Like yesterday, The Matinee ’18 November 9th edition has a strong overseas presence with more than half the songs coming from Australian artists and bands. This is just evidence of how the music scene Down Under is flourishing. The mini-playlist also includes a duo of young teenagers, a super-duo, one of the UK’s best young bands, and one of the most hilarious songs of the year (heck, decade).
Julia Jacklin – “Head Alone” (Blue Mountains, Australia)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Bessie Turner
Julia Jacklin is constantly moving, literally and figuratively. Since releasing her superb debut album, Don’t Let the Kids Win, in 2016, she has been endlessly touring, criss-crossing the globe at least three times and possibly more. While touring, she and her friends Ryan K Brennan and Liz Hughes put the final touches on Phantastic Ferniture‘s eponymous debut album, which was a more joyous affair the intimacy of Jacklin’s solo album. Given her restless nature, it’s not a surprise that the young woman from the beautiful Blue Mountains region of Australia finished her sophomore album while on the road.
Crushing arrives February 22nd, 2019 with Liberation Records (AUS/NZ), Polyvinyl Records (North America), and Transgressive Records (Europe) doing the honors of sharing it with the world. The first single, “Body”, was shared a month ago, and it was a quietly devastating and emotionally crippling number. Single number two is another stunner.
“Head Alone”. The track echoes Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten in their early years, as the song commences softly before developing into a surging, indie-rock storm. Jacklin’s vocals, in turn, move from angelic to that of a desperate woman seeking to carve out space from those who want to be close to her. She wants to recapture her autonomy and privacy, which are messages previously shared on “Body”. As she succinctly states:
“I don’t want to be touched all the time.
I raised my body up to be mine.”
Jacklin has a handful of tour dates scheduled for the end of the year, and she’ll be back on the road in February to promote the new album. Dates and information are available here.
Canary – “Two Step” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Rubblebucket, Plants and Animals
Down Under, summer is just three weeks away, and the music, like the weather, is starting to warm up and become more energizing. Now not every tune needs to be a massive anthem or a club-worthy jam, but it should fun and induce plenty of smiling. This is exactly how you’ll feel after listening to “Two Step”, the new single from Melbourne hidden gems, Canary.
The song is like a mariachi band joining Broken Social Scene for one of their crowd-pleasing numbers. It’s a little herky-jerky, a little jangly, and all out fun. It’s the perfect tune to play at the beach, where it will entice all the swimmers to come ashore and get all the sunbathers off their backs and dancing. Even the older folks will be shimmying their shoulders and tapping their toes, or maybe they’ll be “taking two steps forward, now two steps back” and then “pulled to the left, pulled to the right”. Obviously, the song isn’t like the “Hokey Pokey” and calling out dance moves, but this little story about pushing forward will have you strutting to the lyrics.
Canary are Matthew Kenneally (vocals/guitars), Ed Fairlie (trumpet/beatbox/percussion), Adam Dean (guitars), Lachlan O Kane (drums), and Isaac Barter (bass). Here’s hoping someone has lined them up for a beach party this summer.
Heart Bones – “Little Dancer” (Minneapolis and Austin, USA)
RIYL: Har Mar Superstar, A Giant Dog, Dirty Dancing soundtrack
Just a little over a week ago, Sean Tillmann – a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar – and Sabrina Ellis, who fronts A Giant Dog and Sweet Spirit, unveiled the first song from their ’80s pop-revivalist project, Heart Bones. “This Time It’s Different” was exquisite synth-pop made for the big screen. Specifically, it sounded right out of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, which the duo will actually perform in full on their upcoming tour (dates on Har Mar Superstar’s website). Of course, they will be performing original material, but we dare anyone who goes to try to figure out what is old and new (with the exception being “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”). One new tune they’ll surely perform is “Little Dancer”.
The pair go nu-disco on this addictive track, which is the perfect 2 AM tune. It’s a little darker but immensely sultry, where you’ll find yourself spinning within the humming synths and the seductive beats. What makes the song, however, is the duo’s songwriting, as they’ve created a little anthem for Patrick Swayze’s character, Johnny, and even the man himself. There are clever references to both the real and fictitious man, from the uncontrollable energy that exists within him to his surly ways to his constant thoughts on cancer. One thing he can do well, however, is dance, and he offers to be Baby’s little dancer forever. So romantic!
Love, Jerks – “Holding Out For A Rocker” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Deerhoof, Deerhunt, “Weird Al” Jankovic
If you’re looking for witty, whimsical, and totally whacked album to entertain you this weekend, then head to Bandcamp and pick up Love, Jerks‘ Million Movies. The project of married duo Bryan Garza and Rebecca Garza-Bortman, Love, Jerks’ debut LP is an absolute riot. Think Deerhoof after each band member has consumed a dozen espressos. One of the album’s most amusing numbers is “Holding Out For A Rocker”.
The song is quirky AF but fun, cheeky, and addictive. The best part, however, are the duo’s lyric, which are filled with pop-culture references and hilarious analogies. Usually we write a lot more about a song, but there isn’t much more to say. Instead, simultaneously spin the tune or watch the video below and read the lyrics here. If we could, we would share all them all here, but some of our favorite lines are:
“RGB: She needs a man who works as hard as he can.
BPG: Like Tony Danza with the plan.
RGB: She wants a dude with a can-do attitude.
BPG: Like MacGyver. Season Two.”
