The Matinee May 12th has 9 awesome new tracks for your listening pleasure. One from a favorite of all of us of course and a few more alumni and also brand new artists for you to take a listen. The sampling today is worldwide with artists representing Denmark,  France, Sweden, the US and the UK today.

The National – “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” (Brooklyn, USA)

THE NATIONAL ARE BACK! Those four words are on the lips of fans worldwide since the American indie icons released this new tune yesterday. They shared this song along with details about their upcoming seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, and world tour. We’ll get to that in a bit; first let’s talk about the song. It’s been on repeat for the last 24 hours for one reason: it’s brilliant.

“The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” begins with a few seconds of Beach Boys-esque harmonies before a quick, funky guitar riff ushers in Matt Berninger’s familiar vocals. The tempo picks up from there, making this one of their most rocking offerings since “Graceless” from their 2013 album, Trouble Will Find Me. The song’s wordy title (their longest yet) is just one signal that the band have branched out.

The lyrics from the first verse (“Why are you hiding from me? We’re in a different kind of thing now”) are another subtle wink to their new chapter. Their sound is bolder and more representative of their energy during shows. After four long years of waiting, The National are back – with a vengeance. Ticket pre-sales for their North American and European tour dates start today with general ticket sales starting Monday. The video can be viewed here should you not have a SoundCloud Go account.


Sleep Well Beast arrives in September via 4AD with pre-orders here.

The National are: Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, and Scott Devendorf.

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The Attic Sleepers – “Leopard” (Copenhagen, Denmark)

RIYL: Local Natives, Mew

The Attic Sleepers have recently released “Leopard”, and it’s a dreamy, harmony-filled track. The vocals are reminiscent of their fellow countryman Jonas Bjerre (Mew) yet with percussion and harmonies reminiscent of Local Natives.

“Leopard” is another track you can definitely add to your soon to be emerging warm weather playlist or chilled out weekend vibes. The Attic Sleepers seem to have a way with creating an almost melancholic sound that still uplifts your mood. “Leopard” is the first single release since 2015’s Lanquin EP

The Attic Sleepers are mainly comprised of Mathias Barfod Boll and Matias Knigge Laursen yet their live set includes members Dennis DeBannic, Aske Bramming, Mikkel Grevsen and Erik Lindkvist.

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HAWK – “Ghosts” (Berlin, Germany via London, England)

RIYL: The Cranberries, The Cure, Desperate Journalist

HAWK is the project of Julie Hawk. With “Ghosts”, the Berlin-via-London artists shares a brooding yet captivating track. Hawk’s vocals are stellar, radiating with the energy and intensity of Dolores O’Riordan. Not surprisingly, when her voice first emerges, we’re immediately reeled in.

Musically, the song haerkens to the ’90s and the rise of alt-rock, yet it also encompasses a dreamy darkness in it a la The Cure and Desperate Journalist. The contrast of beautiful yet sweet vocals set against a goth-rock/post-punk composition is remarkable, and this perfect combination sets HAWK apart from the usual indie-rock fare.

“Ghosts” is from her new EP, She Knows, which is out on Veta Records.

In addition to Julie, Hawk are Matthew Harris (guitar), Chris Handsley (bass), and Sam Campbell (drums).

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hd hausmann – “all constant in the state of intrigue” (London, England)

RIYL: Leonard Cohen, Leiff Vollebekk, Jesse Marchant

We have been intrigued by hd hausmann for quite a while, so it’s only fitting they finally have a song called, “all constant in the state of intrigue”. The lyrics on each song with hd hausmann is almost like a riddle – you aren’t sure of the complete meaning but the composition and delivery of the lyrics just make each new release, well, awesome and, yes, intriguing. We still don’t know much about hd hausmann except the main person behind the band is Liam Palmer, and he has a ton of musicians he taps for each new track.

With the band’s recent offering, there is a bit more synth and bass than the usual acoustic-based songs of his past. The piano is also a nice touch courtesy of Ali Smith. As usual, the chorus is anthemic, although it never goes overboard, but it’s infectious enough that we are left wanting more.

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Japanese Breakfast – “Machinist” (Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL: Devojka, Psychic Twin, Kristin Kontrol

As the chimes open “Machinist”, we immediately become aware that Michelle Zauner – a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast – has completely brushed aside her indie rock side. In its place is the sound of the future, full of synths, titillating beats, and a sensual soundscape. The world presented feels like a club, but it’s more the sound of a dystopian place where technology has overtaken humanity. Zauner’s vocals seamlessly move from the robotic nature of auto-tune to her clear vocals to present the conflict between the animate and inanimate sides. Which one comes out of top is hinted at the surprising ending, which features the lonely bellow of a saxophone. The timing of this song couldn’t have been better with Bladerunner 2049 on the horizon. Then again, the Philly resident has always been ahead of the curve.

