The Matinee ’20 March 6th edition covers all the bases, from mellow indie rock to amped-up psychedelia and plenty in between. We kick off the weekend with an epic track.
Arbouretum – “Let It All In” (Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: Wolf People, Black Mountain, Wooden Shjips
In the immortal words of our friend Rob, who first introduced us to Arbouretum six years ago, their newest single, “Let It All In”, is a monster. It is a nearly 12-minute epic of bludgeoning alternative, psychedelic, folk-rock. Despite its length, the time flies by as you gets lost in the seismic, dueling guitars and the heavy, pulsating rhythms. Interspersed through the mind-altering noise is David Heumann’s vocals that appear like a voice from the beyond. He calls us to join him on a spiritual journey to the unknown and find enlightenment in a place far from the insanity of today’s world.
Heumann’s words are obviously figurative, but there is also a literal message. Specifically, he encourages us to find our place in this world and let our natural selves come out. To let it all in instead of resisting it. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Arbouretum are David Heumann, Corey Allender, Brian Carey and Matthew Pierce. The band’s new album, Let It All In, is out March 20th on Thrill Jockey Records. Pre-order it on the label’s site or on Bandcamp.
Laveda – “Ghost” (Albany, NY, USA)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, Lush, Chapterhouse
Some despise it, but others, like us, love how bands across the globe are revitalizing shoegaze. Young and old, artists are making the music of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lush, and Ride cool again. Doing their part to spread the glorious sounds of this genre in upstate New York are Laveda, the project founded by Ali Genevich and Jake Brooks founders and now include Joe Taurone and Dan Paoletti.
From their social media, the quartet probably weren’t even born when shoegaze became a cultural phenomenon, but this hasn’t prevented them from emulating the music of their idols. Or should we say perfecting it, which they’ve done on “Ghost”.
Urgent and breathtaking, dazzling and euphoric, “Ghost” personifies what shoegaze can and ought to be. From the fuzzy guitars to the probing rhythms to Genevich’s stirring vocals, the song leaves you in a state of awe, where every element consumes a different part of your body, mind, and soul. Should you also listen carefully to what Genevich has to say, the track will incite some self-reflection, as she speaks about the pain that is growing inside her and how her days could be coming to an end. That she soon might be a ghost, if she’s not already one.
Laveda’s debut album, What Happens After, is out April 24th, and it can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp.
Muzz – “Bad Feeling” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Interpol, The Walkmen, Bonny Light Horseman
You might expect a song titled “Bad Feeling” to wade deep into mellow, melancholy territory. The debut single from Muzz – the newest supergroup comprised of Paul Banks (Interpol), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen), and Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman) – does just that. Then it simply lingers there, drawing you into its contemplative mood.
Understated and elegant, “Bad Feeling” evokes rainy day feelings. In fact, its overall tone sounds more like The National or Destroyer, especially the doleful horns in the last half. This is a far cry from the edgier indie rock you expect from the Interpol frontman whose recent collaborations include DJ Shadow and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan. While little else is known about an album from this project, we have a good feeling that Muzz will deliver more gems like this soon.
Until then, follow their social media channels for updates.
Nat Vazer – “Grateful” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Hole, Nirvana, The Beatles
Before we took our self-imposed one-year hiatus, Melbourne’s Nat Vazer grabbed our attention with two blustery numbers – “You’re Winning Me Over” and “Struggletown”. The two songs were different but they shared one important quality – incredible songwriting. Not to disparage the ultra-cool city of Melbourne, Vazer might already be a star and performing with the likes of The National or be the fourth member of Boygenius if she resided in New York City, Chicago, Nashville, or LA. Her talent is on par with Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and other young, gifted singer-songwriters. In other words, the new generation of Kurt Cobains, Courtney Loves, and Alanis Morissettes. Speaking of which, she gets grungy on her newest tune, “Grateful”.
At first, “Grateful” sounds like it came right out of In Utero with its gritty and raw alt-rock approach. All Vazer needs to do is sit on a stool, strum on her acoustic, and sing her heart out while her backing band rocks out behind her. But just as the song is about to ebb into a familiar space, it changes pace. Suddenly, the tracks takes a hazy, trippy turn, resonating of the psychedelic exploits of The Beatles later in their career. The multi-genre approach is fitting since Vazer’s sings about all the woman artists that came before her, and how they have laid the path for her to succeed. With International Women’s Day just two days away, the song arrives at the perfect time for women and men to recollect on all the great female role models in their lives – while rocking out to this awesome tune.
