Yesterday, Wendy shared six smooth and laid-back tunes to ease us into the new year. The Matinee ’18 January 9th edition, meanwhile, amps up the intensity somewhat to get the adrenaline flowing. There are a couple of songs that will help you relax, but they, too, will captivate you in different ways.

Death By Unga Bunga – “Into The Night” (Moss, Norway)

RIYL: DZ Deathrays, Dune Rats, The New Pornographers

This isn’t exactly a new song (released way back in September 2017), but somehow we missed Death By Unga Bunga‘s latest single, “Into The Night”. If we were paying attention, this would have been on our Mega, Mega Playlist since it would have been perfect for New Year’s Eve.

Anyway, besides having one of the great names in all of music, the Norwegian power-punk-poppers are known for two things – frenetic and energetic music and unabashedly upbeat and optimistic music. This song is no different with this punchy lyrics and quirky, fun, and incredibly contagious melody. The guitar line channels the surf-rock shores of California while infusing the disco-punk fireworks of DZ Deathrays and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. So while the holidays are a distant memory, it’s not too late to add this to your workout or party playlist.

Death By Unga Bunga’s fifth album is set to be released later this year on Jansen Records.

The band is comprised of Sebastian Ulstad Olsen, Preben S. Andersen, Stian S. Gulbrandsen, Even Rolland Pettersen, and Ole S. Nesset.

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Ferris & Sylvester – “London’s Blues” (London, England)

RIYL: Shovels & Rope, Brandi Carlile, Milk Carton Kids

If Newport Folk Festival is reading this (and they have on occasion), may we suggest that Ferris & Sylvester be invited to this year’s event. While the duo hail from London, Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester sound like they are from New Orleans, Birmingham, or Nashville. Case in point their new single, “London’s Blues”, which is a sublime piece of bluegrass-infused Americana. From the twangy banjo to the knee-slapping melody to the sweet harmonies to the fabulous storytelling that could best be described Washington Irving writing a country western, this song is an absolute classic. We’re confident that if Ferris & Sylvester performed at Newport, the entire audience would be on their feet dancing and clapping.

“London’s Blues” is from the duo’s forthcoming EP, Made In Streatham. It arrives February 2nd.

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HINDU – “Brighton” (Kyiv, Ukraine)

RIYL: Kristin Kontrol, Elohim, Ofelia K

If the artwork for HINDU‘s newest single, “Brighton”, catches your eye, wait until you hear this little gem of an ’80s-inspired synth-pop number. From Tania Yankovska’s sweet and delicate vocals to the catchy synth harmonies that percolate in the background, this summery and immensely warm tune will leave a smile on your face. More than that, it will have you up and dancing, as if the first day of spring has arrived and all you want to do is celebrate.

And celebrate is exactly what the world will be doing later this year when Yankovska’s second record drops because the Kyiv-based artist has the talent to be one of the year’s biggest breakout stars. By the way, how did SXSW miss this young talent?

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Lauren Ruth Ward – “Sideways” (Los Angeles via Baltimore, USA)

RIYL: Courtney Barnett, Elle King, Eleanor Friedberger

At long last, Lauren Ruth Ward‘s debut album is around the corner. She released news that Well, Hell will be unveiled on February 9th. She’s shared a handful of songs from the LP, and her latest one further validates that the throwback singer-songwriter will one day be mentioned alongside Joni Mitchell, Debbie Harry, and Janis Joplin.

“Sideways” is a rollicking folk-rock tune that echoes the ’70s. The opening guitar riffs along with the cowbell draw you in, and you stick around for Ward’s southern soulful vocals and fabulous songwriting. While she’s a master of telling stories, she takes an introspective tone on this one to reflect on how she’s “a late bloomer” and, like many artists, struggling to balance her desired career with a paying job. It won’t be long, however, before she won’t have to count the pennies because she’s going to breakout soon. Very soon. And we cannot wait for that moment.

Ward’s band includes Eduardo Rivera (guitar and long-time songwriting partner), Liv Slingerland (bass), and India Pascucci (drums). Her debut LP can be pre-ordered here.

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The Medicine Dolls – “Best Dress” (Cape Town, South Africa)

RIYL: Ty Segall (‘Emotional Mugger’ era), Jack White

Back in December, one of our favorite discoveries of 2017, The Medicine Dolls, released a new EP, Lost Love Lullabies, in December. As expected, the six-song record is filled with rambunctious and fiery garage-rock that sounds like the melding of Jack White’s and Ty Segall’s greatest hits. One of the songs is “Best Dress”, which is a dark but delirious rocker that will have you wildly swinging your head.

