The Matinee ’18 January 18th is filled with songs from artists who either were on Artists to Watch list or one of our 61 Most Anticipated Albums. There are, of course, one newcomer and a couple of bands that we didn’t have on our radar when it came to new albums.
Dr. Dog – “Listening In” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Deerhunter
For well more than a decade, Dr. Dog have been an indie darling with their varied rock approach that ranged from gritty southern rock to experimentalism. Although they’ve done pretty much everything imaginable, their newest single, “Listening In”, just might be the trippiest, most mind-altering number they’ve released. It is bleak and suspenseful yet awe-inspiring, as if we’re listening to a Stanley Kubrick film put to sound. Even the lyrics are a little zany, as if Scott McMicken is under the influence of some really trippy stuff or just completely lost in a moment in time:
“I can hear electric lights,
They ain’t talking to me.
Are they talking to you?
If they’re not talking to me,
Then who are they talking to?”
This awesome tune is from Dr. Dog’s tenth album, Critical Equation, which is out April 27th via Thirty Tigers. The band is comprised of Toby Leaman (vocals/bass), Scott McMicken (vocals/guitar), Frank McElroy (guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard), and Eric Slick (drums).
GARABATTO & Charlee Muse – “Infected” (Valencia, Spain and California, USA)
RIYL: Lorde, Charli XCX, Disclosure
Collaborations are a big thing these days, particularly in the electronic world. There are the typical ones and surprise pairings, and following under the latter comes the newest single from GARABATTO, which is the project of Javier Falquet Moragues. The rising Spanish producer has teamed up with a young woman most people have not heard about – but pretty soon everyone will know the name of 16-year old Californian Charlee Muse.
Yes, Muse is 16 years old. Her remarkable, soulful, and sultry vocals create the impressions that she’s in her twenties. Her lyrics, too, are outstanding, possessing the maturity of an individual twice her age. And don’t think this is a love song because it’s far from it. Instead, the storyline addresses everything from mental illness to abuse to betrayal. GARABATTO’s production work is similarly stunning, adopting a low-key, stark approach to allow Muse’s voice and words to be the star. Heck, these two will soon be stars.
The single is out now on Panda Funk.
Geowulf – “Sunday” (London, England via Noosa, QLD, Australia)
RIYL: Cults, Tennis, Cathedrals
A trait of a great band is their ability to make you believe you’re somewhere else or that you’re living another day. Aussie expats Geowulf – the project of Star Kendrick and Toma Banjanin – have being doing this exceptionally well for over the past year, which is why they’re one of our Artists to Watch in 2018. For their new single, they fast forward time on their dazzling new single and take us to “Sunday”. It is the day of the week that we set aside to reminiscent what has happened, particularly the night before, and look forward to what to expect in the coming week. Geowulf remind us through their stirring guitar line, delicate rhythms, and Kendrick’s enthralling vocals that Sunday is the end of one thing and the start of everything that is to come.
Haley Heynderickx – “Untitled God Song” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Big Thief, Mothers, Julia Jacklin
Another of our Artists to Watch is riding a massive wave of momentum with her debut album just a few weeks away. It wasn’t long ago when Haley Heynderickx had a niche following, but over the course of the past six months she’s been one of the most talked-about singer-songwriters. With songs like “Oom Sha La La” and her latest, “Untitled God Song”, it is easy to understand why she’ll be one of the year’s biggest breakout stars.
The song possesses the heartfelt intimacy and cinematic storylines of Big Thief and Mothers. But instead of being a confessional, the track is pure story and even fantasy. Heynderickx imagines God as a woman who is just an ordinary person doing chores and trying to make ends meet. She is anyone who we want her to be and a figure of our belief system. Despite the dark and haunting approach, there is a touch of humor mixed in with Heynderickx’s witty social observations. We cannot wait to hear her debut LP, I Need To Start A Garden, in its entirety when it is released March 2nd via Mama Bird Recording Co.
Holy Golden – “Arrival” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Frankie Cosmos, Fazerdaze, Hazel English
Shortly after releasing one of the best EPs of 2017 with The Licking River, Holy Golden – the project of Leslie Schott and Andrew Valenti – quickly released a new single at the end of 2017, the engrossing “Arrival”. The song is exactly like its title – a number that feels like the anticipation of a new day or the return of a family member or lover who has been gone for too long. The titillating rhythms and the clean, jangly guitar lines draw in to Holy Golden’s mythical world, but it is Schott’s saccharine vocals that keep you entranced and have you stating, “Wow!”
