Once again we take a new music trip around the globe on The Matinee July 27th edition. Speaking of trips, some of us, including myself, are en route if not having already arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, and we hope one of these days the artists listed below will be gracing the stages of NFF or one of the after-parties.
Alex Lahey – “Every Day’s The Weekend” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Bec Sandridge, Bully, Wolf Alice
Stardom has long been predicted for Alex Lahey since she dropped her debut single, “Air Mail” and followed that up with the massive online hit, “You Don’t Think You Like Pope Like Me”. Her excellent debut EP, B-Grade University, further validated her as the indie pop-rock version of Courtney Barnett with her clever and often biting lyrics and anthemic music that made listeners just want to dance. Now the prophecy seems like an inevitability with her debut album just three months away, especially if the lead single, “Every Day’s The Weekend”, is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Every Day’s The Weekend” is a seismic track that has hit written all over it. The song is boisterous, energetic, and immensely infectious. It is the equivalent of free falling from 15,000 feet, an exhilarating experience that will be remembered for a very long time. And as Lahey had demonstrated time and time again, the songwriting is fantastic. The theme is familiar, but the story is amusing, honest, and poignant. Like we’ve said before, she’s going to be a massive star, and “Every Day’s The Weekend” is another step to this reality.
The video for the song is well worth watching (it’s on YouTube).
Lahey’s first full-length LP, I Love You Like A Brother, is out October 6th on Dead Oceans. She’ll be heading on a short tour that will hit parts of the UK, US, Canada, and, of course, Australia. Tour dates are here.
Dama Scout – “Suzie Wong” (Glasgow, Scotland and London, England)
RIYL: Jay Som, Fazerdaze, Alvvays
One of the little gems we’ve been excited about for the past year are Glasgow/London trio Dama Scout, who have endeared music listeners in the UK with their catchy mix of guitar-pop and cinematic and sometimes even theatrical stories. If you’re just learning about Eva Liu (vocals/guitar), Luciano Rossi (bass/keys), and Danny Grant (drums), their new single is the perfect introduction.
Like everything they’ve written so far (which is a total of four songs), “Suzie Wong” is deliriously infectious. Liu’s vocals are soft and even a bit sugary while the rhythms groove like high schoolers trying to slow dance. Liu’s songwriting is once again whimsically stupendous, offering a story that feels like something out of an ’80s coming-out-of-age movie yet there is a bit of realism to it. We’ve all likely had the image of a person stuck in our head for days if not months, and for the next few days that person will be Jesse. But I thought this song was about Suzie? Such is the clever and dichotomous nature of Dama Scout, and we love it.
“Suzie Wong” is the lead single from Dama Scout’s forthcoming self-titled EP, which is expected November 10th via Hand in Hive.
RIYL: Of Montreal, Blonde Redhead, Dirty Projectors
Is there another bad as wild, wacky, and weird as Deerhoof? The San Francisco-based quartet really have no comparables, as they somehow make the unusual immensely catchy and riveting. Their lengthy discography is filled with such songs, and for their new album it seems they’ve reeled in some big fish to make their unique music even more abstract but awesome.
Their last single, “I Will Spite Survive”, featured the sweet vocals of Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner. For the next song, they’ve enlisted the support of fiery rapper Awkwafina to add some extra spice to this gritty tune. To call “Your Dystopic Creation Doesn’t Fear You” a song would be understating its mastery. It’s actually four songs in one, as the song spirals in and out of gritty, indie-rock, psychedelic-pop, a deadpan bridge, and edgy hip hop. While the song is extremely fun, the band takes on the ruling class and their misguided ways. Leave it to Deerhoof to re-imagine the protest song.
Deerhoof’s new album, Mountain Moves, arrives September 8th via the great indie label Joyful Noise Recordings. You Pre-orders are available here. Other guest appearances on the LP include Xenia Rubinos, Juana Molina, The Staples Singers, and more.
Deerhoof are Satomi Matsuzaki (vocals/bass), John Dietrich (guitar), Ed Rodriguez (guitar), and Greg Saunier (drums).
The Districts – “Violet” (Philadelphia via Lilitz, PA, USA)
They’ve been plenty of bands who have undergone transformations this year, although not every one of them has been successful. The Districts, though, are bucking the trend. They first gave us a hint of their new, harder, darker sound back in December 2016 when they released “One To Another”, which raised money for the Standing Rock Medic and Health Council. Since then, they’ve released a few other songs in advance of their third full-length, and yesterday was the final sneak peek at what is to come.
“Violet” is truly something remarkable, echoing the anthemic and creative brilliance of Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer. A nervous energy quivers throughout the song, which heightens the drama, suspense, and explosive finale. Lyrically, Grote explains that:
‘”…Violet’ deals with ideas of possessiveness, intimacy, sex, dependency, and how they’re used manipulatively. Kind of a look at how these things can be beautiful but are also used as devices, usually unconsciously which is the somewhat terrifying part. There is a pervasive thing throughout a lot of classic and modern popular music where ideas of ‘needing’ and referring to a romantic partner with a tone of ownership are normal and poignant lyrical topics. This song was using those same ideas but observing the strangeness in them, rather than celebrating them.”
To think, these guys just reached an age where they can legally drink in the US. The Districts are well ahead of their time.
Their new album, Popular Manipulations, is out 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).
