With Newport Folk Festival behind us, we’re trying to get back into the swing of things. The Matinee August 1st edition, as such, has the regular nine songs. Unfortunately, exhaustion has set in, so apologies to the artists and bands for the short blurbs. The music, however, is what matters most.
Alvvays – “Dreams Tonite” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Girlpool, Best Coast
Exactly one month from today Alvvays‘ sophomore album will shine upon this world. It’s easily one of the most-anticipated records and their first single, “In Undertow”, sent chills down our back. The second single, though, sends us to a whole new place.
“Dreams Tonite” is exactly what the song says – dreamy. Molly Rankin’s vocal has an easy bedroom intimacy that takes your breath away, and it is one that you to “have in your dreams tonite”. Her lyrics are personal yet familiar, as she shares the feeling of wanting someone who has moved. Musically, the band have concocted a chest-swelling beauty that will be played endlessly this week and beyond. Leave it to Alvvays to magnificently capture our imaginations in a single dazzling song.
Antisocialites releases September 1 via Royal Mountain Records (CAN), Polyvinyl Records (US), and Transgressive Records (UK) with pre-orders here. The band will kick off their tour August 5th in Chicago at Lollapalooza Festival.
Alvvays are: Molly Rankin (vocals/guitar), Alec O’Hanley (guitar), Kerri MacLellan (keys), Brian Murphy (bass), and Phil MacIsaac (drums).
The Fontaines – “Who” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Frankie Rose, Teeth & Tongue, Blondie
One of our favorite little discoveries of the past 12 months is The Fontaines, the sibling group who continue to push their limits. They’ve wowed us with everything from ’80s coming-of-age songs, cinematic pop delights, and even a bit of indie rock. Now they’re taking their turn at melding new wave with ’70s rock. Sounds kind of weird, but in the hands of the Los Angeles-based band anything is possible.
Or maybe we say everything can be wonderful if done with great care and precision like what The Fontaines have done with “Who”. The song is sultry and sizzling at first with Charlotte Fontaine lulling us into a stupor with her shimmering vocal and her bandmates crafting a groovy, intimate vibe (that bass line!). Then like a person who has had enough of being ignored and taken for granted, “Who” transforms into an edgy and fierce rocker, and suddenly the nightclub has become a rock ‘n roll bar. This is the type of music that Blondie at one point use to master, and now we have The Fontaines blowing us away.
The Fontaines are Charlotte Fontaine (vocals), Hank Fontaine (backup vocals/guitar), Jason DeMayo (bass), and Scott Zimmerman (drummer).
Hypoluxo – “Sometimes” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The National, Dick Diver, Ducktails
The National perfected the art of turning brooding and even depressing subjects into rousing anthems. Fellow Brooklyn-based Hypoluxo are giving the indie superstars a run for their money with their euphoric brand of indie art-rock. Their debut, If Language, gave a taste of what they could achieve, and their new EP should see them taking further steps if their latest single is any indication.
With the pulsating rhythms and the cosmic and jangly guitars, “Sometimes” immediately launches into a jittery, semi-frenetic vibe that will induce plenty of shoulder shimmering, hip wiggling, and dancing. Listen closely, however to the lyrics, and the band have crafted a number that reveals the inner anxiety and fatigue we all feel after being bombarded with criticism.
“Sometimes, I feel lazy.
I feel lazy each and every night.
When you, when you blame me
I get angry each and every time.”
The song is just ultra-cool. Hey, The National, it’s now your turn!
“Sometimes” is taken from their forthcoming EP, Taste Buds. It arrives August 4th via Broken Circles.
Hypoluxo are Samuel Cogen, Marco Ocampo, Cameron Riordan, and Eric Jaso.
Midnight Faces – “Devils Money” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, The Cure
We’ve only come to appreciate the brilliance of Midnight Faces over the past year. The LA-based trio are making some of the best shoegaze music on the planet, and we say this as massive fans of the genre. Yet the band isn’t just trying to replicate what the likes of Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine did back in the ’80s and ’90s. Instead, they’re adding their own touches and bringing shoegaze in the 2010s. Case in point their new single, “Devils Money”.
Like being overwhelmed by a cool breeze on a hot summer day, “Devils Money” is an exhilarating experience. Frontman Phil Stancil’s vocals are fantastic, calmly telling a story of two people following two different journeys – one taking the “righteous” path and the other taking the “Devils Money”. The shoegaze guitars are dazzling, and they re-create the familiar driving vibe with which the genre has become associated. It is the bass line, however, that takes the song to another level, as it resonates with the throbbing sensuality of Simon Gallup’s work with The Cure. This song is simply just awesome.
The single is part of Dangerbird Records’ MICRODOSE series.
Midnight Faces are Phil Stancil (vocals/guitar/bass), Matthew Doty (bass/guitar/synth), and Paul Doyle (drums).
Morly – “Sleeping In My Own Bed” (Los Angeles via Minneapolis, USA)
RIYL: Alicia Keys, Woodes, Billie Eilish
What took us so long to get on Morly‘s bandwagon? The singer-songwriter and producer from Minneapolis, Minnesota has already released two EPs, and they revealed her philosophy that emotion is best captured when things are kept to a minimum. It’s difficult to argue with this, especially when she releases a single like “Sleeping In My Own Bed”.
