The work week has begun, which means it’s time for The Matinee ’20 February 10 edition. Edgy, raucous rockers; mesmerizing dream-pop; exhilarating post-punk; and a sublime dream-folk number are all featured on today’s mini-playlist. We begin with a band that first caught our attention not too long ago.
Beverly Kills – “I Dreamt in Commercials” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Hater, Elena Tonra, Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes
Before we took our sabbatical, one band that caught our ear and mesmerized us with their shimmering blend of indie-pop and post-punk were Beverly Kills. Back in early 2018, they were just getting started and finding their niche. Now two years later, they’ve cemented themselves as one of the must-see and must-hear bands from Sweden. But if you’re just being introduced to this band, then let “I Dreamt in Commercials” be the gateway.
This latest song sees Alma Westerlund, Viggo Mattsson, John Jonsén, and Hampus Höggren head in a slightly different direction – that of breathtaking dark-pop. The song starts of subtly with mostly Westerlund’s voice filling the air, and her words set the tone for what is to come. She sings with a brittle waver in her voice:
“On in your arms / It feels like I’ve been here before.
In the dark / Before you disappeared in your sleep,
And I stay up / Because there is something awake inside me.”
Then her bandmates join her, and an urgency begins to simmer. As the song commences its journey to the climax, Westerlund repeats, “This is getting hard“ before later saying, “I can’t stand this feeling”. A race builds in her mind, and she’s trying to escape it but cannot. She is trapped despite someone laying right next to her. We can feel Westerlund’s desperation because she and her band have made us believe we are the person right next to them.
The single is out on Welfare Sounds & Records. Here’s hoping an album is coming in the near future.
Black Lilys – “Yaläkta ” (Lyon, France)
RIYL: Daughter, Dana Falconberry, Alice et Moi
Plenty of songs are created out of a traumatic event, where grief overwhelms an artist. In the case of siblings Camille and Robin Faure, they formed Black Lilys as a way to cope with the sudden loss of their mother in 2008. The project was a means for them to reconnect and share their feelings with one another through song. Twelve years later, they continue to astound music fans in France with their dark, emotive indie folk-pop. They are like Daughter but pared down to just the two of them. And for the uninitiated (like us), allow “Yaläkta” be the gateway into their stunning world.
For a little less than four minutes, the Faures sweep you away into a beautiful, tranquil world. The instrumentation is delicate, even brittle, yet it is breathtaking. Camile’s voice is even more fragile, as she tries to convince herself that someone dear is fine despite the hole that she feels in her chest. The track is stunning in its delivery and execution, but its power lies in how real the duo’s story is. How we can all relate when Camille reveals she’s holding her breath as she waits “for a sign, even just a sign of goodbye”. For us and hopefully many others, we are saying hello to this wonderful band.
Colony House – “Trying” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: The Band Camino, COIN, Knox Hamilton
Nashville-based Colony House have recently released their third album, Leave What’s Lost Behind. The quartet is known for creating energetic and unforgettable melodic pop/rock. “Trying” from their newest album is a stand-out track and it could be the life anthem for anyone who is just trying every day at life. Lyrically it is a song that most everyone can relate to – discovering the truth of who we really are when our own thoughts and opinions by others can sometimes convince us of something totally different.
“Trying since the day I was born
They say I’ve got my whole life to live but 27 years have been
Spent while I’ve been trying to feel like enough
All these voices trying to tell me I’m not
I want what is true
Looking for some light to carry me through”
The single starts off simplistic and slowly builds with graceful melodies and a larger than life feel as the electronic elements kick in over Caleb Chapman’s charismatic vocals. It’s an uplifting track that also causes the listener to realize that so many of us on this earth are really trying to just be good human beings that want to be loved and validated that our effort in trying is enough.
Colony House are Caleb Chapman [vocals], Will Chapman [drums], Scott Mills [guitar], and Parke Cottrell [bass]. You can get their newest album release here.
Human Pet – “Itch/Scratch” and “Automated” (London, England)
RIYL: Idles, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Iceage
Late last week, London quartet Human Pet released a double-A side to showcase their range and versatility within the rock spectrum. Most bands would spread out the releases, but Human Pet are not ones to follow trends and this is evidenced on both singles.
