Part two of The Matinee focuses on music outside of Australia. Six songs occupy The Matinee ’18 August 20th – ROW Edition (or Rest of the World), which features a wide selection of genres. There are the usual American outfits, but you’ll also find artists from Belarus, Sweden, and England.
To hear the Down Under version, click here.
Arc Iris – “$GNMS” (Providence, RI, USA)
RIYL: Agnes Obel, San Fermin, Jenny Hval
There are great songwriters and then there are those who elevate the art form to spectacular heights. In the case of Arc Iris, they’ve always had the knack for creating imaginative mythologies. Sometimes their songs are founded on real-life events and challenges, and often the two worlds collide.
Their 2014 self-titled debut featured all three phases, and its opening single, “Money Gnomes”, combined all three. At the time, Arc Iris were an alt-folk / Americana band, but after changes to their lineup and management team they’ve reinvented themselves. They’ve stripped away the banjo and the sounds of America’s Midwest in favor of a wider-screen and more theatrical sound akin to what several Scandinavian artist are doing today. To unveil their new incarnation, they’ve reinterpreted “Money Gnomes”, turning it into a futuristic, sci-fi number and calling it “$GNMS”.
The addition of strings and synths turn this once gentle and fun-loving tune into a darker, more mesmerizing number. Whereas before they were like Hans Christian Andersen, they have become the Brothers Grimm. Their fairy tales are no longer for those with tender hearts; they are created for lovers of bold, spooky, and eerier stories. This newer version, in our humble opinions, gives not just new life but better accentuates this world where greed devours everyone.
Arc Iris are Jocie Adams (vocals), Zach Tenorio-Miller (piano), Ray Belli (drums), and friends. Their new album, Icon of Ego, is out October 12th via Ba Da Bing Records.
De’Wayne Jackson – “Top Man” (Los Angeles via Spring, TX, USA)
RIYL: Raury, The New Respects, Jay Rock
“In Cologne, getting smashed until I can’t feel my face.
I never been outside the states, who’s fucking with my brain.
They said don’t get no big ideas, it only causes pain.
Saw a racist in the bar tried to snatch my chain,
No matter how worse it get ya eyes won’t look away.”
These are the first five lines in De’Wayne Jackson‘s new song, “Top Man”. They are eye-opening and demonstrate the lyrical genius of the Spring, Texas native, who previously focused on hip-hop and rap. For this latest number, however, he has moved into the rock sphere, which adds extra punch to his story about what it’s like to be an African-American in today’s hate-fueled world. The grizzled guitar and the harsh rhythms are the undercurrent of the rage that fills Jackson’s body, but he uses his art, his pen, and his tongue as his weapons of choice. The more people he can get to listen to his stories, the bigger the impact he can make. He’s an artist to watch, especially if he continue to deliver lyrics like:
“The kid that never had a chance to ball,
So if I slip that’s our chance but I never fall.
Pigeon-toed and all I really do it all my nigga
Against the odds or whatever in this space all alone.”
Dlina Volny – “Prospekty” (Minsk, Belarus)
RIYL: Asylum Party, Twilight Ritual, The Cure
It might be summer, but autumn is around the corner and with it comes fall colors and a chill in the air. Darkness creeps earlier, and the creatures of the night reveal themselves before bedtime. The music, too, starts to get more brooding and harrowing, and the perfect song from the pending arrival of the cold is Dlina Volny‘s “Prospekty”.
Coming from the underrated city of Minsk in Belarus, Dlina Volny channel the late ’70s and early ’80s when krautrock and post-punk merged together under the banner of cold wave. Bands like Asylum Party and Twilight Ritual changed the game over three decades ago, and Dlina Volny are doing their part to resurrect this lost genre. From the dark synths to the buzzing keys to front woman Masha Zinevitch’s haunting vocals, the trio have crafted an intoxicating and dark tune that will send chills down your spine and leave you trembling on the floor afterwards. It’s eerie but beautiful and ghastly hypnotic. Like a great horror flick, you’ll want to come back for more.
