A kaleidoscope of new music is featured on The Matinee September 8th edition. There’s something for everyone, so spin each song and enjoy the artistry of these emerging artists and bands.
Anna of the North – “Always” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: CHVRCHES, Yumi Zouma, Keep Shelly in Athens
Today is the big day for Anna Lotterud and Brady Daniell-Smith, who make up the fabulous electro-pop duo Anna of the North. No, they’re not getting married, but rather their debut album, Lovers, finally sees the light of day. They’ve released four songs from the LP so far (we’ve shared three of them), and for good measure they decided to unveil another one.
“Always” is the most stunning of the songs they’ve revealed. Daniell-Smith’s production work is extremely restrained, taking on a sultry, slow groove approach to allow Lotterud’s intimate songwriting to shine through. As her soft vocals add an extra layer of lushness to the song, Lotterud opens up her soul and tells us how she is “tired of being in love” and the dependency that comes with it. Despite the beauty in her voice, there is a silent cry for help in her words, as she later states how she’s “always in the background”. It’s an incredibly moving track by a duo who have developed the gift of combining sensational soundscapes with thoughtful songwriting.
The Fluids – “Creatures” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Franz Ferdinand, Sweet, Talking Heads
Since it’s Friday, we need one song that is going to get you up out of your seat and dancing. A song that echoes the great era of glam rock when the likes of Sweet, Gary Glitter, and David Bowie challenged mainstream norms. Doing their part to bring the genre to the 21st Century are The Fluids, who yesterday unveil their outrageously entertaining and addictive new single, “Creatures”.
This song was made for getting up and moving. There’s no way you can sit down to this song. OK, there’s no way you can stay motionless in your seat. The energy that explodes from the speakers is infectious, and you’ll start imagining a young Mick Jagger leaping on to the stage and dancing to “Satisfaction”. But these guys are from Brooklyn, and they dress like ordinary Joes. But after revealing this song, they will have to update their wardrobe and dress like the dance-rock kings they were meant to be. We cannot wait to see these guys live.
The Fluids are Michael O’Donnell, Nick de Molina, and Cooper Formant.
Handkerchief Thief – “Salted Skin” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Maribou State, Haux, Alt-J
A week is never complete without discovering someone new from Down Under. There must be something in the water in Australia to be able to churn out one great talent after another, and the latest is Sam McLaren, who goes by the pseudonym Handkerchief Thief.
McLaren’s new single, “Salted Skin”, is quickly moving up the Triple J Unearthed charts, which is quite the feat for the young artist who has been dabbling at his art for a few years. He won’t, however, be on the Unearthed charts for long if he continues to produce dazzling singles such as this one.
“Salted Skin” is a mix of the cinematic indie of Maribou and the ethereal alt-folk of Haux and Axel Flovent. The combination of ambient guitars, haunting electronic production, and deep bass creates a soundscape that only exists in our darkest dreams. McLaren’s captivating vocals, meanwhile, sound like they are coming from the heavens, sweeping us off our feet with their alluring grace. It’s a gorgeous song that can only be truly appreciated if one shuts her eyes and inhales every note.
The single is from Handkerchief Thief’s forthcoming new EP, Hunting For Hummingbirds, and it is expected later this year.
JOHN.k – “OT” (Orlando, USA)
RIYL: A R I Z O N A, DNCE, Mike Posner,
JOHN.k has just released a new track called “OT”. He has already gained a loyal fanbase after this year’s debut single “Runnin'”. JOHN.k’s influences range from gospel and soul and even to jazz (JOHN.k’s great grand father John Poulson was a jazz trumpet player). His soul-filled vocals are perfectly set against acoustic harmonies and energetic beats as “OT” unfolds.
JOHN.k shares a bit about the motivation behind the track:
“All of us have met someone that we wish we could spend one more day with. Maybe someone who has to go back to their normal life on the other side of the country. OT is about meeting someone from out of town and convincing them to stay for a little bit longer.”
“OT” is the perfect track to kick off your weekend and think about that special someone you wish you could spend more time with.
Llovers – “I Don’t Mind” (North East, England)
RIYL: JAWS, Peace, The Lightning Year
Llovers impressed us last fall with their debut track “Borderlands”. Their most recent release, “I Don’t Mind”, brings us the perfect track to wind down the summer with yet still feel warmth after listening. It’s the ideal song for a long drive or just chilling on the weekend as the cooler weather starts to roll in.
So far, Llovers have been creating the perfect mix of shoegaze/dream pop and with each new release, they are proving their talent between musicality and songwriting.
