The Matinee has nine pretty awesome – o.k., really awesome new music singles. There is a nice range of genres, including a surprisingly ambient electronic track if you so desire.
Baby Strange – “Play Me” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: The Clash, The Libertines, Palma Violets
When we heard from Scottish trio BABY STRANGE two months ago when they released “Motormind”, we said that “(i)t won’t be long until they reach rock stardom abroad because their music is like a rush of blood to the head.” Their new single further validates this opinion.
“Play Me” is a rip-roaring, unrelenting, crushing nuber. It reverberates with the anthemic rockers of the ’70s and ’80s, as the blistering guitar and hardcore rhythms take turns in blowing our minds. Although the song comes in at just under 2 1/2 minutes, it will leave one and all in a sweaty mess (especially live). The lyrics to the song are also great, as they’re essentially one big middle finger to every person and institution who has taken advantage of us. We wonder if that finger is being pointed at a particular political party and politician in the UK given the upcoming election. Hmmm…
Baby Strange are Johnny Madden, Connaire McCann, and Aidan McCann.
Basement Revolver – “Johnny Pt. 2” (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
RIYL: Slowdive, Alvvays, Hazel English
Last year, Canadian dream-pop trio Basement Revolver released their stunning debut single, “Johnny”. It was a heart-breaking single about a one-sided relationship, and it had us grabbing tissues in reflecting on our sadness. Now some thirteen months later, the band have shared the second part to the story.
“Johnny Pt. 2” is spectacular. It is even more dazzling and breathtaking than the original, shimmering with radiant, shoegaze guitars that would make giants like Slowdive envious. Frontwoman Chrisy Hurn’s vocals are slight, intimate, yet beautiful, as she sings softly to herself about the one who got away. Her lyrics, too, are honest and powerful.
You say you still love, but you can’t do this anymore.
My door will always be always open to you.
My door will always be always be open to you.
Even in heartbreak, love conquers all, as Hurn beautifully reminds us.
The band is comprised of Nimal Agalawatte, Chrisy Hurn, and Brandon Munroe.
DANCEHALL – “Digging” (London, England)
RIYL: PUP, Twin Peaks, NE-HI
Never judge a book by its cover, and similarly don’t judge a band by its name. If you do such things, then you’ll miss our on discovering that DANCEHALL are not an electronic group nor do they make pop music. On the contrary, they are an unrelenting rock and post-punk band. They don’t fall easily into either category since their songs are too melodic to be a punk song while too hard to be a straightforward rocker. Regardless how one defines DANCEHALL, one thing is certain, their music is awesome.
Their new single, “Digging”, personifies the London-based trio’s crushing and piercing sound. The lead guitar scorches the entire track while the rhythm section is bombastic. The final minute of the song is superb, as DANCEHALL turn up the levels and offer a hair raising climax but then slow things down and ease us to the end. Listen closely to the lyrics, though, as the band has delivered a really intelligent track about the pressures people feel to confirm to specific images and traits. We’ll be keeping an eye on this band since they’ve demonstrated they’re not here to make a quick buck but to share music that will move us in many ways.
The Districts – “If Before I Wake” (Philadelphia / Lititz, USA)
RIYL: Wolf Parade, Spencer Krug
It’s been fascinating to watch The Districts‘ growth from afar. When they first arrived on the scene in (insert year) with (add debut album), they won over a legion of fans with their classic indie rock approach. Their music recalled the ’80s – edgy, unpretentious, and anthems that resonated with anyone who grew up in a small town and doubted what was to come. Their sophomore album, A Flourish and a Spoil, was a blistering collection of coming-of-age songs. Now in a few weeks time, third number three will arrive, and they are set to take a massive leap forward should “If Before I Wake” be an indication.
This song is arguably the band’s best song to date and one of the best of the year. It is little louder and a touch darker, as the band channels the anthemic, surreal indie rock of Wolf Parade while melding in the brooding textures of The National. Rob Grote’s vocals, likewise, take on a deeper, Spencer-Krug-esque tone. His songwriting has gotten more mature, tackling societal ills and political issues of the day. On this song, he tells the story of a person waking up to a changed, dystopian world, where everything is in ruins.
Thunder woke me up
It was storming in the city
I was suddenly wide awake
Sitting in the darkness but my eyes they hadn’t adjusted
I was on my own, on my own
I still find it scary lightning could start a fire
Bricks and mortar might not survive
Would you start to miss me, would start to miss me?
Or am I all alone?
No, I’m just a narcissist.
The Districts never cease to amaze us, and we fully expect to be blown away when their new album, Popular Manipulations, arrives August 11th via Fat Possum. The band is comprised of Rob Grote (lead vocals/guitar), Conor Jacobus (bass), Braden Lawrence (drums), and Pat Cassidy (guitar).
