Simplicity can be beautiful, exhilarating, and brilliant, and this is the theme of The Matinee August 29th edition. Even the most uplifting and exciting song doesn’t need a whole of instruments and textures to get the adrenaline flowing. We start things off with a band that has long perfected this art.
The National – “Day I Die” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The National
Only 10 more sleeps until one of the most (if not THE) anticipated albums of the year arrives and to get ease our nerves The National have shared the fourth single from Sleep Well Beast. Like the three songs before it, “Day I Die” is stupendous. It is the most exhilarating song the band has written since “Alligator”. The urgency that rings from the stuttering drumming, the crystalline guitar, and Matt Berninger’s voice add to the wonderland that this song is. But unlike their past numbers where the band made the brooding anthemic, they’ve turned the page and given us a surprisingly uplifting number about starting over.
“I’d rather walk all the way home right now
Than to spend another second in this place.
I’m exactly like you Valentine,
Just come outside and leave me.”
Sleep Well Beast arrives September 8th via 4AD with pre-orders here. The band is comprised of Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, and Scott Devendorf. We’ll already say it – this will be one of the albums of the year.
Wolf Parade – “You’re Dreaming” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Wolf Parade
Another band that unexpectedly dropped a new single in the wee hours of the morning is Wolf Parade. Like The National, we will stay up for hours to hear them again, especially since they recently ended a six-year hiatus.
Last month, they announced that their fourth studio album, Cry Cry Cry, would come out in autumn, and they shared the uplifting pop-rocker “Valley Boy”. Now song number two has been revealed, and “You’re Dreaming” is like the quartet have rewound the clocks about 10 years and channeled their At Mount Zoomer days. The song is everything that long-time fans will remember about the band. It’s edges towards the proggy with Spencer Krug’s booming keys and synths, but then gravitates towards the dancefloor with Dan Boeckner’s disco-rock tendencies. This push-pull scenario wouldn’t work for most bands, but in the hands of Wolf Parade the song is turned into an anthem. This time around, they’ve created a song for every single daydreamer and for all of us who hope tomorrow will yield one of our wishes coming true.
We’ll have to wait until October 6th for our ultimate wish to be granted because that is when Cry Cry Cry arrives in stores. It will be released by Sub Pop.
Wolf Parade are Spencer Krug (vocals/keys/synth), Dan Boeckner (vocals/guitar/keys), Dante DeCaro (bass), and Arlen Thompson (drums/production).
The Bowdashes – “The Love & Death of The Owl Hoot Trail Riders” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: The Pack A.D., Blood Red Shoes, The Black Keys
That howl you hear is the excitement growing in Copenhagen, where a duo less than two years into their existence are causing the caverns of the Danish capital’s underground scene to collapse with their combination of garage rock and post-punk. The band’s name is The Bowdashes, who were formed in December 2015 by Linn Holm (vocals/guitar) and Nana Nørgaard (vocals/keys/autoharp). Despite still being in their infancy, The Bowdashes have received national airplay plus opened for Garbage. How’s that for starting your career?
Now the object of the duo’s desire is the world. It’s time for everyone to discover why they’re one of the most exciting bands coming out of Scandinavia. Why they are the combination Chelsea Wolfe’s stark exhilaration and the throbbing, wall-shaking noise of Royal Blood. Today, they unleash on to the world their new single, “The Love & Death of the Owl Hoot Trail Riders”, which we have the honour of revealing it for all to hear.
The song is the anthem for a lone vigilante entering an unwelcoming, desolate town. The atmosphere is stark, it is gritty, and it is bone-chilling spectacular. Through the distortion-filled electric guitar, the moaning auto-harp, the pounding drums, the steely keys, and Holm’s and Nørgaard’s haunting vocals, we walk alongside the woman seeking revenge. Her weapon of choice, though, isn’t a rifle nor a six-shooter revolver. It’s a bow and arrow, as how better to pierce the heart of the person who tore yours out?
“The Love & Death of the Owl Hoot Trail Riders” is the first official single from The Bowdashes’ forthcoming debut EP. It will be released later this year via This Recording Company. In the meantime, other streaming and purchasing options can be found here.
Canshaker Pi – “Indie Academy” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Pavement, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Built to Spill
A great song does one of two things – it either takes you away to somewhere unknown or makes you reflect on your past or present situation and makes you laugh. Pavement’s success in the ’90s was predicated on the latter, as Stephen Malkmus and friends may light of everything, including the most mundane thing. Channeling that same spirit are Dutch indie-rock quartet Canshaker Pi. Heck, these guys could be the next Pavement thanks to songs like “Indie Academy”.
Beneath the swirling hammers of the drums and bass and the head-shaking guitar riffs lies the story of a wallflower who once again has been left hanging alone. The lyrics are right out of Malkmus’ songbook, which means they are stellar, amusing, and even puzzling.
“I’m not sure if I’m swimming in hypocrisy or easily bored.
But your words keep on burning in my mind.
The anonymous heartbeat of the Indie Academy!”
