We have finally entered the homestretch of 2017, which also means only a little more than a week left in our daily playlists. Fortunately, The Matinee December 1st edition is a memorable one, featuring reinterpretations of classic sounds and incredibly innovative and brilliant pieces. As usual, we travel around the globe on this mini-playlist, which includes a rare stop in South America.
Adrian Underhill – “Weather” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Craftspells, The Drums, Wavves
“Weather” is the newest track by Canadian artist Adrian Underhill. It’s his latest release and will be included on his upcoming LP. It’s a funky track combining piano, synthetic bass and eclectic drums. Overall the sound is upbeat and positive as Mr. Underhill reminds of the importance of change which in this song is likened to changing with the weather. It also reminds us to just go with the flow of everyday life while remaining true to ourselves.
Adrian Underhill has a way of being transparent and real within his songwriting as well as providing new and fresh ways within the production. There is a retro feel to his style but he is able to package it up with a modern feel. With his upcoming album he did have the help of Adam Bainbridge (Robyn, Solange, Blood Orange) as well as Brandon Coleman and Keith Eaddy adding live piano and synth bass on “Weather”.
Mr. Underhill’s new album CU Again will be released February 9th.
BATTS – “Somedays” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Daughter, Phoebe Bridgers
Last month, Sharon Van Etten re-issued her remarkable debut album, Because I Was in Love. It was the tip of the iceberg, as in the eight years since she has emerged as the standard by which singer-songwriters specializing in the devastatingly emotional ballads are compared. Halfway around the world, another woman will chill people’s bones like the New Jersey-born artist. Her name is Tanya Batt, and her project BATTS will turn your subconscious inside out, particularly her new single, “Somedays”.
A piece of stark beauty is “Somedays”. Batt’s gripping vocals hover effortlessly over the delicate electric guitar, but it is her lyrics that crush your soul. Like Van Etten, her words are her weapons. The music is merely the vessel that holds her ammunition. And on this song, her aching voice seeks freedom from her oppressor, whether that is an individual or possibly her own mind. If her words don’t hit you hard at first, wait for the climax, which will deliver the knock-out blo. If Batt continues down this track, pretty soon she will be the gold standard by which all artists are judged.
BATTS’ debut EP, 62 Moons, is out now, and it is available through new boutique label THAA Records.
Dream Lake – “Crystals” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Beach House, Fleetwood Mac, Simple Minds
Dream Lake are comprised of vocalist and songwriter Isabella Svärdstam and multi-instrumentalist Niklas Willar Lidholm. “Crystals” is an 80s inspired dream from their most recent album release.
The beginning of “Crystals” is completely nostalgic and could be included on the soundtrack of any classic John Hughes film about teen angst. As the song continues, we are taken on a nice ride filled with 80s inspired synth and soothing vocals. Even though winter is approaching, we could easily spin any track from Lux to take us back to a warm summer mood.
Niklas shares a bit about the track: “‘Crystals’ is about looking into another person’s universe – letting your emotions speak and becoming one with the moment. We should all live and love today because tomorrow it could all be gone.”
Foreign Air – “Chakra Daemon” (North Carolina & Washington, D.C., USA)
RIYL: Cut Copy, Hot Chip, Glass Animals
“Chakra Daemon” is the newest release from the duo Foreign Air (Jesse Clasen and Jacob Michael). They have been on tour for a while after last year’s EP release of For The Light. The duo have also been putting together tracks working towards their debut LP set for 2018.
“Chakra Daemon” has an upbeat and shiny feel despite the darker lyrical content. As we are sonically taken on a ride of electric guitar and compelling beats that have a retro 80s feel, we are reminded of the contradictory content with this hook: “I never had a chance, I just never cared / it’s getting darker now in the morning, I don’t think the sun will rise today.” The track is inspired by heavy subject matter including evolution and bio-mechanics. The name is also inspired by the ubiquitous email bounce back bot “Mailer Daemon”. Jesse shares about the track:
Graveyard Club – “Ouija” (Minneapolis, USA)
RIYL: Stars, Two Door Cinema Club, The Cure
From the opening bass line and guitar riff that sound like they were taken from the canons of The Cure’s immense discography to the shimmering pop vibe that follows, Graveyard Club‘s new single, “Ouija”, leaves a lasting impression. It is a dazzling track for a number of reasons. First, it is like a time bridge that joins the past with the future. An ’80s new wave and Goth vibe permeate across the track yet the euphoric climax bursts of contemporary indie pop. When combined, the song induces one to either dance or incessantly spin in circles to absorb the wonderful delirium.
Second, the songwriting is quite clever, particularly how “Ouija” is used as an analogy. This is not a creepy song or one about chasing spirits. On the contrary, the Minneapolis band deliver an anthem that calls on us to move on from the past and to chase after things and people that matter. To chase after the present and the future. In other words, they’re not telling us to pick up the Ouija board, but to set it aside. Now if they could only create a parody of this song regarding Twitter and sending it to Oval Office, they could have a viral hit.
