The Matinee ’18 May 1st kicks off the month with songs from artists based in nine countries. There are cinematic adventures, personal love stories, and brooding throbbers to get you through the day. Let’s get started with a young woman who should be on everyone’s watch list.
Coco Reilly – “Define You” (Nashville & New York City, USA)
RIYL: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, Sam Valdez, Jesse Jo Stark
There are only a few artists on this planet that make us feel warm and tingly on the side. All it takes is one word from their lush voices to make us bend to one knee, gasp for a breath, and even momentarily lose consciousness. Hope Sandoval and Neko Case are obviously two of them, and now we’ll have to add newcomer Coco Reilly to the list. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter is like a young Sandoval with her gorgeous, breezy vocals. Just one listen to her debut single, “Define You”, will have you, too, succumbing to Reilly’s beautiful artistry.
The psychedelic folk-pop approach is classic, reminiscent of the ’70s and some of the sublime music coming out of the Laurel Canyon neighborhood. While the chiming guitar and feathery percussion are warm and summery, Reilly steals the show with her voice and intimate lyrics. It’s a love song but in a different way – one about self-love and loving others for who they are. We think we just might be in love.
Eldoradio – “All We Got Is Time” (Trollhättan, Sweden)
RIYL: Yo La Tengo, Stereolab, The Thermals
It’s only Tuesday, but the office blues might already be setting in. Instead of staring at your screen and the pile of work that needs to be done, you’re likely gazing out the window watching the clouds slowly cross the sky and the birds gliding freely in the air. If that’s how you’re feeling, you’re not alone. Even Thomas Keen, Adam Johansson, Anton Thorstensson, August Johansson, and Tomas Berglund, who are Eldoradio, are living the 9-to-5 doldrums, and they write about it on their awesome new single, “All We Got Is Time”.
With the jangly-ness of mid-career Yo La Tengo, the Swedish quintet deliver a tune straight out of the mid-’90s. The catchy melody is shoulder-shimmying worthy that it’s best to warm up your neck before spinning the track. The lyrics, meanwhile, have a Spike Jonze quality – witty, quirky, and imaginative. These words, though, are exactly what we need to get through the day, the week, and even the rest of the year.
“Let’s get lost inside a chamber
And never coming back.
In order to be something special,
Leave your mind behind.
Get high or get out before it all falls apart.
All we’ve got is time for window watching.”
Girls Names – “Karoline” (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
RIYL: Crystal Stilts, Black Rebel Motorcycle, A Place To Bury Strangers
Since their formation in 2009, Girls Names have been long-time favorites of the indie scene and record labels. They’ve signed with indie giants Captured Tracks, CF Records, and Slumberland. Now it’s Tough Love Records‘ turn to distribute the Belfast band’s latest art, and the first piece is “Karoline”.
This post-punk number is a dark, brooding, and mind-altering portrait. There are no sunny skies nor beautiful sunsets. Instead, the landscape is that of a clouded mind trying to come to grip with a changing world. Frontman Cathal Cully’s vocals are stark and purposeful, accentuating each word so its impact can be felt. As Philip Quinn’s guitar sizzles in the background, Claire Miskimmim’s bass harrows in the foreground. It’s a wonderfully sinister track perfect for today’s uncertain world. Cully provides more details about the song’s underbelly:
“Karoline is a fictional character who represents whatever you put on a pedestal and chase after, long for or get eaten up with memory and nostalgia over. In a way, the whole record is Karoline. I think there’s an element of getting older and life getting heavier; something is always holding you back, holding you down.
The Holy – “Land Before Time” (Helsinki, Finland)
RIYL: Editors, Foals, The Twilight Sad
The more urgent an indie-rock song is, the more we like it. This explains why we’re fans of The National, Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Foals, and many others. It’s also the reason why we’re quickly hopping on The Holy‘s bandwagon.
The Helsinki-based band don’t sound like the heavy metal outfits that Finland has produced for at least the last three decades. Instead, if you were just listening to their music, they sound like they’re from London, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, or Glasgow. Their latest single, “Land Before Time”, is just like the cinematic indie-rock music coming out of these great cities. The song, in other words, is so, so good.
The driving, dual guitars (the crystalline chimes are spine-tingling), the dual hammering drums, the throbbing bass line (which is awesome), and the buzzing synth form a vortex of darkly lit brilliance that sucks you in and doesn’t allow you to escape. You’re caught inside its twisting power, and all the while front man Henrik spins a tale of our own self-destruction. Listen closely to how he describes we are making our world “darker over time”.
The Holy are Henrik (vocals/guitar), Laura (bass/synth), Mikko (drums), Eero (drums), and Pyry (guitar). Their new single is out on Playground Music.
Jennifer Castle – “Texas” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin
Veteran singer-songwriter Jennifer Castle hasn’t received the recognition that she deserves. She’s easily one of Canada’s great singer-songwriters of this Century, and her saccharine voice is so relaxing. Hearing her sing releases all tension in your body while her stories often bring in to view lost memories. The Toronto-born artist has once again shared a track that has classic written all over it.
