With Easter now passed and spring technically here, the movie industry heads into its busiest season. There has already been one massive blockbuster (Black Panther), and at the end of this month The Avengers: Infinity War will be released. So in honor of the annual tradition where we spend our hard-working dollars to be entertained for a couple of hours while devouring buttery popcorn, The Matinee ’18 April 6th connects songs with films.
Film: She’s All That
Boys – “That Weekend” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Alvvays, Frankie Cosmos, Shitkid
Nora Karlsson is better known as the guitarist for Swedish HOLY, who is a favorite of ours, but she’s starting to make waves with the gorgeous dream-pop she makes as Boys. Her last single, “End of Time”, was pure bliss, and she follows that up with another stunner in “That Weekend”.
Reminiscent of the mid-’80s with the chiming keys and the radiant, dissonant guitar, Karlsson delivers an enchanting tune that would rival Alvvays’ dreamiest numbers. At times, the song reaches breathtaking, smile-inducing levels, but it is mostly one to get completely lost in and dream about the one who got away – or is just about to get away. Sort of like how Freddie Prinze, Jr. almost screws up his relationship with Rachael Leigh Cook, who plays the school nerd-turned-prom queen.
Film: The Last Seduction or any Femme Fatale movie
Earth Moon Earth – “New Mourning (Hummingbird)” (Yucca Valley, USA)
RIYL: Heron Oblivion, Vita and the Woolf, Selon Recliner
Who doesn’t like a good femme fatale movie? Suspenseful, sexy, mysterious, seductive, and unsuspecting. These five adjectives also describe “New Mourning (Hummingbird)”, the debut single from California outfit Earth Moon Earth.
The band calls their music cosmic rock, and there is an unquestionable space quality in their approach. However, there are also elements of film-noire, psychedelic folk, and acid jazz (namely in the rhythms), which heighten the song’s dramatic appeal. As the synths, keys, guitar, bass, and drums collide and front woman Gabriella Evaro’s sultry vocals emerge from the titillating atmosphere, an image of the femme fatale meeting her next conquest fills your mind. She whispers to him, “I’m falling down, falling down for you.” But the Hummingbird is our protagonist and villain, who must keep moving to never lose sight and never be in sight. Now this is how a band makes an introduction.
Earth Moon Earth are Daniel Joeright, Gabriella Evaro, Be Hussey, Esteban Chavez, Scott Schaffer, and Bob Villwock. Their self-titled debut album arrives May 18th on Gatos Trail Records.
Film: Singles or Pretty in Pink
Hatchie – “Sugar & Spice” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: Sixpence None The Richer, Cocteau Twins, Carly Rae Jepsen
Harriette Pilbeam is one of the best stories in indie music of the past 10 months. Her first singles as Hatchie were released independently, but the sugary infectiousness of each song caught the attention of two of the best labels on the planet. Now she’s getting ready to release her debut EP, and from it is the title track, “Sugar & Spice”.
What has many radio stations (like Triple J) and taste-makers bullish of her potential is how she effortlessly merges the intoxicating shoegaze of the Cocteau Twins with the sweet pop fare of Carly Rae Jepsen or, for ’90s music fans, Sixpence None The Richer. The combination yields dream-pop that can only be described as dazzling, which is what “Sugar & Spice” is. The song would be perfect on a film like Sixteeen Candles or my wife’s personal favorite Singles, as Pilbeam tells a tale of what should have been the perfect love affair. In those films, though, there is a happy ending, and Pilbeam’s own story will surely be memorable.
Film: any Guy Ritchie movie like Snatch
LOCKS – “Bodies” (London, England)
RIYL: Tom Waits, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Kate Bush
Once upon a time, a little band from London asked us to premiere their single, “Wishbone”, which introduced us to LOCKS‘ Edgar Allan Poe-style of songwriting and their creepy, skeletal blues-rock. Different, inventive, and enrapturing – qualities we seek in music. They return with another barn-storming number in “Bodies”.
The song, like a great film, is multi-faceted. A gypsy folk-rock vibe simmers on the surface, yet Irish and Celtic folk can be heard. Add in some Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds-esque grimness and Tom Waits’ lyrical creativity, and you get a a track that is perfect for a film that is either full of suspense or features several double-crossing thieves chasing after the same treasure. Seriously, this tune would be great in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. It would also be pretty good in a Tarantino film, particularly Reservoir Dogs. Someone inform the movie studios about this band because they likely would compose one imaginative score.
LOCKS are Locks Geary-Griffin (vocals/guitar), Mike Byrne (double bass), Marian McClenaghan (fiddle), and Andrew Marvell (drums). The song is out on Zen Ten.
Film: Lost in Translation or Away from Her
Ryan Downey – “1+1” (featuring Zoë Randell of Luluc) (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Marlon Williams, Roy Orbison, Matt Berninger of The National
Earlier this year, Marlon Williams and Aldous Harding collaborated on “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore”, which is one of the most spectacular duets of the year and possibly the past five years. Rising Australian singer-songwriter Ryan Downey, who first caught our attention with this Matt Berninger-like vocals more than two years ago with “Only Time”, along with Luluc member Zoë Randell are making a run for the title with “1+1”.
Reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s and Elvis Presley’s most intimate and sincere songs, Downey has crafted a song that has instant classic written all over it. The soft strumming of the electric guitar and the delicate throbbing of the bass and percussion create an ethereal, transcendent soundscape. It is breathtaking and rapturous. Downey and Randell, meanwhile, are as perfect as the pairing of Johnny Cash and June Carter, and similarly that enchant with their lush vocals.
