The Matinee ’20 June 26 is the perfect weekend soundtrack. Nine songs are featured, and eight will get you up and moving. Another, meanwhile, will make your soul tremble, and we could always use an emotional awakening. We have to start the mini-playlist with some life-changing news from one of our favorite artists and one of the world’s finest individuals. Plus the video for the tune will prepare you for what is to come.
Jess Cornelius – “Body Memory” (Los Angeles, USA via Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Land of Talk, Blondfire, Christine and the Queens
First, we would like to congratulate Jess Cornelius and her partner Joe on welcoming their first child, Tui Pepper Cornelius-Hale. If you’re not from New Zealand or have yet to visit, tui is one of the country’s magnificent birds with a few different yet lovely calls and songs. If Tui follows in Jess’ footsteps, the little one might also be singing memorable songs like “Body Memory”.
Whether as a solo artist or performing with a full band as she did with Teeth and Tongue, Cornelius possesses the deft skill of turning electro-pop into an elegant dance. The dance is neither slow nor fast. It’s not a rave or a waltz. Instead, her music induces one to easily sway from side to side like lupins swinging in the cool breezes of the South Island’s Mackenzie country. An extremely pregnant Cornelius demonstrates what this dance resembles in the beautifully shot video, which happened recently during lockdown.
But like everything the Kiwi does, her music possesses incredible depth. Her tale is one of heartbreak and redemption, as she shares her thoughts of what might happen if she miscarried. While some would try to move on, her “body is a memory and it won’t forget / And my mind is a body and it’s not done yet”. Even though Tui has safely arrived, Cornelius will likely never forget what happened on June 24th. And we won’t forget the gift that Cornelius has given to us once again.
A.A. Williams – “Love and Pain” (London, England)
RIYL: Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, Marriages
If we were around a year ago, A.A. Williams would have been one of our favorite discoveries, especially after releasing her stupendous, eponymous, debut EP. We’ll just have to add her to the 2020 year-end list. The London-based singer-songwriter is unquestionably one of the most exciting, young talents in music because she approaches her craft like Picasso and Dali – with an open mind and a desire to make unforeseen accessible. Her previous single, “Melt”, was truly an OMG moment, and it’s a song-of-the-year candidate. Just when one thought she couldn’t one-up herself, she comes awfully close with “Love and Pain”.
“My gosh” might be the words coming from your mouth or maybe “Incredible”, “Remarkable”, or “Gorgeous”. Regardless of the superlative, “Love and Pain” is a masterpiece. It is like Chelsea Wolfe slowing down her music and performing with the London Symphony Orchestra – a Gothic, post-rock opera. The song’s gentle, engrossing opening belies the harrowing bleakness that lingers beneath Williams’ skin. As the strings enter the fray, Williams slowly opens her wounds for us to see and the infection that spreads through her soul. Then the skies open, and darkness descends. It is magnificent, as the orchestration swells and Williams’ voice calmly intensifies. All she wanted to be was the light in another’s world, but she is instead the incoming storm that we openly welcome into our lives.
Dance Lessons – “New Job” (London, England)
RIYL: Jaime XX, Kllo, MS MR
Dance Lessons are just two singles in so far. Earlier this year the trio dropped their debut “SMABTO” and are proving so far their ability to perfect indie-pop (or “serrated pop” as they call it) with their newest offering, “New Job”. The trio have created a dance-ready, feel-good track that melds pop, soul, and even jazz along with smooth yet bass-heavy beats. As such, the tune is a perfect one to spin on a Friday night while getting ready for the weekend.
“New Job” explores the actions we all might take after a painful break-up and getting a new job could be one of those distractions. Other actions mentioned are staying busy, moving on and keeping that personal mask of happiness on, even though the pain is very real.
Dance Lessons have also released a cool video shot in Los Angeles during the shutdown. The eerily empty streets provide for a surreal backdrop and the push and pull between dancers is quite mesmerizing.
Dance Lessons are Ann, Nat & Tom. “New Job” is out on Exotic Creatures.
Eades – “Vivid Dreams” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Sports Team, Team Picture
Eades have given fans one more glimpse of greatness from their upcoming debut EP. “Vivid Dreams” is a super-catchy, indie-rock track that completely grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. The killer guitar hooks are pretty insane and continues to prove the quintet’s ability to craft one solid track after another.
“Vivid Dreams” is punchy yet laid-back. The lyrical content delves into the struggles of dealing with those long dark nights that leave you feeling completely uneasy the next morning. Frontman Harry Jordan wrote “Vivid Dreams” with a writing partner who elaborates a bit behind the meaning:
“It’s about the day after a long night when you’re scared of the outside world, and the elements feel like they’re conspiring against you. The last line is a response to the first verse, with the sun giving you a false sense of comfort. It’s about the fever dreams you have when you wake up with prickling skin.”
So far, Eades is shaping up to be the next exciting export from the UK.
Debut EP, Microcosmic Things, will be seen and heard on July 10th via Bam Bam Records. Eades includes Harry Jordan (vocals and guitar), Tom O’Reilly (lead guitar), Dave Lancaster (bass), Dan Clifford-Smith (synths and percussion), and Jof Cabedo (drums).
Ganser – “Emergency Equipment And Exits” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Blondie, Deeper, Secret Shame
After sharing three great songs this year in “Bad Form”, “Lucky”, and “Bags for Life” plus their previous output, we’ve described Ganser as one of the world’s great historians. Whereas the majority of artists and bands choose to chronicle their own experiences, Alicia Gaines (bass/vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys/vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums), and Charlie Landsman (guitar) opt to comment on the state of the world. And in these weird times with so much going, we need people who address the lay person’s reaction, which is what this great band has done on “Emergency Equipment And Exits”.
