The Matinee June 6th buzzes with some anthemic rockers, personal folk-pop songs, and, of course, one ’80s-inspired tune. Oh, there’s one cover song that will rock your world for how the band re-imagined a classic disco tune.
Autre Monde – “I Want My Enemies to Prosper” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Wolf Parade, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs
Protest music is back in style. Every day, another song arrives to condemn the policies and remarks of certain Western governments, and rightfully for so. Some are angry and anthemic, such as the latest singles by She Keeps Bees and Prophets of Rage. Then there are protest songs that surprise you with their message, such as Autre Monde‘s new single, “I Want My Enemies to Prosper”.
This song is fantastic. It echoes of the anthemic indie-prog-rock approach of Wolf Parade, slowly intensifying until reaching its emotional climax. The instrumentation, however, never gets overdone, and the proggy synths at the end is masterfully executed.
Although this is an indie-prog-rock anthem, “I Want My Enemies to Prosper” buzzes with a revolutionary vibe, particularly at the start. The military-style drumming that opens the song echoes the battle hymn of a battalion heading to war. Frontman Paddy Hanna’s boisterous vocals, meanwhile, is the captain leading his troops into the battlefield. While there is undoubtedly anger in his voice, there is a surprising revelation. Autre Monde aren’t seeking to destroy their enemies, but to free them from their own oppression. It’s an unexpected twist in a world being increasingly governed by fear and hate. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised by their message; instead, we should embrace it.
Autre Monde are Paddy Hanna (vocals), Mark Chester (guitar), Padraig Cooney (bass), and Eoghan O’Brien (drums).
Frøkedal – “Stranger” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles
It’s been over a year since the voice of Anne Lise Frøkedal – or simply just Frøkedal – graced our ears. At the time, she released her debut album, Hold On Dreamer, which attracted plenty of attention for its grace and fairy tale splendor. There aren’t any plans for a new record, but instead the Oslo resident will share new singles that will allow her to explore new sounds. The first of the new endeavors is the stirring “Stranger”.
Fittingly, the song is about new beginnings and introductions. The folk-pop melodies that stretch across the tune represent the first noticeable difference, giving “Stranger” a classic, ’70s quality a la Joni Mitchell. Frøkedal’s personal and imaginative songwriting, however, remains, as she tells the story of two people meeting for the first time. “Come on stranger, let me in. All is lost here, and now you’re everything,” she sweetly sings into our ears. Is the song to a newborn baby, a long lost sibling, or the meeting of two old friends after decades apart? Whatever adventure you choose, one thing is for certain – the genre is irrelevant when it comes to Frøkedal because she is a master of her art.
The single is out now via Propeller Recordings.
The Howl & The Hum – “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge” (York, England)
RIYL: Travis, Daughter, Keaton Henson
We love great stories in songs. It’s not just the music that takes us away, but great songwriting and storytelling will always win the day. When the two come together – a breathtaking sound and wonderful lyrics – our day has been made. The new single by The Howl & The Hum is one of those singles that has us saying, “Thank You”.
“Godmanchester Chinese Bridge” is in a word sensational. The music is mournful yet exquisite, as each dissonant strum of the guitar and pulsating throb of the bass and drums pull at your heartstrings. Frontman Sam Griffiths’ emotional vocals are bone-jarring, filling the air with the pain of a man who has lost a loved one forever. The song’s lyrics must be read, and they can be found by clicking the SoundCloud audio above. The video is also worth investing the time, and it can be found here.
The Howl & The Hum are Sam Griffiths, Conor Hirons, Bradley Blackwell, and Jack Williams.
JW Ridley – “Blitz” (London, England)
RIYL: The National, JOSEPH OF MERCURY, Eagulls
Remember the name JW Ridley because this young man is going to be a star. He may not make it to the big time immediately because his music isn’t necessarily made for mainstream radio. Don’t be surprised, however, if his career follows a similar trajectory as David Bowie, where he’s so far ahead of his peers that they and radio stations eventually catch up to him.
The young London-based artist is a time-spanning bridge. His music is one part ’70s- and ’80s-era glam rock and krautrock and another part modern-day indie-rock and post-punk. By mixing them together, he’s creating songs that are creative, refreshing, and absolute epics, like his latest tune, “Blitz”.
“Blitz” explodes from the start and never lets up during its 3 minutes and 36 seconds. It is a driving, cinematic song that will leave the hairs on the back of your neck standing upfront, have your heart racing as if you have just ran a marathon, and leave butterflies in your stomach. By the end of it all, you will be gasping for a breath because the intensity and urgency in the song will have you holding on until the very end. The music is exhilarating, and Ridley’s dramatic storytelling is enrapturing. “Blitz” is a song that you will want to spin again and again, making it a candidate for year end lists.
This is Ridley’s second single from his forthcoming EP. It will be released in July (TBC) via SOME KINDA LOVE.
Nap LaJoy – “Bulldogs” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, City Calm Down
In a city teeming with aspiring bands and artists, New Yorkers should pay close attention to newcomers Nap LaJoy. Like many of the Big Apple’s great bands, this quartet is creating climatic and stunning indie rock. But instead of taking their cues from the likes of The National or Grizzly Bear, their cinematic and groovy approach is reminiscent of a band north of the border – Broken Social Scene. Their new single, “Bulldogs”, perfectly evidences their dynamic and dramatic flair.