The video for the song is also worth viewing for its chivalrous take on this stunning tune.
Holy Golden’s new full-length, Otherworld, arrives next month.
Lucy Dacus – “Addictions” (Richmond, VA, USA)
RIYL: Mitski, Sharon Van Etten, Gordi
Lucy Dacus‘ sophomore album is one we eagerly await, as it was one of our Most Anticipated Albums of 2018. It’s not solely because Dacus’ debut LP was one of the best in 2016, but she is one of music’s great young songwriters. Her stories are bold and descriptive, honest and personal, and most importantly they are fearless. She is fearless. Her newest single displays how she far ahead she is from the pack.
Beneath the delicate indie-rock approach that soars in its climax is a story about the many “Addictions” that affect us. From love to adventures to anything that can steal away our minds, we all succumb to the effects of something unexpected and possibly unwanted. It is a song that challenges us to be honest with ourselves before our addictions take over.
Dacus’ sophomore album, Historian, is out March 2nd via Matador Records. Her North American and European tour kicks off in Brooklyn, NY on the same day. Additional dates and information can be found here.
Ought – “Disgraced in America” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Destroyer, Parquet Courts, Whitney
After sharing “These 3 Things” in November, it was expected that Canadian innovators Ought were going to tread in the dangerous political waters to describe the state of the world. Their latest single, “Disgraced in America”, validates our initial observation. But whereas the first song spoke to the claustrophobia consuming the world, “Disgraced in America” tackles how the mighty dollar governs today’s world. Dividends, profits, and franchise expansions are the name of the game, and seeing dollar signs and property lines (or “demarcations”) are more important than seeing the birds that fly in the sky or the trees that grow in the park.
While the band grows bolder in the subjects they tackle, the experimentalism that occupied their first two albums remains. Oft-kilter melodies, conflicting rhythms, and unexpected transitions are all present, which only further heighten the song’s theme of misplaced priorities and the separation of humanity from nature.
Ought are Tim Darcy (guitars/vocals), Matt May (keyboards), Ben Stidworthy (bass), and Tim Keen (drums/violin).
SUUNS – “Watch You, Watch Me” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Radiohead on a mind-bender
Is there another band like SUUNS? Sure there are plenty of bands doing the experimental thing, but few do it as masterfully as the Montreal innovators. They can blow our minds with probing and fierce rhythms, lull us into stupor with a cosmic display of sound, or take us a mind-bender, which is what they’ve done with “Watch You, Watch Me”.
Although SUUNS have always been a step ahead of the pack, they take a giant leap into the future with this far-out, mechanical, psychedelic single. By giant leap, we mean even further than what Radiohead has been crafting this decade. The song is layered with multiple textures and elements, yet not a single one dominates. Instead, whether it’s the military-style percussion or the sweeping synth pulses or the numerous electronic beats and probes cycling through the song, they all complement one another brilliantly. It’s like watching Jackson Pollock paint a masterpiece where he takes numerous colors and somehow coherently makes them connect. In this case, SUUNS’ canvas is our minds, on which they splatter wave after wave of decadent sound.
Young Fathers – “In My View” (Edinburgh, Scotland)
RIYL: Shabazz Palaces, Ghostpoet, TV on the Radio
Our fandom of Young Fathers extends nearly four years when Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and Graham Hastings were just starting to make waves. They’re now among the UK’s driving forces when it comes to creating genre-less music. Some may wish to categorize them as “alternative hip hop”, but they are so much more than that. They are composers and producers, rappers and pop singers, rockers and poets. They are the complete package, and they display their multi-faceted talents on “In My View”.
Tribal percussion, buzzing synths, choral tones, hip hop and electronic textures, and bursts of pop are all infused on this stunning and exhilarating song. But as is always the case with Young Fathers’ music, they have a story to tell. This time, they speak to our vulnerability as humans and the things that divide and bring us together. The video for the song is well worth watching, as the various images and events accentuate the trio’s powerful message.
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