The Matinee ’18 November 27th – Part 2 is loaded with artists and bands to watch for 2019. You might not know the names now, but you will in short time. After discovering these names, discover another set of seven in Part 1, which is here.
Magdalena Bay – “Ghost” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: BROODS, Kimbra, Debbie Gibson
Those who have been following Magdalena Bay since their arrival two years know that 22-year-old Mica Tenenbaum (songwriting/vocals) and 23-year-old Matthew Lewin (songwriting/vocals/production) were born in the wrong decade. The Philadelphia-based duo should have been born in the ’60s and playing music in the ’80s and ’90s because their brand of synth-pop is not only nostalgic but immensely addictive like the sugariest candy. The retro influence, however, is not limited to just their infectious sound, but in the stories they write. Case in point: “Ghost”.
This tune is simply euphoric. The pair say it’s like a collaboration between MGMT and Britney Spears, and there are definitely hints of that with the booming, upbeat approach and Tenenbaum’s sparkling vocals. Yet for ’80s music fans, the likes of Debbie Gibson, Human League, and Soft Cell will come to mind when hearing the bustling beats and the delectable synths. The storyline, meanwhile, is inspired from the 1985 Hong Kong horror-comedy film, Mr. Vampire, which is about a group of locals fending off vampires. Specifically, it concerns a seductive ghost overtaking a man’s body. So when you listen to the track, imagine Lewin and Tenenbaum playing the different roles and then get lost in their sultry little affair (or maybe chuckle).
October Drift – “Come And Find Me” (Taunton, England)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, A Place To Bury Strangers, City Calm Down
Two years ago, Hollie mentioned October Drift as a band to watch, as they recalled the early days of My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division. Earlier this year, we named them one of our Artists to Watch in 2018 with their explosive combination of post-punk, art-rock, and shoegaze. The quartet of Kiran Roy (vocals/guitar), Dan Young (guitar), Alex Bipsham (bass), and Chris Holmes (drums), however, have had a much quieter year than expected, but hopefully that means big things are coming in 2019. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that “Come And Find Me” is the snowball that creates the avalanche in the new year.
Get ready to have your blood pressure raised several notches and prepare for your eyes to bulge from their sockets because “Come And Find Me” is an exhilarating, propulsive, and energizing number. The guitars howl and screech throughout the song’s 212-second duration while the rhythms throb throb like an intense migraine. However, you embrace the pain instead of turning away because it is rejuvenating and makes you feel alive. Roy’s steely vocals also make you feel renewed, in particularly as he calmly hollers:
“I’m the silver stake,
I create my fate when I’m dying.
We just might have to name October Drift as Artists to Watch in 2019 because they are on the verge of a massive breakthrough.
Oxen – “Årstaberg” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles, Arcade Fire
It’s not often I wish I could turn back time, but if I could it would be rewind the clocks to 2016 when Erik Hases and Stefan Söderqvist first unveiled their project Oxen to the world. Don’t let the number of followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter fool you – these two young Swedes are immensely talented. They can easily deliver a hip-shaking, Vampire Weekend-like tune (which they did not so long ago with “Postpone”) or unleash one majestic art-rock number. Trust us when we say “Årstaberg” is a song you must hear. For that matter, it is a serious contender for one of the best tracks of the year.
“Årstaberg” recalls the great Grizzly Bear in their early years, brimming with an off-kilter rock approach that is infectious, a touch suspenseful, and completely captivating. There is even a touch of early U2, specifically in The Edge-like delayed guitar riffs. What makes the song, though, are its multiple transitions, which are brilliantly delivered and something not even the most experienced artists or bands are unable to do. Erik’s voice, meanwhile, mirrors Daniel Rossen with its piercing but stirring tone and songwriting approach. He takes something familiar – a suburb in Stockholm – and turns it into a place of creative and introspective exploration. Seriously, listen immensely closely to this tune and appreciate its brilliance.
Then get Oxen’s debut album, Postpone And Forget, which is available here.
Red Telephone – “Victoria Park” (Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: The Yardbirds, Smith Westerns, Whitney
In their more formative years, Declan Andrews, Kieran O’Brien, and Toby Andrews probably spent countless hours rummaging through their parents’ and grandparents’ vinyl collection and listening to The Beatles, The Doors, The Yardbirds, The Byrds, and any psychedelic band from the ’60s and ’70s. How else does one explain a new-ish band (Red Telephone formed nearly a year ago) foregoing the Tame Impala path in favor of a timeless approach? In favor of a sound that will equally resonate with septuagenarians and Generation Z’s? It takes a special song to reach so many people, which is exactly what “Victoria Park” is.
