Darkness, brightness, and dreaminess overcome The Matinee ’18 June 26th edition. You’ll understand what this means when spinning the mini-playlist, which is book-ended by two of our favorite artists.
Emma Ruth Rundle – “Fever Dreams” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: P.J. Harvey, Chelsea Wolfe, Marriages
Emma Ruth Rundle, whose was Marked for Death was one of our 50 Favorite Albums of 2016 and sat in the #1 spot on yours truly’s list. The record was a sonic and emotional catharsis that continues to tremble our walls and bones. Today, Rundle returns with her first song since collaborating with Young Widow’s Jaye Jayle (the project of Evan Patterson) on The Time Between Us.
On “Fever Dreams”, Rundle gets a little louder, harder, and edgier without sacrificing the emotional broodiness of her past. It’s not a full-blown hair-raiser, but rather a dark, gripping track that gets under your skin and mesmerizes. Her vocals are forceful while her words are powerful. She recounts “a life spent uneasy in pieces”. As she weaves the story of a person imprison and seeking to break from the “Fever Dreams” that control her mind, the air around her voice transforms from crashing waves to a crushing swell. The crystalline, shoegaze guitar combined with the stark atmospherics recall her days with the band Marriages, but it’s executed in typical Rundle fashion – one that drops you to your knees.
This is the lead single to Rundle’s forthcoming album, On Dark Horses, which is expected September 14th via Sargent House. We’ll update this when pre-order links, but also check out her Bandcamp page. Rundle will be in Europe for most of the summer before returning to North America. Dates and information are available here.
Fine Points – “The Fang” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Phosphorescent, Destroyer, Noah Gundersen
It was nearly three years to the day that Fine Points released their impressive debut album, Hover. It was also the moment that we were first introduced to Evan Reiss and Matt Holliman’s project. That was also the last time we heard from them, but they return with a tune that had us saying, “Whoa!”
Whereas the songs on Hover possessed a dreamy, psychedelic-pop approach, the band have changed their tone and delivered a cinematic and awe-inspiring slice of Americana with “The Fang”. At first, the song feels like a fairy tale with the wistful, opening piano chords, but then it turns into a dream, as if we’re floating down the most pristine river or effortlessly ascending up into the skies to meet whatever or whomever awaits us.
As the song builds to its breathtaking crescendo and the dreamy allure has firmly embraced us, all you can imagine is what life would be like if it was as gorgeous as this tune. Would it be like the great fairy tales, as colorful and whimsical as a Tim Burton film, or as innocently provocative as a Spike Jonze movie? Or we would be just toys, where we get “wind up like a doll, waiting for the man to come”? We hope it’s one of the former options.
We’ll learn more about this world Fine Points have created when their sophomore album, Take Shape, arrives July 13th on Dine Alone Records.
Grand Pax – “Destroyer” (London, England)
RIYL: Portishead, London Grammar, Dahlia Sleeps
Not too much is known about Grand Pax, who has kept a low-key presence on social media and even has not revealed her face nor name. Her decision to remain relative anonymity is one used by a few artists so that people can judge her for only her art. It’s a smart decision since people tend to draw conclusions based on what they see instead of what they hear and the emotions that result. Once you hear “Destroyer”, only one thought will come to your mind – stunning.
The lo-fi and minimalist downtempo-pop approach recalls Portishead and London Grammar in their very early days or what Dahlia Sleeps is currently doing. In other words, the song is simply spellbinding, where the listener gets absorbed within each element. Grand Pax’s vocals, meanwhile, are dazzling yet vulnerable, and her lyrics are knee-buckling. She unveils her deepest thoughts and fears about another person, and how she is “sick about you say I’m something, I feel nothing.” When people hear this tune, though, they’ll feel everything, and they’ll discover a young artist whose potential is limitless.
Her self-titled, debut EP drops July 13th via Blue Flowers. Maybe then the world will discover her identity while simultaneously celebrating her art.
Great Lake Swimmers – “Alone but Not Alone” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Neil Young, Dan Mangan, Blind Pilot
It’s hard to believe that Great Lake Swimmers have been around for 15 years. Yes, 2018 marks the fifteenth anniversary when Tony Dekker started the little indie group that delivered some of the most gorgeous and intimate dream-folk on the planet. Not surprisingly, they became stalwarts at every folk festival across the country and grew a following abroad, but they’re a Canadian treasure. To celebrate this milestone, the band will release its seventh album, The Waves, The Wake, out August 17 via Nettwerk Music Group. They’ve released one song already, and yesterday they unveiled the second single.
“Alone but Not Alone” is a throwback, recalling the ’60s and an era when the transistor radio was the primary source of hearing music. Those were the days when families gathered in the living room in the evening to hear the latest tune from The Beatles or discover what Neil Young, Johnny Cash, or Elvis Presley concocted. And like those songs, “Alone but Not Alone” is meant to be heard with those close to you. The sweet, jangly melody combined with Dekker’s ethereal vocals are the sounds of summer. His words, too, evoke visions of spending hours idling at the lake and cottage with your best mates or traveling across this great country. During such moments, we are left to reflect on what we’ve just left behind and what lies ahead. As Dekker poetically states:
“I contemplate the measure of the sea.
I think about the work ahead of me,
And figure it must be its own reward.
And you would be right to call me wide-eyed
Heart open wide.”
Pre-order The Waves, The Wake here and celebrate the brilliance and legacy of one of Canada’s finest bands.
