After yesterday’s Melodic Tonic offered six easy, breezy numbers, we’ve opted to turn up the decibels several notches on The Matinee April 13th edition. There are three smooth, low-key tunes, but for the most part you want to get ready to either move or have your face melted.
The Black Angels – “Half Believing” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: The Black Lips, Night Beats, Thin Lizzy
Three weeks ago, The Black Angels released “I’d Kill For Her”, which was as close to perfection a psychedelic-rock song could be. It also was the lead single from their new album, and excitement was shared by all of us here. The latest song from the album, though, has us not merely jumping for joy, but we’re also counting the minutes until it comes out.
“Half Believing” is absolutely amazing. It is unlike anything the band has delivered in the past. Instead of blowing us away with wave after wave of fuzzy guitars, The Black Angels slow things down considerably and offer a dark, suspenseful, and cinematic number. It’s not so much a face melter as it is a spell-binding, psychological experience. The first four lines of the song just grab you and hold your attention.
I will die for things that mean so much to me.
If you take them, you better watch out.
So when she came to me, I was so in love that
I’m half believing, half suspicious.
Whether this song is about the disintegration of a relationship or even the decaying trust between people and their government, The Black Angels won’t say. One thing, however, is clear – “Half Believing” is one of the best songs of the year to date, if not the best.
If you cannot hear the audio above, the trippy visuals for the song are below.
“Half Believing” is from The Black Angels’ forthcoming, new album, Death Song. It arrives April 21st via Partisan Records, and pre-orders are available here. Limited edition vinyls will also be available on Record Store Day (April 22nd).
The Black Angels are Stephanie Bailey, Christian Bland, Alex Maas, Kyle Hunt, and Jake Garcia.
Black Cat Revue – “Gravedancer” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Byrds, The Black Angels
When first coming across Black Cat Revue, the two words that popped out were, “cosmic country”, which is how the Scottish quartet describe their music. After hearing their latest single, “Gravedancer”, we now fully comprehend exactly what they mean. The term is just a short way of saying really friggin’ awesome music.
Look no further than their new single, “Gravedancer”. This song is a blazing, infectious rocker. It is not quite a pure psychedelic song, as it is a bit twangy at times thanks to the organ and dissonant electric guitar. Another way to think of the tune is that it is the intersection of Brian Jonestown Massacre’s dual sides – the raging psychedelic band and the experimental country that frontman Anton Newcombe has dabbled in. That is just pure genius. Beyond the sound is a clever story of the powerful feeding off the weak, and this theme couldn’t have come at a better time regardless of where you reside.
Black Cat Revue are Garry Thomson (guitar/vocals), David McIlwraith (guitar/vocals), Gary McCrossan (bass), and Mick Roberston (drums).
Ceiling Demons – “March Forward” (North Yorkshire, England)
RIYL: Young Fathers, AZEKEL, Ghostpoet
Over three years ago, we were introduced to Ceiling Demons, a trio based outside of Manchester, England. While they labeled their music as alternative hip hop, Ceiling Demons weren’t the prototypical band within the genre. They weren’t mixing alt-rock with hip hop like Linkin Park and many other bands have since done. Instead, they were using classical music arrangements as the canvas for their music, and the results were startling. Ceiling Demons did experiment with more conventional forms of hip hop over the past year, but their latest single sees them return to their foundations.
“Marching Forward” is a superb piece of music. Less hip hop and more spoken word, the song is serene, mellow, and intimate – three adjectives not often used when describing music within this genre. The horns are soft, the guitar strums delicate, and the percussion as subtle as a heartbeat. What has always impressed us about the band is their songwriting. Never one to shy away from tackling society’s most pressing issues, Ceiling Demons once again deliver a song that reflects the mood around the world. But instead of wallowing in sorrow, they send us a message of hope, where these difficult times will eventually pass.
Is Bliss – “Into A Dream” (Portsmouth, England)
RIYL: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Hunna, Wolf Alice
A year ago, we were invited into Is Bliss‘s world, which was less blissful and more cathartic. Their realm was swirling neo-psychedelia, and it was a place that we didn’t want to leave. Fortunately, they are back with another fantastic single.
“Into A Dream” is an explosive, delirious, mind warp. They have taken psychedelia and transported into the future where the Starship Enterprise is a reality. This track truly is one heck of a ride, and your mind will be surfing along the waves of the searing, sitar-esque guitars, the throbbing bass lines, and the hammering drums. And like every great trip, the ending will leave you in awe.
“Into A Dream” is from Is Bliss’s forthcoming EP, The Honeycomb Explosion. It will be released May 19th on Club AC30.
Is Bliss are Jimmy Stuart (vocals/guitar), Dean Edwards (bass), and Sam Speakman (drums).
Land of Talk – “Loving” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Stevie Nicks, Big Thief, Amber Arcades
2017 is developing into the year of the comeback, where long-time favorites have re-surfaced with new music and even albums. For those who have followed Land of Talk since their arrival a decade ago, their return after nearly seven years away was unexpected yet one of the best surprises of the year. And fans aren’t the ones ecstatic about Elizabeth Powell’s re-emergence, as notable names within the industry are supporting her on her new record. Members of Besnard Lakes, Roxy Music, Sonic Youth, and Sharon Van Etten plus long-time drummer Bucky Wheaton will be on Life After Youth. The album, however, isn’t about who is on it, but the woman at the centre of it all.
