Al Matcott, one of Australia’s rising blues-grunge artists has emerged with his debut EP You Can Be Anyone, a collection of sentiments and stories form Matcott’s world that encompass elements of Americana, blues rock and folk. Formally a drummer and guitarist/ singer in a number of bands in the Australian DIY scene, Matcott has honed in his songwriting narrative to offer up the first slice of what he’s all about.
The most immediate thing you realise upon listening to this EP is that this is only a flavour of what Matcott is capable of, but you’re given a big enough portion to be able to digest Matcott’s shining personality and love of guitar. Jerking into action with opener “The Truthseeker” Matcott displays his form of songwriting in glorious form. With its stop start motion drive it feels as though Matcott is clicking in the gears, about to set the full bluesy drive into full motion. Recorded in his mothers house in Castlemaine, Victoria you can hear the rawness of Matcott’s sound in every aspect, from the slap-back vocals to the crusty guitars. It sounds almost live, and the immediate energy of Matcott’s performance is present in every moment. With the track gradually climaxing into a frenzy of melodies and blues riffs Matcott feels like he’s in full bloom, every aspect that the song has been leading up to resonating loud.
Both “The Truthseeker” and “Mediocre” stretching over the 5 and a half minute mark and beyond and it becomes apparent that Matcott would rather feed in slow elements of his sound when and if needed. Like a well-grafted novel, he’s in no rush to deliver it’s final climactic showdown, rather they have to be earned. On the latter there’s a subtle layer of disdain wrapped all over the track, from it’s shifting tonal balance at almost every turn as Matcott asks “You could be anyone / Why would you choose to be / Such a mediocre person”. Whether it’s a battle of self belief or questioning of another, Matcotts clever lyricism and storytelling finesse shines through above the rest.
The more poignant second half of the EP has Matcott evoking the likes of indie-blues/ folk powerhouse Kurt Vile on “Justine”. His vocal style may resemble that of Vile’s B’lieve I’m Going Down days, but there’s also something more to Matcott’s sound that you can’t escape from. It’s as though he’s telling you a tale round a campfire, backed by a swathe of grunge filled and almost euphoric instrumentation. Pounding beat and rolling riffs aplenty, this track is sure to appear on any American-outlaw TV show soundtrack. And on “Friends Of Us All” Matcott brings out his inner Springsteen, as he crushes lead melodies one after another and details the turmoil of a friend in need.
What this EP details about Matcott is indeed that he can be anyone. Whether he’s playing the role of the outlaw or the loveable rogue, he captures the spirit of Americana-blues and indie rock at its core.
Australian songwriter Al Matcott has shared new single “Justine“. The track follows his recent debut single “Mediocre” and is taken from his upcoming EP You Can Be Anyone, out August 6th via Al’s own imprint Skip Hero Records.
There’s an odd captivation to Matcott’s sound, bordering on the fine line of effortlessly cool and becoming a full blown rager. His vocal style may resemble that of Kurt Vile’s B’lieve I’m Going Down days, but there’s something else to Matcott’s sound that you can’t escape from. It’s as though he’s telling you a tale round a campfire, backed by a swathe of grunge filled and almost euphoric instrumentation.
Speaking about the single Matcott says,
“Justine’s about the titular character from the Marquis de Sade’s novel. I finished reading it when I was feeling burnt out on tour in Adelaide. The whole book is her being mistreated by the world and (spoiler alert) it doesn’t end well. I imagined a different ending where she unleashed righteous vengeance on the world. It felt pretty metal.
It’s really been a blessing this year that any new music has been released. No matter whether it be a full length album, a single or an EP, just having fresh music has kept us going through this awful year. To start our look back over the best music released this year we start with the best EP’s, small in tracklist, big in bangers.
Amyl & The Sniffers – Live At The Croxton
A blistering live EP featuring songs from the bands critically acclaimed self-titled debut. A showcase of their raw power, and undisputed stage presence that has gained global attention for the Melbourne based 4 piece. Certainly makes us miss shows just that bit more. There’s certainly no muzzling these mutts.
Standout Track: Shake Ya ( Live At The Croxton)
Bambi – Unfolding
Dom Simper’s debut solo material is a testament to both his musical talent to not only bring nostalgic sounds into the modern day but also perfectly capture moments and feelings through the use of expressive and twirling synthesisers. Whether you’re listening on a summers day or winters evening, this EP will transport to a world more delicate and peaceful. Read our full interview with Dom here.
Standout Track: Élan Vital
Bdrmm – The Bedroom Tapes
An accompaniment EP to the Hull based Shoegaze bands standout debut album bedroom, read our full review here. Featuring stripped back live tracks recorded in isolation that showcase the band’s songwriting ability, not always needing the huge soundscapes they create, rather allowing the songs to express themselves in their simplest form. Also features some dancehall worthy remixes that give a different light to what can be done with the bands sound.
