The Matinee October 6th is filled with exciting and jumping new music from around the globe. Two long-time favorites make their return after lengthy absences, a few Matinee alumni are once again included, and two young women make their debut with mind- and mood-altering singles. To the mini-playlist we go, commencing with a singer-songwriter who we’ve loved from afar for some time.
Bec Sandridge – “I Never Want A BF” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Debbie Harry fronting Future Islands, Sundara Karma
Our love affair with Bec Sandridge dates back over 2 1/2 years when she was still busking the streets of Sydney. Since then, she’s evolved into an indie star Down Under, establishing a cult following that includes super station Triple J. As her star started to shine more brightly, she took a bit of time off to focus on writing (although she did tour a bit in Australia over the past year). Nearly a year since her last song, she finally released a new single, and boy is it a gem.
“I’ll Never Want A BF” is a boisterous number that sounds like Debbie Harry taking Samuel T. Herring’s spot as Future Islands’ front person. The song is anthemic and addictive, and it will have you jubilantly dancing around or running through the streets to let everyone know who you are. And this is what Sandridge has crafted – a song that celebrates everyone’s individuality and who they are.
“You give my number to all of your friends that you hope I will find a nice guy.
In such a funny thing that you’re trying to pretend that I don’t have a girlfriend by my side.
You give my number to any old man that you hope that I will turn a blind eye.
I’ll never have a boyfriend just cause you think I should,
Just cause you think I will,
Just like you.”
“I’ll Never Want A BF” is the lead single from Sandridge’s forthcoming debut album. Details are still a scarce, but it will be one of our most anticipated 2018 LPs. We’ll probably have to list her again as an Artist to Watch in 2018 after putting her on this year’s list.
Anthonie Tonnon – “Two Free Hands” (Whanganui via Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Joe Jackson, Oscar, Ducktails, Breathe
Anthonie Tonnon is not merely just a great songwriter; he’s an exceptional storyteller. The ability to tell a memorable story in less than five minutes is a trait only a select few have mastered, andhis sophomore album, Successor, was filled with them. Now the new resident of Whanganui is embarking on a new journey, which will be revealed on his forthcoming new EP.
Gone is his trusty electric guitar, and it has been replaced by synths, a MacBook, and a drum machine. Yes, Tonnon has gone electronic, but not in an Avicii or Skirillex way. Instead, he’s channeling the synth-pop greats of the ’70s and ’80s like Joe Jackson and Breathe for inspiration. The first song that unveils the new artist is the EP’s title track, “Two Free Hands”.
Like how he plays the guitar, Tonnon’s production and synth work are delicate and precise. Every note is accentuated so they can be clearly heard, but no single instrument dominates. Instead, they are masterfully woven together to create a calm and dreamy soundscape. Two things, though, have not changed. The first is Tonnon’s voice, which retains its full and rich tenor. The second is his storytelling, and Tonnon is in fine form on this song, as he takes us inside the mind of a young girl who is unlike her peers. She’s special, but no one can understand her. Well, one person can and that is the master named Anthonie Tonnon.
Tonnon will be heading out on a mini-New Zealand tour in November. Dates and tickets are available here.
Bully – “Kills to Be Resistant” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Waxahatchee, Swearin’
Last week when we shared Bully‘s single, “Running”, which was released at the end of August, we half-jokingly said the trio will likely release a new song at any moment. Sure enough, a week ago today, they released, “Kills to Be Resistant”, and it is another awesome rocker.
Alicia Bognanno, Clayton Parker, and Reece Lazarus could have easily just blown the roof off and delivered a raging rocker, but they’ve opted for a slow-building, dramatic number. Consequently, anticipation and excitement grows with each whirling guitar riff and pummeling drum line, and we anxiously await the big explosion. In the meantime, we get sucked into Bognanno’s voice and her story of trying not to succumb again for an ex. And just when she’s about the fall, she and the rest of the band start to rage, and the song gets gnarly, edgy, and fierce. It’s not so much Bognanno screaming at her ex but calling on herself to wake up. Heck, we should all heed her advice in all situations – i.e., don’t fall for the tricks of the players in the room.
“Kills to Be Resistant” is the latest demonstration of how far and how much more mature Bully have become, and they were already at the head of the indie-rock class.
Ella Grace – “Here We Are Again” (London, England)
RIYL: Billie Marten, Maggie Rogers, Ofelia K
“Here We Are Again” is the latest track from Ella Grace. Ms. Grace describes the inspiration of her music: “I think sometimes we have to let go of love, and not always because the love is lost, sometimes it’s because the people in it have lost themselves.”
The track is drowning in a glow of acoustic based warmth that could easily be spun on the coldest of winter days. It’s beautiful and inviting, even though the subject matter isn’t necessarily sunny. The subtle sound of birds chirping in the background provide hope throughout even though the lyrical subject is facing the struggle of losing relationships due to depression.Ella’s unique and inviting vocals provide a hopeful perspective as she proclaims “You’re not consumed by the sorrow or pain”. The parting question is “Can butterflies now live where darkness crept in?” so that we can reframe our lives and know that no matter when darkness may come in our lives, we can look to the next coming morning.
The single is out on Ont’ Sofa Records.
