The Matinee ’18 July 27th features mostly upbeat tunes with a pop bent. The mini-playlist is also filled with artists from the USA, many of who are among indie’s best or on the verge of reaching such heights. As it is Newport Folk Festival weekend and due to travel and work, the descriptions are quite abbreviated. We apologize to the artists for the quick hits.

Blood Orange – “Charcoal Baby” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Dev Hynes, Sananda Francesco Maitreya f.ka. Terence Trent d’Arby, Sampha

One of the great innovators and human beings has delivered all of us an early Christmas gift. Dev Hynes, who goes by the moniker Blood Orange, announced earlier in the week that his third studio album, Negro Swan, will be released on August 24th via Domino Recording Co. (pre-orders here). He describes the album as “an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color.” This description automatically makes the record one of the year’s most forward and challenging in the sense that Hynes will not play it safe nor cave to the demands of the masses. He’s here to provoke, which he does on the LP’s lead single “Charcoal Baby”.

Funky, groovy, and immensely smooth, the song is an eye-popping tune. It is one part ’80s R&B, another part ’80s synth-pop, and a final component of 2010 widescreen pop. In other words, the song is pure genius while Hynes’ lyrics are poetic yet provocative, as he asks, “can you break sometimes?”, to indicate how many people continue to live in fear of revealing their true selves. But with people like Hynes in our corner, hopefully one day everyone can be who they were meant to be.

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Daisy Maude – “Don’t Blame Me” (Flagstaff, AZ, USA)

RIYL: Ellie Goulding, Phoebe Ryan, Tove Lo

Daisy Maude has recently released her debut single. “Don’t Blame Me” provides a wonderful offering of alt-pop. The vocals are strong yet sweet and we hear a nice dose of attitude as we hear a tale of bitterness and revenge set against a nice foundation of slick drum beats and ample synth. The song provides and infectious chorus and is a great track for getting hyped up for the weekend, or even  added to a nice cardio playlist.

Daisy Maude shares a bit about the track:  “One of the most hurtful feelings is when a person you trust or respect wants you to pretend to be someone you aren’t.  They cannot see the good in you because it is different from their own preconceived, ingrained opinions.“Don’t Blame Me” came in a time when I was contemplating (wrong but sweet) revenge against this person. It seemed completely justifiable at the time.”
Daisy Maude’s debut is impressive and it will be nice to hear the progression of her sound as new music is released. Daisy Maude will be one to watch.

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Maggie Rogers – “Give A Little” (Easton, MD, USA)

RIYL: Sylvan Esso, Oh Wonder, Billie Eilish

Late last night, Maggie Rogers unexpectedly dropped a new single, which is yet another standout from the young woman who caught Pharrell Williams’ attention just two years ago. The song is “Give A Little”, which sees the rising star once again finding new ways to make pop music sound fresh and inviting.

Smooth, club-friendly beats are merged with a mid-’80s sensibility to create one intoxicating yet intimate affair. While the song feels like summer and her lyrics hint at a love affair, deep down within the track’s message is one of empathy and togetherness. It’s not just about two people, but a whole community working together to rise everyone up and one day “learn to one another”. This is a message we all need to hear, especially in these divisive days.

The single is out now on Capitol Records. Here’s hoping Rogers’ new album is around the corner.

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Millie Turner – “She Was A Dancer” (London, England)

RIYL: Lorde, Kimbra, Maggie Rogers

When we first heard Millie Turner, she delivered one of the year’s first OMG moments with“The Shadow”. The now 18-year old singer-songwriter and creative genius returns with another remarkable track. Another song that will stop you in your tracks and take notice.

“She Was A Dancer” is incredibly stunning and intoxicating. The titillating, dark beats and synths create an environment akin to Soho’s most exclusive clubs, yet Turner keeps everything restrained to ensure the song retains its intimacy and doesn’t devolve into another EDM tune. By reigning the song in, her gorgeously rich vocals and poignant and bold lyrics shine. She describes a young woman who once starred under the bright lights, but one days sees it all end. For all her life, all “she knew to do was dance”.

Given the wisdom of this young woman, the Dancer is more than just the heroine of her story. She is likely a symbol of something greater, such as representing the lost innocence of a generation who are living through extremely dark days. But maybe, one day, they will get to just dance, but this time in jubilation. When this happens, we’re confident Millie Turner will be the one leading them through the motions.

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The Makeout Club – “Lose Yourself” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Wild Nothing, Craft Spells, DIIV

If you’re about to take a road trip or get on a plane, make sure to put The Makeout Club‘s new single, “Lose Yourself”, on your playlist. Trust us, this is the perfect tune to spin as you prepare to get away from the chaos.

The track is guitar-pop bliss with a slice of summery dreamgaze. It is exhilarating and mesmerizing, as the dissonant guitar chimes in the background, the synths and beats spiral into a groovy but spellbinding weave, and the throbbing bass line has you uncontrollably bopping your head. As all these elements swell together, you suddenly feel like you’re drifting high through the clouds and heading to somewhere exotic, exciting, and new. During this journey, you’ll start to sing, “I need to get away, from it all. From it all!”

