From fiery rockers to groovy funk and disco-filled joyrides to gorgeous ballads, The Matinee ’18 January 30th will leave you in awe. Well, the music on the mini-playlist did leave us gasping at times. We hope you enjoy today’s selection of new music, which features some familiar names (or past alumni with new names).
ALCABEAN – “Still Remember” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Japandroids + A Place to Bury Strangers + Cloud Nothings
Once upon a time, there was a band called John Alcabean. Yes, a band and not a person. We were first introduced to the outfit about two years ago, at which time we premiered their EP, Real Time Fiction. Their energetic and anthemic style had us suggesting that they were on track to be Denmark’s next great rock band. So it’s taken a bit of time for them to reach that status, but their new single under a new name – simply ALCABEAN – has them back on track.
Like Japandroids and A Place to Bury Strangers colliding, the Danish quartet deliver a monster of a shoegaze, garage-rocker. The reverb-filled guitars fill the air and grab hold of us immediately. The firecracker drums and the pulsating bass line pound at our chests. Then Victor Schack’s voice chimes in and delivers a story that has us reminiscent about our past. About times that were simpler and full of laughter and adventure. The song is absolutely exhilarating to the point that if you hit repeat often you’ll be fiercely playing an air guitar and doing jump kicks during the delays. Denmark’s next great rock band, indeed!
Alcabean are Victor Schack, Julius Schack, Joachim Holmgaard, and Lucas Olierook. Their new EP, Head Down, drops March 16th.
Annachristie Sapphire – “Cut The Line” (Joshua Tree, CA, USA)
RIYL: Erika Wennerstrom, Angel Olsen, Jen Cloher
Prepare to have your socks knocked off your feet with what might be the early front runner for song of the year. The song is “Cut The Line” by nomadic singer-songwriter Annachristie Sapphire, who had us saying “Wow!”, “Hot damn!”, and many other superlatives. The track possesses the power of Heartless Bastards’ front woman Erika Wennerstrom, the smouldering smoothness of Angel Olsen, and the grace of Jen Cloher. Sapphire’s songwriting is fantastic, as it’s filled with colorful analogies to describe the power of love and all its vices. One of the best lines is:
“Gaining advice from stale fortune cookies.
It’s no surprise I read the same one twice.
It says be wise,
Shoot off all your buttons
Because you’ll fall only again to crash and fall.”
As more evidence of her cleverness, read the bio on her Facebook page, which includes this gem of a line: “She is as hard working as a donkey and as magical as a unicorn.” With this song, there’s no question Sapphire wields ungodly powers.
“Cut The Line” is from her forthcoming album Desert Car, which is out later this year.
Dahlia Sleeps – “Blackout” (London, England)
RIYL: Phoria, London Grammar, Daughter
There aren’t many more ways we can describe the haunting brilliance of London four-piece Dahlia Sleeps, who have time and time again captivated us for nearly 2.5 years. It all started with “Breathe”, which left us starstruck and continued with the scintillating synth-pop gem “Rise”. Their seventh single, “Blackout”, has once again left us in awe of their talents.
A solemn, peaceful, yet crippling number, “Blackout” paces slowly with the piano-driven melody and is guided by front woman Lucy Hill’s stunning and emotional voice. Pain drips from each word she sings, as she re-lives the experience of losing someone and the days and weeks that follow. Some songs make you feel the sadness, but in the case of Dahlia Sleeps the listener experiences it first hand. And that’s a rare and powerful gift.
“Blackout” is available on Olympia Records. Their second EP is expected later in 2018.
Dahlia Sleeps are Lucy Hill, Luke Hester, Spencer Buckley, and Callum Sharp.
Holly Miranda – “Golden Spiral” (Detroit, USA)
RIYL: PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple, St. Vincent
One of our most anticipated albums of the year is only a few weeks away, and Holly Miranda has us fidgeting with excitement, especially after she released “Golden Spiral”. Let’s just say this is an unexpected turn, but it’s awesome.
The song is funky in a PJ Harvey way, where the Motown-esque horns and bass are delivered in a suspenseful and grueling way. Rhythmic head bobbing ensues as Miranda’s distant vocals chime and take us down a dim-lit alley and into an underground bar where the city’s most exotic and interesting characters can be found. But is this where the mob hangs out or is a secret society like that found in Eyes Wide Shut? We’ll find out soon enough, as we follow the “shuffle on the street” until February 23rd. That is when Mutual Horse enters our universe via Dangerbird Records
Kill The Moose – “God Is A Messed Up Guy” (Nice, France)
RIYL: No Joy, My Bloody Valentine, Trementina
Awesome band name with an equally outrageous song title matched with an earth-shaking sound and you know we have to share it. Meet French quartet Kill The Moose, who derive their name from the fact that moose have not been seen in France since the 9th Century. With their historical and ecological foundations established, it’s not surprising that they dive headfirst into the political and social worlds with “God Is A Messed Up Guy”.
