The Matinee ’18 October 2nd crosses Europe and the US for nine songs to brighten up your Tuesday. The days may be getting darker, but these songs will help brighten your day (well, a couple will make it gloomier, but in a delightful way!).
Beverly Kills – “Melodrama” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: The Raveonettes, Alvvays, Agent Blå
It was only six weeks ago when Gothenburg quartet Beverly Kills introduced themselves to the world with their brooding but exhilarating post-punk number, “Fourteen”. It had us proclaiming them as potentially Sweden’s next great band, and Alma, Viggo, John, and Hampus’ latest single only validates this belief.
“Melodrama” is a dazzling cornucopia of genres. The chiming and jangly guitars plus the scintillating synths offer hints of Alvvays’ dream pop and the breathtaking dreamgaze of Lush. However, the throbbing rhythms, particularly the spectacular bass line, channel Joy Division and The Cure, cutting through the awe-inspiring soundscape with a steely, post-punk and Gothic sharpness. Alma’s vocals, though, are heavenly yet urgent, and they elevate the song to breathtaking heights. Listening to her recalls the greatness of The Raveonettes’ Sharin Foo and Nina Persson of The Cardigans – a voice that can simultaneously leave you in a daze yet get your heart racing with adrenaline.
Akin to these two great singer-songwriters, Alma has crafted an intimate and moving tale of one person can destroy another. How a person can tell lies and get away with it because of his position. As a result, “rumors kill the dream” and kill the hopes of another. Sweden’s next great band? We definitely think so.
Destroy Boys – “Soundproof” (Sacramento, USA)
RIYL: Bully, Camp Cope, The Pack A.D.
A cool West Coast band making awesome garage rock. They surely must be signed to Burger Records, right? Nah, Destroy Boys are instead signed to the equally awesome Uncool Records, who have released albums from SWMRS and Mt. Eddy to name a few. As such, expect the Alexia Roditis and Vi Mayugba-led project to reach similar heights in terms of cult status and popularity, particularly with those who have no time for sexists, racists, and anyone who still thinks it’s o.k. to live like it’s 1818 instead of 2018.
Their new single, “Soundproof”, evidences the band’s rock chops and intelligent songwriting. The song revs with the grit and edge of Bully and The Pack A.D., and the pair’s lyricism is akin to the political poignancy of Aussie activists Camp Cope. They tackle the misogyny that exists within the music industry and at concerts as well as the uncertainty that lingers in their minds as a result of the one-way street they battle. Listen closely to their words because there are some outstanding lines, such as:
“Expect me to perform,
Am I the one you adore?
Lay down your judgment,
I’ll judge for you.”
Their new album, Make Room, is out October 19th via Uncool Records. Get to know this band quickly, and those in Sacramento should get themselves to the Goldfield Trading Post tonight. Information is available here.
Gabby’s World – “Winter Withdraw” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Mitski, Jay Som, Japanese Breakfast
Through her various aliases, we’ve admired Gabrielle Smith’s artistry for two reasons – her music is unpredictable (folk, pop, synth-pop, electro-rock) and she writes lyrics that are intimate, personal, and relatable. The stories she writes feel like they are about all of us, where she brings us into her inner circle and sings with us as oppose to us. This is yet again the case with “Winter Withdraw”.
Now known as Gabby’s World, Smith and her band deliver an incredibly stunning new single. It’s warm and soothing at first, as Smith’s delicate voice hovers easily over the dreamy and heavenly melody. She explains how she pleads with her thoughts in search of peace and calm. In search of a little piece of tranquility to get away from the chaos and trauma that entangles her from within and outside. Her songwriting is stellar, as is the song’s finale, which builds into a breathtaking, OMG moment. It’s one of the great moments in music this year and simply unforgettable.
