The Matinee November 9th edition is filled with alumni. As a result, the artists and bands are listed in reverse alphabetical order once again so those at the end of the alphabet get their time at the top. There is one newcomer to the list, but they’ve been around for a couple of years. We’ve also changed things up a bit by pairing each song with a movie. From start to finish, today’s The Matinee features songs you will remember, and, therefore, we highly recommend you give each song a listen.
Movie: ‘What Dreams May Come’
VAZ – “Solitary Ghost” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Jessie Ware, Nite Jewel, Enya
In What Dreams May Come, there is a moment where Robin Williams is walking through a beautifully vibrant meadow. This world is of his making because in the afterlife he can live where he wants. A calm overcomes him and then exhilaration. It’s a wonderful moment for the viewer to believe that something glorious awaits us. This feeling of hope and awe is replicated in VAZ‘s new single, “Solitary Ghost”.
The song is simultaneously stunning and haunting. The combination of soft piano, delicate production, and theatrical percussion masterfully creates a soundscape that teeters between life and heaven. Jenny and Cecilia Vaz’s voices, however, are what take the song to celestial heights. They are like Cuba Gooding, Jr. in What Dreams May Come – our spirit guides in this new world.
“Can you hear me call?
I need you
Walk with me
Watch the bridges I cross
I need you Solitary Ghost.”
Gorgeous, which what we’ve come to expect from the talented siblings.
Movie: ‘Fight Club’
The Wombats – “Lemon to a Knife Fight” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: The Kooks, Shout Out Louds, !!!
Fight Club remains one of the great cult movies of all time. Though it wasn’t critically acclaimed, the film has a massive following. If you have yet to see it, there are spoilers ahead. The surprise ending that the Narrator (played by Edward Norton) is Tyler Durden still blows people away, including myself. But the best thing about the movie is its message that even the weakest can be physical champions, a theme that is repeated on The Wombats‘ surprise new single, “Lemon to a Knife Fight”.
Released two days ago, the Liverpool-based trio have delivered one exhilarating indie-dance-rock tune that will have fists pumping, heads pounding, hips gyrating, and legs flailing in all directions. Beyond the earworm of a melody (not to mention the groovy rhythms), Matthew Murphy’s story is awesome. It’s a contemporary version of Fight Club, but this time the Narrator isn’t the underdog but the man everyone has come to defeat.
“I push and you tend to shove
I give in and you don’t up
You’re not getting out this time
I brought a lemon to a knife fight
I kick you
And you like to punch
And you’re undone
You’re not getting out of here alive.”
The band is comprised of Matthew Murphy (vocals/guitar), Dan Haggis (drummer), and Tord Øverland-Knudsen (bass). They commence a North American tour in early January, and details are available here. European dates are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Sjowgren – “Waiting Room” (San Francisco/Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Stars, Land of Talk
Fun fact: the 2007 movie Juno, starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Diablo Cody – her real name is Brook Busio-Maurio – definitely deserved it for her humorous take on teenage pregnancy and how a family can come together around an unexpected event. There is a scene in the movie where Page tells Cera she’s pregnant; the anxiety on her face and the surprise on his are priceless. This all takes place in Page’s parents’ house, but the intensity matches what one would see in a “Waiting Room”, which is the title of Sjowgren‘s new single.
There isn’t much information about the Bay-area trio other than that they started a couple of years and have developed a cult following of their own. This song is the first we’ve heard of them, and we are immediately fans. “Waiting Room” possesses the same oft-kilter, dramatic indie rock of Canadian super-group Broken Social Scene. It starts off delicately and innocently enough but then turns into an exhilarating, guitar-driven rock tune before calming down. Just as it eases into a slow pace, the track intensifies once again, making you want to lose yourself in it.
In many ways, this nearly five-minute song mirrors the multiple emotions witnessed in an emergency waiting room. Relief and glee are exulted by some while others will be devastated. When a song can make you feel and imagine so many conflicting feelings, you know the band has created something extremely special, if not a masterpiece.
