It’s the era of the singer-songwriter. If the radio is your source for new music, you are missing out on artists and bands who continue to one-up each other with their smart and biting lyrics. Even those who occupy the pop and electronica fields are crafting memorably tunes. The Matinee August 4th edition is evidence of how music is changing – and for the better in our opinion.

Coast Modern – “Going Down” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Foreign Air, HOLYCHILD, Twenty One Pilots

Coast Modern just released their first full length debut album last week, and it’s a pretty awesome showing of the diversity and originality of the duo’s sound. The first track from the album is “Going Down”, and it is a dreamy California-kissed number. Lyrically, the song concerns the lure of the ocean and the possible struggles of depression or thoughts of leaving this Earth. The end message is hopeful though with the declaration of: “I won’t go underground / Till I’m ready, I’m not ready”. 

Their self titled debut album is out now. Coast Modern are Coleman Trapp and Luke Atlas

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DreamVacation – “The Same Love” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Cold War Kids, Interpol, Mutemath

Dream Vacation just released a new EP, Thin World. It’s a solid showing from the LA-based trio with the standout track being “Same Love”.

This super-cool track was actually inspired by the travels of Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer. The song is a great combination of post rock guitar, strong yet unique vocals along with an added touch of ’80s-inspired synth (there is a bit of a Stranger Things vibe going on).

The EP is quite solid and can be one that is repeated over and over again. Dream Vacation are Zilva Thustra on vocals and guitar, Gerry Matthews on bass and synth, and Noah Alexander on drums and synth.

Thin World is out now on the band’s own LaserGhost Records.

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Esther Joy – “Friendless Necessity” (Oxford, England)

RIYL: Grimes, Chelsea Wolfe, Jamie XX

For as long as we’ve been around, Esther Joy Lane has been amazing us. During this time, we’ve seen the Oxford native grow from a timid artist still trying to figure out what direction to go to a confident singer-songwriter and producer. What is more impressive is that while she has been spending her days supporting Charli XCX on her global tour (just check out her Instagram posts), she has not compromised her artistry. Instead of heading in a more pop and dance-oriented direction, she has gotten darker or at least her new single, “Friendless Necessity”, is.

The song is eerily beautiful. Lane’s production work is powerful, as the percussive beats and the teetering synths move effortlessly between harsh and steely to warm and languid. Lane’s stunning vocal, similarly, weaves and bobs across the song, at times urgent and intense to reflect the pain in her heart and other moments it is pensive and sincere. She’s always been one to create songs that are cinematic and awe-inspiring, but on this one she has crafted a song that is truly mind-blowing.

“Friendless Necessity” is taken from Lane’s forthcoming new EP, Psychic Tears, which she will self-release on August 11th.

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Holiday Ghosts – “In My Head” (Falmouth, England)

RIYL: Courtney Barnett, This Is The Kit, Whitney

Ladies and gentlemen, make room in your music library for Holiday Ghosts. Check that, set aside a huge amount of space and time to get to know this English trio, who will become your next favorite band and who have the potential to erupt in the same way that Courtney Barnett and Whitney have done over the past 18 months. Speaking of these two indie stars, if they formed a super group or collaborated on a song, they would likely write a tune as sensational as “In My Head”.

With a classic folk-rock sound that Whitney have reinvented and clever lyricism akin to Barnett’s hit “Pedestrian At Best”, “In My Head” is an instant indie classic. The music echoes the Laurel Canyon period of the late ’60s and early ’70s with the warm, shimmering melody. Meanwhile, co-frontperson Katja Rackin’s cool and stunning voice delivers some of the best lyrics of the year, as she describes the anxiety and depression that consumes her.

I told my friends that it hurts too much
To feel like a fool and I can’t keep up.
I feel like someone should worry for me
But it’s too much to ask to make them see.
But someday I’m going to haunt their dreams
When my face turns up on that TV screen.
So when will they try to understand
What’s going on inside my head?

Brilliant. We have ourselves a new favorite band who is giving a voice to everyone struggling to make it through each day.

The song is taken from Holiday Ghost’s debut self-titled LP, which is out September 22nd via PNKSLM Recordings. Pre-order options are available here.

The band is comprised of Samuel Stacpoole, Katja Rackin, and Charlie Murphy.

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Son Little – “Demon To The Dark” (Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL:Benjamin Booker, Curtis Harding, Leon Bridges

Son Little has been releasing one solid track after the other. As we are slowly approaching the Philadelphia native’s release of his much anticipated new album, he shared its latest single, “Demon To The Dark”.

