The Matinee ’20 May 20th is a full house. Nine songs fill up today’s mini-playlist, featuring some heavy hitters and emerging artists. The music, as such, must be heard, offering the perfect reprieve from hump day and the news.
Deradoorian – “It Was Me” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Ane Brun, Emma Ruth Rundle, Maria Taylor
Deradoorian planned to release her second album, Find The Sun, this Friday. However, like with many things in this world, it has been delayed until September. Fortunately for her fans, the artist with a brooding angel’s voice has already shared a few tracks from Find the Sun. Last month, she captivated us with the contemplative “Monk’s Robes” while “Saturnine Night” left us breathless. Her newest offering is equally stunning.
“It Was Me” is a journey into meditation, though not the reflective variety where you breathe quietly. Angel Deradoorian is not a shaman advocating silence. She instead embraces evolving growth, fueled by gentle, tribal-inspired percussion:
“What do you know about meditation?
What do you want to know about the brain?
I only went looking for these things
When I knew I was going insane
I thought my mind would grow calmer
Like a pond in the morning rise
But as the years went longer
The wisdom was just a disguise.”
IDLES – “Mr. Motivator” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Fontaines D.C., The Murder Capital, Protomartyr
In times like these, it’s hard to remember the feeling of joy as an act of resistance, as the 2018 IDLES album title goes. But the Bristol rockers know that if we just keep our chins up, we can carpe every diem. Because all we need is love! And positivity! And singing kum ba yah with our hands entwined!
Not exactly. IDLES call bullshit on that nonsense in their newest banger. “Mr. Motivator” features quarantined fans participating in at-home workouts while the band wage war on those tiresome phrases we’ve all come to loathe. As you’d expect, the jittery rock matches the wry, name-dropping lyrics:
“Like Conor McGregor with a samurai sword on rollerblades
Like Kathleen Hanna with bear claws grabbing Trump by the pussy
Like David Attenborough clubbing seal clubbers with LeBron James
How d’you like them clichés?
Let’s seize the day
All hold hands
Chance the pricks away”
IDLES are: Joe Talbot (vocals), Mark Bowen (guitar, backing vocals), Slow Lee Kiernan (guitar), Dev Devonshire (bass, backing vocals), and Jon Beavis (drums).
James Holt – “Pendulum” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Crowded House, Johnny Marr, Ron Sexsmith
When you’ve endured a torrential storm, it’s only natural to look for the rainbow that often follows. These last few months have been a challenge for us all. We have collectively sheltered while a pandemic storm raged around us. Now as we begin to take steps towards what counts as “normalcy”, we need a rainbow of sorts. Cue the emerging singer-songwriter James Holt: his latest single “Pendulum” offers an abundance of sun-kissed charm to help boost your mood.
The warmth of his vocals and the radio-friendly smoothness of this tune will delight fans of The Beatles and Crowded House. Holt’s vocal semblance to John Lennon and Neil Finn aside, there is no denying his talent. Impeccably tight hooks that evoke Johnny Marr draw you in while the lush textures hold you transfixed. “Pendulum” is perhaps the year’s most perfectly crafted pop tune. Its every aspect delights. The only thing left to do (after keeping this gem on repeat a few dozen times) is to ponder how he’s only now made it onto our radar. Whatever the reason, we are thrilled to have discovered the talent that is James Holt. Music fans of all ages can surely agree that his is a timeless voice. It will be a delight to watch his career skyrocket as more people discover what they, too, have been missing.
“Pendulum” is available on Apple Music from 63 Steps Records. Hopefully a full-length album will arrive soon.
Khruangbin – “So We Won’t Forget” (Houston, USA & London, England)
Yes, we’ve given up trying to find bands comparable to the extraordinary innovators Khruangbin. Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) are peerless when it comes to merging sounds from across different genres, cultures, and eras. Heck, we cannot even categorize them as “neo-psychedelic” after they shared “Time (You & I)” last month and collaborated with Leon Bridges on the Texas Sun EP. Their latest tune sees them heading further into new territory but with predictably impressive results.
“So We Won’t Forget” is arguably Khruangbin’s most accessible tune. As Speer’s jangly guitar intertwines with Ochoa’s funky bass line and Johnson’s jazzy rhythms, the track feels like a cool summer breeze on a scorching summer day. Psychedelic-tropical ’70s funk is the best way to describe this scintillating tune. Sauntering down this new trail also sees the trio moving away from their instrumental-only origins to telling stories that complement their music. Ochoa’s vocals elevate the song’s dreaminess, offering words of hope and support during these bleak times. The song’s heart-warming video beautifully articulates this message.
Khruangbin’s new album, Mordechai, is out June 26th on Dead Oceans. It’s one we cannot wait to get our hands on.
The Neverly Boys – “Never Come Down” (Los Angeles, USA and Sweden)
RIYL: TV On The Radio, Maximum Balloon, Broken Bells
Raise your hand if you knew that Dave Sitek (of TV On The Radio) formed a new project with Swedish multi-instrumentalist Daniel Ledinsky called The Neverly Boys and released an album, Dark Side of Everything, last week (we sheepishly keep our hands down). We’re not sure if this is a case of flying under the radar or people’s minds being preoccupied. The answer is likely a bit of both. Nevertheless, there is no time like the present to hop on this bandwagon. As a taste of what’s on the excellent LP, take a listen to “Never Come Down.”
