The Matinee ’20 – February 3 is calm, cool, and collected, or hopefully you think it is. Today’s effort is a solo one, so hopefully there is enough variety to get your week started on the right foot.
Chastity Belt – “The Process” (Seattle, USA)
Loose Tooth – “Lonely” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Chastity Belt: The Bangles, early The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain // Loose Tooth: Hinds, Dick Diver, Best Coast
For more than half a year, bushfires have raged across much of Australia, and many continue to burn. People around the world have donated millions of dollars to relief and wildlife efforts. Musicians have been selling their merchandise or sharing unreleased material. In the case of Seattle’s Chastity Belt and Melbourne’s Loose Tooth, they’ve created new material and, with the help of Hardly Art Records and Milk! Records, have opted to sell them on Bandcamp. Fifty percent (50%) of all proceeds will go to Australian wildfire relief efforts, specifically the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities and the Country Fire Authority.
Chastity Belt’s “The Process” recalls the mid- to late-’80s and when The Bangles went to dark, as they did when they covered “Hazy Shade of Winter” for the Less Than Zero soundtrack. Fuzzy, crystalline guitars and a deep bass line engulf the air as Julia Shapiro encourages a stranger to persevere and learn from the process.
Loose Tooth, meanwhile, open the skies with the guitar-pop “Lonely” that is very Melbourne. Sweet guitar riffs chime while a stuttering rhythm section creates the head-swaying mood. Etta Curry’s saccharine voice floats effortlessly over the delicious melody, and her story could be that of the stranger that Shapiro spoke to in “The Process”. After losing someone, Curry sings about the uncertain future and wishes to rewind the past. Now if we only could go back in time and actually change things.
Damen – “Disco” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: City Calm Down, Stereo Honey, The Boxer Rebellion
Some bands just have the “it” factor, and Gothenburg’s Damen have it in spades. They’ve released only a few songs, including the awe-inspiring “Sagrada Familia” and the blustery “Americana”, but the young quartet are on the very of major things. Adding to their growing legacy is “Disco”.
Get out of your head that this song is made for nightclubs. On the contrary, “Disco” is an urgent, brooding, driving tune that will simultaneously leave you exhilarated and breathless. The harrowing guitar riffs, the pulsating rhythms, and frontman Danial Bin Ismail Ärlig’s desperate vocals create the foreboding atmosphere. Ärlig’s story further accentuate the gloomy mood, as he recalls a time when someone went missing and the terrible thoughts that filled his head. His head is spinning and he “can’t simmer down”, much like how one feels at a disco. It’s a brilliant piece of allegory from a band that many other superlatives will be used their debut album, Sagrada Familia, is released February 14th on VÅRØ Records.
Damen are Danial Bin Ismail Ärlig (vocals/guitar), David Nordell (bass), Adrian Gejrot (drums) and Gustav Bondesson (guitar). Get to know this band.
Holly Humberstone – “Deep End” (Grantham, England)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Stella Donnelly
If someone you love – whether it is a parent, a sibling, your partner, or a friend – is close by, ask them to join you for this very next song. Turn up the speakers slightly or share one of your earbuds, and experience Holly Humberstone‘s new single, “Deep End”, together.
With just her electric guitar and her stirring voice at first, the 20-year old native of Grantham delivers a beautiful yet emotional song that will buckle your knees, even if you’re sitting down. As other instruments join her in the second half and her voice is layered, the intimacy and breathtaking power intensify. As stunning as the music is, her words strike every single heart string and tender chord in your body. Humberstone is singing to one of her sisters, who is experiencing a difficult time. She tells her sibling that she is there for her and will be what she wants her to be.
“I’ll be your medicine if you let me,
Give you reason to get out of bed.
Sister I’m trying to hold off the lightning,
And help you escape from your head.
Throw me into the deep end,
I’m ready now to swim.”
Humberstone is currently working on her debut EP, which is one we cannot wait to hear. The young woman has the makings of a star.
Ian Randall Thornton – “Hiatus” (Norfolk, VA, USA)
RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Patrick Watson
If you’re near a fireplace, light it up. If there isn’t one nearby, find an app or flick on the TV channel that shows the smouldering flames. Alternatively, wait until sunset to press play. The optimal time to play Ian Randall Thornton‘s new single, “Hiatus”, is when fire meets darkness. When beauty is achieved when the striking orange-red glow meets the stillness of night. Akin to this moment, the Norfolk, Virginia-based singer-songwriter has created a moment that will leave you calm, transfixed, and breathless.
The song starts calmly and innocently with just an acoustic guitar before a piano and then strings and percussion gracefully arrive. Thornton’s voice, meanwhile, is angelic. He is like the soloist in a choir, who rises above his peers and hypnotizes listeners. But instead of a fulsome baritone, his delivery is whispery and soft, and all you and I want to do is fall into it. As the song progresses, it reaches atmospheric heights, and momentarily we are lost inside Thornton’s unforgettable world.
“Hiatus” is from Thornton’s forthcoming, sophomore album, Wide Open. It drops February 28th on AntiFragile Music.
Lindsay Munroe – “Mirror” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Marika Hackman, Lady Lamb, Pip Blom
We’ve often said that we are in the midst of the golden era of singer-songwriters, especially female artists. Women are writing the best stories, taking more chances, and creating music that is bold yet accessible. Although Lindsay Munroe is a relative newcomer, she might eventually be mentioned in the same breath as her idols Sharon Van Etten, Marika Hackman, and PJ Harvey. She’s off to an excellent start with her debut single, “Mirror”.
Gritty, raw, and honest, “Mirror” is literally and figuratively a sight to behold (or a song to be heard). There aren’t any bells and whistles on the track – just a throbbing guitar, a second rhythm guitar, a humming bass line, and a stuttering drum roll – and yet the song captivates. Munroe’s husky voice immediately draws your attention, but her lyrics are what suspends your focus. She cleverly describes what it is like to grow up as a woman in today’s still very male-dominated world. How her voice mattered little. As Munroe poignantly says at the start:
“I know just who I was meant to be,
Within a world based on insecurities.
A little girl who always stands in line,
Wait her turn a thousand times.
I use to wish I was made of clay,
To be moved and moulded every day.
Just move and then to shrink away,
Fortunately, she has found her voice, and now everyone will hear it.
Silverbacks – “Drool” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Francobollo, Idles, The Night Café
In their nine years as a band, Silverbacks gradually established a reputation as gritty post-punk band along the lines of Iceage and Preoccupations. But like everything that ages, they’ve evolved and expanded their sound. Not all bands make a successful transition to a new genre, but the Dublin five-piece are no ordinary band.
With “Drool”, Daniel (guitar/vocals), Kilian (guitar/vocals), Peadar (guitar), Emma (bass/vocals), and Gary (drums) successfully enter the world of cool, groovy, spatial indie rock. The three-guitar attack and the tickling rhythms create a soundscape that feels like a late-summer’s evening drive along the California coastline. But just as the road seems to be smooth and clear, the song takes a couple of unexpected detour. The first is a breezy, mellow turn, and it merges into a rocky, slightly chaotic section. The dual transitions are brilliantly executed and perfectly reflect the uncertainty inside the protagonist’s mind. Specifically, the band describes an ill family man, who is on numerous medications to treat his various ailments. Instead of making him feel better, he is left disoriented and weakened, but he has to trust what “it says on the box” and “try to do my best” despite how he feels.
The single is out on Nice Swan Records. 2020 might finally be the band’s breakout year.
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