The Matinee ’18 December 11th – Part 1 has some powerful tunes, clever takes on the world that is, and a sultry affair. It’s, in our humble opinions, the ideal mini-playlist for these wintry days. After you’re finished here, check out Part 2 of The Matinee.
Deerhunter– “Element” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: Ezra Furman, The Beatles, Plastic Ono Band
Most bands as they get older tend to lean towards the middle or at least the familiar. It’s just human nature to stay in your lane or within your comfort zones instead of seeking new ways to reinvent oneself. Deerhunter, though, are no ordinary band. The Atlanta-bred quartet’s constant pursuit of experimentation and reinvention is what makes them arguably one of the best indie bands of the 21st Century. It wouldn’t be fair, however, to call them chameleons because they’re innovators and not merely shape-shifters. Their newest single sees the band head into yet another direction.
“Element” is one dizzying, trippy affair. It sounds like what The Beatles could have been if Yoko Ono was an official fifth (or sixth, depending on your perspective) member of the most influential band in music history. A cornucopia of sounds and textures swirl within this Willa Wonka-esque tune – a humming violin, a tickling harpsichord, an easy guitar riff, and smooth rhythms. Front man Bradford Cox is the Gene Wilder of this entertaining piece, as he delivers slightly off-the-wall lyrics to this, as he states, “elegy for ecology (a landscape done in toxic watercolors)”. We did say this was a trippy affair, and it’s also quite brilliant.
Deerhunter are Bradford Cox, Lockett Pundt, Moses Archuleta, and Josh Mckay. Their new album, Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?, reveals itself on January 18th via 4AD.
Fanclub – “Stranger” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Gabby’s World, Told Slant, Bellows
With just a handful of songs now under their belt, it is safe to file Fanclub under the category of retro revivalists. Their glimmering brand of indie pop is filled with the nostalgic sounds and flavors of the ’80s and ’90s, as evidenced on “Leaves” and “Reflection”. The music isn’t the only giveaway, but the stories they tell, too, beckon to the days of The Breakfast Club and Pretty Pink. This is the case with their latest arrival, “Stranger”.
From the bubbly synths to the lingering guitar to the bustling rhythms, “Stranger” is full on ’80s. It brings back memories of when leotards, perms, high socks, and neon colors were en vogue, and the most serious threats were what lied behind the Iron Curtain instead of who resided in the White House. It also will make young and old folks remember of the days of acne and popularity contests, and how we all tried to fit in with the crowd. Or in this case, make us feel like either John, Claire, Allison, Brian, and Andrew, who on one Saturday morning detention learn a little bit more of themselves and each other.
Fanclub are Mike Lee, Leslie Crunkilton, and Daniel Schmidt. Their debut EP will drop in 2019 via Berlin-based label Friendly Reminder.
Grace Turner – “Easy I Fall” (Newcastle, Australia)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Mitski, Waxahatchee
One can turn to the radio to “discover” new music, but much of what is shared is of the safe variety. Unless you’re regularly dialing into Triple J, that medium wouldn’t play a song that is bold and delivers the impact of a Mike Tyson uppercut. You wouldn’t discover an artist like Grace Turner because her music is provocative and emotionally challenging, which was displayed earlier this year on “Dead Or Alive”. Now the Newcastle native, who is restarting her career after a couple of years off, returns with another heavy yet powerful tune in “Easy I Fall”.
Put on some protective gear because Turner delivers several menacing blows throughout the song’s 3-minute duration. The first one lands at six seconds, as through the reverb-drenched, grizzled guitar, she calmly sings:
“If you want to fuck me then just tell me you love me,
Don’t you know how easy I fall?”
Then later she reveals:
“I’ve been trying to tell you that I’m waiting.
I’ve been trying to tell you that I’m grieving.
There is no room for you.”
There is no more for two.”
The song ends with an outro that approaches rock levitation. It is stunning and is a fitting finale to this track dedicated to everyone seeking to break the chains that bind them to a one-sided relationship. For everyone seeking to find a new path and put their own interests first instead of the other person who no longer loves her/him.
HUSSY – “Forever” (London, England)
RIYL: Hole, Babes in Toyland, Bikini Kill
Another artist one is unlikely to discover perusing radio stations (unless one lives in the UK and has access to BBC Radio) is Sophie Nicole Ellison’s project Hussy.
We’re not quite sure how old Ellison is, but if we had to harbor a guess she likely wasn’t old enough to be rocking out to Hole, Garbage, Nirvana, or any of the great grunge and alternative bands of the early ’90s. For that matter, she may not have been born when Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain, Alanis Morissette, and Shirley Manson became household names. Nonetheless, the young Londoner is channeling their attitude and spirit into her music, and her newest single belongs next to the art of her inspirations.
“Forever” is grunge-pop brilliance. It is heavy and dark, yet it is hypnotic and dreamy in an eerie and suspenseful way. The opening Gregorian chimes welcome you into her bleak and brooding underworld. The air gets denser as the layered grime of her electric guitar fills the empty spaces while the throbbing rhythms echo in the distance. Ellison’s vocal delivery is spectacular, as at times it is angelic and other moments like that of a demon from another dimension. Her words, too, linger within your head, as this entrapment is not just physical but also psychological.
“Oh my gosh,
In my mind,
I can’t get you out of my head.”
A star is soon to be born.
Miss Grit – “Talk Talk” (Brooklyn via Michigan, USA)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Dirty Projectors, For Esmé
The best mornings are those where you awaken feeling fresh and alive, as if your spirit and soul have been cleansed after a great night’s sleep. You arise with a smile as the sun beams in through the open windows. It is the start of a new day and you are rejuvenated. All these feelings are captured on “Talk Talk”, the brand new song from a new band called Miss Grit.
Started by New York University student Margaret Sohn in her dorm room, one listen to “Talk Talk” is all that it takes to realize Sohn and her bandmates’ talents. The track is one that veteran musicians and bands take years to create – a song that is simultaneously blissful, intoxicating, dreamy, yet unnerving. A chiming guitar glides through a looping synth, some delicate piano work, and fluttering rhythms. The combination sounds like U2’s The Edge collaborating with Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, and Katheryn Calder of The New Pornographers for a one-off tune. When Sohn’s stirring vocals, which are akin to Miya Folick, arrive, the song reaches another level of enchantment. However, a slight words indicate the opposite of feeling free and reborn, but instead they suggest struggle, anxiety, and uneasiness.
Miss Grit’s debut EP, Talk Talk, is expected January 11th, 2019. This will be one to look for come the new year.
MXMS – “After Night” (Los Angeles & New York City, USA)
RIYL: Portishead + Chris Isaak, GEMS
What would a song sound like if Portishead collided with Chris Isaak? If this dream collaboration should ever see the light of day, their music would likely sound something like MXMS‘s new single, “After Night”.
Free yourself from all distractions for about five minutes and allow yourself to be completely immersed within singer Ariel Levitan and pianist Jeremy Dawson’s spellbinding single. Allow yourself to be seduced by the pulsating beats, the forbidden tones of the piano, and Levitan’s ethereal voice. If you can do this, you’ll be transported into another world that is beautifully dark and hauntingly illuminating. It is a place of gorgeous splendor that you will not want to leave anytime soon. For Levitan, it is a memory to which she wants to hold on for eternity, remembering the intimacy with another and the moments they shared. But unlike the person she longs for, this song will forever linger in your mind.
“You are right where you belong.
You’re coming home.
Night after night, I close my eyes
And think of you.
I’m not waking up,
Not in love with you.
We say goodbye,
Told a lie,
You know the truth.”
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