Nine songs from artists and bands representing multiple countries. It’s what you expect to find on The Matinee November 28th edition. Six of the songs are from Europe, two from Australasia, and the final one from an American band we’ve come to really adore. Sit back, relax, and enjoy these great new tunes.
Annie Taylor – “Wasted Youth” (Zurich, Switzerland)
RIYL: Ty Segall, The Darts, Black Mountain
Switzerland is mostly a peaceful and pleasant place that has experienced a few centuries of peace and prosperity. Surrounded by the imposing Alps, no one has dared to conquer the land-locked country. So what’s the best way to rattle some windows and awaken the civilians? You infiltrate it from the inside, relying on four young Swiss residents to deliver an audio assault on the masses.
Annie Taylor‘s weapons of choice are the regular garage-rock/psych-rock layout – two guitars, one bass, one drummer, and one kick ass front woman. Their inspirations are California rockers, such as Ty Segall and The Darts, who they mirror to perfection while adding a touch of Swiss sweetness on their second “official” single, “Wasted Youth”.
The song is simply awesome. It really is two songs merged into one. The first half exhibits the quartet’s propulsive energy, as they deliver a hip-shaking, anthemic rocker that is complemented by Gini’s sugary vocals and her story about escaping to Mexico to live out her youthful years. The second half turns into a throbbing, dark, psychedelic burner that would make the members of Black Mountain watch with envious eyes. As the song draws to an end, two words will be dangling from your lips – “Fuck yeah!”
Pick up the tune on Bandcamp and then blast it so your neighbors can hear it.
Annie Taylor are Gini (vocals/guitar), Cyril (guitar), Michael (bass), and Adrian / Dimos (drums).
Baiba Dekena – “Touch You Right” (Innsbruck, Austria via Liepāja, Latvia)
RIYL: Lianne Le Havas, Corinne Bailey Rae, Daughter
Discovering artists and bands who dare to be different and who simply ask to be heard is the best thing about doing the daily playlists. We’ve heard music from nearly every corner of the planet, and each day we are amazed by the talent that exists. Back in late June, we still recall the day we heard the music of Latvian-born, Austrian-based Baiba Dekena, who at the time shared the intoxicating “Light Inside”. Hearing her for the first time made us wonder why we had not learned about her sooner. While we’ll never forget her, she returns with another stunning new single in “Touch You Right”.
This ballad is haunting and cinematic, commencing softly and intimately before escalating into a breathtaking cascade of piano, synths, strings, and percussion. Dekena’s rich vocals, however, steal the show, filling the air with a raw emotion that will filter through your skins and bones and right into your heart. Her lyrics are sublime, telling a story of one person’s relationship with the people and things around her. Will she remember them? Will they remember her? Is goodbye finality or just a slight interruption? Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
If you have the time, take a peek at the song’s video, which heightens the emotion and urgency of this wonderful track.
Guide Dog – “Egos With Genitals” (Bridgend, Wales)
RIYL: Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Hüsker Dü
Holy Batman is this 1990 all over again? Not that we’re complaining because the late-80s and early-90s ushered in an era of college radio and garage-rock music that continues to inspire many bands today, such as Welsh band Guide Dog. The trio of Peter Roberts, John Maloney, and Ian Russell likely were spending late nights spinning Dinosaur Jr’s triumvirate LPs, Bug, Farm, and Beyond, and their single, “Egos With Genitals”, sounds like it could have been on any of those records.
The entire song echoes the garage-rock greats – the grungy, power guitar riffs a la J Mascis, the Lou Barlow-esque hammering bass, and the machine drumming that would make Murph proud. Seriously, this song sounds like we’ve been transported back to the Bush years when garage-rock tunes were the political anthems of the day. On this occasion, Guide Dog likely have set their eyes on the egomaniacs who have led the UK and the US down precipitous paths.
The song is taken from the trio’s debut album, Lovely Domestic Bliss, which was released in July via Hi-Vis Records.
Pat Dam Smyth – “Blue Lights” (Belfast, Northern Ireland & London, England)
RIYL: Noah Gundersen, David Ramirez, Silver Torches
When we head to the UK, we tend to seek out indie-rock and indie-pop bands because this little part of the world is making arguably the best indie music on the planet (although Norway, Sweden, and Australia have something to say about that). In our recent escapade around the islands, we came across an unexpected surprise – an Americana tune from a singer-songwriter based in London but originally from Belfast. And yes, we mean Americana and not Irish or Gaelic folk music.
His name is Pat Dam Smyth, and his new single, “Blue Lights”, immediately recalls the uplifting and spirited music of Noah Gundersen and the extremely underrated David Ramirez. The catchy guitar riff and the addictive melody are things to behold, and they are heightened by the metallic chime of the steel guitar (who doesn’t like the steel guitar?). Then there are Smyth’s lyrics, which will make you want “to fly away” and escape the bright lights of the city. To find a little piece of Eden in some faraway place and disappear “into the night”.
Joining Pat Dam Smyth (vocals/piano/guitar) are Chris McComish (drums/backing vocals), Tim Abbey (bass), and Joao Mello (piano/backing vocals).
PINES – “This Life” (Adelaide, Australia)
RIYL: Flume, Bonobo, Tycho
Australian electronic duo PINES have had one wild 2017, and there are still nearly five weeks remaining. They started the year at SXSW, where they had a blast as evidenced by the memories they shared with us. An American management group signed them to promote their music worldwide, and they’ve gone on to perform and record in Germany. Now back home in Adelaide, Adam and James are preparing to finish their debut album and to offer a sneak peek of what to expect they’ve shared “This Life”.
