The Matinee ’18 September 13th – North American Edition features artists and bands who are originally from or now call Canada and the USA home. All six are alumni to The Matinee, so their names should not be surprises. If they are new to you, then we highly recommend following them because you’ll see them in the future.

The second half of The Matinee features new music from the rest of the world, and the six songs can be found here.

Adrianne Lenker – “symbol” (Boston, USA)

RIYL: Big Thief, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple

To say Adrianne Lenker is a restless soul is an understatement. With her principal band, Big Thief, they released two remarkable albums in back-to-back years (2016s Masterpiece and 2017’s Capacity) while relentlessly touring the globe. Instead of taking some time off, she continues to write new material, mostly, as she has stated, to record her and her band’s history. The simple but beautiful “cradle” was the first release from her forthcoming solo album, and it documented her life before and immediately after Big Thief. The next single continues her journey, and it’s delivered in an equally stunning manner.

“symbol” is reminiscent of the immersive and spellbinding folk style of Tori Amos in her prime. Lenker’s delicate finger-plucking is mesmerizing while her soft vocals create the feeling of driftlessness. A dizzyness and a sense of lost, however, percolates through the track, particularly towards the end as Lenker’s voice fades into the sunset. As she explains about the song:

“While I was resting for a week between tours, ‘symbol’ came through. I think it was born out of the feeling of wanting to feel at home somewhere amidst the blur of constant travel. Writing it helped me articulate the recognition of a very deep sense of home contained within the warmth of my loved ones and friends made visible in something as simple as a smile.”

We’ll find out if Lenker finds home on October 5th, which is when her second solo album, abysskiss, arrives via Saddle Creek Records. We may as well call it now – it’s an album of the year candidate.

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American Wrestlers – “Devils” (St. Louis, USA via East Kilbride, Scotland)

RIYL: Destroyer / Dan Bejar, Tom Waits, Nick Cave

We were hoping to have news to share concerning American Wrestlers‘ third album, but none has arrived. Our anticipation is sky high since their first two albums – American Wrestlers and Goodbye Terrible Youth – were among our 50 Favorite Albums of 2015 and 2016, respectively. Founded by Scottish expat Gary McClure, the St. Louis-based quartet turned indie rock into something that could be blissful yet cathartic. However, signs are pointing towards a new direction for the band, at least that’s the indication “Devils” provides.

This newest single possesses two sides. The first is a morbid tranquility, as serene strings, hallow keys, soft horns, and McClure’s distant yet lush vocals float effortlessly in the air. It’s beautifully suspenseful and dark, as if we’re skipping gently through the Garden of Eden just before the Eve bites into the apple. Then the world turns, or in this case the track transforms into a grinding, raging rocker. The rock band replaces the symphony, and chaos descends upon paradise. It’s a riveting, dramatic track that will blow you away. Be sure to read the lyrics because McClure crafts a story that is one part Beowulf and another part The Stand.

American Wrestlers are Gary McClure (vocals/guitar), Birdhisattva Mahasavatta (keys/synths), Josh Van Hoorebeke (drums), and Ian Reitz (bass). The song as well as the lyrics are on Bandcamp.

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The Bandicoots – “Shady Lane” (Hamilton, Canada)

RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Jet

Some bands act cool, but then there are those that are just naturally cool. Where The Bandicoots reside is up to one’s opinion, but in our opinion they fall in the latter category. They like to dress in vintage ’70s clothing while their music echoes the cool rock ‘n roll of the late ’70s with a modern twist, of course. What really makes them cool is that they’re awesome storytellers and not sticking to the overly done themes. How they aren’t already blowing up Canadian radio is beyond our comprehension, but their time will come because their music is just too infectious and smart to be ignored. Case in point “Shady Lane”.

Like the Arctic Monkeys on a bender, “Shady Lane” is a top-tapping, shoulder-shimmying affair. While it is catchy and infectious, there’s a touch of darkness and suspenseful thanks to the methodical throbs of the bass and titillating percussion. The tune, as such, is made for a late-night dalliance or a slow walk down a dark, unfamiliar alley. But it’s even more than that, as front man Justin Ross narrates at least three separate stories with unexpected outcomes, and they all revolve around a woman named Shady Lane. If you listen closely, there’s an air of Black Mirror in his clever and imaginative lyrics. Someone should turn this tune into a TV series!