“Texas” is a stunning indie-folk number. Akin to the warm and dusty approaches of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, the song must be heard around a campfire or on a road trip to your favorite place in the wild. In such settings you can then envision and experience Castle’s little trip to see her grandfather in Texas, the times she spent with him, and her final goodbye. But she doesn’t mourn his loss, but instead she celebrates his passing. “I’ll tie a ribbon in your name”, she beautifully repeats to indicate how their bond will forever be unbreakable.
Lowly – “Wood” (Aarhus, Denmark)
RIYL: Men I Trust, CHINAH, Yumi Zouma
In their brief four-year history, Lowly have established a reputation for making songs that get into your head and stay there for days. From their alluring “Fire” to the dazzling “Mournings”, the Danish quintet have turned dreamy electro-pop into an otherworldly experience. Today, they continue to stir our emotions with the spectacular “Wood”.
From the dual, mystical vocals of Nanna Schannong and Soffie Viemose to the soaring synths and the urgent guitar line and percussion, the song redefines ravishing. Every single element consumes one’s soul and leaves a permanent imprint. Schannone and Viemose’s lyrics, too, scar us, as they tell the tale of a person who has given up and is trying to escape reality. And yet, she lives “in a glass house”, which is a beautifully poetic image.
The song is out now via Bella Union. The band is comprised of Nanna Schannong (vocals/guitar), Soffie Viemose (vocals), Kasper Staub (synthesisers), Thomas Lund (bass/synth), and Steffen Lundtoft (drums/percussion). They’re heading over to North America for a few shows at the end of the month. Details are available here.
Other States – “Hokum Wonderland” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Nick Cave, Alex Cameron, El Vy
We’ve been fans of Other States since their very first days. Literally a day or two after their debut single dropped almost a year ago, and we’ve been on this exhilarating ride since. Part of the reason is that the six-piece have a classic, theatrical pop-rock vibe and tell wildly imaginative stories. They are essentially the anti-Top-40 band, which is another reason to love them even more.
On Friday, they released their debut EP, Hokum Wonderland, which is three songs of awesomeness. We premiered one of the songs at the end of March – “Both Worlds” – and for today we’ve opted for the title track. Like Nick Cave teaming up with Matt Beringer and Brent Knopf (a.k.a. El Vy), the Bristol outfit deliver one smooth, groovy, and alluring affair. Musically, the song could be out of a James Bond film with its smokey and seductive approach. Mark S. Aaron’s storyline, though, is more Quentin Tarantino with the trippy plot and a protagonist who is chasing after his own thoughts while strutting alone through the valley. Kind of sounds like Vincent Vega.
Other States are Mark S. Aaron (lead vocals), Mike Lord (piano/backing vocals), Cameron Dawson (bass), Max Numajiri (guitar), Lb (percussion/backing vocals), and Lawrie Miller (drums). Spin the EP on Spotify.
Sauropod – “I Know Where You’ve Been” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Superchunk, Weezer, Arctic Monkeys
Some days you just want to get home and break or punch something. You’re so wound tightly that you need to do something to release the tension. But instead of doing something violent, turn up the volume and hear “I Know Where You’ve Been” from another of Norway’s great little bands, Sauropod.
Like Superchunk crossed with Weezer with a touch of Nirvana and Arctic Monkeys, “I Know Where You’ve Been” is a catchy piece of noise rock. The track explodes out of the gate with grungy guitars before settling into a whimsical, carnival-esque vibe. It then gathers steam, and at its climax reaches oblivion as the trio wail hard on their instruments. The bass and percussion, in particular, throb hard with head-banging intensity. We still say don’t hurt anyone if you’re feeling stress, but go ahead and pump your fist, pound hard on your drum kit, or just scream while you spin this song. You’ll feel better in the end.
Jonas Røyeng (guitars/vocals), Kamilla Waal Larsen (bass/vocals), and Jørgen Natland Apeness’ (drums) single is out on Propeller Recordings.
VEGAS – “End of the World” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: Portishead, Kate Bush, Kraków Loves Adana
From the little label that introduced us to Kraków Loves Adana and Wy comes another Germany artist who will put goosebumps on your skin. Her name is Sarina Giffhorn, and her project is VEGAS. On Friday, she released her debut single, “End of the World”, which is spine-tingling dark, spooky, and fantastic.
The song bleeds with the eeriness of Kate Bush, the stark seductiveness of Portishead, and the brooding brilliance of label mates Kraków Loves Adana. The instrumentation is fantastic, sounding like a small symphony performing inside St. Paul’s cathedral. Giffhorn’s voice has a shallow delivery, which is perfect for this haunting tale about the end of one reality and the start of another. The track could be about the emergence of a werewolf, a new vampire, or the Mr. Hyde that exists in all of us when the sun sets and the moon shines. The song is indeed pure fantasy, and Giffhorn introduces herself as an enchantress to follow.
The song is out now on Better Call Rob, and Giffhorn’s debut album is expected later this year.
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