For this final mini-playlist of the year, The Matinee ’18 December 14th edition is memorable. There are blazers and hip-shakers, grueling tunes, and intimate ballads. It’s the perfect eclectic mix that captures how great 2018 was in terms of new music.
angelic milk – “acid & coca-cola” (St. Petersburg, Russia)
RIYL: Alice Glass, The Raveonettes, Dream Wife
Through her band angelic milk, Sarah Persephona has either dazzled us with engrossing dream pop or overwhelmed us with her blustery grunge-pop. The young St. Petersburg native, who is still a teenager the last we checked, is an emerging tour de force within indie circles with the talent to rival the likes of Wolf Alice, Dream Wife, and HINDS. What makes her such a promising and exciting artist is that she’s not willing to stay stagnant, and her new single sees Persphona traverse into new territory.
“acid & coca-cola” is angelic milk at their startling darkest and heaviest. The song is a Gothic-pop tune that combines the trembling and bleak music of Alice Glass up with fierce and electrifying alt-rock of The Raveonettes. At first listen, it is more appropriate for Halloween than New Year’s Eve, but then again given the events of 2018 the song – and Persephona’s lyrics – perfectly captures the gloomy year it has been for so many people. And how many rely on the artificial to either escape the chaos or to survive within it. Simply brilliant.
Emmy Wildwood – “Everything Hurts” (Brooklyn via Tucson, USA)
RIYL: Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Sia
“Everything Hurts” is the newest release from artist Emmy Wildwood. Not only is she a talented singer/songwriter but a fashion curator and stylist via her company Secret Weapon Fashion. Her newest single includes Ms. Wildwood’s delicate but strong vocals set to a smart 80s inspired beat. So far Emmy Wildwood is releasing empowering singles that every woman can relate to.
Ms. Wildwood shares that her new track was inspired by the moment that survival instincts kick in during a crisis. She explains: “We’re taught as women to constantly withstand everything in all of our relationships, romantic or otherwise, so things have to be really bad to get the strength to fight for fair treatment and justice,” she says. “Because we’re taught not to speak out, it’s in those rock bottom situations that we tend to find or remember our power.”
“Everything Hurts” is available now on iTunes.
N0V3L – “Natural” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Talking Heads, Shopping, Preoccupations
From the label that shone the spotlight on Preoccupations and Women comes what could be Canada’s next great post-punk band. Meet N0V3L, who like Parquet Courts and even Preoccupations is keeping a low profile on social media. They are instead going to let their music do the speaking for them, and this is an excellent strategy especially when they can release herky-jerky tunes like “Natural”.
“Natural” isn’t the typical post-punk tune that is heard these days. Instead, the quintet bridge the sounds of three distinct parts of the globe into one gritty ear-worm. It is one part the succinct, angular post-punk of London, where bands like Shopping have made a habit of making the genre enticing to even those who prefer dancefloors over mosh pits. The band then add the new wave and art-rock that emanated from New York City in the ’80s. The off-kilter arrangements, highlighted by the saxophone, and the rhythmic vocals echo the Talking Heads in their heydays. Then there is the influence of Calgary’s Preoccupations, where the lingering, chiming guitar opens and paces the tune. It adds a sinister quality to the dark, jumpy affair. Like most post-punk songs, this one has a clever, underlying story of trying to be yourself in this materialistic world.
pizzagirl – “Pizza For Christmas” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Her’s, Phil Collins, Westerman
“Pizza For Christmas” is a fun new single shared by Liam Brown (aka pizza girl). It’s only fitting to provide a Christmas themed single on our last matinee of the year from the 20-year-old artist. Each single he has released so far is pretty much dripping with ultimate 80s vibes. Hopefully everyone that started off alone on Christmas ends with a knock at the door with that certain special someone holding mistletoe. The track also has a nice Christmas bells theme going on and is the perfect track to spin if you are missing your loved one during the holiday season.
Liam shares “The winter winds have destroyed your phone line, the internet’s down and you’re snowed in, PLUS your baby can’t make it this Christmas. You slump to your freezer after burning that turkey you slaved over and it finally hits you, you’re eating Pizza for Christmas”
“Pizza For Christmas” is out via Heist or Hit Records.
Primer – “A Broken Person’s Game” (Detroit, USA)
RIYL: Bat for Lashes, Mint Julep, Beach House
We’re at the time of year where we often take the time to reflect on what was. There are many moments to celebrate and others that we would like to completely forget. Then there are those moments that leave an everlasting scar, and while at first the pain is insufferable we emerge stronger. This latter example is captured on Primer‘s new single, “A Broken Person’s Game”.
