The Matinee October 3rd edition has a throwback vibe with many of the songs channeling the sounds of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. There are also some innovative, contemporary tunes, but for those who like the classics will enjoy many of today’s selections.
BEACHWARE – “Rip City” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Allah-Lahs, Ephrata, Ariel Pink
While most of the music being shared lately is darker and heavier to reflect the changing of the seasons, BEACHWARE can be be forgiven for sharing a shimmering alt-pop single. It is spring in New Zealand, and the weather is slowly starting to improve. Well, “Rip City” actually has a bit of the blasé blues that befalls many during autumn, making this song perfect for any season.
Relative newcomers to the NZ scene, BEACHWARE commence “Rip City” in a very Kiwi way – talking about the weather. The first lines are, “This looks like our shitty weather / It’s got to pass“, which sets the tone for the rest of this coming-of-age song. The groovy melody and rhythms that circulate in the air give off a summertime feel, making you want to grab a long cold one and just relax to the sweet sounds. However, the band’s story is more reminiscent of September or March, as they tell the story of a man trying to make sense of his entire life. He works hard in a dead-end job, and the one he loves no longer feels the same. His life is in complete disarray, but, like the opening lyrics say, all this will soon pass. Kind of sounds like the plot line to a soap opera, but a pretty cool one at that.
Dead Pretties – “Water” (London, England)
RIYL: The Black Keys, The London Souls, Royal Blood
Since The Black Keys’ big breakthrough over a decade ago, there has been an influx of garage-rock bands who have emulated the Akron, Ohio duo’s approach. London-based trio Dead Pretties arrived on the scene mirroring The Black Keys, but over time they’ve expanded their sound and added a few trick. Their new single, “Water”, is a perfect illustration of how the band is taking the genre to new heights.
Indie-rock and blues textures are infused into the song to give it a cool and even intimate vibe at the beginning. Consequently, we get immersed in front man Jacob Slater’s story about falling in love with someone and feeling as fluid and unstable as water. Just as we get comfortable, Dead Pretties amp up the intensity, and the song suddenly trembles with soaring rhythms and gnarly guitars. The storyline, too, turns from a love affair to one about confusion, anger, and despair. It’s a pretty cool tune by a young band on the verge of making huge waves in the UK.
Dead Pretties are Jacob Slater (vocals/guitar), Oscar Browne (bass), and Ben Firth (drums).
Great News – “Never Get My Love” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Souljazz Orchestra, MEW
With the surge in psychedelic pop bands, there is a huge craving for someone to offer something just a little different. Answering the call are Great News, the Norwegian trio who have in their short history have demonstrated that they’re more than willing to go against the grain. Their new single, “Never Get My Love”, is just a sample of what their potential.
Incorporating some Caribbean grooves with Unknown Mortal Orchestra-style funkiness, Great News deliver a scintillating and exotic number that will warm up even the coldest places on earth. At times, “Never Get My Love” reaches spellbinding and hallucinating levels, as the percolating bass line and the steel drums create a false sense of summer. The song’s delirium is further heightened by the swirling harmonies, which sound simultaneously distant yet heavenly. All you’ll want to do is either dance or fly away within this celestial masterpiece.
Great News are Even Kjelby (guitar/vocals), Ole Einarsen (bass), and Lars Platou (drums).
Lauren Ruth Ward – “Well, Hell” (Los Angeles via Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: Fiona Apple, Grace Mitchell, Elle King
First, we have to admit that we have become massive fans of Lauren Ruth Ward, the singer-songwriter from Baltimore who is now based in LA. If she was performing in the ’70s, we likely would be saying her name alongside Joni Mitchell, Debbie Harry, and Janis Joplin. Seriously, she’s that gifted of a singer-songwriter who can rock out with the best of them. You don’t have to believe what we have to say because all you have to do is listen to “Well, Hell” and you’ll be immediately convinced.
This song rocks. The searing guitars and booming rhythms explode right out of the gate, and we’re immediately introduced to a ’70s, flame-throwing, blues rocker. Jumping, dancing, violent head noodling, and just losing control are on order for this 2.5-minute juggernaut. Ward through her smokey vocals, meanwhile, tells a fantastic story of trying to differentiate the insanity from the sanity in today’s chaotic world. She references her father, mother, David Bowie, and Elvis in seeking answers. However, her best lyrics are saved for her visits to the therapists. As she wickedly describes:
“Maybe I should see my therapist,
She makes me feel sane.
I didn’t mean to make your head spin.
I have a lot to say.”
Now do you believe us when we say Lauren Ruth Ward is awesome? Here’s hoping an album is coming soon.
Ward’s band includes Eduardo Rivera (guitar and long-time songwriting partner), Liv Slingerland (bass), and India Pascucci (drums).
Masasolo – “Blackie The Blue” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Tame Impala, Sleep Party People, DIIV
We could list probably about 100, maybe more, artists and bands who deserve to be better well-known than they are. Near the top of the list would be Masasolo, the project started by Morten Søgaard and has since expanded to include Jacob Haubjerg, Anders Haaning, and Martin Birksteen. Sure, they’ve only been around for about 20 months, but given Tame Impala’s popularity they should have a much larger following. Maybe their new single will get people to take notice.
