Rock. That’s pretty much what you will find on The Matinee September 28th edition. There’s no electro- or synth-pop, no indietronica, and not even indie-pop. Every single song today is guitar-driven. Seven of the songs are outright rockers and only two could be considered “pop-rock”. There’s also a huge European flavor, particularly from the UK, on the mini-playlist because, let’s be honest, they’re making the best indie-rock and post-punk on the planet.
Aivery – “Disregard” (Vienna, Austria)
RIYL: Tired Lion, Yonaka, Warpaint
The Matinee is all about hidden gems, and the best ones are those that you find accidentally, which is the case with Aivery. This explains why we’re sharing “Disregard” now even though it was released two months ago. In addition, their debut album, Because, is already out on Siluh Records (and available on Bandcamp). Better late than never, which we find ourselves often saying. And really who cares when a song was released as long as it’s awesome. Right?
Speaking of awesome, “Disregard” is a one heck of a rocker. The guitar work is terrific, seamlessly moving from melodic grime to blistering intense, and the heavy rhythms are head-noodling worthy. Frontwoman Franziska Schwarz’s sweet vocals, meanwhile, provide the perfect contrast, and you might just find yourself forgetting this is a catchy rocker. Her lyrics, too, are worth paying to because she tells the story of a person who puts his self-interest before anyone else. “Fake it until you have it all”, she sings, as if she’s describing some guy who spends more time at the golf course than the Oval Office.
If you’ll be in Vienna on October 13th, the trio of Franziska Schwarz (bass/lead vocals), Jasmin Rilke (guitar/vocals), and Doris Zimmermann (drums) will be holding an album release party at Sargfabrik.
DARTS – “Distance = Infinity” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Savages, Eagulls, Mermaidens
Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a song by its first few seconds because you never know how it will develop. Case in point, DARTS‘ new single, “Distance + Infinity”.
The military-style drumming and the slight guitar riffs give the indication that this song is going to be an all-out anthemic jam. But when the menacing lead vocals and the rest of the band’s deadpan chorus arrive, the song’s entire vibe changes. This isn’t an exhilarating song nor is it one to just let yourself go and feel free. Instead, this sinister track is meant for running – running far away from the demons that occupy your thoughts and the mistakes of your past. It’s creepy, it’s incredibly dark, and it’s an absolute belter of a song that will haunt your mind and soul for days. Just awesome.
The single is out now on Rice is Nice.
DARTS are Ally Campbell Smith, Andrew Ayres, Angus Ayres, Jessie Fernandez, and Paige X Cho.
The Dunts – “Coalition of Chaos” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Japandroids, PAWS, The Libertines
Speaking of never judging a song by its beginning, this philosophy also applies to The Dunts‘ new single, “Coalition of Chaos”. The song’s first 5 to 10 seconds sound like something The National would create, but these four Glaswegians aren’t into brooding indie rock. Nope, these guys like to amp up the intensity and blast out catchy post-punk rock numbers.
With “Coalition of Chaos”, The Dunts have delivered one raucous and infectious rocking earworm. They don’t hold anything back, playing with a ferocity as if this is their last show. The chorus is awesome, where the song suddenly turns into an explosive but exhilarating delight. The energy that emanates from the band is reminiscent of Japandroids and PAWS, and we imagine their live shows are just as frenetic. Heck, the song is enough to get us up and jumping and dancing and losing our minds.
Speaking of which, you can do all of these things on September 30th when the band takes over King Tuts in their hometown. Details here.
The Dunts are Rab Smith, David McFarlane, Kyle McGhee, and Colin McGachy.
Estrons – “Cold Wash” (Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: Le Butcherettes, Yassassin, False Advertising
The past 18 months have been huge for Estrons. They hovered under the radar for a while with only a few hundred followers, but a couple of tours around the UK and Ireland and choice spots on BBC Radio have catapulted the Welsh rockers into the category of “must-see” bands. For those who have yet to see them, they’re back on tour as we speak with a few dates across the UK (information here).
To celebrate another two weeks on the road, Estrons have shared their newest single, “Cold Wash”. In typical fashion, this song is a cracker. No time is wasted, as the song explodes from the very start with a heavy bass line and the intensity is sustained until the very end with the driving guitar riffs and hammering drums. Front woman Taliesyn Källström’s vocals are furious, as she recounts two people’s difficulties accepting that their relationship is coming to an end. Even when it finally comes to an end, as she states, the thought of one’s ex will always linger in one’s mind. This is also an apt description of Estrons because once they get inside your head you’ll never forget them.
Estrons are Taliesyn Källström, Hugh Parry, James Keeley, and Rhodri Daniel.
FEHM – “Last Breath” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: early The Cure, Joy Division, Eagulls
The area of Manchester and Leeds has a long history of breeding some of the greatest post-punk and Goth-rock bands of the past forty years. Maybe it’s the drab, bleak winters or maybe it has to do with the industrial nature of the cities. Whatever the case is, we are eternally grateful because some of our favorite bands have come from central England. A new one to add to this list is FEHM.
Not since Eagulls’ monumental, self-titled debut (which was one of our favorite albums of 2014) has a band taken post-punk to exhilarating and hypnotic heights, but FEHM have achieved exactly this with their newest single, “Last Breath”. The dark pierces of the bass line and the guttural bass line coupled with the creepy synths create a driving but haunting soundscape. Front man Paul Riddle‘s deep vocals are urgent and lost, as he tells the tale of a person slowly suffocating under the weight of expectations. He asks, “Is there a way out”, but no one answers. Eventually, a feeling of helplessness overcomes him and the listener on this incredible song.
The song is taken from the band’s upcoming split single, Last Breath/Human Age, which is out October 28th.
