The Matinee ’20 February 26 features six songs that might have you adding to your “Best of 2020 contenders” list. All the tracks featured today are seriously fantastic and emotionally moving.

 

Deeper – “Lake Song” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: The Cure, OMNI, Foreign Resort

In another time and era, Deeper would be the talk of radio morning shows, and teenagers and college students would be donning t-shirts bearing their name. They are one of the best post-punk bands to arrive in the past five years, as they can weave bleak, spine-tingling numbers as well as exhilarating, pulsating epics. And then they can channel one of the great goth-rock bands in history while maintaining their brooding, post-apocalyptic brilliance, which they do on “Lake Song”.

The words “magnificent”, “awesome”, “incredible” continue to drip from our mouths with each listen. The foreboding bass line; the harrowing but chiming guitar; the moaning synths; and guttural rhythms form a soundscape that The Cure would have imagined forty years ago. Front man Nic Gohl’s vocals also take on a Robert Smith tone, and he repeatedly utters, “I just want you to feel safe”, to a partner. His voice is that of a helpless man, who can only watch as the illness overcomes his partner’s mind and she slowly fades into the darkness. Simply brilliant.

With this tune and the equally impressive “This Heat”, singer and guitarist Nic Gohl, bassist Drew McBride, and drummer Shiraz Bhatti’s sophomore album, Auto-Pain, is shaping up to be a must-hear event. The record will be released March 27th on Fire Talk Records. Pre-orders are available on Bandcamp.

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Gordi – “Sandwiches” (Canowindra, Australia)

RIYL: Gothic Tropic, TORRES, Phoebe Bridgers

By now, people know we admire Sophie Payten and the artistry she reveals as Gordi. She has consistently left us in awe of her widescreen music and immersed in her beautiful stories for the past four years. You could say she knows what heartstrings to pluck in order to capture our attention. Even when she changes her tone, she still enraptures us and leaves us saying, “Wow!”

“Sandwiches” is arguably the most simple and stripped-down song Payten has released since 2016. The track features a steady guitar, feathery rhythms, and the ever slight presence of keys, but unlike her past songs there is not a big, euphoric climax nor a moment that leaves you paralyzed. Instead, the song leaves you in your tracks from the moment the first notes are heard. The simple arrangements yield a melody that will cause hearts to stir and lungs to gasp for an extra breath. Her words, though, will entice people to smile, as they think about all the influential people in their lives. For Payten, that person was her grandmother, who she describes “a great feeder of people.” In this song, she honors her memory by forever engraving the little moments in a beautiful piece of art. By naming a song about the most humblest meal for the most humblest of humans.

The single is out on Jagjaguwar and Liberation Records. Click the audio link above and buy the tune on Bandcamp.

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Half Waif – “Halogen 2” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Jenny Hval, Perfume Genius, Julianna Barwick

In late January, Nandi Rose Plunkett – the creative genius behind Half Waif – shared the spellbinding “Ordinary Talk”, which accompanied the announcement of her new album, The Caretaker. The song revealed a new layer to her artistry – that of an individual willing to extend her boundaries to create something unique yet accessible. She has once again achieved brilliance with “Halogen 2”.

Like Jenny Hval and Perfume Genius, Plunkett has brought the worlds of theatre, cinema, and electronica into one masterful and sublime piece of experimentalism. An uneasy serenity emerges at the start of the track, as the synths are hushed and the beats act like the pulse of an unknown entity. Plunkett’s voice possesses a nervous calm, particularly as she sings:

“Why am I so afraid ? These are my brightest days
It’s time to go inside.
I asked for a moment / I cannot hold it.
It’s so inappropriate / You were right to leave me here.”

Then the song slowly builds before erupting into an intergalactic climax and a moment of awe descends upon the listener. But for Plunkett and her character, this moment is not that of transcendence or celebration, but it is an act of survival.

Half Waif’s new album, The Caretaker, will be available March 27th on ANTI- Records. Pre-order it here or go directly to Bandcamp. This should be another great album of the first quarter.

