For some, today represents bad luck. For us, Fridays are meant for great music that delivers you to the weekend. The Matinee ’18 April 13th edition, specifically, is the source of our good vibes, featuring the usual nine sweet tunes that caught our attention. Happy weekend everyone!
Florence + The Machine – “Sky Full of Song” (London, England)
RIYL: Florence Welch, Lorde, London Grammar
If you weren’t already excited for this year’s Record Store Day releases, Florence + The Machine just gave you a reason. Yesterday the British singer delighted fans with her surprise new “Sky Full of Song” single, the first we’ve heard from her since the 2015 LP, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Few artists have vocals as dazzling as Florence Welch: as bright as sunlight and both feather-soft yet piercing as steel – extremes all heard on this understated ballad. The sparse intro of just Welch’s unaccompanied voice is beautiful on its own. But once the thunderous swells of instrumentation arrive at the chorus, all you can do is inhale deeply, close your eyes, and sing along:
“Grab me by my ankles, I’ve been flying for too long
I couldn’t hide from the thunder in a sky full of song
And I want you so badly but you could be anyone
I couldn’t hide from the thunder in a sky full of song.”
Frederick The Younger – “Jessica” (Louisville, USA)
RIYL: Janis Joplin, The Black Angels, The Limiñanas
“Jessica” is the newest track released by Frederick The Younger. It’s a psych inspired track that includes Ms. Cochran’s intoxicating vocals which you can’t help but gravitate towards after she sings the first lyric of the song.The track is the perfect blend of psych and pop. There is no shortage of scuzzy guitar riffs and harmonious hooks.
It’s the perfect track to spin while enjoying a laid back weekend with friends (and actually even more amazing if that friend happens to be named Jessica).
Frederick The Younger is currently on a spring tour with Houndmouth. “Jessica” is from their upcoming album to hopefully be released later this year.
Frederick the Younger are Jenni Cochran (vocals/keys), Aaron Craker (piano/guitar/vocals), Matt Kohorst (bass/vocals), and Dave Givan (drums).
Juanita Stein – “Forgiver” (Brighton, England via Melbourne & Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: The Howling Bells, Jesse Jo Stark, Brandon Flowers
As a solo artist, former Howling Bells’ front woman Juanita Stein has cast spells on us with her Hope Sandoval-esque vocals and stunning ballads. Not that she couldn’t rock out or deliver upbeat music, but we’ve associated her with the ability to leave listeners numb. With “Forgiver”, she produces the opposite effect – has us bopping our heads, tapping our toes, and even throwing the odd fist-pump.
Co-written with Brandon Flowers of The Killers while Stein toured with the band, “Forgiver” is a multi-dimensional track that combines much of a Stein’s past and present with a touch of Flowers’ own music history. It starts off with a rollicking, spaghetti-western vibe before transitioning into a lush, synth-driven melody. The song is like riding on horseback through the desert with nothing in sight and then suddenly arriving at the most beautiful oasis on the planet. Stein’s lyrics share similarities to this image, as she tells the tale of a merciless fool. It’s a clever little number that Quentin Tarantino just might borrow the storyline.
This is the lead single from Stein’s second album, Until The Lights Fade, which will be released August 31st on Nude. This should be awesome.
Llovers – “A Second With You” (North East, England)
RIYL: JAWS, Marsicans, Paris Youth Foundation
“A Second With You” is the newest track to be released by Llovers. So far the band have been racking up fans by releasing melodic shoegaze inspired indie pop. “A Second With You” is another one to add to the that list. This time they add a warm layer of dream pop which produces a breezy, bright and blissful track.
“A Second With You” definitely needs to be added to your warm weather playlist or be played on an upcoming road trip. It will definitely help you get where you are going with it’s shimmery goodness.
Frontman Jack Brooks shares a bit about their newest release:
“The track is about my own disproportionate response to normal things in everyday life. I think most people my age romanticise so many things. The intention of the track was to celebrate the positively naïve nature of youth, while also poking fun the reality of the outcome, which is actually something that’s just a bit oddly obsessive”.
Llovers are Jack Brooks, David Macnab, Matty Jenkinson, Ben Connor, and Joe Connor.
Night Drive – “Anyone’s Ghost” (Austin/Houston, USA)
RIYL: The National + Depeche Mode
Cover songs are tricky business. When a band takes on a proven classic, they risk the ire of the original band’s fans. This is why we were a bit skeptical when we first saw that Texas synth-pop duo Night Drive have an electronic interpretation of The National’s “Anyone’s Ghost” from their 2010 masterpiece, High Violet. How could a band whose sound is more aligned with Depeche Mode do justice to this beloved tune? Before you come to any conclusions, just listen to it in its entirety. No, Rodney Connell and Brandon Duhon don’t have that gravelly vocal timbre of Matt Berninger, but they don’t need it. Instead, their fusion of Berninger’s lyrics with synth-heavy instrumentation elevates your listening experience and makes you want to dance. That’s not something you can say for most National offerings.
