The Matinee July 11th is like a grand buffet, offering a diverse and eclectic set of new music from across the globe. There’s dream folk from New Zealand and Australia plus blistering indie rock from England and the USA. Great Britain also offers some savory R&B, synth-pop delights come from Canada, and the country of Norway offers some biting psychedelia. But instead of easing you into the playlist, we start off with a rocker from one of Canada’s great post-punk bands.
METZ – “Cellophane” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Death from Above 1979 meets The Strokes, Preoccupations
Back in May, Toronto trio METZ released a trailer that a new album was under way. The trailer was named METZ2017, although it was unclear whether this is the name of the LP or just the video’s title. Fans patiently waited for the first shoe to drop, but nothing was shared until the wee hours of today. Here is “Cellophane”.
In true METZ fashion, this song is 4 minutes and 12 seconds of unrelenting and fiery noise-punk. There is no let up, no moment to catch your breath. Instead, Alex Edkins (vocals/guitar), Chris Slorach (bass), and Hayden Menzies (drums) just blow our minds with one blistering guitar riff after another, a tidal wave of crushing bass, and percussion that is like a barrage of artillery. But this isn’t simply just noise and ferocity, the band cleverly adds an unexpected element – some classic rock. Listen closely, and The Strokes can be heard in the harmonies and melodies. Clever these guys are.
The song is also available on Spotify since the SoundCloud audio is just a preview and requires a Go account.
METZ’s new album, Strange Peace, drops September 22 via Sub Pop Records and Royal Mountain Records. METZ are performing at a handful of European festivals (see their website), so we should get news and possibly more new music soon.
Angharad Drake – “Baby” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: Feist, Joanna Newsom, Laura Marling
The phrase “doing a double take” often applies to something visual, where an object or person makes us look again to appreciate its beauty. These words aren’t often used in music, but it definitely applies to emerging singer-songwriter Angharad Drake and her single, “Baby”.
From the very few words she sings on the song, her voice takes you away with its soft but transfixing quality. It’s a voice that leaves you awestruck. The hum of the slide guitar and the harrowing echoes from the rhythm section, meanwhile, paint a landscape that is dark and claustrophobic, where there is no way to run and no place to turn. But what will cause you to repeat is Drake’s Edgar Allan Poe-style storytelling, as she describes living with an arrogant yet confused soul:
Baby, did you lose your way?
Well I’ve got a funny feeling that you just don’t know
You said everyone is dead to me
Or did you say it was the dead you were looking for?
With music that is beautifully haunting yet cripplingly inviting, Drake is a young artist to watch. She could very well follow in the footsteps of Julia Jacklin and Jack River.
Electric Eye – “Turn Around, Face The Sun” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Pink Floyd, The Black Angels, Wolf People
Some songs are like amusement park rides that take you through loops and stomach-churning free falls. Norwegian quartet Electric Eye‘s music, however, is a whole different kind of adventure – a psychedelic one that exists only within one’s mind. Their new single, “Turn Around, Face The Sun”, provides a perfect example of their far-out, psych-drone/space-rock exhilaration.
This song is like Pink Floyd and Ravi Shankar performing on a comet that is spiraling towards the biggest star in our solar system. It is, in other words, the definition of a cosmic psychosis. The sitar-infused, hazy melody are delirious, and the god-like vocals are intoxicating, making you temporarily lose touch with reality. The storyline, though, is right out of a Pierre Boulle novel, as the band tells the tale of a cult making sacrifices to their gods. It’s crazy, trippy, and oh so fantastic.
The single is out now via Jansen Plateproduksjon or now simplified to Jansen Records. Electric Eye are currently working on their third album, which is expected in November (TBC).
The band consists of Øystein Braut (guitar/vocals), Njål Clementsen (bass/vocals), Anders Bjelland (keys), and Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (drums).
Grawlixes – “Been In Bed” (Wellington via Dunedin, New Zealand)
RIYL: The Ballroom Thieves, French for Rabbits, The Lone Bellow
It’s a well-established fact that New Zealand is the new music capital when it comes to folk music. From traditional renditions to dreamy takes to the rock-blend of the ’60s and ’70s, Aotearoa has seen the likes of Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid, Tiny Ruins, Lydia Cole, and French for Rabbits achieve critical acclaim across the globe. A new band is set to join this quintet, and their name is Grawlixes.
Originally from Dunedin and now based in Wellington, the trio of Robin Cederman (guitar/vocals), Penelope Esplin (accordion/vocals), and Alex Vaastra (violin) released their debut album, Set Free (via Home Alone Music) last week. It is what you expect from a Kiwi band – a thoughtful but amusing collection of stories that will leave you chuckling, in awe, and even a bit weary. One song from the record is “Been In Bed”, a warm and tender ballad about surviving another day apart from a loved one. With Esplin’s graceful and endearing vocals weaving through Cederman and Vaastra’s orchestration, you’ll want to snuggle up close to your partner and spend the rest of the day in bed. Her words stick in your head:
Still the worst sound, met with a sigh
And it’s my fair skin, or the air outside
You’ll be better tonight, if you stay under covers
And we can find some more reasons to be lovers
The album is available on Bandcamp.
Illyin Pipes – “Waking Up” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Psychic Twin, Teeth & Tongue, Purity Ring
First there was Grimes, then Purity Ring; Electric Youth, Mozart’s Sister, and Milk & Bone soon followed. All of them are great Canadian producers making some of the best electronic- and dream-pop on the planet. We will need to add the name Illyin Pipes to this list.