Who cares if it doesn’t all make sense, but this tune is addictive as a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Jerry Garcia ice cream. And that make us very happy.
The single is out now via Excelsior Recordings.
Those in Europe can catch these four blokes live. Their first stop is in Manchester on September 14th, and the tour concludes a month later in Ghent, Belgium. Dates and additional information can be found here.
FUSS – “Coma” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: The Black Angels, The Black Lips, The Music
Is there anything better than a great piece of ’70s-esque neo-psychedelia? You now music that makes you feel like you’re spiraling through the rabbit hole while a kaleidoscope of colors circles around you? If you have no idea what this feeling is like, then immediately press play to “Coma”, the new single by Liverpool quintet FUSS.
This song is pure delirium, and it’s awesome. The hazy guitar riffs, shimmering rhythms, and the halcyon vocals are from a time when the bold fashions and hairstyles matched the craziness of the music. As you spin “Coma”, you might find yourself heading to your closest vintage clothing shop and buying some bell-bottom jeans, paisley shirts, and enormous sunglasses. This song is that outrageous.
Here’s hoping Fuss stay around and continue to build upon their retro-inspired sound. Maybe, just maybe they could fill the void left when The Music called it quits more than a decade ago.
Good Girl and the Bad Times – “We Go This Way” (London, England and New York City, USA)
RIYL: Cults, Wy, Cathedrals
There are few songs that instantaneously have us saying, “OMG!” It’s the truly breathtaking and dazzling songs that steal our attention away and make us hear and think of nothing that what is coming out from our speakers. The latest song by sibling duo Good Girl and the Bad Times has us saying these words and then some.
“We Go This Way” is stunning. In its simplicity arrives a song that steals your breath away and reflect on the fragility of your life and relationships. Eli Block’s production work is minimalist but beautifully executed, as the synths and percussive beats stay in the background to allow his sister Jenny’s vocals to shine. Her smokey and sultry voice is knee-buckling, and her lyrics are equally stirring.
“I don’t have too many friends.
I don’t have too many friends left,
So you better believe
I know when things are over.
I know when things are over.
For us, our love affair with Good Girl and the Bad Times has just begun. Hopefully yours has, too.
Lean Year – “Come and See” (Richmond, VA, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Whispertown, Midnight Sister
There have been several debut songs that have made our ears perk up and take notice. Then there is Lean Year‘s first single, “Come and See”, which has grabbed us by the throat and made the hairs on the back of our neck stand up. This is the epitome of beautiful simplicity.
With his filmmaker background at the forefront, Rick Alverson crafts a languid yet stunning soundscape. Its melody is light and delicate, akin to a lullaby but one that is rapturous and intoxicating. Singer Emilie Rex’s angelic voice is the stuff of memories, floating effortlessly within Alverson’s dreamscape. But her story isn’t one meant for little ones, as she elegantly tells the old world to fuck off. This may be the most hushed and gorgeous political song one will hear. It’s definitely one of the most-spellbinding debuts of the year.
MAUER – “Ease The Pain” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Dinosaur Jr., J. Mascis, Mikal Cronin
Holy Moses, Dinosaur Jr. has been resurrected in Sweden! OK, so the indie-rock legends are still alive and releasing new music every year. However, when you hear the music and see photos of MAUER, you, too, would think Dinosaur Jr. have changed addresses. To prove my point, I present Exhibit A, the Gothenburg quartet’s new single, “Ease The Pain”.
This number is just like the gnarly indie-rock coming out of J Mascis’ garage in the mid-1980s. The searing and catchy guitar riffs, the wailing rhythms, and the howling vocals recall a time when cassette tapes were all the rave and having long hair and beards were more than just fashion trends. This is the rock ‘n roll we grew up listening to – music that was genuine and defined our youths. Hopefully, a new generation of music fans will flock to MAUER and use this song to represent them.
The single is out now via Welfare Sounds & Records.
The band consists of Björn Osbeck (guitar), Max Sjöholm (drums), Svante Osbeck (vocals/guitar), and Daniel Tolergård (bass)
Twain – “Solar Pilgrim” (Franklin County, VA, USA)
RIYL: Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Carl Broemel
A lot of artists have been labeled as the next Nick Drake, and some come close to replicating the immediacy of his music. Folk-rock trio Twain , though, are making a strong case for being a modern-day version of the legend, and their new single, “Solar Pilgrim”, will ratchet up the comparisons.
Like a slow dance by the lake under the pale moonlight, “Solar Pilgrim” is intimate, graceful, and memorable. Mt Davidson’s voice is sensational, as each breath is etched with pain, remorse, and fragility. Every word and sentence is fraught with the memory of a man traveling towards his final days. This song, however, is more than just about a single person. Instead, it is a lament to the world we once knew and to lives that were simpler and peaceful. “Solar Pilgrim” as a whole is a reminder of how simplicity can be tragically beautiful.
The song is from Twain’s forthcoming new album, Rare Feeling, and it arrives October 20th via Keeled Scales.
Supporting Mt Davidson in Twain are Peter Urzo Pezzimenti and Ken Woodward.
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