This number isn’t your typical tropical house or electronic single. Instead, it is like a fantasy, akin to the awe-inspiring and wind-swept soundscapes that Flume, Bonobo, and Tycho have mastered. It is music that you don’t necessarily want to dance to, but rather swim in it. That is, like the warm and invigorating waters of the Indian Ocean, you want to be embraced by every note of “This Life” and by the end float within its trance-like waves and fluid currents. These two gentlemen are on the verge of hitting it big, and it could very well happen in 2018.
Alternative streaming links are available here in case you want to save it to your library.
Silent Runners – “Roadkill” (Amsterdam & Utrecht, Netherlands)
RIYL: Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Principe Valiente
In the 1980s, Depeche Mode introduced a new form of music that merged post-punk, new wave, industrial, and dark rock. It was music that felt as hard, cold, and brittle as ice. Reinterpreting that harrowing sound are Dutch quintet Silent Runners. Their previous single, “Dark Mountain”, was a brooding, exhilarating number that teetered more closely to Joy Division. With “Roadkill”, however, the band have delivered a song that would fit somewhere between two of Depeche Mode’s greatest albums – Violator and Construction Time Again.
This song is belongs in another dimension or world where the subconscious reigns and one’s true self is revealed for all to see. The dark pulses of the synth and rhythms coupled with the steely luminescence of the electric guitar create the familiar, startling soundscape that will make some people curl up in a ball while others will experience their hairs standing straight up. This song isn’t for the faint of heart because not only will the music leave you nervous but Jan Meulendijks’ haunting vocals and psychologically thrilling lyrics will leave you shattered.
“Roadkill” is from Silent Runners’ forthcoming debut LP, The Directory, which is out December 8th. The band includes Jan Meulendijks, Joep Gerrits, Dolf Smolenaers, Stanley Op’t Root, and Frank Smolenaers.
Sjowgren – “Stubborn Forces” (San Francisco/Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Amber Arcades, Happy Hollows
While Bay-area band Sjowgren have been around for a couple of years, we only discovered them a few weeks ago. Despite the short time since we’ve gotten to their music, we are in love. We were hooked immediately when they shared “Waiting Room”, and then our fandom reached astronomical levels with the gem of a tune, “High Beam”. The band have returned with yet another fantastic song, which has us swooning.
The opening, groovy guitar riff of “Stubborn Forces” is one of the best intros of the year, and it will have you moving and shaking. The song reaches a feverish pitch with the militaristic drumming and buzzing synths taking over, although the deadpan female vocals putting us in line. While this number is wonderfully anthemic, the lyrics hint at something much more serious. This is the story of a person trying to overcome her own fears, possibly anxiety or depression, and stopping herself from “falling into the same”. So while this track may have you grinning and dancing, listen closely to what is said and understand how the chaotic arrangements reflect the spiraling decent far too many people experience each day.
No wonder why we have fallen for this band – the rare group who makes rewarding songs with rich messages. Oh, despite our newfound fandom for Sjowgren, we still do not know any of the band members’ names, as they choose to continue to be anonymous.
Stereo Honey – “Through The Dark” (London, England)
RIYL: Wild Beasts, The Boxer Rebellion, Editors
As we mentioned last week, 2018 will be a huge year for Stereo Honey, who we consider to be this generation’s The Boxer Rebellion. Their last single, “Angel”, was a gripping and cinematic gem filled with an unexpected but brilliant storyline of “the grim reaper of distracted motorists”. This is the “Angel” statues that resides outside of Newcastle, and many drivers have gone off the road while staring at her. Their latest single, “Through The Dark”, sounds like the continuation of the theme. However, given the quartet’s penchant for unpredictability, the song likely is something completely different.
One thing that is predictable is that Stereo Honey will deliver an engrossing experience, and “Through The Dark” continues the trend. Brooding and hypnotic, the song feels like an intense movie being told through the prism of music. The crystalline guitar adds a dazzling effect while the throbbing rhythms and vocals create the drama and urgency in the song. It feels like one is racing through time. Or maybe we are running away from the steely gaze of the archangel who has come to take us away. The imagination of this great little band has no limits, making their debut EP, Monuments, one we anxiously wait to hear. It arrives December 1st on Beatnik Creative, and it can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp.
WOMB – “Feeling Like Helium” (Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Pumarosa (unplugged), Mermaidens, Jess Cornelius
Despite being small in stature, Wellington is the city that constantly surprises, particularly it’s stupendous music scene. Every night, there is a place in the coolest capital in the world that has live music by extremely gifted bands. One of the little groups starting to make waves around the city and the country are WOMB, whose brooding indie rock will remind folks of fellow Wellingtonians Mermaidens or for those inclined to the UK scene a stripped-down Pumarosa. Take for example their single, “Feeling Like Helium”.
This song isn’t quite new – it was originally released in late August – but it’s worth a listen. Despite its lo-fi and low-key approach, the track is immensely complex. It is simultaneously dark and foreboding yet hypnotic and stunning. From the lush vocals to the patient rhythms to the slight hum of strings, a captivating starkness overcomes the song and overwhelms the listener. Is this what bliss feels like in Wonderland or another realm where the fantasy can also be sinister? Grab a glass wine or your favorite tonic and sit back and be completely enchanted because this song is a trip.
Get the song on Bandcamp for the drop-dead price of name your own. We’ll let you know when Womb will be sharing any new music in the near future.
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