It’s a trifecta of The Matinee features to start the week. An eclectic mix of new music singles are featured on The Matinee ’20 February 12 edition. Boisterous indie pop-rock, bluesy soul-folk (you read that correctly), mesmerizing dark-pop, intimate folk-rock, brimming indie rock, and, of course, one of the most gorgeous shoegaze songs you’ll hear not just this year but any year.
Chaz Cardigan – “Not OK!” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, BLEACHERS, COIN
Chaz Cardigan is on the verge of making big waves in the indie pop arena. The 25 year old Kentucky native actually just closed a joint record deal, signing with both Capitol Music Group and Loud Robot (Started by JJ Abrams). “Not OK” is his first single released in 2020 and it’s one hell of a catchy track that tackles the struggles of mental health and realizing that it’s totally OK to be Not OK. The lyrics speak to struggles any one of us can have or feel. He is being real and transparent while striking a chord with others that can relate.
Everybody’s got that something
We can’t fix with love or money
Even when it pulls me under
Get so high that it just seems funny
How many times can I fake it
Before it breaks me, I’m not okay
I’m not okay
“Not OK” is a great introduction for most to Chaz Cardigan. His ability to craft meaningful lyrics against killer hooks and an addictive chorus is undeniable.
New EP, Vulnerabilia, is out tomorrow – Thursday, February 13th. Pre-save it here.
Christine and the Queens – “People, I’ve been sad” (Paris, France)
RIYL: London Grammar, Weyes Blood, Charli XCX
We all learn two simple truths, usually in our teenage years: heartache is hell, but there is strength in numbers. The former explains the prevalence of breakup songs sung to (and by) the latter. For those who will reflect on lost loves this Valentine’s Day, we suggest immersing yourself in “People, I’ve been sad” from French indie band Christine and the Queens. The title alone tells you what you’re in for, but it cannot prepare you for the emotional toll it will take on your heart.
Over sleek, synth-driven beats, Christine (née Héloïse Letissier) is candid about her feelings. She admits to feeling out of sorts, missing things and being removed from her life. Anyone who has retreated into a post-breakup cave of solitude understands this concept. But the message here – sung in both French and English – is that sadness holds no shame. We all feel it, so why not embrace it? This is an excellent therapy session masquerading as a pop song, and we are better for it.
This single is streaming from these links via Because Music.
Emily Keener – “Do You Love Me Lately” (Cleveland, USA)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Sharon Van Etten, Phoebe Bridgers
Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and there is no shortage of love songs. We tend to shy away from them unless an artist can offer something different and refreshing – i.e., instead of proclaiming one’s love and affection, tell a story that will allow listeners to imagine the moment and, thus, experience the emotions of the two people involved. This is what Emily Keener has done with her lovely folk-rock ballad, “Do You Love Me Lately”.
The song is simply in its execution but beautiful in its delivery. The light guitar and feathery rhythms create a soft and intimate atmosphere. Keener’s voice is magnetic and keeps you drawn to every note. She paints a sublime picture as she sings, “She wore a T-shirt inside, I must have worn her down / ‘Cause we danced in the kitchen to all of Blue / And she let me stick around”. The story then turns as the two go their separate ways, and a grief envelops Keener. She continues to ask herself, “Do you love me lately?” After you hear this song, you’ll probably answer affirmatively.
Keener’s new album, I Do Not Have to Be Good, is out May 22nd.
Frazey Ford – “Holdin’ It Down” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: The Be Good Tanyas, Joan Osborne, Natalie Merchant, Maggie Rogers
Frazey Ford has one of those voices that defies genre labels. A bit of bluesy soul, a bit of folk, and more than a smidge of ethereal magic give her vocals their ageless allure. Casual fans know the Vancouver-based artist for her work with The Be Good Tanyas. But ardent fans know there is more depth to discover beneath her Americana surface.
On “Holdin’ It Down” from her third solo effort, U Kin B the Sun, Ford dances effortlessly across genres in ways that intoxicate listeners. The sultry R&B flow will have you shimmying and swaying in delight while the vocal interplay will send tingles down your spine. This is a tune to warm your coldest nights.
Lanterns on the Lake – “When It All Comes True” (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK)
RIYL: Slowdive, Daughter, Low
Leave it to British shoegaze outfit Lanterns on the Lake to bridge the gap between our waking lives and our dreams. That elusive area that only reveals itself to us when we sleep comes to life on “When It All Comes True” from their upcoming Spook the Herd LP. With dreamy textures that evoke Slowdive and Daughter, the melody weaves through your subconsious courtesy of Hazel Wilde’s silky smooth vocals. The rest of the band (comprised of Paul Gregory, Ol Ketteringham, Bob Allan, and Angela Chan) further capitalize on their cohesive brilliance, turning what would be an otherwise stellar song into an instant classic.
Pre-order Spook the Herd here or on Bandcamp ahead of its February 21st release date on Bella Union. The band will perform an unplugged in-store set that day in Brighton before kicking off their UK tour. A full list of tour dates is available here.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “Cars in Space” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Gengahr, The War on Drugs, Smith Westerns
Those of us dealing with snow right now are daydreaming about warmer days. Fortunately those dreams come with a kicking soundtrack courtesy of Aussie indie rock purveyors Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. They deliver enough searing hooks on “Cars in Space” to keep you ramped up through the weekend and beyond. This is the first indication of a possible new album from these guys; it will follow their smashing 2018 debut, Hope Downs.
While you watch the video (co-directed by Julia Jacklin!), let their sunny riffs invigorate you as you picture yourself in their warm vehicular performance space:
“Come around through the cold
In the warmth of the car
I’m the raven
I’m the keeper of your secret”
Sea Wolf – “Forever Nevermore” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Calexico, Remy Zero
When we found ourselves transfixed by Sea Wolf‘s “Fear of Failure” last month, we hardly expected to share another single from his upcoming Through a Dark Wood LP so soon after. But lo and behold, “Forever Nevermore” is a beguiling affair that we have kept on repeat. In true Sea Wolf style, the textures Alex Brown Church creates are lush, though this one is imbued with a deeper melancholy.
Wistful yearning is evident from the first note and continues through every chord. The lyrics prove equally moving as he conveys the mixed emotions of hesitation and regret that we have all felt at some point:
“There was something that I couldn’t say
‘Cause I was so afraid it would push you away
But when I never said what I couldn’t say
It went and pushed you away.”
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