The Matinee ’20 January 29 will help you get over hump day with a wide variety of new music. There are uplifting tunes, thoughtful tracks, and even the bizarre. One thing is certain – you’ll be entertained by this selection.

 

Alex the Astronaut – “I Think You’re Great” (Sydney, Australia)

RIYL: Alex Lahey, Courtney Barnett, Camp Cope

Nearly four years ago, Alex Lynn’s project, Alex the Astronaut, entered the orbit of our little planet with “Holes in the Story”. The Sydney-born singer-songwriter was based in New York at the time, having earned a football (i.e., soccer) scholarship at Long Island University. As she studied to possibly be an astronaut, she created her own label (Minkowski Records), released an EP, and won the hearts of people in the Big Apple and across Australia with her brilliant storytelling and optimism. Well, these are the reasons why we’ve continued to share her music through the years. Another reason we adore her is her incredible knack of releasing smile-inducing songs during bleaker times.

“I Think You’re Great” is just the tonic we need with everything happening around us. With a rolling drum beat and a slacker-rock guitar riff, the song immediately creates a warm, fuzzy feeling inside you. Head swaying soon follows before Lynn even sings a note. But when she does, everything gets brighter and more positive, as if the sun has broken through dark clouds. She’s like our best friend who is always making things seem better:

“But you don’t always have to smile
You don’t only have to cry at night
When tears stain your face
You’re not feeling brave
I’ll be there again and again
‘Cause I think you’re great.”

Alex the Astronaut is heading to SXSW (it’s about time!), then hitting a handful of North America cities. Check her website for more information.

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Camden Welles – “Talking To Myself” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: CRUISR,  Young Rising Sons, Walk the Moon

Late last year Camden Welles appeared on scene with a new single and have since released their debut EP, Cold Blue Light. The EP tackles not only cell phone addition on this track, but the dangers of being addicted to social media with the single “Pretty Ugly”. Upon further research, the band is actually a rebirth of NJ-born Young Rising Sons.

Any YRS fan can easily identify singer Andy Tongren at first listen. “Talking To Myself” is an 80’s inspired track that tackles the seriousness of being addicted to your smart phone and the separation it can bring in any relationship.

“You seem to be trapped inside that screen that you’ve been staring through
Stuck in the cold blue light”

The driving bass gives a serious tone to the track which goes right along with the lyrical subject matter. The electronic elements are layered in a shiny synth pop shell and as the chorus hits, can actually brighten ones mood.  The track still feels smooth yet upbeat and the foursome seem right at home with their new sound and purposeful subject matter that has so far been explored as Camden Welles.

Camden Welles will be performing for the first time February 23 in Asbury Park, NJ supporting flor and along with Winnetka Bowling League. For all you NJ/NY residents, you can get tickets here.

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Deeper – “This Heat” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: OMNI, Ought, Television

Post-punk is often equated to being dark, bleak, and eerie. Call it the Joy Division effect (and we love the band), but this fantastic genre does have a flip side. If done correctly, post-punk can also be exhilarating and hypnotic. It can cause us to lose control and dance until the wee hours of the morning. The song just needs to have a bouncy bass line, a catchy riff, and some knee-slapping rhythms. Oh, a lead singer who can simultaneously channel Robert Smith, John Lydon, and Gary Numan sure helps. This entire combination is featured on Deeper‘s ear-worm of a new single, “This Heat”.

Rev up the time machine because the Chicago-based band take us to the underground punk-rock clubs of Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds in the ’70s. These were the days when 200 or 300 young and older adults packed a space meant for 75, yet everyone danced, thrashed their heads, or bounced in one spot all night. These were moments to feel alive, and this song fills your body with adrenaline. Although the music is upbeat and energizing, front man Nic Gohl shares a little tale of us “crossing the line” from the darkness and into the light. He offers words of encouragement to everyone who has or is battling depression. “Come back to me”, he beckons near the end, as if he’s extending his hand to help us out of the bleak abyss. Whether you want to grab hold is up to you, but we’ve already accepted Gohl (vocals/guitar), Shiraz Bhatti (drums), and Drew McBride’s (bass) bombastic offering.

“This Heat” is the lead single from Deeper’s sophomore album, Auto-Pain. The record will be released March 27th on Fire Talk Records. Pre-orders are available on Bandcamp.

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Elephant Stone – “We Cry For Harmonia” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Temples, The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre

We have been singing the praises of Elephant Stone for many years now. The Montreal-based band have an impeccable winning streak for creating mindbending psychedelic fare. Their newest single from the forthcoming Hollow LP is further proof of their talents.

“We Cry For Harmonia” takes listeners to new dimensions, thanks to the kaleidoscopic nature of their sound. Silky smooth psych rock shifts from dream-pop into ambient shoegaze with such fluid ease that you become hypnotized. 

You can’t quite put your finger on what is so appealing about this song at this moment until frontman Rishi Dhir utters the line “This place is far too cold.” Then it hits you. Ah, yes, that’s the secret of Elephant Stone’s sitar-accented music: it transports you to a place of idyllic escape, far from snowy scenes or bleak news. Bask in the warmth of this song. Revel in its quest for a way to escape from the cold and pain of life. Elephant Stone will in turn reward you with a four-minute reprieve from it all. It will be the most blissful trip you can take today.

