A wide-range of songs are featured on The Matinee ’18 July 10th. Gritty rockers, sultry electro-disco-pop, sweet indie pop, hazy and blissful tunes, and some classic rock ‘n roll are all on order. You might want to stand up while you spin some of these tracks.
Dentist – “Upset Words” (Asbury Park, NJ, USA)
RIYL: Veruca Salt, Speedy Ortiz, Colleen Green
Asbury Park, New Jersey is known for its boardwalk and quaint amusement park. Fans of rickety, old, wooden roller coasters should most definitely visit this part of the Jersey Shore. While there, check the local concert listings to see if Dentist are performing. This little outfit consisting of Emily Bornemann, Justin Bornemann, and Matt Hockenjos are catching a lot of people’s attention for their fuzzy brand of grunge-pop and intelligent lyrics. Their previous single, “Stick”, was immensely catchy, but their latest output, “Upset Words”, is over-the-top infectious.
Rambunctious guitar riffs, hammering rhythms, and Emily’s sugary vocals merge to create a sound right out of the ’90s and the height of grunge. It’s a rocker yet a bopper, which will cause concert-goers to swell into a gigantic mass of sweaty bodies. But if you’re alone, you might get the urge to run out of your home and “do anything“. To run without fear and “not be scared anymore”. Emily and Justin’s songwriting are fantastic, making us realize how powerful words can be.
Dentist’s new album, Night Swimming, is out July 20th on Cleopatra Records. This should be a doozy.
Evan Wright – “Comeback” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Sam Evian, The War On Drugs
Somewhere in New York City, singer-songwriter Evan Wright plies his craft. He might be at a café in Soho or Greenwich or possibly the Lower East Side or Williamsburg, where he and his band are sharing their lush folk-rock. If you happen to be walking by, in all likelihood you’ll stop, walk inside the establishment, and listen to a man whose whispery vocals and songwriting are akin to Sufjan Stevens. His approach, though, possesses the widescreen, soft-rock approach of another indie giant. This under-the-radar artist’s talents are displayed on “Comeback”, which is taken from his EP, Spaghetti Western.
The song is a thing of a cinematic beauty. It is dreamy at first with Wright lushly singing, “One more night I will be by your side”. As the song builds, Wright’s desperation to be reunited with his loved one reaches euphoric levels. The mesmerizing climax is urgent and a touch gritty like the desert plains of America’s southwest and reminiscent of the cinematic soundscapes that Adam Granduciel’s outfit The War On Drugs have perfected. The young man is a talent. It’s just a matter of time before he becomes a household name.
Fanfickk – “Cotton Candy” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Icona Pop, Nite Jewel, Grimes
Besides the rides, people go to fairs and amusement parks to indulge in some of its delicacies. Hot dogs, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and of course the sugar rush that is the melt-in-your-mouth, addictive treat that is “Cotton Candy”. This description also characterizes Kiwi electro-pop creator Fanfickk‘s new single.
“Cotton Candy” is, in a word, delightful. It’s fun, sweet, and deliciously infectious, possessing the energy boost of the confectionery while blazing with the warmth of the sun following a storm. You’ll just want to wave your head from side-to-side or even get up and slowly dance under the popping beats and Fanfickk’s saccharine vocals. Her lyrics, too, reflect the colorful and light treat, as she explains how she adores another person for who they are. She likes this person so much that she wants to put her in a cup and drink her colors. This might be a bit too descriptive, but you get the picture (i.e., she’s not channeling her inner Hannibal Lecter. At least we don’t think she is).
FUR – “What Would I Do?” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley
Where’s the jukebox when you need it? And where’s the Cadillac convertible, the guys wearing black leather jackets with their hair slicked back, and the women in polka-dot dresses? These images are evoked from English quartet FUR‘s latest single, “What Would I Do?”, which is straight out of the ’50s and ’60s when Elvis Presley and Ritchie Valens were crooning their way to the top of the charts. If you have no idea who these legends are, then spin this most excellent tune and you’ll immediately be transported to an era when couples shared milkshakes, days were spent cruising around town, and true love indeed was real.
Front man Murray even sounds like an old-school crooner with his band mates – Harry, Tav, and Flynn – providing shimmering backup harmonies like an a capella group. The instrumentation is classic, filled with a brimming guitar line and some great keys. Even the storyline is right from Grease or Beach Party, where our hero is left pondering what he is to do now that he’s alone. But if you’re at a party and this song comes on, you surely won’t be dancing alone to it. [Note to oneself: if throwing a bash in Brighton, hire FUR to play it.]
Halcyon Drive – “Agnosia” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Foals, Muse, Bloc Party
In the two-plus years we’ve been listening to Halcyon Drive, the Melbourne-based trio have consistently amazed us with their fiery and anthemic indie rock.In our humble opinion, the trio of Michael (guitar/loops/vocals), Max (drums/vocals), and Basil (bass/synth/vocals) should be way more popular than they are. They can be dark, brooding, and rocking like fellow Melbourne band City Calm Down or they can deliver bombastic number akin to Muse. Eventually, they’ll experience a breakthrough, and maybe “Agnosia” is their ticket to stardom.
“Agnosia” can only be heard in one place – in the world’s biggest arenas and stadiums. It would unquestionably fill Madison Square Garden and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, causing the tens of thousands of fans to feverishly bang their heads and pound their fists in the air. Not only is the tune explosive, Michael’s songwriting is enrapturing. The song’s frenetic pace perfectly provides the framework for his story of feeling trapped, emotionless, and lost. It’s the story of a man trying to find his way in these uncertain and unpredictable times.
