We have another two-parter for you today. First up is The Matinee ’18 September 13th – ROW Edition, or Rest of the World. The six songs in this mini-playlist are immensely creative and riveting, and some could be up for song of the year. As usual, several countries are represented, and we do realize one group features members from Mexico.
To hear the other six songs on the “North America Edition”, click this link.
Birgitta Alida – “Something Real” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Nico, Mitski, Charlotte Gainsbourg
Last year, Norwegian super-group Strange Hellos released their debut album, Chromatic, which was wonderfully unique and creative. It was one that people should not overlook or have overlooked. Now front woman Birgitta Alida is trying her hand as a solo artist, and it shouldn’t be surprising that she, too, is pushing the boundaries on what is accessible. That she is also merging various genres – and time periods – into one glamorous approach.
“Something Real” is her first single, and it is a mosaic of sound and influences, merging ’70s disco, ’80s synth-pop, jazz, alt-pop, and neo-psychedelia. For some artists, the mélange would yield a tangled mess. But in the hands of Alida and her collaborators, co-writer Pablo Tellez and producer Matias Tellez, it is a marvelous piece of art. A song that should be immortalized for its ability to make us feel like we’re drifting on Cloud 9, dancing during Studio 54’s heydays, and gradually descending through the rabbit hole. Her craft is unique, and only one other artist has displayed this gift. And maybe when it is all said and down, everyone will be calling Alida a modern-day Nico.
The single is out now on Blanca Records, who will also release Alida’s debut album in 2019. This is an early contender for Most Anticipated Albums of 2019.
Exploded View – “Dark Stains” (Berlin, Germany and Mexico City, Mexico)
RIYL: Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Alice Glass
First, Edgar Allan Poe was the inspiration for the startling “Raven Raven”, and then Kate Bush was channeled on the paralysis-inducing “Sleepers”. Now, multi-national outfit Exploded View look towards ’70s Berlin and the krautrock era on their newest single, “Dark Stains”. Like the previous two songs, this one is broodingly brilliant.
As if Kraftwerk has been reincarnated, the trio deliver an extraordinary piece of krautrock. It is dark and urgent, mesmerizing and cathartic, bone-chilling yet dance-inducing. The song commences with a melodic, hypnotic approach before it ascends into a tornado of wonderful noise. It’s a storm of buzzing synths, drum machines, and shallow beats, and all you can do is whirl within its spinning vortex. Helping you get lost inside this phenomenon is front woman Annika Henderson, whose distant voice is simultaneously seductive and callous. Her lyrics are hard-hitting, as if she’s looking inside our soul.
“You are in a constant battle with yourself,
Fighting those ghosts of the past.
Bad inheritance is no excuse.
And you can break this,
You can break this.”
Exploded Views’ sophomore album, Obey, on September 28th via Sacred Bones Records. Pre-orders are available here or directly on Bandcamp. The band consists of Swedish-born, Welsh-bred, Berlin-based Annika Henderson (vocals/synth) and Mexico City-based Martin Thulin (drums/guitar), Hugo Quezada (bass/synth), and Amon Melgarejo (synth/guitar). This is another album we cannot wait to devour (or to be devoured by).
HEX – “Billboard” (Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Wytches, WOMB, Mermaidens
We are making an exception here, as “Billboard” is not a new song. The track is from New Zealand witch-rock outfit HEX‘s album, The Hill Temple, which was released back in February and is available on Bandcamp. So why are we revisiting an LP that was released seven months ago? The answers are simple – the album rocks, the song is powerful, and the video for “Billboard” is a must see.
First, the song isn’t as raucous nor heavy as some of the other tracks, but it rattles bones and minds in a different way. Through the dark but melodic approach, Kiki Van Newtown’s voice deadpan explains a trip that doesn’t feel like a holiday. It is even made worse, as the friends encounter a “holy sign” that featured anti-choice images of a fetus. But instead of ignoring it, Newtown and her friends take action. As she calmly sings, “With our crowbars we insist that / Free choice rules the womb”. This story isn’t a piece of a fiction, but an actual experience that will forever be remembered in words and images. The video is below, and it must be seen.