Llovers are Jack Brooks (vocals/guitar), David Macnab (vocals/guitar), Matty Jenkinson (drums), and Joe Connor (bass/backing vocal).
Magic Potion – “Rest Yr Skull” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: The Growlers, Salad Boys, Hockey Dad
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from Swedish foursome Magic Potion. Fifteen months to be exact. We have no idea what they’ve been doing, but who cares because they are back with an awesome new single.
“Rest Yr Skull” is slacker-rock perfection. The surf-rock vibes create a laid-back, easy-going vibe while front man Gustaf Montelius puts on his best Brooks Nielsen impression. His lyrics, too, are as amusing as The Growlers’ finest songs, as he sings about a lazy day out. Then again, maybe the story is about someone who just wants to hide from everyone and everything. “Dig a hole in the dirt”, he smoothly sings to indicate that our protagonist indeed wants to do what the ostriches do when they’re scared. Whatever the case may be, the song will ease your nerves and put a smile on your face. This is exactly how the weekend should start.
The single is part of a 7″ split single between Magic Potion and fellow Swedish lo-fi rockers Boys. It is out digitally today, but physical copies will be released October 20th via PNKSLM Recordings. Get the record here.
Magic Potion are Gustaf Montelius, Andreas Sandberg, Kristoffer Byström, and Johan Harrius.
Stillwave – “She Flies A Tracer” (Utrecht, Netherlands)
RIYL: David Bowie, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Wild Beasts
Besides dancing, Friday nights are also a great time to go catch a movie, either at home or at the cinema. Then again, why turn on the television when you can hear a brilliant cinema? Why not just close your eyes and allow a band draw the picture for you? This is exactly what rising Dutch band Stillwave have done with their fantastic new single, “She Flies A Tracer”.
This song is the definition of cinematic. If David Bowie had collaborated with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis to produce a single, it would probably sound something like this. The instrumentation is haunting and captivating. The dark tones of the bass, the dissonant guitars, the harrowing synths, and the stuttering drum line converge to create a suspenseful and remorseful soundscape. At first, we feel like we’re trapped in an underground dungeon, and the deep vocals and crippling lyrics add to the song’s darkness.
“As she turns the engine off.
At the quiet center
Crack and it falls apart.
Love is on your knees
In a brightened demeanor.”
As the song builds, however, a light is felt. The moment starting at the four-minute mark, in particular, is breathtaking. This song is breathtaking.
thanks. – “Annabelle” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Early Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka
thanks. continue to impress us with each new release. Their previous offerings have had that early MGMT edge, yet with “Annabelle” we are given a nostalgic piece of The Beatles-inspired acid pop. The song was born from a conversation overheard in LA, and the trio have brought it to life.
“Annabelle” is also a love song that is proclaiming that love is worth the fight as the chorus exclaims: “Cuz I would die and go to hell to save this love, Annabelle”.
With thanks. proving that they are filled with tons of diversity in both their sound and songwriting, we are patiently awaiting the next single release.
“Annabelle” is taken from their upcoming debut album, Colfax, which should be released sometime this year.
thanks. are Mario Borgatta, Steve Pagano, and Nick Monahan.
Tough Age – “Me In Glue” (Toronto via Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Hop Along, Girlpool, Frankie Cosmos
It’s been an interesting couple of years for Tough Age. In 2015, the then Vancouver-based quartet released one of the funnest albums of that year with their debut, I Get the Feeling Central. It revealed a band on the cusp of becoming legitimate indie rock stars in Canada. Life, however, gets in the way, and Jarrett Samson and Penny Clark headed across the country to settle. There they recruited Jesse Locke to play drums, and this is where the band is now – a rock trio based out of the concrete jungle that is Toronto. While the band’s composition and location have changed, their overall approach and sound have retained mostly the same, assuming “Me In Glue” is any indication.
Although this song doesn’t have a comic book reference like their debut album (at least we don’t think so), the band continues to release addictive, scuzzy garage-rock. The jangly guitar riffs are catchy, the bass line is groovy, and the drumming is top-tapping delightful. Clark’s lyrics, meanwhile, reveal a young woman frustrated with her situation, and each day feels like a chore. Or in other words, one feels like she is stuck in glue. We know this feeling all too well, but fortunately for us we have bands like Tough Age who will help keep our feet moving and our spirits high. Hopefully Jarrett Samson, Penny Clark, and Jesse Locke also find their music to be therapeutic.
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