The Matinee October 24th features songs that will have you fist-pumping and rocking out your brains. Then there are tunes that will leave your mouth agape and having you wonder what you just have heard. Another way to consider this mini-playlist is Beauty meets the Beast.
Aisha Badru – “Bridges” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Daughter, London Grammar, Wye Oak
We kick things off with an artist who first caught our ear back in 2015 and had us eating out of her hands with “Young”. Aisha Badru‘s debut single had us predicting stardom for the New York City-based artist. She, however, has only periodically released new music, so her rise has been more incremental than expected. But if she became a full-time musician, there is no question in our mind that stardom would soon follow. Late last week, she unveiled her latest masterpiece that has us in complete awe.
“Bridges” is Badru’s newest creation. She’s exchanged her acoustic guitar for a synth and a computer, but she has still crafted a song that is so remarkable and breathtaking that more popular bands like Daughter, Bon Iver, and London Grammar should be looking over their shoulders. Her raspy but intimate vocals are also sensational, and her lyrics are inspiring.
“There will be oceans for us to tread.
There will be bridges for us to mend.
But I’ll stick through it.
Oh, I swear.
There will be mountains for us to climb.
There will be days when the sun won’t shine.
But I’ll stick to it.
Oh, I swear.”
And yes, the word breathtaking is overused, but in this case it is appropriate. Correction, Badru redefines the word with “Bridges”, which you’ll be hearing again come December 31st.
Bee Bee Sea – “D.I. Why Why Why” (Castel Goffredo, Italy)
RIYL: The Stooges, The Strokes, Oh Sees
Italy is going to develop a reputation that extends beyond its great cuisine, art, architecture, and fashion, specifically to include music. And we’re not talking about opera. We’ve come across some great Italian artists and bands recently, and another one that has grabbed our attention is garage rockers Bee Bee Sea, which is just an awesome name. They’re so good that not one but two labels will be releasing their new album next month. Just one listen to “D.I. Why Why Why” is all that one needs to understand why those in the know on both sides of the pond are excited about their potential.
“D.I Why Why Why” is a classic psychedelic garage-rock number. A ’60s vibe filters through the song, specifically the hip-shaking melody with which The Kinks became associated. Yet the psychedelic zaniness of the Oh Sees and Oblivians can be heard mixed with some good old rollicking rhythms a la The Stooges. Come to think of it, Bee Bee Sea could very well be Italy’s answer to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. We’ll find out soon enough when their new album, Sonic Boomerang, is released on November 17th. Dirty Water Records USA and Wild Honey Records will be distributing it. Pre-orders are available here.
Covered in Snow – “Spaceboy” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Massive Attack, Grizzly Bear, Mt. Wolf
When the names Grizzly Bear, Mt. Wolf, and Massive Attack come rolling off your tongue when describing a band’s debut single, you know they are on to something special. That is the case with Stockholm-based Covered in Snow, who recently released their first song, “Spaceboy”, which is out-of-this-world.
The project of former Shallow Sense members Mikael Engström and Tom Hedlund, the duo have crafted a stunning and marvelous number. “Spaceboy” is part art-rock, another part cosmic indietronica, and a healthy portion of trip-hop. The opening notes catch your attention, but by the song’s ending you are left wide-eyed and wishing the song will never end. The production work is minimalist but exquisite, and the enchanting vocals are mesmerizing. If outer space had a church, Covered in Snow would be its choir because this song is indeed a religious experience.
The Fluids – “New Land Sale” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Television, INHEAVEN, Palm Honey
We’ve compared The Fluids to Franz Ferdinand on their single “Creatures” while “Just Like Me” echoed David Bowie. For their latest single, the channel another great rock band in Television with plenty of Brit-rock attitude. And attitude might just be the way to describe “New Land Sale”.
This manic and chaotic number is a non-stop adrenaline rush. Everything is turned up several notches, whether it’s the killer guitar riffs, the explosive rhythms, or Michael O’Donnell’s fiery vocals. Nothing on this song is gentle or delicate. It’s five minutes of in-your-face noise that will make you absolutely lose your mind. After everything we’ve heard from the band, we’ve come accustomed to their awesome ferocity. Hopefully, the rest of the world will discover how great this band is.
The Fluids are Michael O’Donnell, Nick de Molina, and Cooper Formant.