Newtown along with bandmate Jason Erskine are currently touring through parts of the USA. Dates and information are available here.
Johnny Kills – “Seems” (Brighton/London, England)
RIYL: Sundara Karma, Avanlanche Party, YONAKA
Two years ago when Johnny Kills introduced themselves to the world, they obliterated ear drums with their raucous and relentless approch to garage-rock. They haven’t stayed stagnant, however, as they’ve expanded their approach to include a bit of punk, indie rock, and even garage-pop. Finding that balance between roof-collapsing rockers and hip-shaking poppers is the next endeavor for the trio, and they have found the perfect equilibrium with “Seems”.
Fans of their early material will delight in the return of the overdriven guitars, the heavy rhythms, and the blistering urgency that made songs like “Not So Bad” and “End Game” cult hits. Meanwhile, those who gravitated to “Who’s Counting” will find themselves losing their marbles within the track’s anthemic nature. Heck, it’s not merely anthemic but a crowd-pleasing, get-up-off-your-kaboose, and jubilant affair. It will lift the spirits of every person who hears this rousing number, and you might just find yourself running down the streets and greeting everyone who you pass. Or maybe you’ll just dance to the end of the block and greet everyone you see, embracing front man Tim’s words about finding optimism and something positive in the people we meet, the things we do, and the news we receive.
Johnny Kills are Tim Lloyd-Kinnings (lead vocals/guitar), Lewis Lloyd-Kinnings (guitar/bass/vocals), and Cameron Gipp (guitar/bass/vocals). The single is out now on Killing Moon Records.
Sister Socrates – “I’m A Light” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Foals, The Phoenix Foundation
Like the great cities of London, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and Nashville, Melbourne’s music culture is immensely diverse and populated with numerous talented bands and artists. As such, a gifted group easily flies under the radar or just gets lost in the masses. This is the case for Secret Socrates, who are one of the most exciting outfits coming from Down Under. In our humble opinions, they have the potential to be Down Under’s answer to Grizzly Bear or Foals, and their newest single, “I’m A Light”, reveals why we are bullish on the quartet’s potential.
Like the aforementioned bands, “I’m A Light” demonstrates the band’s immense imagination and creativity. Their experimental approach masterfully blends art-rock, alt-pop, indie rock, and electronica into one intoxicating cocktail. As the bass bubbles and the percussion rattles, a piercing synth slices through to create the feeling we’ve entered a new dimension. At first, it seems like another galaxy, but Adam Dean’s lush vocals and the chiming guitar indicate we are headed to the skies. We are en route to heaven. As we ascend upwards, Dean’s words, “I’m alive”, stick permanently to our souls. Whether we chose to succumb to the inevitability or fight for another breath is up to us.
Secret Socrates are Adam Dean (vocals/guitars/synths), Matthew Kenneally (guitars), Justin Olsson (drums), and Lachlan O’Kane’s (bass). The single is taken fro m their self-titled, debut EP, which is out next Friday, September 21st.
Yassassin – “Wreckless” (London, England via Stockholm/Tuscany/Cambridge/Malmö/Brisbane)
RIYL: Death Valley Girls, Speedy Ortiz, Swearin’
If you’re not already on Yassassin‘s bandwagon, what are you waiting for? The multi-national collective have been rocking London’s music scene for three years. Their music is always edgy, but their lyrics are often heavier. They’ve never been afraid to speak about societal ills and inequality. For their new single, however, they opt to address something different, for them anyways.
“Wreckless” is still an alt-rock number through and through. The opening wall of feedback is an attention grabber, and it requires lowering the volume at first. The song then eases into a seductive yet grimy and sinister melody. It’s like the quintet are teasing us to enter the dungeoness confines of an S&M parlor, and we’re fascinated. In reality, though, the ladies address the insatiable feeling to be desired and wanted yet without having any strings attached (pun not intended). However, as one becomes increasingly involved with a person, lust turns into love. Suddenly, one gives herself freely to the other. And hopefully, you will give yourself up to the seductive, gritty powers of Anna, Joanna, Moa, Raissa, and Ruth.
The song is out now via BABELOGUE. No word on whether a new album is coming (here’s hoping).
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