Leonie Kingdom – ‘Night Terrors” (southeast Queensland, Australia)
RIYL: Ailbhe Reddy, Tia Gostelow, Matt Corby
And here arrives another young singer-songwriter from Down Under who will blow you away. An artist who sounds like she’s from the Emerald Isle and re-interpreting Irish folklore into dark, dreamy indie folk. Her name is Leonie Kingdom, and she emphatically announces her arrival with “Night Terrors”.
From the brooding, cinematic soundscape to her stunning voice to her brilliant songwriting, the song is a spine-tingling affair. Her opening “ooh” immediately grabs hold, and her grip tightens as the acoustic guitar gently sways in the background and strings, percussion, keys, and another guitar join in. Her gorgeous voice then spins a tale about the things that awaken in the night and slowly crawl in our direction. They rage in the sea, stir in our closets, and embed themselves in our minds. While we may want to run, Kingdom tells us that:
“There’s nowhere to hide when they’re living inside
There’s nowhere to hide they’ll eat you alive.
There’s nowhere to hide, they’ll hear all you cries.
There’s nowhere to hide, you’ll never survive.
Kingdom’s debut EP, Night Terrors, is expected later this year. Australians should be prepared to hear her name mentioned a lot on Triple J.
Low Fem – “Videodrome” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Anohni, Yoke Lore, Son Lux
Grab your favorite cocktail or beverage, dim the lights, and settle in for a three-minute experience that will leave you bewildered and amazed. An experience that artists such as Anohni and Björk have mastered and now Low Fem, which is the project of Max Silver and Lucas Segall, have replicated with perfection on “Videodrome”.
A dark and almost sinister environment is established with the taut and minimalist electronic production. Every element, as such, stands out instead of being devoured by a single component. As such, each delicate beat sends a slight tremor through your soul, and the buzzing synth leaves you transfixed. Then there is Silver’s voice, which possess the haunting yet gorgeous textures of Anohni. His songwriting, too, is equally poetic and spellbinding, as he describes the “predatory world” we currently live in. One in which has taken the form of a Videodrome, where technology governs our lives, dictates our action, and watches over us. The story sounds like it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, yet we are living within it.
Our Girl – “In My Head” (Brighton/London, England)
RIYL: The Raveonettes, The Kills, No Joy
We were slightly late to the party in terms of celebrating the shoegaze brilliance of Our Girl, who blew us away in February with the aptly titled “Our Girl”. The song made us openly ponder how we had not heard let alone shared their music earlier. We’re paying attention now, and the trio of Soph Nathan, Josh Tyler, and Lauren Wilson give us another reason to never look away.
“In My Head” is simply amazing. It echoes of early The Raveonettes with its deep and heavy bass line and blistering bursts of shoegaze guitars. Add in the immersive vocals of Nathan, which has hints of Sharin Foo, and the outcome is a song that sticks with you for a very long time. Listen closely, however, to what Turner has to say, as her story is one to which many can relate. She sings with a tinge of trembling fear, “I get scared when people get in my head”. These lyrics denote either a fear of getting too close to someone, how people try to psychoanalyze our every movement or word, or the voices that circulate inside us and take control. Choose for yourself what the song means, but one thing is certain – this tune is one you won’t want to get out of your head anytime soon.
Slift – “Fearless Eye” (Toulouse, France)
RIYL: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, POND, Thee Oh Sees
If you’re a psychedelic-rock fan and don’t know Slift, you should. The trio of Jean F., Canek F., and Rémi F. are France’s equivalent to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard. Like the famed Aussie outfit, Slift take the genre to unpredictable places. Sometimes they can just rock out. Other times, like on “Fearless Eye”, they opt to take listeners on a Futurama-like adventure.
The song is seriously feels like a trip through the galaxies, as our spaceship hurtles through the asteroid belts and past the halo rings of Saturn, Jupiter, and whatever planets lie beyond the Milky Way. For 248 seconds, Slift whirl jangly guitar riffs that become grizzled, throb heavy rhythms, and, for good measure, add some soothing flute. Yes, flute. The fluttering woodwind instrument gives the track a short reprieve, where we’ve entered a section of calm and serenity. This doesn’t last long, however, as the intensity increases and this cosmic ride turns into an exhilarating and energetic experience. And an unforgettable one.
Slift’s debut album, La Planète Inexplorée, is out September 28th via Howlin Banana Records. Believe us when we say they are the next King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard.
Still Corners – “Black Lagoon” (London, England)
RIYL: Chromatics, Young Galaxy, Memoryhouse
In the early part of this decade, two electro-pop bands stood out from the rest for me – Chromatics and London-based duo Still Corners. They weren’t creating music for clubs and dance halls; they were instead making music intended to startle, shatter, and dazzle. The latter’s debut album, Creatures of an Hour, is a modern-day masterpiece, and they followed that up with two stirring records. In less than two months – specifically August 17th – producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray’s fourth album, Slow Air, will be released on Wrecking Light Records. Last Friday, they shared the lead single, which only cements long-time fans’, like myself, affection for the duo.
“Black Lagoon” is sublime. From the opening seconds, the song immediately steals your breath away with a dreamy and mesmerizing wave of pulsating bass lines, the light hum of synths, feathery percussion, and the occasional strike of the steely guitar. And this is just the first 72 seconds and Murray’s vocals have yet to enter the fray. When they do, the track reaches on a whole other level of dreaminess and wonderment. Her voice is haunting yet intimate, as if she’s a ghost from our past and guiding us to a deserted and unknown place. Here, we “swim with the moon to an island in the Black Lagoon“, and we are unable “to get away”. But why would we want to escape when such beauty exists? If anything, this is paradise.
Slow Air is available for pre-order on Bandcamp. This should be a great one.
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