Another wide-ranging set of nine songs is featured on The Matinee ’18 June 12th. The mini-playlist commences with the return of one of indie rock’s great bands of the past two decades who set the tone for what comes after.
Interpol – “The Rover” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Interpol, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Wolf Parade
It’s hard to believe that Interpol have been around for over two decades. It’s clichéd to say but it does feel like just yesterday that their breakthrough debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights, was released. In two months, Paul Banks (vocals/rhythm guitar), Daniel Kessler (lead guitar/vocals), and Sam Fogarino’s (drums/percussion) sixth studio LP, Marauder, will be unveiled, and by the sounds of “The Rover”, they’re changing things up a touch.
Interpol have always been known for creating bold, dark, but anthemic soundscapes that walked the tightrope between brooding indie rock and post-punk. On “The Rover”, they’ve edged more towards the post-punk realm, arguably more so than anything they’ve done since their first record. They’ve even added slices of prog-rock for good measure to add to the eerier tone. More importantly, however, an intensity and urgency emanates throughout the track, from Kessler’s chiming guitar, Forgarino’s heavy percussion, and Banks’ unmistakable, scintillating vocals. This is a song that sounds like a band wanting to reclaim its spot as one of indie’s great bands. As one that brought post-punk into the world of accessibility without compromising its beautiful darkness and foreboding nature.
The Dirty Nil – “Bathed In Light” (Dundas, Ontario, Canada)
RIYL: The Strokes, Iceage, Twin Peaks
Over the past three years or so, southern Ontario’s The Dirty Nil have evolved from a local favorite to a national treasure. OK, maybe the last part is a bit premature, but the trio of Luke Bentham (guitar/vocals), Kyle Fisher (drums), and Ross Miller (bass/vocals) certainly have the talent to be this generation’s Billy Talent or maybe even The Tragically Hip. Wherever they go, a party is sure to break out because their punchy rock ‘n roll and punk rock are fun and exhilarating. Case in point their newest track, “Bathed In Light”.
Right from the start, “Bathed In Light” bursts with energy and has hit written all over it. From the catchy guitar licks, the raging bass line (which is awesome), and the thundering percussion to Bentham’s boisterous vocals that have an air of The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, the track will leave you exhilarated. It will make you want to jump in your car with your best friend and discover the world while taking on any and all obstacles. His lyrics, too, give that sense, specifically that we can and will be whatever we want to be. Oh, before doing this, make sure to say hi to your grandma, which is what the band actually does.
The Dirty Nil’s new album, Master Volume, is out September 14th on Dine Alone Records. Too bad it wasn’t released a week earlier because it has the makings of a great long weekend record.
The Essex Green – “Don’t Leave It in Our Hands” (Brooklyn via Vermont & Montana, USA)
RIYL: Elephant 6, Yo La Tengo, The B-52s
Unlike the past two years, there haven’t been too many bands making a “comeback”. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because then one of the most underrated (and unheralded) indie-rock bands of the past two decades finally gets their chance to be in the spotlight. We’re obviously speaking about The Essex Green.
On July 29th, their new album – and first since 2006’s Cannibal Sea – Hardly Electronic, will be released on Merge Records. Sasha Bell, Jefferson Rush Baron, Christopher Ziter, Lowell Thompson, and Jeremy Frederick have already released a couple of tracks, including the espionage thriller, “The 710”, and the summer-sweltering “Sloane Ranger”. The latest one out of the gate is “Don’t Leave It in Our Hands”, which one again possesses the charm of NYC’s indie-rock scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
The rhythm-driven opening, which features a great percolating bass line, catches your attention immediately, leading into Baron’s tantalizingly, smooth vocals. Like a Stanley Kubrick film, he, with assistance from Bell on backing vocals, narrates the decay of the Earth we know and the vaporization of humanity. And as the world erodes into chaos, somehow a population that is more obsessed with celebrities and social media likes is asked to change things. But is it too late to reverse the effects of our apathy and self-centered behavior? That’s the central question to this wickedly clever number from a band that should be on everyone’s radar.
