The Matinee ’20 March 11th edition celebrates powerful voices with a focus on strong females. We think International Women’s Day deserves extended observation. These artists from across the globe remind us that people really do have the power, regardless of their gender.
Deradoorian – “Saturnine Night” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Concrete Blonde, Dirty Projectors, Zola Jesus
You might expect a song called “Saturnine Night” to conjure up spooky Halloween goth vibes. Instead of being a dark, brooding number, this latest from Deradoorian evokes moonlight walks on empty streets. You get all of the nocturnal mystique without the clichéd horror.
Although Angel Deradoorian has done the occasional DJ set around LA and played one-off shows around the country, it has been a long time since she’s shared anything new through her project Deradoorian. Five years have passed since she released her debut album, The Expanding Flower Planet, which was a masterful piece of atmospheric indietronica. Her 2017 EP, Eternal Recurrence, saw her push the boundaries of accessibility with her experimental take on ambient folk. Yesterday, she revealed that her long-awaited sophomore album is coming this spring, and alongside the announcement was “Saturnine Night”.
You might expect a song called “Saturnine Night” to conjure up spooky Halloween goth vibes. Instead of being a dark, brooding number, the track evokes moonlight walks on empty streets in a distant planet. Nocturnal mystique without the clichéd horror brims throughout the track. Pulsating rhythms (the shallow bass line is entrancing), a glimmering guitar line, and Deradoorian’s haunting vocals set the mood for this unexpected, hypnotic dance number. It’s like a dalliance with the Wolfman under the glow of the super moon, and nothing can interrupt this rapturous dance.
Deradoorian’s new album, Find the Sun, arrives May 22 on Anti- with pre-orders here and Bandcamp. In addition to Angel, the song features Dave Harrington (bass, electronics) and Samer Ghadry (drums, percussion)
Fenne Lily – “Hypochondriac” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Big Thief, Martika Hackman
April 23, 2016 was the day when English singer-songwriter Fenne Lily walked into our lives and crushed our souls with the beautifully devastating “Top to Toe”. For the next two years, she would leave us in awe at her stories, the subtle beauty in her music, and her knee-buckling, gorgeous voice. Her self-released debut album, On Hold, was equivalent to eternal catharsis, as each of its 12 songs were dazzling, breathtaking, spellbinding, or all three.
With the critical success of the record, she signed with Dead Oceans, and the support of a great company will allow the young Bristol native can take more chances. Or in her words, “It’s time for me to be loud if I wanna be loud and not feel like I’m gonna piss anyone off”. Loud, however, isn’t measured just in decibels, and on “Hypochondriac” Lily gets loud.
Don’t let the dreamy indie-rock start and Lily’s arresting vocals fool you because the song gradually builds into an urgent rocker a la Marika Hackman and Lucy Dacus. Where the song truly gets loud is in Lily’s lyrics, which immediately bite hard. She’s no longer disguising her feelings, but instead she’s forthright in discussing her own insecurities and mental health.
“These conversations I have with myself
Only as hard as I make them
These complications I have with my health
Only go as far as I take them”
She’s going to be a star.
Jensen McRae – “Wolves” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Sara Bareilles
Prepare to have the wind knocked right out of you: “Wolves” is one of the year’s most stunning songs. This understated ballad from 22-year-old newcomer Jensen McRae may leave you gasping for breath, awed by its force. It is one hell of an introduction to an artist we expect great things from in the near future. She channels the indie folk greats – Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman – with such authenticity beyond her years.
“Wolves” is, quite simply, poetic salve on a wound. This first-person tale of a survivor is told with simple acoustic guitar. There is no need for excessive production when the message is delivered in its purest form: emotionally bare and vulnerable yet resolute. McRae sings of the dangers of proverbial wolves and their prey:
“Saw a teenage girl on my street
Talking tall to one of them
Recognized him in an instant
Heard about him from my friends
Thank God women learned to whisper
But I crave a megaphone
That wolf said, “It’s dangerous out there”
That wolf said, “Let me walk you home”
Now I bury my smile and show no interest
Now I carry myself a little different
Now I avoid the woods
Now I know the wolves.”
“Wolves” is available now from these streaming and purchase sites.
La colère – “La Plage” (Switzerland)
RIYL: Christine and the Queens, Charli XCX, Chromatics
Sometimes we discover a talented artist whose music captivates and mystifies us in equal measure. Such is the case with Swiss electronic artist/producer La colère: her single “La Plage” grabbed our attention the moment we heard it. Unfortunately, we have little background information to share about her. However, one fact is obvious: music transcends facts and language barriers.
