The Matinee ’18 November 2nd features everything from the classic to the contemporary, from the familiar to the inventive. The mini-playlist gets kicked off with a rising pop star.
Amanda Tenfjord – “Let Me Think” (Trondheim, Norway)
RIYL: Adele, Dagny, Sigrid, Lorde
Earlier this year we discovered a future pop star in the making. It only took a few seconds of hearing Amanda Tenfjord sing and we were instant fans. The singer (who should be called the Norwegian Adele because of what a sensation she is) wowed us with her “First Impression” single in April. In fact, we have counted the days until she would share new music. Finally, that day is here with the arrival of “Let Me Think.”
This sunny slice of indie pop is three minutes of concentrated perfection. Tenfjord pours so much emotion into her work that every note shines. Her voice already has a crystalline purity, so it needs no supplemental effects. But the addition of pulsing synths and an irresistible rhythm gives this gem a bit of extra sparkle. We expect to hear more greatness from Amanda Tenfjord in 2019 and beyond. The arrival of her debut album next year should help her achieve the success she deserves. While we don’t have a release date for it yet, you can still get your fix with her other singles.
Desert Liminal – “Pipedream” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Chromatics, John Maus, Pure Bathing Culture
One of the great benefits of music writing is discovering a band that gets you excited or has you saying expressions like “Wow” or “OMG”. Then we’re left pondering why we have not heard about the band before, which is the case with Desert Liminal. Sarah Jane Quillin and Rob Logan refer to their music as genre-evasive minimalism, and the description is pretty apt since they cannot be pigeonholed into any single category. Well there might be one – broodingly stunning, which is exactly what “Pipedream” is.
Bleak and mystifying, alluring and spine-tingling, “Pipedream” is a brilliant concoction of cinematic electronica, post-punk, and ethereal dark-pop. Quillin’s vocals are soft and immersive, as she describes the everyday scenario of people blaming others for their problems. Meanwhile, hallow keys, humming synths, and a stupendously urgent percussion fill the air, creating a bone-chilling atmosphere. The duo have taken us into the undisturbed corners of an underground cell or into the unoccupied parts of our own minds, where we are left to contemplate our own existence. Simply outstanding.
The single is available on Bandcamp.
Ghostly Kisses – “Touch” (Quebec City, Canada)
RIYL: Portishead, London Grammar, Massive Attack
It’s time to proclaim Margaux Sauvé and her project Ghostly Kisses as one of the most captivating artists around today. Everything – and we mean everything – she crafts is cinematic and stunning. And yet, she still hovers under the radar, but “Touch” should get more people talking about her incredible artistry.
The song is jaw-dropping gorgeous. By the end of it, you might find yourself saying, “My gosh, this is beautiful”, like we did. The trip-hop approach is akin to the breathtaking spectacle of Massive Attack and Portishead, where the beats are slowed to create the intimacy of a chance, midnight encounter. Strings are added to intensify the tension that exists between two lovers, who have grown apart. Sauvé’s vulnerable, shallow, yet enchanting vocals draw you further into this intimacy, and you’re left feeling her pain and loneliness – particularly as she sings:
“Can you tell me why, you keep your distance like this?
I want to feel your touch
I want to feel, I want to feel your touch”
Hollow Hand – “Milestone” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Whitney, Ryley Walker, Paul McCartney
Is it too early to refer to Max Kinghorn-Mills (who is better known as Hollow Hand) as a young Paul McCartney? Possibly, but his single “Blackberry Wine” sure had the ring of that Beatle. His latest single also echoes the legendary artist, so maybe we’re not premature in spreading such accolades.
“Milestone” is a piece of breezy, blissful coastal indie-rock. It’s the song you will add to your summer road-trip playlist and spin endlessly because it leaves you smiling and thinking of the moments when you took the “high route” and found “the time to open your eyes and look out”. If you’re in the car with a bunch of friends, you’ll be singing along and bobbing your head in unison once the bridge hits and the song reaches its cruising altitude. After it’s finished, you might agree that you’ve heard a star in the making.
Mill’s debut album, Star Chamber, is out now.
James Supercave – “Fools” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Methyl Ethel, Muse
If you read our review on James Supercave‘s last single, “Come Alone”, we referred to them as “chameleons of their craft”. Some may have shrug their shoulders at the comment since writers tend to overstate things from time-to-time, but we were kidding. Helping to prove the point, Joaquin Pastor, Patrick Logothetti, and Andrés Villalobos return with “Fools”.
Whereas “Come Alone” was sensual psychedelic-pop, the trio head into a funky, electro-rock direction. It is groovy, chilling, and immensely addictive. After pressing playing, involuntary head bobbing will ensure, as UMO-esque rhythms and beats cut through the air. Pastor’s voice, meanwhile, swirls in all directions, transforming from a piercing, seductive tone to the wail of a desperate man trying to escape from his prison after “slipping in the back seat”. Is his predicament the result of a drunken rage, being kidnapped, or just a man so consumed by his failings that he cannot dig himself out his self-made hole? Whatever the case may be, the band have given us not just a song to pass the time away until the weekend officially arrives, but one that has contemplating who are – or is – the fools.
