The Bold and the Beautiful. The Young and The Restless. And of course, As the World Turns. These are not merely titles of soap operas but another way to describe the nine songs featured on The Matinee November 21st edition. There are some stunning songs on the list, a few tunes that will get you up and moving (or possibly running), and others that will steal your imagination.
Fascinations Grand Chorus – “When You’re Mine” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes, Prom Queen
More than a year ago, Brooklyn retro duo Fascinations Grand Chorus released their debut EP, Actor/Actress, which was a flashback to ’50s and ’60s pop / doo-wop music. Their classic but refreshing approach made us immediate fans, and we often wanted to find a jukebox to forever store their music. We’ll get another chance soon because their new EP, Anglesea, is a little more than 3 weeks away. Specifically, it arrives on December 8th via Silent Stereo Records, and the first single is “When You’re Mind”.
It’s another jitterbug of a single that will have people doing the jive or a jig or just dancing like Joanie and Chachi on the Happy Days. Andrew Pace’s instrumentation is boisterous and vibrant, causing you to do a few shimmies. Stephanie Cupo, meanwhile, sounds like she was from the era that brought us The Shangri-Las with her sugary and addictive vocals. Together, they have created the perfect song will at the very least lift up your spirits or remind you of simpler days. And maybe, just maybe the guys will break out the black leather jackets and the white tube socks and roll up their blue jeans. The ladies, meanwhile, may dust off their vintage dresses while tying their hair back with colorful ribbons. Then let the dance party begin.
Another thing you might wish to do is play this song to your parents and grandparents, asking them if they recognize who the band is. Don’t be surprised if they name some of the great doo-wop bands of the past, which demonstrates just how unifying and accessible Fascinations Grand Chorus’ music is.
The fin. – “Outskirts” (Kobe, Japan and London, England)
RIYL: Tame Impala, Masasolo, Sleep Party People
Since their formation in 2010, The fin. have emerged as one of Japan’s great musical exports. They’re a bit unique in two ways. First, all their songs are in English. Second, their psychedelic pop is of the airy, hallucinating variety, where they could blaze Unknown Mortal Orchestra-like fireworks or Tame Impala-esque dazzlers. For their latest single, “Outskirts”, they’ve opted for the latter to create a song that sounds like one trippy lullaby.
The light harmonies are enchanting, providing the perfect elixir to come one’s nerves and mind. The soft tinges of the electric guitar and the transformation of the synth into an organ-like instrument accentuate the song’s blissfulness. Yuto Uchino’s lyrics, too, give the indication of one floating away to another place while trying to return home. It’s a bit like Alice peering through the Looking Glass or maybe it is what is – a song that is and is about an out-of-body experience.
The band is comprised of Yuto Uchino (vocals/synths), Ryosuke Odagaki (guitar), and Kaoru Nakazawa (drums/bass). They are currently on a brief tour of Japan and then return to the UK in October. Dates can be found here.
Their new album is now expected in 2018. Woohoo!
The Girl Who Cried Wolf – “White Noise” (Antwerp/Mechelen, Belgium)
RIYL: Portishead, Mammút, Slowdive
Have you ever experienced insomnia, where you felt you were the prisoner to the night? After frustration subsides, a self-induced hypnosis ensues, and you’re left staring blankly at the ceiling, the wall, or into the deep darkness of this mental cell block. For anyone who has suffered through this impairment, Belgian darkwave band The Girl Who Cried Wolf‘s new single will remind them of their sleeplessness.
“White Noise” is the sound of the black night. The searing guitars and cellos, the harrowing bass line, and the patient drum line create the brooding, 3AM atmosphere, replicating the sounds and chaos in the insomniac’s mind. Front woman Heleen Destuyver’s vocals are similarly haunting yet delivered with the calm steeliness of one’s emotionless subconscious. But not even her lush voice can penetrate our “concrete mind”, and all we can do is stay awake. Stay awake until the dawn arrives and the start of a new day resets the nighttime battleground. At least we’ll get to hear this stunning number once again.