What takes this song to extraordinary levels is the tale that is told. It is not a love story nor one of heartbreak. Instead, it is about the blossoming of an unexpected friendship between a man on the verge of breaking down and a woman who gave him hope. Sounds like the ending we all wanted to see in Lost in Translation as well as perfectly capturing the emotional moments in Away from Her. The latter was produced by Canadian Sarah Polley, and it is a wonderfully gorgeous film. It is a tear-jerker, much like this song is.
Film: The Last of The Mohicans
Sean Christopher – “Cherokee” (Bristol, England via The Hague, Netherlands)
RIYL: José González, Nick Mulvey, Lake Jons
Write down the name Sean Christopher because the Dutch-born, Bristol-based singer-songwriter will amaze you with “Cherokee”. This song is stunning in a cinematic way, where you are left mesmerized from the first to the last note. The tribal-like percussion leads the way, calmly pulsating like one’s heart waiting for the moment to erupt. The delicate guitar riffs and hovering bass, meanwhile, commence slowly to bring us in and rising occasionally like a great plot line to keep us interested.
Christopher’s vocals, too, are enchanting, describing a scene that is, well, right out of a movie. As he explains:
“I saw a great movie a few years ago called ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ about an intriguing collaboration between western scientists and a Native American shaman in search of medicine. It inspired me to look into the history of the indigenous people of America and I found out about the ‘Trail of Tears’, the forced relocation of the Cherokee tribe from the Southeastern United States to the western areas, in which many suffered and died. This song is about that, from a Cherokee perspective.”
This song, as such, was made for the big screen. I would have chosen Embrace of the Serpent, but most are familiar with The Last of the Mohicans.
Christopher’s debut album, Yonder, is out May 11th on Swedish label Dumont Dumont. This could be the surprise of the spring.
Film: The Social Network
SISTERAY – “Algorithm Prison” (London, England)
RIYL: INHEAVEN, False Heads, CABBAGE
As you listen closely to the lyrics of London alt-rockers SISTERAY‘s new single, “Algorithm Prison”, you’ll immediately understand why this tune would be perfect for a movie like The Social Network – or maybe a documentary about how Facebook sold our personal information to Cambridge Analytica, who in turn used the data to manipulate the 2016 US Election and who knows what else. This blistering tune, which comes right out of the late ’70s and early ’80s London punk-rock scene, is more than just this isolated event. It is also an attack on Google, YouTube, and any other website that use algorithms to suggest things we might like and want to buy, although often they are wrong. As the band hollers, “We are not your target market!”, you cannot help but agree and raise a middle finger in Mark Zuckerberg’s direction.
The single is out on Vallance Records. Their sophomore EP is expected later this year, and it should be a riot.
Film: any redemption film like Back II The Future
SUB ROSA – “Gone Girls” & “Magic Back” (London, England)
RIYL: Big Deal, Broncho, Wolf Alice
In almost every movie, including the action blockbusters, there is an underlying story of redemption. Speaking of which, Kacey Underwood is back with a new band – well sort of new. You might remember Underwood from his previous outfit Big Deal, who last year parted ways. It was, needlessly to say, an extremely sad day for many fans, including us.
Shortly thereafter, Underwood created a new band called LOVEBUZZ. As there are a few other bands with that name percolating across the universe, they’ve re-branded themselves as SUB ROSA, which seems apt given their sound is both anthemic and sweltering like the desert heat. To celebrate the new name, they released three songs this week. Due to space, we’ve picked two of them.
The first, “Gone Girls”, could be the anthem for Underwood and his return to the music scene. This catchy, shimmering number is uplifting and make you think you can take on the world. That nothing can stop you because “it’s a beautiful time to be alive.” The latter, “Magic Back”, meanwhile, is a dark, sultry, and hypnotic affair. It’s like a tryst gone wrong and the two individuals go their separate ways. This isn’t a tune, as such, for 9 1/2 Weeks, but it might be True Romance. Sophie van der Welle leads on vocals, dazzling us with her seductive qualities. Maybe neither song is apt for Back II The Future (although a case can be made for “Gone Girls”, it should be obvious why it was picked.
SUB ROSA are Sophie van der Welle (keyboards/vocals), Heather Eaton (bass/vocals), Sam Russel (drums), and KC Underwood (guitar/vocals).
Note: other than their Instagram account, their other social media links are tied to their previous name LOVEBUZZ.
Film: Baby Driver
Terra Pines – “Kidult” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: A Place To Bury Strangers, Second Still, FEHM
Baby Driver had a great soundtrack, filled with tunes that spanned the past 50 years. One thing it needed, though, was a menacing, post-punk rocker like “Kidult” from Terra Pines.
With the shoegaze ferocity of A Place To Bury Strangers and a hypnotic bass line that is out of the annals of Joy Division’s work, the Brisbane trio concoct one spine-tingling yet exhilarating number. This tune must be spun in the dead of night, where the streets are empty and one can just drive as fast and as far as possible. It will excite, exhilarate, and hypnotize you. It’s the soundtrack for the person who loves the thrill of the chase or is on the run from his pursuers. OK, maybe on second thoughts, this track should be on Crash, the erotic and graphically violent movie by David Cronenberg.
Terra Pines are Kelly Hanlon (guitar/vocals), Owen Dengate (guitar/vocals) and Cameron Smith (drums/vocals). Their self-titled debut album is out May 11th.
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