The Matinee ’18 April 5th features nine songs that will either take your breath away or melt your face – even if you cannot speak the language. There are artists and bands capturing the spirit and energy of bygone eras and others taking music to new places. Some of the songs will also entertain you for their lyrics while other stories will crush your soul. Sit back, relax, and spin these great new tunes from artists and bands you ought to know.
BOYTOY – “Static Age” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Morgan Delt, Doug Tuttle, Michael Rault
If you’re as old as us or have an affinity for ’70s and ’80s pop culture, you probably can recall seeing John Travolta strutting down New York City in Saturday Night Fever and thinking that there was one cool dude. Afterwards, you would walk down your neighborhood street with a swagger, thinking you, too, were awesome. Having said all this, disco music doesn’t exactly make us feel cool (apologies to The Bee Gees). Seventies-era psychedelic folk-rock, though, sure does, such as BOYTOY‘s new single, “Static Age”.
Like the music of four decades ago, this tune is tripped-out awesome. Groovy, fun, infectious, and delirious, the song is perfect for these warmer days (or oncoming warmer days). It’ll make you want to put on your best sunglasses, wear your best duds, and high tail it to the trendiest part of town. The coolest thing about this tune is that it won’t just appeal to you and me, but also to the beings that exist in faraway planets. But instead of driving their Toyota Corolla downtown, they’re rocking out on their spaceship and searching for the next planet they can live on. The songwriting on this track is clever and fantastic. Hmmm… maybe we should ride out to Area 51 and play this song. Who knows what might happen.
BOYTOY are Saara Untracht-Oakner (vocals/guitar), Glenn Michael Van Dyke (vocals/guitar), Chase Noelle (drums), and Lena Simon (bass). Their sophomore album, Night Leaf, is out April 27th via Stolen Body Records and PaperCup Music.
Deeper – “Pink Showers” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: The Thermals, Dick Diver, The Go-Betweens
Chicago-based Deeper‘s music has been described as many things – post-punk, indie-rock, jangle-rock. This isn’t a bad thing whatsoever because it demonstrates that the band isn’t a one-trick pony. Instead, they’re pushing themselves to experiment and to not be tied down to any particular sound. Their philosophy also enables them to merge multiple genres into one clever tune, such as on “Pink Showers”.
The jangly notes are straight out of Melbourne, the city which popularized the under-rated genre. There is also an unmistakable early to mid-2000s indie-rock vibe, reminiscent of the art- and experimental-rock of Deerhoof and The Thermals. The oft-kilter approach is surprisingly catchy and will have you swaying to the melody. The pulsating rhythms, meanwhile, might have you doing your best Mr. Roboto dance. This juxtaposition in the band’s approach – chiming guitars against mechanical rhythms – perfectly captures the song’s theme of battling against life’s monotony. As front man Nic Gohl hollers, ““I can try, don’t you see that I’m no waste!”, we’re left questioning whether our lives have any meaning. Maybe we’ll ponder the question another day.
Deeper’s debut, self-titled album is out May 25th on Fire Talk Records. Pre-orders are available on Bandcamp. The band is comprised of Nic Gohl (vocals/guitar), Mike Clawson (guitar), Shiraz Bhatti (drums), and Drew McBride (bass).
Ellevator – “Voices” (Hamilton, Canada)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Francis, Stars
We’re still left pondering how in the world has Ellevator hovered under the radar for so long even to Canadian music fans. Their last single, “Hounds”, was an eye-opener, introducing us to a band that has the talent to be the next Broken Social Scene. Maybe one day Nabi Sue Bersche, Elliott Gwynne, Michael Boyd, and Tyler Bersche will reach the same otherworldly status of the great collective, and their latest single will add to their own growing legend.
“Voices” is one sublime piece of indie-pop fare. It’s energetic, contagious, dramatic, and euphoric. Like BSS, every band member shines. Boyd’s drumming sets the pace, first methodically and then quickening to raise the song’s intensity. Gwynne’s quietly throbs at first before accelerating like a rapidly beating heart. Bersche’s guitar chimes delicately in the background before taking center stage during the transitions. Holding everything together is Bersche, whose vocals are intoxicating and whose storytelling is right out of an early ’90s coming-of-age film or TV series. Think movies like Singles and Empire Records and shows like Friends and Melrose Place, which made us believe we indeed are the future.
Exitmusic – “Trumpets Fade” (Brooklyn & Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: School of Seven Bells, Poliça, Phoria
Close the curtains or blinds, turn off the lights, and don’t move or make a sound. Instead, allow yourself to be completely immersed in “Trumpets Fade”, which is another stunning masterpiece from Exitmusic. The song is like the slow arrival of an oncoming storm, where you wait impatiently to experience its sheer force and devastating beauty.
As Devon Church churns a heavenly melody, Aleksa Palladino’s soothing vocals hold us still, whispering to us that another world awaits for us on the other side. The song grows and growls louder and gradually the storm arrives. Soon, the synths, sizzling guitar, rhythms, and beats cascade into a single wall of exhilarating sound, and we realize the storm’s full strength is upon us. Where is nothing to do but to lay suspended and allow it to overwhelm our souls. For it to take us to the place that Palladino promises us will be the start of something new and full of wonder.
How the story ends will be released on April 20th, which is when Felte will release their new album, Recognitions.
Ganser – “Satsuma” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Shame
Last month, Chicago’s Ganser unleashed a stormy, post-punk number with “Avoidance”, which addressed (mis)communication in today’s over-wired world. The song was chaotic yet brilliant, using murmurs and static to reveal how we speak to one another. They continue to explore this post-modern apocalypse on their latest thesis, “Satsuma”.