Simply fantastic and the perfect soundtrack for the summer.

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oddnesse – “It Runs Wild” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: PJ Harvey, The Kills, The Raveonettes

Rebeca Arango – a.k.a. oddnesse – is one of the most underrated singer-songwriters around. While she’s only been active for about 20 months, her wide-ranging approach and clever, insightful lyrics should at the very least have her being praised by every outlet and taste-maker. The day will eventually come, likely sooner than later, because a talent this good cannot be ignored. Maybe “It Runs Wild” is the ticket to her success.

This tune is brilliant, and this maybe an understatement. Arango masterfully pits opposing textures and emotions throughout. For instance, the song opens with brooding, Emma Ruth Rundle-like chords, which quickly give way to a dizzying electro-rock vibe. As the track slowly builds, feels of exhilaration yet fear overwhelm. You don’t know whether you should hold your breath or breath quickly as the probing bass line pounds in the background and the searing synths blaze up front. Arango’s vocals, too, are engaging but distant, which reflects the puzzle inside her. In her soul, she, as she states, “wakes the beast” and a flurry of questions, emotions, and experiences flood her mind. She, too, doesn’t know what to do other than to try to embrace it. Hopefully, the world will embrace this wonderful artist.

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Party Nails – “My 404” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Robyn, Grimes, Cannons

Nearly three years ago, we came across Elana Belle Carroll’s project Party Nails. The young singer-songwriter was based in NYC at the time, and she was finished with playing everything from Americana to country music. Her newfound interest was electro-pop and synth-pop, which she continues to play to this time. Although she’s dazzled us in the past, she has unveiled arguably her best to date with “My 404”.

Dark and enchanting, addictive and cathartic, “My 404” is a piece of extraordinary electro-pop. Carroll masterfully lures us with a methodical and suspenseful approach before delivering a subtle drop that turns the song into an electrifying, pulsating number. Her lyrics and voice, meanwhile, are seductive, as she recalls how one person can steal her body, mind, and soul and at the same time be nothing to her if he cannot be relied on. The term “404”, as such, is a clever one, taking the infamous internet error – 404: Page Not Found? – and applying to the mechanical hearts of many individuals.

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Work Drugs – “Contact High” (Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL: Chad Valley, Miami Horror, Passion Pit

“Contact High” is the newest track from Work Drugs. The duo of Thomas Crystal and Benjamin Louisiana are back with another addictive track that immediately needs to be added to your weekend playlist. The smooth beats are married with soothing vocals as the track speaks to having all those feels with that special someone and realizing that ‘it must be love’.

Work Drugs are pretty awesome at providing the perfect soundtrack for life, and this one covers falling in love quite nicely. The production is breezy and one you won’t soon forget. It actually begs to be put on repeat and will definitely put you in a better mood. It’s also the perfect song to consume whilst doing something near a beach, waves or any body of water – it’s definitely perfect to close  out your summer as August is approaching.

Work Drugs are the best at just randomly dropping impressive tracks with no fanfare or hype. “Contact High” just appeared so it’s always a nice surprise when they grace the world with new music. “Contact High” hooks you with the first lyric and beat and once again provides for impressive an laid back synth pop.

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Yacht Punk – “A Dog of Dogs for a Ghost” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Circa Waves, The Verve, Supergrass

How in the world are Yacht Punk still flying under the radar and not playing to sold-out venues in and around LA? If they were out of London, the BBC likely would be spinning their tunes and festivals like Reading and Leeds would have extended them invitations to perform. For now, though, Yacht Punk continue to ply their trade on the sunny shores of California and hoping their anthemic indie rock will cut through the pop, West Coast hip hop, and electronica dominating air waves. Their newest tune, “A Dog of Dogs for a Ghost”, could be the answer or at least start catching people’s attention.

For 3 minutes and 16 seconds, the quartet deliver one urgent and emphatic track. Every component is delivered with desperation, which adds to the song’s suspense and anxiety. But this tune is not about one’s own suffering or trying to get through heartbreak. It’s actually inspired by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton’s short story, The Haunted and the Haunters. As the searing guitar and hammering rhythms intensify and front man Graham Bockmiller’s vocals reaches desperate levels, read what he has to say about the track:

It’s about a skeptical man who stays a night in a haunted house and is out to prove to himself that spirits don’t exist. He brings his favorite dog along with him:

Accordingly, about half-past nine, I…strolled leisurely toward the haunted house. I took with me a favorite dog: an exceedingly sharp, bold, and vigilant bull terrier,—-a dog fond of prowling about strange, ghostly corners and passages at night in search of rats; a dog of dogs for a ghost.’  

He pays for his brashness and skepticism when the ghost torments him throughout the night, leaving a humbled new-found believer. The ghost ends up killing his dog, a part I was not a fan of, but it made for a pretty metal short story.”

Pretty clever, eh?

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