The second part of our daily playlists, The Matinee ’18 July 16th – Americas Edition, features bands and artists who are in Canada and the US, although originated in Chile. There’s a wide range of genres featured as well. If you’re interested, find the European edition over here to discover more great new music. That playlist has seven songs.
Taylor Janzen – “The Waiting Room” (Winnipeg, Canada)
RIYL: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Stella Donnelly
We’ve often said that we are in the midst of an era of great singer-songwriters, where we’ve witness the resurgence of artists who bowl you over with emotional stories. Manitoba native Taylor Janzen is one such individual. She’s still relatively unknown in her own country, but abroad she’s developed quite the following and has fans at The New York Times. For those discovering her just now, think the beautiful simplicity but the emotive, lyrical prowess of Julien Baker or Phoebe Bridgers and that is Janzen in a nutshell. She exhibits her talents on “The Waiting Room”.
Grab a chair, keep all distractions at bay, and listen attentively. Invest just three-and-a-half minutes and you’ll be treated to an incredible experience that will leave you weak in the knees. Leave you astonished at how a young woman with an incredible voice, a stunning approach, and impeccable songwriting is flying under the radar. Listen closely and you’ll hear a tale that is immensely personal and devastating, as she describes one person’s struggle with a mental illness that is slowly eating away at her well-being.
“Every time they ask what’s wrong with me.
If I knew, I’d tell you, but trust me I don’t.
And you can diagnose me, but that won’t make me cope.
And I hope I never have to see this office again,
Spitting out my demons to somebody I just met.
She’s taking notes just to remember my name
Cause the only one who listens is the person I pay.
And I hope I never have to see this waiting room again.”
The song is taken from Janzen’s forthcoming EP, Interpersonal, which is out August 10th. A supernova is about to explode.
Slothrust – “Double Down” (Los Angeles via Boston, USA)
RIYL: The Joy Formidable, Highly Suspect, Twenty Øne Pilots
We still have to wait two months until Slothrust‘s new album reaches stores, and this news makes us both excited and immensely antsy. We do know that The Pact will be different than the band’s previous efforts with Leah Wellbaum (vocals/guitar), Kyle Bann (bass), and Will Gorin (drums) saying they took more chances. The lead single, “Peach”, though, possessed the trio’s trademark blazing indie-rock and song titles bearing the name of an inanimate or animate object. Single number two, however, definitely leans in a different direction.
First of all, “Double Down” isn’t an inanimate object unless its name is taken from KFC’s (in)famous sandwich. Second, the tune is more methodical and melodic than what they’ve previously created. It’s still gritty and edgy, yet it blends multiple genres. Garage rock, electro-rock, and even dabs of funk and alt-pop are merged together. The result is a number that will have people hammering their heads gently back and forth while their minds will be lost in a haze. As Bann and Gorin’s rhythms bubble and throb in the background, Wellbaum’s guitar sizzles at times (the mid-air guitar solo is awesome) while her voice constantly drops verbal bombs. She’s a young woman who will no longer take shit from anyone, particularly her tormentors.
“Oh don’t you dare go push me around
Because I’ll double down.
Cause I don’t care,
No not at all
And I never fall.
Every time I roll the dice,
Snake eyes never come as a surprise.
Dismantle you with your own tools,
There’s no time to explain.”
Parrot Dream – “Light Goes (In Mines)” (Brooklyn, USA via Santiago, Chile)
RIYL: Beach House, Lower Dens, Widowspeak
For over three weeks, much of the world was monitoring the story of twelve boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand. Fortunately, everyone escaped and was in relatively good health. Now imagine what might be going through the minds of each boy and their parents, who wait anxiously outside and hoping that their son will survive. It’s a difficult scenario under any circumstance, but the unspoken words might sound something like “Light Goes (In Mines)”, which is the new single from Parrot Dream.
The tune is like Beach House on caffeine – dreamy, exotic, and exhilarating and a song that won’t leave your ears for many hours. The combination of shoegaze guitars and cathedral-booming synths are transfixing if not deliriously spellbinding, creating the feeling that we are levitating up into the institution’s vault. Christina Appel’s vocals are hazy yet alluring, sounding like she is the voice in the shadows trying to convince us to enter into her world. This, however, isn’t her place, but that of her fellow band co-founder Gonzalo Guerrero. Her voice is his, where she expresses his thoughts to his father and the untold stories they never shared. Listen closely and you’ll hear the voice of a young man who only has realized what he’s missing.