Jo Marches – “Clearing” (Utrecht, Netherlands)
RIYL: Amber Arcades, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Maribou State
“I’m coming for you”, Jo Marches‘ front woman Johanneke Kranendonk states early in the band’s new single, “Clearing”. As the psychedelic-infused, synth-pop approach and Kranendonk’s gorgeous vocals swirl effortlessly in the air, you’ll want to submit to her proclamation instead of running away. The song, as has long been the case with the underrated Dutch band, is incredibly mesmerizing and seductive.
For some, you’ll want to spin within the trippy atmospherics, losing yourself within the Maribou State-esque dissonant guitar and the throbbing rhythms. Others will want to settle in and get lost inside the music and lyrics, allowing Kranendonk, David Hoogerheide (synth), Manuel van den Berg (guitar), Max Abel (bass), and Tobias Ponsioen (drums) to embrace them like a warm blanket on a wintry night. Regardless of your physical reaction, the storyline will move your emotions and hopefully get you out of your shell. Kranendonk encourages us to unveil “the secrets you’ve been hiding” and allow her to carry some of the burden that we bear. If we are able to do this, then we can “stand tall, we move on”.
In this day and age where mental illness affects approximately one in five adults, her message is one we need to hear. What also needs to be heard is Jo Marches’ new EP, Day In Day Out, which drops October 26th.
Majken – “Teenage Desires” (Malmö via Karlskrona, Sweden)
RIYL: Laura Marling, Aoife O’Donovan, Violetta Zironi
The first two singles of Anna Majken’s career – or simply just Majken – were of the Gothic-folk variety. “This War Belongs To You” and her debut single, “Lovely Daughter”, were dark, haunting, yet gorgeous affairs. They were songs that send shivers down your back, yet you kept coming back for more. She changes pace on her third single, but the results are still similar – that is “Teenage Desires” is outstanding indie folk.
Brighter and more illuminating than her first two songs, “Teenage Desires” is like the most beautiful, fantasy-like carnival imagined. The strikes of the harp create the soothing, mystical vibe while Majken’s voice takes on a more graceful and happier tone. Similarly, her words are warm and blissful, as she recounts the memory of and feelings associated with of one’s first crush. How it all ends is left up to one’s own experience, and Majken masterfully plays with our senses with the unexpected bridge and organ-driven outro. Maybe it all ends in tragedy, maybe we awaken from a dream, or maybe it concludes (and re-starts) with the exchange of vows at the altar. Whatever option you choose, you’ll undoubtedly will be lost within Majken’s gorgeous spell.
Her debut album, Young Believer, will be released December 7th via Kollektivet Records.
RIYL: Kate Bush, early Chelsea Wolfe, Portishead
Imagine for a moment that you’ve entered Germany’s enchanted Black Forest during the 16th Century. There are few roads, and only small hamlets border this majestic land. It’s the scenery for a great fable or fairy tale, such as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and even Beowulf. Behind every tree and boulder and over the crown of each rolling hill, something unknown lurks and awaits our arrival. This imagery and these spine-tingling feels are mirrored on“The Way”, the new single from rising Danish trip-hop / folktronica band MALMØ.
With the support of popular Faroese outfit Eivør, the collective deliver a piece of frighteningly brilliant, cinematic art. It trembles early and often, kicked off with a fabulously creepy rhythm section and the low-thrusting guitars. The song at times borders on doom-folk, but the dual vocals of Maria Malmø and Eivør Pálsdóttir keep it levitating in the skies instead of falling into the deep, dark abyss. As a result, all the elements hypnotize you, where your eyes emptily stare into the distance and your body becomes suspended. Your soul, meanwhile, is now the property of a rising Scandinavian band and one of Europe’s most artistic groups.
MALMØ are Maria Malmø, Christian Tronhjem, Asger Jakobsen, Jens Mikkel Madsen, Anders Ørbæk, Andreas Skamby, and Mathias Jæger. The single is out on Integrity Records.