Standout Track: A Reason To Celebrate – Live
Bullion – We Had A Good Time
An EP that so closely understands landscape to texture; the traveller amongst the world. Animation of sounds across the release transcend instrument and rather mirror actions in the real world. Evoking sensations of freedom and wonder one moment (O Vermona and We Had A Good Time), whilst the next reflecting and muting the outside world to rather focus on our thoughts floating through the void (Hula.) We Had A Good Time is another entry into Bullion’s discography to establish him as one of the most diverse producers.
Standout Track: We Had A Good Time
DEWEY – Sóller, Pt. 1
The first half of DEWEY’s long awaited debut album sees the Brighton based singer-songwriter delve into dreamy soundscapes, emotionally captive songwriting and some truly great pop bangers. Produced by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, this EP shows just how much of a future Fifi Dewey has as a solo artist and why the was absolutely worth it. Read our full interview with DEWEY here.
Standout Track: Is It Infatuation?
Faux Real – Faux Real
A long awaited full release for fans that does not disappoint in any way. Faux Real are the new fresh duo on the block with their unique take on avant-garde Indie pop. Whilst we’ve all got some time to ourselves there’s no better chance to have this on repeat and learn the accompanying dance routines. Read the full review here.
Standout Track: Second Sweat
Jadasea – About Time
Jadasea slides between states over the 5 tracks, from dense quietness to lonely highs. His tracks accentuate on the rhythms of his samples, chops at times seem almost liquid; which could seem surprising as each track is produced by different producers. Sounds move parallel to his words, his voice sinking into these collaged sounds, whilst on tracks like Moving Star, Jadasea soars above and comes out of the sunken state. Whichever state their in, Jadasea evokes sincerity in their words and sounds and produces yet another out of this world EP.
Standout Track: About Time
Jade Imagine – You Remind Me Of Something I Lost
An accompaniment EP to last years debut full length Basic Love, recorded during the same sessions. With elements of Krautrock and indie fused with ambient textures it makes for a succinct offering from the Melbourne based 5 piece that only expands their hypnotic sound, whilst still retaining their punchy songwriting ability. Read our full interview with Jade here.
Standout Track: Coastal Pines
The Japanese House – Chewing Cotton Wool
A deeply intimate and sonically vibrant EP from Amber Bain that is full of heartbreak and inspiration. Featuring Justin Vernon from Bon Iver on “Dionne” who’s distorted vocals juxatpose perfectly with Bain’s subtle falsetto. And contains one of the most hypnotically groovy songs of Bain’s discography “Something Has To Change”, this has been on repeat since it was originally released as a single last year.
Standout Track: Something Has To Change
Ovrkast – Try Again
In just 17 minutes, Ovrkast creates an honest and unbelievably grounding music experience. Lyricism is so truthful and the topics touched upon are ones that are well executed and explored; whilst being so insanely addictive. On top of this, the production across the 9 track is intricate and smooth. Vocals spin harmoniously with their instrumentals. This is a perfect release.
Standout track: Face
PVA – Toner
Labelled as “The party band we’ve all been waiting for“, PVA have assuredly earned themselves this label now delivering one of the most exciting and structurally challenging EP’s out there in the indie/ electronic/ techno/ whatever style the choose to fuse in next scene. From establishing themselves as a revered live act, they’ve now made their first mark in what is sure to be a bright and groove filled career in the world of recorded music. Read the full review here.
Standout Track: Exhaust/ Surroundings
Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV
It only seems right that someone who’s so down to earth would get the chance to record with an artist who he’s long admired and payed homage to in his music, and has sadly now left this earth. John Prines’ legacy will live on through his vast catalogue of rich and tender music, but this EP serves as a reminder of his influence on not only country but modern indie music in general. Read the full review here.
Standout Track: Dandelions
Juan Wauters – Más Canciones de La Onda
Recorded by Wauters as he was traveling South American to write the critically acclaimed La Onda de Juan Pablo. “These songs are not B-sides or outtakes. These are songs I really like” says Wauters. And we really like them too. Full of vibrancy, hugely infatuating upbeat melodies and playful sounds.
Standout Track: Mi – Guitarra
The Worst Guys – Not So Bad
The debut release from Birmingham based hip-hop duo The Worst Guys sees them experiment in sonically expansive soundscapes and hard hitting grooves. Politically challenging and forward thinking lyrics spread their message of unity and acceptance in a perfect balance of passion and poignant delivery. Read our full interview with the duo here.
Standout Track: WHY U MAD
Y U QT – Buff Traxx 2
“You’re telling me they made a sequel to the best EP of 2019? That is absolute madness.” The QT’s were back in business this year, yet again proving they are the hottest UKG double act to be driving the revival. To capitalise their dubs, Buff Traxx 2 acts as a diverse representative for the producers yet again establishing that whatever sound they’re using, they will always be operating a wild party no doubt.
Los Angeles based harpist Mary Lattimore returns with her seventh album of delicately plucked emotions and sonically vibrant patterns and movements. Lattimore is one of indie musics quiet powerhouses, having previously worked with the likes of Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore and Steve Gunn. Now on Silver Ladders she’s returned Slowdive’s Neal Halstead at the helms of production, with his signature cascading guitar sounds only amplifying the dreamy and emotive sonic landscapes Lattimore has become known.
