The Matinee October 19th is an all-women affair. Each of the songs is from either a female solo artist or a female-fronted band. There are plenty of reasons for this, but mostly because women are making the best and most creative music today. The nine songs showcase how far and wide the talent and ingenuity extends (and no, it’s not limited to the “singer-songwriter” category).
Feist – “Stranger” (Gord Downie cover) (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Gord Downie, Feist
It’s been an emotional week that became even more so yesterday with the passing of Gord Downie, the frontman and songwriter of legendary Canadian band The Tragically Hip. Downie was more than just a singer and songwriter; he was a poet, activist, and a man who wrote about the well-known and hidden stories of the country. His death has affected practically all Canadians, including the great Leslie Feist. Upon learning of his passing, she immediately shared a hushed, bare bones cover of “Stranger”, from Downie’s recent solo album, Secret Path.
On social media, Feist had this to share about her friend:
“I send out this song with love, respect and gratitude in honour of Gord’s generosity of spirit. I admired so much his honest way of communicating what he saw and the courage and conviction he searched with. Thank you, and I love you.”
We’ll miss you Gord. Thank you for always being our security blanket.
Miya Folick – “Give It To Me” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Fiona Apple, TORRES
There isn’t much more that can be said about Miya Folick. We’ve used every superlative imaginable since we heard “Talking With Strangers” that she released in spring of 2015. She’s blown our minds with fiery rockers, made us dance with pop-rock anthems, and left us breathless with the most intimate ballads. Her versatility, incredible vocals, and splendid songwriter are reasons why we listed her as an Artist to Watch in 2016 and again in 2017. And finally, this year – or maybe next year – her star will explode. When this supernova happens, it might be because of “Give It To Me”, since it is absolutely incredible.
Just listen to this song without any interruptions. It is powerful, heartbreaking, and gorgeous. “Give It To Me” is not simply a stunner; it is one of the best songs of the year. There’s no question about it. Ask us anytime from now until the end of the year, and this emotional heart attack will be in our Top 10 if not Top 3. This is why Miya Folick sits near the top of The Matinee even though we generally list the songs in alphabetical order.
The song is taken from her new Give It To Me EP which arrives November 3rd via Terrible Records. Needless to say, we cannot wait for it.
The Beths – “Great No One” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Veruca Salt, Alvvays, Fazerdaze
Most music fans know New Zealand is home to the Dunedin sound. It might soon be recognized for some of the great guitar-pop bands on the planet. Auckland quartet The Beths are just one of those groups infusing catchy indie-pop into the Aotearoa scene.
Already favorites within the college and indie scenes, The Beths could follow in the footsteps of fellow guitar-pop darlings Fazerdaze and grow in popularity, particularly in Europe. There is, however, a big difference between the two, as The Beths infuse ’90s alternative into their glimmering approach. For those who grew up during this era, you might hear the influences of Veruca Salt and Liz Phair woven through their newest single, “Great No One”. Akin to these iconic artists, this song is simultaneously catchy yet gritty, and the Elizabeth Stokes’ lyrics represent the apathy and uncertainty of today’s youth. Whether you’re a teenager or a young adult just entering the workforce (or an older person like us), you’ll completely relate to her words:
“I want to move, I do, I do, I do
Trying to get this right
Losing the appetite
It’s not the way I choose, I choose, I choose
Always caught in-between.”
The song is available now on Bandcamp for “name your own price”.
The Beths are Elizabeth Stokes (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar/vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/ vocals), and Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals). They’ll be heading out on a mini-New Zealand tour. Dates and information are available here.
Fever High – “Good Advice” (feat. Jeff Goldblum) (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The Blow, Mallrat
Yes, you’ve read the title correctly. Jeff Goldblum – the actor from The Fly, Jurassic Park franchise, and Independence Day – makes a cameo on Fever High‘s new single, “Good Advice”. Before we get to his contribution, the duo of Reni Lane and Anna Nordeen demonstrate once again they know how to put together an awesome hook to reel in listeners and get them gyrating.
The instrumentation is stripped back and relatively simple, but boy is it catchy. The funky bass line, jazzy piano work, and shimmering percussion work lead the way with the occasional guitar strike illuminating the song. Meanwhile, Lane and Nordeen’s harmonies are ear candy, and their lyrics are empowering. In their sweet and gentle way, they basically tell anyone wanting to offer unsolicited advice to go “f*** off”. We don’t think they’re directing their words to Goldblum, who talks about how salespersons influence his choices when it comes to buying clothes. It’s pretty interesting to here him speak about pairing indigo shirts with two vests and his “fetish-istic convictions on how I like to tie my tie”.
If you’re wondering how the heck they got Goldblum to speak on the song, read what Lane had to say to Interview Mag, who premiered the song earlier in the week.
“Good Advice” is taken from Fever High’s forthcoming debut album, FHNY, which comes out November 10th.
G.Smith – “Painkiller” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Kalbells, Dirty Projectors, alt-J, Animal Collective
There isn’t a whole lot of information available on G.Smith, other than she’s based out of Los Angeles and she uses different forms of media to express herself, including, of course, music. The young woman definitely has a knack for creativity, as her new single, “Painkiller”, reveals.
