The Matinee ’20 March 5 edition features eight new music singles that go well beyond the mundane and ordinary. Some songs feature imaginative stories, while others are honest and emotionally moving. Then there are the fist-pumping, body-shaking rockers that will get your adrenaline flowing.
Caroline Rose – “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever?” (Burlington, VT and New York City, USA)
RIYL: Sheila E., St. Vincent, Prince
We’ve used almost every adjective imaginable to describe the brilliance, creativity, and wittiness of Caroline Rose. We’ll just call her an artistic genius because she can master any genre. This includes ’80s-esque, Prince-like funky R&B and pop, which she perfectly spins on “Do You Think We’ll Last Forever?”
This song is seriously funky with the combination of the popping bass line and Lisa Coleman (a member of The Revolution since 1980) inspired keys. For instance, there’s a moment at the 1:43 / 1:44 mark that echoes “1999”. Rose, though, adopts the persona of a man with confidence the size of Minneapolis. He’s on the prowl for love, thinking he can make any woman’s dreams come true. Despite the bravado, he also knows he’s human. “It’s just a heart attack,” he tells himself after not receiving he answer was expecting. As the song seamlessly transforms into a buzzing psychedelic-pop overture (another example of Rose’s genius), he rationalizes he had a panic attack and gets right back on the saddle in search for the elusive one.
What other new adventures (besides falling in love with his dominatrix and feeling optimistic in the face of oblivion) await our hero? Those answers will be revealed on Superstar which arrives March 6th via New West Records. We cannot wait! Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Catholic Action – “Yr Old Dad” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: The Libertines, The Fratellis, The Strokes
Whether they’re singing about “Breakfast”, the struggles with depression and alienation (on “Another Name for Loneliness”), or “Propaganda”, Glaswegians Catholic Action sure add spirit to the mundane (that being the first meal of the day) and the struggles of everyday life. It’s not that the quartet of Chris McCrory, Ryan Clark, Jamie Dubber, and Andrew MacPherson are making light of people’s situations. On the contrary, they aim to energize the populace and help people overcome their challenges through raucous indie rock. This includes dealing with the potential loss of a parent, which is the focus of “Yr Old Dad”.
Right off the bat, McCrory hollers over a throbbing bass line, “Your old dad is dying / He said, “Son, I’m growing old.” The track, however, is more than just Pops laying on his death bed. It’s also an attempt at reconciliation: the father laments being absent for most of his child’s upbringing. The song picks up steam with a chirping guitar lick and knee-slapping rhythms. Father and child attempt to make amends includes a visit to the parish. Despite the sombre tone of the story, Catholic Action do what they do best – fire off a fun, boisterous rock tune that would make The Libertines and The Fratellis sneer in envy. They are simply one of Scotland’s finest rock bands.
Great News – “Reality Show” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: POND, Phoenix, early Tame Impala
For us, the best songs are those that pique our ears while stimulating our imaginations. A great story within a fantastic, catchy melody will always grab our attention, and Norwegians Great News have made an art of this craft. Unsurprisingly, they’ve become one of our favorite bands from Scandinavia. Their stories can be relateable or imaginative and unexpected, such as “Reality Show”.
An effortless and breezy psychedelic-pop vibe à la POND immediately fills the air. The delirium-inducing melody sets the mood for Even Kjelby’s creative tale of a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s never worked a day let alone left home, but eventually he has to leave the nest. When he does, the song turns into an uptempo, energetic shoulder-shimmying number to mirror the fall of our hero. He gets “tricked” into joining a reality TV show because all he really wanted to be “special”, just like his mother told him. Instead, his life falls apart, like what ends up happening to some of the dudes who end up being The Batchelor or on The Real World.
“I could have been somebody
But that wouldn’t be enough for me
I needed to be like a celebrity
I could have made a difference
But that wouldn’t be enough for me
That guy who ended up having sex on TV.”
In the end, he did become a celebrity, just not in the way he imagined. The tale is a clever one, especially in this day and age where people crave notoriety.
Great News are Even Kjelby, Lars Henrik Stoud Platou, and Ole Kristian Einarsen. The band’s sophomore album, Now and Them, will be released April 17th on EDDA Music.
ISTA – “Western Sun” (New York City via California, USA)
RIYL: Ty Segall, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Ron Gallo
Great gritty, zany, desert-like psychedelic rock doesn’t get made too often these days. Most bands want to be the next Tame Impala instead of firing off crazy guitar riffs, hammering down a rapid-fire drum roll, crushing off-the-wall bass lines, and blazing searing synths and keys. Sure Ty Segall remains active and The Gizz continue to produce albums at an unfathomable rate, but great, old-fashion psych-rock is approaching dodo levels. Thank goodness that California transplants ISTA have returned and started the resurrection process with their outstanding new single, “Western Sun”.
Put on your favorite pair of bell-bottom pants, deck out the floral shirts, tease up the perm, don the too-big-for-your-head sunglasses, and get ready to rock out like it’s 1977. “Western Sun” is an adrenaline rush even for adrenaline junkies.