Movie: ‘Lost in Translation’
Marlon Williams – “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” (feat. Aldous Harding) (Lyttleton, New Zealand)
RIYL: Elvis Presley + Angel Olsen
When Sofia Coppola’s Academy Award-winning film, Lost in Translation, was released in 2004, Scarlett Johansson was still a relatively unknown actor while Bill Murray’s career was being resurrected. Their casting was perfect for this story of an unexpected friendship between two strangers who are separated by 30 years in age. The movie is filled with wonderful images of the two adapting to life in Tokyo. There is heartbreak and hope, optimism and reluctance, but the movie’s ending leaves a smile on your face because you’ve just witnessed a beautifully artistic piece of cinema. As you hear Marlon Williams‘ duet with fellow New Zealand superstar Aldous Harding, those same emotions will come flooding back to you.
“Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” is a stunning dream from which you never want to awake. A gorgeous, Laurel Canyon psychedelic-folk vibe teems throughout the song and leaves you on Cloud 9. Then there are Williams and Harding, who have two of the most enrapturing voices on the planet. They are the perfect pairing, and each word they sing leaves you in a trance. Their beautiful story is also akin to what Coppola wrote. While the two individuals may not be able to help each other immediately, the ending leaves a hint that everything will work out.
Williams’ new album, Make Way For Love, is due February 16th, 2018 on Dead Oceans. Pre-orders are available here. This will be one of our most anticipated LPs of the new year, especially after his self-titled debut made our Favorite 50 Albums of 2016.
Dates and information of Williams’ upcoming tour plans are available here.
Movie: ‘American Pie’
Indigo Husk – “Waste Of A Year” (London, England)
RIYL: Fidlar, The Libertines, Japandroids
The American Pie movies have some memorable scenes. Yes, they are exaggerated tales about being teenagers and later college students, but everyone can relate to at least one storyline (although maybe not using apple pie in a sexual way). Specifically, we all know what it’s like to desire someone and then have your heart broken. Or maybe you’re the fortunate one who found love in the most unexpected person, like Paul connecting with Stifler’s mom, Jeanine. If the American Pie franchise was to continue, then a song that needs to be on the soundtrack is Indigo Husk‘s latest tune, “Waste Of A Year”.
The London-based quartet are quickly establishing a reputation as being the Fidlar of the UK music scene. Their brand of garage-rock/punk-rock is fun, explosive, and at times preposterously delirious. We described their last single, “Goes Around Comes Around”, as music’s equivalent to the Energizer bunny. With “Waste Of A Year”, they continue with the frenetic approach and deliver another riot of a track.
Once again, they’ll have you bopping around wherever you may be at this moment. The scintillating guitar riffs and hammering rhythms aren’t the only great things about this tune; the lyrics are also pretty fantastic. There are humorous points (“I used to let you pop my pimples”) and serious notes that together describe the difficult process for a young heart to heal. But like they say, the best way to get over heartbreak is to get out and have some fun. Fortunately, Indigo Husk give us a reason to do so.
Indigo Husk are Joe Hamm, Joe Taylor, Joe Maclaren, and Flynn Allott. No word on whether an album is coming, but we anticipate there will be something in 2018.
Evil Astronaut – “Terminal” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Gengahr, The Uglysuit, Bombay Bicycle Club
Spike Jonze is one of the great filmmakers and storytellers of the past two decades. His movies go beyond the capacities of the ordinary mind (or, in the case of Being John Malkovich, inside the actor’s mind). His film, Her, is an unexpected love story between a recently divorced man, Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix), and a computer program named Samatha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The most beautiful moments occur when Theodore starts to tear down the walls he’s built around himself and experience the world around him thanks to Her. Viewers can feel his happiness, his freedom, and the love he has for something he has never seen. This is also how to describe the impact of Evil Astronaut‘s newest single, “Terminal”.
Despite the duo releasing one of the best songs of the year with “Orbit Berlin” last January, we still do not know anything about them. They remain as mysterious and enigmatic as Samantha, and like her, all we can do is succumb to the seductiveness of their voices as well as their music. Whereas “Orbit Berlin” is a cosmic delight, “Terminal” is an intimate but exhilarating affair. It is that rare song that you want to play repeatedly and collapse within each pluck of the crystalline guitar and every rhythmic pulse. This surely must be a dream because it’s not often a song releases us from our imprisonment and opens our eyes and minds to something that isn’t there. Or is it there? And does it even matter?
