As The Clash once sang about, London is calling on The Matinee ’20 January 24 edition. Three of the seven artists/bands featured are from the city on the Thames. The others are from Sweden and the US. All of them, though, will get you excited for the weekend.

 

Brooke Bentham – “Control” (London, England)

RIYL: Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, TORRES

24 year old Brooke Bentham is a tour de force in the singer-songwriter world and we’re sure her career will be long and fruitful (we’ve been following her for a couple of years now). Her overall sound is powerful and reminiscent of The War On Drugs and reminds us of other strong women in the space (Angel Olsen or Sharon Van Etten).

“Control” is the third single from her debut album, Everyday Nothing. From the singles released so far, she could be in Best of Album territory. Her latest offering tackles the reality of a break up where there just are no answers, there is no reason why. The frustration and sadness of the subject matter is palpable as her friends are asking her why she doesn’t come around as much. Her obvious but completely introspective lyric is what every person might be thinking after suddenly losing someone they love “I need some kind of control to put me through not needing you”

We’ve already declared that Bentham has the potential to be a star. It’s quite possible 2020 is her year with Everyday Nothing being released February 28th.

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Heart Bones – “Don’t Read The Comments” (Minneapolis & Austin, USA)

RIYL: Har Mar Superstar, A Giant Dog, The New Pornographers, Danny & Sandy

Since Sean Tillmann – a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar – and Sabrina Ellis, who fronts A Giant Dog and Sweet Spirit – combined forces two years ago as Heart Bones, they rekindled our love affair for ’80s cinematic synth-pop. Essentially, they revived the classic sounds heard on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and made them fresh and modern. They continue this trend with their latest single, although with a slight difference.

“Don’t Read The Comments” is another fun, groovy tune that could either be on that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey movie or possibly even a Grease remake, where the two play the role of star-crossed lovers Danny and Sandy. The sweet melody will induce plenty of smiles and body swaying. Chuckles or even shocked expressions may occur when hearing the lyrics, but focus on the big picture and the moral of the song. With Ellis at the forefront, the pair encourage us to ignore the trolls and shit disturbers and keep your eye on the positives in yourself and life. They deliver this message, of course, in a very amusing way:

“Don’t read the comments / Let people bring you down
Put baby in the corner / Just try to wear him out
Don’t give it power / Or fill yourself with doubt
You know you are a flower surviving in a drought.”

The duo’s new album, Hot Dish, is out February 21st. Pre-order it on Bandcamp. This should be one of the year’s most clever and entertaining records.

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Imaginary People – “Hometown” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Editors, Bloc Party, mid-career U2

It might be the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, but for five minutes you’ll want to get in the car, put the windows down and, cold air be damned, blast “Hometown”, the new single from Imaginary People. Seriously, this song is an adrenaline rush that builds into a euphoric surge at its climax. While we cannot guarantee you won’t get frostbite, we know it will leave you exhilarated and motivated enough to tackle any problems you face.

Frontman Dylan Von Wagner’s vocals are calm and even serene as he describes how the things he remembered from his past, such as his hometown, have become unrecognizable. He realizes that like all organic entities, things evolve. But instead of wallowing in his memories, he encourages us to “turn the page” and move on. And move we shall as the blustery synths fill the air and hyper-stuttering rhythms lead us to forward. A chiming guitar at the end announces our arrival to the here-and-now, and it is glorious. It is as glorious as the first call of a songbird in spring, the orange-pierced sky from the approaching sunrise, and the first smile you see each morning. It’s a new day, so live it to its fullest!

Imaginary People are Dylan Von Wagner (vocals/guitar), Mark Roth (guitar), Justin Repasky (keys/synth), Kolby Wade (drums), Bryan Percivall (bass/synth), and additional synth work from Grant Zubritsky. Bands like this don’t come around too often.

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M. Ward – “Unreal City” (Portland, OR USA)

RIYL: Bright Eyes, Destroyer, Menomena

Someone tell the guy in the White House that credit for the new North American trade deal belongs to M. Ward (Monsters of Folk, She + Him). The Oregon-based indie folk-rock troubadour with Mexican heritage recorded his upcoming Migration Stories LP in Canada with the help of some Arcade Fire members. He drew inspiration from the global stories of families pursuing new lives against great odds. His tales have personal significance, as Ward’s own grandfather paid fifty cents to cross the U.S. border in 1911. We have long praised M. Ward’s collaborative spirit, and here his teamwork yields yet another instant classic.

