The Matinee ’20 March 18th edition offers you lots of sonic relief for everyone in social distancing mode. Let these tunes provide the soundtrack to your own private party. Whether you dance or sway or just chill in peace, these artists are your ticket to a different state of mind.
Chemtrails – “Frightful in the Sunlight” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Oh Sees, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Meatbodies
Ladies and gentlemen, please buckle your seat belts because we are about to hit some major turbulence. We are about to enter the airspace of Chemtrails and their world of zany, off-the-wall, psychedelic rock, as represented by their new single, “Frightful in the Sunlight”.
We cannot promise that after experiencing this full-throttle storm of sizzling guitars, hammering rhythms, and witchy vocals you will emerge unscathed. You might have whiplash from the manic head-banging or sore knees and backs from the repeated bouncing. Others may experience shoulder pain from throwing fierce fist pumps skyward. If you experience any of these maladies, then we know you’ve had one great time diving into Chemtrail’s rabbit hole. As fanatical as the song sounds, the world they articulate with their lyrics isn’t so dystopian. Instead, they reveal plenty of the ills that consume the world outside Chemtrails’ realm. And it’s creepier than this tune.
Chemtrails are Mia Lust (guitar/vocals), Laura Orlova (guitar/vocals), Ian Kane (bass), Dianne Velvet (keyboard), and Adrian Hammersley (drums). Their sophomore LP, The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable, drops May 15th via PNKSLM Recordings. Pre-orders are available from Bandcamp.
Communist Daughter – “Living with Your Ghost” (Kotzebue, Alaska, USA)
RIYL: Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Darlingside
Today more than ever, we need to support each other through these uncertain times. Every person you know is dealing with feelings of anxiety, including musicians whose livelihoods depend on creating art and touring. Bands like Communist Daughter excel at creating music that resonates with its listeners. For a decade, the project spearheaded by Johnny and Molly Solomon has been a reliable source of musical catharsis. Their music helps fans cope emotionally, though not without a personal cost. Even musicians need to step back for mental health self-care, as the Solomons have done with their relocation to a tiny Alaska town located 26 miles above the Arctic Circle.
Now the band seeks support from fans to help bring their third album, Unknown Caller, to life. The album’s first single, “Living With Your Ghost”, is a celebration of everything fans love about this band: lush arrangements of cashmere-smooth vocals and dreamy instrumentation. The bright string arrangements soothe your soul with the warmth of sunlight piercing through fog. The tug on your heart is immediate, as are the song’s magical, calming effects. Consider this message from the band:
“It’s true, the magic of the internet gives us unlimited music and unprecedented access to artists, all it requires is for musicians to appear live on stage night after night to fund their art. Unfortunately, some musicians have to choose between their mental health and their musical career. So here we are, after turning down labels and tours at the height of our career, we send you a direct love letter, and ask for you to be a part of making Communist Daughter stretch into a new decade. With your help, we can give you our third album “Unknown Caller,” on our 10th anniversary.”
Unknown Caller is expected in April or May. The band is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to release the LP. You can support this great band’s efforts here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/communist-daughter-lp-3-unknown-caller. This is a band whose music belongs in heavy rotation in everyone’s daily life.
Guds Pengar – “Qute” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Amason, Melby, Hater
We must be honest: we have no idea what is being said on Guds Pengar‘s new single, “Qute”. Heck, we don’t know much about the Swedish trio other than they call Malmö home, and they’re signed to the excellent label, Rama Lama Records. So why share a song whose message we don’t understand? The answer is simple: the music makes us feel stupendous.
“Qute” is quintessential Swedish alt-pop. Like the music of Amason and Melby, the song is warm and inviting, as keys hum, the guitars effortlessly strum, and the rhythms gently drizzle before turning into a torrent of hammering noise. Frontwoman Evelina Nerstrand’s dreamy vocals are endearing, and her delivery seems like she’s whispering in our ears and telling us to move on and not look back. Maybe that’s the message she actually sings about, maybe it isn’t. Regardless, this track will put a smile on your face and make you believe that everyone for now is okay.