The song has three parts. The first is the appetizer, as the band lures in the listener with a shimmering introduction. Frontman Devin O’Keeffe’s vocals are intimate and calm while the instrumentation borders on ’80s soft-rock. For nearly two minutes, we’re left dazzled by the smooth melodies and completely mesmerized by the story of a young man who has lost his way or even seeking revenge for what he’s lost. The second course is slightly more intense, as the guitars get more amplified and the rhythms take on a more urgent tone. Suddenly, the song feels like a race against time. The finale is nearly 90 seconds of cascading instrumental extravagance, filled soaring guitars, pounding of the ivory keys, a throbbing bass line, and a torrent of cymbals, snares, and bass drum. These final moments are magnificent, and we’re left wanting more.
“Bulldogs” is from Nap LaJoy’s forthcoming, new album, Host. It will be out August 11th via Full Stop Art.
The band is comprised of Devin O’Keeffe (vocals/guitar/percussion), Michael Simonelli (guitar/keys/production), David Newman (drums/percussion), and Kevin Hunter (bass).
Pale Honey – “Lay All Your Love on Me” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Warpaint, Marika Hackman, ABBA
We’ve long been excited about the potential of Swedish indie-rock trio Pale Honey, identifying them back in 2016 as artists to watch. While we wait for the arrival of their sophomore album, they’ve shared a surprise new single. It’s actually a cover, and you have not heard ABBA like this.
The disco-pop royals’ classic song, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, is given a complete makeover. Forget about the blitzing synths, the feverish rhythms, and the soaring harmonies. Instead, open your mind and enter the darkness of Tuva Lodmark, Nelly Daltrey, and Anders Lagerfors’ reinterpretation. The song is turned into a stark, brooding, and gripping number. The synths are replaced by a shallow guitar line. A throbbing and penetrating rhythm section drive the song. Lodmark’s vocals, meanwhile, are whispery in their delivery, but a sharp pain reverberates in every word she utters. This re-imagination is tantalizingly hypnotic and engrossing, and it is an example of the potential and brilliance of Pale Honey. Let’s hope there is more of this to come in the very near future.
Po’ Brothers – “Feel” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: The Black Angels, The Black Lips, Temples
As the psychedelic resurgence turns into a revolution (even taking hold of electronica), more and more bands are capturing our attention. Most of them have come from overseas, particularly the UK, Italy, and Australia. One American band, however, is making our ears pique and our souls swoon.
That group is Po’ Brothers, compromised of four friends from Indiana who packed up their lives and moved to Seattle. But instead of trying to be the next Nirvana, they’re replicating the grizzly, cosmic psychedelia of The Black Angles. Their new single, “Feel”, for instance, could be right out of the Austin greats’ catalogue. Alternatively, for literature buffs, if Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was turned into song, it would sound something like this.
“Feel” begins calmly with a shimmering groove that feels like a walk in the park. It patiently escalates, teasing us with a few fiery blasts. By the end of it, though, a buzzsaw of reverb guitars, crushing rhythms, and piercing vocals occupies the airspace and completely takes over one’s mind. Consequently, every listener will be jerking their heads back and forth and throwing fist pumps in the air. A few obscenities may be hollered, but done with sheer delight. This song is awesome.
Po’ Brothers are Cody Plaiss, Collin Curry, Cody DeCant, and Jake Naville.
Swimming Girls – “Tastes Like Money” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, The Divinyls, Anteros
A throwback ’80s track is one of our soft spots – a song that reminds us of the coming-to-age movies we watched endlessly on weekends and continue to revisit to this day. Now, these songs don’t come every day or even week, but today is an exception and we have Bristol quartet Swimming Girls to thank.
Their new single is unabashedly from the era of big hair, acid-washed jeans, and leotards. The dreamgaze / dream-pop approach is dazzling, highlighted by the shimmering, Cocteau Twins-esque shoegaze guitars. Frontwoman Vanessa’s vocals are intoxicating, at times sounding like Chrissie Amphlett and other moments like Lorde. The storyline is right out of Pretty Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High – a song about one memorable night but its magic may never be repeated again. Ah, to be young again, but fortunately bands like Swimming Girls are helping us relive our youth.
Willolux – “Modern Day Maestro” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Basia Bulat, Jenn Grant, Jack River
Over the past five years or so, folk-pop has suffered an identity crisis, particularly as more artists have achieved mainstream success. Needlessly to say, we have been turned off by some of the music coming from this area, but one new artist is making us believe that there is still hope for the genre.
Meet Willolux, the project of Vancouver-based of Kristina Emmott. She’s a bit old school in her approach, where the focus is on her sublime vocals and terrific songwriting while the music acts as her canvas. Although she recently released a new single, “Sweet Spot”, it is a song shared two months ago that has us excited.
“Modern Day Maestro” is a sublime slice of folk-pop. The music is radiant and immersive, echoing Basia Bulat’s reinvention of ’70s-era folk-pop. Her voice is lavishing, where the listener is left dangling to every word she sings. The songwriting, though, does not mirror the themes or styles covered within this genre. Instead, there is a flair of The New Pornographers, as Emmott shares her frustrations with people’s desire to have their 15 minutes of fame and where the gifted get shunned for the attractive. Not only is this song having us believe that folk-pop can be fresh and exciting; it has us eagerly waiting to hear what Emmott will share next.
“Modern Day Maestro” is from Willolux’s debut album, Thread & Tape, and it arrives June 23rd.
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