Ed Han – “Moonlit Beach” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: M83, Tycho, Boards of Canada
Remember when M83 made lush, captivating, cosmic music? Are you like us and still long for those days? While Anthony Gonzalez may never return to those roots, his legacy lives on in many producers, such as new-ish artist Ed Han. For a couple of years, the Los Angeles resident has dabbled in remixes and mashups. Last month, though, he opted for a new course, which was to release his first original single, “Moonlit Beach”.
The song is exactly as the title suggests. It’s transfixing like the pale moonlight shining on the ocean water and the rhythmic crashing of the waves on the shore. “Moonlit Beach”, though, is more than just a terrestrial experience; it is also an interstellar one. Han’s production work is extravagant, as everything is done subtly and with great detail and where even the finest note can be detected. Consequently, the song, particularly its second half, feels like one is floating in space. All one can hear is the silence that surrounds us with the exception of the beauty of “Moonlit Beach” piercing through its centre. Houston, we have found a new ambient star.
Eliza & The Delusionals – “Falling Out” (Gold Coast, Australia)
RIYL: Alex Lahey, The Jezabels, Bec Sandridge
Australia continues to produce great indie artists at an alarming rate. Every week, we feature a handful coming from Down Under, and the latest band that has grabbed our attention are Eliza & The Delusionals.
Formed only in 2015, they, like other Aussie outfits, caught the attention of Triple J. They also made their debut appearance at Canadian Music Week in March of this year. All this signals huge things for the indie quartet, and their new single, “Falling Out”, will only get more people excited about their future. The tune is a classic pop-rock track that could fit in any era since the 1970s. An air of Fleetwood Mac reverberates throughout the song as well as touches of The Jezabels and The Cardigans. Yet there is an infectious modernity to the song, where the choral bursts and the clever songwriting are reminiscent of rising stars Alex Lahey and Bec Sandridge. If Eliza & The Delusionals maintain this approach, there will be little doubt they will become darlings of Australia’s independent scene.
Mt. Wolf – “Soteria” (London, England)
RIYL: Phoria, ZOLA BLOOD, Sigir Rós
What more is there left to say about Mt. Wolf? For over two years, the London-based trio have blown us away with their combination post-rock, dream-pop, indietronica, and ambient music. Words like ethereal, dreamy, and breathtaking litter our descriptions of their music. Now just days away from their much-anticipated, debut album, the band has done the unthinkable – shared another sensational song.
“Soteria” is stunning. It could be the song for an IMAX documentary about space, the lead-in song for a band like Arcade Fire or Radiohead, or on the soundtrack of a movie odyssey that takes us beyond the solar system. This single is a microcosm of Mt. Wolf’s brief history, as it combines all the genres the band has been associated with into one dramatic score. Everything about the track is wonderful despite its complexity. It’s one of those rare songs you won’t grow tired of hearing. It’s that good.
Mt. Wolf are Sebastian Fox, Stevie Red McMinn, and Al Mitchell.
Sleep Party People – “The Sun Will Open Its Core” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Kishi Bashi, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Is there anything that Brian Batz – the man behind Sleep Party People – cannot do? Whether it’s Radiohead-esque indietronica or progressive indie rock a la Grizzly Bear, the Copenhagen resident just leaves listeners floored and their mouths agape. With his new single, he heads in a completely unexpected direction, but the results are still mind-blowing.
“The Sun Will Open Its Core” is a brilliant, psychedelic-disco number. Swirling synths, feathery production, a throbbing bass line, stuttering percussion, and scintillating guitar line create a dreamy soundscape that Kevin Parker would envy. Batz’s vocals are startlingly weightless, floating above the haze and bringing us alongside him on this interstellar journey. To imagine that all this genius started with Batz tinkering with an old piano.
Wintermilk – “2 Seagull” (St. Petersburg, Russia)
RIYL: Savages, No Joy, Preoccupations
Once upon, a quartet based in France came out of nowhere to shock the world with their dark, edgy indie rock. That was Savages, who have developed into one of the industry’s most cathartic and beloved indie bands. Fast forward a few years later and head east to Russia, a little trio is similarly flying under the radar but not for long.
Meet Wintermilk, the St. Petersburg-based trio comprised of Alexandra Filippova, Kirill Kontorschikov, and Andrei Arefev. Last week, they released their debut album, Pretty Ugly (available on iTunes and Amazon), which is a tour-de-force. From it is the bone-chilling “2 Seagull”. It combines the dark euphoria of Savages, the lush but pensive shoegaze of No Joy, and the haunting grittiness of Preoccupations. Not surprisingly, this combination yields a song that is alluring and intoxicating, where one becomes lost in Filippova’s sensual vocals, the shimmering soundscape, or both. It is one of those rare tracks that will have you uttering, “My God.” It’s that great.
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