Wendy started the week of with some rockers, and we continue the trend with more upbeat fare on The Matinee December 5th. This is the last week of 2017 that we’ll be sharing new singles, so we may as well go out with a bang.
BEACH RIOT – “She’s a Hurricane” (London/Brighton, England)
RIYL: Queens of the Stone Age, INHEAVEN, Eagles of Death Metal
BEACH RIOT one thing – energetic scuzz. We say this with the utmost respect for the English quartet’s relentless brand of alternative rock. Like their cousins INHEAVEN, everything they release is explosive. Hitting play on any of their songs is like opening a can of Red Bull. Check that, opening a whole case of the caffeinated drink. So if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to get energized, Rory O’Connor, Cami Menditeguy, Jim Faulkner, and Jonny Ross have the answer with their newest single, “She’s A Hurricane”.
If you have neck problems, we highly advise putting on the brace. If you’re healthy, we still recommend warming up the muscles around your head and shoulder areas because this song will have you jerking and pounding the most important part of your body as if you were on a roller coaster ride. The guitars are ferocious, and the rhythm section does their best impression of jack hammers at a construction site. It’s an awesome tune with some clever lyrics about a woman who is just like this song – a mind-blowing sonic storm.
The single is out now via Killing Moon.
Brett – “Emperor Tho” (Washington, D.C., USA)
RIYL: New Order, Shout Out Louds, Johnossi
Washington, D.C.-based Brett are one of the great mysteries in music. It’s not so much that they are enigmas or share new music every super moon (they’re actually quite proficient at releasing new songs). Rather, despite coupling a really addictive indie-pop approach with poignant songwriting, they remain an extremely underappreciated band. We, too, are guilty of not expressing our appreciation for Mick, Jon, David, and Scott’s talents, as we’ve only featured them once before. We promise not to ignore them from now, especially if they continue to produce rapturous songs like “Emperor Tho”.
The best way to describe this number is that it is New Order for 2017. The bass line echoes of the legendary Peter Hook, and the vocals could be mistaken for a young Bernard Sumner. Heck, the whole approach sounds right out of the mid-’80s, as the indie-pop approach is simultaneously bright and anthemic. This song was made for dancing and losing your marbles for 3.5 minutes. Mick’s lyric, though, are extremely clever, as “Emperor Tho” is an immensely smart commentary about the political and social state of the world. Imagine The Emperor Has No Clothes but apply it to everyone, not just the man in the White House.
“Emperor Tho” is the lead single from Brett’s forthcoming EP, Half, which arrives in March of 2018 via 10K Islands. The record, which will be the band’s sixth or seventh extended player, will hopefully shoot the quartet to stardom.
Chemtrails – “Watch Evil Grow” (London, England)
RIYL: Lisa Prank, Jay Som, ShitKid
After a little time off, London-based quintet Chemtrails return with some big news. Their debut album is coming next year. Specifically, Calf of the Sacred Cow will be released February 9th, 2018 on the awesome Swedish label PNKSLM Recordings, which has firmly established itself as Europe’s version of Burger Records. To give us a taste of what the LP will hold, Chemtrails share the addictive single “Watch Evil Grow”.
This fuzzy, melodic rocker is a mix of the ’70s and contemporary garage-rock. It possesses the gritty attitude of The Runaways while offering the head-swaying yet gnarly melodies of Lisa Prank and fellow labelmate ShitKid. In other words, this is the ideal late autumn tune, where you can spin it in your car or in your home and instantly warm up. Don’t sleep on the lyrics, though, as the band offer a political and sociological statement about how some choose to focus on irrelevant matters while real “evil” exists around the world.
The band consists of Mia Lust (vocals/guitar), Laura Orlova (vocals/guitar), Laura Sumner (vocals/bass), Ian Jubb (keyboard), and Sam Neubär (drums).
Corniglia – “But It Wasn’t That Long Ago” (Perth, Australia)
RIYL: Day Wave, Fazerdaze, Men I Trust
Almost a year ago to the day, Perth-based duo Corniglia dazzled us with their song “Oh My Love”. Little by little, they take a piece of our heart with each song they release. One of the reasons is that they’re not quite the typical dream-pop band who stick to a familiar formula. Instead, they branch out a bit to offer something new while not compromising their one goal – to take our breaths away. On their newest single, “But It Wasn’t That Long Ago”, they once again achieve both.
The song is a summery, dreamy piece of decadent guitar-pop. The shoegaze-influenced guitars and stirring rhythms create an atmosphere that feels like a mid-December evening (or mid-July evening for those in the Northern Hemisphere). Chloe De Paoli’s lush vocals, meanwhile, are the cool breeze blowing in from the Indian Ocean. As they wash over every inch of your body, all you can do is close your eyes and absorb every breath. Although her voice defines beauty, her words ache of a person longing to rekindle a memory or flame. As Chloe’s partner-in-crime Matthew Irwin describes, “The song is loosely based on someone I know with Alzheimers.”
Hopefully this person experiences the same emotions as us when we hear Corniglia’s music – our hearts always flickering at their dreamy indie-pop.
Matthew Irwin and Chloe De Paoli are supported by Mitchell Irwin, Scott Young, James Stevens-Cutler, and Mike Litton.
DUAL – “Stuck” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Catfish and The Bottlemen, Wolf Alice, Sundara Karma
DUAL aren’t a new band, as they’ve been involved in the Auckland music scene for a couple of years. Jamie Pyne and Maurice Miller have been mostly focused on electronica and electro-pop, but with “Stuck” they enter into new territory and claim a sizable piece of property for themselves.