Movie: ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’
Dead Pretties – “Social Experiment” (London, England)
RIYL: The Black Keys, The London Souls, Baby Strange
One of the great horror movies is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It obviously isn’t at the same level as today’s gruesome, bloody scream fests, but the original 1941 film was considered cutting edge for its makeup and costumes. While the actual story is more frightening than the film, both versions do one thing well: they demonstrate that there is a monster inside all of us. There was a low-budget remake done this year of the film, but it needs a proper re-telling. Should that occur, the soundtrack to Dr. Jekyll’s slow transformation has to be “Social Experiment”, the kickass new single by Dead Pretties.
The London-based trio are making some of the best blues-rock/garage-rock on the planet. Their music is edgy, fearless, and anthemic. In addition, frontman Jacob Slater is an underrated songwriter who tells great stories in each of the band’s songs. “Social Experiment” is no different, as Slater tells he cannot control his mind. Instead, he is living in fear and cannot differentiate fact from fiction, friend from foe. He’s slowly turning into someone or something he does not know:
“It’s all a conspiracy.
Everyone hates everyone inside
And that pretty brunette, yeah she’s a dancer
There’s murder in her eyes
My brain is doing time
All the girls and the guys
Went to parties in disguise
I’ve been living outside my mind.”
The single is out on Nice Swan Records.
Dead Pretties are Jacob Slater (vocals/guitar), Oscar Browne (bass), and Ben Firth (drums).
Movie: ‘The Runaways’
Dama Scout – “Toothache” (Glasgow, Scotland and London, England)
RIYL: Garbage, Jay Som, A Place To Bury Strangers
Music fans know The Runaways’ story. If not, the short version is that The Runaways, which included Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, were five young women who wanted to start an all-female rock band in the ’70s. This was unheard of at the time as rock ‘n roll was a very male-dominated business. The biopic is an account of the band’s formation and meteoric rise. It’s filled with drama of course (what Hollywood movie isn’t?), but it’s a solid flick. In much the same way that The Runaways were pioneers, Dama Scout is also at the forefront of a new “movement”.
While several women artists of Asian descent have achieved success within the western music scene (Yoko Ono, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki), only in the past five years have we witnessed a sizable breakthrough. Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, and Jay Som are the notable names, but Dama Scout, who is fronted by Eva Liu, is starting to get noticed thanks to their shoegaze-y indie-rock approach. Their latest single, “Toothache”, is more of this delicious goodness.
The song commences with a jangly vibe that is reminiscent of Alvvays and Dick Diver. Just as hypnosis sets in, the band fires up the shoegze, turning the song into a grimy rocker. The ending is fantastic as wave after wave of reverb pounds our heads. “Toothache” is just the latest example of Dama Scout’s brilliance, and why we think Liu (vocals/guitar), Luciano Rossi (bass/keys), and Danny Grant (drums) will be stars one day. Maybe a movie will be made about them in the future.
The song is taken from Dama Scout’s forthcoming self-titled EP that arrives November 10th via Hand in Hive.
Movie: ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’
City Calm Down – “In This Modern Land” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Joy Division, Gang of Youths, The National
The ’80s were filled with coming-of-age movies, but for those in their twenties, St. Elmo’s Fire was the one they embraced. The film depicted the dreams and antics of seven close friends who just finished college and are trying to survive on their own. It is basically the show Friends condensed into less than two hours and made a decade earlier. But like all the movies of that era, every member of the group overcomes certain odds. For today’s world, one of Australia’s great bands deliver a song that will make you feel like you can overcome anything.
City Calm Down‘s latest number, “In This Modern Land”, is that song. Through their brooding, anthemic approach that is a mix of Joy Division, The National, and Gang of Youths, the Melbourne-based quartet deliver their most political song to date. “In This Modern Land” is one person’s revelation about his place in this confusing and chaotic world. About one woman or man finally taking a stand and doing something right – for not just himself but everyone in his community. As the horns blare, the rhythms intensify, and the guitars sear, frontman Jack Bourke’s voice roars with urgent desperation:
“In this modern land
I cannot pretend to believe a word you say
In this modern land
I doubted everything since I cut myself away
But I, I saw the reflections of the conscious in collapse.”
Let this song be your motivation to tackle all obstacles today and into the future – at least until City Calm Down’s sophomore album arrives in 2018 via I OH YOU.
The band consists of Jack Bourke, Sam Mullaly, Jeremy Sonnenberg, and Lee Armstrong.
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