No Age – “Turned to String” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Japandroids, The Men, Girls
How did we miss a new song from one of the great garage-rock bands of the past 20 years? Let’s blame it on that topic dominating the news. Better late than never right? Anyway, get ready to physically experience another awesome No Age tune.
While Dean Spunt and Randy Randall have created much louder wall-shakers, “Turned to String” still will get your blood flowing. It will also satisfy every garage-rock desire as it pulsates through your body.
Randall’s guitar revs like a motorcycle cruising down Route 66 while Spunt’s steady hands deliver crisp percussion. This is a trip straight from the mind of Hunter S. Thompson to a hazy place where our past mistakes intertwine with the road before us. It’s a trippy storyline from a duo that has no limits to their imagination.
Perfume Genius – “On The Floor” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Perfume Genius
Is there another artist like Mike Hadreas anywhere on the planet? Can anyone else effortlessly move between genres and master them all and all the while captivating us on each of his musical expositions? We can only think of a handful of artists (Angel Olsen being one), which explains the immense talents of the artist, innovator, creator, composer, and mastermind who is better known as Perfume Genius.
Just a month ago, Hadreas released the darkly hypnotic “Describe”. It was harsher than what we’ve come to expect from the Seattle-based musician. For the second single from his forthcoming new album, he heads in a completely opposite direction.
“On The Floor” is a musical carnival combining R&B and choral pop into one immersive, glorious track. You might expect this if Dev Hynes (a.k.a., Blood Orange), The Weeknd, and Dusty Springfield collaborated for one song. In other words, “On The Floor” is a work of pure genius, and will be stuck in your head for a long while. The sunny melody will elicit smiles while the sweltering rhythms will have you swooning over what the future may hold, especially if your dreams are similar to that of Hadreas’. He has but one simple wish – to be loved.
The new album, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, is out May 15th on Matador Records.
Saint Motel – “A Good Song Never Dies” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Fitz & The Tantrums, Deep Sea Arcade, Grouplove
Last year, Los Angeles-based indie pop quartet Saint Motel channeled their inner Netflix creator and released the first of a three-part EP series called The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Like a great television program, the compilation follows one protagonist (which might be frontman A. J. Jackson) and his escapades. Beneath the stories a collective “call to action” is often heard. In other words, the record might focus on a single person, but the morals of the stories apply to all of us. Now the band have released the first single to Pt. 2, in true Saint Motel style.
“A Good Song Never Dies” is a fun, literally uplifting (as in get up off your feet) anthem. It throbs and pulses with a deep bass line and soaring keys that give the track its suspenseful vibe. There is, however, an undeniably infectious quality due to the riveting percussion, the bursts of the guitar, and the urgency of Jackson’s vocals. Maybe this song’s impact will mirror its lyrical truths:
“‘Cause a good song never dies
It just reminds you where you were
The first it made you cry
The first time you felt alive
A good song never… dies.”
In addition to being on The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Pt. 2 (release date TBA), the song is featured in PlayStation’s MLB: The Show ’20.
Saint Motel are A. J. Jackson (lead vocals/guitar/piano), Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), and Greg Erwin (drums).
Single is out on Elektra Records.
Sea Wolf – “Break It Down” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: The National, Pinback, Mimicking Birds
While we all practice social distancing, it’s hard to remember what day of the week it is. Each one blurs into the next, Groundhog Day-style. Fortunately for music fans, this Friday is worth noting on your calendars: it’s release day for the new Sea Wolf album, Through a Dark Wood.
The LP’s third single, “Break It Down”, maintains the soothing complexity of the devastating “Forever Nevermore” and the reassuring “Fear of Failure” – tracks that offer irrefutable proof of its inevitable high rank on our Favorite Albums of 2020 list.
“Break It Down” shines with understated elegance. Alex Brown Church is a master of fusing organic tones: the production here evokes a walk through fog and forests interspersed with warm, coastal breezes. The effect is cathartic yet exhilarating. If you have yet to discover Sea Wolf, we feel certain this album in general (and this tune in particular) is a gift for you to discover. Fans of The National and Radical Face will appreciate the mellowness while fans of Arcade Fire and lesser-known though equally brilliant indie dream-pop outfit Mimicking Birds can embrace the melodic intricacies. There is much to savor here.
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