We obviously have to start the day with a tune from The Cranberries. For many of us, they were one of the bands with whom we grew up and helped us get through the lean high school and college days. Their albums, particularly Everybody Else Is Doing It, so Why Can’t We? and No Need To Argue remain among our all-time favorites and the very best of the ’90s. So to hear that Dolores O’Riordan passed away yesterday made us all shed a tear. She was only 46 years old, but she and her band mates – Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler – gave us two decades worth of music to cherish. Rest in peace to one of the great singers of our time, and may we find you again in our dreams.
As we remember Dolores O’Riordan, we look forward to the next generation of artists who will enthrall us and be the music of this year. The Matinee ’18 January 16th offers nine suggestions. Take a listen and discover a new favorite.
Alela Diane – “Ether & Wood” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Joanna Newsom, Emily Jane White, Nadia Reid
And on a somber day we begin with a song that reminds us about the fragility of life and how shadows linger long into the night. There is, however, still always a glimmer of light that peeks through the darkness, as veteran singer-songwriter Alele Diane reminds us on her gorgeous new single, “Ether & Wood”. No stranger to heartbreak, loss, and the arrival of something or someone beautiful and life-changing, Diane reveals a decade’s worth of experience in just under 4.5 minutes. It’s an incredibly intimate and personal number, yet with her warm and captivating vocals and stirring alt-folk style the song feels like one for us to own as well. It’s a reminder to us that despite the struggles and when it appears only ashes remain, there is still another chance to rekindle the fire within us.
Ariel Beesley – “Slower Than Usual” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Kristin Kontrol, Devokja, Debbie Gibson
Those familiar with the fashion industry will recognize the name Ariel Beesley, who is a model with Wilhelmina. Those not should get to know the name because the 23-year old is making her mark in the music world. She got her first big break by singing the lead vocals on electronic duo LOVE THY BROTHER’s hit song, “Love Me Better”, which was endlessly remixed for the club scene. Now she’s making her mark as a solo artist with the ’80s new wave-esque single, “Slower Than Usual”.
Like a song taken from a John Hughes movie, Beesley delivers an infectious and chest-swelling track. The melody and production work are euphoric, and her smokey vocals is intoxicating. And as the track builds to its euphoric climax, you’ll fall under Beesley’s spell and fall in love with her and wish you, too, could take her home tonight. Ok maybe not, but at least we have this tune to spin endlessly until her next song
Atticus Chimps – “Don’t Blame Me” (Gold Coast, Australia)
RIYL: Cage the Elephant, INHEAVEN, The Strokes
Could Aussie alt-rock newcomers Atticus Chimps be the next Nirvana? OK, that’s going too far, but the trio of Sam Bray (vocals/guitar), Theo D’ambrosia (bass), and Jordan Vendy (drums) have the talent to emerge as the country’s next outstanding alt-rock band a la DZ Deathrays, Dune Rats, or maybe even peak like Jet. Time will tell how high and far they will go, but with a blazing style they have the chance to become household names, especially if debut single, “Don’t Blame Me”, is indication of what is to come.
“Don’t Blame Me” is a fiery, anthemic number that is reminiscent of the great alt-rockers that came out in the ’90s and early ’00s. It recalls a time when bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Green Day, and Stone Temple Pilots were dominating airwaves and every kid wanted to deck out in flannel and grubby jeans while pummeling the guitar, bass, or drums. And maybe, just maybe the music of that era will be resurrected, and Atticus Chimps will be among those at the forefront of a new wave of rock music.
Black Gold Buffalo – “Lay It Down” (London, England)
RIYL: The xx, Poliça, Desperate Journalist
While Black Gold Buffalo have been around for most of this decade – with a brief hiatus in between – we only discovered them back in the fall when they released the engrossing, dark single, “Pearls Deep”. To demonstrate they’re here for the short and hopefully long term, they’ve released another song that makes us wonder why we didn’t include them as an Artist to Watch in 2018.
“Lay It Down” is a dazzling, hypnotic, and brooding tune that echoes The xx with the pulsating bass line, shallow guitar riff, and the dizzying production. Then mix in Keziah Stillwell’s stirring vocals and spine-chilling lyrics, which deal with the issue of anxiety, and you get a single that approaches absolute perfection. If the quartet of Stillwell (vocals), Hannah Holland (bass/production), Marc Hayward (guitar), and Joy Joseph (percussion) continue in this direction, they will indeed be among the year’s biggest breakouts.
Black Light White Light – “Teenage Dream” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Masasolo, Morgan Delt, Tame Impala
There must be something in the water in Denmark because the country is producing the best psychedelic-pop artists outside of Australia. The latest to emerge is Black Light White Light, the project of Martin Ejlertsen. Well, Ejlertsen is actually a veteran of the Danish scene, having established himself back in 2009. The issue, like with so many independent musicians, is that he has yet to be recognized for his talents. But with the psychedelic wave riding high, maybe this is the year Ejlertsen will see his name written in large font on marquees across the globe. His newest single, “Teenage Dream”, definitely will help his cause.
