For the past two weeks, the world’s attention has been rightfully focused on two things: racial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic. The “new normal” is being redefined by the day, including when new music should be released and what type of songs should be heard. The Matinee ’20 June 8th edition features songs full of introspection. Some are energetic rockers; others are thoughtful affairs. We hope you find a few songs that will fit your mood today. If you’re interested, last week Hollie created an 84-song Black Lives Matter playlist, which is most definitely worth a few listens.

 

EUT – “Had Too Much” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

RIYL: No Doubt, Sløtface, Black Honey

If Dante were alive today, he might re-work his epic The Divine Comedy and use different terms to describe the seven deadly sins. For instance, he might replace “greed” with “overindulgence” because today’s consumer-based society revolves around excess. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the midst of a pandemic or redefining race relations, we’re still inundated with ads that encourage us to buy, buy, buy. Even our friends are encouraging us to party as lockdown restrictions ease. We just cannot help ourselves, and this self-inflicted entrapment is smartly covered on EUT‘s new single, “Had Too Much”.

If you don’t know who EUT are, you’re about to discover the Netherlands’ best indie pop-rock. Like everything they do, “Had Too Much” is a wildly infectious tune meant to be played in the most cavernous stadium. It buzzes with the anthemic qualities of No Doubt in their heyday, as Sergio Escoda’s funky bass line headlines the hip-shaking melody. Frontwoman Megan de Klerk, meanwhile, sounds like a young Gwen Stefani. Her voice at times is sultry and seductive and at other moments is full of attitude, as she describes how she’s “drinking again” following a messy breakup. That’s the only way she can get through the days – by filling her body and mind with poison. Let her story be a lesson for all of us.

The single is out now via V2 Records Benelux. EUT are Megan de Klerk (vocals), Jim Geurts (drums), Tessa Raadman (guitar), Emiel De Nennie (guitar), and Sergio Escoda (bass/keys).

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HATE DRUGS – “Night I (Don’t Stop)” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Dayglow, SadGirl, Vista Kicks

California-born HATE DRUGS have been creating melodic indie pop since 2014. The band recently holed themselves in a cabin located in the snowy mountains of the Sierra Nevadas where they recorded a track that emits a feeling of warmth and hope.

With everything going on in the world today, it’s nice to hear something uplifting that might just inspire someone to hang on a bit longer if things just seem too far gone.

“Don’t stop, only 20 miles to the tip-top. Give it one more year until you wake up. Hold on tight, but your hands are shaking now.”

“Night I (Don’t Stop)” emits an ethereal vibe that easily captivates. The calming vocals immediately set listeners at ease. This track is the perfect one to jam on a nice long summer drive or even staying in on a cold winter night.

HATE DRUGS are David Caploe, Josiah Caploe, Norman Lee, Adrian Diaz, and John Irwin IV. The band will be releasing more tunes at some point later this year as they prepare to release their latest creation, Ponderosa.

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Kyle Nicolaides – “Sedona” (Santa Barbara, USA)

It’s been over two years since we’ve heard anything new from Kyle Nicolaides. If you’ve been keeping tabs on the singer-songwriter, you’ve probably learned from his Instagram account that’s he’s been on a journey of self discovery and tackling his struggles with depression and anxiety. It’s refreshing to have transparent and authentic posts regarding overcoming past issues and encouraging others to reach out if they need help.

“Sedona” is his newest release and it’s a beautiful track that reminds everyone to keep on dreaming and embrace living in the moment. Most of the themes in this song are tied with some of the beliefs Kyle was forming way back in 2014 when we interviewed him.

“I’m waking up, to a light, that’s always been there
But I’ve been too afraid to let shine
I’m running on dreams, and I’ve got all I need
These dreams, lift me to heaven, and then shoot my balloon from the sky”

“Sedona” is a great start for the rebirth of Kyle Nicolaides. His newest track proves that all he needs is a guitar, his heart and drive to encourage and inspire others with his music regardless of which genre or direction he goes.

Kyle will be donating 100% of “Sedona” Bandcamp sales, bigcartel Merch, and guitar lesson sales for the next two weeks to The Loveland Foundation.

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La Lusid – “Beehive” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Yumi Zouma, Wy

It was reassuring to know that we weren’t the only ones who took 2019 off. One of Sweden’s great indie-pop / dream-pop bands, La Lusid, also called a timeout after releasing their 2018 eponymous debut album. Paulina Palmgren, Fabian Ballago, Samuel Collmar, Karl Hovmark, and Johan Nilsson, however, have awaken from their hibernation and delivered a song that can only be described as dazzling.