James Supercave’s new EP drops January 25th. If you’re in the LA area, click here to pre-order a vinyl edition of the EP and get a ticket to their record release show at The Troubadour on January 26th.
Mating Ritual – “October Lover” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Pacific Air, Penguin Prison, Foreign Air
It’s barely been six months since brothers Ryan Marshall Lawhon and Taylor Lawhon released Light Myself on Fire, and they recently finished a tour with Penguin Prison. Since the siblings re-formed a little more than a year ago, though, they’ve been constantly writing, recording, and experimenting. As such, it’s no surprise that last week they released another single.
Sure, we’re in November, and we could have shared “October Lover” last month, but this tune is perfect for a Friday. On the one hand, it’s a euphoric, electro-pop anthem that will get the heart pumping, the legs moving in all directions, and having you spinning your head in circles. It’ll make you run, dance, and just forget about all the crap that you’ve encountered for the past week. At the same time, the lyrics will make you reminisce about what all the great memories made in October, whether that was falling in love with that special someone, sharing a moment with your soul mate, or taking an adventure. Like all great tunes, this one is timeless, and it can be heard every day of every month of the year.
Parliamo – “Sweet” (Perth, Scotland)
RIYL: The Strokes, Francobollo, Johnny Kills
We’ve all had the urge to shed the uniforms and stuffy suits we wear to work and run like the wind once the clock hits 5:00 PM on Friday (or maybe earlier). Who cares if people see us wearing underwear adorned with sheep, all that matters is that we don’t have to wear these clothes for a couple of days. Instead, what awaits are relaxing and hopefully fun times with our partners and mates. During such moments, we need a soundtrack. We need a song that makes us want to sprint out the doors while undoing our ties, unbuttoning our shirts, and exchanging our dress shoes for running shoes or sandals. Scottish outfit Parliamo are here to serve us with “Sweet”.
Right out of the gate, the quintet go full throttle with a wickedly catchy guitar riff and hip-shaking rhythms. Front man Jack Dailly’s first words, too, reflect our state of mind, as he sings, “I’m glad we learned to laugh about it, or otherwise we’d cry”. As the tune progresses, the energy picks up, and Dailly further reflects on the little moments he had with another and how he may never see her for several more days, if ever again. Well, it is the weekend, which is really the only days to spend quality time with our loved ones. Then it’s back to the grind, so make the most of it and let this tune help you make the most of the days ahead.
Parliamo’s new EP, The Thrill Of The Chase, is out now on Alt.Waves Records. The band is comprised of Jack Dailly (vocals), Finn Freeburn-Morrison (guitar), Calum Simpson (guitar), Fraser Nicholson (bass), and Ben France (drums).
Talkboy – “Over & Under” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Stars, Broken Social Scene, Superorganism
The newest single from Leeds based Talkboy is “Over & Under”. The band have continued to impress ever since releasing their debut “Mother” earlier this year. Their sound is a clever blend of anthemic rock that holds your attention from the first note to the last.
On “Over & Under” we hear a nice explosive sound overlayed with dual vocals that provide infectious harmonies throughout. The track begins with prominent percussion and continues to erupt with powerful guitar riffs and subtle keys that finish off their arena ready sound.
Guitarist Tim Malkin shares a bit about their newest track: “It’s s no secret that we all like a good party in Talkboy but personally, I increasingly get the feeling that I should be having way more fun than I am or that I should be way closer to the people around me than I am . I think that a lot of people go through the motions at social gatherings, to try and keep up appearances or whatever, whereas if they just let go of that kind of stuff they might have more meaningful relationships.”
Talkboy are Katie Heap (vocals), Calum Juniper (vocals), Tim Malkin (guitar), Charlotte Jones (keys), Tom Sargent (bass), and Jake Greenway (drums).
Una Stef – “Rock & Roll Dancer” (Reykjavik, Iceland)
RIYL: Robyn, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani
Every so often we discover an artist who stops us in our tracks. Usually those artists have something special we recognize immediately, whether it’s powerful vocals or a unique music style. Icelandic artist Una Stef dazzled us with both her stunning voice and her electrifying sound.
Her new single, “Rock & Roll Dancer”, takes listeners on a joyride through multiple decades and musical genres. Her voice is timeless yet you still hear faint hints of ’70s-era disco fused with modern-day pop. At one point Stef reminds you of Gwen Stefani or Christina Aguilera thanks to her fierce and impressive vocal range that is on full display at the chorus. But the verses have such a danceable sensibility that you know superstar Robyn must be jealous of this groove.
We don’t know much about this emerging superstar. She has been turning heads in Iceland, so it is only a matter of time before everyone else in the world notices her. An artist with a talent like hers simply cannot remain a hidden gem for long. Keep your eyes open, because we will share details about a full album once we know more. Until then, keep “Rock & Roll Dancer” in your playlist queue this weekend. These delicious beats will improve your every waking moment.
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