The Matinee ’18 August 14th – USA Edition features some ferocious post-punk, intimate and driving indie rock, plus stunning synth-pop. We kick things off with not just a great tune but a great piece of storytelling.
For the World Edition, click here.
Castle Pines – “Woo Hoo” (Corona, CA, USA)
RIYL: Counting Crows, Patterson Hood, Jakob Dylan
Sticklers for great storytelling in a song (like we are) have come to the right place. Yeah there are plenty of great storytellers, but this next track is heads and shoulders above anything released in the last month if not year. Before hitting play, grab a beverage, settle in, and open your ears and mind to the world of Castle Pines and their new single “Woo Hoo”, which is a work of genius.
If solely fixated on the music, mid-’90s rock can be heard, specifically the sounds of Counting Crows and The Wallflowers. The rummaging bass line and the guitar bursts echo the era that last saw guitar-driven music dominate airwaves. One’s attention, however, is focused on front man Leandro Barrientos’ booming vocals and songwriting. He’s not solely sharing a message of life’s unexpected surprises, but he’s taking us on an elaborate trip through a few days in his life. As he mentions in the liner notes, he drew inspiration from Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger while including actual events in his life. What parts of the song are fact and fiction are irrelevant because we can all relate to meeting with an ex, having Christmas dinner with the family, and any other moment that makes us want to feel whole and shout out, “Woo Hoo!”.
Castle Pines are Leandro Barrientos (vocals/guitar), Sterling Fairfield (drums), Jesse Briseno (bass), and Ricky Garvey (guitar).
Cloud Nothings – “The Echo of the World” (Cleveland, USA)
RIYL: Iceage, Wavves, Eagulls
On their fifth album, Life Without Sound, Cleveland rockers Cloud Nothings delivered their most hook-filled and arguably mainstream album. The LP was still loud and socially charged, but it represented a departure from their edgy, punk-oriented origins. For those who longed for more rage and propulsion, it seems Dylan Baldi, Jayson Gerycz, TJ Duke, and Chris Brown were listening because yesterday they surprised everyone with a new single. And boy is it a sledgehammer.
“The Echo of the World” is Cloud Nothings at their ferocious best. It is loud, raw, hard, and heavy, and it is unrelenting in its urgency. While the guitars feverishly wail and the rhythms explode, Baldi’s vocals pierce above the noise and approach siren-like levels. He hollers about the destruction happening on the planet and the carnage that is being left in its wake. His story isn’t a War of the Worlds one but rather humanity’s own self-destruction. Now this is more like it.
DeVotchKa – “Angels” (Denver, USA)
RIYL: Muse, The Walkmen, Okkervil River
Seven years have passed since the genre-dying, four-piece orchestra known as DeVotchKa released their last studio album, the outstanding 100 Lovers. Since then, Nick Urata (vocals/guitars/Theremin/trumpet/piano), Jeanie Schroder (acoustic bass/sousaphone), Shawn King (drums/percussion/trumpet), and Tom Hagerman (violin/viola/accordion/piano) have been scoring films, playing with symphonies, and doing anything and everything to increase their exposure to other genres. But as we all know, a good thing is too hard to ignore, especially since the quartet have created one of indie’s driving forces of the past twenty years in DeVotchKa. Now they’re setting out to reclaim their spot at the top, as their long-awaited sixth studio album, This Night Falls Forever, drops August 24th on Concord Records. Before the record drops, they’ve shared one more tune.
“Angels” will remind long-time fans of the band of their artistic brilliance. It is an urgent, driving rock tune that isn’t exactly like an ordinary rock ‘n roll track. Instead, it sounds like a rock song reinterpreted by symphony, who have added drama, urgency, and theater. A nervous energy at first fills the air with the stuttering rhythms setting the tone. The song then rises and falls, creating the feeling that at times we are free-falling into the depths of the valleys and then soaring high into the skies. Urata’s crooning voice utters lyrics that match the roller coaster feeling, where he shares a story of one man’s hopelessness and his dance with the afterlife. But if the end sounds as raucous and anthemic as this, the end cannot be all that bad, can it?
Pre-orders for This Night Falls Forever are available here.
Fanclub – “Leaves” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Computer Magic, Japanese Breakfast, Craft Spells
We’re a little late to the party, but as we like to say better late than never! Only a month has passed since Austin trio Fanclub released their debut single, “Leaves”, and it already has more than 22,000 streams on SoundCloud and several thousands more on Spotify. To call the track a surprise summer hit would be an understatement, and one spin of it is all one needs to fully comprehend.
“Leaves” is dream-pop bliss and comes straight out of the ’80s. Akin to the music of that era, the song leaves a permanent smile on your face while creating the feeling that you’re gliding effortlessly through the clouds and watching the world unfold beneath you. The synth work and rhythms are sensational, as their warmth and vibrancy devour the listener in the same way that CHVRCHES’ and Japanese Breakfast’s most intimate heart-racers do. Front woman Leslie Crunkilton’s vocals, meanwhile, are stunning, as she sweetly encourages us to get up on our feet and settle down and to not abandon those whom we love. For us, this is the pick-me-up song of the summer and one we will remember for a long time.
Once again, Fanclub are Leslie Crunkilton, Mike Lee, and Daniel Schmidt. Get to know this band, who are on the path to being Austin’s next great band and that’s saying an awful lot.
Miranda Winters – “The Futuristic District” (Chicago via Providence, USA)
RIYL: Melkbelly, The Breeders, Waxahatchee
Last month, Miranda Winters of noise-rock / punk-rock outfit Melkbelly released her debut, solo album, Xobeci, What Grows Here?. The record flew under the radar (including under ours), but it is worth a spin or three because it showcases a different side to her art. Specifically, Winters turns down the volume, rewinds the clocks to the ’80s and ’90s, and delivers a lo-fi, indie-rock gem that is reminiscent of artists like Liz Phair, Fiona Apple, and The Breeders. An example of what is on the record is its opener, “The Futuristic District”.
Featuring just Winters, her electric guitar, and distortion pedals, the Providence-born singer-songwriter drops one gnarly, clever tune. The guitar work is classic, lo-fi grunge while her lyrics are akin to Ani DiFranco’s biting and imaginative honesty. She describes a world in shambles as a result of our constant fighting. No one is immune is to the chaos, where even personal relationships are on the verge of destruction and our homes are in perilous danger. Is there anywhere safe? Not in this place set in the future, although Winters’ lyrics could very well apply to today.
Your Smith – “Bad Habit” (Los Angeles via Minneapolis, USA)
RIYL: Maggie Rogers, Kalmia Travers (of Rubblebucket), Haley Bonar
There have been plenty of “bittersweet” songs this year, but in our humble opinion la crème de la crème so far is “Bad Habit”, which is the latest single from Your Smith.
Formerly performing as Caroline Smith, the Minnesota native delivers a song that feels as warm and embracing as the mid-afternoon’s sun with its groovy, ’70s R&B and soul tones. Her whispery, saccharine vocals, meanwhile, are the cool ocean breeze that brings relief and a smile on your face. Listen closely, however, to her lyrics, as they indicate more than just summertime vibes. The song is a confession of sorts, as Smith opens up about her past habits and a love that she won’t let go. At the same time, her words – as well as her new moniker – mark the new beginning of a new chapter, where she can move on from the past.
“I got a bad habit
Of smoking too much,
Of drinking onstage.
I got a bad habit
Of living rich
On minimum wage.
I got a bad habit,
But loving you
Is the worst one.”
Smith’s debut EP, Bad Habit, makes its way to stores on August 24th via Neon Gold Records.
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