With so many great songs out, we’re offering another two-part playlist. For this one, The Matinee ’18 January 23rd – World Edition features seven songs from artists in six countries outside of North America. The US edition is now out, and you can listen to it here.
DUETS AND STUFF – “Serve Somebody” (somewhere in Sweden)
RIYL: Tennis, Peter Bjorn and John, Soccer Mommy
As my friend Mary said when listening to DUETS AND STUFF‘s debut single, “Serve Somebody”, this song just makes you smile. It doesn’t take long for a big grin to appear on your face when listening to the minimalist bedroom pop of Greta and Raimond, who sound like a lo-fi version of Tennis and Peter Bjorn and John. The melody is warm and delightful, as the synth and percussion work are executed with the precision and delicateness of a master chef. And like tasting a wonderful meal, you’re left longing for the next course.
Greta’s vocals are also immensely radiant while her words are poignant. As she says, “we all have to serve somebody”, which could be a higher entity or the people you love. Pretty soon, we’ll all be eating out of the hands of DUETS AND STUFF, who have the goods to be Sweden’s next big thing.
The Dollar Bill Murrays – “Dancing With Death” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: DZ Deathrays, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys
Every country has their jokers, jesters, or clowns. Maybe the most popular one within indie circles is Mac DeMarco. Australia has its share, too, with King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard and Alex Cameron. Add The Dollar Bill Murrays to the list, who take QOTSA-like alt-rock and make it fun and unpretentious. It sure helps to have a self-deprecating style of humor, which they exhibit on the exhilarating and raucous single, “Dancing With Death”.
Grimy guitars, pounding rhythms, and a catchy chorus fill this anthemic track that is made to fill the grandest of stadiums and concert halls. However, it’s probably best to hear it in a little club where you and your mates can just lose your marbles for three minutes. You’ll dance, jump, and maybe even mosh a bit, as you join the band in rocking out with the Grim Reaper. In the case of amusing video, the Angel of Death takes the form as a leather jacket-wearing woman who can down hot dogs quicker than Joey Chestnut and is a so-so bowler.
The single is out now via Valley Heat Records.
Holy Now – “Feel It All” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Alvvays, Francis, Sløtface
From the very first time we heard Holy Now, which was in April 2016 when their debut single, “Wake Up”, struck our ear drums, we were in love. Our affair with the band intensifies another notch with their gorgeous new single, “Feel It All”, which is the dreamiest song you’ll hear all week. From the jangly guitar lines to the shimmering rhythms to front woman Julia Olander’s saccharine vocals and heart-felt lyrics, the track personifies everything you desire from a great pop tune. You can play it while on lazying away the day in a park or on the beach, include it on your workout or road-trip playlist, or spin it at work to give you a lift. “Feel It All” basically is the sunrise that welcomes a beautiful day.
The band is comprised of Julia Olander, Ylva Holmdahl, Samuel von Bahr Jemth, and Hampus Eiderström Swahn.
The Howl & The Hum – “Portrait I” (York, England)
RIYL: Glass Animals, alt-J, Radiohead
One of the most innovative bands to come out of the UK over the past three years are The Howl & The Hum. Eventually, they’ll be recognized for their brilliance, although they have received some publicity on BBC Radio. It’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world catches up. If you think we might be over-hyping the band, take a listen to their new single, “Portrait I”, and explain to us how this tune isn’t brilliant and refreshingly new.
The song commences with a dark and deliberate melody that will leave chills down your back. Front man Sam Griffiths’ hushed vocals further add to the suspense of his mystical tale of either a goddess or an archangel falling to Earth. It’s a fantastic piece of storytelling by one of the UK’s most exciting bands.
The Howl & The Hum are Sam Griffiths, Conor Hirons, and Bradley Blackwell.
Luster – “Fall & Forget” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Palace Winter, Tame Impala, The Sundays
There are plenty of great cities with fantastic music scenes. The list is endless. No one city, however, could compete with the community that has been fostered in Copenhagen. Sure there are neighborhoods like Laurel Canyon and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, but within the Danish capital some of the country’s leading indie artists collaborate on a regular basis. This time around, Palace Winter guitarist Jacob Haubjerg has enlisted the support of Brian Batz (a.k.a. Sleep Party People), Morten Søgaard (the leader of Masasolo), and Anders Bach (Ice Cream Cathedral) to assist him with his solo project, Luster. His first single, “You’ve Got the Heat”, had us grooving like it was the ’80s. His latest tune, “Fall & Forget”, has us basking in the sublime radiance of his take on psychedelic pop.
A Kevin Parker / Tame Impala vibe percolates throughout the track but with the appeal of an ’80s love ballad, specifically one from Peter Cetera and Chicago. Like the man who gave us “Glory of Love”, Haubjerg’s voice is the standout. He sings with raw emotion, as he asks his ex how she can move on so quickly while he wallows away in despair. While there is pain in his voice, we are swept away by the timeless glory of this superb number.
Stephan Kreussel – “Mermaid” (Parys, South Africa)
RIYL: Pond, Júníus Meyvant, Masasolo
Close your eyes for a moment and take a trip with Stephan Kreussel and his spellbinding gem, “Mermaid”. Not even the strongest hallucinogenic could create such a delirious experience as the South African singer-songwriter has done with this masterpiece. The hazy and slow melodic vibes combined with Kreussel’s distant yet intoxicating vocals transport us way down into the rabbit hole. What’s really great about the song is that he doesn’t even deny that’s his goal. But whereas most want to send us to the cosmos, Kreussel is taking us to the depths of the sea where we will find enchantment.
“I don’t want to dream
Bottom of the sea.
Take a sonic trip
Away from everything you breathe.”
The song is taken from Kreussel’s new album, Early. It is out now, and it can be purchased on Bandcamp.
Thea & The Wild – “When A Kiss Becomes A Habit” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Cat Power, Blondfire, Bat for Lashes
The next great Norwegian band are about to release their sophomore album. Thea Glenton Raknes and her band mates (Kamilla Waal, Jørgen Apeness, and Filip Roshauw) – otherwise known as Thea & The Wild – will see their sophomore LP, Ikaros, hit stores on February 2nd via Propeller Recordings. The record is one we’re highly anticipating because the quartet delivered one of the year’s most memorable songs of 2017 with “City of Gold” and they were one of our Artists to Watch for this year. To whet our appetite, they share another sensational tune with “When A Kiss Becomes A Habit”.
Part ’80s synth-pop, part orchestral-pop, the song is sugary goodness on the ears. The arrangements and instrumentation are brilliantly executed, giving the track the feeling of an exhilarating and dance-inspired fantasy. Raknes’ words, however, are genuine, as she reflects on how love disappears from a relationship and the only sparks that happen are when a fight occurs. But in the case of Thea & The Wild, the only sparks to come are those igniting fireworks to celebrate the arrival of their new LP. And the move to the forefront of a band that has lingered far too long in the background.
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