The Matinee ’18 July 13th is not spooky nor brooding nor eerie. Instead, it’s quite the opposite – offering ten energetic, infectious, and rip-roaring numbers to end the week on the right note. There’s some surf-rock and indie pop, a bit of classic rock and disco-pop, and you’ll even find a country-rock tune. So saddle up and let today’s musical selections guide you to the weekend.
The Belafontes – “Where the City Meets the Sea” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Prom Queen meets Guantanamo Baywatch, The Shangri-Las
On a per capita basis, Australia probably has the highest proportion of fun, rambunctious, and off-the-wall amusing bands. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, POND, Hockey Dad to name a few. Oh, and we cannot forget retro surf-rockers The Belafontes, who first entertained us two years ago with the Beach Boys-esque “Skeleton”. We don’t have an explanation as to why we haven’t shared anything of theirs since but today is a new day. A bright, summery day to rekindle a relationship and, as such, celebrate their latest effort.
So what if “Where the City Meets the Sea” was released a month ago, it is never too late to share a fantastic tune and let the entire world bask in its glory. Brimming with surf-pop vibes right out of the ’60s, this tune could have been included in the film, Beach Party. It swelters with the cotton candy goodness of a Ritchie Valens’ number sprinkled with the feel-good vibes of The Shangri-Las and the nonchalant attitude of modern-day indie legends Guantanamo Baywatch. This tune will have you “burning up the pavement” all the while creating the feeling that you’re “waiting in the sunshine, waiting at the shoreline”. So get out of the house or your office and head to the beach, and en route be sure to repeatedly spin this tune. It will get you in the weekend spirit!
The Belafontes are Jessica Belafonte, Paul Belafonte, and Joel Mole.
De Lux – “Do You” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Classixx, Superhumanoids, current Tame Impala
Grab friends and pretend you’re about to head to Club 54 for a groovy good time. Sure the legendary club no longer exists, but in our memories, in photos, and in the music of groups like De Lux the place still exists. Founded by Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco, the LA-based band are rekindling the electricity of the disco age but adding some spine-tingling, modern-pop electro-pop elements to give the era even more color. Or should we say technicolor, which is what they achieve with “Do You”.
Find a disco ball and a venue with plenty of space to spin, strut out your best moves, or roller skate because this tune will make you feel like a dancing queen or Tony Manero (John Travolta’s character in Saturday Night Fever). It’s sultry yet groovy, catchy but alluring. The duo’s vocals possess the hazy daze of the seventies while the instrumentation, especially the synths and bass, is lavishing in a very Chic sort of way. Even if you didn’t like the disco era, this song will surely put a smile on your face because, well, it’s one of those rare tunes out there – completely irresistible. As such, “Do You” is the perfect track to welcome the weekend. Let the festivities begin!
The single is out now on Innovative Leisure.
Gold Star – “Baby Face” (Los Angeles, USA via Vienna, Austria)
RIYL: Wings, Billy Joel, Michael Rault
We’ve called Vienna-born, LA-based Marlon Rabenreither – a.k.a. Gold Star – one of world’s most underrated singer-songwriters. The young man is a mix of James Taylor, Billy Joel, and Kevin Morby. Eventually, the world will understand why we consistently applaud his work and his throwback style. For his latest single, he reminds of another legend – Paul McCartney and his work with Wings. Seriously, “Baby Face” is classic ’70s rock, and it would have been perfect on Band on the Run.
Rabenreither’s voice, as usual, rings clear, hovering effortlessly over the cool rhythms, the tingling piano keys, and the warm guitar lines. His songwriting, too, feels right out of a session with Buffalo Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young. No, “Baby Face” isn’t a love song, but the nickname of a wanderer with no destination. An individual who teeters on the brink of finality yet somehow continues to move forward. These kinds of songs are rarely written today, which is all the more reason to embrace this young, gifted artist. Everyone can start by marking September 7th on their calendars, which is when Gold Star’s new album, Uppers & Downers, will be released on Autumn Tone Records.
The Golden Age Of TV – “Television” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Black Honey, Warpaint, Blondie
In their short time together as a band (little less than two years), The Golden Age of TV have quickly established themselves as one of the UK’s must-see bands. They’ve already played at the prestigious Reading and Leeds Festivals, and they’ve received consistent support from BBC Radio. One of the reasons for their success is that they are unpredictable, where they can easily dish out a rocker or take us to a ’70s dance club. In the case of “Television”, they cut across genres to unleash one fantastic number.
“Television” is what we imagine would happen if Debbie Harry fronted a super-group featuring members of Warpaint, Black Honey, and TV On The Radio. The track a punk-funk-pop-disco fusion that is deliriously groovy and manically exhilarating. The bass line screams Motown, but the chiming and reverb-drenched guitars holler mid-’70s Manchester and late ’80s Brighton. Bea Fletcher’s voice, meanwhile, resonates with the sultry flair of the aforementioned Ms. Harry. She calmly then assertively expresses her disdain for the media, and the images and messages shared on the big and little screen. Don’t mistaken the song as one about “false news”, but rather she’s addressing the longstanding practice of the media and even our society of laughing at the less fortunate and showing only women and men with perfect hair and bodies.
The Golden Age of TV are Bea Fletcher, Ryan Bird, Andrew Edwards, Sam Carty, and Josh Ketch. They have a handful of gigs coming up in the UK, and dates and information are available here.
Jerry Williams – “Left and Right” (Portsmouth, England)
RIYL: Margo Price, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton
Kenny Rogers warned mothers to don’t let their sons grow up to be cowboys, but no one told them to prevent their daughters from speaking their mind and turning into country-rock stars. For English singer-songwriter Jerry Williams, she’s turning a new leaf and heading down this path. Her previous singles were largely of the folk, pop, and folk-pop varieties, but with “Left and Right” she heads deeper in the American plains and unleashes her inner Margo Price.
