups of people and tensions mount, these are the times when we need something positive and uplifting to be heard. A song that celebrates our differences both in its message and sound. The new single by 22-year old KWAYE answers the call.

Our first reaction when hearing “Cool Kids” was, “This is pretty awesome!” The song is shimmering, ’80s-influenced synth-pop combined with the smooth and sensual R&B of the era. Images of walkmans, leotards, and big hair may be flooding your mind. But the song is so much more. The storyline recalls the 1950s in the US, specifically 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus. It is a moment that changed not just American history but the world, and now we live, for the most part, in a place where people of different races, religions, cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities can sit side-by-side.

The video for the song is below, and it is a striking display of diversity.

The single is out now via Mind of a Genius Records.

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Miles Recommends – “Crazy House” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: Ryley Walker, Jack White (solo), Whitney

When thinking about great duos in music, the names Hall & Oates, The Civil Wars, The Eurythmics, The White Stripes, Sonny and Cher, and Tina and Ike Turner come immediately to mind. If the couple known solely as Des and Lou – or by their stage name Miles Recommends – continues to make catchy and meaningful folk-rock / rock-pop, we’ll be including their names alongside these more notable couples.

Before discussing their new song, it’s important to address their moniker. According to their Facebook page, Miles worked at their local video store and made recommendations on unorthodox movies to watch. Unfortunately, the video store no longer exists (not many do anymore), so in his honor Des and Lou named their band after him.

And like the movies we imagine Miles recommended, Des and Lou are making music that is a) not mainstream; b) meaningful; and c) unforgettable. Their new single, “Crazy House”, is a fantastic affair. This piano-driven, folk-pop tune echoes of the ’70s and ’80s, and the orchestration is masterful. The storytelling, though, is what steals the show. The song is like a Stanley Kubrick film (namely A Clockwork Orange), as Miles Recommends tell a story of a world that has been overrun by liars, cheaters, and the corrupt. Given this world, there’s only one thing we can do – go a little crazy.

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Mt. Wolf – “Heavenbound” (London, England)

RIYL: Phoria, Aloric, Frightened Rabbit

For a couple of years, Mt. Wolf has fascinated us with their cinematic brand of music, which ranged from electronic to dream pop to indie rock. They have had us on the edge of our seats (“The Electric”) to gazing at the sky in sheer wonder (“Hamburg”). Every song was an experience, making us wish they would release an album so that we could live in their worlds for an hour. At last, our wish is about to come true. On May 26th, Mt. Wolf will release their debut album, Aetherlight, via CRC Music.

“The Electric” was the first song from the album. The second song is “Heavenbound”, which is a majestic and ethereal wonder. It is unquestionably one of the most stunning and mesmerizing songs of the year. Whereas their other single had transfixed, this one has standing tall with our arms spread wide to experience every note. If this is heaven, we never want to leave.

“Heavenbound” and “The Electric” can be obtained now if you pre-order Aetherlight. Click here to find the sites to obtain the album.

Mt. Wolf are Sebastian Fox, Stevie Red McMinn, and Al Mitchell.

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Of Empires – “See You With The Angels, Kid” (Brighton, England)

RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Rolling Stones

Ho hum. Another day and another English, indie-rock band to talk about. We’re not trying to undermine or talk less about Of Empires, rather the fact we’re talking about them instead of the hundreds of UK bands reflects their potential for greatness. And great is one way to describe their new song.

“See You With The Angels, Kid” is an infectious, tenacious rocker. It buzzes with the intensity of early Arctic Monkeys and the searing grit of The Strokes. Yet in hearing the song a few times, images of a young Rolling Stones rocking London’s Marquee Jazz Club trickle through one’s head. Frontman Jack Fletcher even has a bit of Mick Jagger’s swagger in his delivery. Like these great rock bands, Of Empires are writing pretty awesome stories in their songs. This one has the feel of a young person on the run from his past and trying to escape from his pursuers. Whether they are actual people (maybe mobsters) or his own personal demons is unclear, but the chase scene in this song is awesome. Now it’s time for everyone else to chase down Of Empires’ material and get to know this awesome band.

Of Empires are George Le Page (drums), Matthew Berry (guitar), Jack Fletcher (vocals), and Liam Bewey (bass).

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Slow Dancer – “It Goes On” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: Jim James, Tobias Jesso Jr., Babyface

It is only a matter of time before Simon Okely – a.k.a. Slow Dancer – becomes a household name. The multi-instrumentalist from Melbourne, Australia is just too talented to be ignored not to mention he has one of the most unique voices around. His previous single, “Don’t Believe”, was sultry and suave. His latest number retains the smoothness of the first, but heads in a different direction lyrically.

“It Goes On” is an evocative and stunning track. Okely’s voice has the same memorable grace as Jim James. And like the My Morning Jacket frontman, he has written a song that is filled with allegory. The song is sensual, yet it is much more than a love song. For instance:

Even though I’m Baptized,
I’m prepared to never be right.
If we create a new style,
It means we can never be wrong.
It goes on…

These little vignettes are scattered throughout the song. And like a fine wine, each spin reveals new notes and the experience intensifies. “It Goes On” is a superb piece of songwriting and just one impeccable song by an incredibly gifted artist.

Slow Dancer’s new album, In A Mood, is available June 9th via Pieater (AUS) and ATO Records (US). It can also be pre-ordered on his Bandcamp page.

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Sloan Peterson – “105” (Sydney via Brisbane, Australia)

RIYL: The Runways, La Sera, Sarah Bethe Nelson

First, let’s make something clear. Sloan Peterson is not an actual person. It is the alias of the 22-year old Australian Joannah Jackson, and Sloan Peterson is actually her second “band”. Hopefully, she’ll stick to this one because her new single is a riot!

“105” is guitar-pop heaven. Right from the very start, the song buzzes with a shimmering melody. The stuttering percussion, the crystalline guitars, and the bubbling bass line set the tone before the curtains open to introduce Jackson. Her svelte vocals stir the air, but don’t let her sweetness fool you. She’s a woman seeking vengeance, taking aim at an ex who showed a “lack of emotion, a lack of devotion”. But after hearing this song, you’ll be expressing your undying commitment to this blossoming star.

The single is out now via Mirror Music Group, the collective which introduced the world to Gang of Youths and Middle Kids.

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Violet Sands – “Drive” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Fleetwood Mac, Berlin, Work Drugs

A “super-group” that may have flown under the radar (and admittedly we missed it the first time) are Violet Sands. Featuring Deidre Muro of Deidre & the Dark, David Perlick-Molinari of French Horn Rebellion, and Derek Muro and Love Like Deloreans and Mighty Five, this trio is sending us back to the future.

Right out of a classic, romance movie from the ’80s, “Drive” is simultaneously sensual and groovy. It is a reminder when pop-rock music was anthemic, cinematic, and mesmerizing. The exaggerated crystalline guitar is Roxette-ish, and Muro’s vocals radiate with a light sweetness that sucks you into the song. This track is absolutely delicious. We cannot wait for Violet Sands to take our breath away again soon (sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

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