“I’m doing everything my mother told me,
And I’m fighting everything my daddy tried.
I couldn’t tell you what I got his story.
We’re losing every night.”
murmurmur – “Cable Car” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: POND, Tame Impala, Temples
When Will Fletcher isn’t moonlighting as the touring guitarist for City Calm Down, he’s busy collaborating with pals Alex Crosara, Jack Davies, Luke Haaja, and Fin Bradley on their new project murmurmur. Barely a few months old, the quintet released their debut single about 2 1/2 weeks ago, and let’s just say it sounds very Aussie. And no, we don’t mean Cold Chisel-like music, but rather the outfit is adding another layer to country’s outstanding neo-psychedelic scene with “Cable Car”.
No need for any stimulants nor hallucinogenics because “Cable Car” will leave your head covered in haze. It is a piece of majestic psychedelic-pop that reaches grandiose levels, and we love it. The song commences with slight, delicate tone, as Fletcher’s wistful vocals fill the air and the instrumentation possesses a cool, rocking enchantment. For over three-and-a-half minutes, murmurmur keep us in this state and describing how we are collectively stuck in time. The dueling guitars during this section is My Morning Jacket-esque, but that quickly changes. The climax is mind-blowing, as the lead guitar, synths, and rhythms explode. It’s a moment of awe, as if we have just witnessed a super nova suddenly emerge before our eyes.
Sauropod – “Ripping” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Nirvana, Superchunk, Pavement
Norwegian rockers Sauropod are unpredictable, which is an outstanding trait to have for a young band. They can create catchy pop-rock tunes a la Weezer, or they can channel the quirky college-radio vibes of Pavement. For “Ripping”, they unleash their inner Nirvana to deliver one stupendous, grunge-infused, garage-pop-rock anthem.
If “Ripping” was released in 1991, it would have been a radio smash hit because the song bleeds of the angst felt by a disenfranchised, younger generation. The searing guitar, booming bass, and pummeling percussion create an impenetrable wall of fuzzed-out sound while Jonas Røyeng’s piercing vocals bombard us with a heavy words. “Why don’t you rip it off and you’ll go free”, he urgently hollers, telling us to get rid of all the dead weight that holds us down. Doesn’t this sound exactly like the band that emerged from Aberdeen, Washington?
Sauropod are Jonas Røyeng (guitars/vocals), Kamilla Waal Larsen (bass/vocals), and Jørgen Natland Apeness (drums). Their self-titled EP will be released August 24th on Propeller Recordings.
Sharkmuffin – “Liz Taylor” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Bikini Kills, Potty Mouth, Sadie Dupuis, Speedy Ortiz
There’s a reason why Sharkmuffin have made multiple trips to SXSW – it’s because Tarra Thiessen (guitar/vocals), Natalie Kirch (bass/vocals), and Jordyn Blakely (drums/vocals) are awesome! OK, maybe this single statement doesn’t say much since we’re just expressing our opinion, but the Brooklyn-Jersey Shore ladies have other more serious (and better known) fans than us, such as Brooklyn Vegan and Stereogum. On a more substantive level, the trio can rock like legends Joan Jett and The Runaways, create blistering hurricanes in the mould of Bikini Kills, and write clever songs a la Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis or Allison Crutchfield of Swearin’. All three of these elements converge on “Liz Taylor”.
This little tune is a great mismatch of elements and moods. It grinds like the great indie-rock heard in Brooklyn’s and the Lower East Side’s hidden venues, yet a pop-like vibe hums in the trio’s smooth harmonies. The searing guitar that buzzes occasionally is like a fire ripping through an undisturbed piece of meadow. Sharkmuffin’s story is also clever, as it starts off with a salute to the stars of the Golden Age of cinema. But it then turns on itself, as Thiessen essentially tells us to stop adoring false idols and instead idolize yourself. Be yourself. Honestly, who wants to “be married more than Liz Taylor, soaked in white diamonds, sampling everyone’s flavour”? If we’re going to worship anyone, it’s Sharkmuffin!
Check out their Bandcamp page to pick up some really cool merchandise and some of their albums. The “Mermaid Sex Slave” and “Anne Boleyn Plays Bass” T-shirts are pretty awesome.
TZARA – “Take Your Time” (Cape Town, South Africa)
RIYL: Grimes, U.S. Girls, Nite Jewel
It’s been a little while since we share the music of Tara Boraine, who is better known as TZARA. It’s not that the young South African has been idle. Quite the opposite actually – she’s been very busy collaborating with other producers and songwriters and releasing some club and EDM-oriented music. Our preference, though, is her solo stuff because she’s more willing to blend multiple genres into one sound. Such is the case with “Take Your Time”, which is an electro-disco-pop number made for the most exclusive and secretive clubs.
Dim the lights, get the disco ball spinning, and just dance. “Take Your Time” is hypnotic, seductive, and intoxicating. Scintillating beats, Boraine’s enchanting vocals, and a sexy saxophone are the stand-out features, and when they collide in the second half a hallucinating effect is created. An effect where you completely lose yourself within the head-spinning, mesmerizing melodies and sultry atmospherics. Just so cool, and this isn’t a surprise since Tzara is South Africa’s version of Grimes. Remember her name.
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