As soon as you press play, “La Plage” transports you to a dance floor near a moonlit beach. The disco-inspired beats swirl around your body. Once you hear the sultry vocals, you are instantly spellbound. You surrender to the rhythms. For the next three minutes you remain entranced by the background noises of ocean waves and tropical birds. There is only one option while you listen: you close your eyes and savor every beat.
We will keep following La colère – hopefully a full-length album will arrive later this year. Until then, check out the other new single (“La Vague”) which has an equally languid electronic vibe, or her 2018 EP entitled Surface.
Nap Eyes – “Mystery Calling” (Halifax, Canada)
RIYL: Tim Darcy, Lou Reed, Kevin Morby
There aren’t many more adjectives we can use to describe the artistic brilliance of Nap Eyes. Although they’re still not household names (how is that even possible?) and have been overlooked in their home country (we’re looking at you Junos), they are in our minds among the best indie – not just indie-rock – bands on the planet. Every song they’ve released is an instant classic with Nigel Chapman’s lyrics deserving of its own publication. If this was 1973, Chapman, Seamus Dalton, Josh Salter, and Brad Loughead would be rivaling Neil Young and Bachman-Turner Overdrive for recognition as Canada’s greatest band. One day, hopefully, their time will come. In the meantime, those in the know will continue to celebrate their craft, including their new single, “Mystery Calling”.
With every element amped down and as a mellow, classic-rock vibe descends upon the listener, Chapman asks himself, “Mystery calling at my door again / What is the mystery and should I let in?” His words are that of an aimless wanderer, dreamer, and procrastinating, who is just passing the time. We, however, fully empathize with his feelings, as we realize that we still have something to achieve in our lives. But what is it? “Should I just forget and let it in / Throw caution to the wind?”, Chapman asks later on. He’s not asking about letting the mystery in, but rather whether to let himself out and take a chance. And hopefully the world will take a chance on this fantastic quartet and they “won’t give up on (them)”.
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – “Temple” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Tune-Yards, Margaret Glaspy, Mirah
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down always deliver dazzling music. No matter who produces their albums, the San Francisco-based band fronted by Thao Nguyen fuse pop and punk with seamless ease. The title track from their upcoming fifth album, Temple, shimmers with familiar art-pop elements, though the subtle gentleness is hard to miss.
Temple reveals Nguyen in a new chapter of her life: more at peace in a space of her own making. This new album is self-produced (along with bandmate Adam Thompson), a change from their previous albums where they collaborated with the likes of Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards), Tucker Martine, and John Congleton.
“Temple” showcases everything fans love about Thao and her band: the sound is fresh and inventive, unbound by genre labels. Whether you call it art-rock or post-punk/pop, the terms are of little consequence. What matters most is authenticity and creativity – two traits this band continues to showcase at every turn.
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down are: Thao Nguyen, Adam Thompson, Johanna Kunin, Jason Slota, and Charlie Glenn.
Whiskerman – “Fuck Yeah” (Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Black Pistol Fire, Reignwolf, Velvet Revolver
A powerful force has been rocking the San Francisco Bay area lately. No, we’re not referring to earthquakes or virus-ridden cruise ships docking in Oakland. This is rocking of the face-melting psychedelic variety, and its name is Whiskerman. Their brand of havoc is the reason whiskey was invented: you’ll want a stiff drink in hand as you sing along to their newest release, “Fuck Yeah.”
The only suggestion we have for improving this otherwise kickass tune is trivial. Its title seems a bit naked without an emphatic exclamation point tacked onto the end, like a clenched fist thrust high into the air. Fortunately, the five members of Whiskerman do the thrusting for you with their thunderous riffs.
These sweaty, psychedelic-tinged layers belong not just on a main festival stage, but on the silver screen as well. If any future Quentin Tarantino films call for a full-throttle escape scene where the leading man tears across desert sands in a ’70s-era muscle car under a hail of bullet fire, “Fuck Yeah” is the soundtrack it needs. Then everyone in the theatre would leave singing the “fuck yeah, I’m still alive” lyrics with fists raised in solidarity.
This single is from their Kingdom Illusion album, available now at Bandcamp.
Whiskerman is: Graham Patzner (vocals/guitar/violin/piano), Jeremy Lyon (guitar), Charles Lloyd (guitar/sitar), Will Lawrence (bass), and Dan Schwartz (drums).
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