Fiery rockers, shimmering pop tunes, and one spellbinding tune fill up The Matinee ’18 August 30th edition. We highly recommend putting the headphones on so as to not interpret your colleagues or neighbors. You might also want to close the door or pull down the shades because you might just be head banging, pumping your fist, dancing, and/or shouting in exhilaration. Happy Thursday everyone!
Baby Jey – “U Don’t Have 2 Go Alone” (Edmonton, Canada)
RIYL: The Drums, Grapell, Christopher Cross
We were a little late in sharing Baby Jey‘s single,“Someday My Space Cowboy Will Come”, as we wrote about it nearly a month after it was released. What made the timing not-so-great was that the very same day they released “U Don’t Have 2 Go Alone”. That was a major Homer Simpson moment for us. Time, though, is sometimes our best friend, where we get to talk about their latest single while it is still still hot and fresh.
Whereas their previous singles are experimental country/Americana-pop (i.e., pop music with a banjo or mandolin), they opted to go a more “straightforward” route for this tune. Well, it’s not a typical pop tune that you would hear on the Top-40 charts, but instead Jeremy Witten (guitar/keyboards/lead vocals) and Dean Kheroufi (bass/backing vocals) merge ’80s R&B vibes, ’80s synth-pop, and contemporary indie pop. The result is a charming tune that is cool on the soul and warm on the ears. And like the music of 35 years ago, the single should be heard with your friends, so you can all enjoy the smooth melody and the heartwarming lyrics about always having someone who will be there for you. About how the strongest friendships are unbreakable.
The duo’s new album, Someday Cowboy, emerges at sunrise on September 14th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Batting Cages – “Feel So Good” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: FM-84, Future Islands, A Flock of Seagulls
And we stay in the ’80s with this next tune, and there’s nothing wrong with spinning tunes that remind us of The Human League, Howard Jones, or A Flock of Seagulls. Yeah, we’re talking about a synth-wave band that will make you rush to your parents’ closet (or maybe your own) and get decked out in acid-washed jeans or leotards and to make your hair as big, curly, and puffy as possible. Get to know Batting Cages, who less than two weeks released their aptly-titled debut single, “Feel So Good”.
The song is like an unbridled run along the forest or a race along the jagged coastline where there is nothing between you and your destination. It is ravishing and exhilarating to the nth degree, where you think and believe you can do anything and be anything. It’s not completely an ’80s tune because there are large traces of The National in the track, particularly in the lyrics.
“I try not to falter, to keep on running.
I found my back to the wall,
It would have felt better to fall.
I had grown weary, tired of all the fighting,
So I went fucking around.”
If Matt Cusack, Vince Federici, Charlie Heim, and Will Tobin were around in the ’80s, this song would have found its way on to the soundtrack of St. Elmo’s Fire. Instead, it’ll just be part of our late-summer 2018 soundtrack.
Beacon – “Be My Organ” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Maribou State, Phoria, Burial
It’s easy to overlook a band especially after they’ve collaborated with a band like Tycho, which is what Beacon did a year ago. When a group works with a powerhouse, many people, including ourselves, underestimate the true talents of the lesser-known artists. We should have, however, known better because we were introduced to Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett way back in December 2015. At that time, they left us in awe with the chilled “Preserve”. We won’t make the mistake of forgetting about the duo thanks to “Be My Organ”.
This single is like a lucid dream, except you’re not the one who determines what happens. Beacon, though, are, and they direct us through the still of the abandoned night. The spatial, haunting synths and beats are spine-tingling stunning, and they establish the engrossing soundscape that is Mullarney’s crippling story. Through his shadowy, hypnotic vocals, Mullarney spins a tale about control or the lack of it. He says in a delicate yet sinister tone:
“They’re keeping tabs on you,
Don’t know where to begin.
No one owes you anything.”
His words are strikingly beautiful yet devastating. These adjectives could very well describe the pair’s forthcoming album, GRAVITY PAIRS, and it arrives November 2nd on Ghostly International (world) and Liberator Music (AU/NZ). Pre-order bundles are available here.
Dead Naked Hippies – “Rare” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: The Breeders, Estrons, Thyla
People need to start turning their heads in the Dead Naked Hippies‘ direction because the trio of Lucy Jowett, Joe Clarke, and Jacob Marston are making some of the fiercest indie rock in the UK. They are right up there with the likes of Wolf Alice (when they go loud), INHEAVEN, Black Honey, Estrons, False Heads, and several others. And like these bands, they match their ferocious noise with even heavier lyrics, which they do once again on “Rare”.
“Rare” is the sonic equivalent of a hurricane. It slowly builds and intensifies, and it’s full force isn’t felt into the very end. The hammering percussion and seething guitar riffs churn the air, filling it with a heavy, thunderous darkness. Jowett’s howling voice, meanwhile, is the sound of the storm’s escalating fury, and she aggressively hollers at those seeking sanctuary below. There is no escaping her fiery vocals.
She isn’t, however, screaming for the purpose of scaring people. On the contrary, she calls on everyone, including herself, to not allow their own internal struggles and fears to defeat them. Rather, she beckons them to come out of their shells and accept their fate. Accept who they are. And that begins by facing the storm that exists within and outside them because each individual is, after all, a distinct and rare being. As such, stop “feeling so disgusted” and instead “stand tall”.
Gabby’s World – “Rear View” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Alvvays, Camera Obscura, Frankie Cosmos
Despite another name change, Gabrielle Smith, whose projects were formerly known as Eskimeaux and then Ó, has not changed her art. She still crafts some of the best and most immediate indie pop and indie pop-rock on the planet with stories that all can relate to, including us older folks. Now known as Gabby’s World, she delivered the news we’ve been waiting for all year – her new album is coming this autumn (it is one of our Most Anticipated Albums of the 2018, although we thought she would keep the Ó moniker).