Hollow is slated for a February 14th release date on their own Elephants on Parade label with pre-orders here and Bandcamp. They are currently on tour in Europe and return to Canada in late February.

Elephant Stone are: Rishi Dhir, Miles Dupire, Jason Kent, and Robbie MacArthur.

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golda – “Under” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Lorde, Wilsen, Rodes Rollins

Despite the ominous start to 2020, one great thing that the year has brought us is outstanding music from young, new artists that have the potential to be stars. They move us physically with infectious sounds yet rattle and unnerve our souls with lyrics and stories that are frighteningly real. Forget about songs that make us think about tiptoeing through lush meadows and signing about the one they love. Nope, they’re sharing tales about lost, confusion, anxiety, fear, and dissolution, which is what LA-based golda has done on her sophomore single, “Under”.

The track is simply a work of pure brilliance. Through smattering beats, a quietly urgent synth, and a distant guitar, golda’s voice wavers from intimate to desperation. As the song gradually intensifies and the instrumentation blurs to create the feeling of falling into the vortex of chaos, she shares her experience with trying to help someone get “out of the darkness”. But instead of them seeing the light, they’ve pulled her into their spiraling world and she’s unable to get out. This song will have the same effect – you won’t be able to get it out of your head.

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Max Frost – “Back in the Summer” (Austin, USA)

RIYL: Coast Modern, Joywave, Saint Motel

Austin-born musician Max Frost has been quiet lately with only a few singles released in 2019. He comes at us full force with a January banger that takes us back to warm and sunny days on “Back in the Summer”. The song brings back nostalgia for those really hot summer days as the lyrics describe “I remember seatbelts, hot to the touch, but never Hotter than how we felt, hot as our feet on concrete

After the feel good nostalgia of having fun in the sun and the acknowledgement of a remarkable romance, now that it comes to an end, the question lies – can we just go back?

“You know that I got regrets
But I burn those shits like cigarettes
Because something’s out of place
Something’s out of place
I wish we could just reset
Can we pick up back to where we left?
Can we put the pieces back together, now?”

The beat on “Back in the Summer” is smooth and Max Frost never disappoints with his groovy R&B influences shining through as he melds together a myriad of different elements to create his own unique musical style. The chorus is super addicting and one can never go wrong with adding a bit of whistling. It’s the perfect track to spin when getting ready for your upcoming weekend, or your workout playlist. Max Frost is currently on tour with Bastille in Australia and will no doubt continue to amass new fans as his live set is not one to be missed.

“Back in the Summer” is available on Atlantic Records.

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Say Hi – “Jupiter Death Bunnies” (Seattle, USA)

RIYL: LCD Soundsystem meets They Might Be Giants, Man or Astro-Man?

Sometimes you buy an album because of its cover art. Other times, you click play on a song because of its title. “Jupiter Death Bunnies” is the latter and is every bit as frolicsome as its title implies. 

Chock-full of tasty synth tones that would make Devo proud and Thomas Dolby envious, the latest from Seattle indie veteran Say Hi (fka Say Hi To Your Mom) indulges all your whimsical pleasure points. It’s danceable; it’s lighthearted; it’s (dare we say it?) pure unadulterated fun. And who doesn’t need more of that in their life? Through his Say Hi project, creative genius Eric Elbogan answers questions you hadn’t asked yet always secretly pondered. The answer is Jupiter Death Bunnies. Orbiting in the pop ether alongside characters from Christopher Moore novels and Sebastien Millon comics, those sinister fluff monsters wreak havoc wherever they go. This anthem is the sonic antidote to their mayhem.

You can find it on Say Hi’s forthcoming Diamonds & Donuts album (his 13th!), available for pre-order here (in a super deluxe package) and on Bandcamp. Say Hi’s spring tour kicks off March 19 in Vancouver.

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Shopping – “For Your Pleasure” (London, England & Glasgow, Scotland)

RIYL: current Sleater-Kinney, Depeche Mode, Austra

Two years and two weeks ago, UK post-punk outfit Shopping released an album, The Official Body, that did the unthinkable – they made post-punk danceable. Well, in the ’70s and early ’80s, post-punk was exhilarating, but more contemporary takes have directed the genre into bleak, menacing, and gruelling corners. The trio is only a few weeks away from releasing their third album, and their latest single shows they are bridging the divide between the two contrasting approaches.

“For Your Pleasure” fuses coldwave and disco textures into a post-punk base, resulting in a soundscape that is dark, hypnotic, and exhilarating. The pulsing synths, the hallow electric drums, and the fantastic, Peter Hook-esque bassline cast the spell, and suddenly you’re left dancing or bouncing around. Frontwoman Rachel Aggs stands alongside this addictive elixir and calmly sings about our own addicitons, specifically our insatiable appetites to have more. To consume everything we can with little regard to anyone else. “What you see is what you get”, she proclaims, but she realizes that this obvious value statement will not be heeded by the majority. But maybe the world she listen to what this great band has to say.

Shopping are Rachel Aggs (lead vocals/guitar), Billy Easter (bass), and Andrew Milk (drums/vocals). Their new album, All or Nothing, releases February 7th via FatCat Records. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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