The Matinee ’20 June 5th edition features some songs that look back as well as forward.


Marsicans – “These Days” (Leeds, England)

RIYL: Bastille, Dreamers, Circa Waves

Marsicans have been releasing one solid track after another so far this year. The singles are leading up to their debut album, and we are pretty sure it will be considered for our Best of 2020 lists.

“These Days” starts off slow and turns into a ferocious dose of indie rock that will get your blood pumping. The best part about this rising quartet is their knack for creating addicting melodies woven throughout killer guitar riffs and soaring vocals.

Their newest single tackles the world of current technology and communication. It’s definitely a struggle dealing with the world and others through staring at a smart device.

Marsicans’ debut album, Ursa Major, is set for release on August 14th via Killing Moon. Get your copy from these links.

Marsicans are James Newbigging (lead vocals/guitar), Oli Jameson (guitar), Rob Brander (bass/keys), and Cale McHale (drums).

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The Mighty Orchid King – “Swirling” (St. Albans, England)

RIYL: Ty Segall, POND, The Beatles

We can all agree on one simple truth: the madness of the world needs an antidote. Whether you’ve been driven to the brink of insanity by orange-skinned wannabe dictators or by pandemics and wildfires, each of us is ready for a vehicle of escape. We might not care where that vehicle takes us as long as it’s in an opposite direction from the mayhem. To this we say: your ride is here, courtesy of The Mighty Orchid King. This massive musical collective can absolutely ferry to you another dimension on their newest single. It’s as impressive as the “manic mental trip” of “Head” that we shared last month.

“Swirling” provides a three-minute trip to a head-spinning destination. Your journey is accented by psychedelic glam-rock riffs and woozy vocals. Perhaps the group that’s anchored by Jonny Bennett (drumss), Martin van Heerden (guitars), and Will Stephen (synths, production) wanted to create a modern Yellow Submarine. It’s easy to picture them at its helm, joined by the likes of Tame Impala and Ty Segall. So dive deep with this kaleidoscopic tune from their upcoming debut, The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness. We have a sneaking suspicion it will be our soundtrack for the summer and beyond.

The album arrives June 26th while “Swirling” is streaming now on Spotify.

If you’re curious, the other rotating band members are Pete Martin, Matt Snowden, Marcelo Cervone, Michael Rea, Fred Sawyer, Jake Hodges, Matt Kerr, Arthur Sawyer, Matt Kersey, Steffan Rizzi, and Aurora Bennett.

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Protomartyr – “Michigan Hammers” (Detroit, USA)

RIYL: IDLES, The Murder Capital, Iceage

Most artists and bands tend to be short on words, but not the great Protomartyr. Joe Casey, Greg Ahee, Alex Leonard, and Scott Davidson always have plenty to say about the world. Their previous single, “Worm in Heaven”, showcased the quartet’s “softer” yet always provocative side, as they said goodbye to the world we once knew. Their latest tune, however, sees them return to the airspace that has made them one of their generation’s most important post-punk bands.

“Michigan Hammers” is Protomartyr are their menacing best from the start. The song ignites with every element amplified by a factor of 20. The jackhammer approach is the perfect representation of the blue-collar nature of The Wolverine State which has been razed and rebuilt numerous times. This destruction-and-resurrection cycle, however, is not confined to buildings, factories, and entire neighborhoods; it also applies to the people of Michigan. They are the survivors of America’s multiple experiments with democracy and capitalism. They have been beaten down but have never surrendered:

“Dignity or toil
Syndicate or gang
Rose and thorn
Not all of them on pills
A chant from the end of the bar
Being reborn
In this soil, in this ground
The Michigan hammers
Are on their way
A chant from the end of the bar
Not all of them on pills
Break apart the surface lot

Protomartyr’s forthcoming album, Ultimate Success Today, is out July 17th via Domino Recording Co., with pre-orders from the label’s store and Bandcamp.