Lupa J – “Moth” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Alice Glass, Grimes, Purity Ring
We’ve come across numerous young artists who have blown our minds with their talents. Imogen Jones, who goes by the moniker Lupa J, is near if not at the very top of the list because she is unpredictable. More accurately, she’s a chameleon but not an ordinary one because every genre she touches she masters. Anyone who has followed her career won’t be surprised by her fluidity since she’s been a musical wunderkind before she hit adolescence. Now 18- or 19-years old, she is developing into one of the most creative young producers around. Her new single is another demonstration of her talents.
“Moth” is no ordinary electronic / electro-pop song. It is a dark and gripping number that penetrates your mind and soul. The production work is minimalist with the beats and rhythms subtly probing in the background while the synths sear on occasion like lightning bolts in the blackened sky. Jones’ voice, meanwhile, is like a silent assassin, who sneaks up on you and then devastates you at the moment you least expect it. If her voice doesn’t do the job, then her lyrics focused on reality versus fiction and dependency versus autonomy will.
“Girls on billboards laughing,
Gloss and dress so sheer,
Watch me start to wonder
If maybe I’m not really here.
‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’.
Up in their framed thrones,
‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’,
As I stand here skin and bone.”
We haven’t been this impressed by a young producer since Claire Elise Boucher – a.k.a. Grimes – emerged on the scene.
Plastic Flowers – “Dalliance” (London, England via Thessaloniki, Greece)
RIYL: American Wrestlers, No Joy, Slowdive
Since we started covering George Samaras’ project Plastic Flowers, we’ve been trying to figure out for the longest time who he sounds like. Then last night, one of us had an epiphany. His voice is akin to Gary McClure, the mastermind and front man of American Wrestlers. The two possess falsettos that create a calming effect on their listeners. It also helps to be able to write songs that simply blow you away from the first to last note, which is what Samaras achieves with his latest single, “Dalliance”.
The song starts off like an American Wrestlers’ tune – immersive, relaxing, and shimmering. Its approach is more akin to spring, where one feels alive and rejuvenated. Samaras’ lyrics even have a touch of the season, as he sings about traversing through forests in search of finding a new start. As the song progresses, however, it transforms into a shoegaze number that echoes No Joy and Slowdive. It is dazzling in its effect, and the feeling of renewal takes on a whole different definition. It’s not simply a new start but more of an evolution, like a caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly. Awesome. And this song would be the better finale to our Weekend Showcase.
“Dalliance” is taken from Samaras’ debut album, Absent Forever, and it arrives November 10th via The Native Sound.
PLAZA – “Speak It” (Hartlepool, England)
RIYL: Blaenavon, JAWS, Palm Honey
“Speak It” is the newest track from PLAZA. It’s a blistering tune that includes addicting guitar riffs and whisper like vocals. “Speak It” includes the bands’ most splendid main chorus so far to date and captivates the listener throughout. PLAZA are great at perfecting their sound of grunge inspired guitar rock injected with a proper dose of shoegaze.
The tune’s meaning is endearing in its simplicity: ““‘Speak It’ is about not being concerned with what other people think about what you say or how you act” Explains front man Brad Lennard, “Always consider the potential consequences of your actions and words because in the end this is what writes your story, but just be nice and don’t let the irrelevant things in your life get you down – concentrate on you.”
The song is available via Beyond The Wall Records. Plaza are Brad Lennard (vocals/guitar), Matty Swinbourne (Drums), Matty Nicholson (Guitar) and Will Hamilton (Bass).
Roslyn Moore – “CREAM” (Los Angeles via Minneapolis, USA)
RIYL: Kate Bush teamed with Frankie Rose, Psychic Twin, and Meatloaf
The majority of the ’80s-inspired new music has focused on the coming-of-age theme of the decade. What often gets lost about that era was that there were numerous bands creating artistic and grimy pop-rock and electro-rock, particularly in the late-’80s and into the early ’90s. Not everything, in other words, was a feelgood song. Channeling the darker side of the times is Roslyn Moore, who last week released her sophomore album, Tropic of Cancer. Of the great songs on it, the one we’re highlighting today is “CREAM”.
This song is a dark beauty and absolutely brilliant theater. The opening bass line is fabulously haunting, and then it gives way to Moore’s chilling vocals, a sizzling synth, and a hammering drum line. Suddenly the song transforms from a midnight stroll into a frenetic run through an enchanted forest under a moonless night. Moore creates this delirious feeling without greatly intensifying the music or her voice, which exhibits her talents to create creepy, dramatic, and engrossing compositions. Her message, too, is terrific, as she takes on the “American Dream” and how it only caters to the elite – or the cream of the crop. The rest of us, meanwhile, are scrambling to find a way to escape the hell that awaits us.
Tropic of Cancer can be streamed in its entirety on SoundCloud. Get to know this immensely underrated artist.
Sunbathers – “Honeysuk” (Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: COIN, flor, Junior Prom
“Honeysuk” is the newest track from Baltimore based Sunbathers. It’s a groovy and upbeat track with a super interesting video to go along with it.
The song is a sensual tune that chronicles a love that you just can’t get enough of, much like the taste of honeysuckle. Mr Lynott’s vocals are enthralling and the subtle synth is woven throughout the perfectly placed guitar plucks as the track progresses with an addicting chorus.
“Honeysuk” explores the feelings of an addictive relationship to where you really only want to spend 100% of your time with the other person.
Sunbathers are Sean Lynott, Tim Boaté, Pete Mindnich, Peter Leonard, and Shohsei Oda.
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