Like Blondie brought to the 2020s, “Emergency Equipment And Exits” is a pulsating, hypnotic affair. Gaines’ bass line heavily throbs in the foreground, mimicking the trembling storm that surrounds else everywhere we go. Occasionally, lightning flashes in the form of Landsman striking guitar with the rumbling thunder of Cundiff’s percussion, and together they awaken us from the hazy darkness. But the sound that pulls us deeper into this harrowing, post-punk hurricane is Garofalo’s Debbie Harry-like, distant vocals. She sings about her collective struggles to find a way out while our “leaders” fail us, and all we can do is accept our fate because there’s no escaping the inevitable.
Hoops – “Fall Back” (Bloomington, IN, USA)
RIYL: Beach Fossils, Real Estate, early Tame Impala
Just as Hoops was on the verge of a huge breakthrough following the release of their 2017 debut album, Routines, Drew Auscherman, Kevin Krauter, Keagan Beresford, and James Harris called timeout. The foursome needed a break after making music together for more than half their lives and find their own way. Childhood friendships, however, are unbreakable, and the draw of working together again in the studio was too strong to deny. Thankfully for music fans, Auscherman, Krauter, and Beresford have reunited, and one of last decade’s great guitar-pop bands arrives just in time to give us something to look forward to in the coming months. They also give us a song that defines what we’re going through now and what the summer should be.
“Fall Back” is a groovy, jangly delight. It is guitar-pop perfection, as the jangly guitar glistens, the rhythms bop, and the bits of keys ignite the air when it arrives. Aushcerman’s voice sounds refreshingly light and crisp, and he tells us that he’s here for us. He recognizes that everything is not what they should be, but together we can find a way.
“I shouldn’t really be here, but there I am
I’m falling into pieces with your face in my hands
It’s just the way things are but we, we do what we can”
These are the words we all need to hear. Things aren’t going to get easier, but together we shall overcome.
Human Love – “Lemon Dove” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: The Dig, Portugal. The Man, Aphex Twin
Three years ago, The Dig moved from one US coast to the other in order to find new inspirations and broaden their horizons. Some of the band members have worked on other projects. For example, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Emile Mosseri composed the original score to The Last Black Man in San Francisco. It seems that Mosseri, vocalist/bassist David Baldwin, synth/keyboard player Erick Eiser, and drummer Mark Demiglio have finally been resurrected. To start a new life, they’ve assumed a new identity as Human Love. They’ve already released one song, “Goldmine”, but their lastest tune, “Lemon Dove”, truly is the quartet shedding their old skins and displaying their new ones.
“Lemon Dove” is like an extravagant disco in the far reaches of space. It’s dreamy and exotic, yet exhilarating and exciting. You might want to dance like the citizens of Zion in The Matrix: Reloaded or slowly spin under the disco ball, thinking the world revolves around you. Baldwin and Demiglio’s rhythms are hypnotic while Eiser’s synths blaze through the tremors. Rising above everything is Mosseri’s trademark falsetto, who wistfully dreams about falling in love and finding peace and solitude. For 3 minutes and 45 seconds, we certainly have found it.
Oceanator – “A Crack In The World” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, Hop Along, Soccer Mommy
The project of Elise Okusami, Oceanator has released, “A Crack In The World”, the first single from her debut album, Things I Never Said. Oceanator’s previous record was a fairly slow-paced affair, featuring dreamy vocals, reverbed guitar, and some upbeat synth at times. It got heavy here and there, but it wasn’t the focal point. However, “A Crack In The World” is fuzzy goodness.
The upbeat guitar and drums of the intro lead into Okusami’s powerful voice. Driven by power chords, her voice sings of expectations, falling short, accepting reality, and getting better. It’s a realistic but positive outlook on the world, and taking control of life, making oneself better, and focusing on the good times in life. It’s so easy to get lost in everything that’s going wrong in the world right now, but there’s strength to be found within. An amazing moment in “A Crack In The World” is when it slows down, digs in, and Okusami sings these powerful lines:
“And I’m still trying my best
you know it keeps getting harder and harder every day
When you see the news on the TV, on the radio,
but I’ll be trying to keep the skies blue anyway”
Things I Never Said is out August 28th. Get it on Bandcamp.
Plants and Animals – “House On Fire” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Talking Heads, Hilotrons
Some twelve years ago when Plants and Animals descended upon the Canadian music scene, they were considered to be one of a select few who could carry Broken Social Scene’s mantle of creating inventive yet accessible art-rock. Nicolas Basque, Warren C. Spicer, and Woody Matthew Woodley’s project was a buzz band before buzz bands existed. They still remain one of Canada’s great groups because like BSS they’re tirelessly experimenting and pushing their own limits as they reveal on “House On Fire”.
New wave, krautrock, and art-rock collide on this, well, buzzing and immensely addictive number. After the melodic, swirling intro, the song takes off with a fantastic bass line, bouncing percussion, and a cow bell (somewhere Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell are celebrating) leading the way. The experience is radiant yet trippy, where we feel like we’ve been dancing all night while our spaceship travels a wormhole.
The story behind the song isn’t too far from this wacky description. It’s based on a dream Spicer had, where he envisioned his friend was self-medicating too much. One day, he left the stove on and his house went into flames. The trio expanded Spicer’s dream to reflect an Earth that is on fire but the people are asleep while it scorches. It’s a scary thought, yet all so close to the truth. We think we prefer the wormhole story.
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