This guitar-driven, electro-rock number is a rocket (to steal a word from the song). The drums and beats are propulsive while the electric guitar blazes a smouldering trail of sonic ash. At the bridge when the song reaches a whole different level, you’ll be doing your best air guitar impersonation. Although the song could use more lyrical depth, it still is a pretty awesome song where for three minutes you can escape reality and take a trip to the cosmos. Or alternatively, put it on your workout playlist and you’ll find yourself burning calories much more quickly and cutting several seconds off your best times.
Those in New Zealand can catch DUAL around the country, as they will be playing a new festivals plus a pre-Christmas gig (on December 23rd) with fellow Auckland party-rockers Racing.
Palehound – “Sea Of Blood” (Allston, MA, USA)
RIYL: Frankie Cosmos, Girlpool, Speedy Ortiz
Earlier this year, Ellen Kempner – the mastermind behind Palehound – released one of the year’s most honest and poignant albums with A Place I’ll Always Go. It was one of the rare records that blew your mind in every facet, particularly her songwriting. And at just 23 years old, the Massachusetts native’s future is getting brighter by the day, as her childhood dreams slowly become real. One of those, as she mentioned on her Facebook page, was to release music on Saddle Creek Records, who will be releasing Kempner’s next 7″ split single. The first song from it is “Sea Of Blood”, which Kempner wrote when she was only 17 years old.
This lo-fi indie rocker is immensely catchy, and at first it comes across as a sweet bedtime lullaby but with a jitterbug garage-rock vibe. Listen closely, though, it is much more than that. On the track, Kempner reveals to the world how vulnerable she is, using images of a baby bird and a harmless bug to depict her state. The most revealing lyrics, however, are when she explains how buying “a dress made me feel my very best”. Even at such a young age, Kempner was writing emotionally moving songs.
Another thing to note about “Sea Of Blood” is that the song was actually recorded in the summer of 2015, and Alicia Bognanno of Bully performs on it.
Raphael Kidd – “Les Jours Heureux” (Paris, France)
RIYL: Day Wave, Ghost Wave, Surf Rock Is Dead
It’s not often we share a French song, but the latest single from Paris singer-songwriter Raphael Kidd is too good to pass up. Translated as “Happy Days”, “Les Jours Heureux” is a smile-inducing, surf-rock tune that sounds like it came from Los Angeles or Melbourne. The jangly guitar is seductive while Kidd’s deep vocals have a surprisingly infectious quality to them.
If you understand French, his lyrics, too, have a feelgood, summery vibe. If you don’t understand what he’s saying, he’s basically telling a story about one man’s undying love for another person. Imagine the movie Life Is Beautiful (which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1999) or Beauty & the Beast to get an idea on the story he’s telling, and you might reminded of your own happy days.
Ruler – “Easy Life” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Fred Thomas, American Wrestlers, Matt Corby
Back in September when we first were introduced to Matt Batey’s new project, Ruler, we mentioned that he’ll soon reach similar heights a Matt Corby, Kyle Craft, and Matt Kivel as among the great indie-rock singer-songwriters around today. The song, “Keep Moving”, was an inspiring and optimistic number that we couldn’t get out of our heads. Less than three months later, the Seattle-based artist signed with his hometown label, the great Barsuk Records, which presented to the world Death Cab for Cutie, Phantogram, Menomena, Rilo Kiley, Nada Surf, and many others. Could Batey eventually join this elite group? We certainly think so, and his new single, “Easy Life”, will go a long ways in helping Batey climb the proverbial musical ladder.
“Easy Life” is a song for the everyday American trying to make ends meet while working the usual 9-to-5 job. In other words, it’s a blue-collar anthem for everyone trying to get by while attempting to “hit the home run”. It’s not a song, however, that wallows in the pains and struggles of daily life, but Batey reveals the glimmer of light in everyone’s predicament. Given his own personal struggles to be heard, Batey knows a thing or two about overcoming the odds.
“Levitate above your means.
Don’t resist the way you think.
Be the one who takes the wheel.”
It’s only a matter of time before Ruler reigns the indie charts like his fellow label mates.
The single is out now via Barsuk Records, who will release Batey’s debut album some time in 2018.
Timshel – “All Is Well” (Vaasa, Finland)
RIYL: Kaleo, The Lighthouse & The Whaler, Iron & Wine
Incredible. This was the first word to come from our mouths after hearing Finnish trio Timshel‘s new single, “All Is Well”. If we didn’t receive a press kit, we would have thought the band was based in Austin, Tuscon, or Los Angeles. Instead, they reside in the seaside port city of Vaasa, which is situated more than 400 kilometers northwest of Helsinki. Just goes to show that great music can come from the most unlikely of places (and places we’ve never heard of until today).
Like a lo-fi version of Kaleo mixed with the ethereal alt-folk of Iron & Wine, Markus Bergfors (vocals/guitar), Patrick Sjöholm (bass/backing vocals), and Petter Erikslund (drums) have created a song that is a dream. It is absolutely stunning with every element delivered to perfection. The taut rhythms and mythical guitar riffs are enchantment while Bergfors’ gorgeous vocals deliver a fairy tale. But he’s not searching for princesses, castles, or honor, but rather this adventure takes us to the bottom of the Baltic Sea, where we will find what we are searching for. Where we will find ourselves.
If Timshel continue to craft songs as dazzling as “All Is Well”, they will soon find themselves performing at the world’s most prestigious folk festivals.
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