The vitality that pulses through this version is inventive without detracting from the original version’s brooding melancholy. If anything, the dark synths are the perfect enhancement. Now we find ourselves hoping they’ll tackle that entire album.
Sleepy Zuhoski – “Daydream” (Dallas, USA)
RIYL: Clem Snide, Grandaddy, Shearwater, Damien Jurado
Sometimes we come across a band and instantly know we will love them based solely on their name. Such is the case with Sleepy Zuhoski. The namesake project of Garrett “Sleepy” Zuhoski (no, we don’t know the origins of that nickname) offers exactly we love in indie music: catchy vocals, rich instrumentation, and layered textures that explore the boundaries of the genre. “Daydream” is from Zuhoski’s forthcoming debut album, Better Haze, a title that really nails his mellow, folk-rock sound. If you’ve never been to Texas, trust us: this song captures the golden-hued vibrance of a springtime sunset.
“Daydream” could be the love child of Clem Snide and Shearwater with hints of Grandaddy and Damien Jurado woven throughout. On a vocal level, Zuhoski echoes both Eef Barzelay and Jonathan Meiburg, yet musically the influences are harder to pinpoint. The electronic variations come from Zuhoski’s love of Radiohead and Bjork, a winning combination if ever there was one. We aren’t sure where Sleepy Zuhoski has been all our lives, but he is one of our new hidden gem discoveries. His brand of dusty, trippy music takes us back to our time in Texas spent drinking cold craft brews as the day drifts away. Needless to say, we can’t wait to hear more.
Tanners – “Holy Water” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: CHVRCHES, Priest, Human League
We all have a soft spot for ’80s music, especially of the synth-pop variety. For those who grew up during that era or love the genre like us know that the very best tunes are ones that leave you smiling, take your breath away slightly, and have you imagining of moments when you were the most vulnerable. No wonder we’ve fallen head-over-heels for “Holy Water”, the new single from NYC-based artist Tanner Peterson – or simply Tanners.
Like Lauren Mayberry fronting The Human League, Peterson crafts a spellbinding number. The vibrant synths embrace your soul like your favorite blanket while her saccharine vocals smother you like a cool ocean breeze. When she utters at the beginning, “Come with me and swim into my daydream”, you jump head first and don’t look back. You become one with the “Holy Water”. Don’t, however, mistaken this tune as a love song. Well, in a way it is, but one of self-love. Peterson takes on the role of the ocean and invites people to enter her reinvigorating waters and learn to love oneself again, learn to be vulnerable, and trust where the waves will take you. And in Tanners, we will trust her to continue to take us back to the ’80s and make us feel alive again.
VARSITY – “A Friend Named Paul” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Frankie Cosmos, Colleen Green, Stef Chura
Music is a lot like your best friend – always there when you need her and constantly finding ways to make you smile. If there is a band that we would pick to be our best friend, Chicago’s VARSITY would get strong consideration.
As demonstrated by their latest single, “A Friend Named Paul”, the quintet of Stephanie Smith (vocals/synth), Dylan Weschler (guitar/backing vocals), Patrick Stanton (guitar), Paul Stolz (bass), and Jake Stolz (drums) have a knack for making soul-pleasing indie-pop just like Frankie Cosmos and Alvvays do. However, they’re more than just a great band making catchy tunes with some superb jangly, guitar riffs. They are the storytellers of a younger generation. In this case, Smith shares who her best friend – who she contacts when she’s down in the dumps and with whom spends her days when she just needs someone to lean on. As continues to discuss their relationship, curiosity lingers in her voice on whether their relationship is even more than it seems. Our relationship with VARSITY, though, is purely platonic.
Wet – “Softens” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Men I Trust, Hundred Waters, The xx
It’s been fascinating watching Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle, and Marty Sulkow grow their project Wet. They started off as a lo-fi, bedroom-pop trio and now have gone more widescreen without compromising the intimacy and tenderness of their music. Their latest song, “Softens”, reveals the trio going to new expanses to once again leave our mouths agape and our knees a bit weaker.
With the addition of strings and a lovely piano arrangement, Wet deliver a song that would be spectacular to hear in Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra supporting them or just Zutrau alone at the piano and singing a la Alicia Keys style. Her voice is richer and fuller than it’s ever been, and her songwriting is sensational. As the orchestration around her begins to soar, she reaches out to a friend – to us – and offers comfort. It’s as if she has reached her hand through the speakers and grabbed ours, telling us she is there for us. “Beauty softens grief”, she whispers to us. Calling this song sensational would be an understatement.
The single is out on Columbia Records. We’ll update this when more news and other streaming links become available.
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