A strong Commonwealth presence is felt on the Matinee November 30th edition. Of the nine artists and bands featured, eight hail from the UK or Australia and the other one comes from the US. It’s just one of those days where a small part of the world released some of the best new music of the past few days. There are songs that will have you moving and shaking and others considering what the future holds. Grab a cup of hot cocoa or your favorite cold beverage and enjoy these sweet tunes.
Thyla – “Tell Each Other Lies” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Anteros, Black Honey
It’s only a matter of time before Brighton quartet Thyla reach the same level of popularity as fellow UK indie stars Wolf Alice. In the nearly 2.5 years since the release of their debut single, “Betty”, they’ve slowly built a cult following, which includes us. Could 2018 be the turning point for this band? We sure hope so. To get the momentum rolling, they’ve released a scintillating single with “Tell Each Other Lies”.
As evidence of how far they’ve come and how limitless their potential is, the song was premiered by Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1 the other day, and it’s easy to understand why the popular radio host wanted to be the first to share the song to the world. Whereas many Thyla’s previous singles were of the explosive and blistering variety, “Tell Each Other Lives” is an exhilarating and wistful number that sounds right out of the late ’80s. It is a mélange of dream pop and synth-rock taken to extraordinary heights, where you are left breathless at what these four young Brits have created. Like an exquisite work of art, you want to see it once again. Or in this case, play and experience this dazzling masterpiece over and over again.
Thyla are Millie Duthie (vocals/guitar), Mitch Duce (guitar), Dan Hole (bass), and Danny Southwell (drums).
Acid Dad – “Bodies” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: SWMRS, Hockey Dad, Salad Boys
Is there a beach party happening somewhere nearby? Is it too cold for a beach party? Well, we could always start a bonfire and invite Brooklyn-based garage / surf-rockers Acid Dad to play some of their sweet tune to warm us up. They likely had this just in mind with the release of their debut 7″ on Greenway Records (it’s out tomorrow and available here). One of the songs on the split single, “Bodies”, would be perfect on a late autumn evening on Coney Island while a fire rages in the background.
We can see the video now – a group of friends with drinks in their hands swaying to the groovy and jangly notes of “Bodies”. Next to the fire are JP Basileo (bass), Sean Fahey (guitar/vocals), Vaughn Hunt (guitar/vocals), and Kevin Walker (drums), who are eating up the energy and themselves pretending it’s a splendid July evening. Instead of tank tops, shorts, and sandals, everyone is dressed in their favorite sweater and blue jeans. Basically, the house party has been brought outside, but who cares when we’re with our best mates and rocking with a little band who know how to hammer out a catchy riff and a summertime melody.
Being on the beach, too, is ideal for this song that reminisces about a past life when we once had a beach body. Nowadays, we just say screw it and let’s live a little – like freezing our butts off on the sand with Acid Dad. (The guys can thank us later for the video idea.)
Ali Horn – “Bloom” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: The Verve, Morgan Delt, Michael Rault
We were first introduced to Ali Horn back in March when he shared the zany, psychedelic kaleidoscope, “Days Like Today”. At the time, Horn had put his work with Strange Collective on the back burner and commenced a solo career. The song was a product of bedroom sessions, but now he has a full band behind with Nathan Price, Dave Tate, Alex Wynne, and James Kendall joining him. And with a full complement of musicians, Horn is able to take his psych-rock to the cosmos, which is exactly what he and his mates do with “Bloom”.
Like a supersonic version of Temples, Horn has crafted one delirious and mesmerizing number. The guitar work from start to finish is fantastic, particularly in the song’s finale. Utilizing a jazz approach for the drums and bass is ingenious to give the track an immediacy that many spatial numbers lack. Horn’s vocals, though, are what take the song to new heights. Lying somewhere between Liam Gallagher and Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), his voice sounds distant yet intimate, and his lyrics also possess the same qualities. Akin to Richard Ashcroft’s best efforts, “Bloom” is an introspective number where Horn describes his confusion with the world, its expectations on him, and the intensifying chaos.
“Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my way.