The album’s second single, “Unreal City”, is a synth-driven exploration of a dream. It’s also highly addictive in a keep-it-on-repeat-for-hours way. Beneath its neon-bright pulses beats an urgent quest to find peace amid chaos. Not many artists can make references to apocalyptic tidal waves and forest fires sound so danceable. We can remain socially vigilant without missing a beat, which makes “Unreal City” a perfect anthem for these troubled times. 

Migration Stories arrives April 3 via ANTI- with pre-orders here.

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SORRY – “More” (London, England)

RIYL: Thyla, Drahla, Nelson Can

First, we have to give credit to one of our London-based photographers, Marcus Jamieson-Pond, for first mentioning SORRY, as he discovered them shooting a couple of gigs back in 2017. While only one month elapsed between the two shows, Marcus noticed a remarkable transformation, and maybe that November 2017 show was the turning point for the band because since then they’ve been blowing UK indie fans’ brains out. This is evident by their impressive following, and they’ve done it the old-fashion way – releasing singles, playing in all sorts of venues, and delivery knock-out live shows. Now childhood friends Asha Lorenz (lead vocals/guitar) and Louis O’Bryen (guitar/backing vocals) plus Lincoln Barrett (drums) and Campbell Baum (bass) are two months away from their big moment. Their debut album, 925, will be released on March 27th via Domino Records. The first single further demonstrates the band’s evolution.

Loosen up those neck muscles because “More” will have you incessantly bopping your head with the deep, hoarse bass line and the splattering drumming creating a hallucinating effect. Lorenz’s voice then filters through the throbbing to deliver words about greed, want, desire, and over-consumption. Her lyrics are concise, but they pack a punch in this age of self-interest. The knockout blow, though, comes in the form of O’Bryen’s overdriven, gnarled guitar at the end. It’s the perfect ending to a song that makes us think twice about our possessions.

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The Sweet Serenades – “The Night Goes On” (Stockholm, Sweden)


RIYL: Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, John Grant

Few things make us as happy as hearing new music from favourite artists. The latest from Swedish indie duo The Sweet Serenades reminds us why we first fell in love with their sound exactly four years ago. 

It’s baffling that this group comprised of Martin Nordvall and Mathias Näslund has not yet achieved household name status. Fans of ’80s New Wave and modern synth-pop have plenty to adore here, as their newest single, “The Night Goes On”, exhibits.

The icy synths at the start lay a foundation for a sleek hit balanced by their warm vocals. Soon your ears are flooded with fleeting guitar accents and staccato percussion that keeps your feet tapping. Each listen reveals a new dimension, so plan to keep this one on repeat. Also be prepared to have those hypnotic riffs (and the lyrics “Playing with my heart / Messing with my head”) stuck in your head for the foreseeable future. (Songs with this many hooks should come with a warning label!) Trust us, though: it’s worth it.

You can purchase this song on iTunes and stream The Sweet Serenades’ entire discography on Spotify.

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Weird Milk  – “Time Machine” (North London, England)

RIYL:  The Beach Boys x The Strokes

There were quite a few great tracks that were released at the tail end of last year. “Time Machine” by Weird Milk was one of them. The London quartet have just released the video for their most recent single release so we are excited to post about it in the new year.

Weird Milk’s sound is retro eclectic and in many ways electric. On their newest single we hear The Beach Boys influences mixed with hard guitar riffs akin to the Strokes and a chorus that could have come straight from Queen. It also might be a prerequisite to include any song that has “googled” in the lyrics, too. Their newest single is  definitely a certified bop.

The lyrical content is truly about getting away by seriously considering building a time machine. The track was actually inspired by the documentary Cosmos. So far Weird Milk could be considered weird yet wonderful as the 60s influences shine through while they offer a glossy and modern spin. Weird Milk is definitely busy this year with a quick UK tour followed by an appearance at SXSW as well as a few date state side. This could be the year that Weird Milk gains much deserved international attention.

Weird Milk is Zach Campbell (guitar, vocals), Alex Griffiths (guitar, vocals), Charlie Glover Wright (drums), Joe ‘Blue’ Moyle (keys), Harry Zwaig (bass).

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