Variety is the name of the game on The Matinee ’21 v. 030, which features some retro-inspired tunes, rockers, an intergalactic journey, some colorful Brit-pop, and a song that cannot be pigeonholed.

 

Lord Huron – “Not Dead Yet” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Night Beats, Fleet Foxes, Elvis Presley

Since the release of their third album, Vide Noir, indie favorites Lord Huron made a refreshing change in approach. Gone was the summertime, hand-clapping worthy Americana vibes and in its place were vivid layers of ’60s-esque rock and surf-pop. The new approach may have been less anthemic and cheery, but artistically it represented a much-needed evolution for Ben Schneider, Mark Barry, Migeul Briseño, and Tom Renaud. The quartet seem to have embraced this new chapter with the unveiling of “Not Dead Yet”.

If Elvis was still alive and making music, we imagine it would probably sound something like this tune. The song is a throwback with its dusty, desert-like psyych vibes, yet it feels fresh and modern with the sleek production and the shallow moans of what seem to an electrified string arrangement. As the song revs up and reaches its catchy yet urgent climax, Schneider tells the story of a man who has “got holes in your clothes / Booze on your breath / You look like hell /
And you smell like death
“. He, however, is not dead yet, but somehow, some way in this dastardly world is alive. He has survived and ready for more.

What that entails is unknown, but maybe Lord Huron will reveal more on their next Alive From Whispering Pines Livestream, which is set for March 18th. Tickets to this virtual show are available on the band’s website.

The single is out now on Republic Records.

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Genesis Owusu – “Sideways” (Canberra, Australia via Ghana)

RIYL: Blood Orange, Mobley, Michael Kiwanuka, Kele

Kofi Owusu-Ansah is a complex man. He’s extremely intelligent and thoughtful, yet he poses a creative imagination that extends from art to fashion to his music as Genesis Owusu. He tirelessly works at his craft, where he refuses to be pigeonholed into any one genre. As such, don’t call him a rapper or a hip-hop singer. Instead, he is the personification of what an artist is, as his music is also influenced by rock, punk, pop, funk, soul, R&B, and electronica. And he’s is just 22  years old.

The world, as the old cliche goes, is his oyster, and Owusu’s immense talents have him the cusp of international stardom. NME putting him on the cover of their January 27th edition is just one piece of evidence that demonstrates his limitless potential. His newest single is another example of why the Canberra-based artist could become 2021’s breakout star.

Funk, pop, synth-pop, and hip hop collide on the super cool and groovy “Gold Chains”. The funky melody is made for a lazy summer’s day, where our heads carelessly bop while we idly cruise the streets or lounge in our backyards. Behind the smooth, summertime vibes lies a story of a man feeling empty and human-less despite the success he’s achieved. Owusu’s lyrics are vividly brilliant, particularly when he sings:

“I fight for my existence
Brick wall with my persistence
I hate to say I play Russian Roulette with my resistance
Play it void of all assistance
My life, my love, my business
A goon playing charades inside the face of corporate systems”

Owusu’s long-awaited debut album, Smiling With No Teeth, will be released March 5th. Ourness and House Anxiety have the honors of distributing it. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.

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Viviré En Marte – “Cities” (Riga, Latvia)

RIYL: Public Broadcasting Service, Boards of Canada, Mogwai

We’ve long stated that the best songs take you away to unforeseen times and places. They are, in short, pure cinema. Few bands can craft a track that eases the soul while taking one’s mind to a distant world, another reality, or into the far reaches of the universe. One band to add to the list hails from Riga, Latvia and they are Viviré En Marte, which in English translates to Life on Mars. While the band take their name from one of David Bowie’s iconic songs, their style is more in the realm of intergalactic post-rock. So strap in and be prepared to be launched into space with “Cities”.

Like a great film, the song’s six minutes fly by in a flash because every second is awe-inspiring. The steely, desert-infused guitar line, the clean rhythms, and the pulsating synths create the stunning atmosphere through which the journey takes place. During this adventure, a voice comes over the intercom to make us recall what we are leaving. That voice belongs to acclaimed writer William Seward Burroughs, who narrates excerpts from his book, Junky. As the song builds to its hypnotic ending, Burroughs’ fictional tale is our real-life story – that of a people who refuse to give in to their faith and decide to “keep walking”. But can we escape our inevitable doom?