The Toronto native is just starting her career, but like the names above she has already mastered the art of leaving audiences breathless with her new single, “Waking Up”. The synths buzz with a sensuality right out of the ’80s, but it is her voice that you get completely lost in. The entire song is what you might imagine Eden would be – a utopia where just you and your loved one live in eternal bliss. Exactly how many songs can you say that about? Not many. Pinch us, because we surely must be dreaming.
“Waking Up” is from Illyin Pipes’ forthcoming debut EP, Spaces, which is expected later this year.
Marlon Brando Island – “Circle Of Throats” & “Drunk Driving” (London, England)
RIYL: Japandroids, The Men, Preoccupations
In March, we were introduced to Marlon Brando Island, a trio from London who somehow continues to fly under the radar. Their brand of indie rock bridges the Atlantic – the blistering, anthemic volumes of the UK scene – and the guitar-driven, classic-rock inspired explosions of North America. And yesterday, they released not one but two songs, and both are glorious epics.
“Circle Of Throats” is a stunning, brooding number as far as indie-rock songs go, akin to the dark anthems of The Men and with a touch of The National. The pace is brilliant, starting off slowly before burning into a blistering finale. The lyrics are some of the most devastating you will hear this year, as Marcus Fulcher describes a person who has been betrayed and stabbed in the back. Sounds like a song written specifically for The Game of Thrones.
On “Drunk Driving”, the band revs up the noise and launches a fiery, exhilarating song. But like “Circle Of Throats”, this is another heart-pounding and tragic number, reminiscent of the harrowing dramas of Preoccupations. The guitars wail with the sadness and pain of Fulcher’s lyrics while the rhythms pound with the intensity of a man who is racing against time to say his final goodbyes. The swell of the instruments leads to a memorable final 60 seconds, and finales don’t get any better than this.
Both songs are available on their Bandcamp page.
Marlon Brando Island are Marcus Fulcher (vocals/guitar), Edd Thrope (bass), and Marco Testa-Ryan (drums/backing vocals).
Moon King – “In & Out” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: !!!, Fucked Up, Austra
The last time Daniel Benjamin – a.k.a. Moon King – was heard from, he was enticing listeners with his album, Secret Life, which was part dream-pop and another part experimental electronic-pop. It was an ambitious record with plenty of highlights that made the Toronto native one of the country’s most exciting producers. In the two years since the LP, Benjamin set up roots in Detroit to re-focus and refine his sound. The first song out of the gate is “In & Out”, an unexpected little gem.
“In & Out” is a dazzler that belongs in an old-school roller-skate rink or underground club. It radiates with the disco and glam-pop of the ’70s while infusing the shimmering synth-pop of the ’80s. Benjamin’s production work is toned down compared to Secret Life in order to give the song an intimate feel. The bursting beats, however, keep the tune vibrant and perfect for a late-night dance. Natalie Gersabeck, meanwhile, provides the vocals, elegantly daydreaming about a person who drifts in and out of her mind. With every note she sings, you’re left hoping that person is you.
RITUAL – “Better By Now” (London, England)
RIYL: Phoria, Zola Blood, Mt. Wolf
The quartet of Adam Gross, Tommy Baxter, Gerard O’Connell and vocalist Mononoke have been dazzling music fans with their R&B-infused indietronica project, RITUAL. Their last single, “Exit”, was the stuff dreams are made of. Their newest song builds on the stunning quality of “Exit” but arrives at a more intimate point.
“Better By Now” is musical perfection. The production work is serene and mournful, yet it is beautifully cinematic and breathtaking. The rich harmonies of Gross and Mononoke are sensual and stirring as the two take turns describing the struggles of moving forward from a life-changing event or dealing with a disease or illness.
You said I would be better by now
All my friends said I would be better by now.
But who cares because I’m not better by now?
We could listen to this song repeatedly and be devoured by RITUAL’s jaw-dropping, cinematic beauty.
StarBenders – “1969” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: The Runaways, The Regrettes, Heart
We have a soft spot for bands who are unabashedly retro. Heck, we even created a list of modern bands who love to recreate the music of the past. If we were to revisit this topic, StarBenders would unquestionably be on it.
We first came across the Atlanta-based band over two years ago when they released the post-punk buzz-killer “Powder”. Then in April of this year, they emphatically smacked us over the head with the raucous “Far From Heaven”. This time around, they’ve punched us in the gut with another blazing retro-rocker in “1969”.
Not to be confused with Bryan Adams’ classic anthem, “Summer of ’69”, the Starbenders’ song is edgier, grittier, and more of a rocker than what the Canadian icon created. “1969” starts off innocently enough with some delicious power riffs and Kim Shelter’s ravishing vocals that feel like she’s trying to seduce us. The song then builds into a fiery, head-banging, post-punk number. Shelter’s vocals change as well, screaming at us, “What’s the rush?” It’s her gentle way of telling us to get lost, go fly a kite, or some other choice words. But this why we’ve come to love this band – they leave everything on the table (or maybe it’s the stage).
StarBenders are Kimi Shelter (lead vocals/lead guitar), Aaron Lecesne (bass/vocals), Katie Herron (drums), and Kriss Tokaji (guitars/vocals).
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