Musically, this groovy tune lies between the breezy melodic affairs of Broken Bells and Maximum Balloon’s (another Sitek project) electrifying alt-pop. The production work, unsurprisingly, is stellar, as the instrumentation gradually swells from a chilled, head-bopping mood to an overwhelming sonic tidal wave. Despite its embracing approach, Sitek’s lyrics are more harrowing. They specifically touch upon the violence and rage that exists within men, especially when they’ve been emotionally hurt:
“The love we shared was all I had
Without you, there is no point existing
Oh, happiness, you made me happy, yeah
Without you, there is no point in living
Heard you fucked my friend on my birthday, babe
That’s quite a present, yeah
You be something else so I don’t care no more
Gonna end it all I don’t care no more.”
Phoebe Bridgers – “I See You” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Beirut, Better Oblivion Community Center
Yesterday, Phoebe Bridgers shared the third single from her upcoming sophomore LP, Punisher. “I See You” is perhaps one of Bridgers’ most lyrically honest songs, and that is saying a lot especially when you consider it was co-written with the person this song is about – her drummer and ex-boyfriend Marshall Vore.
“I See You” sees Bridgers tackle the complex feelings that accompany a breakup with a creative and romantic partner. Perhaps no line hits that harder than when she sings:
“I used to light you up
Now I can’t even get you to play the drums
’Cause I don’t know what I want until I fuck it up.”
Punisher is due June 19 on Dead Oceans. Bridgers will also be embarking on a “World Tour” starting in her kitchen on May 26 and concluding from her bed June 6. We can’t think of a better way to launch an album.
Remo Drive – “Ode to Joy 2” (Bloomington, IN, USA)
RIYL: recent Arctic Monkeys, Keane, Travis
Each new decade presents an opportunity to start a new chapter in life and career. For brothers Erik (vocals/guitar) and Stephen (bass) Paulson and their project, Remo Drive, they’ve truly embraced this ideal. Since entering the music scene in 2013, the siblings have been delivering explosive punk, dance-punk, and indie rock, and they also adopted the genres’ wittiness when they named their debut album, Greatest Hits. But for 2020, they are really turning the page – well, at least they are on “Ode to Joy 2.”
Just as when we asked where all the great Brit-pop bands have gone, a band in our proverbial backyard is channeling the likes of Keane, Travis, and early Oasis. “Ode to Joy 2” elicits memories of when music on the radio was still meaningful and musicianship was still highly valued. Stephen’s bassline and Erik’s lingering, chiming guitar are outstanding. It is, however, much more than an ear-worm, as Erik tells the story of a man (himself) adjusting from a life as a young, naïve teenager to a mature, working individual. He focuses on the days of excess where he would do odd things as he binged on alcohol and shared the occasional toke. As you listen closely to the lyrics and the throbbing Brit-pop approach, and watch the video, images of Ewen MacGregor’s character Renton from Trainspotting may come to mind.
Silverbacks – “Muted Gold” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Car Seat Headrest, Protomartyr, Deerhoof
Dedication is at the heart of Dublin band Silverbacks. How else can you explain their nearly decade-long wait for a breakthrough. Their dedication to their craft and their commitment to achieving their goals are why they are still together. Even though they consistently deliver unique and brilliant takes of post-punk (e.g., “Just in the Band”) and indie rock (such as on “Drool”), they still fly under the radar. If they were performing in the late ’80s or early ’90s, they would have been worshiped on college radio stations across North America and likely Europe. We would argue they would have been Pavement’s European equivalent. There’s still time, however, for Daniel (guitar/vocals), Kilian (guitar/vocals), Peadar (guitar), Emma (bass/vocals), and Gary (drums) to get the recognition they deserve. starts with “Muted Gold.”
Quirky, groovy, bizarre, and weirdly catchy, the track is a treasure trove of sound and texture. Its deliberate slacker-rock intro echoes Car Seat Headrest (Daniel’s voice also resembles Will Toledo’s crackling delivery) then dovetails into a mélange of Protomartyr-inspired post-punk, Ought’s urgent art-rock, and Deerhoof’s wacky alt-pop. Such a concoction really should not work. But in the hands of these talented musicians, genius occurs. The multiple bridges (we counted at least five) tie together this multi-dimensional, multi-sensory experience. This whirlwind spectacle mirrors the band’s story of an older person trying to make his way in a young man’s world. Needlessly to say, he feels out of place, yet he stands out from the crowd – not unlike Silverbacks.
The single is from their forthcoming debut album, Fad, which is out July 17th on Central Tones Records.
Wrecked Beach – “Fried” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Ty Segall, Oh Sees, T. Rex
Time to close the mini-playlist with a summer-time banger that could easily be played on the beach, a crowded bar, or in the intimate confines of your living room. You know what we’re talking about – an old-school rocker that involuntarily causes, at a minimum, heads to bang and hips to shake or, for some people, a full-body gyration. Doing the honors are Vancouver’s Wrecked Beach and their single, “Fried.”
Whether it’s on Zoom or within the parameters set by your local and federal governments, gather a few friends together and blast this zany, fun, exuberant piece of psychedelic rock. The track is a time machine, bridging the classic, groovy sounds of T. Rex and The Byrds with the gritty, whimsical modernity of Ty Segall and Oh Sees. Every element is delivered with exquisite precision, where you want to simultaneously want to air-play every instrument. When that happens, you know the song is simply awesome, and it makes for the perfect soundtrack for escaping this bizarre world.
If you’re in the Vancouver area, call this band up to play at your next house party, once the government permits larger gatherings that is. In the meantime, Vancouverites and everyone around the world can spin Wrecked Beach’s debut album, Eye Tide, right now. It is out now via Blitzcat Records and available for purchase on Bandcamp.
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