Graveyard Club are Matthew Schufman, Michael Wojtalewicz, Amanda Zimmerman, and Cory Jacobs.
Lagunas Mentales – “La Penita” (Santiago, Chile)
RIYL: The Growlers, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols
While it’s chilly in the Northern Hemisphere, summer has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. But regardless of the season, we all could use some warm, summery vibes. Serving up a dose of bright sunshine and low-key beach vibes are Chileans Lagunas Mentales. We have no idea who these guys are other than that they’ve been signed by Santiago indie label BYM Records. Two days ago they released a sweet as tune in “La Penita”, which is an area in Chile but also a resort town in Mexico. Regardless if the song is dedicated to their home country or days spent on the beach, this song will have you thinking about the warmer months with its low-key psychedelic garage-rock.
The jangly and immediate guitar riffs that open the track plus the shallow vocals are akin to The Growlers – the Californian slacker-rock purveyors who make lo-fi ultra-cool. And this song is literally and figuratively also ultra-cool, feeling like an ocean breeze blowing through our hair as we gently sway on the beach to the music playing in the air. But if you cannot get to the beach, add this to your playlist because it’s the perfect wake-up call on a cold day or ideal for a future road trip.
May Roosevelt – “Pa” (Thessaloniki, Greece)
RIYL: Stefan Obermaier, Enigma, Lupa J
Not all electronic music is created equal. For the millions who gravitate towards electronic dance music and the bubbly pop variety, give us a song that transforms the orchestral experience into a mind warp. Give us music like composer May Roosevelt‘s compositions, and we’ll be captivated for hours.
Earlier this year, Roosevelt released her new album, «Junea», via Inner Ear Records, and it is comparable to Austrian producer Stefan Obermaier’s work. Whereas Obermaier reinterpreted the classical works of Beethoven and Mozart, Roosevelt’s songs are all original. And unique. Take the single, “Pa”, which is a stunning electro-symphonic masterpiece. The filtered strings and the hallow synths create a sonic world that feels like it was created from the future and a breathtaking one at that. It rises and falls effortlessly, just like one of Brahms’ classics. Our only complaint is that the song is too short because we could have easily enjoyed a lengthy overture. We’ll just have to spin the album instead, which can be picked on Bandcamp.
Niterunner – “Long Road” (Brisbane/Byron Bay, Australia)
RIYL: BROODS, Electric Youth, Yumi Zouma
Get the disco ball up and spinning, clear out the living room, find your favorite ’70s and ’80s outfit, and get ready to dance. Sibling group Niterunner have been resurrecting classic synth-pop for a few years now, but they’ve really hit their stride in the last twelve months. Their single, “Out of Your Hands”, was a celestial experience in the M83 mould. Their latest track, “Long Road”, meanwhile, channels the likes of contemporary outfits BROODS, Daft Punk, and Electric Youth but with a disco vibe. Old-time music fans may hear Trans-X and even a bit of Depeche Mode or New Order.
Akin to all these bands, Andrea, Daniel, and Cale Suesskow have delivered one exhilarating and intoxicating single. The production work is sublime, and you might find yourself strutting side-to-side to the beats while clapping in time to the rhythm. Andrea’s voice, meanwhile, is mesmerizing, and as she softly says to us, “I’ll follow back to you”, we become lost in her spell. Pretty soon, the world will likewise follow suit. As we said back in January, they could very well be Australia’s next big electronic / synth-pop export.
Sun Sap – “Walking Out The Door” (The Coal Coast, Australia)
RIYL: Psychic Ills, The Black Crowes, Night Beats
Any music fan knows that Australia’s music scene is one of the best in the world (and some would argue THE best). It’s a place, however, where you don’t expect to find a band that is resurrecting classic southern rock. This observation can be put out with the trash because Sun Sap are going to turn Down Under into a southern rock mecca.
Hailing from The Coal Coast, which is a surf area just south of Sydney, the sextet’s newest single, “Walking Out The Door”, resonates of The Black Crowes in the late ’80s and their proteges Psychic Ills. However, the guys add their own spin, filtering, of course, a surf-rock vibe into the track with some catchy guitar riffs and groovy rhythms. As a result, “Walking Out The Door” is one fun and rocking number. Like the aforementioned bands, this number would turn any rock ‘n roll bar into a dance party or it could be played out on the beach and get the sunbathers up and moving. Regardless of the venue, one thing is definitely required while spinning this number – a nice cold beverage. Just make sure your mug isn’t full because you’ll spill the contents while grooving to this awesome tune.
“Walking Out The Door” is the secnd single from Sun Sap’s forthcoming, debut EP, Sometimes, Always, Never, Maybe. It arrives February 2nd.
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