As the gritty and feverish orchestration buzzes in the air, highlighted by Charlie Landsman’s grueling, reverb-drenched guitar, front woman Alicia Gaines hazily sings about the growing menace that grows outside. It’s not a monster. Instead, a mob of naysayers, warmongers, and manipulators are trying to make us feel small and who are trying to tear away at our skin and devour our souls, much like how each day a millions of people peel an orange to eat its juicy center. But this song isn’t about submission – it wouldn’t be Ganser’s way. Instead, it’s a revolutionary one, where the band encourages us to resist. Encourages us to feel big rather than like a “Satsuma”.
Alicia Gaines (bass/vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys/vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums), and Charlie Landsman (guitar) are Ganser, and there is nothing soft, fleshy, or sweet about this band. Their new album, Odd Talk, is out April 20th on No Trend Records, which should further unveil their bitter brilliance.
Lowell – “War Face” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Le Tigre, Peaches, Elle King
Four years ago, Elizabeth Lowell Boland – or simply Lowell – released a dynamite debut album, We Loved Her Dearly. The record was filled with synth-pop goodness, but its most outstanding feature was Boland’s intelligent songwriting, as she used the catchy melodies to share her observations of a crumbling society and what it is to be a woman in a man- and Christian-dominated world. Now on the eve of her sophomore album, she shares one more song to get us ready for what promises to be another show-stopping, highly-moving effort.
With “War Face”, Lowell trades in her synth-dance-pop for a more assertive, electro-rock approach that has a touch of the blues, too. While the music is different – tribal-like rhythms, sizzling guitars, heavier beats – Lowell’s energetic style remains. It’s not just a song to dance to but one to start a revolution. It is the battle cry of a young woman revealing herself to the world and telling anyone who objects to move the fuck away. For everyone else, “War Face” is the anthem that aligns us under Lowell’s banner.
Boland’s sophomore album, Lone Wolf, is out tomorrow, April 6th via Arts & Crafts.
The Molice – “Shooter” (Tokyo, Japan)
RIYL: The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Pixies
While The Matinee and Melodic Tonic playlists focus on recently released music, we’re making an exception for this one because a terrific Tokyo-based indie band is about to tour the USA and they need to be heard and seen. That band is The Molice, who in September 2017 released their debut EP, Signs, on Velour Voice in Japan. American indie-label Good Charamel Records (noted for their support of Japanese bands) also picked it up for distribution on this side of the Pacific.
The EP showcases the trio’s fiery indie rock, which blends the attitude and infectiousness of The Breeders with the propulsive edge of Pixies. To get a flavor of what to expect, we’ve opted to share the EP’s opening track, “Shooter”. Don’t worry if you cannot understand a word of Japanese because like the great punk-rock songs this one will get you moving, bopping, and jumping. It’s an electrifying number featuring an awesome bass line, some titillating guitar work, and the enrapturing vocals of front woman Rinko. With a song as great as this, there are only three things to do – turn up the volume, hit repeat when it’s done, and spread the word about this great little gem from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Rinko (vocals/guitar), Yuzuru (guitar), and Paro’s (drums) USA tour commences April 13th. Click here to check out if they’ll be in a city near you.
Say Sue Me – “Coming To The End” (Busan, South Korea)
RIYL: Yo La Tengo, Alvvays, Hater
If there is a better story in music this year than the one that South Korean indie-pop quartet Say Sue Me are living, we have yet to come across it (although Anna Burch is a very close second). In a short few months, they have gone from relative obscurity to being playing at SXSW and then having their latest single, “Coming To The End”, premiered on super indie station KEXP.
Only one word can be used to describe this song – epic. It’s not the typical epic that from start to finish blows your mind. Instead, Say Sue Me lull us into a stupor with an intoxicating and dreamy melody reminiscent of Yo La Tengo’s work in the late ’90s and early ’00s. For over two minutes, they seduce us with this gorgeous instrumental before front woman Choi Sumi’s delicate voice enters the fray. She shares a tale of friendships ending, as many of her childhood friends leave the port city of Busan for the thrills and opportunities in Seoul and abroad. Alone, she ponders if anyone else “will know who I am”. As those words leave her lips, the song transitions into a 3.5-minute jam, highlighted by Kim Byungku’s emotive guitar playing, that would make Jim James and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket rise, applaud, and salute.
The band consists of 최수미 Choi Sumi (vocals/guitar), 김병규 Kim Byungkyu (guitar/vocals), 하재영 Ha Jaeyoung (bass), and 강세민 Kang Semin (drums).
Valley Queen – “Chasing the Muse” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Margaret Glaspy
We may have saved the best song for last, which is saying something given the stellar quality of the previous eight songs. However, Valley Queen have crafted something marvelous with “Chasing the Muse”. A song that can only be described as face-melting.
It’s not a face-melter in a ferocious rock ‘n roll sense, although the guitar work and rhythms are fabulously executed and peak at precisely the right time. Instead, like Big Thief’s and Angel Olsen’s grandest anthems, “Chasing the Muse” leaves your mouth agape, your chest-swelling twice its size, and your eyes bulging out of their sockets. Stunned, dazzled, paralyzed – choose any of these adjectives and that is its effect. Further adding to the experience are front woman Natalie Carol’s siren-like vocals, which tell the tale of a young woman trying to figure out her life and finding stability. “I hope you figure it out”, she repeats to herself. And we hope the rest of the world figures out that Valley Queen are indie rock’s next big thing.
The band is comprised of Natalie Carol (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Neil Wogensen (bass/vocals), Shawn Morones (guitar/vocals), and Gerry Doot (drums). Their debut album expected later this year via Roll Call Records. They are currently on her tour, and this summer they’ll be at Pickathon and Winnipeg Folk Festival. Dates and information are here.
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