One of Lattimore’s greatest talents is being able to tell a story without using words. Rather allowing the movements in her music to speak for themselves. She paints images in your head of scenes and emotions within them, constantly shifting and changing as the plucks of her harp move in varying directions. The 10 minute atmospheric “Til A Mermaid Drags You Under” transitions from folky swaying plucks, as if you’re out on the moving sea. To tense, impending drone sounds as if a terror is creeping up open you, and finally to a feeling of elation and peace. As her delay filled harps wash over you and the bouncing guitars fly through the air you can feel the acceptance that Lattimore is trying to convey in her sound. Closing track “Thirty Tulips” shifts from a sense of longing and loss of hope through the spluttered plucks and climbing drone to one of rejoice and accomplishment. Capturing the emotion of payoff, the hard work that was put in, feeling like you’ll never get anywhere to eventually full out elation.
Lattimore also succeeds in expanding her sonic palette further with this album. The impressiveness of her playing has always come from the level of detail and complexity she’s able to craft into various moments, with each song sounding familiar yet unique in groove or melody. But on this album she allows her playing to often become a building block for other sounds to enter. With elements of shoegaze, especially with “Sometimes He’s In My Dreams”. The influence of Halstead can be felt in full force through its dancing guitar lines. If you were to claim it as an unreleased Slowdive instrumental, it may fool many fans. There’s also an expanse into more ambient sounds, especially on “”. Where the soft drones and bright synthesiers remind of some of Brian Eno’s early work, think Ambient 1: Music For Airports era. But Lattimore isn’t afraid to change these sounds from soft and comforting to dark and boding on “” where the drones become heavily distorted, sweeping back and forth sounding almost as if the wind is crashing overhead. Which is one of Lattimore’s best talents, recreating the sounds of nature and the world through rich instrumentation.
The greatest aspect of this album is its frequency in letting sounds breath, creating space between movements. This allows the impact of Lattimore’s harp plucks to linger on, each melody floating around in your head before it carries you on further. It’s a perfect backdrop for a peaceful isolation evening, or a late night walk through a lamplight lit street.
There’s always been a certain humbling cool around Kurt Vile, often shy and hiding behind his signature flowing locks. And this natural cool has often been displayed itself within Vile’s music, its breezy nature and his ability to create new words and phrases that seem absurd yet feel like they should have always been around; think ‘Bassackwards’ from 2018’s Bottle It In. It only seems right that someone who’s so down to earth would get the chance to record with an artist who he’s long admired and payed homage to in his music, and has sadly now left this earth. John Prines legacy will live on through his vast catalogue of rich and tender music, but this EP serves as a reminder of his influence on not only country but modern indie music in general.
Over the last couple of years Vile had been joining John Prine on stage from time to time, whether it be a support slot or jumping on his set where they would usually duet ‘Speed of the Sound of Loneliness’. It feels bittersweet that Vile has finally shared a cover of this song, but this time Prine wasn’t there. We can only hope he got to hear it before he passed. Not only does this cover show Prine’s immeasurable talent as a songwriter but if you didn’t know he’d written it, it wouldn’t feel out of place on Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo album from 2011. Further showcasing Prine’s influence on the indie powerhouse. The main highlight of this EP comes in the form of Vile and Prine’s duet on Prine’s classic ‘How Lucky’. The juxtapostion of Vile’s soft and mellow voice compared with Prine’s ageful rasp feels like a moment of passing down. Prine giving his blessing for Vile to carry on the country legacy.
Kurt Vile has always had an ability to find beauty in simplicity, and new original track ‘Dandelions’ shines with this in an abundance. The dreamy soundscape the Vile creates is effortless, yet magical. Flowing guitar lines and hazy soundscapes lift you out of the mundane of your surroundings and into a warmer, calmer place. “You can throw ’em Or you can merely hold ’em, Yeah, you can throw ’em, Or you can plain plum hold ’em” Vile sings literally about ‘Dandelions’, but is focusing on the idea that it really is the small things in life that count; there’s no need to overdo it. And whilst ‘Pearls’ might not be the most memorable track of Vile’s but still holds as a reminder that he can still craft a vibrant country, folk centric bouncing love song.
Only a small release from Vile, but it still holds a strong place in his vast and ever growing catalogue of woozy, laid back ballads and spacey sound palettes.
Kurt Vile has announced a new EP ‘Speed, Sound, Lonely KV’ which features a cover of John Prine and ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement and two new originals.
Recorded in parts over 4 years Vile said this about the new EP “John Prine was my hero for a long time when he came into the butcher shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me and, man, I was floating and flying and i couldn’t hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night. speaking of John talkin to me, well, his songs, they speak to my soul. that’s the real reason I picked them to play.”
The EP is set to be released on October 2nd with physical copies coming on January 15th. Pre-order here.
1. Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness 2. Gone Girl 3. Dandelions 4. How Lucky with John Prine 5. Pearls
He also released new single “How Lucky” which features John Prine. Listen to new track below.