Other States – “Somebody to Help Me” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: The National meets The Doors
Eighteen months later, Brighton indie band Other States are still going strong. While they could easily deviate into mainstream realms, they continue to blaze a path that bridges ’60s and ’70s neo-psychedelia with modern-day indie rock. They’re like a younger version of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, although on “Somebody to Help Me” they are The Doors fronted by The National’s Matt Berninger.
Obviously, the sweet tenor isn’t Berninger himself, but it’s Mark S. Aaron. His band mates, meanwhile, channel the great LA psych-rock band, creating a melody that is simultaneously groovy and broodingly chilling. It’s a track, as such, that you want to bite into and completely devour – or have the song devour you. The bass line and electric organ, in particular, are creepily delicious while the slight trembles of the percussion and guitar create the hip-wiggling savoriness. Aaron’s lyrics, too, add to the mystery, as he describes an adventure into an unknown territory.
“I’m on the silver highway of a joyless ride.
I’m on a barren landscape of a barren life.
Won’t you cut me a piece
Why you letting me be
Because there ain’t no godless soul been around here lately.”
Other States are Mark S. Aaron (lead vocals), Mike Lord (piano/backing vocals), Cameron Dawson (bass), Max Numajiri (guitar), Lb (percussion/backing vocals), and Lawrie Miller (drums). They’ll be releasing two more songs before the end of the year, and we wonder if one will be appropriate for Christmas.
The Pale White – “Wisdom Tooth” (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England)
RIYL: Editors, Circa Waves, INHEAVEN
In the two years we’ve been listening to The Pale White, we can say with assurance that they are one of the UK’s great and extremely underappreciated rock bands (along with the band that follows). They’ve been compared to Cage the Elephant and INHEAVEN, and like these groups they know how to deliver fiery guitar riff and anthemic soundscapes. Their music, in other words, is made to fill the grandest stadiums of the world, including Wembley and the Rose Bowl, and they put this on display again with “Wisdom Tooth”.
Like a 12-cylinder race car, “Wisdom Tooth” is a howler. It explodes right out of the gate and doesn’t let up. For just under three minutes, the trio take us on an exhilarating, heart-racing ride that only grows in intensity. Every element is outstandingly delivered, where you’ll want to fire off air guitar windmills, strut your best bass pose, and flex your arm muscles while pummeling down on the invisible drum kit. The song is loud, it’s propulsive, and it’s awesome. But beyond the sound is a clever story about letting go of the things that we don’t need. About ridding ourselves of the excess that drags us down each down or keeps us chained to our positions.
The single is out on Illegal Cinema Records. Their new EP is expected in 2019.
THYLA – “Candy” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Dilly Dally, Estrons, Wolf Alice
Speaking of great UK rock bands, THYLA are another that deserve much more attention than they receive. How they continue to be overlooked is beyond our comprehension since we’ve been on the bandwagon for over three years when they released their debut single, “Betty”. By now, we thought they would have reached the same pinnacle as Wolf Alice or at least followed a similar path as Black Honey. This has yet to happen, but it will eventually because Millie Duthie (vocals/guitar), Mitch Duce (guitar), Dan Hole (bass), and Danny Southwell (drums) are just too talented. Maybe 2019 will be the year when the dominoes fall into place. In the meantime, they continue to create masterful indie rock, which they do once again with “Candy”.
“Candy” is a low-building growler that dazzles at first but then blows you away by its ending. As the guitar chimes softly and the rhythms pulse gently in the background, Duthie’s vocals coolly describes her fear of the unknown. Of the things that haunt her mind and dreams yet she cannot identify who or what they are. As you tries to figure out the puzzle, the instrumentation intensifies, and the tune suddenly turns into an explosive, sonic hurricane. Through the storm Duthie yells, “Get her away from me!”, hoping that someone will come to her rescue and awaken her from the nightmare. Simply awesome.
The single is out now on REX Records. Here’s hoping a new album is coming in 2019 and stardom shortly thereafter.
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