This isn’t the typical electro-pop song that has you going “rah rah” and dancing until dawn. Instead, it is an immersive experience that feels like a quiet night alone. The production work is deliberate and subtle, occasionally bursting with energy to reflect either an epiphany or the chaos that occurs from time to time in one’s mind. What makes the song, however, is Smith’s songwriting. Her story is powerful as she discusses people’s drug addictions and dependency and how it helps them cope with daily life. Smith, as such, is not merely an artist; she’s also an insightful messenger.
Jess Cornelius – “Love And Low Self Esteem” (Melbourne, Australia via Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Big Thief, Twain, Lydia Cole
It’s incredible to hear an artist step out of her comfort zone and strip away all the extra layers and elements. For years, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing Jess Cornelius play behind a synthesizer and electric guitar while blasting out dance-oriented synth-pop tunes with her band Teeth & Tongue. So to hear her play just with an acoustic guitar is startling yet wonderful. Her voice has always been a strength, but as a solo artist it truly shines. The rich, full notes and the emotion that rings from her vocals are more apparent, and each word she sings hits you harder than the electronic beats from her main project. Her previous single, “Jealousy”, struck us hard, but her newest song, “Love And Low Esteem”, has us floored.
The song is simple in its composition, yet it is stunning due in part to her vulnerable, emotionally-charged vocals and heartbreaking story. Cornelius recounts the slow dissolution of a relationship and her encounter with the person who eventually cheats on her. It’s a sad story beautifully delivered by one of music’s most gifted artists.
The single is from Cornelius’ forthcoming EP, Nothing is Lost, which is out October 27th. Get it on Bandcamp.
Cornelius is currently in the U.S. on a solo tour.
Jinka – “Flesh To White To Black To Flesh” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: BANKS, BROODS, Martika
In the summer, Berlin-based artist Jinka revealed herself to the world with her bold, creative debut single, “Trash from the Past”. The entire song was a cacophony of exhilarating sounds and notes that left you wanting more. Her newest single goes a different direction and shows a different side to her artistry.
“Flesh To White To Black To Flesh” is a darker, more brooding number than her first song. Comparisons to BANKS and BROODS will be inevitable, but there are more explosive and dramatic flashes in her approach. The beginning of the song, for instance, is reminiscent of ’90s artist Martika’s dizzying alt-pop approach, and this is repeated later in the song. The result is a dizzying, immersive experience that leads you into Jinka’s rabbit hole as opposed to being taken to a romantic space. Her lyrics, too, are out of the Twilight Zone, where she describes the blurring line between perception and reality.
The video for the song accentuates Jinka’s vision of how music and performance art collide to create a product that is engrossing and stunning.
The single is out now via AWAL Recordings.
Kadija Kamara – “Eyes On You” (London, England)
RIYL: St. Vincent, Tash Sultana, Lenny Kravitz, Sananda Maitreya (f.k.a Terence Trent D’Arby)
Sometimes you come across an artist who impresses you so much because you cannot pigeonhole her. That is the case with Kadija Kamara, whose musical style has been called “alternative soul”, although “funk rock” would also be suitable. She’s like a funkier version of St. Vincent or a younger version of Lenny Kravitz in his prime. We don’t bandy these names about that often, which explains just how talented and how enormous Kamara’s potential is. Don’t believe us? Then just listen to her new single, “Eyes on You”.
Immediately your head will start bobbing around to the groovy, funky bass line, and the pace will only intensify as the track builds. Then when Kamara’s sultry vocals begin, your attention becomes fixated entirely on the song and her story about a chance meeting between two people. It’s a cat-and-mouse game that is being told, but who catches whom?
Funky cool! That’s all that needs to be said about “Eyes on You”, which is taken from Kamara’s forthcoming EP, Nothing Left To Lose, that is expected in early 2018.
Sonnfjord – “Lights” (Brussels, Belgium)
RIYL: CHVRCHES, Goldfrapp, Bats for Lashes
When Sony Music signs an artist or band after barely a year in existence, you know they have some serious talent. Sure, in some cases major labels want to mould them to be like every other mainstream group. But in the case of Sonnfjord, it seems the label is allowing these five young, dynamic individuals to make music they want as evidenced by their new single, “Lights”.
This pop tune isn’t like your typical Top 40 stuff. Instead, it merges multiple influences and genres – from the intimate synth-pop of CHVRCHES to the disco-pop of Goldfrapp and the dark sensibilities of Bats for Lashes. “Light”, as such, is an addictive yet haunting number that is made for slow dancing under the pale moonlight. Frontwoman Maria-Laetitia Mattern’s lyrics are also tantalizing, as she encourages people to escape their prison and find their freedom. In the process, she tells us to “dance all night”, which is something we can definitely agree on.
Look out, world: Sonnfjord could very well be Belgium’s next biggest music import.
If you don’t have a SoundCloud Go account, the video for the song is provided below. It was shot entirely in Hong Kong.
The single is out now via Sony Music Belgium.
Sonnfjord are Maria-Laetitia Mattern (vocals/guitar), François de Moffarts (vocals/bass), Aurelio Mattern (keyboards), Jérôme Van Den Bril (guitar), and Fabio Zamagni (drums).
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