The Matinee ’18 September 25th – North America Edition is another hodgepodge collection of music. There’s a retro vibe to some of the tracks and some that look into the future. If you’re seeking more great new music, head over hear to spin the Rest of the World Edition.

Art d’Ecco – “Who is it Now?” (The Gulf Islands, B.C., Canada)

RIYL: Pat Benatar, Laura Branigan, Blondie

Even in the most unexpected places can a star be born. For instance, it’s not often when an artist comes from The Gulf Islands, which are situated between Victoria and Vancouver. And yet, the enigmatic Art d’Ecco has emerged, and stardom is written all over the British Columbian’s name. With support from CBC Music to Atwood Magazine, Art d’Ecco has already solidified a huge support group, which should only grow with “Who is it Now?”

Amazing. Extraordinary. These are the words that capture the brilliance of the track, which is like the perfect marriage of Blondie with Pat Benatar. New wave, funk, and synth-rock are combined to create a sinister yet overwhelming stunning soundscape. It’s as if we are dove headfirst into Berlin’s underbelly and are surrounded by unexpected characters, images, and pleasures. This place, however, is where we seek not gratification but instead to discover our true selves without the midst of the chaos. To answer the question, as Art d’Ecco states, “Am I the only one?”

Art d’Ecco’s debut album, Trespasser, arrives October 12th on Paper Bag Records. Pre-order it here.

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The Aquadolls – “communicationissexy/idkhow2communicate” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Vivian Girls, Colleen Green, Cherry Glazerr

We’ve grown accustomed to The Aquadolls delivering upbeat and anthemic fare, which would get people up on their feet and either dancing or just losing their marbles. However, time, as we are told, tends to mellow out a person as they reflect on their past, present, and future, and this seems to be case on “communicationissexy/idkhow2communicate”.

Melissa Brooks has considerably slowed down the tempo, and she’s delivered an intimate and thoughtful rock number. As her dissonant guitar rings in the background and the rhythms gently percolate, Brooks opens up about the isolation she experiences and the anxiety that fills her days following a breakup. Her words are honest and vulnerable, and she leaves no stone unturned.

“Communication is sexy, I don’t know how to communicate.
Dating sucks, it’s a fucked up world, no one ever asks me out on dates,
I know I’m fine,
It’s not me, but it’s me, it’s me.
It’s fucking me
I know I need to spend more time by myself.
Love myself, gotta love me, but
All I really want is somebody to talk to.”

Pick up the track on Bandcamp for the bargain-basement price of “Name Your Own”, but we recommend leaving a tip.

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Gallant – “TOOGOODTOBETRUE” (feat. Sufjan Stevens & Rebecca Sugar) (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Blood Orange, The Weeknd (in his early days), Fusilier

There are five artists doing incredibly innovative things with R&B and soul today – Dev Hynes with his Blood Orange project, Frank Ocean, Moses Sumney, Fusilier, and Gallant. The young LA-based singer-songwriter has gradually made a name for himself, and he’s done it the old-fashion way. Instead of glitzy campaigns and massive radio play, his popularity has been fueled by his artistry, as music fans and fellow artists have gravitated to his unique style. He’s collaborated with several artists, written songs on behalf of more famous singers, and nominated for a Grammy for his excellent album, Oology. The biggest compliment, though, is when an artist like Sufjan Stevens agrees to collaborate on not one but two singles. The second is a thing of beauty.

“TOOGOODTOBETRUE” is aptly titled because this gorgeous piece of art cannot be real. The lush, multi-element composition sounds like something out of a fantasy or a dream. The piano, the guitar, what sounds like a mandolin, the electronic beats, percussion, and bass converge to create a heavenly soundscape. Meanwhile, Gallant’s and Stevens’ vocals mesh harmoniously with the voice of Rebecca Sugar, who is the creator of the CN animated series, Steven Universe. When all the pieces come together, the result is something that can only be described as intoxicating.

Gallant’s new album, This Song Does Not Fit, is out early October. It should once again earn him Grammy buzz.

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PLUM – “Out Of Love” (St. Catherines & Hamilton, ON, Canada)

RIYL: CULTS, Cathedrals, Memoryhouse

There are songs that are breathtaking, and then there are those that require people to have an oxygen tank nearby. Hopefully you have one next to you because “Out Of Love” from duo PLUM will leave you gasping for air.

Like the finest synth-pop from the ’80s or even the past five years, “Out Of Love” is exceptionally gorgeous. The synths and the drum machine slowly flutter like one’s heart when you see the love of your life. Rachael Kross’ breathy and ethereal vocals, meanwhile, hover over the music, and they add another layer of seduction. Her tale, though, is more heartbreaking, as she reminisces about a love is slowly expiring. Despite the melancholic story, the song will leave you in a state of bliss, much like the music many of us grew up with in our youth. If you’re too young to know this feeling, watch movies like Sixteen Candles and Some Kind of Wonderful and you’ll completely understand.

Their new EP, D.R.I.P., is out now. Streaming and purchasing links are available here, or just head directly to Bandcamp.

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Yacht Punk – “Need a Reason” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Twin Peaks, Wavves, Circa Waves

We’ve said before that Yacht Punk are the best band from LA that no one has ever heard about, and it’s a real shame. Their songs are like Red Bull cocktails, energizing even the sleepiest and most tired souls. A lot of “established bands” could also learn a thing or two from them in terms of how to create a booming, electrifying anthem, which they’ve done with “Need a Reason”.

Turn up the volume when you spin this track because it needs to be heard by everyone. Your friends, your neighbors, your parents, your co-workers, your follow public transport takers – it doesn’t matter, make sure they hear it. Then watch them bop around, wag their heads, or even dance jubilantly like it was a Friday night. When it’s finished, don’t be surprised if they thank you later for perking up them up and then asking, “Who was that?”

Besides the urgency and electricity in the track, the arrangements are stellar. The delayed guitar echoes The Edge in his heyday, and the brilliant bass line mirrors the deft tones of Peter Hook’s days with Joy Division and New Order. The drumming is equally tremendous, changing pace to reflect the rising and falling desperation in the vocals. While the words “need a reason” are repeated, no one should require an explanation as to why Yacht Punk are a band that people ought to know.

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Yowler – “Where Is My Light?” (Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL: Chelsea Wolfe, Steady Holiday, Emma Ruth Rundle

Just when you think Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle have cornered the market on brooding Gothic rock, Maryn Jones enters the picture with her project Yowler. While Jones has never been one to shy away from hard-hitting soundscapes, Jones’ newest track, “Where Is My Light?” represents a change-of-pace. It reveals a much bleaker and darker side to her emotive artistry, and it wonderfully brilliant.

Like the aforementioned artists, the long-time Saintseneca member delivers a throbbing, unnerving tune. Her electric guitar is heavy and full of reverb, and the rhythms calmly thunder behind her. The combination creates the cruel and grueling landscape, in which Jones sits “in idle blankness, and a stillness I can’t take”. She is a prisoner in her own room and within her own mind, where only darkness exists. As terrifying the music sounds, her lyrics are even more foreboding.

“And where is joy among these pieces that we scream into the space?
Where is my gentle reason, and the light within my cave?
Where have you been?”

Yowler’s new album, Black Dog In My Path, is out October 12th via Double Double Whammy, and it has the makings of being one of the year’s most diverse and biggest surprises. Pre-order are available on Bandcamp.

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