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Sammy Brue – “Gravity” (Portland, OR, USA)

RIYL: Bob Dylan, Langhorne Slim

Have we sung the praises of Sammy Brue lately? Actually, yes: just last month we used the term “prodigy” to describe the teenaged artist. In March, his “Teenage Mayhem” got our blood pumping. Now just days away from the release of his Crash Test Kid album, Brue has shared with us a video of “Gravity” recorded earlier this year.

Remember earlier this year before the world turned upside down? Yeah, us either. But watching Brue perform this tune outdoors on a mountain in Colorado (in late winter, no less) is a snapshot of a time when life was normal. It’s good to bask in that moment. As you watch, take in the scenery and imagine yourself breathing in that fresh mountain air. Brue’s talents as a singer and musician offer plenty of hope for the future. But the visuals this video provides are a nice treat indeed. It makes us even more excited about the album’s arrival on June 12th via New West Records.

Pre-order packages are available from the label or Bandcamp.

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Spunsugar – “Happier Happyless” (Malmö, Sweden)

RIYL: Chromatics + The Cure + A Place to Bury Strangers

“Do artists consider their music to be ‘unique’,” asked another blogger recently. The question led to a lively discussion, as in this day and age everything imaginable has been attempted. The vast majority of songs within a genre follow the same formula, making them predictable. But then someone comes along and kicks aside the tried-and-true and proclaims they’re doing things their own way. They’re going to mash up a few genres and create something distinct and different. Leave it to a band from Sweden (home to some of the industry’s most creative forces) to do exactly this. In doing so they make us believe there are still new music territories to explore.

Spunsugar is the band who last year released a terrific but under-the-radar EP, Mouth Full of You. Now they’re prepping their debut album, and the lead single, “Happier Happyless” cannot be categorized within a single genre. It is a blend of Chromatic’s dizzying, widescreen synth-pop; the harrowing goth-rock of The Cure; and the fierce yet spellbinding shoegaze of A Place to Bury Strangers. To call it solely a shoegaze tune would be a disservice to the trio’s ingenuity. A more apt description would be gothgaze, as this foreboding song embraces your soul like a vice grip yet leaves you feeling exhilarated if not liberated. These contrasting emotions are accentuated by frontwoman Elin Ramstedt’s lyrics as she describes the many ways in which people find happiness in the most dire of circumstances, including other people’s demise.

The single is out on Adrian Recordings. We look forward to the arrival of their debut album later this year.

Spunsugar are Elin Ramstedt, Cordelia Moreau, and Felix Sjöström.

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Vilde – “Horseback” (Stockholm, Sweden via Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: Antlers, Grizzly Bear, Sleep Party People

For three years we’ve applauded the artistic brilliance of Thomas Savage’s project, Vilde. He consistently mesmerizes us with his genre-bending approach that weaves together psychedelic-pop, art-rock, synth-pop, electronica, and indie rock. Occasionally he also sprinkles in some jazz elements. His music truly is a tapestry of vivid sound. If his name was Thom Yorke, millions of people around the world would salivate after every new release while thousands of young artists would try to imitate him. Instead the Australian-born artist hovers below the radar, yet those in the know appreciate his talents, all of which are showcased on “Horseback.”

Grab a glass of wine (or your preferred weekend indulgence) and be swept away by this gorgeous piece of cinematic art-rock. Reminiscent of the languid brilliance of Antlers, “Horseback” is like a gentle yet awe-inspiring trip through the deep valleys of the Grand Canyon. Everything you see – or, in this case, hear – directs your attention to something beautiful that captures your attention. The delicate beats, the stirring synths, Savage’s fleeting voice: they all are intoxicating. The journey that Savage guides us on is not just a holiday. Instead, he poetically leads us through the chapters of our lives where we’ve waded through the dirt and grime and in the end dusted ourselves off to see another sunset.

Vilde’s new album, Atopia, is out June 26th.

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