“Blackie The Blue” is a far-out psychedelic-pop song that makes Kevin Parker’s music seem for terrestrial. This song is a spacey, trippy, dreamy, and dazzling. It is one of those songs that you must play in an open field, where you can close your eyes and just spin and spin and spin. While doing this, get lost in Masasolo’s fantasy story of a person’s (or maybe an extra-terrestrial’s) travels to new worlds and trying to fit in. The storyline in many ways describes the band’s experience to date, but eventually they’ll be welcomed in every household.
Mattiel – “Baby Brother” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: The Shirelles, Pearl Charles, Prom Queen
So many albums have been released the past two weeks, and one of them that has been flying under the radar is Mattiel Brown’s – or simply Mattiel – self-titled debut, which dropped on Friday. The multi-talented young woman who now calls Atlanta is a throwback. Her music is a mixture of Americana, soul, pop, and, on her latest single, “Baby Brother”, doo-wop.
This song belongs in every single jukebox occupying the diners and bars across the US. From the shimmering rhythms to the boisterous horns, the song recalls dates that started with a couple sharing a milkshake and ending it doing the Twist on the dance floor. Brown’s full and blustery voice, too, feels like it belongs in the Happy Days era. In the brief time we’ve gotten to know Brown, her songwriting is not to be ignored. This time, she focuses on her “Baby Brother”, who we do not is real or fictional, and his reckless behavior. The song may be groovy, but Brown’s message is a reminder that the best help cannot be found in a bottle of whiskey but in your family and friends.
Peter Oren – “Falling Water” (Columbus, OH, USA)
RIYL: Ray Lamontagne, Damien Jurado, Damien Rice
Yesterday, the world said goodbye to a legend. Tom Petty was more than just a great rock musician, but he was also one of the most prolific songwriters of the past forty years. He proved that there is and always will be room for artists who write great stories and share meaningful messages. While Peter Oren doesn’t write rock ‘n roll music nor does his deep baritone resemble the legend’s voice, he is like a young Petty in that he’s a spectacular songwriter.
Sit back, grab a beverage (preferably a whiskey), and succumb into the despair that is “Falling Water”. This low-key, alt-folk track is startlingly beautiful, as Oren and his band take us to downtrodden town in the Wild West. The soft strums of the acoustic guitar and the dissonant electric guitar plus the stark percussion create a dark, brooding soundscape. Oren’s incredible vocals, meanwhile, are enchanting, as he takes us inside the mind of a man seeking revenge and his calling in life. He’s not just a vigilante, but he’s also a pilgrim. Truly listen carefully to his words because his tale is incredibly engrossing.
His debut full-length album, Anthropocene, should also be one to remember. It is out everywhere on November 10th via Western Vinyl.
The Soft White Sixties – “Brick by Brick” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Wild Cherry, Tame Impala, The Dead Ships
While the President of the United States continues to make news (Puerto Rico, the national anthem and NFL players), let’s not forget that he still has grand visions of erecting a massive wall along the US-Mexican border. This foolish project will rear its ugly head in the coming weeks as Congress re-issues a budget for POTUS’ signing. Helping us to remember that Trump has not given up on this campaign pledge are The Soft White Sixties, whose new song elegantly describes the people’s resistance.
“Brick by Brick” is a classic ’70s psychedelic-funk-rock tune that will leave you melting under the LA-based quintet’s smooth melodies. The bass line and bursts of guitar are right of Sly and The Family Stone while front man Octavio Genera’s vocals have a Kevin Parker, groovy radiance. It’s not the music, though, that grabs your attention but the lyrics.
“If you build the wall,
We’re going to tear it down
Brick by brick.”
Of course if Trump orders the wall to be built with solar panels, we’ll dismantle it panel by panel. Preach on brothers!
The Soft White Sixties are Octavio Genera, Aaron Eisenberg, Joey Bustos, Ryan Noble, and Rob Fidel.
Stereo Honey – “The Bay” (London, England)
RIYL: Wild Beasts, Elbow, Editors
Another day, another great new indie-rock band from England to discover. We say this often, and we definitely do not mind. It’s the one country on this planet where this great genre still lives. Stereo Honey, however, are not the prototypical, new English rock band. That is, they’re not here to blow our minds with raging anthems and chest-pounding rockers, but instead their goal is to take us deep into our own souls and reveal our true selves.
In the case of their latest single, “The Bay”, they guide us into the depths of the sea to find our deliverance. The dissonant guitar and the slow throbbing of the rhythms create a haunting and melancholic soundscape. The vocals, meanwhile, are enchanting, and they’re the perfect guide to lose ourselves in. As always, listen to the lyrics because they will take you down the rabbit hole (or 20,000 leagues under the sea).
Just another brilliant song by another band to watch.
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