Of all the three songs Land of Talk has released in support of the album, “Loving” could be its emotional centerpiece. The song is striking in its blissful intimacy, echoing the intoxicating warmth of Stevie Nicks’ romantic ballads. Powell’s delivery is also stunning, as her vocals have a bedroom-like quality as she shares her most deepest thoughts. Just as one is ready to ease into the song, it escalates in its final forty-five seconds into a searing rocker. The entire arrangement is brilliant to reflect the emotional roller coaster that is love, and in some ways this song reflects Land of Talk’s own experiences of the past seven years. Fortunately, “Loving” ends with sheer exhilaration.
Lusid – “Plotting A Murder” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Mazzy Starr, Amason, Lou Reed,
Whether it is reviewing the new album of a popular artist or coming across a new band, first impressions are crucial. We love to talk about it here, which is why we do the mini-playlists six days a week and have a feature called First Impressions. Sometimes, it takes a few songs to really be drawn into an artist’s music. Then there are the rare occasions where a band’s first output just blows you away and immediately cements the love affair. Such is the case with brand new Swedish band, Lusid, whose debut single has us already asking for more.
“Plotting A Murder” is a gorgeous ballad that is steeped in the cinematic piano-pop for the late ’60s and early ’70s. The melody is slightly dark and hypnotic, akin to Lou Reed’s classic, “Perfect Day”. However, Paulina Palmgren’s intoxicating, angelic vocals take the song to soaring heights. They swallow you up, where you are completely captivated by every word and breath she takes. As she sings, “Take your time / No one knows if we’re too late for each other”, you’re left a prisoner inside her voice and within this beautiful song.
The single is out now via Birds Records.
Lusid are Paulina Palmgren, Fabian Ballago, Samuel Collmar, Karl Hovmark, and Johan Nilsson.
SACRE – “The Call” (Paris, France)
RIYL: MS MR, Daft Punk, Electric Youth
Summer must be around the corner, and it’s not because the weather is getting warmer. Rather, the big-time, party anthems are beginning to arrive, as various artists and bands try to get a leg up on the competition. The hotter temperatures, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the music needs to get heavier, louder, and more bombastic. There’s still space for songs that feel like a cool springtime breeze, such as the second single by Parisien duo SACRE.
“The Call” is a laid-back, shimmering, indietronica tune. It has a light and breezy vibe, yet the tickling, danceable beats are groovy and infectious in a Daft Punk way. As such, the song won’t necessarily cause an all-out, sweltering dance party, but it does something better – it encourages a group of people to come together and enjoy each other’s company. And as the duo say in this song, the opportunity is now for everyone to celebrate who we are, express who we are, and be united in our commonalities. Who said electronic music couldn’t be meaningful?
Stonefield – “Changes” (Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia)
RIYL: Vivian Girls, No Joy, The Preatures
The Findlay sisters, who are better known as Stonefield, have been one of Australia’s best-kept secrets for over a decade. The indie-rock quartet have established a sizable following, but overseas they are relatively unknown. Having just completed a tour in the US and Canada with the Meat Puppets and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, North American audiences are discovering why they have become favorite of Triple-J. For the uninitiated, another way to think of them is Australia’s version of No Joy – a band that can create crushing indie-rock and spectacular shoegaze.
Music fans will be hearing more about Stonefield in the days and weeks, as their new album officially drops tomorrow. And if the album’s lead single is any indication of what to expect, their popularity should reach new levels. In a word, “Changes” is dynamite. Rarely does a song make you want to reach for the stars, whip your head uncontrollably, and feverishly dance, but Stonefield have that exactly that with this number.
The Findlay sisters are: Amy (lead vocals/drums), Hannah (guitar/backing vocals), Sarah (keys/backing vocals), and Holly (bass/backing vocals).
WOODS – “Bleeding Blue” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: T. Rex, Grizzly Bear, The Beatles
Trying to compare WOODS with other bands is a near impossible exercise because they are in a class of their own. There aren’t many bands currently making their innovative brand of psychedelic folk-rock, and even that description doesn’t do justice to their creativity. There is an unmistakable, classic quality to their music, yet a refreshing modernity as they incorporate various influences. Take their latest single, “Bleeding Blue”, which is sheer brilliance in so many ways.
The warm and serene folk-rock melody is candy to the ears, but it is pleasantly interrupted by the boisterous, soulful horns and the fluttering notes of the flute. As such, the song is uplifting and even euphoric as all three elements converge during the song’s minute-long climax. This soundscape perfectly complements Jeremy Earl’s raspy vocals and his fantastic songwriting, which was influenced the words of former WOODS’ member Kevin Morby. Earl shares his thoughts on the world today and how hate has become the most dominant emotion. Instead of succumbing to this prevailing feeling, Earl reminds us that “If we want love, hate can’t stay” and “love is not dead”. These are phrases that we all should be expressing for the next 3 years and 9 months.
The band is comprised of Jeremy Earl, Jarvis Taveniere, Aaron Neveu, John Andrews, and Chuck Van Dyck.
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