The Matinee ’20 May 15 offers a kaleidoscope of new music. Some tunes will have you dancing, others will have you rocking, and two will brutally crush you. We start with the latter because an all-time favorite (and one of the most talented artists on the planet) returns.
Mrs. Piss – “Downer Surrounded by Uppers” & “Knelt” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Chelsea Wolfe
After surprising fans with a relatively subdued but still immensely tantalizing album, Birth of Violence, the Queen of Goth-rock returns, and she’s more brooding, harrowing, and bleak than she’s ever been before. On this occasion, however, Chelsea Wolfe teams up with her longtime drummer Jess Gowrie to from a new duo called Mrs. Piss. The name is great because it perfectly defines the pair’s music. Even though we know what to expect, the dark brutality of the first two tracks are still hair-raising.
“Downer Surrounded by Uppers” is a cathartic, Goth-infused metal tune. Overdriven guitars and Gowrie’s full-throttle, jackhammering percussion fill the air, replicating the sonic explosions of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at their fiercest. Wolfe, meanwhile, sounds like a woman lost in a crowd, wandering aimlessly through the happy-go-lucky mass while she deals with the demons in her head. “Knelt”, meanwhile, most closely resembles Wolfe’s solo work. It is methodical and suspenseful, pacing slowly to cause all those who come in contact to tremble. Those who do become paralyzed by duo’s overwhelmingly dark artistry, and all we can do, as Wolfe describes with her words, is succumb to the desires of masters, which for many are the thoughts in our head. In this case, though, Wolfe and Gowrie are the ones to whom we kneel.
The duo’s debut album, Self-Surgery, unveils itself on May 29th. The excellent Sargent House, Wolfe’s longtime label, will release it.
Dead Parties – “Maggie Blue” (Barcelona, Spain via Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: The Dandy Warhols, Husker Dü, The Raveonettes
When was the last time you heard a new band that truly excited you? We’re talking about the kind of band whose music makes such a connection that you feel a resonance in every instrument and note. If you haven’t had that “Where has this band been all my life?” moment lately, we suggest you sit down before spinning “Maggie Blue” from Dead Parties. While they aren’t a new band, they might be a new discovery for you. If so, you are in for quite a treat.
Like their indie psych pop-rock forebears (namely The Dandy Warhols and The Raveonettes), Dead Parties reach just far enough into the past without going overboard. The ’60s-era influence is strong yet their sound remains fully modern. The radio-friendly hooks increase the likelihood that they will appeal to a broad spectrum of music fans. But the ones most likely to become deeply smitten are those who appreciate politically-charged messages woven into their danceable rock. Few bands seem willing to (or interested in) address dead leaders and how their regimes impacted society. But that’s exactly what Dead Parties do here. By making Margaret Thatcher the subject of this tune, they remind us that our leaders can heal or hurt depending on who is elected. Young listeners, take heed. What better way to increase your political awareness than with fierce music like this?
We cannot wait to hear what else Dead Parties have planned for the future. Hopefully those plans include a full-length album. Until then, you can find this song (along with their earlier singles) on Bandcamp.
Dead Parties are: Etienne Mamo (guitar/vocals), Sarah Kost (vocals/keys/percussion), Ricardo Relvas (guitars), Adam Wilson (bass), and Antonio Dorado (drums).
Dirtwire x Moontricks – “Alone” (California, USA and Canada)
RIYL: Dirtwire, Moontricks
We have quite a collaboration to present. Dirtwire and Moontricks start off with a complete southern folk/bluegrass vibe and then kick it up with middle eastern violin and killer bass. The stark contrast within the song offers an exciting and eclectic representation of the inspiration behind the track: “a song about rejecting societal pressures for consumerism.” “Alone” is an electrifying piece of folktronica as we hear almost two different versions woven within the same song.
“Alone” is the collaboration you didn’t even know you needed to hear. After listening, it’s hard not to hit repeat again to absorb all the musical elements you possibly missed the first time around.
If you’re not familiar, West Coast-born Dirtwire have been making what they coin “swamptronica” since 2012. The trio of David Satori, Evan Fraser, and Mark Reveley use a plethora of instruments including West African kamale ngoni, harmonica, space fiddle, whamola bass, Rickenbacher electric 12-string guitars, bowed banjos and jaw harps from around the globe.
Moontricks is a Canadian duo comprised of Nathan Gurley and Sean Rodman. They have been combining their love of folk, blues, and electronic music and truly becoming crossover in the unlikely joined worlds of bluegrass and EDM.
Kikagaku Moyo – “Ouchi Time” (Tokyo, Japan)
RIYL: Kikagaku Moyo (there is only one)
“Time to get trippy!” These four words are all that needs to be said about any Kikagaku Moyo song because the Japanese quintet are, in our humble opinions, the Kings of hazy, trippy psychedelic rock (and no disrespect to the Gizz). They take ’70s-inspired, Ravi Shankar neo-psychedelia and turn it into an adventure. Often these trips are, well, trips. Instead of LSD, however, we just consume the soothing, mind-altering textures of Tomo Katsurada (vocals/guitar), Daoud Popal (guitar), Ryu Kurosawa (sitar/organ), Kotsuguy (bass), and Go Kurosawa (drums/vocals), which are present on “Ouchi Time”.