Hamilton Leithauser – “The Song With No Name” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Shane MacGowan and the Popes, John Prine, Bob Dylan
Last month, a collective of artists announced the establishment of Philia. The focus of the music and arts collaboration project is to bring awareness to the growing problem of Islamophobia. As their first deliverable, the collective will release Philia: Artists Rise Against Islamophobia on August 19th via Floating House, and the 11-song compilation features Mac DeMarco, Fruit Bats, The Dodos, and many more. The first single, Heems’ “Blades”, was unveiled last month, and the second single comes from none other than Hamilton Leitheuser.
Whether he’s fronting The Walkman, out on his own as a solo artist, or collaborating with Rostam Batmanglij, Leithauser has demonstrated that he is one of the most versatile artists today. For this compilation, he turns back the clock a few decades and covers an Irish classic, Shane MacGowan and the Popes‘ “The Song With No Name”. We’ve come to associate Leithauser as having one of the most booming voices on the planet, but on this number he holds things back and sounds like he could be a member of The Dubliners. His voice is sincere and restrained to allow this story about the everyday citizen shine. It’s a great number for a wonderful cause.
All proceeds from the record release will benefit Unity Productions Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to combating Islamophobia. Go get the album! Again, it arrives on August 19th.
Jessica Lea Mayfield – “Sorry Is Gone” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, Ainslee Willis, Wye Oak
Jessica Lea Mayfield is a survivor. There is no other way to describe the native of Kent, Ohio. For all the great music she’s shared over the years and a voice that personifies grace, she hid a tragedy afflicting her off-stage and away from the studio. For a long time, she was a victim of domestic violence, which she only shared earlier this month. On Instagram, she wrote:
“I’ve struggled with posting this, but feel it’s necessary. Last week, I had a surgery for a broken shoulder related to a domestic violence incident. I had been suffering with his injury (and others that still require surgeries) for 3 years. This is not uncommon. I want to tell anyone who is protecting their abuser that it’s not wroth it. No one who hurts you loves you. No one should EVER hurt you. Don’t believe them when they say they are sorry…My silence helps no one except the person who did this to me.”
This revelation brings added context to her new single, “Sorry Is Gone”, which is stunning sonically and lyrically. Mayfield’s vocal is gorgeous, possessing a spellbinding quality from which one cannot escape. Lyrically, there is pain as well as perseverance, vulnerability yet power. The song, as Mayfield says, is her taking her life back. It is an absolute triumph. Her new album, Sorry Is Gone, meanwhile, will be her redemption, and the LP will released September 29th via ATO Records.
Look Vibrant – “Numb Your Spirit” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: A cacophony of several artists
It’s been nearly a year since we last hear from Montreal noise-pop / art-rock outfit Look Vibrant. We’re not sure what they were doing the past 11 months, but sometimes a break is what the doctor ordered. It’s not, however, so much the wait that matter; it’s what the band produces. Fortunately, the quirky quintet have delivered one of the year’s most eye-popping and creative anthems.
“Number Your Spirit” is one wild and incredulous ride. It is a cacophony of sounds, textures, and noise that have been masterfully woven together. The searing alt-country of Wilco opens the song. Then the song suddenly turns into an emphatic pop number that melds the controlled chaos of Rubblebucket, the experimentalism of Royal Canoe, and the roaring orchestration of Broken Social Scene. Come to think of it, if Look Vibrant continue down this exhilarating path, they could very well end up being the heir to BSS’s throne.
Look Vibrant are Justin Lazarus, Matt Murphy, Andrew David, Eli Kaufman, and Alex Rand.
Memoir – “Like A Love Song” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Cathedrals, GEMS, Phantogram
There are unquestionably way too many songs about love or relationships in general. And yes, we can tire of them unless they sound as breathtaking and stunning as “Like A Love Song”, the latest single by duo Zed and Dena Kelley – better known as Memoir.
“This song is so good” was a phrase uttered around these parts because it wasn’t like an ordinary love song. The soulful, R&B approach radiates of the ’80s when love ballads were meaningful, captivating, and real. The production work and the instrumentation – the heart-pounding bass line and sizzling synths in particular – are fabulous, creating an atmosphere thick of mystery and loneliness. What takes the song to another level is Dena’s songwriting, who has crafted a tale of two people going their separate ways. She brilliantly tells the story from both person’s perspective, and their pain, desire, and longing can be felt in her voice and lyrics. They don’t make romantic movies let alone love songs as good as this. My goodness, Memoir may just have reconverted us to the love ballad.
Warbly Jets – “4th Coming Bomb” (Los Angeles, CA)
RIYL: The Verve, Oasis, Temples
In a short two years, Warbly Jets have firmly established themselves as one of Los Angeles’ finest indie bands. The secret to their success is simple – they make just awesome music, recalling the Brit-pop days when The Verve and Oasis were gracing marquees across the globe. Take for instance their new single, “4th Coming Bomb”.
This song could be taken right out of The Verve’s epic albums, A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns. It is groovy and addictive yet intimate and personal. The synth-driven approach, in particular, gets inside your head and it never goes away. The vocals, meanwhile, are hazy yet cosmic, taking on the voice of a higher being and advising us to find a way “to see the light again”. Cool. Just really cool.
“4th Coming Bomb” is the lead single from Warbly Jets’ self-titled debut album, and it drops October 20th.
The band is comprised of Samuel Shea, Julien O’Neill, Dan Gerbang, and Justin Goings.
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