Jackie Cohen – “Darlin'” (Los Angeles, USA (we think))
RIYL: Jessica Pratt, Natalie Prass, Lana Del Rey
You know a young artist has an unlimited potential when a label like Spacebomb Records signs her, and Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado and The Lemon Twigs’ siblings Brian and Michael D’Addario are co-producing her debut EP. We could end the review of Jackie Cohen‘s new single, “Darlin'”, right now because the previous sentence says it all. Just one listen to her smokey voice and the old-school, psychedelic folk-rock approach will also have you drowning in her endless pool of talent and make you realize why she has a powerhouse backing behind her.
Akin to the music that Jessica Pratt and Natalie Prass are reviving and Lana Del Rey has experimented with, Cohen shares a song that could fall under the category as an instant classic. At a minimum, it’s timeless. It’s warm yet hypnotic, startling in its allure and gripping in its emotional power. Her introspective lyrics will make you recall your own mistakes and the people you’ve hurt along the way.
“I’m not proud of what I’ve chose to do, Darlin’.
What I’ve allowed myself to use of you, Darlin’.
Upon looking back I can see,
How selfish I’ve been.
I loved you wastefully, Darlin’.”
Check out the video for the song here. Cohen’s debut EP, Tacoma Night Terror Part 1: I’ve Got The Blues, is out June 29th via Spacebomb Records. She will be supporting Alex Cameron during his North American tour. Check out dates here.
Juanita Stein – “Easy Street” (Brighton, England via Melbourne & Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: The Howling Bells, Jesse Jo Stark, Hope Sandoval
Seriously, this past weekend I was searching to see if Juanita Stein, the former front woman of The Howling Bells, had released a new single. It has, after all, been nearly two months since she announced her sophomore album, Until The Lights Fade, will be released August 31st on Nude and shared the LP’s first track, “Forgiver”. Lo and behold, there was “Easy Street”, sitting at front door like a long-awaited parcel.
Like its predecessor, “Easy Street” is a multi-dimensional dazzler, brilliantly merging dream-pop with gritty country-rock and the rock ‘n roll of the ’70s. Its rollicking vibe gives the feeling that one is racing through the ghost towns that litter the southwest United States and the only shadows to be seen are those of the cacti that dot the landscape. Stein’s soothing vocals also churn out lyrics about finding “the easy way out” to escape one’s predicament. Her story is one many are familiar with – that of a lone wanderer that “is on the run again” with “no teary goodbyes”. Not only does this tune sound great but Stein once again delivers a memorable story. Hopefully that means Until The Light Fades will be a concept album that doubles as a Quentin Tarantino-like screenplay. We cannot wait to find out.
Stein has announced a handful of summer gigs and festival performances in Europe. Dates and information are available here.
KIN – “Treeline” (London, England)
RIYL: MEW, Sigur Rós, Explosions In The Sky, Bon Iver
A few weeks ago, London trio KIN, blew away music fans and taste-makers around the globe with their debut single, “Margins”. It was literally a masterpiece of post-rock. They’ve backed up that emphatic statement with another incredible song.
“Treeline” is like the forging of the ethereal brilliance of Sigur Rós, the uncharted expanse of Bon Iver, and the cosmic luminescence of MEW and Explosions In The Sky. Each and every element sparkles and enchants, whether it’s the delicate piano chords, the feathery percussion, the steely tinges of the guitar, or the angelic vocals. More impressive is the entire composition, which is anything but linear. Instead, the trio pilot us through a journey that is at times turbulent and other moments serene. Maybe this is what it feels like to glide close to the treetops or possibly reaching the end of our days on Earth. Whatever the case may be, “Treeline” is another stunning masterpiece.
KIN’s debut album is expected early in 2019. They will release new singles throughout the year, building momentum for what should be one of the great debuts of the decade.