In Japanese, “Ouchi Time” means “time in the house.” And yes, the song was made during the current lockdown period as the five recorded their individual parts in their own homes in Japan and Amsterdam. Thanks to technology and great mixing, the track sounds as great as if all five were in the same room or sharing the same stage. The result is a tune that will put you at ease and make you feel like you’re levitating. It is so calming that we do not recommend playing it while driving or operating heavy equipment. Sit outside in the yard, lie down on the couch or bed then let your mind float away and take you places. This might be the only trip you can take for a while, so let Kikagaku Moyo take you to some place blissful.
The song is part of Mexican Summer‘s Looking Glass singles series which “explores the human condition as reflected through remote connection.”
Lazy Day – “All The Time” (London, England)
RIYL: The Cardigans, Grizzly Coast, Chrissie Hynde
We’ve called Lazy Day the female version of The Smiths and a modern-day Blondie that write songs that are like a dreamy, sonic version of the film Notting Hill. The quartet fronted by Tilly Scantlebury – who has arguably the best smoky, sassy vocals since Chrissy Hynde – personify what a modern-day artist is. They’re not just writing songs; they’re creating relatable stories. Lazy Day continue the trend with “All The Time.”
Keeping with the pop culture references, this ’90s-inspired tune would have been perfect on the soundtracks of Reality Bites, Singles, or Empire Records. It bubbles with an infectious pop melody yet possesses an unmistakable edgy aggression. The alternating melodic shifts – from calm and dreamy to get-out-of-my-face fierce – add to the song’s drama, which focuses on Scantlebury trying to rid herself of her obsessive, overly needy ex. The track might be the sweetest fuck-off tune you’ll hear all year.
Along with Scantlebury (vocals/guitar), Lazy Day includes Liam Hoflay (lead guitar), Beni Evans (drums/piano), and Kris Lavin (bass). Additional supported is provided by synth player Steph Marziano who also produced the tune.
Max Frost – “Sayonara” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Coast Modern, Joywave, Twenty One Pilots
It’s finally Friday and “Sayonara” has the melody we all need to get this weekend started. Max Frost continues to deliver dance-ready tracks with a singalong style. Even though the subject matter this time is something we can all relate to and not 100% positive, he still turns it into a killer track.
“Sayonara” is the ultimate quarantine song as many of us feel this way: the news is gloomy and we are all stuck somewhere. When you can’t control the things around you, we always have music, and we can always choose to dance. The song hits on all our feelings going through this worldwide epidemic at the same time. He also offers hope, reminding us that we will all get through this:
“I turned off the news today ’cause every channels sounds the same…
It’s never over, this won’t be the end, just wait until the storm gets calmer
I can’t pretend, my mind doesn’t wonder how to stay sane when days are getting longer
Just waiting in this house alone I can feel it won’t be long”
“Sayonara” was a nice surprise drop from Max Frost. He always brings an addicting and smooth melodic element into his tracks. This time we hear a bit of an extra hip hop feel in the bass and the Twenty One Pilots vibe with the lyrical flow.
Soft Palms – “Rainbows” (Long Beach, CA USA)
RIYL: Beach House, Chromatics, The Coathangers, The Growlers
The words “surreal” and “magical” aren’t just lyrical filler from “Rainbows,” the new single from Soft Palms. No, those descriptors barely scratch the surface of what the Southern California-based duo of Julia Kugel (The Coathangers) and Scott Montoya (formerly of The Growlers) deliver. “Rainbows” is a delicious introduction to the married duo whose debut album arrives later this summer.
Fans of Beach House and Chromatics will appreciate this tune’s lush, woozy textures. But the secret to Soft Palms’ allure lies in Kugel’s vocals – ethereal and crystalline, perfectly matched to the psychedelic instrumentation. There is no denying the relatable aspect of the lyrics, especially in relation to the cyclical nature of homecoming we all feel at one point. Sometimes the feeling comes after a long journey and you yearn for home. Or perhaps you pine for a metaphorical return home. “Rainbows” speaks to our universal restlessness that sparks our desire to explore:
“No matter where I go
I’m always on my way back home
And when I’m at the end
I wanna do it all again”
The breathless euphoria they describe in that verse mirrors how you’ll feel each time you spin this tune. Call it delirium. Call it enchantment. Call it whatever you want, but no words can fully convey the pleasing trip that Soft Palms have in store for you. Prepare to be wowed. Then prepare to take a trip in the future with “Rainbows” as the soundtrack.
Southern Shores – “Estrisa” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Flume, Bonobo, Lunar Twin
Most of us around the globe have spent the last few months in a state of suspended reality. One day blurs into the next; few of us know what day it is. We all battle frustration triggered by isolation, anxiety, and a hefty dose of cabin fever. Sometimes the only way to combat those feelings is to arm yourself with musical tools – like the fresh beats created by electronic duo Southern Shores. Their newest single is a guaranteed cure for our collective apathy and malaise.
Dive deep into the sonic textures of “Estrisa.” As you listen, picture yourself on a warm summer evening on a terrace with ocean views. Your senses are caressed by the sounds of waves and breezes redolent with night blooming jasmine. You have not a care in the world. This place – this warm, inviting, restorative oasis – is where you can escape for three minutes of bliss. This soundscape is the creation of Southern Shores’ two masterminds, Jamie Townsend and Ben Dalton. You can further explore this world when their five-song EP, Siena (Part 1), arrives next month.
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