My love is bigger than you and me.
Sometimes I feel 3000 miles away.”
Speaking of Ashcroft, maybe, just maybe Horn and his band could be this generation’s The Verve. Now wouldn’t that be something?
Camp Cope – “The Opener” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Slothrust, Swearin’, Tired Lion
Women are undeniably making the most innovative and freshest music on the planet. This is particularly the case in rock (indie and mainstream), as female-fronted bands and artists are unleashing seismic and hard-hitting lyrical numbers. This formula made Camp Cope one of Australia’s biggest and best success stories in 2016, as their debut album captured the attention of a wide range of tastemakers. Triple J, SPIN, Pitchfork, and Stereogum were among the many outlets who touted the Melbourne trio’s witty lyrics and musical muscle. They are back to once again rock our worlds and challenge all conventional norms, and it begins with their newest single, “The Opener”.
This grunge-influenced rocker starts innocently with a low-key approach, but it slowly grows into an edgy and forceful finish. The guitars and rhythms go from soothing and melodic to feverish and aggressive. The approach perfectly complements Georgia Maq’s vocals and lyrics as she takes on the misogyny that exists in the world and within the music industry. She essentially delivers two massive middle fingers to the hypocrites and all the men who think they know better than three young women. But we know who is right in this case.
“It’s another man telling us we cannot fill up the room.
It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue.
Now I hate common girls who are only thinking about you.
We’ll see how far we’ve come.
Not listening to you!
Yeah just get another female or a pinup and that will fill the court up.”
Camp Cope are Georgia Maq (vocals/guitar), Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich (bass), and Sarah Thompson (drums)
Connie Constance – “1st World Tragedy” & “Bad Vibes” (London, England)
RIYL: Lorde, Tash Sultana, Lauryn Hill
Remember the name Connie Constance, the young London-based artist who first appeared two years ago at the age of 20. In the time since her initial singles, “Euphoric” and “Stars”, went viral, she has gradually shared new music, including the moving “Let Go”, which was released a month ago. As powerful as that song was, she has outdone herself with “1st World Tragedy” and “Bad Vibes”.
The two are emotionally charged numbers based around a stripped-back and intimate R&B approach. These are songs that would be perfect in either a small jazz bar or within the expansive confines of the Royal Albert Hall, which explains what Constance has created – Perfection. Despite their intimacy, they are complex and striking songs due to the gripping nature of Constance’s voice and lyrics. On the former, she crafts a politically-charged number that ridicules the complaints, worries, and problems of the privileged who live in rich countries like England, Canada, the US, etc. #FirstWorldProblems as we like to call it, but Constance takes the term even further with lyrics such as:
“Your addiction will cut off your dick soon.
You stay silent when your dealer is dropping new shoes.
We’re all crying ’cause we all have mental issues,
What a fucking luxury when some people have no food.”
On “Bad Vibes”, she targets all those who abuse, use, and ridicule people like her. She’s had enough of trying to please people, but instead will focus on healing herself and helping those like her. Yet four lines strike the hardest, for while there is anger in Constance’s voice she doesn’t regret what has happened. Why? Likely because the experience has made her stronger.
“Those were not wasted times.
You destroyed a part of my mind.
I tried so hard to not to see that I went blind
To your bad vibes.”
Look out world, here comes Connie Constance.
The three songs – “Let Go”, “1st World Tragedy”, and “Bad Vibes” – are from Constance’s new EP, Boring Connie, which is out now.
The Dunts – “Hampden Cabs” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: really early Arctic Monkeys, INHEAVEN, The Libertines
Last week, Glaswegians The Dunts released their new EP, Not Working Is Class. While they could have asked everyone to go stream the record on Spotify so they could earn a few pence, they opted to screw the establishment and put all four songs on SoundCloud. This gesture makes obvious sense given the rebellious nature of the EP, particularly the previous songs – the drug addict “Dimitri” and the political number “Coalition of Chaos”. With “Hampden Cabs”, they further take on all comers in the only manner they know – with fire and fury.