The single is out on boutique label Hotel Motel Records.
Pom Poko – “Praise” (Oslo via Trondheim, Norway)
RIYL: Rubblebucket, Superorganism, Deerhoof
Something must be in the water in Norway because the country continues to produce some of the most innovative artists and bands on the planet. They’re not just crafting cool new sounds, but they’re also crafting great stories and messages. They’ve essentially thrown out the mainstream playbook and written their own. This country’s high educational attainment rate might have something to do with this development, where musicians treat their listeners as intelligent human beings instead of lazy consumers. The artists, themselves, are geniuses, and Pom Poko are near, if not at, the very top.
Never ones to be satisfied with creating something familiar, the four-piece are refining alt-pop and art-rock, such as on “Praise”. The song pitter-patters at first with its off-kilter approach. Grungy-guitars open the track at first before it settles into a quirky, pop-rock approach. Front woman Ragnhild Fangel, meanwhile, nonchalantly sings about her loneliness and the thoughts that fill her head. The gradually picks up steal, steadily becoming more of an indie-rock number, as the guitars get a little louder and the rhythms more urgent. Then it explodes into a flailing, all-directions, gyrating rocker. Should we dance, mosh, jump alone, or do the Roboto? Do whatever you like because that’s the intent of Pom Poko’s music and this song, in particular, which encourages us to go out and make our dreams come true. To go out and be who are meant to be.
The single is out now on Bella Union. Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass), and Ola Djupvik (drums) will be performing four shows at SXSW, and we highly recommend you see them at least twice.
Pottery – “Take Your Time” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Gang of Four, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Parquet Courts
Several years ago a Reddit meme featured the phrase “punch a velociraptor in the dick!” as a motivational slogan. Implausibility aside, it’s a fantastic visual image of boldness that serves its purpose. Once heard, it’s never forgotten. We suspect Canadian indie rockers Pottery share that invincibly daring mentality. Case in point? Their newest single “Take Your Time” (from their upcoming debut, Welcome to Bobby’s Motel) showcases their ballsy energy and bombastic sound.
In other words, it rocks.
We’re talking old-school Red Hot Chili Peppers-meets-Gang of Four in a sweaty mosh pit. These prime weekend vibes beg to be played at peak volume. Jangly, raucous, high-octane fun: “Take Your Time” is the tune to blast as you ride into battle against anything in your path. Mondays? Looming project deadlines? Traffic jams? Bad hair day? Whatever ails you, Pottery makes the velociraptor-punching anthems you need.
Welcome to Bobby’s Motel arrives April 10th via Royal Mountain Records (CAN) and Partisan Records (rest of world). Pre-orders also include a visual treat in the form of a 32-page zine created by the band.
Pottery are: Tom Gould, Paul Jacobs, Jacob Shepansky, Peter Baylis, and Austin Boylan.
Warm Digits – “Feel The Panic” (feat. The Lovely Eggs) (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England)
RIYL: The Fall, Stereolab, Fat Boy Slim with Karen O
If you have a jetpack or a time machine lying around, get it ready because this next tune will blast you into the stratosphere or back to the mid-’70s and the underground music scene of Berlin. Then again, Andrew Hodson (free drumming, percussion, and noise) & Steve Jefferis (snowstorm guitar, radiophonic electronics) have been doing this for a few years as Warm Digits, resurrecting krautrock for a new generation of music fans. Their blazing approach to this nearly-lost genre is so good that they can get The Lovely Eggs to collaborate with them and deliver the perfect track to anchor our mini-playlist.
Rev up whatever machine you have – or just rev yourself up – and get ready to move while spinning “Feel The Panic”. Coming in at a solid 4:41, the song’s hyper-energetic vibe will either help you forget about the week that was or get you excited for the weekend that is come. Guitars, rhythms, beats (and yes, a cowbell!), and keys buzz in every direction. They’re like a swarm of locusts, only this infestation is one you will welcome. Yeah, you might “feel the panic”, as Holly Ross expresses with her piercing vocals, but there’s no way you’re going to run away. Instead, you will feel empowered, which is exactly what Warm Digits and The Lovely Eggs want you to experience. To think you can encounter anything and everything.
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