We have two mini-playlists for you since the past few days yielded some incredible new music. The Matinee ’18 July 16th – European Edition has seven songs, and it is listed in reverse alphabetical order. The majority are of the sublime variety, but a couple will get your heart pumping. Head over here to listen to the Americas Edition, which features six songs.
Verse Metrics – “The Nightmares Leave Us All Inoperational” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Interpol, Editors, Mutemath
We collectively have an affinity for Scottish rock bands since the majority of them don’t sound like the rest. Maybe it’s the weather, the water, or the great whiskey, but whatever the reason may be the little nation at the top of the United Kingdom has long fostered experimentation and innovation. Top-40 success be damned. What matters is creating music that challenges people, provokes discussion, and evokes emotion. All three of these traits are exhibited on “The Nightmares Leaves Us All Inoperational”, which is the new single from Verse Metrics.
As the song hints at, Verse Metrics are no ordinary alternative outfit. The angular post-punk of Interpol chimes in the foreground, and front man Bob Dick’s deep vocals even resemble Paul Banks’ brooding voice. There are also hints of the elastic math-rock that Don Caballero and Battles perfected, which further adds to the song’s trembling and eerie tone. We can only imagine how great this song would be if heard in the dark caverns of an underground club, and the only light seen are the occasional stage lights that illuminate after each guitar strike. It might be a nightmare to some, but this would be a memorable experience one that would “take a long time to forget”.
Bob Dick (guitar/vocals), Calum MacVicar (drums), Al Conway (guitar), and Chris MacKinnon (bass) are Verse Metrics. Remember their names (or at least the band’s name).
Tempesst – “Doomsday” (London, England via Sunshine Coast, Australia)
RIYL: Fairchild, Other States, Arctic Monkeys
While we collectively have been early fans of London-via-Australian outfit Tempesst, none of us imagined they would become what they are today. We originally imagined them as the second coming of The Black Angels or even early Tame Impala. In less than 12 months, however, they have done a sharp turn and headed down a path that Bowie toyed with and Nick Cave tends to teeter close to its edge. That is a more theatrical and cinematic take of ’70s psychedelic rock, which they display on “Doomsday”.
This tune screams cool like one of Tarantino’s flashback films that features awesome characters and one messed-up plot line. In this case, the swagger of the ’70s booms, particularly through the tripped-out keys, hazy guitars, and seething strings. This piece of cinema, however, focuses on just one individual, whom front man Toma Benjanin plays. He’s Mr. Pink and explaining how his life is suddenly getting out of control with external forces governing his interests. He realizes his mortality is “out of my hands” and all he can do is follow along. He has no say in anything not even his name.
We await the day when Tempesst’s music is played on a future movie soundtrack – or better yet, they star in the film.
Tempesst are brothers Toma (vocals/guitars) and Andy Banjanin (drums), Eric Weber (guitars), Kane Reynolds (keys), and Blake Misipeka (bass). Their second EP, Doomsday, is out August 3rd via Pony Recordings.
KOSCHKA – “The Flood” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: Marissa Nadler, Emilie & Ogden, Julia Holter
Due to holidays and festivals, we were unable to premiere KOSCHKA‘s debut single. In listening to “The Flood” over and over again, this might be a decision we will regret for a very long time. Seriously lay down, close your eyes, and just listen. For nearly seven minutes, the Berlin-based singer-songwriter will leave you in complete awe and in utter paralysis because it is one of the most beautiful things you will hear not today, not tomorrow, not even this week, but this entire year. It is simply extravagantly gorgeous.
The song’s approach is minimalist, which displays just how spectacular it is. Only three elements feature prominently – the soft piano that stirs in the background, the slight hum of a synth that growls occasionally, and KOSCHKA’s layered and emotional vocals. Each word she sings shakes you to the core, and together they form a story about how one action can permanently scar a person. How it can forever tear people apart and obliterate their hearts.
“We cannot change a day.
Should I have known that I would get hurt?
You and me, we float.
Should I have been falling for only the wind?
How can a heart know, how can it take it off?”
Did we say this was extravagantly gorgeous? Unquestionably, one of the songs of the first seven month of the year. The single is out now via Part Du Decor Records.
Gently Tender – “2 Chords Good” (London, England)
RIYL: DeVotchka, Palma Violets, The Big Moon, Phosphorescent
What do you get when you combine members from two of the UK’s best indie-rock bands together? The answer is one exciting possibility. Were you expecting us to say, “One frickin’ awesome outfit?” Eventually we might say this about Gently Tender, which features members of Palma Violets (Sam Fryer, Will Doyle, and Peter Mayhew) and The Big Moon (Celia Archer) plus guitarist Adam Brown, but it’s a little early. We can say that their debut single, “2 Chords Good”, is amazing.