“Rear View” is the lead single, and it is everything we expect from a Smith song. It is like your favorite childhood blanket – warm and familiar, embracing and secure. Smith’s vocals are soft yet lush, delicately describing moments in her past and trying to move past them. It’s a story many of us know, where we try not to glance in the rear-view mirror and turn back. Sometimes, however, it’s nearly impossible to avoid.
Her story isn’t the only thing that is retrospective. Smith has arranged a tune that is reminiscent of early ’90s pop-rock and jangle-pop when bands like The Cranberries and Camera Obscura created music that was simultaneously bubbly and intimate. Music that we would sway to with our eyes closed as we absorbed every word. This is a long way to say that “Rear View” is an instant classic that young and old music fans will immediately love.
Jo Marches – “Monsters” (Utrecht, Netherlands)
RIYL: Melody’s Echo Chamber, Nite Jewel, Priest (the synth-pop band)
“Ah ah ah aah”, Johanneke Kranendonk lushly repeats at the end of “Monsters”, the new single from her project Jo Marches, whom we’ve adored from afar for over two years. Normally, we wouldn’t mention such a simple line, but those words perfectly describe the song’s effect. Specifically, “Monsters” is a luxurious and intoxicating example of synth-pop perfection. It is vibrant and alluring, bouncy yet intimate, and complex yet immediate. It’s made for all occasions, whether you want to get up and dance or lie down and be mesmerized for four minutes.
The interplay between the synths and rhythms are classic, reminiscent of the work of legends New Order and more recent stars like Melody’s Echo Chamber and Nite Jewel. A crystalline guitar, meanwhile, rings in the distance to add another dazzling effect for good measure. Kranendonk’s voice hovers above the shimmering soundscape, but her words are not as bright compared to the music her band mates have crafted. She describes the anxiety that is manifesting itself inside her:
“Somebody hold my hand,
I think I’m seeing monsters.
Starting all over again,
And I’m only growing stronger.”
But these monsters are politicians, many of whom, let’s be honest, have gotten frighteningly creepy.
Jo Marches’ new EP, Day In Day Out, drops October 26th. Kranendonk is joined by David Hoogerheide (synth), Manuel van den Berg (guitar), Max Abel (bass), and Tobias Ponsioen (drums).
Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers – “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” (Chicago via Naples, FL, USA)
RIYL: college-radio R.E.M., Nada Surf, Neutral Milk Hotel
Against Me! have established a reputation for being one of the most ferocious punk-rock / hard-rock bands of the last twenty years. Unless you’re a hardcore fan, you might not realize that front woman Laura Jane Grace has her own side project, which is less punk-ish and more ’90s indie rock. Think really early R.E.M. or Nada Surf – the college-radio music that was simultaneously melodic, catchy, and a bit edgy and always meaningful. If you’re late to the game, Grace and her backing band the Devouring Mothers released a brand new tune the other day for your listening pleasure.
Warm up your neck muscles because “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” will have you swaying your head from side-to-side with its groovy and immensely addictive melody. You cannot help but smile to this perfect end-of-summer tune. Grace’s lyrics will also delight the senses, as she speaks about undying love even in the face of the Earth’s destruction. But since this is the person who founded Against Me!, there is a little guitar solo just to add a bit of grit and include one of Grace’s more well-known signatures on the track.
MID CITY – “Old Habits” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: SWMRS, City Calm Down, The Walkmen
Do you like your music urgent and assertive, which in turn causes you to lose your marbles? Music that causes your heart to race so fast that it just might explode from your heart? Then you’ve come to the right place because Melbourne indie quartet MID CITY deliver a seismic single that would register a 10 on the Richter Scale.
“Old Habits” is what Joel Griffith, Ben Woodmason, Tim Woodmason, and James Campbell like to call “incendiary guitar-pop”, but the description understates this tune. A 20-tonne explosion is more like it. Everything about the song is fiery and ferocious – from the machine gun-like percussion to the jackhammer bass line and from the sizzling guitars to Griffith’s scorching vocals. It’s not just the music that will blow your minds, but Griffith’s message, too, will pound in your head. He frantically beckons to return to the good old days when he and all of us were in control instead of being slaves to our current addictions and everyone’s expectations.
As you spin this awesome song, you’ll agree it was written for two purposes – to blow our bloody minds and make us lose our shit. Rock song of the year? Quite possibly. At the very least it deserves a rare “F*uck Yeah!”
Rude Dude and the Creek Freaks – “Dan Halen” (Savannah, GA, USA)
RIYL: Ozzie Osborne + Oh Sees + King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
We’re not quite sure if the song “Dan Halen” is about Van Halen’s unknown (maybe imaginary) sibling or relative, but we can say that Rude Dude and the Creek Freaks have delivered one mind-boggling, neck-spraining single. Seriously, if you have not head-banged in some time, you might want to have a neck brace nearby.
Like Ozzie Osbourne fronting Oh Sees or King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, the four Georgians unleash one hellacious maelstrom of psychedelic rock. And boy is it awesome. The song is relentless in its energy, imaginative in its songwriting, and mind-blowing explosive in its intensity. As the dueling guitars swirl around the jaw-rocking rhythms, front man Blake Lumry delivers a tale about a bewitching entity with yellow eyes who emerges from the underworld to steal us away. It’s “a one-way ticket to hell”, but the trip is sure a memorable one.
The band is comprised of Blake Lumry (guitar/vocals), Zachary Estess (bass), Anthony Bayness (drums/percussion), Zachary Hughey (organ/synth/percussion), and Robert Powers (guitar).
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