The Matinee June 16th is a new music kaleidoscope, offering a few choice selections from different genres. Wendy usually joins me on Fridays, but she’s off on holiday. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the samplings below.
Arcade Fire – “Creature Comfort” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Arcade Fire
Admittedly, we weren’t terribly ecstatic by Arcade Fire‘s first single for their new album, “Everything Now”. We actually shared Chris DeVille’s (of Steregum) thoughts, although we wouldn’t have gone as far to question the band’s greatness. The Canadian stars released their latest song in the wee hours of the morning, and in our humble opinion it is a thousand times better.
“Creature Comfort” is a rousing number that flashes with David Byrne’s brilliance. It seamlessly blends shimmering, ’80s synth-pop, ’90s electro-rock, and 2010’s gritty but anthemic indie rock. There is, however, an undeniable Arcade Fire vibe that had thousands of people gravitate to them early in their careers, and that is the ability to build drama in their songs. “Creature Comfort” starts off melodically, but it slowly builds to its rapturous ending. Win Butler is also at his songwriting best, writing a moving message about the pressures youth feel today and how popularity and mass media have caused irreparable damage. Yet at the same time, it sounds like Arcade Fire revealing the challenges they’ve experienced with fame.
Some boys hate themselves
Spend their lives resenting their fathers.
Some girls hate their bodies,
Stand in the mirrors waiting for the feedback.
Saying God make me famous
If you can’t just make it painless.
Just make it painless.
Assisted suicide she dreams about dying all the time
She told me she came so close
Filled up the bathtub and put on our first record.
God make me famous
If you can’t just make it painless.
Just make it painless.
Their fifth album, Everything Now, comes out July 28th via Columbia Records.
Chelsea Wolfe – “16 Psyche” (Sacramento, USA)
RIYL: PJ Harvey, Russian Circles, Zola Jesus
Some people opt to age gracefully, but Chelsea Wolfe has chosen to only get louder, harder, and gloomier. She’s still a young 33 years old, and with each passing year and album (six so far) her sound gets fuller and darker. LP number seven is on the horizon, so what does the Queen of Gothic doom rock have in store?
The lead single from Hiss Spun is “16 Psyche,” and Wolfe goes nuclear with it. It’s as hard and menacing as anything she has created, but it might be even darker than her breakthrough record, Apokalypsis. It’s not so much the reverb-drenched guitars or the distant aching from the drums and bass line, but Wolfe’s vocals and lyrics are startlingly eerie. Her voice is shallow, imitating the little voice in one’s head that is whispering, “Let me save you.” While we know whose voice it is, do we even dare to reach out and discover who is exactly behind the curtain? That is the power of Wolfe, whose music embeds itself deep into our minds and plays tricks on our imaginations.
Hiss Spun will be unleashed on September 22nd via Sargent House.
Frankie Rose – “Trouble” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Day Wave, Teen Daze, Washed Out
When we started this endeavor called The Revue some four years ago, not too many artists would give us the time of day. One who would return our emails and reply to our tweets was Frankie Rose, the veteran artist that many of us were huge fans of well before we started writing about music. The one time member of the Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Beverly, and Crystal Stilts has had a successful solo career. Her last two albums, 2010’s Interstellar and 2013’s Herein Wild (both available on Bandcamp), were gorgeous synth-pop records, and her new single is no different.
“Trouble” is exhilaration personified. The stuttering drum machine and the shimmering synths create a groovy and heart-racing soundscape. Rose’s vocals are enrapturing and cosmic in their delivery, akin to a celestial body seducing us to come into her world and escape the troubles of our past. This is exactly what we will do because this song will have us running and running and running until there is nowhere else to go. Sure, while it may be impossible to run away from reality, at least for a few minutes we can feel like we’re lost in a beautiful, new realm. Only a few artists have such power.
“Trouble” is from Rose’s forthcoming, new album, Cage Tropical. It will be released August 11th via Slumberland Records.
Leyendekker – “Husk” (London, England)
RIYL: Radiohead, Maribou State, Mt. Wolf
In May, we were introduced to a new band that had us thinking about Grizzly Bear for their innovative and experimental take on indie rock. But before putting them on the same pedestal as the indie giants, they would need to prove themselves with at least one more single. Well, Leyendekker have once again dazzled us.
This time around, they channel the cosmic ethos of Radiohead, Maribou State, and Mt. Wolf, who are all masters of melding spatial electronica with guitar-driven melodies. The result is “Husk,” a song that transcends time and space and pierces deep into one’s subconscious. Throughout this five-minute masterpiece, your attention is transfixed on the beautifully dark, hypnotic atmosphere, pausing occasionally to take a breath. Wildly imaginative, elegantly executed, and dazzling in its delivery, “Husk” is as close to perfection as a song could be, much like their previous single, “Thankless.” Leyendekker are definitely a band that deserves to be mentioned alongside the great experimental indie bands of our time.
Leyendekker are Aviram Barath, Joss Brightwell, Jonny Coote, and Calum Duncan.
Michael Nau – “How You’re So For Real” (Cumberland, MD, USA)
RIYL: Matt Corby, Kevin Morby, Haley Bonar
We said back in March that Michael Nau is one of the most underrated songwriters today. He doesn’t receive enough credit for his Leonard Cohen-esque prowess for taking life’s simple pleasures and making them into otherworldly affairs. His latest single, “How You’re So For Real,” is a prime example of his brilliance.