Les Big Byrd – “I Fucked Up I Was A Child” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Guided By Voices, Journey, Phoenix
Most bands draw inspiration from music’s legends and history, but some resurrect it for today’s palettes. Swedish quartet Les Big Byrd are one of those group’s who bring to life the music heard twenty and thirty years ago. Specifically, they revive the synth-pop and electro-pop that many of us listened to in our youth (or if you’re really young that your parents listened to). Sending us scurrying back to our childhood days is “I Fucked Up I Was A Child”, their fabulous new single.
The opening keyboard notes immediately bring you back to the ’80s, and those who lived during that time will think about Journey, Jefferson Airplane, and REO Speedwagon. The song, however, then takes a spin towards the warm, intimate psychedelic synth-pop that bands like Phoenix have concocted. These bands, though, didn’t write a song as moving and introspective as what Les Big Byrd have crafted. They, specifically front man Joakim Åhlund, have revealed their souls, taking ownership for their mistakes and the reckless behavior of their youth. They acted as if they were “burning through like a forest fire”, where anything in their way was meant to be overrun. Now, though, they’ll allow their music and messages to overwhelm us.
LPX – “Might Not Make it Home” (New York City, USA & London, England)
RIYL: MS MR, Marina & The Diamonds, Bloodboy
Most people know that Lizzy Plapinger is a music superstar. She might not be in Taylor Swift category in terms of Billboard charts, but her impact extends much further and more under the radar. For starters, she’s a co-founder of the excellent Neon Gold Records, which is currently home to Charli XCX, Christine and the Queens, Mariana & The Diamonds, and a host of other top electro-pop outfits. Alumni include HAIM, Icona Pop, Passion Pit, and Wet, who got their starts with the label before signing with mega-record companies. Second, she’s also one-half of the super-popular MS MR, who helped usher in the current wave of electro-pop.
Plapinger has a third project (among many others) that flies a little bit under the radar. As LPX, she turns to anthemic electro-pop-rock while writing songs with more meaning (we think she would agree with this assessment). Music that packs an extra punch, which she achieves on the fantastic “Might Not Make it Home”.
Spread out your arms, take a deep breath, and get ready to scream! “Might Not Make it Home” is the song for every adrenaline junkie or someone who needs a boost. The fiery pop-rock approach is exuberant and exhilarating, and Plapinger’s voice fills the air with uplifting lyrics. Yes, her words are encouraging and motivating, as she encourages us to life today like its our last day on Earth. She encourages us to celebrate who we are and not give a shit about what other people think or have to say. So we say again, go ahead and scream and let everyone hear you. Let everyone hear what Ms. Plapinger has to say.
Her second EP is due out later this year via, of course, Neon Gold Records.
Milo Greene – “Young At Heart” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, La Force, Future Islands
Before we started The Revue, Hollie listed Milo Greene‘s self-titled album as her sixth favorite album of 2012. Anyone who has ever chatted with Hollie about music will know that she is quite fussy and has strong opinions about what constitutes great music. What makes the LA-based trio of Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, and Marlana Sheetz exciting is that they’re not willing to stay stagnant. They could have easily continued to create Americana and indie folk-pop music and, accordingly, top those genres’ charts alongside Mumford & Sons, Lord Huron, etc. Instead, they’ve evolved.
Their 2015 EP, Control, showcased an edgier and fuller sound, as Milo Greene turned to alternative rock and electro-pop-rock. Their evolution continues, at least that the indication that “Young At Heart” suggests, and it’s a welcome progression.
“Young At Heart” is a piece of sublime and intoxicating indie synth-pop. It buzzes with the controlled anthemic qualities heard on Broken Social Scene’s fantastic self-title album while bursting with the sunny disposition and energy of Future Islands. As groovy and exhilarating the music is, Sheetz’s breezy voice is the star. She softly shares a story of two people not allowing a number to define their age and, thus, their behavior. So for even older tykes like ourselves, she, Arnett, and Fink have made us feel like we’re twenty years younger. Made us get up from our seats and dance the day away.
“Young At Heart” is taken from Milo Greene’s forthcoming, sophomore album, Adult Contemporary, which arrives September 7th via Nettwerk Music Group.
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