The song is a gospel/soul gem that chronicles the struggles of addiction and redemption. It’s also inspired by ’20s gospel singer Washington Phillips. The mystery instrument he used in his sparse recordings is one he invented known as a manzarene. The homage of that instrument is nicely recreated in this simple yet powerful track.

Son Little’s new album, New Magic, drops September 15th via Anti- and Epitaph Records. Pre-order options available here.

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The Subherbs – “Dream” (Ål/Sandnes, Norway)

RIYL: Real Estate, Fazerdaze, DIIV

We know extremely little about The Subherbs other than that they’re three cool cats from the middle of Norway and they released their debut album earlier this year. Well, the album was full of demos and never really mastered. But to be honest, their music doesn’t really need any more fine-tuning because the trio are making extremely dreamy jangle pop-rock, like as heard on their new single, “Dream”.

The song, like their LP, is a demo, but it sounds fantastic. Akin to Real Estates, The Subherbs have crafted a song that is warm and dreamy, and the jangly guitar riffs will induce one to fall into a state of unconsciousness. The vocals, meanwhile, are intimate and dazzling, further adding to the delirium that sets in. But this song isn’t necessarily about a dream, but rather it is the anthem for all those wishing to go on an adventure and discover what the world has to offer. With a song like this, we will definitely be packing our bags and seeing what lies over the horizon – with “Dream” added to our playlist, of course.

The Subherbs are Andreas Tenold Bergo, Kjetil Økland, and Anders Kristoffer Folkedal Hajem.

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Vilde – “Stimuli” (Stockholm, Sweden via Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: BØRNS, Radiohead, TV on the Radio

Artist and producer Thomas Savage – a.k.a. Vilde – just released a hypnotic, glitch-pop track, “Stiumuli”. Mr. Savage’s enthralling vocals immediately bring the listener in while the experimental synth adds a layer of suspense and uncertainty. Mr. Savage shares a bit more about the track:

Stimuli is the materialization of a slight identity crisis combined with falling into an odd kind of love. It’s a real mess, pretty weird, quite honest and fairly loaded. I love how it’s such an accurate embodiment of everything I felt at that time.”

“Stimuli” is self released and out now via all digital platforms.

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The Vryll Society – “Shadow Of A Wave” (Liverpool, England)

RIYL: Temples, Pond, Tame Impala

The Vryll Society have a new single out called “Shadow of A Wave”. It’s a dreamy and captivating number, as the vocals are framed by pulsating guitar and just the right amount of reverb. We are digging the dream-pop woven into this exciting psych-inspired track.

The band describes “Shadow of A Wave” as “a driving love song searching down a motoric boulevard”. We are looking forward to The Vryll Society’s much anticipated debut album. If the singles so far are any indication, we will be in for an impressive dose of captivating psych rock.

The single is out via Deltasonic Records. The Vryll Society are Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson.

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Wild Ones – “Paresthesia” (Portland, USA)

RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Tennis, Rubblebucket

This weekend is Pickathon, so it’s fitting to end The Matinee with a band from Portland. It’s a bit of shame, however, that one of the city’s favorite bands, Wild Ones, aren’t on the bill, but we imagine they’ll be invited next year. In the meantime, we’ll get to sit back and enjoy the quintet’s newest release.

“Parenthesia” is an eye-opening and stunning number. It echoes the innovative and multi-textured brilliance of Broken Social Scene, as the band has masterfully blended art-rock, indie-pop, experimental-pop, and even ’70s pop into one addictive output. While the groovy and catchy orchestration catches one’s immediate attention, frontwoman Danielle Sullivan’s lyrics are what steal the show, as she shares her own personal struggle with anxiety. The song is Sullivan at her most vulnerable, and through each word and note we feel like we’re accompanying her down this perilous journey that has a happy ending.

Lost in the crowd every place I go
Feeling sorry for myself when I’m home alone.
I’m not right inside.
All my life when I’m down on me
Then I’m down on you
Thought you never would ever leave.
That’s on me.

The single has us salivating at what is to come, and the wait won’t be long because Wild One’s new album, Mirror Touch, will be out October 6th via Topshelf Records. Pre-order it at the label’s store or Bandcamp.

Wild Ones are Thomas Himes, Danielle Sullivan, Clayton Knapp, Nick Vicario, and Seve Sheldon.

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