This song is the definition of soulful beauty and grace. The piano-driven melody is ravishing, and it’s even more stunning than anything Alicia Keys has written. Morly’s soft and smooth vocal is endearing, and with each word she reels you in closer to her heart. Her story of losing and missing someone are poignant, thoughtful, and poetic, and the lyrics will leave you wanting more.
Oh, I heard you in the dark when I was lonely,
A trembling voice that I could understand.
Now you ask me where I’ll be
When the sun begins to bleed.
The end of the night.
The end of night.
It’s only a matter time before Morly becomes a global sensation. In the meantime, we long with thousands of others will cherish the moments we have with her.
Randa – “ANGEL BOY” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Beastie Boys, Missy Elliott, Nakita
When you think about New Zealand in terms of music, the first names that come to mind are likely Lorde, The Naked and Famous, Neil Finn, and maybe Aldous Harding, OMC, and Marlon Williams. All eyes, though, should be focused on Mainard Larkin and her project Randa because the young woman from Auckland is firing smooth beats to go with their whimsical yet clever wordplay. Think Beastie Boys level of tongue-in-cheek but socially aware lyrics in a smaller package (i.e., solo artist).
Her new single, “Angel Boy”, is a great example of her talent. At times, the song makes you chuckle (“I’m a puppy in a onesie. Onesie? Cute from afar but close I can’t breathe.”), and other times it makes you think about what’s going on around you (“Every day is like a fist fight. I feel like I’m 11 and I’ve got a bloodied nose.“). Even the song’s title is a biting remark about today’s world, where some people can do nothing wrong in the eyes of their supporters. The ability to provoke yet simultaneously entertain is the hallmark of a great artist, which young Randa is.
SeaWitches – “ABSOLVE” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Sinead O’Connor, Poliça, Chelsea Wolfe, Beth Orton
We have an issue with SeaWitches name. It’s not that it is offensive, but rather it doesn’t describe their music that well. Instead, BeWitching would have been perfect because their songs have that effect on the listener. To exemplify what is meant by this, hear “Absolve”.
Dark, enchanting, perplexing, and intoxicating, SeaWitches have crafted a number that is absolutely spell-binding. It throbs with the dark beauty heard in Chelsea Wolfe’s music. The heavy bass and downtempo grooves combine with the dissonant guitar to re-create the bleak soundscapes that Poliça and Pumarosa have skillfully orchestrated. Then there is Jo Herring’s vocal, which is stunningly sinister and at times reaches the soaring euphoria of Sinead O’Connor. And her lyrics are similarly eerie and captivating, as she describes the convergence of two entities. Whether this is space and time, the ying and the yang of one person, or two opposing individuals, we don’t know who are the subjects. What we do know is that his world SeaWitches have crafted is one we do not wish to leave.
Or in other words, SeaWitches are another band to watch very, very closely.
The single is out now, and it’s available on Bandcamp. SeaWitches are Jo Herring (vocals/guitar/bass), Jamie Jenkin (guitar), Saskia Clapton (bass), Jams Ward (drums).
The Tambo Rays – “Wrong Turn” (Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Ladyhawke, Ladytron, Aquadolls
If you’re like us and needing an energy boost, one band you can always depend on are the criminally under-the-radar outfit The Tambo Rays. They have established a cult following in the Bay area, yet the rest of the world is a little slow in catching up. Maybe that changes with the release of their new EP, Recharge, which is out now via OIM Records and available on Bandcamp. From the record is “Wrong Turn”, which will put a pep in your step.
The song blends ’70s disco-pop, ’80s synth-pop, and 2017 electro-pop, and the outcome is an ear worm orgasm. You’ll be left dancing, spinning in circles, and getting completely lost in the retro-wave of synths and rhythms. Frontwoman Sara DaMert’s vocal is heavenly lush and jaw-dropping. As she sings, “I want you by my side / This I know is true”, you just might find yourself running out of the door to find her. We actually almost just did this.
If you are in San Francisco on September 12th, you won’t have to go far to see The Tambo Rays, as they’ll be playing at the Rickshaw Shop.
In addition to Sara DaMert (vocals/keys), the band is comprised of Brian DaMert (guitar/keys), and Greg Sellin (bass/keys), Bob Jakubs (drums).
TUSKA – “Brother” (London, England)
RIYL: HOMESHAKE, Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco
As the calendar turns to August, that means long, hot, humid days are to come. In such moments, the last thing you want to do is move a lot. Maybe sway a bit and just be taken away by a song, but hardcore dancing may not be ideal in these sweltering days. Filling our need for lazy, hazy music are duo TUSKA, who last week released their newest single, “Brother”.
This song could best be described as psychedelic slacker rock, as the two have mixed the bubbly psychedelia of Tame Impala with the quirky, nonchalant indie-rock / surf-rock of HOMESHAKE and Mac DeMarco. This is the perfect song to be buzzing to on the beach or on the porch with a refreshing iced tea. But the song is far from being a slacker one. While there’s a tongue-in-cheek element to it, Richard Sturges and Rob Weaver have crafted a tale about how possibilities. Specifically, what could happen when one let’s her inhibitions free. Kind of sounds like summer, eh? Time for us to check out and put into practice TUSKA’s message.
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