Parrot Dream originally were formed in Santiago, Chile by Christina Appel and Gonzalo Guerrero. They moved to Brooklyn, where they met Matthew Sklar and Don Lavis. The foursome’s debut album, Light Goes, arrives August 24th via Good Eye Records. Pre-order it here.
La Force – “Ready To Run” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Bats for Lashes, Feist
After teasing fans with a handful of songs, including “You Amaze Me”, Broken Social Scene singer Ariel Engle – a.k.a. La Force – finally made it official late last week. Her self-titled, debut album will drop September 7th via Arts & Crafts. If her previous songs and the latest one, “Reason To Run” are any indication, the LP should not only be a critical darling but should see Engle receiving several Juno nominations. First things first, the new single is brilliant.
Engle smartly takes elements of many of Canada’s great indie innovators. The artistry of Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning are heard in the shimmering melodies, which create the feeling of one gently floating down a tranquil stream. The sweet grooves and humming beats, meanwhile, recall Caribou’s most diligent work. Then there is the grace and the quietly powerful lyricism of Feist, where Engle’s saccharine delivery masks her confusion and despair of a world that allows ideology to dominate over pragmatism, evidence, and rational thought. Her best lines come at around the 52-second mark, where she says:
“If I see you,
You’ll make a sign of the cross.
I’ll make a sign of a lost cause,
And shake your walls til you fall.
Beside they’re ready,
Ready to run.”
JEEN. – “Any Moment” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Dear Rouge, Hawksley Workman, July Talk
Once upon a time in July 2014, a young woman named Jeen O’Brien caught our ears. Simply known as JEEN., we named her a Hidden Gem, when we were doing such features. At that time, she released her debut album, Tourist, which was filled with energetic numbers that spanned punk-pop to fiery indie rock. Unfortunately, it flew under the radar, but the LP gave a hint of her immense talent. This isn’t to say she’s an underappreciated artist because those within the Canadian music industry know her name. She’s written songs for Hawksley Workman, Great Big Sea, and Serena Ryder. In addition, she and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning are collaborators and band mates in Cookie Duster. Maybe her solo breakthrough is coming, and songs like “Any Moment” will definitely aid her cause.
“Any Moment” is like the first cup of coffee – a wide-eyed wake-up call that immediately perks you up. It is highly infectious, energetic, and an absolute blast. The guitar riffs are catchy and blow up at just the right moment. The rhythms are fun and punchy. It’s JEEN.’s bold and sassy attitude and her honest lyrics that steal the show. Some fans will be doing windmills with their air guitars and others will be dancing and bopping to the infectious melody, but for us we’ll remember how she tells us that she’ll “remember everything that is golden”. That she’s not living for yesterday, but for the here and now and for the tomorrow, as these are the only times she can change people’s minds. Soon, hopefully, more people will recognize this little Canadian treasure.
Dyan – “Absence” (Los Angeles, USA via Winnipeg, Canada)
RIYL: Freedom Fry, Blondfire, Flock of Dimes
Most songs are made for a very specific occasion. At this time of year, many are of the “summer anthem” variety. Others are intended for slow dances or to cover to serenade a loved one. Some tunes are meant for grabbing a beer or another strong beverage. Then there are songs like Dyan‘s newest tune, “Absence”, that could be played and heard in many situations.
“Absence” isn’t a summer banger by any stretch of the imagination, but the dreamy, wind-swept vibe creates the feeling of a cool drive along the coastline or just chilling at the lakeside with our best friend. Alexis Marsh, Samuel Jones, and Daniel Dorff, Jr.’s orchestration is magnificent, as it begins with lush layers of acoustic guitar, titillating rhythms, a soft piano, and a touch of ambient noise. As the song builds and slowly swells, it takes on the intimacy of the bedroom. “I’ll meet you if you move away” , Marsh elegantly sings to a friend, child, or lover, indicating that their bond is unbreakable.
The enchanting melody continues for nearly three-and-a-half-minutes and then it reaches ethereal levels. Euphoric levels. As Marsh’s voice circles overhead, a tenor sax cuts through to take us to the jazz club. Here, we are having a drink with that person, having met them where they now live. Having one final moment to create a lasting memory, much like what Dyan have done with “Absence”.
The song is the title track from the trio’s forthcoming EP. Although a release date has not been set for Absence, the track can be picked up on Bandcamp. Go get it!
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