Bex Nicholas’ sinister bass line fantastically opens the song and gives it a Halloween-like feel. Drummer Anro Femurs’ accentuates the harrowing tone with its intense rhythm work while Greg Allan’s piercing vocals and sizzling guitar add the suspense. His story is creepy in that in its real, as he sets his sights on how some people manipulate others in order to get ahead. The protagonist (or antagonist) might be a woman in high heels, but this person could be a man in a sharp-dressed suit or even ourselves.

Hear the entire EP on SoundCloud for free. The Medicine Dolls don’t have a Spotify account just yet.

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Quicksilver Daydream – “Coyote Spirit Child” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: The Amazing, Midlake

With the turn of the calendar comes an artist that has piqued our attention big time. Adam Lytle is the person, and he performs under the moniker Quicksilver Daydream. Such a name evokes pictures of the vast deserts in the southwest USA, days when horse and wagon were the means of transport, and the horizon extended for miles with just a sole tree to be seen. And his new single, “Coyote Spirit Child”, brings to mind exactly these feelings and images.

The tune is in a word awesome. It is a psychedelic folk masterpiece that should become an instant classic. Besides the groovy and trippy vibe, Lytle’s songwriting is fantastic, as he describes one person’s experience with modernization. How he has seen nature become transformed into concrete jungles. And this is just the first song from Lytle’s forthcoming EP, A Thousand Shadows, A Single Flame, which is out February 9th, and we’re left pondering what else he may have in store for us.

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Sexores – “Bluish Lovers” (Barcelona, Spain via Quito, Ecuador)

RIYL: Frankie Rose, Braids, Blonde Maze

Way back in June 2016, a young band introduced themselves to us with their Blonde Redhead-meets-Phantogram single, “U.S.S.R. Girls”. It was a great introduction to the quiet brilliance of Sexores, the Ecuadorian-born, Barcelona-based outfit who have demonstrated the agility of a cheetah racing through the Serengeti. As evidence of their diversity comes the synth-pop gem, “Bluish Lovers”. This number is dazzling, as the synth work is dreamy and the vocals are lush and dreamy. It’s the type of song that you want to dive into immediately and swim within its warm and delirious currents.

The song is taken from Sexores’ new album, East / West,  which is out March 15th.

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Tango With Lions – “Proof Of Desire” (Athens, Greece)

RIYL: Emma Ruth Rundle, Ali Beletic, Pauline Andrès

Katerina Papachristou, or simply Kat, is one of Greece’s most celebrated singer-songwriters. For a decade, she has been haunting Athenians with her crippling brand of alt-folk-rock under the pseudonym, Tango With Lions. Along with her talented band, the music is shallow but her lyrics are devastating. This year, the rest of the world will get to discover her brilliance when Tango With Lions’ new album, The Light, arrives on January 19th via Inner Ear Records. To tantalize us, she shares the gripping track, “Proof Of Desire”.

The song starts off frailly, as all one hears is Papachristou strum her guitar, the occasional strike of a second guitar, and her delicate but stirring vocals. At times, she sounds like Hope Sandoval, and other moments she channels the dark princess, Emma Ruth Rundle. All the while, you’re left in a trance and seduced by the stunning simplicity of the song. Just as you succumb to its brooding nature, it bursts into a cloud of breathtaking cinema. An ending that leaves you awestruck, and has you understanding why Tango With Lions are among Greece’s finest artists.

If you like what you hear, pre-order the LP here.

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Thee MVPs – “US Airways” (London, England)

RIYL: Oh Sees (f.k.a. Thee Oh Sees), Heaters, Dinosaur Jr.

Another song that isn’t necessarily new but deserves everyone’s full attention is Thee MVPs‘ blazing rocker, “US Airways”. Much like their previous songs, including “Slimelord”, the London-based quartet channel the ferocity of a young John Dwyer and his band Thee Oh Sees. The guitar and bass work are killer, and they would make J. Mascis and Lou Barlow, respectively, appreciate. In particular, the final three minutes are superb, as the four-piece launch into a cataclysmic jam session that is worthy of fist jumps, high fives, and, of course, the slogan, “Fuck yeah!”

The song is taken from the band’s live EP Receiver, which is out now via Greenway Records and Burger Records.

Thee MVPs are Charlie Wyatt, Alex Ives, Josefine Jonsson, and George Rothman.

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