The song is not what you would expect from either band. Instead of big, explosive rock riffs, feverish punk-rock, and jittery ’60s Brit-pop-rock, the quintet look across the pond for inspiration. Specifically, they traverse the territories of Americana, bridging the sounds of the ’70s with contemporary flavors. In other words, the song is like the dream collaboration of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young with modern-day innovators like Matthew Houck (a.k.a. Phosphorescent), DeVotchka, and brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. While the multi-part harmonies and the tickles of the ivories give the track an old-school feel, the track is pure cinema. It is indie-Americana delivered through a widescreen lens, where great storytelling a la Johnny Cash is accentuated with a majestic and soaring soundscape. Simply put, this song is frickin’ awesome.
Frøkedal – “David” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez
Anyone who has followed this space knows we have long been smitten with Norwegian singer-songwriter Anne Lise Frøkedal, who simply goes by her surname Frøkedal. Our fandom actually extends back to 2015, and this is due to her ability to create splendid indie-folk fare. No, she’s not a one-trick pony like many other artists. Instead, she can seamlessly spin a dark, gritty tale that is akin to PJ Harvey or enchant a la Ingrid Michaelson. Then she can turn back the clocks and sound like Mary Chapin Carpenter, which she does on “David”.
Folk-rock tunes like this don’t come around every day; songs that remind us of simpler times and that daydreaming in technicolor is celebrated and even desirable. Frøkedal’s vocals are blissful, floating effortlessly over the shimmering and hazy ’70s approach. Her songwriting, too, possesses the idealism of this bygone era, where young people dreamed about quieter and more peaceful days following years of conflict and turmoil. And much like the youth forty, nearly fifty years ago, we, too, are trying to find some calm within the storm. For a few minutes, the Oslo resident provides us with a piece of brilliant escapism, where we get to pretend to be David or seeking him in order to find tranquility.
More enchantment awaits on Frøkedal’s new album, How We Made It, which will be released August 31st via Propeller Recordings.
Callum Pitt – “Away From The Rousing Parades” (Newcastle, England)
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, The Head & The Heart, The Lone Bellow
Since he first presented himself to the world some 18 months ago, Callum Pitt has been dazzling us with his mixture of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes dream-like, Americana / indie-folk brilliance. This includes “Least He’s Happy”, which we had the pleasure of premiering back in May 2017. The young man from Newcastle continues to surprise and grow, as evidenced by his latest effort.
“Away From The Rousing Parades” is akin to the grandest Fleet Foxes’ song. At first, it sounds like it is another pleasant and wind-swept folk tune made for lounging around during the height of summer. At around the 1:35 mark, however, the energy rises, and the urgency intensifies. From there, it slowly builds until it reaches its glorious boiling point, where Pitt and his band shower us with their uplifting euphoria and optimistic message. It’s a song made to spin and dance to, just like we all would do when a downpour arrives and offers relief from the heatwave. But if there is one takeaway, listen to the final two lines, as he offers a piece of advice to which we should all adhere:
“Well I don’t mind losing, only need one to hold onto
‘Cause chasing a number just won’t do, oh no.”
This is Pitt’s fifth song, and his potential is undoubtedly limitless.
Arctic Lake – “Sight Of You” (London, England)
RIYL: Dahlia Sleeps, London Grammar, Portishead
We come across a lot of music, so it’s easy to forget when you were first exposed to an artist or band. In the case of Arctic Lake, however, we still vividly recall hearing them back in April 2015 and being awestruck. They had just released “Only Me”, which tantalized us with its ethereal soundscape. Since then, we’ve been hooked to Emma Foster, Paul Holliman, and Andy Richmond’s music, and several thousand people have followed suit. If this is the first time discovering the talent of this trio, then “Sight Of You” is the perfect gateway into their spellbinding world.
“Sight Of You” is intimate, lush, and absolutely stunning. In their characteristic way, they beautifully marry electronica with ambient and alt-pop textures. The pulsating rhythms and beats mimic one’s heartbeat, accelerating and intensifying just at the moment when one encounters a loved one for the first time in weeks or finds her true love. Foster’s sultry voice, meanwhile, causes us to pause and reflect, and each word she sings swells our chests with emotion. Swells our bodies with feelings of want, lust, pain, grief, and loneliness. Not many groups around can evoke such competing emotions, but Arctic Lake are no ordinary band.
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