First, it must be noted that Primer is the project of vocalist/producer Alyssa Midcalf, who is one half of electro-pop duo Parts. Now embarking on a solo career, the young Michigan artist’s new single is absolutely gorgeous and intimate. Her synth and beat work are delicate yet intricate, as she allows each note to echo loudly to represent the dark enclosure in which she is trapped. Through the beautiful bleakness rises her stirring voice, which reveals her daily struggles and the lengths she goes to hide her pain. As she achingly sings, “I want to feel that love is real”, you, too, hope she gets to experience this emotion. That you, too, hope to love again.
Prateek Kuhad – “cold/mess” (New Dehli, India)
RIYL: RHYE, Cigarettes After Sex, My Morning Jacket (on the low key)
Prateek Kuhad is an artist on the rise in India as well as overseas with the likes of NPR and Rolling Stone India singing his praises. Way back in July, he released a new EP called, cold/mess, which went viral (it’s a pretty great record). We missed it then, but we’re not going to miss it now. Better late than never right? We have to share the title track because it is truly OMG worthy!
We generally don’t share love tunes because most sound like the rest. This one, though, isn’t a straightforward love song. Imagine if Mike Milosh of Rhye or Cigarettes After Sex’s Greg Gonzalez collaborated with My Morning Jacket for a tune, and that’s what you essentially get with this tune. Kuhad’s storytelling is fantastic, as he goes through the moment he fell in love with his soul mate and the times they fought, argued, and hopefully reunited. The song is filled with so many breathtaking moments – and it has two crescendos – that you’ll need an oxygen tank to revive yourself after it comes to a close.
The EP is available on your favorite streaming platform and for purchase at the usual places.
Seance Crasher – “Shotgun” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala, Todd Rundgren
Seance Center is an emerging indie outfit from Portland, Oregon, with a fresh and funky sound. Their new single, “Shotgun”, offers sun-kissed warmth to invigorate you during these blah winter months. Prepare to be dazzled and delighted as this song draws you into its kaleidoscopic soundscape. We aren’t kidding: this is pure ear candy and highly addictive.
One reason is the hypnotic quality of frontman Kevin Rafn’s vocals. (Think Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker sipping a chai latte.) Add onto that cozy smoothness some vibrant pop hooks and an infectious groove, and you’ve got one irresistible piece of musical art. Seance Crasher then up the ante by adding the freshest flute sounds since Beastie Boys sampled jazz great Jeremy Steig on “Sure Shot” back in the mid-‘90s.
If this song is any indication, the coming year should see Seance Crasher’s fanbase extend across the globe. You can find their earlier releases on Bandcamp while their forthcoming album, Gentle Cycle, is expected early next year.
Seance Crasher includes: Kevin Rafn, Lia Gist, Scott Harlan, James Taylor, and Alexander Thomas.
Smoke Rings – “Camcorder” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: The Belligerents, Avers, Okkervil River
It’s the time of year Down Under where the barbecues are burning, the beer is flowing, and family and friends are gathering for reunions, parties, and summertime getaways. Plenty of memories will be made in the coming weeks, and they have to be captured in some way. While today we just take out our smartphones and take a photo or a video, back in our youth someone, usually our dads, grabbed the “Camcorder” to document the events. Melbourne indie rockers Smoke Rings brilliantly capture this bit of nostalgia on their awesome new single.
This is feel-good, summertime music in all its glory. It’s a tune you could spin on a road trip and feel alive. Play it at a backyard BBQ party and watch everyone either tap their toes or bop around. Like watching an old VHS tape of an old festive gathering, the song will make you smile, feel refresh, and want to recapture those feelings of old. It’ll make you realize that you are a part of this place you call home.
Smoke Rings are Lauren Heron, Shane O’keeffe, Jon Wright, Liam Gough, and Elliott Weston. Like the festivities begin!
Sunwatchers – “Beautiful Crystals” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: King Crimson, early Genesis, Jaco Pastorius
If your musical travels have not yet taken you to the magical land of Sunwatchers, you are in luck: their new “Beautiful Crystals” single is a mind-bending journey. Brace yourself for the trip that follows.
“Beautiful Crystals” is a Jedi mind trick set to psychedelic grooves. The myriad parts of this tune – specifically, psych rock and jazz and avant-garde elements – might not seem congruous at first, but the seamless fusion here definitely works. Throughout the song’s nearly seven-minute odyssey you are treated to wild, vivid riffs and countless flashes of brilliance. If the late Jaco Pastorius had taken a peyote-filled desert drive with King Crimson and Frank Zappa, the result might sound like Sunwatchers.
Dive into this single now to prepare yourself for what lies ahead on their forthcoming album, Illegal Moves. You can pre-order it from Bandcamp or iTunes. The LP arrives February 22 via Trouble in Mind Records/Castle Face Records.
Sunwatchers are: Jim McHugh (guitar), Peter Kerlin (bass), Jeff Tobias (alto sax), Jason Robira (drums), and Cory Bracken (percussion).
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