“Victoria Park” is a trippy jaunt through a bygone era and a time when music made you feel like you were naturally hallucinating. If you’re the nostalgic sort, the head-swaying melody and bubbly rhythms may have you thinking about times spent at your favorite park or your backyard during a pleasant autumn day. While the air is cool, the sun’s rays offer warmth while also illuminating the colors on the leaves. There you might reminisce of the days of yesteryear, such as what Andrews recounts:
“Sat by the leaf-filled swimming pool I think of games I once played
With friends I saw each day but haven’t seen for an age.
Victoria Park you had my heart all through the years.
Victoria Park will see me grow old.”
This classic psychedelic approach, however, will never get tiresome, especially when a young band like Red Telephone captures its essence yet makes it feel new.
Shy Shy Shy – “Joyride” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Poliça, Wy, Pole Siblings
In the face of disappointment and sadness, we have two choices – succumb to it or persevere. Actually, Shy Shy Shy, the Danish project led by Astrid Cordes and Simon Kjeldgaard, offer a third way – celebrate it by turning it into an extravagant art display. Or in this case, make it into an utterly gorgeous and jaw-dropping song.
Before you hit play, eliminate all distractions around you and appreciate this thing of beauty. Listen closely to the slight strums of Kjeldgaard’s guitar and the light synths that hum in the background at first. Immerse yourself in Cordes’ feathery vocals and her stirring lyrics, which articulate one woman’s struggles to find happiness among the pain. Then lose yourself in the final climax, which is not just breathtaking but startlingly cinematic. Afterwards, find a little hope, where even within stormy moments a ray of sunshine will beam upon us.
“I’m saying my goodbyes
To dreams and sweet illusions.
Leave myself behind,
All I do is joyride.
I’m not stopping at the red lights.
All I do is joyride.
I got nowhere to go tonight.
No hands on the steering wheel.
The wind in my face is all I feel.
All I do is joyride.”
Silverbacks – “Just In The Band” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Iceage, Ought, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
So many bands get lost in the shuffle and undeservedly so. In the case of Dublin art-punk outfit, Silverbacks, they’ve hovered under the radar for seven years. Granted, when they first formed in 2011, Daniel (guitar/vocals), Kilian (guitar/vocals), Peadar (guitar), Emma (bass/vocals), and Gary (drums) likely treated the project as a hobby more than a career. Last year, though, they released their debut EP, Sink the Fat Moon, and since then they’ve dedicated more time to their craft in an attempt to making this more than a basement project. The investment is paying off with their last single, “Dunkirk”, getting coverage on Paste Magazine and other sites. Their latest one is also getting quite a bit of airplay, and it’s not difficult to understand why.
“Just In The Band” is a quirky, rollicking number in the mould of Iceage and Ought. The herky-jerky rhythms and off-kilter, full-throttle, three-headed guitar monster immediately catch your attention, and they may cause some involuntary gyrating or head bopping. You might not, however, want to spin this in a room of flashing lights because the combination might cause an epileptic shock. But everywhere else, spin it loud for everyone to hear and then watch a flash mob emerge. Or sit back and enjoy Daniel’s trippy story about the trials and tribulations about being in a band. Maybe Cameron Crowe can write a movie about Silverbacks based on this song, just like he did for Almost Famous.
The song and the band’s previous material can be found on Bandcamp. Check it out before they explode.
SLIDE – “Laugh Some More” (Sweden)
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Editors
The Swedes are coming! Anyone who has been paying moderate attention to the music scene already realizes that the Scandinavian country is a hotbed for new music. Things are getting overheated with the arrival of Slide, which is the brand new project of Albin Skeppholm and Simon Werner. A little more than a week ago, they released their debut single, “Laugh Some More”, and it’s easy to understand why Music Could Talk /AWAL signed the duo despite having a limited portfolio.
The single echoes AM-era Arctic Monkeys – a dark but sleek number that feels like a midnight rendez-vous between two old foes. The grimy guitar and the stuttering rhythms create the eerie and sinister atmosphere for the duo’s story of a person trying to move beyond an unhealthy relationship. As they advise: “Find the cure / Find the cause / Know your pain”.
The band will have more answers – and maybe an antidote for our troubles – when their debut EP, Into Happiness, arrives in the spring of 2019.
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