Like everything The Dunts have released to date, this song is an absolute riot. It is 140 seconds of propulsive, unrelenting, and wonderfully obnoxious indie-punk rock. Just listening to it will leave you sweating never mind hearing this song live and losing your marbles while Rab Smith, David McFarlane, Kyle McGhee, and Colin McGachy wail away at their instruments. The song is also extremely amusing, as Smith describes an experience of being trapped in a cab with boring companion. Think The Tragically Hip’s classic “Locked in the Trunk of a Car”, but the claustrophobia is the result of some bloke who won’t stop talking. People in Scotland and hopefully across the UK and Europe, though, will be talking incessantly about this band for years to come.
Juanita Stein – “Black Winds” (Brighton, England via Melbourne & Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Mazzy Starr, The Black Angels, Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions
Two months ago, Juanita Stein released her debut album, America, via super micro label Nude. It’s a complex record because despite Stein’s whispery and ethereal vocals her lyrics and stories are hard-hitting and even unnerving. The Howling Bells’ frontwoman, in other words, is full of surprises, and the one song on the LP that fully reveals her multiplicity is “Black Winds”.
This song is a seductive, psychological thriller, as a dark and haunting psychedelic folk-rock vibe streams across the track. Imagine if Hope Sandoval collaborated with The Black Angels, and the output likely would be akin to this engrossing number. Stein’s ethereal vocals are the temptation, but behind them is a woman who seeks not companionship but control. She is the one who governs all other’s movements. Or in the case of the steamy video, she leaves the man who lustfully gazes upon her wanting more yet leaves him to contemplate his own obsolete existence. Or as Stein described on Facebook, “(h)e is walking head on into a storm.”
To understand what she means, the song is inspired by an Arthur Rothstein photograph, which captures a man walking straight into a dust storm.
Makeness – “Day Old Death” (Outer Hebrides, Scotland)
RIYL: Caribou, Maribou State, North Downs
Kyle Molleson is Makeness, the Scottish producer who has established a cult following across the world. Even Molleson seems a bit perplexed by his rising fame not to mention being signed to Secretly Canadian, as he describes his music as “weird”. Molleson is a bit of goofball (check out his Instagram feed), but his talent is anything but weird or goofy. On the contrary, he has the talent to become the next Dan Snaith (a.k.a Caribou), and we say this as people who are very selective when listening to electronic music. If you think we’re exaggerating, take one listen to “Day Old Death”, and you’ll be immediately convinced Molleson is an extraordinary talent.
This song is intoxicating. Unlike most electronic songs, this one is rich and complex, layered with propulsive drums (actual drums and not a drum machine), probing and hypnotic beats, a tantalizing and stark guitar riff, and Molleson’s ghostly vocals. It starts off like a dream but then transforms into an exhilarating and pulsating dance number. This isn’t a song meant for a massive rave. Instead, it’s perfect for the exclusive and intimate nightclubs where people can lose themselves within the music while dancing in their own private space.
Weird? Hardly. Magnificent? Absolutely. Here is an artist we’ll be watching in 2018.
Method Actress – “Mistress” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Talk Talk, Duran Duran, Morrissey
There are a few certainties in life – love, death, taxes, and cinematic ’80s music that makes everyone smile and feel good. There really isn’t anything like a song that feels like it could have been on the soundtracks of Sixteen Candles or St. Elmo’s Fire. Doing the honors today are newcomers “Method Actress”, who just the other day unveiled their debut single, “Mistress”.
Channeling Talk Talk and Duran Duran with the vocals of a young Morrissey, the Brighton-based quartet deliver a vintage early-’80s number. The shoegaze-infused, indie-pop melodies are enrapturing, causing one to think about their first love or an affair they had. Or maybe you’ll think about the one who got away and re-open the yearbook to reminisce about her or him. If there should ever be a sequel to Fast Times at Ridgemont Hight, please let this song be in it. The lyrics are just perfect.
“All I wannat be was your best friend,
But all I ever was was your mistress.”
Method Actress are Milo M, Max W, Kit W, and Ben L. Maybe sometime in the future we’ll see them accept the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
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