The song is shoegaze brilliance, echoing the searing intensity of My Bloody Valentine and the melodic sizzling approach of No Joy. Their lyrics, meanwhile, reflect the feelings of tens of millions of people when looking back at the events of the past 15 months. Maybe God isn’t a messed guy (or gal), but s/he has a bad sense of humor. Kill The Moose, though, is not a band to laugh at but rather one to watch, especially for shoegaze fans.
The song is taken from their forthcoming new EP, The World is Your Oyster. It’s due out later this year. The band is comprised of Elisabeth Massena, Alex Ornon, Christophe Massol, and Pierre Pizana.
Piano Club – “Think For Yourself” (feat. Blu Samu) (Liège, Belgium)
RIYL: current-day Arcade Fire, Metronomy, Kalvinsky
You probably wouldn’t expect a band called Piano Club to play hip-shaking, body-rubbing disco-pop music, but that’s what this Belgium collective does. Forget about Mozart and Beethoven. Instead, with “Think For Yourself”, you’ll be imagining Metronomy, LCD Soundsystem, and present-day Arcade Fire, which means putting on your best club outfit and getting ready to dance. And dance or least groove is what you’ll be doing this intoxicating and sensual affair. The production work and beats are cool while the bass line and percussion are extremely groovy and funky.
Unlike some bands, Piano Club aren’t hiding behind their awesome orchestration. They’re also pretty gifted songwriters, and for this tune they’re inciting people to break away from the chains that keep us down and to be our own individual. The addition of hip hop artist Blue Samu adds an intensity and attitude to the song, offering an unexpected but cool transition. So maybe Piano Club are like classical composers, as they know how to bring many elements together and capture our attention.
RACKETT – “Alive” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Warpaint, White Flag, Ramonda Hammer
Punk-pop with multi-part harmonies – that’s something you don’t hear every day. Then again, Australian quartet RACKETT aren’t exactly your ordinary band. Each of the band’s members – Rebecca Callander, Ally Gaven, Astrid Holz, and Kat Ayala – all perform in other bands, but through RACKETT they get to experiment a bit more and see how far they push the envelope without alienating fans. Kind of sounds like Warpaint, who would be an apt comparison for the four-some. Their new single, too, has a touch of the California superstars.
“Alive” sounds exactly as its title. It is an exhilarating number that gets the blood pumping as the song builds. The waves of synth, the hammering rhythms, and the crunchy guitars form the adrenaline rush while the harmonies leave you in a wonderful haze. The combination is perfect for this song about rebirth or resurrection, as RACKETT call on us to take over our lives and become the person we want to be. Not the person everyone wants us to be. Only then can you feel alive.
If you’re in Oz or plan to be Down Under, RACKETT will kick off a nation-wide tour on February 3rd in Adelaide. Dates and information are available here.
Sarah Klang – “Mind” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Nadia Reid, Bedouine, Courtney Marie Andrews
The first time we heard Sarah Klang sing, we were bowled over by the power of her voice and the beauty of her lyrics. At the time, we called her Sweden’s answer to Adele, but that might be too simple of a comparison because her approach is much more varied. And much more breathtaking, like her new single, “Mind”. Within the first thirty seconds, it’s easy to understand why the song immediately shot to the top of Spotify’s Danish charts and is sits at #2 in Finland at the time of this writing.
With the delicate and dreamy acoustic and steel guitars stream in the background, Klang’s stunning vocals echo in the foreground. Her voice is filled with pain, as she shares the memory of someone she once loved with all heart. As the song reaches its climax, you might find yourself shedding a tear or at least falling into Klang’s gripping and gorgeous world.
Klang will be at SXSW this year, and she’s definitely someone to see. Her performance will hopefully shoot her to global stardom. In the meantime, the song is available on all streaming platforms via Pangur Records.
Swimming Girls – “Back Of Your Car” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Cults, Ladyhawke, Nite Jewel
It’s been half a year since we’ve heard from Swimming Girls, the Bristol-based quartet who are bringing the ’80s to the 2010s. They’ve released everything from shoegaze to lush dream-pop. For their newest single, they enter the realm of synth-pop and deliver a breathtaking and exhilarating single with “Back Of Your Car”.
This tune belongs in a John Hughes. The sizzling synths soar and lift your spirits while the rhythms have you jittering around like there is not tomorrow. Vanessa Gimenez’s sweet vocals and her lyrics about trust, loyalty, and togetherness, though, are what steal your heart. And pretty soon, Swimming Girls will be ruling hearts around the world because, as we’ve mentioned before, this band is going places. They could very well be the next Black Honey or Anteros or even Wolf Alice. Here’s hoping an EP or LP is on its way very soon.
Swimming Girls are Vanessa Gimenez, Max Blunos, Jay Bell, and Robert Primrose.
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