Take a deep breath and then enter the stirring calm of “Beehive”. The quick but solemn rhythms and keys with the occasional angular guitar create a heavenly atmosphere. It’s like we’ve entered the church of utopia, where everywhere we look we see and hear astounding, delicate beauty. In the middle of the nave is Palmgren and her stunning voice, which simultaneously sounds confident yet fragile. This vision is not far off from the image her words paint, as she describes feeling alone and lost and trying to find the words to say, “I’m sorry”. To find the words to make one feel whole. Even in utopia, there is always a second chance to make amends and do the right thing.

The single is out on Birds Records. Here’s hoping “Beehive” is the first of many new releases from this great little band.

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Lunatic Wolf – “Careless” (Johannesburg, South Africa)

RIYL: Lord Huron, The Magic Gang, Benjamin Gibbard

There’s the old cliché of someone arriving just in the nick of time, as if they have stopped us from doing something silly, provided a much-needed distraction, or offered an shoulder for us to lean on during tough times. The latter situation applies to South Africa’s Lunatic Wolf, who for more than a half decade have been creating uplifting indie folk-rock. Last month they released a new EP, Steady Ground (download and streaming links are available here), that was the perfect soundtrack for the lockdown days. One song from the mini-record, however, shone above the rest.

“Careless” bursts right out of the gates with quick-paced rhythms. A glimmering guitar erupts once “play” is pressed, and the song consumes us with its urgent energy. It should be uplifting and gleeful if not for frontman Gavin van den Berg’s thought-provoking lyrics. The song is either an apology to a loved one or extending one’s hand to let a dear friend know what he’ll always be around. The most important thing said, though, is found in five words: “I’ll find time for you”. More than any time in recent history, we all need to be kind, to listen, and stand together. Lunatic Wolf’s song could very well be the anthem for these times and for the moments to be created.

Lunatic Wolf are: Gavin van den Berg, Richard Oldfield, Jacques du Plessis, Gavin Flaks, Adrian Erasmus, and David Grevler.

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Paige Valentine – “Pure” (Fremantle via Margaret River, Australia)

RIYL: Lana Del Rey, Alicia Keys, Ghostly Kisses

We’ve long commented on Australia’s ability to produce outstanding female songwriters. The already lengthy list just got longer with the arrival of Paige Valentine.

The young woman from the beautiful wine country of Margaret River might be a newcomer to the music scene, but her debut single, “Pure”, is a priceless vintage. It recalls the soulful pop of the early ’90s with the poignant lyricism of Lana Del Rey. Pedal steel and ivory keys combine to create a breathtaking and moving melody that beckons you to dive deep into its layers. Valentine’s voice is powerful, showing incredible restraint to accentuate the pain she feels in being left alone. Her heart is not the only thing that has been broken: her life has been crushed. All she wishes is to turn back time to the days when “we were pure” and recapture the magic of the past. With this song, she has definitely captured the magic of a bygone era.

Australia, you have yet again unearthed a hidden gem.

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Swine Tax – “Screensaver” (Newcastle upon Tyne, England)

RIYL: Wavves, Ron Gallo, The Spielbergs

Are you feeling trapped by apps, tablets, computers, and smartphones? Does your life revolve around everything technological, where you feel lost when you cannot find your mobile or your computer crashes? If you do, then turn up the volume and blast Swine Tax‘s latest tune, “Screensaver”.

Pretty much like everything they’ve done, “Screensaver” is a clever riot. It’s a triple espresso-laced, frenetic rocker that will make you feel jittery due to the quirky, rollicking approach. As a result, you may find yourself dancing or moving like a manic version of Devo’s robotic dances. The lyrics, meanwhile, might make you uncomfortable because the gents sing about our obsession with all things digital and how we are “losing my mind” as we stare at monitors and screens.

The group comprised of Vince Lisle (vocals/guitar), Tom Kelly (vocals/bass), Euan Lynn (synths), and Charlie Radford (drums) offer a cure from the incessant staring at glowing boxes: call your mother. Sounds simple enough because her voice might make us feel at ease. Or maybe it will make us want to flip through TikTok or Instagram.

You can get your digital copy of the Screensaver EP from Bandcamp.

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