The Bandicoots are Nicolai Kozel (lead guitar), Andrew Parkinson (drums), Lorant Polya (bass) and Justin Ross (vocals/rhythm guitar). Get to know this band already!

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Belle Mare – “Spain” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Widowspeak, Blouse, Tennis

We all have bands or artists that we adore from afar, and we hope that eventually thousands if not millions of people around the world will share our passion and fandom. For us, one such band is Belle Mare, whose artistry we’ve been exalting for close to four years.

Their story is one made for movies, as Thomas Servidone (guitar) and Amelia Bushell (vocals) met on a faithful open mic night. Since then, they’ve released a highly-praised EP and a spectacular debut album, and now they’re getting set to unveil their second extended player. To offer a taste of what is to come on Liars, which will be released on October 19th, the pair – along with band mates Alex Jacobs (drums), Sam Bartos (bass), and Ross Burlingame (synths/keys) – share “Spain”.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about Belle Mare, “Spain” is the perfect introduction, and it explains our fandom. It’s dream-pop taken to blissful and exhilarating levels with Bushell’s levitating vocals and the band’s shimmering potency. Serviodone’s crystalline guitar will induce hearts to skip several beats while Burlingame’s synths, particularly in the latter half, are intoxicating. It is just not solely the enchanting music they create, but Bushell’s songwriting elevates the band above the crowd. She tells the tale of a friend down on his luck, but she offers words of encouragement. She states, “You’re a winner, you’re a winner, you’re winner”, which is how we exactly feel about the band.

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Loyal Lobos – “Swim” (Los Angeles, USA via Bogotá, Colombia)

RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Adrianne Lenker

After the sudden rise of first Julien Baker in 2015 and then Phoebe Bridgers last year, who could be the next singer-songwriter that will stir souls, leave people breathless with each song, and have everyone uttering the words, “My gosh”? There are several worthy candidates, and Colombian-born singer-songwriter Andrea Silva is at the head of the pack.

As Loyal Lobos, she’s already dazzled us a couple of times with first “the fall” and again with “Dirt”. Those tunes saw Silva crumble to her feet, but on “Swim” she is the one helping a friend get out of the ocean of tears that has overwhelmed her. Listeners, though, will be overwhelmed by the song’s beauty. Silva’s whispery vocals are lush and intoxicating, and the stunning dream-folk approach accentuates every word she sings. The finale, though, is stupendous, as the booming drums, the crystalline guitar, and Silva’s angelic voice cascade into a waterfall of majestic sound. It is a rush gorgeously epic proportions and one that won’t be easily replicated.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – it’s only a matter of time before Silva becomes a star. Now if only Ryan Adams will agree to produce her debut EP like he did with Phoebe Bridgers.

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Me Not You – “Buried Alive” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: The Raveonettes, The Kills, So Below

Earlier this year, Nikki Taylor and Eric Zeiler – the masterminds behind Me Not You – released their second EP, Reckoning 2, which was bolder, darker, and heavier than their previous efforts. And it was stupendous. They moved away from their trip-hop / electronic beginnings to an electro-rock approach that echoed The Raveonettes and The Kills. Very soon, they’ll reach the status of those legendary bands, especially if they continue to deliver heart-racing tracks like “Buried Alive”.

The tune belongs on the soundtrack of one of the great TV series, like Westworld or Stranger Things. Zeiler’s guitar and production work sizzle in the foreground, creating the blood-pumping urgency in the track. Taylor’s voice, meanwhile, softly booms in the foreground, as she tries to make sense of the present and the future. Her character is like Dolores Abernathy of Westworld, who seeks answers to all the mysteries of this new world.

“Show me where the future lies,
Barely undone, buried alive.
Playing with a loaded die.
Further to run, further to rise.”

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