This is the type of country-rock we like, which gets us up off our feet, stomping our feet, and caught up in the lyrics and music. The tune is gritty and catch, and the feverish approach is reminiscent of Hank Williams, Jr. in his prime. The guitar work, for instance, is pretty awesome, and the entire song sounds like the anthem of a femme fatale traversing across the Wild West alone in search for revenge.
Williams’ sweet vocals, meanwhile, are that of our heroine, who moves with desperation, grit, and anger swelling inside her. As you listen to her words, she has had enough of the folks who think she should fit a certain image. That she should embolden the image of the ideal, submissive lady. Forget that, this young women is forging her own path, and it’s an exciting one at that. We cannot wait to see what awaits on the horizon.
Kingsbury – “All Gone” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Carly Rae Jepsen, CAPPA, Madonna
So man people want to be a pop star, but only a few will rise to the top. Some will do it on the bases of their sound, their look, who they know, or their ability to create a catchy hook. Others will get there bases on their overall talent, which includes writing meaningful messages that go beyond the “I love you dearly” storylines. Young artist Caroline Kingsbury – or simply Kingsbury – is the latter, exemplified by her latest number, “All Gone”.
Akin to Carly Rae Jepsen’s early work, the song is pop perfection. It is immensely addictive, as Kingsbury brilliantly merges together catchy melodies and groovy beats with moments that are exhilarating and euphoric. And she did all this herself, playing around on GarageBand to create a soundscape that sounds like SIA wrote it. Her lyrics, too, are fabulous, as she shares a song about living in the here and now, to not dwell on the past, and to look forward because tomorrow is a new day. Because something surprising and magnificent just might spring up at you, much like how “All Gone” arrived at our doorstep. The young Ms. Kingsbury, who’s been writing songs since she was 12 years old, is going to be a star.
Pi Ja Ma – “Ponytail” (Paris, France)
RIYL: Caroline Rose, Totally Mild, Georgia June
It has been two years since Pauline de Tarragon – a.k.a. Pi Ja Ma – released any new music, which was her awesome little 2016 EP, Radio Girl. She hasn’t been idle in that time, however, as she’s an artist and illustrator. The charismatic Parisien, though, did offer a little surprise a couple of days when she unveiled “Ponytail”.
This little number sounds like just like its name and the photo – sweet, cute, and catchy. The herky-jerky, ’60s-inspired pop melodies are infectious, particularly during the chorus as all the elements swell and a greater urgency is felt. It’s head-swinging delightful, and it undoubtedly will be a crowd-pleaser. de Tarragon’s lyrics, however, are the exact opposite of saccharine. She instead explains a day in which she struggles to get up and how her anxiety takes over. Her words are clever yet very real for a lot of people, where a single day turns into several and a lifetime. So while you’re bopping around and enjoying this tune, keep in mind what she’s saying, especially:
“No, no, no it’s happening again,
I should have thought twice about taking these pills.
Not anymore, I don’t want it anymore
Cause I only hurt.
Help me I think I’m stuck in a sick dream.”
Swine Tax – “Never Ending” & “Thorns” (Newcastle upon Tyne, England)
RIYL: Guided by Voices, Neutral Milk Hotel, Built to Spill
Another band with a short history that is making waves across the pond are Swine Tax. We’ve been following them since relatively close to the start of their careers because everything they’ve done to date has been intense and sweat-inducing. For their latest effort, though, Vince Lisle (vocals/guitar), Tom Kelly (vocals/bass), and Charlie Radford (drums) dial down the noise and ferocity. They have instead turned back the calendars to the golden era of college radio and Brit pop-rock. We’re speaking about the late ’80s and early ’90s, of course, and the trio have perfectly remastered the era with two most excellent singles.
“Never Ending” is a slow-building rocker that echoes Guided by Voices, Pavement, and Built to Spill. The final two minutes are fantastic, and the chaotic, grizzled approach reflects the band’s storyline of an individual trying to hold on to the past (possibly a single moment in time) and not let time catch him. To be able to rewind the clocks and re-live the glory days, such as the great period of rock music. Swine Tax hit the ground running on “Thorns”, which is a catchy, head-noodling rocker that has traces of Japandroids with plenty of Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s an anthemic number about wanting to feel alive and not to succumb to time. The guitar solo at the end is a killer, and the entire tune is raucous and uplifting. If this gets regular airplay, this could be Swine Tax’s breakout.
This band is going places, and we’re excited where their careers will take them. In the meantime, get all of Swine Tax’s music on Bandcamp.
Waves of Dread – “Over Now” (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England)
RIYL: Francobollo, Circa Waves, Yukon Blonde
It’s awesome to see a young band continue to challenge themselves. While the music may sound familiar (well 95% of all songs sound similar to something in the past), at least they are testing new material instead of staying stagnant. Newcastle-based outfit Waves of Dread, for instance, are only a few months into this project, yet they’ve attempted epic psych-rock, tantalizing shoegaze, and now with “Over Now” some catchy and uplifting indie pop-rock. And they’ve exceeded expectations each and every time.
“Over Now” is the band’s shortest and tightest song coming in at exactly 200 seconds. Unlike their previous seismic tunes, this one is made for cruising the coastlines or blasting loudly on a road trip. It is spectacularly uplifting that it will help you forget about all your problems. While we’re not usually ones for “ooh ooh oohs”, the little expression sure works on this track because it makes you a little lightheaded and delirious. You’ll just want to close your eyes, nod your head, and inhale the intoxicating warmth while singing along. Another reason why we chose this tune – it will make the perfect closer to tomorrow Weekend Showcase. Every great playlist needs a fantastic ending.
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