Then there are these lyrics, which any 15-year old boy growing up in 1985 likely did.
“RGB: She needs a dude with a romantic clue.
BPG: Taking notes from John Hughes.”
METHYL ETHEL – “Real Tight” (Perth, Australia)
RIYL: James Supercave, Holy Holy, Royal Canoe
When Jake Webb and his band mates – Thom Stewart, Chris Wright, Lyndon Blue and Jacob Diamond – share “Scream Whole” (a song-of-the-year candidate) last month, flags went up. Way up! A new album was anticipated, and sure enough yesterday Methyl Ethel announced that TRIAGE will be delivered in February 2019. Dot Dash Recordings / Remote Control Records (AUS/NZ) and 4AD (World) will administer its release, and it will be one of the new year’s most anticipated records.
In addition to the news, the quintet unveiled the record’s second single, “Real Tight”. This is yet another tune that has an “OMG” effect. It is a dazzling mix of pop, shoegaze, art-rock, and funk. The orchestration is superb, as the chiming guitar, probing bass, and spatial synths work harmoniously together. Webb’s vocals are urgent, as he exclaims, “I don’t want to be left behind” and later admits, “Well I cannot lie, I don’t feel right”. It’s a startlingly revealing admission from an artist who has been more cryptic and poetic in his lyrics. Musically, however, “Real Tight” is a brilliant piece of artistry.
Moscow Apartment – “Orange” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Oh Pep!, Little Quirks, Ferris & Sylvester
“Orange” is the newest single by Canadian duo Moscow Apartment. The amazing thing is that the band is comprised of 15 and 16-year-old duo Brighid Fry and Pascale Padilla.
Their demo for the single was originally submitted to the Canadian Songwriting Competition and won in the Under 18 category. They then went back into the studio and co-produced the final version with Guillermo Subauste. “Orange” is proof that age means nothing in music if talent and drive both exist. So far the female duo are poised to make even more waves outside of their home country with a bit more exposure. The vocals shimmer on this track and the single provides us with a drop of indie folk as well as an upbeat pop vibe that will definitely get you moving.
The duo share a bit about the track:“Orange” is about the weird twilight-zone feeling that happens sometimes at sunset – when things suddenly don’t feel real, like everything around you is a movie.
The duo are currently working hard on their second EP which will be released through Hidden Pony Records. They are now part of the Slaight Music Family after winning their It’s Your Shot competition.
The Orielles – “Bobbi’s Second World” (Halifax & Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Chic, Yumi Zouma, Men I Trust
Despite their youth, The Orielles, who look like they could still be studying for their A levels (and maybe they are), are revivalists. Forget following in the well-worn, top-40 paths that similarly-aged artists are following, the band have largely drawn inspiration from the ’80s and early ’90s. Esmé Dee Hand Halford (lead vocals/bass), Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar/vocals), and Sidonie B Hand Halford’s (drums/vocals) debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, ranged from gritty indie rock to the Brit glam-rock. The then trio is now a quartet with the addition of keyboardist Al Morgan Stephens, and they’ve, consequently, broaden their musical palette.
“Bobbi’s Second World”. The single is Chic-esque – it is smooth, cool, dizzying, and one outrageously addictive tune. It’s a song that cannot be hear sitting down. Instead, get up and break out your best dance moves or, as they said some forty years ago, get funky! But if you’re the sitting down type, appreciate Esmé’s little story about a young woman getting a second chance and becoming “a lady now”. If you pay close attention, there’s a little Jackie Brown (the Quentin Tarantino movie) in her words. Hmmm… maybe the great filmmaker will draw inspiration from this tune for his next movie.
The single is out on PIAS Recordings. Let’s hope this is the first hint that a new album is on the horizon.
Samsaruh – “The Beginning” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Sahara Beck, Holy Wars, Adele
At 19-years old, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Samsaruh opened a lot of eyes, including ours, when she released the dark and brooding, femme fatale anthem, “Beautiful Killer”. A year later, she has delivered another memorable number.
Imagine for a moment Pat Benatar fronting Arctic Monkeys for a song, and together they unleash a powerful, dark pop-rock blazer. This is what the young Aussie has done. The edgy, euphoric rock approach immediately catches your attention with its suspenseful vibe. However, the young Aussie’s songwriting and powerful vocals are what leave a lasting impression. As the rhythms pound and the guitar sears in the background, Samsaruh unleashes on all her naysayers and the men who try to tie her down. But instead of succumbing to their wishes and advances, she assertively stands her ground and tells them to screw off. She’s also telling us to follow her lead.
If Samsaruh continues down this path, she just might be this generation’s Pat Benatar.
Strange Talk – “Cosmic Synchronicity” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Cut Copy, Ra Ra Riot, A Silent Film
Strange Talk (Stephen Docker and Gerard Sidhu) are back with a new single titled “Cosmic Synchronicity”. It’s been two years since there has been a new release from Strange Talk.
The band is now back to original members Stephen and Gerard who began in their bedrooms in 2011. Their new sound returns back to their original roots with a slice of the electronic world as well as a side offering of indie synthpop. “Cosmic Synchronicity” sounds as if they have found their new sound. With their signature blend of addictive beats present as well as having dream like harmonies, the duo could be ready to virally rise to the top once again. It will be interesting to witness the band’s re-birth and see where their new sound ends up taking them.
“Cosmic Synchronicity” is out now on all digital platforms and is self released by Strange Talk.
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