From groovy pop-rock numbers, raucous indie-rock and alternative anthems, stunning dream-pop, foreboding post-punk and indietronica, and creative art-rock, The Matinee ’18 March 6th feels more like autumn than spring. Nonetheless, the music is, as always, terrific.
Hinds – “The Club” (Madrid, Spain)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Honeyblood, Divinyls
One could make a strong argument that Hinds are largely responsible for the indie resurgence in their native country of Spain. Their 2016 debut, Leave Me Alone, was fresh, fun, and inviting, and their sophomore LP, I Don’t Run, which is out April 6th via Mom + Pop Music, appears to be more of the same. The lead single, “New For You”, was a slacker-rock gem that would have made The Growlers bow in appreciation. Single number two, though, goes is a slightly different direction without sacrificing the witty amusement.
“The Club”, which the band wrote years ago but kept it buried underneath the pile of other test recordings, is yet another catchy ear-worm. Hints of slacker-rock, jangle-rock, and even ’80s pop-rock a la the Divinyls can be heard, yielding a song you’ll want to dance or at the very least swing your head side-to-side. The ladies’ message is also warm and inviting, as they reach out to a down-on-her-luck friend and offer her comfort. Like all great friends, they tell the depressed person to forget about what happened last night, and today we’re here to help make things better.
While we all cannot call Hinds are actual friends, you can still bask in their cheery disposition and warm tunes soon. They’re heading out on tour soon, which includes performing at SXSW.
Hinds are Carlotta Cosials (vocals/guitar), Ana Perrote (vocals/guitar), Ade Martin (bass/backing vocals), and Amber Grimbergen (drums).
Bodega – “How Did This Happen?!” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Sonic Youth, Pavement, Parquet Courts
Thirty-seven years ago one of the greatest indie-rock bands were formed. We’re obviously talking about Sonic Youth, who helped redefine a genre of music by capturing younger generations’ angst and frustrations. Could newcomers Bodega be the Sonic Youth of the 2010s and 2020s? If their debut single, “How Did This Happen?!”, is just the tip of the iceberg, then the answer is an emphatic yes.
Just like the legendary NYC band, Bodega deliver a rambunctious, oft-kilter, indie-punk-rock combination that is literally and figuratively off the hook. The bass line and drumming on the song are fantastic, as if they came directly from the caverns of CBGB’s during the late ’70s. The tickling guitar strikes are reminiscent of Thurston Moore’s jangler work, and the lyrics, likewise, mirror the master’s observational approach. Instead of unleashing their fury on politicians, Bodega focus their attention on ourselves and how we’ve allowed ourselves to be consumed by materialism and fighting to grab the latest sale than for a social cause. It’s an immensely clever tune from a band that we all should get excited about.
The band’s debut album, Endless Scroll, will be released this summer via What’s Your Rupture? Records. Bodega are Ben Hozie, Nikki Belfiglio, Montana Simone, Heather Elle, and Madison Velding-VanDam.
BOYS – “Hollywood” (London, England)
RIYL: DIIV, Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing
One thing we can count on from London quartet BOYS is that they’ll also deliver a song that will take us to the sandy shores of America’s west coast with their hazy, shoegaze-infused dream-pop. That was until recently. It seems something happened on their trip to “Hollywood” because the song isn’t the lush and dazzling stuff of BOYS’ previous tunes.
Instead, a dark, post-punk vibe starts to fill the air as one gets deeper and deeper into the track. An urgency and a starkness grow, potentially reflecting the realities of what Los Angeles, Hollywood, and America are. Suddenly, instead of being put into a hypnotic state, we are sent on an exhilarating ride inside a speeding subway, where our dreams get buried with everyone else’s hopes and wishes. Where they are to never again to see the light. Fantastic.
Boys are Ross Pearce, Mike Stothard, Daniel Heffernon, and Kane Butler.
Canshaker Pi – “Put A Record Out” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Iceage, Arctic Monkeys, INHEAVEN
We probably should have had Canshaker Pi as an artist to watch in 2018 after they blew us away with a couple of singles last year. They return with their first song of 2018 to do more of the same.
Harder, darker, and leaning more towards post-punk, “Put A Record Out” is another propulsive banger that will get your heart pumping and your eyes bugging out. Through the fury of the heavy rhythm section and the searing guitars, the band show a more aggressive side. They don’t say too much on the track, but the eight words – “Simply Red is a band you should know“ – reveals everything about the band’s message. They’re not telling us to go back to the ’80s and spin some classic love ballads. On the contrary, they’re subtly, or maybe not so subtly, expressing their disgust with the state of the music industry. Unless your music can be easily consumed, forget about a major label releasing your record. As such, you can only do it yourself or with the help of a super-boutique label like Excelsior Recordings, who will release Canshaker Pi’s new album, Naughty Naughty Violence, on May 4th.
