The Matinee ’18 July 19th is another mixed bag of new music from across the globe. Some of the tracks are heavier and darker and others are whimsical and witty. Take a spin of the nine songs below, beginning with booming garage rocker.
The Bullseyes – “Yet There’s You” (Poland)
RIYL: The Black Keys, King Khan & BBQ Show, Meatbodies
Have you ever experienced being so into someone that you cannot stop thinking about her or him? You could be driving, taking an exam, competing in an event, or having a shower, and this one person occupies every single thought. Of course you know what I’m talking and what Polish duo The Bullseyes share on their rocking new single, “Yet There’s You”.
In this instance, Matt, who plays drums, recalls a time he was riding a bike on a gorgeous spring day in a beautiful part of the country. But instead of taking in everything happening around him, he could only think about this one individual. Who cares about the full-bloomed trees, the colorful flowers, or the animals running, hopping, and fluttering about, there was one thing on his mind. As his band mate Darek hammers his guitar like a young Dan Auerbach, Matt punctuates the moment with the following lyrics:
Flowers on the ground,
Birds are flying high
You’re still in my mind!
Surely there are people out there experiencing this whirlwind of emotions, but this time you get to rock to them.
Campdogzz – “Run Wild” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Stevie Nicks, The Duke Spirit, Big Thief
Close the windows and lower the blinds, then allow yourself to be completely immersed inside the eerie shadows of “Run Wild”, the engrossing new single from under-the-radar indie darlings Campdogzz.
This track is hypnotic, and it possesses the power of a fire burning brightly in the darkness of the an empty expanse. The flames are the only things that keep you alive and focused, and front woman Jess Price’s smokey vocals play this role. She immediately grabs our attention with emotive vocals then tears out our souls with her lyrics about watching a friend “burning out” and becoming “lost again”. Her words are terrifying because of their honesty and how she mysteriously capture the feeling of losing control. She and her band mates, meanwhile, create a soundscape that is darkness personified. Nothing is rushed, nothing is overdone, but everything is perfectly executed where we feel that darkness creep inside us. If it isn’t for Price’s voice, we likely would succumb to the same fate of the protagonist and become forever lost. Simply stunning.
Campdogzz are Mike Russell (guitar/backing vocals), Jess Price (lead vocals/guitar/keys), Nicholas Enderle (guitar), Andrew Rolfsen (bass, and Matt Evert (drums). Their new album, In Rounds, arrives August 3rd with 15 Passenger doing the honors of releasing it.
Chrysalism – “Elon Musk” (London, England)
RIYL: Morrissey, early The Cure, Perfume Genius
There are so many bands from the UK to get excited about, and London newcomers Chrysalism are definitely one to not just watch but to become immediate fans. They’re just getting their careers kicked off, but the immediate impression is that they could be the ones to resurrect the greatness of ’80s Brit-pop, which they masterfully perfect on “Elon Musk”.
Like the offspring of Morrissey and The Cure fused with the pop pageantry of Perfume Genius, Michal Vojtech (guitar/vocals), Akira Trees (bass), Axel Oksby (lead guitar), and David Zbirka (drums/vocals) deliver a modern-day classic. Trees’ bass line is terrific, possessing the vibe of The Cure in their early days. The chiming guitar and the feathery percussion, meanwhile, create the chest-swelling effect where you feel like your slowly descending into the rabbit hole. Vojtech’s unique vocals are alluring, as they fall somewhere between the aforementioned Morrissey and Mike Hadreas as well as Rick Astley. Although he discusses losing his girlfriend, his lyrics are immensely clever. In particular, the chorus will stick in your head for days and have you believing that traveling with the famed entrepreneur and space explorer is the best thing in the universe – “My girl will leave with Elon Musk for Mars”.
After the tune is finished, you might think Chrysalism are the best band in all of space. OK, maybe just the planet.
Drenge – “Before The War Begins” (Sheffield, England)
RIYL: Neil Young, R.E.M., Japandroids
Most people know that Drenge are part of the new wave of fiery and relentless garage-rock / garage-punk-rock. Pretty much everything Eoin (vocals/guitar) and Rory Loveless (drums) have released to date has been mind-blowing explosive. That is until now.
“Before The War Begins”, which was released in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, sees the duo move emphatically to classic rock ‘n roll, specifically that of the ’70s and ’80s. The song swells with the sounds of Neil Young and Monster-era R.E.M., albeit with a coarser edge and harsher tone. But like the aforementioned legend Young and Michael Stipe at their fiery and feisty best, the brothers’ hit hardest with their lyrics and message about a world on the edge of self-destruction.
“Bullet holes in the walls that we call home.
The barbed wire garden is so overgrown.
Bomb cellar rattles with the sun and the rain.
Before it washed away.”
This is unquestionably the duo’s best piece of songwriting, and it could very well be this generation’s “Rocking in the Free World”. The single along with the previously released “Dance” form part of their forthcoming EP, Autonomy. It drops October 5th via BMG Imprint Infectious Records.
Kate Vargas – “Mountain Song” (New York City via New Mexico, USA)
RIYL: Ani DiFranco, Tom Waits, early Shakey Graves
When people think about “outlaw Americana” or “outlaw country”, the first names to be raised are Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, and Chris Stapleton. Rarely do people raise Kate Vargas‘ name, which is a serious crime. The young artist who grew up in New Mexico but calls the Big Apple home is a serious talent, and she first caught our ear two years ago with “Second Skin”. As her sophomore album, For The Wolfish & Wandering, approaching (it is out next Friday, July 27th), she’s shared one more tune to get us salivating.