Haiva Ru – “Wild Flowers” (Santa Barbara, CA, USA)
RIYL: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Pinegrove
There is not much information available about Allie Paige Merrill and her project Haiva Ru. The Santa Barbara native has quietly and gradually released new music, leading to a growing and dedicated following. Count us in as one of her new fans. For those who love the stripped-back intimacy of Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, you’ll want to start following Merrill on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud or whatever may be your favorite streaming service. As a sample of her talent is “Wild Flowers”.
From the opening strum of the acoustic guitar to the hum of the keys and then arrival of Merrill’s lush vocals, one becomes devoured by the song’s beautifully devastating style. There aren’t many artists who can make the simple sound so stunning and gorgeous, yet a young hidden gem has done exactly this. What will she do five years from now? We cannot wait to find out.
Hockey Dad – “Homely Feeling” (Windang, Australia)
RIYL: Sticky Fingers, Pinemen, Fidlar
We haven’t heard from Aussie surf-punk rock band Hockey Dad since they released Boronia, which was one of 2016’s most entertaining albums. Nearly 18 months later, they’ve released their first single in “Homely Feeling”, and it seems like the duo have turned a new page.
Whereas their previous tracks had a playful and nonchalant approach, “Homely Feeling” has a more serious tone. Then again, Zach Stephenson (guitar/vocals) and Billy Fleming (drums/vocals) have been on the road for much of the past year, and a bit of home sickness can be heard in the song. While the song at first seems like an ode to home, Hockey Dad quickly turn the story into one about the gun culture and racism that permeates in some places. It’s a surprising tune from a band whose music we’re use to just rocking out and having a good time. We’re not complaining, though.
Hockey Dad are currently touring across North America. Find dates and information here.
The Howl & The Hum – “I Wish I Was A Shark” (York, England)
RIYL: Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, Thom Yorke
York-based The Howl & The Hum shared “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge” in June, which we described as sensational. It truly was an eye-opening track that presented to the world one of England’s great hidden treasures. But as good as that song was, they’ve outdone themselves with “I Wish I Was A Shark”.
This single is incredible. If hearing it for the first time, you might be thinking you’re listening to a song by Radiohead or one of Thom Yorke’s side project. The song never reaches a massive crescendo, but instead the quartet rely on patience, a harrowing soundscape, and the remarkable vocals of Sam Griffiths to keep your attention. The storyline, too, is awesome, as Griffiths describes an individual (who could be an assassin, a hunter, or a seductress) on the prowl. S/He is in search for prey, and there is already blood in the water. To truly appreciate the song, it must be heard in solitude, ideally while sitting in room that is lit by a sole candle. Then its true power can be experienced. Absolutely marvelous and one of the best songs we’ve heard all year.
The Howl & The Hum are Sam Griffiths, Conor Hirons, Bradley Blackwell, and Jack Williams.
Peter Matthew Bauer – “Wild Light” (Los Angeles via Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, The War On Drugs
The Walkmen may be on an infinite hiatus, but fortunately their two co-founders continue to produce music. Most will know Hamilton Leithauser, but the great NYC band’s other creative partner is Peter Matthew Bauer. He tends to get overlooked in the bigger scheme of things, but as a solo artist his genius shines. Case in point his latest single, “Wild Light”.
This song resonates of the folk-rock splendor of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young in the ’70s, as the listener becomes immersed in the wonderful songwriting and within Bauer’s message of hope, new opportunities, and change. Musically, there is an element of the The War On Drugs, where Bauer has taken a familiar approach and made it widescreen. As such, this song is exhilarating and inspiring. It’s an instant classic.
The Presolar Sands – “The First Law of Thermodynamics” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: The Black Angels, Wooden Shjips, The Black Lips
The Matinee October 24th edition comes to a close with a band we’ve been fans of since they first formed in the spring of 2015. At the time, The Presolar Sands released a head-rattling psychedelic tune in “Voodoo Ritual”, and they’ve continued to release some of the best psych-rock on the planet (such as “Det Stora Oväsendet”). Yesterday, they unveiled their most menacing number in “The First Law of Thermodynamics”.
This might be the first song named after a lesson in a second-year physics course, but this song will appeal to even the most novice of music fans. For nearly six-and-a-half minutes, Jessica Mengarelli, Wilhelm Tengdahl, Charlotta Paulin and Micke Pettersson unfurl a dark and sinister number that will have the hairs on the back standing straight up. At the same time, your head will be methodically banging with the occasional fist pump. Awesome. Simply awesome.
The single is out now via Lazy Octopus Records.
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