Liza – “1 Girl, 2 Cups” (Richmond, VA, USA)
RIYL: Petal, Snail Mail, Phoebe Bridgers
We don’t know much about Liza other than she recently released her debut EP, Bleach, on Bandcamp. The enigmatic singer-songwriter from Richmond, Virginia has a limited social media presence, and her submission contained little background information. The only thing we have is her music, and there is most likely a calculus behind her decision. Specifically, she’s opted to let her music do the talking, and it sure says an awful.
The record has three songs, including “1 Girl, 2 Cups”. Fans of Petal, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker will immediately succumb to Liza’s dark, brooding brilliance. The track commences with a deep and stunning guitar line, and about 53 seconds in does Liza’s stirring vocals arrive. Her voice and words are haunting, as she reveals the loneliness that comes the day after the other person has left. The track, however, takes an unexpected turn, transforming into a slow grooving, indie rocker. Liza’s vocals take on an added sense of urgency, and a throbbing beat line joins her trembling guitar. It is as if her character has awakened from her malaise, overcoming the grief that consumed her and ready to open the door to a new day.
While we may know extremely little about Liza, her potential is startling.
Manchester Orchestra – “I Know How To Speak” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: Calexico, Frightened Rabbit, My Morning Jacket
Despite consistently releasing great albums, Manchester Orchestra remain one of music’s most underrated bands. Only a few bands (e.g., The National) can match their habit of creating bold, often brooding cinematic soundscapes with endearing yet challenging stories. Late last week, they released “I Know How To Speak”, which was supposed to be on their 2017 masterpiece, A Black Mile to the Surface. However, as Andy Hull wrote on Facebook, the song was not “fully formed”. The final cut is, in a word, amazing.
Tracking in at six minutes, the single is an epic of a roller coaster ride. It is gentile and engrossing, and then turns into a rickety ride down into the internal abyss of despair. And this is just the fantastic composition. Hull’s vocals, meanwhile, are, as usual, breathtaking, and his words are enchanting and timely. They reflect the uncertainty of the future, yet the timing of the song’s release also gives a sense that it’s about humanity’s fragility. About how far too many people suffer in silence with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
“I know how to speak,
And I know where I’m going.
I wanted to seek,
But I got distracted.
It’s a mirage,
One that leaves me embarrassed.”
And later he emotionally reaches out and says, “I really am gonna try this time, Gonna give you my heart in spite of my soul.”
As we say goodbye to our friends and heroes, Manchester Orchestra give us something to remember them and a reminder that we are not alone in our suffering.
The band is comprised of Andy Hull, Robert McDowell, Tim Very, and Andy Prince. The single is out on Loma Vista Recordings.
SEASIDE – “Golden Girl” (Byron Bay, Australia)
RIYL: Blondie, Deee-lite, Warpaint
Aussie newcomers SEASIDE call their music dream-pop, and there is truth to that. For longtime music fans who lived through the ’70s and ’80s, though, they may hear something different and more ravishing. Something that will remind them of Blondie, Deee-lite, and The Pretenders. In other words, disco-pop meshed with dream-rock that leaves you bewildered and entranced. This all describes “Golden Girl”, the quartet’s fabulous new single.
The song is like a disco-pop tune that has emerged from Pandora’s box. It’s unexpected yet delightful. But instead of bringing turmoil and chaos, the Byron Bay-based outfit has given us something sultry, seductive, and stunning. Granted, those who dislike dreamy disco may think the opposite, but if they listen to this track their minds will immediately be changed. They, like you and me, will find themselves slowly grooving and being hypnotized by Darcy’s heavenly vocals, the chiming guitar line, the stuttering drums, and the enrapturing bass line (which is outstanding).
We just might have a new favorite band.
SEASIDE are Darcy (vocals/synth), Froggy (guitar), Tom (bass), and Chris (drums).
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