Heleen Destuyver (vocals), Samir Boureghda (guitar), Michael-John Joosen (drums/vocals), Sofie Sweygers (cello/keys), and Casper Heijstee (bass). The Belgian-based quintet are expecting to release a new album in 2018, which could be a dazzler if “White Noise” is any indication of what is to come.
H.Grimace – “2.1 Woman” (London, England)
RIYL: Joy Division, Desperate Journalist, Preoccupations
“2.1 Woman” is not a new song from post-punk outift H.Grimace. Nope, we have to admit that it is from the band’s album, Self Architect, which was released back in April on Opposite Number. The label, though, re-released the song a few weeks ago to remind everyone, including ourselves, that this little gem of a band released one of the year’s great records. Rough Trade thinks so anyway, as they named Self Architect as one of its Top 100 Albums of 2017. If you haven’t heard it, then take a listen to “2.1 Woman” because it will convince to make the investment.
This song is unbelievably good. The dark, throbbing, and crippling soundscape would make fellow post-punk band Preoccupations and Eagulls nod in appreciation for their brooding and electrifying approach. The slow build is masterfully done, where the first half reels you in and the finale just hypnotizes your mind and crushes your soul. From the crystalline chime of the lead guitar to the grueling propulsion of the rhythm guitar to harrowing rhythms, “2.1 Woman” is a piece of genius. Its brilliance is further heightened by the poet and artist Vivienne Griffin, who provides the lyrics and the deadpan vocals. Her message is awfully timely, as she offers a critique of how women are depicted in the mainstream and how women feel pressured to conform to this image. Listen to her words closely and then look around you, and you’ll realize that everything she says is true.
If you think this song is great, Self Architect is well worth revisiting, and we’ll be doing that this week.
H.Grimace are Hannah Gledhill (vocals/guitar), Marcus Browne (guitar), Corin Johnson (bass) and Diago Gomes (drums).
Patrick Watson – “Broken” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: S. Carey, Leif Vollebekk, Jesse Marchant
There isn’t another city on the planet that is producing singer-songwriters with the penchant for creating truly mesmerizing and gorgeous music than Montreal. Leif Vollebekk, Jesse Marchant, and Jesse Mac Cormack are three Montrealers who have taken the world by storm. We also cannot leave out Patrick Watson, who is the veteran of the quartet.
It’s hard to believe that Watson’s breakthrough and spectacular debut album, Just Another Ordinary Day, was released 14 years ago. It introduced the world to a man who created some of the most engrossing music of he era. Listen to the record, and rediscover its beauty and how well it has aged. His sophomore album, Close to Paradise, achieved greater commercial success and made Watson a much sought-after artist (and later reconstituted as a band) on the festival circuit with performances at Montreux Jazz Festival and Iceland Airwaves. While Watson and his band could play it safe and continue to create experimental folk, their latest single sees them aim for the cinematic and the intimate.
“Broken” is in a word gorgeous. It is arguably Patrick Watson’s most beautiful number, and, surprisingly, their most stripped-back single. The song features mostly Watson’s alluring voices and a soft piano melody, and the two are spellbinding. As the track progresses, the drama intensifies, as synths, guitar, and percussion gradually join the fray. It’s one of those songs that you hold your breath to for its entirety and only at the end can you exhale. Simply gorgeous.
The single is out now via Secret City Records. A new album is definitely coming in 2018, and more details to follow soon.
Watson is joined by long-time collaborators Mishka Stein, Robbie Kuster, and Joe Grass.
Raised on TV – “Big Sur (Up the Coast)” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Real Estate, Smith Westerns, Whitney
Some songs are meant for long road trips, but there the rare gems that sound exactly what a road trip is. Such is the case with Raised on TV‘s new single, which just happens to be about a road trip. As the jangly surf-rock vibe and the soothing vocals ring through the song, a feeling of adventure and excitement overcomes you. It’s the feeling you get when you the ocean breezes gently sweep over your face, the smell of the sea overwhelms your senses, and the views of the rocky coastline leave you breathless. Now whether the song is just a weekend getaway or re-capturing the journey tens of thousands took back in the ’60s and early ’70s to the famous folk festival is unclear, but this tune would work for both scenarios.