“Machinist” is from Japanese Breakfast’s forthcoming, new album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet. It comes out July 14th via Dead Oceans. Pre-order the song here or on Bandcamp.

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Sam Levin – “Hide And Seek” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Andrew Bird, Andrew Keoghan, Bahamas

Sam Levin has been involved with music ever since he was five-years old. He wrote his first song at age 7. At 12, he released his first EP, I’m In Here, which was speaking to his peers about social media and putting your worth in likes or followers.

Now he has released his first album, Frame of Mind – at just 15-years old! One of the singles from the LP, “Hide and Seek”, displays his maturity as a songwriter and musician. Musically, the song is a stripped-back yet intricate production. The quirkiness of the acoustic-based track, sampled percussion, and the addition of strings elevate this song from merely top-40 ear candy to indie sensationalism. Given the approach, one would think Levin had a lot of assistance, but on the contrary the NYC resident composed all of the music and lyrics himself and performs almost all of the parts on his recordings. Given his youth and talent, Levin’s career is on the fast-track to stardom.

Sam shares a bit about his newest album, “Frame of Mind, is really about the last year and a half of my life,” according to Sam. “It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just what happened.” He also shares that “it’s about music’s place in all of that, in my life.”

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Sawyer – “Next Time” (Nashville, USA)

RIYL: COIN, Lucy Rose, Poema

Sawyer are comprised of Kel Taylor and Emma Harvey. The duo are becoming pros at creating upbeat and glittery indie pop / folk-pop. The vocals of the two are completely charming. Add in the authenticity of their storytelling and sunny guitar riffs, it’s hard not to fall in love with Sawyer.

“Next Time” chronicles the awkwardness that is always present when you are first beginning to really be into someone and you aren’t sure if the feeling is mutual.

The Nashville-based duo have made a real connection with their fans and their down to earth approach to being real and transparent has been a winning formula with their 2016 headlining tour they reached thousands of fans. Their following shows with “Next Time” already gaining 50,000 spins in just a handful of days.

We look forward to hearing more from the rising talent of Sawyer.

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This Is The Kit – “Moonshine Freeze” (Paris, France via Winchester, England)

RIYL: Lisa Hannigan, Luluc, Emily Jane White

When we last heard from Kate Stables – a.k.a. This Is The Kit – we were swooning over her album, Bashed Out, which made indie folk dreamy and evocative. She’s back with a new album in tow, and the lead single is “Moonshine Freeze”.

There is a noticeable difference with the song. It has more of a groove, and a feeling of the tropics overcomes one. This is music that should be played on the beach in the Caribbean, as we’re decked out in our tank tops, shorts, and flip flops and all the while enjoying the warm afternoon sun. “Moonshine Freeze” is arguably the coolest song Stables has written to date (pun not intended).

The story behind the track is cooler. Its origins are from a clapping song taught to Stables and her daughter by a friend. As Stables explains,

At the end it goes “moonshine, moonshine, moonshine – Freeze!'” and everyone has to stop moving. And it really pierced me somehow. I think there are certain lines and melodies and little rhythms that hook into you and send your brain in spirals.

To hear the song, click the SoundCloud audio (although you need a Go account) or play the video of the live session below. On the recorded version, The National’s Aaren Dessner, who produced Bashed Out, plays the synth, guitar, and piano. If you don’t have a SoundCloud Go account, view a live session of the song here.


This Is The Kit’s new album, Moonshine Freeze, will be released July 7th via Rough Trade Records.

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Youth Club – “Are You Wanting It All” (Southend-on-Sea, England)

RIYL: Coquin Migale, High Tyde, Marsicans

It’s been a while since we have heard anything from Youth Club. After releasing their Colours EP in 2014, they’ve only released a few singles released here and there. Their newest one, though, is a grand entrance.

“Are You Wanting It All” is a super-addicting. soul-inspired track, and we want to keep hitting repeat. The songs speaks to that relationship where you want to completely go for it, yet there is a concern that the one you care about most isn’t really on the same level. The track also gets us moving with the completely danceable vibe that should be on every summer playlist.

Youth Club are Gerarrd Duffield, Danny Blanco, Joe Fran, and Rees Broomfield.

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