Akin to the cosmic kaleidoscope of Tame Impala and fellow Danish artist Masasolo, Ejlertsen takes us on a deliriously dazzling trip. It is the type of song meant to be played in the summer with the top down and the cool ocean breeze blowing through your hair. But since we’re in the dead of winter, the summertime vibes will warm you up and have you momentarily lose yourself within the sweet, sweltering melody and Ejlertsen’s shimmering vocals. So sit back, relax, and be taken on one trippy journey that you won’t soon forget.
Black Light White Light’s forthcoming album, Horizons, arrives March 23rd on Forward Backwards Recordings.
Club 8 – “Fire” (Åhus, Sweden)
RIYL: early Phantogram, The Radio Dept., The Mary Onettes
In ten days, Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergård – a.k.a. Club 8 – will release their tenth album, Golden Island, via Labrador Records, yet these Swedish legends of the underground indietronica and ambient realms remain a hidden gem. Their influence, however, cannot be understated, as along with The Radio Dept., Little Dragon, and The Raveonettes they helped pave the way for artists like Miike Snow and Amason to become household names. Maybe reaching double digits in LPs will lead to the long-deserved recognition for the duo, especially if “Fire” is any indication of what to expect.
The single defines mysterious sensuality. Komstedt’s hushed vocals are alluring, steadily drawing you in with each word she sings. But this isn’t a romantic number, but rather one that addresses the loneliness many people experience each day. Angergård’s fantastic production work accentuates the drama, as he delicately introduces different elements and layers Komstedt’s voice to make the it seem that the background vocals belong to a ghost. And supernatural would be one way to describe Club 8’s abilities and history, as the duo mysteriously remain anonymous with overseas audiences.
Corey Flood – “Feel Okay” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Liz Phair, Julianna Hatfield, ShitKid
Get inside the proverbial time machine and set the calendar for the mid- to late ’80s because Philadelphia newcomers Corey Flood are channeling some of the great indie and garage rockers of that era on their debut single, “Feel Okay”. Echoing of Julianna Hatfield’s methodical approach and Liz Phair’s gritty yet seductive charm, “Feel Okay” is a quietly edgy tune. The taut bass line eerily bellows in the foreground while the crawling electric guitar and the stuttering percussion pulsate in the background. Ivy Gray-Klein’s hushed vocals, meanwhile, float beneath the instrumentation, as if she’s the ghost in the attic or our subconscious speaking to us and asking if we’re all right. But deep down inside, we know not everything is what it seems – just like how this lo-fi tune is more menacing than it appears.
Corey Flood are Ivy Gray-Klein (bass/vocals), Noah Jacobson-Carroll (guitar), Em Boltz (guitar), and Juliette Rando (drums).
Great News – “TOLD” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: The War On Drugs, Stone Roses, The Charlatans
There is no shortage of talent coming from Norway, and 2017 was a banner year for the Scandinavian country. So who will be the nation’s big breakout this year. If we were the gambling types, Great News would be one of a handful of artists we would put a wager or two on. Since the day we first heard of the trio of Even Kjelby (guitar/vocals), Ole Einarsen (bass), and Lars Platou (drums) – which is almost two years to the day – they’ve amazed us with their versatility. But where they’ve impressed us the most is when they re-interpret classic rock and make it feel like it was made for 2018, like their new single, “TOLD”.
Akin to the majestic and cinematic soundscapes of The War On Drugs, Great News deliver a euphoric number. From the breezy guitars, the head-noodling rhythms, and Kjelby’s smooth vocals, this song is made for long road trips and moments of escapism. It’ll make you think of summer with its sweltering melodies. Listen closely to the lyrics, however, because Kjelby delivers a terrific story about how we’ve been told to live our dreams yet reality has other answers. Hopefully, though, Great News will get to see their dreams come true this year.
Lucia – “Melted Ice Cream” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Anteros, Black Honey, The Regrettes
In 2016, Lucia Fontaine was one of our Favorite Hidden Gems, and last year turned out to be a big year for her Lucia and her bandmates, as they finally were recognized as a tour-de-force within the Glasgow indie scene. Now it’s time for them to conquer the world, and they commence the year with a fantastic, melodic rocker in “Melted Ice Cream”.
The song starts out methodically and even the melody has a touch of sweetness a la the bubblegum pop of The Ronettes, but the track is anything but a sugary number. Instead, as revealed in Fontaine’s authoritative vocals and blunt lyrics, she openly asks why someone dear could betray and lie to her. How could they be “ice cold”. It’s a clever illustration of a familiar theme, and her ability to turn the mundane into something poetic is why we’ve been fans for nearly two years.
“Melted Ice Cream” is out now via Sweet Jane Recordings. No word yet regarding a new album.
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