“Mountain Song” breathes of the timid, chilly air that chokes the valleys and peaks of the Rockies in the dead winter. It is dark and eerie yet captivating and incredibly addictive. The steel guitar and the percolating rhythms set the stage for Vargas’ raspy yet engrossing vocals and fabulous story. She reveals the demons that occupy her mind and the ghosts that haunt her dreams. She is fighting an internal battle with no victory in sight, as if her mind is Mount Everest and she has to ascend it with nothing more than the clothes on her back. While she struggles to conquer what lies in her path, you won’t be able to get this song out of your head. Simply awesome.
Hey Newport Folk Festival, please invite Ms. Vargas to perform next year.
Mishaped Pearls – “Jesus’ Crooked Shadow” (London, England)
RIYL: Portishead meets Sarah Brightman meets Rodrigo y Gabriela
It’s not often we encounter a song that leaves us puzzled. We mean this in a good way because it is rare to come across a tune for which we have no comparable nor accurate description. This occurrence demonstrates the innovation and brilliance behind Mishaped Pearls and their single “Jesus’ Crooked Shadow”.
The track is essentially Latin-infused rock opera with Sarah Brightman singing the lead part to a composition crafted by Portishead, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and Agnes Obel. It’s incredibly alluring and hypnotic, particularly the Latin guitars and front woman Manuela Schuette’s remarkable vocals. All that is missing from the song is physically seeing Sara Baras and Joaquin Cortés doing a seductive version of the flamenco in the deserted Plaza de España of Sevilla.
The band is comprised of Manuela Schuette (vocals/percussion), Ged Flood (vocals/guitar/tenor guitar/tenor banjo/mandolin/saxophone), Andrew Sleightholme (piano/keys/backing vocals), Calie Hough (bodhran/tabla/congas/percussion), Massimo Troiani (bass/backing vocals), Tom Finigan (guitar/tenor banjo/saxophone/baglama/mandolin/backing vocals), and Laurel S. Pardue (violin). If they haven’t already, they should be performing in the Royal Albert Hall.
Miss World – “Carb Yr Enthusiasm” (London, England)
RIYL: Caroline Rose, Shit Girlfriend, Peach Kelli Pop
Natalie Chahal – a.k.a. Miss World – finally has a Facebook page! Not that this millennial has the social media savvy of my father, as she is pretty much on the other main platforms. She just has resisted the temptation of having the necessary evil that is Facebook. This isn’t the only reason to celebrate her work, as the other day she released another rambunctious single, and this adjective might be understating it.
Get ready to rock out and shake your body like there’s no tomorrow as well as laugh to “Carb Yr Enthusiasm”. Well, we think Chahal is making light of people’s obsession with their bodies and images plus the tendency to just follow trends. It’s not just the words where she’s imitating many similarly-aged people but also through her ditzy, valley-girl vocal delivery. She cleverly sings:
“I’m going gluten free for the summer.
I’m going vegetarian,
Yeah, it’s true.
I love animals, too.
Yeah, it’s true.”
Her previous songs, “Click and Yr Mine” and “Put Me In A Movie”, also humorously addressed the social media and celebrity obsession that has overtaken our societies. Given her track record to date, her debut album, Keeping Up With Miss World, should be entertaining yet filled with clever social anecdotes. It will be released on September 28 via PNKSLM Recordings, so circle that date in your calendar now.
Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread – “On Ice” (Cumberland, MD, USA)
RIYL: Cotton Jones, Fred Thomas, Okkervil River
We’ve long stated that Michael Nau is one of the most underrated singer-songwriters of the past ten to fifteen years. From his work on Cotton Jones to his solo efforts, he takes simple moments and makes them sound like life-changing events. Occasionally, he makes them sound like they belong on the big screen, which he does on “On Ice”.
As The Might Thread spin an ’80s classic-rock vibe in the background, Nau guides us into the home of a couple. There we observe their tenuous relationship that is still filled with love yet space. His smooth vocals make you feel you’re the one who is suffering and doing whatever it takes to keep this love strong and alive. Nau doesn’t give us an ending to this tale, choosing instead to allow us to decide what comes next. That’s a bit of his hallmark, too, so all you can do is replay and listen more intently when he sings:
“I wasn’t dreaming about anything,
But was afraid I might.
We always slip so far apart,
And every time we do it really breaks my heart.
What does it matter how we turn on the lights?
Baby, let’s turn off the dark.”
Rubblebucket – “What Life Is” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Said the Whale, Of Montreal, Dirty Projectors
The band that brought the marching band to the concert stage continues to evolve. Rubblebucket have scaled back in size to feature original founding members Kalmia Traver and Alex Toth, and their sound has become more widescreen and crossing even more genres than they previously traversed. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that the pair still create music that moves you physically and emotionally, such as “What Life Is”.
This track is like your favorite frozen treat – one you want to devour slowly in order to enjoy each and every element. “What Life Is” starts off with a cool psychedelic-funk groove, but it slowly turns into one trippy escapade. Traver’s vocals are intoxicating and seductive, but she’s not selling us anything nor singing sweet-nothings to a lover. Instead, her voice reflects the hazy minds of millions of people who try to survive the concrete jungle of New York and find happiness. Who try to stay human in the cut-throat world of Wall Street and Broadway and to be heard above the tens of thousands of musicians. This chaos is brilliantly accentuated in the song’s finale, where Traver and Toth return to their jazz roots and just let the horns blow.
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