The song is perfection. It is like waking up on the first day of your long-awaited holiday to find a bright, sunny day awaiting you. Or it is akin to the feeling of stepping off the plane and arriving at one of the destinations on your bucket list. It is just simply magical, a song that leaves you in a state of bliss. Nau’s vocals are intimate and welcoming, and the instrumentation will leave you gently swaying from side to side. His lyrics, too, are full optimism, telling us to hold on and live another day no matter how difficult things may be. Nau’s message is apropos given the times we currently live in, so hopefully the song will be heard far and wide.
And hopefully people will pick up the Maryland native’s new album, Some Twist. It is out today via Suicide Squeeze Records.
Secret Drum Band – “DaDaDa” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Battles, Liquid Liquid
This year has seen many super-groups emerge, but the latest one isn’t your ordinary cup of coffee. Meet Secret Drum Band, which is comprised of Lisa Schonberg (Explode Into Colors), Allan Wilson (!!!), and Heather Treadway (Unwound). And exactly as the band name suggests, all three are percussionists and composers, which makes this outfit immensely unique. Don’t expect a raging guitar solos or wailing vocals; instead, be prepared to have your mind blown.
On August 4th, their debut album, Dynamics, will be released via XRAY Records. Giving us a taste of what is to come is their new single, “DaDaDa,” an ear-popping, eye-opening introduction to their tribal-like sound. The combination of chest-rattling percussion with probing, layered beats and seething guitar riffs is mesmerizing and even seductive. Consequently, we’re lured into this enchanting world; once inside, voluntary convulsion and gyration occurs. The approach is relatively simple, yet the trio have created a song that is deliriously intoxicating to the nth degree.
Pre-orders are available here.
TORRES – “Skim” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Fiona Apple, St. Vincent, Andrew Keoghan
We were patiently waiting for TORRES‘ new single, “Skim,” to hit SoundCloud so we could include it in our Weekend Showcase. Just as we were about to give up hope, it appeared. Granted, it requires a Go account (subscribers can hit the audio image to be taken to SC), though the mind-bending yet absorbing video is well worth watching. But if you want to shy away from watching hands reaching for Mackenzie Scott and her walking in an abandoned, ’70s-decorated bungalow, then just listen to this fascinating song instead.
Scott’s trademark piercing guitar sears alongside a probing, analogue synth, giving this gritty song an extra haunting, sinister layer. The two instruments, however, complement one another perfectly, and they represent the dualities that Scott sings about. Control versus desire: which will win out? Do we let our true selves be revealed or do we conform to the masses? Shall our deepest emotions be shown or shall we apply a stoic mask, as Scott does in the video? “Skim” is a raw, tantalizing, psychological affair, and her intelligence and thoughtfulness are why she’s one of our all-time favorites. She’s also delivered two albums that have made our “Favorites” lists – 2013’s TORRES and 2015’s Sprinter.
Wesley Fuller – “#1 Song” (Melbourne via Perth, Australia)
RIYL: The New Pornographers, Ariel Pink, A.C. Newman
When we first came across Wesley Fuller, we still had a Hidden Gem feature. If I recall correctly, Fuller had a couple hundred Facebook followers at the time (he didn’t have accounts on Twitter or Instagram). Nearly two years later, he’s become one of Australia’s buzziest artists and a rising star, winning people over with his quirky brand of indie pop-rock.
With his popularity on the rise, indie label 1965 Records signed him and will release his debut album. The lead single is the aptly named “#1 Song.” It echoes the swimmingly infectious psychedelic pop of The New Pornographers. Like A.C. Newman, Fuller’s voice is at the forefront of the head-noodling melody, singing to us about chasing after our dreams. The jangly guitars, the pulsing rhythms, and the buzzing keyboard that cuts through the bubbly noise are also very New Pornos-esque. For added effect, he’s joined by a female vocalist (name unknown) who sounds awfully like Kathryn Calder. Yes, there’s a familiarity with the song, but it is like the perfect summer day – a song that will leave you smiling endlessly from dusk til dawn.
Fuller’s debut album, Inner City Dream, is out September 22nd on 1965 Records.
Woodes – “Run For It” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: MØ, BROODS, Halsey
We’ve been saying for a while that Elle Graham – better known by her moniker Woodes – is on the verge of stardom, as the young woman’s popularity has exponentially increased over the past few months. She’s gaining fans across the globe for her sizzling electro-pop style, but don’t mistake her as just another pop artist. One of the main reasons why we have gravitated to her music is that she is first and foremost an excellent songwriter, avoiding the typical traps and themes that many of her peers fall into. Others are also taking note, including Triple J, who premiered her latest song, “Run For It,” on Thursday night.
Sonically, the song shares strong similarities to MØ and BROODS with its percolating rhythms and tantalizing electro-pop approach. A gloomier, darker atmosphere envelopes the song, turning what should be a dance-floor anthem into a searing, psychological experience. Woodes further challenges our thoughts and ideas with her lyrics, as she focuses her words on all the eyes that are watching us. A sense of insecurity, loneliness, and creepiness settles in, making us wonder if we are indeed alone.
For those in Australia, Graham will be heading out on a mid-winter’s mini-tour beginning July 8th. She’ll be performing in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, but additional dates are expected later. Find more information here.
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