The first forty seconds are calm and seductive, but afterwards the song turns into a manic, delirious, and immensely fun tune. It’s basically a five-minute roller coaster full of spins, loops, drops, and smoother moments. You’ll be launching your arms up and throwing fist pumps during its peaks while sucking for air during the brief moments of calm. You might also want to just get up and shake your hips in every direction, allowing the song’s “magnetic wave of light” to take control of your movements. By the time this great experience is finished, you’ll probably holler a “Fuck yeah!” and get in the queue to experience it all over again.
Kevin Morby – “Gift Horse” (Lubbock, TX, USA)
RIYL: Woods, Wilco/Jeff Tweedy, Kurt Vile, Michael Nau
Indie artist Kevin Morby has the soul of an old-school nomadic beatnik. This is something we did not immediately realize with his 2013 debut, Harlem River. All we knew then was this former member of Woods had launched a solo career to minimal fanfare.
Fast-forward a few years: he releases five albums in six years – prolific by any standards – including Singing Saw (2016) and the 2019 double LP, Oh My God (Dead Oceans). His folk-rock bona fides land him on festival stages at Newport Folk, Pickathon, and Bonnaroo. During all that recording and touring, he lived on the road where time was an understandable blur. Now time is a theme on two newly-shared tracks from the Oh My God sessions didn’t make the cut then.
“Gift Horse” (along with “I Was on Time”) is a dusty, ambling ballad that could be the musical lovechild of Bob Dylan and Wilco. A melancholy organ imbues the track with ’70s-era AM radio vibes. He sings of how “time played a trick” and “cast a spell on everyone.” There are no tricks here, only a soothing reminder that Kevin Morby one of indie music’s best artists.
Oddnesse – “All American Lie” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Land of Talk, Sharon Van Etten, pronoun
Everything that Rebeca Arango – a.k.a. Oddnesse – touches turns to gold. For over three years, she has demonstrated that she is extremely agile and adaptive, as she’s crafted stunning synth-pop anthems and heavy, enrapturing, gothic folk-rock. Despite her talents, she remains an under-the-radar artist and one of many who have been overtaken by the steamrolling, cookie-cutter locomotives that fill today’s airwaves. For fans who gravitate to great songwriting, however, space will always be made for Arango’s songs, and her latest number will be given express access.
“All American Lie” is a stunning piece of intimate art-rock. Every element is executed with the feathery touch of a surgeon, allowing every beat, rhythm, and crystalline guitar chord to be heard. You can’t help but gasp for a breath while listening to the gorgeous melody. Arango’s songwriting, though, is what makes you take a step back from all the noise and traffic and reflect on what was and what lies ahead. To reflect on what the American Dream means and whether it exists. For an artist like Arango, it is a fleeting one that she may never realize despite the compromises she’s made. Her song, her story is full of fantastic lines, including:
“I know myself as a blur, living in your parade
Dressed in feathers and crystals to hide the shame
I guess it’s as much as it hurts I need the courage to say,
‘I’m stopping here today'”.
Hopefully, though, this isn’t the last we hear from oddnesse because she’s exactly the type of artist we need today. Someone who will move us for her music and the words she writes.
The single is available on Make More Records.
Porridge Radio – “Circling” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Cherry Glazerr, Honeyblood, Slothrust
Most people expect artists to create music that allows them to escape, relax, dance, or find solace in something intangible. Music, however, should also be a medium that artists use to share their personal struggles because listeners can often relate. Music can be our therapy as much as a piece of art. Through her Porridge Radio project, Dana Margolin has never shied away from tackling difficult, deeply personal issues. Their latest tune, “Circling”, should be heard by all.
Although the track starts off with gentle, swaying grunge-pop approach, Margolin’s first words hit like a sledgehammer. She sings with a touch of delirium:
“I’m doing well / I’m doing fine
We’re all o.k. / All of the time
Nothing is wrong / Everything is fine
We’re all o.k. / All of the time.”
She repeats that she is fine as the song grows harsher. Despite her protests, you know not everything is fine. She is the voice of the person coping with depression, anxiety, or other malady. She is the person is circling the drain, slowly spiraling out of sight and out of mind.
Porridge Radio are Dana Margolin (vocals/guitar), Sam Yardley (drums), Georgie Stott (keys), and Maddie Ryall (bass). Their new album, Every Bad, will be released March 13th on Secretly Canadian. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
VERO – “Waves of Love” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: The Kills, Frankie Rose, The Cardigans
It wasn’t long ago that we stated VERO could be one of Sweden’s all-time great bands, as they rekindled the magic of The Cardigans, The Raveonettes, and The Knife. The trio of Julia Boman (vocals), Amanda Eddestål (bass), and Clara Gyökeres (guitar) obviously have work to do – mostly in terms of album releases and longevity – before they reach such lofty heights, but they’re well on their way thanks to the golden “Burning Ride” and now the silvery “Waves of Love”.
Whereas their previous single was a pulsating, hypnotic journey right into the head of an intensifying storm, “Waves of Love” is the ride out of the threatening clouds and into the reprieve of the calm. Bubbling electronic drums and synths welcome our arrival out of the inclement weather, and shortly thereafter Boman’s silky smooth vocals greet us. She invites us into a motel room to “forget about everything”. A moment of bliss and escape from the turbulent chaos outside is what she offers. How can be turn down this invitation when the sounds emanating from the room are so intoxicating?
The track is from VERO’s forthcoming sophomore EP, which is expected this spring via PNKSLM Recordings.
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