To find out, spin Viviré En Marte’s debut album, Great World, which is available right now on Bandcamp.

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Acid Dad – “RC Driver” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Surf Rock Is Dead, DIIV, Skeggs

Acid Dad have been a can’t-miss live band in New York since their founding in 2016. Blending indie guitar distortion, driving drumbeats, and jammy riffs, their take on the psych-rock / surf-rock genre feels unique and genuine. Their 2018 self-titled debut captured the energy of their live shows perfectly and expanded on their sound immensely. On the horizon, Acid Dad plan to release a new record, and they gave us our first hint on what it might sound like with “RC Driver”.

Listeners are greeted with a great bass and drum intro before guitar chords kick in. The energy ramps up and the distinctively Acid Dad guitar hook sinks in. The vocals create a false sense of calm dreaminess before the whole thing kicks into high gear. There are tons of great guitar moments are present throughout the track, from clean hooks to huge solos. The closing moments are incredible, and absolutely fit the theme Vaughn Hunt was going for, saying “RC Driver is about how I wish I raced cars for a living”.

Acid Dad are Vaughn Hunt (guitar/vocals), JP Basileo (bass), Sean Fahey (guitar/vocals), and Trevor Mustoe (drums). Their new album, Take it From the Dead, arrives some time this summer via Greenway Records.

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HAVVK – “Home” (Dublin, Ireland)

RIYL: IAN SWEET, Catherine Wheel, My Bloody Valentine

Julie Hawk (vocals/bass) and her project HAVVK are heavily inspired by grunge, and they do not hide that fact. However, diving into the music of HAVVK, it’s clear they draw from countless different styles and genres. They meld them seamlessly into some truly captivating songs, some of which can start in one place and explode into another without a moment’s notice.

On “Home”, HAVVK effortlessly combine grunge with a bit of shoegaze, and the result is phenomenal. Charging guitar chords drive the opening moments before it quiets a bit for Hough’s voice to float over. The track builds again into an eruption for its chorus, featuring the return of those heavy chords. The combination of the distortion, a powerful voice, and some really intricate and interesting musical choices keep the song feeling fresh all the way through.  Lyrically, HAVVK said, “‘Home’ is about the freedom of youth and being oblivious to the protections you have around you.” An important message in the times we’re currently in.

HAVVK are Jule Hawk (vocals/bass), Matt Harris (guitar/vocals), and Sam Campbell (drums).  The single is out on Veta Records. Their upcoming record, Cause & Effect, is due out this July.

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Eades – “Former Warnings Cluster” (Leeds, England)

RIYL: Blur, Parquet Courts, Wavves

At long last one of the burgeoning, young indie-rock bands in the UK have a record deal! Congratulations are in order for Eades on signing with outstanding indie label Heist or Hit. We could not have imagined a better partnership. And to kick this blissful union, Harry Jordan (vocals and guitar), Jof Cabedo (drums), Tom O’Reilly (lead guitar), Dave Lancaster (bass), and Dan Clifford-Smith (drums) channel one of the UK’s great ’80s bands to deliver one awesome and amusing little tune.

“Former Warnings Cluster” sounds like it was taken from the uncut recordings of Blur’s iconic Parklife album. It bubbles at first with an off-kilter, Brit-pop vibe but then it mechanically bops as the cowbell chimes in. It then shifts again into a quirky groove, and you’re left wandering if you should be dancing like a robot a la Damon Albarn or David Byrne. As Jordan tells the many ways in which people self-destruct, Jof occasionally chimes in as the person recoiling to bad habits. In a very typical response, she nonchalantly answers, “I don’t know”, to the question of why she would wreck a good set of sheets. This then sets up for a very Eades-like ending, where they amuse for two-thirds of the song and then erupting into a fury of searing noise. Eades are, after all, a rock band and a great one at that.

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