Fever Dream – “Heads Will Roll” (London, England)
RIYL: No Joy, A Place To Bury Strangers, Pink Milk
As the shoegaze world patiently waits for My Bloody Valentine’s return, several bands are keeping the “genre-that-just-won’t-die” alive. Among them is Fever Dream, one of London’s most underrated outfits. They’re not the typical shoegaze band, however, as they infuse post-punk and Goth-rock influences into the familiar, reverb-drenched soundscapes. Their newest single is an illustration of their toxic tonic cocktail.
“Heads Will Roll”, which should not be mistaken as a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s 2009 hit, is a harrowing and eerie track that is ideal for these times. We’re not talking about the arrival of autumn or about October being a few days away, but rather about these uncertain and extremely dark days. Fever Dream have perfectly captured the times, as the propulsive rhythms and searing guitars represent a world that is quickly turning back the calendar to the mid-1930s when hate and discrimination were part of the mainstream rhetoric. From Germany to Myanmar to the UK to the United States, the world that we once knew as early as 2016 is slowly disappearing and heads are starting to roll. Can we stem the carnage? Let’s hope.
The single is taken from the band’s sophomore album, Squid, which is also out tomorrow, Friday, September 29th via Club AC30.
Fever Dream are Adrian Fleet (guitar/vocals), Sarah Lippett (bass), and Cat Loye (drums).
Pearl Charles – “Sleepless Dreamer” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Fleetwood Mac, The Preatures, The Jezabels
Let’s just get this out of the way – Pearl Charles holds a special place in our collective hearts. Since she revealed her solo project a few years ago, we’ve been hooked. Her eponymous debut album took us back to the ’70s and had us re-living the psychedelic and Laurel Canyon folk-rock of the era. This was over two years, and we honestly started wondering when Charles will unveil something new. Just a couple of days ago, she answered our wishes with another throwback single, “Sleepless Dreamer”.
Staying in the ’70s with touches of the ’80s, Charles delivers a Fleetwood Mac-esque beauty of a pop-rock track (some may hear Wilson Phillips, too). Like much of the music back then, this tune has a carefree, breezy vibe that will have you smiling and even gently swaying. It is like the morning’s first sunshine, which warms your body and soul and makes you look forward to the day. Charles’ voice, meanwhile, is fuller and more lush than it was two years. There is an extra bit of sultriness as well, which gives the track its shimmering qualities. When she sings, “Sometimes the softest touch is enough to drive me to wildness”, you’ll just melt. We did anyway.
The song is out on Kanine Records, and it’s available for purchase on Bandcamp. “Sleepless Dream” is also the lead single from Charles’ forthcoming, sophomore album, which should be out in the first quarter of 2018. We’ll be marking this one down as one of our most anticipated LPs of the new year.
White Room – “Cable-Built Dreamland” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Pond, early Tame Impala, David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust)
This week, White Room celebrated their third anniversary as a band, and finally they’re receiving the attention they deserve. Comparisons to their fellow English cousins Temples will be inevitable, but in the 18 months since their mini-breakout their sound has slowly evolved. They’re becoming less of a typical UK psych band and more like one from Australia, as they adopt more of a space-rock approach and aim to take their listeners to unforeseen places.
Their newest release, “Cable-Built Dreamland”, is one such song. The first third is like the countdown to a space shuttle launch, and then right around the 90-second mark the song lifts off. A hazy delirium overtakes the track, and we land somewhere wonderful as the guitars really kick in and front man Jake Smallwood’s vocals take on a Ziggy Stardust quality.
What separates White Room from the pack, however, is Smallwood’s songwriting. He rarely takes short cuts nor does he stick with tried-and-true subjects. Instead, he, like Bowie, writes fantastic stories about make-believe characters that are grounded in reality. In this case, the protagonist is a dreamer who has built his reality around fiction and what he has seen and heard on television. Consequently, he is unable to differentiate fact from fiction, and he loses the qualities that make him human. It’s a fabulous tail and indictment of what our world has become.
The song is from their forthcoming double EP, Eight, which comes out October 13th via Deltasonic Records. “Cable-Built Dreamland”, however, can be purchased tomorrow.
White Room are Jake Smallwood (vocals), Jacob Newman (guitar), Tristan Sava (guitar/keys), Josie McNamara (bass), and Hen Sava (drums).
Zero Cool – “Yo Pro Dinner Party” (Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Makeout Tape, Los Angeles Police Department, Walter TV
There is no shortage of fantastic talent in New Zealand. It seems like every week I’m discovering a new band that impresses me. This might not seem like a big deal, but when you consider New Zealand’s population is 4 million – which is less than New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris, Tokyo, and most major cities – this is quite the accomplishment. Another cool band to add to the list are Zero Cool, who hail from the coolest little capital in the world, Wellington. (Yes, I realize I used “cool” three times in the sentence).
As spring has sprung in the southern hemisphere, their new single, “Yo Pro Dinner Party”, is a perfect slice of lo-fi, guitar-driven pop-rock. It is light, airy, and breezy, and you’ll want to wash yourself in Scott Maynard’s dreamy vocals. Despite the succulent tones of the song, listen to the lyrics. The band tell an amusing albeit tragic tale of following in love for someone who thinks he’s someone else. The following lines at around the 2:55 mark are hilarious, and they’re made even more classic thanks to the angst in Maynard’s voice.
“It’s hard to fuck when you’re calling me Fergus.
I know he’s great, but my name is not Fergus.”
The song is from the band’s forthcoming debut album, which is expected in November via Ball of Wax Records.
Zero Cool are Scott Maynard, Symon Palmer, and Matt Maynard.
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