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Katie Von Schleicher – “Caged Sleep” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Cat Power, Sharon Van Etten, Margaret Glaspy

There are few songwriters more witty or honest than Katie Von Schleicher. Her 2017 record, Shitty Hits, embodies that – from its self-deprecating name to its emotional content.  She’s also quite versatile as a musician. From her spacey solo ballads to her role in Wilder Maker to her recent contributions to Youbet, it’s hard to pin down what a Katie Von Schleicher project might sound like.

The first track she has shared from her upcoming record, Consummation, is “Caged Sleep”. Von Schleicher says the idea for the track came from a dream, and it sounds the part. From her dreamy vocals to an irresistible bass line, Von Schleicher created a song that feels like one of those dreams that make your heart race. “Caged Sleep” is more refined than anything we’ve heard from her previous albums, and it makes us excited to hear what else is waiting for us on Consummation.

Consummation arrives May 22nd via Ba Da Bing Records.

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Land of Talk – “Weight of That Weekend” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Stevie Nicks, Big Thief, The War on Drugs

It’s been nearly three years since we’ve heard from Elizabeth Powell and her project Land of Talk, at which time she released the immaculate Life After Youth. The songs on the album – and pretty much everything she has done – feels like it came from an era many have forgotten.  The Montreal-based singer-songwriter, however, consistently reminds us that there is still a place for music that can wrap us up like a warm blanket, comfort us in our saddest times, and make us believe the worst has passed. Powell’s trademark characteristics are once again featured on “Weight of That Weekend”.

Like Stevie Nicks backed by The War on Drugs, “Weight of That Weekend” rekindles the windswept folk-rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Akin to the music of that time, the song will stir emotions – from the gorgeous arrangements to Powell’s lush and intimate vocals. As beautiful as the song sounds, Powell recalls the pain she experienced on a single weekend. Specifically, she shares a lengthy time when she was sexually coerced, assaulted, and violated. During this time, all she could was hold up for hope that her victimization would one day end.

“Always tired, I’m trying to get back something
Shit just got so real
I wanna ride
I wanna die on that field
Physical way of night-facing partner
Eyes wide, I let it go too soon
Now I feel it, 
sit with it while I wait by the moon

‘Cause I’m not sleeping
The weight of that weekend
As long as I’m breathing
This is a prayer for love”

In two words, “Weight of That Weekend” is beautifully powerful.

Powell’s new album, Indistinct Conversations, is out May 15th via Saddle Creek Records and Dine Alone Records. It can also be pre-ordered on Bandcamp.

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Why Bonnie – “Voice Box” (Austin, USA)

RIYL: Sunflower Bean, Beach House, Alvvays

Two years ago, Austin indie outfit Why Bonnie left us in awe with their shimmering brand of dream-pop and indie pop-rock. Their EP, Nightgown, was simply a dazzler. On their newest effort, Why Bonnie once again display their calming brilliance.

“Voice Box” is truly dream pop at its finest. It is the perfect track to jam on a warm spring day while driving to a spectacular outdoor location. Luckily, we do have those warmer days fast approaching. Blair Howerton’s saccharine vocals glow as she lyrically tackles the societal woes of sexism.

“You know I’m your mirror
You know I’m your greatest fear
I know it’s easier to bury your uncertainties
In a cloud of masculinity
Guess it’s the curse you bear to talk over me
And my voice grows hoarse from saying look at me”

The overall hazy vibe is completely bliss filled. It’s the perfect title track for their upcoming EP release.

Why Bonnie are Blair Howerton, Kendall Powell, Mitchell Lamon, ham soudek, and Chance Williams. Their new EP, Voice Box, is out April 10th on Fat Possum Records. Pre-order it on Bandcamp. The video for the lead single can be viewed on YouTube, and those who like their ’70s technicolor will enjoy it. The band has also been chosen to perform at this year’s SXSW Festival in their hometown of Austin.

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