First up is “Itch/Scratch”, which echoes the heavy rock approach of Idles and the petrifying dark, post-punk of Iceage. For three minutes, the band keep the song leveled and never really exploding, but keeping the track restrained only adds to the song’s suspense and intense. Instead of violently banging our heads or throwing fists in the air, we’re left to quick head nods and paying attention to a tale of a man dissolving into his addictions that are fed by London’s grimy nightlife.
“Automated”, meanwhile, throbs with the dark, intense psychedelic rock, post-punk mélange of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The song is stark and gloomy, yet at the same time it is exhilarating and intoxicating. As the guitars chime in the background and the drums and bass (the rhythm section is stellar) hammer in the foreground, front man Omar Fadhil’s distant vocals calmly holler, “I am a machine, I am a machine”. The tale of an artificial intelligence with emotions commences. It’s a clever tale because the AI robot personifies the numbing of society as we speak. People are no longer appalled to seeing violence, racism, and conflict anymore. Instead, we have become immune to them. We have become mechanical.
Human Pet are Omar Fadhil, Ian Charles Carter, David Zbirka, and Pierre Catton.
Lady Lamb – “Arizona” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Mothers, Soccer Mommy
One week after the release of “We’ve Got A Good Thing Going”, Lady Lamb surprised us with another fantastic single, “Arizona”. As mentioned in last week’s post, Aly Spaltro’s songwriting and storytelling is some of the most compelling out there right now. How Spaltro captures little moments, and transforms them into something much bigger is incredible.
In “Arizona”, Spaltro describes a van trip, singing of eating candy necklaces through plastic vampire teeth, and longing for her feet to be able to touch the floor. She sings about how all the things around her are connected, and pulling her back towards those memories. The slowly builds until it ends with Spaltro repeating “I never wanna be a bird collapsing beneath its own feather”.
Native Sun – “Juarez” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: FIDLAR, SWMRS, WAVVES
Native Sun know how to make great rock music. Their short history is filled with songs that echo The Strokes and Julian Casablancas’ solo work. They’ve also created blustery, ’70s-inspired, ultra-cool, melodic rockers. These Colombian and Mexican immigrants, however, are at their best when they dial up the volume and intensity and unleash wall-rattling tunes, which is what they’ve done with “Juarez”.
This three-minute, twelve-second number is an off-the-wall riot. It is big, bold, loud, and unrelenting in its sound and power. Every component is delivered with thunderous effect – such as Alexis Castro’s pounding drumming and Mo Martinez’s propulsive bass line – or menacing intensity – like Jake Pflum’s raging guitar and Dany Gomez’s piercing vocals. The song is basically a jackhammer going off in the middle of the night, but instead of turning it off you want to get closer and allow the music to pound your head. Spin the song a few more times and listen to what Gomez has to say, as he tells the story of a person who “won’t dance”, which essentially describes his risk-adverse nature. But if you want go anywhere or want a chance, “you have to risk it all”. And this band has risked it all in more ways than any of us can imagine.
Native Sun are once again Dany Gomez (vocals/guitar), Jake Pflum (lead guitar), Alexis Castro (drums), and Mo Martinez (bass) will be at SXSW this year. The single is out on Grand Jury Music.
Velvet Volume – “Lonely Rider” (Copenhagen / Aarhus, Denmark)
RIYL: Sleater-Kinney, L.A. Witch, Savages
Just a couple of weeks ago, Copenhagen said goodbye to one of its great indie bands in Nelson Can, who played their final gig at the end of January. Where there is an end, there is also a beginning. Arriving just in time to fill this enormous void in our hearts and music library are Velvet Volume. The three-piece, sister band has been on the scene for a few years, so we’re late to the game. Better late than never as we like to say, but our ears are perked up and our attention has been piqued thanks to “Lonely Rider”.
The song is simply awesome. It is complex, boisterous, and one massive adrenaline rush. It starts off with a dark, post-punk vibe a la Savages before it turns into a cool, pop-rock track. Then the track grows, and it takes on its third personality – that of the unapologetic attitude and intensity of Sleater-Kinney and Karen O during the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ infant years. The siblings roar with their instruments – Nataja (21, drums) and twins Noa (22, vocals and guitar) and Naomi Lachmi (22 vocals and bass) – and their lyrics are biting. The twins contemplate whether relationships are worth the time or are just traps. But at the end of the day, they realize being a “Lonely Rider” is the way for them. Although they may be riding alone, a bandwagon that will only get more crowded is following closely behind. And yes, we’re on it.
The siblings’ sophomore album is expected in May on Mermaid Records.
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