“Big Sur (Up the Coast)” is taken from Raised on TV’s debut album, Season 1, which is out now and get be picked up on Bandcamp. If you think this song echoes Real Estate, then seriously check out the entire LP.
The band is comprised of Keaton Rogers (vocals/guitar), Kacey Greenwood (drums), and Ryan Weiss (bass).
The Response – “Off Grid” (Christchurch, New Zealand & Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Divine Fits, Spoon, Max Frost
While a band may be new to many, it does not necessarily mean they have just arrived. For New Zealand duo The Responses, they’ve been performing for nearly a decade and after releasing their third album in 2014 (North of Nowhere), they left their hometown of Christchurch and moved to Vancouver, Canada. Last week, Andy Knopp (vocals/guitars/loops) and Vic Knopp (vocals/glockenspiel/bass/synth/drums). released their first “Canadian” EP in What Are You Waiting For? (their website has options to purchase / stream it) and from it is alt-pop number, “Off Grid”.
The song is the perfect demonstration of how subtlety can yield something infectious. The bass line and the soft production work, for instance, are familiar yet executed to perfection, yet they establish an awesome funky and groovy vibe. Head noodling is on order with this tune. Meanwhile, Andy Knopp’s lyrics seems to be extremely personal, as if he’s telling a story about his and Vic’s experience of leaving for the western shores of Great White North in search for new adventures. In search for a new life and opportunities. It’s a great tune, and one to which everyone – whether you found what you’re looking for or still exploring – can relate.
Stereo Honey – “Angel” (London, England)
RIYL: The Boxer Rebellion, City Calm Down, Cavalry
As we begin to look ahead to 2018 and identify artists and bands on the verge of a breakout, one name that will be given strong consideration is Stereo Honey. The London-based quartet’s career is just starting to gain momentum, but they’re quickly gaining a reputation as this generation’s The Boxer Rebellion – at least in our eyes. Their ability to pair engrossing, cinematic indie rock with brilliant songwriting makes them one of the more unique groups in music today, and their latest song illustrates why we are bullish about their potential.
“Angel” is beautifully brooding and breathtaking. The song starts like an intimate night out but then grows into a mesmerizing and enrapturing drama. The approach perfectly matches the songwriting, which is not a love story like Robbie Williams’ “Angels” or Aerosmith’s “Angel”. Instead, Stereo Honey have crafted a story about “The Angel of the North” statue that resides on the outskirts of Newcastle and is infamous for having the second-highest accident rate in the UK behind Stonehenge. Motorists are often caught staring at the statue and then swerving off the road. It is, as Pete states, “the grim reaper of distracted motorists, a siren luring unwitting drivers to their demise.”
“Angel” is taken from Stereo Honey’s new EP, Monuments, which arrives January 12th on Beatnik Creative. Look out for this band in 2018.
Yumi And The Weather – “Long Before” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Fazerdaze, Amber Arcades, No Vacation
At this time of year, we love songs that remind us of the warm, sunny days of summer, which is what Ruby Taylor has delivered with “Long Before”, her newest single under her project Yumi And The Weather. It’s not just the exhilarating and chest-swelling guitar pop that makes us want to run wild outside. It’s also not solely her bright and sugary vocals. Rather, in the first line of the song, Taylor takes us for “a walk on the beach”, where she wishes to tell us something. And like back to our youth, these intimate occasions leave us tongue tied, and the Brighton-based artist is no different.
“Let’s take a walk to the beach in sun
I try to talk, but I’m scared to say what is on my mind.
So I look for a way out.
There is nowhere to go.”
We still long for those days of innocence not just the warmer temperatures. Until summer returns, we’ll just have to spin this song along with “Callum”, and the two form Yumi And The Weather’s latest split single. It is out now via MIOHMI Records, and it can be picked up on Bandcamp.
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