Today is International Women’s Day, which holds even more significance this year with the emergence of the #MeToo movement and the leadership women throughout the world have assumed to facilitate and cause social change. Many would like to use the slogan, “The future is female”, but for us they are also the present. They are the ones we now look up to, the people who inspire us, the individuals who give us hope the future will indeed be better. While The Matinee ’18 March 8th edition isn’t an all-women mini-playlist, it does feature plenty out outstanding female talent from around the globe.
FRANKIIE – “Glory Me” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Warpaint, Stevie Nicks, Belle Game
A few years ago, Vancouver-based indie-rock band FRANKIIE were a surging force on the Canadian music scene before they went their separate ways to chase their individual dreams. They return after a short hiatus to deliver a song that could very well be the anthem for International Women’s Day.
With an approach that masterfully marries Fleetwood Mac’s lush rock qualities with the intimate anthemic approach of Warpaint, “Glory Me” is a gorgeous, awe-inspiring single. The driving rhythms and the steely chimes of the reverb-drenched guitars are intoxicating and sublime, and the four-piece’s harmonies are stunning. What makes the song perfect for today is the band’s story, where they explain the liberation they felt after brushing aside unwanted expectations. Such freedom is what all strive to seek, and today that we push even harder to achieve.
FRANKIIE are Francesca Carbonneau, Nashlyn Lloyd, Samantha Lankester, and Zoe Fuhr.
Concrete Knives – “Gold Digger” (Caen , France)
RIYL: The Black Angels mixed with Rubblebucket, Broken Social Scene
In the early part of this decade, French outfit Concrete Knives were one of the biggest indie bands in Europe. They played to sold-out venues and were on numerous festival bills. But the then just-graduated sextet needed to take a step back and collect themselves, so they took a bit of a hiatus. Now five years later, they return with their sophomore album, Our Hearts, which is out April 13th via Vietnam and Because Music. The lead single, “Gold Digger”, explains why taste-makers and European audiences were excited about their potential.
Concrete Knives assume the role of a snake charmer, hypnotizing us with their combination of dark neo-psychedelia and oft-kilter alt-pop. And like the cobra emerging from the basket, we dance and slither under the groovy and delirious tones of the band’s musicianship and the delectable vocals of front woman Morgane Colas. This is a spell that we don’t wish to awaken from anytime soon, and hopefully this once-fast-emerging band will continue to spin their magic for years to come.
The band is comprised of Nicolas Delahaye, Morgane Colas, Adrien Lepretre, Augustin Hauville, Guillaume Aubertin, and Corentin Ollivier.
Deanna Petcoff – “Terribly True” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Wild Child, Monica Martin, Julia Jacklin
Those within the Toronto music scene will likely recognize the name Deanna Petcoff, who once fronted indie outfit Pins & Needles. Now she’s breaking out on her own to share her brand of roots-inspired indie-pop. Her new single, “Terribly True”, could have her following the successful path that Julia Jacklin followed two years ago.
As the acoustic guitar rings in the background and supported by wailing rhythms, Petcoff’s cool crooning vocals fill the foreground. They are tantalizingly rich and absorbing, possessing the light touches of Angel Olsen and the dramatic tones of Sharon Van Etten. Her songwriting is similar to these great singer-songwriters, as she looks inwardly to find the truth. In this case, she admits to herself that the problem isn’t the person she’s seeing. Rather, it is the notion of being alone and trying to make the other person happy at her expense. To try to love so one can be loved back. It’s a difficult thing to admit, but a powerful moment when one does.
Stef Chura – “Degrees” (Detroit, USA)
RIYL: Liz Phair, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen
Last year, Stef Chura released her terrific debut album, Messes, which had us oohing and aahing at its startlingly poignant lyricism. The LP caught the ears of the fine folks at Saddle Creek Records, who re-released earlier this year. It also caught Wil Toledo’s (of Car Seat Headrest) attention, as he produced and support Chura’s newest single, “Degrees”.
If you missed Messes, this song gives you a glimpse inside the powerful brilliance of one of the world’s most overlooked songwriters and artists. Chura’s words are jolting, as she proclaims to herself that “I gave you a reason on to walk off with.” This single line forms the basis of the many phases a person who goes through in a day. The doubts, the questions, the episodes of disbelief and vulnerability that rule over the happier moments. Her lyrics are magnified by the song’s ebbs and flows, featuring outstanding guitar work from Chura and Toledo as well as Toledo’s probing bass line. Holding the song together like one’s life anchor is Ryan Clancy, whose steady drumming keeps us firmly grounded. It’s hard to believe that this extraordinary song was cut from Messes, which indicates how talented Chura is.
“Degrees” will be released as part of a split-single with “Sour Honey”, and it will be available on Record Store Day, April 21st, via Saddle Creek.
