The Matinee ’18 April 19th edition is filled with mostly alumni, many of whom have released their first songs in a long time. The playlist, as such, is a cause for celebration, so gather your friends together and have a party. Another thing to note is that nine countries are represented. Consequently, this The Matinee is truly a global one.
American Wrestlers – “Ignoramus” (St. Louis, USA via East Kilbride, Scotland)
RIYL: Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils
One of the most underrated and underappreciated bands of the past five years are American Wrestlers. Started off as a one-man band by Gary McClure, co-founder of the similarly great but underappreciated Working for a Nuclear Free City, American Wrestlers’ initial songs unexpectedly went viral. In a matter of months, McClure was signed by Fat Possum Records, who released his first two albums – American Wrestlers and Goodbye Terrible Youth. Both were among of our 50 Favorite Albums of 2015 and 2016, respectively. Maybe their fortunes will turn this year when their third album arrives, and the lead single, “Ignoramus”, indicates that could very well be the case.
The shimmering melodies and McClure’s gentile vocals remain, yet the song is more complex than his previous tracks. As the song builds, a surf-rock vibe builds, yet an underlying darkness exists in his lyrics and the droning strings that flourish in the end. McClure originally wanted to call the song, “The Lonesome Death Of The Alt-Right”, but it easily could be about surviving in a world where the alt-right has risen to influence political and social life. Listen closely to what McClure has written because he is one of the great storytellers of his generation, and one who does not shy away from heavy themes.
American Wrestlers are Gary McClure, Birdhisattva Mahasavatta, Josh Van Hoorebeke, and Ian Reitz. Their third album is expected later this year.
Eliza Shaddad – “White Lines” (London, England)
RIYL: Nadine Shah, Holly Miranda, Bryde
Two years ago, Eliza Shaddad released her incredible sophomore EP, Run, which easily was one of 2016’s very best. The record showcased a different side of the Sudanese-Scottish singer-songwriter. She moved away from her folk beginnings to a more widescreen and cinematic approach, which perfectly complemented her moving and vivid storytelling. Check that, it added to the appeal and drama of her incredible songwriting, which has always been her hallmark (she is a Master of Philosophy after all).
Although Shaddad hasn’t released anything as a solo artists since Run, she has been busy on other fronts. She teamed up with her friend Dan Sonabend on the trip-hop project Sandscape and provided guest vocals on songs like High Lucia’s “Arid Land”. She’s back, though, to once again wow us with her solo work, and her first single in two years is in one word – amazing.
“White Lines” builds on the music of Run, starting off wistfully with Shaddad’s delicate vocals hovering above the soft rhythms. As the song progresses, her vocals intensify and suddenly one is taken from serenity to racing down the M1 at 100 mph. The tune soars just as Shaddad proclaims how “if I were brave and true I can drop straight into the future”, and towards the finale she dives headfirst into the great unknown. Diving into a future that should lead to stardom for one of music’s great artistic forces.
Shaddad’s debut album, Future, is expected later this year. Beatnik Creative will release it, and we can’t wait to hear it in its entirety. Those in London can get a sneak peek on April 24th, as Shaddad will be hosting a special album preview show at Servant Jazz Quarters. Get tickets here.
Anemone – “Bout De Toi” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Melody’s Echo Chamber, Stereolab, La Femme
Even if you don’t speak the language, great music will stir one’s emotions and memories. Hopefully, they are positive ones, which leave you smiling for the rest of the day. Doing today’s honors are fast-rising Montreal indie- / psychedelic-pop band Anemone, who the other day shared the splendid, psych-pop number “Bout De Toi”.
The track, which translates to “After You”, sounds and feels like summer and a day out on the beach. The light, airy, and slightly trippy melody will have heads at first nodding side-to-side. As the sitar-sounding guitar kicks in, a touch of a delirium sets in, and your mind wonders to a time of simple pleasures. To a time where walking on the beach with your partner in hand was paradise. The relaxing sounds of the ocean breeze and crashing waves surround you, but in this case front woman and project mastermind Chloé Soldevila’s soothing vocals do the enchantment. You might not know what she’s saying, yet you fall under her spell anyway. If you’re curious, the song is fittingly about yearning for one’s distant love.
In addition to Soldevila (vocals/keys), Anemone include Miles Dupire-Gagnon (drums), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), Samuel Gemme (bass), and Zachary Irving (guitar).
BATTS – “Shame” (Melbourne, Australia via London, England)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Tori Amos
Two years ago, Tanya Batt – who goes by the moniker BATTS – first attracted our attention when she covered Tori Amos’ unforgettable “Cornflake Girl”. We should have realized that at the time the London-native now Melbourne-based artist is an immensely gifted songwriter herself. That she, too, has Amos-like potential with a hefty dash of Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen. Hopefully she will approach these great artists’ levels, but for now she’s a hidden gem and one that continues to dazzle.
Her newest single, “Shame”, offers a hint of her abilities. A classic indie-rock approach buzzes in the foreground, as the electric guitar reverberates and the rhythms coming crushing down during the climax. It’s BATTS’ voice and lyrics, however, that grab you, as she describes how the world is spiraling backwards and is almost unrecognizable. Meanwhile, many of our idols have been taken from us, creating a void which will never be filled. As she articulately expresses:
“It’s funny how we think we’ll be better off
If we took off
And started somewhere new.
Maybe Saturn, Jupiter, or Mars,
Where Bowie watches us through the stars.”
Maybe one day we’ll be looking up and seeing BATTS’ name in bright lights and as the marquee star of the night.