DUETS AND STUFF – “Hold On” (Sweden)
RIYL: Beach House, GEMS, Lower Dens
Back in January, we described DUETS AND STUFF‘s debut single, “Serve Somebody”, as music that just makes you smile. We also commented that Greta and Raimond could be Sweden’s next big thing. Their second single, “Hold On”, gives us another reason to believe in their potential.
Just like song #1, “Hold On” feels like the morning of the day when a long-time friend arrives. The opening chimes of the xylophone is like hearing the door bell ring and anticipation rises. When the warm, lo-fi bedroom-pop melody and Greta’s lush vocals enter, the anticipation turns into joy and all you can do is smile. But then as you listen closely to Greta’s words, there are hints of vulnerability, pain, and anxiety. It is the voice of a woman battling her own demons, and the visit, too, is a welcome escape. Just another surprise from a duo that is definitely going places.
The Great Dictators – “Killing Fields” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: The Editors, The Dandy Warhols, Interpol
Fifteen months ago, The Great Dictators made their mark on us with the near-perfect “Dream No Evil”, which echoed Richard Swift. They’ve returned to knock our socks off once again with another piece of flawless art.
“Killing Fields” will make you believe that electro-rock can be dazzling and awe-inspiring and not just raging hormones. The production work is like hearing a maestro at work, but it’s not just one person. It’s a trio. Dragut Lugalzagosi, Jakob Lundorff, and Christoffer Hein are a well-oiled machine of composers who reveal an uncanny ability to create theater and drama in the music. In this case, they’ve taken us into darkness of the valleys of the Alps to run away from the shadows of our past and to become lost in the anticipation of what is to come. And hopefully it is into the arms of someone waiting to welcome us into Eden.
The single is out on Celebration Records. This likely will be the first drop of better things to come.
Mating Ritual – “Splitting In Two” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Pacific Air, Pedestrian, Maribou State
Mating Ritual, the project of brothers Ryan Marshall and Taylor Lawhon, are breaking the mould when it comes to SoCal producers. While their music always delights the senses, they do it in a much different way. In a way that touches your core and emotions, such as on their new single, “Splitting In Two”.
Stunning, a triumphant, superb, pick a superlative and it would fit perfectly for this number. It’s haunting, breathtaking, and a dazzling masterpiece of indietronica. If it was a film, it would likely win the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film because the Lawhons will make you feel like them in this song – a person overcoming the end of a relationship and feeling himself being split into two. One who longs for the past and the other who cannot wait for dive into the future. Now which one will you be? For the brothers, they’re doing both, taking their past to make something wonderful in the future. “Splitting In Two” is just the first stone of the coming tsunami. Circle May 4th on your calendars because that’s when the storm – i.e., their sophomore album, Light Myself On Fire – reaches the shores.
Only Sun – “Lives” (High Wycombe, England)
RIYL: Hot Hot Heat, OK Go, We Are Scientists
There have been a few bands over the years that have done the “one-single-a-month” project, and most of them have been great (see GEMS for example). English quintet Only Sun are the latest to embark on this ambitious exercise, and the first two songs were pretty good. Song three, though, is outstanding. Like a crazy party happening in your bedroom, “Lives” is an absolute riot. It is intense, quirky, fun, and completely off-the-wall.
The track explodes right from the start, and it only intensifies with some feverish rhythms and chimy guitar riffs. Only Sun’s storyline is pretty colorful as well, as the band describes one busy body’s noisy ways. The lyrics could also be interpreted as the effects of social media, where people need to know the most minute detail or how others really want to share what’s happening in someone else’s lives. Our desire for information has become insatiable, and unfortunately it applies to “bull shit” stuff than things that matter. The same could be said about music, where great and clever songs, like “Lives”, are being overshadowed by the repetitive, same-old-same-old crap on the radio.
Only Sun are Euan Bryden, Ed Miguens, Daz McManus, Taylor Lacey, and Aabid Kanji.
Post Louis – “Little Jack” (London, England)
RIYL: San Fermin, St. Vincent, Low Roar
If Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) teamed up with experimental art-rock collective San Fermin, they would probably sound like Post Louis. While the London outfit has yet to reach the same levels of success and notoriety as the aforementioned artists, they possess the talents to be stars. From Pitchfork to The Line of Best Fit to The 405, Stephanie Davin, Mattis Moviken, Andy Stern, Robbie Stern, and Adam Turner-Heffer have already grabbed much of the music world’s attention. Now it’s time for everyone else to take notice, especially tuning their ears to “Little Jack”.
The song is a piece of titillating drama, and its dark, suspenseful approach would make it a perfect fit on a Twin Peaks episode. The combination of the angular guitar, the slight bellows of the horns, the shallow chorus, and stammering rhythms yield a soundscape meant for the lonely winter nights in the taiga of Sweden. Here, only the wind and the animals of the black sky accompany you. Front woman Stephanie Davin’s voice, meanwhile, is gripping, and her lyrics are equally chilling, as she describes how one’s thoughts and desires can turn them from an innocent being into a salivating wolf. Someone should call David Lynch and tell him there’s a band that could write the screenplay to his next movie.
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