Stina Stjern – “Cold Endless Ice” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: HAIM, Holly Miranda, Frankie Rose
It’s still a bit chilly in parts of the world, but there’s always room for a song that will make you want to go for a long drive along the coastline with the windows down (or the top down if you’re fortunate to have a convertible). Today’s mercury riser comes from Stina Stjern, the Norwegian-born singer-songwriter who calls the exhilarating Copenhagen home. While her song, “Cold Endless Ice”, gives the opposite indication, this vibrant piece of synth-pop-rock will warm you up.
It’s not an electronic or dance track by any means, but the shimmering arrangements and Stjern’s sizzling vocals will have your heart racing and head noodling from side-to-side. It will have you think of moments that bring a smile to your face or maybe even encourage you to just drive away and never look back because the cold, wintry days are about to fade into the distance. If you’re a poet or love poetry, this is Stjern’s way of telling us to look forward and let all past ills wash away with the melting snow.
The single is out now via Sellout Music.
Thyla – “I Was Biting” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Black Honey, Wolf Alice, No Joy
It is beyond our comprehension why Brighton-based quartet Thyla still are hovering below the radar. Sure, we named them artists to watch for this year, but we’ve been waving their banner since 2015. Heck, we listed them as a band to watch back in 2016. Maybe 2018 will finally be the year that everyone takes notice, and they’re off to a fantastic start with “I Was Biting”.
This sprawling number is pure ecstasy when it comes to rock music. Mille Duthie’s stirring vocals remain front and center, as she describes her experiences living in today’s surreal world. From technology to the news, everything feels like it is coming from the mind of Stanley Kubrick. Her storyline is heightened from the shoegaze-infused post-punk approach she and her band mates have adopted. Every strike of the reverb-drenched guitar and every pounding rhythm are reminiscent of the scintillating work of No Joy. Yet there is a modernity to Thyla’s magic, where, like fellow Brits Wolf Alice and Black Honey, they’re able to make something familiar sound fresh and vibrant. We ask again, “How are Thyla still a secret?” Someone needs to let the cat out of the bag.
Thyla are Millie Duthie (vocals/guitar), Mitch Duce (guitar), Dan Hole (bass), and Danny Southwell (drums).
The Black Lips & The Khan Family – “Too Much In Love” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: A collaboration made for Newport Folk Festival
The Black Lips have never shied from thinking outside the box. Whether it’s creating some of the zaniest psychedelic rock or making an off-the-wall country album, the Atlanta band are never predictable. So their collaboration with The Khan Family, which features King Khan and his daughters, should not be a surprise. And yet it is because who would have thought The Black Lips would mix some ’60s jukebox rock with Americana and old-school soul music? Well, they’ve done that with a lot of assistance.
“Too Much In Love” was made for Newport Folk Festival, which is THE music festival to see unexpected collaborations. It was warm, inviting, and smile-inducing, like feeling the sea breeze blow in on a hot day at NFF’s Fort Stage. For long-time attendees of the great music festival, think Langhorne Slim, Shakey Graves, Neko Case, Laura Veirs, and Nathaniel Rateliff on stage at the same time and that’s what you get. Oh, and don’t forget Preservation Hall Jazz Band providing the horns. This song has instant classic written all over it.
The song is from the bands collaborative EP, Play Safe, which will be released on Record Store Day (April 21st) via Ernest Jenning Record Co.
La Bête Blooms – “Take Arms” (Hull, England)
RIYL: The Kills, Divine Fits, Wolf Parade
We’ve been fans of La Bête Blooms for a little while now, and it began with their explosive and fun post-punk. They’ve changed things quite bit with “Take Arms”, which long-time fans may not even recognize. And that’s a really good thing.
Instead of a blazing post-punk track, Daniel Mawer, Jack Gallagher, John Copley, and Louisa Robinson deliver a propulsive synth-rock track that sounds like The Kills or Divine Fits. The quartet, however, haven’t completely gone all new wave or electronica, as the fiery guitars and throbbing bass lines. They’ve just added some synth to give their music an extra punch and more of a dance vibe. Their poignant songwriting remains, and this time they’re eying the directionless politicians and their followers for leading us down a path of no return. Frig, this band is awesome.
The single is once again out on Adult Teeth Recording Company.
Yonatan Gat – “Cockfight” (New York City, USA via Israel)
RIYL: Yonatan Gat, if pressed Jack White
There are very few instrumentalists who can constantly make instrumental music into an exhilarating, rocking experience. Then again, Yonatan Gat is no ordinary artist. He is simply one of the greatest living guitarists and composers in the world. People need to start thinking about the New York-based, Israeli-born artist in the same vein as Jack White. Heck, one could argue Gat is even more daring than the blues-rock master, as evidenced by “Cockfight”.
There aren’t many words to say about this song. Everyone just needs to hear and experience this tornado of sound. It might appear chaotic at first, but close your eyes and immerse yourself in its explosive brilliance and ingenuity. Gat has infused Balinese gamelan music, psychedelic rock, ’70s-era punk rock; and a bit of Middle Eastern and Afro-beat vibes. Again, this song is incredibly brilliant, and it comes from the mind of one of the truly great innovators of our time.
Yonatan Gat’s new album, Universalists, is out May 4th on Joyful Noise Recordings.
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