The single is out now via THAA Records.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Hold That Thought” (Berlin, Germany & San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Anton Newcombe, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sonic Youth
And in more excellent new music news, The Brian Jonestown Massacre recently announced they’ll be releasing not one but two albums this year! The first record and the band’s 18th overall, Something Else, will be released on June 1st via front man Anton Newcombe’s own a recordings, and the first single out of the gate is classic TBJM.
Long-time fans will immediately gravitate to “Hold That Thought”. It recalls the band in their youth when they merged Sonic Youth’s angst rock with The Byrds-esque psychedelic garage-rock. It is, as such, a head-noodling, garage-rock number that features meticulous guitar work and a tight rhythm section that every band wishes they could emulate. Newcombe’s vocals, meanwhile, are set more in the distance to accentuate the song’s somber message. “Hold That Thought”, however, is more of an extended jam that reminds us that TBJM can still rock out with the best of them while making rock ‘n roll sound fresh and exciting.
Newcombe is joined by Collin Hegna, Ricky Maymi, Daniel Allaire, Joel Gion, Rob Campanella, and Ryan Van Kriedt.
Death and The Maiden – “Oooh Baby In The Chorus” (Dunedin, New Zealand)
RIYL: Portishead, The Cure, Savages
One would assume that most bands from Dunedin, New Zealand would try to emulate the ’80s “Sound” that made Flying Nun an international heavyweight. Such an assumption, of course, undermines the numerous talented bands coming from this artsy city, such as Death and The Maiden. Around since the first half of this decade, Lucinda King (vocals/bass), Hope Robertson (guitar/drums/vocals) and Danny Brady (synths/programming) are a hypnotic electronic, post-punk, darkwave group. Comparisons to Portishead, as such, are inevitable, which explains just how gifted the trio are. Their newest single, “Oooh Baby In The Chorus”, reveals what the world is missing.
This song requires one to dim the lights, keep all distractions at bay, and become entranced by the band’s tantalizingly foreboding approach. The instrumentation is stellar, featuring the graceful darkness of Portishead, a chiming guitar and throbbing bass line that is reminiscent of The Cure, and King’s enchanting vocals that ring as lush and harrowing as Beth Gibbons. Intoxicating is one way to describe this number, which will have you tripping within your own mind.
Echo Ladies – “Bedroom” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Preoccupations, Trementina, Second Still
Post-punk does not always have to be dark, delirious, heavy, and foreboding. It can also be lush, mesmerizing, and inspiring, which explains why we hopped on to Echo Ladies‘ train a year ago. It also explains why Hybris and Sonic Cathedral (UK) have signed Matilda Bogren, Joar Andersen, and Mattis Andersson. Causing all of us purchase lifelong subscriptions is “Bedrooms”, another scintillating number from the Swedish trio.
The song sounds like the remarkable byproduct of a collaboration between Preoccupations and Trementina. There is a slight, tantalizing darkness that is reminiscent of the Canadian post-punk outfit’s music yet the shimmering, shoegaze guitar and Bogren’s transcendent vocals are akin to the Chilean super-indie group. This is a song that should be on any late-night road trip because it will get the adrenaline flowing and encourage you to move. Much like Bogren’s lyrics about getting out of bed and out into the world.
Pinkshinyultrablast – “Dance AM” (St. Petersburg, Russia)
RIYL: Bat for Lashes, No Joy, Nite Jewel
Shoegaze fans know who Pinkshinyultrablast are. They are simply one of the great bands of the genre that just won’t die this decade, and they are quickly reaching legendary cult status. If they weren’t based out of Russia, they likely would be even popular. Time is on the side of this still quite young trio, who will release their third album, Miserable Miracle, on May 4th via Club AC30. The first song from it is simply awesome.
“Dance AM” demonstrates how Lyubov (vocals), Rustam (synths/electronics), and Roman (guitars) are giving reviving and reinventing shoegaze. For that matter, this isn’t quite a straightforward shoegaze number. It commences with some subtle, sultry beats and production before giving way to a sweltering synth vibe a la Nite Jewel. Lyubov’s vocals, meanwhile, are heavenly and exotic, floating effortlessly above the shimmering haze. It is only about halfway through does Roman’s chiming, reverb-drenched guitar kicks in, taking the song from the dance floor to high into the atmosphere. What a trip this song is!
The Vryll Society – “Andrei Rublev” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Elephant Stone, The fin., The Amazing
We’ve been long-time fans of The Vryll Society, dating back to September 2015. At the time, the quintet were still establishing themselves in the complicated and competitive music scene. A few years later, they’ve firmly cemented themselves as one of Liverpool’s finest rock bands with their melange of psych-rock, krautrock, dreamgaze, and indie rock and creative storytelling. This week, they just might have released their grandest single to date with “Andrei Rublev”.
Bordering the gentile and engrossing post-rock of The Amazing mixed with the enchanting delirium of Japan’s dreamy psychedelic outfit The fin., the track is a mind trip. A gorgeous mind trip to be specific, where a kaleidoscope of colors will flood your mind. Or maybe your mind will wander back to the 15th Century and the iconic paintings of the famed Russian painter, whose use of golds and reds gave new life to the Renaissance. In their way, The Vryll Society have added their own enlightenment to a well-worn genre. Oh, don’t operate heavy machinery when playing this song because it’ll leave you in a trance.
The Vryll Society are Michael Ellis, Ryan Ellis, Lewis McGuinness, Lloyd Shearer, and Benjamin Robinson. Their debut album is expected later this year via Deltasonic Records.
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