The Matinee ’20 July 20 is a throwback edition, featuring songs that turn the clocks back yet give classic sounds a 21st century modernity. These nine tracks are more than just refreshing sounds. Their stories and messages are must-listen material, addressing everything from the current state of the world, offering a bit of hope within the darkness, providing some cinema, and telling things as they are. Hopefully today’s curated playlist puts some bounce in your step.
Toots and the Maytals – “Warning Warning” (Maypen, Jamaica)
Emerging artists are our primary focus, but we believe in covering new music from legends as well. Music history is still being made by artists who pioneered genres, including those responsible for naming the genres in the first place. For those not familiar with Jamaican reggae royalty Toots and The Maytals, give a listen to their newest single. “Warning Warning” – from their first new album in a decade – is a heady call to action.
At age 77, founder Frederick “Toots” Hibbert has seen a lot and weathered many storms. On “Warning Warning” he offers advice on navigating the troubles of the modern era. Certain themes – like racial injustice and political oppression – are common in music, especially reggae. The release of this tune comes at a critical time, so hopefully its message will be heeded by all who hear it. After all, we’re taught to listen to our elders, right? Who better to dispense pearls of wisdom than one of the kings of reggae? Enjoy having the lines “I’m giving you a warning, honey / Please don’t take it for granted” on repeat in your head while your body follows the sizzling rhythms.
Toots and The Maytals includes: Fredrick “Toots” Hibbert, Paul Douglas, Jackie Jackson, Carl Harvey, Rad ‘Doogie’ Bryan, Charles Farquharson, Leba Thomas, and Gwen Jackson.
Night Shop – “The Cafe Of Eternal Youth” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: M. Ward, Kevin Morby, Woods
Coffee shops are prime spots for people watching. There you can observe the world and its characters pass before you while you sip a beverage in quiet contemplation. Those cafe moments come to life in the latest from Night Shop. On the refreshing new tune “The Cafe of Eternal Youth”, frontman Justin Sullivan captures the timeless transience of moments that occur in cafes all over the world, decade after decade.
Over a jaunty tempo and vibrant instrumentation that evoke Kevin Morby and Steve Gunn, he muses about things he’s seen from cafes:
“Thinking about those people I don’t see no more
And how I’d love to watch them all walk through the door
Chairs on the tables and I’m still here.
Mark another year”
The song is as invigorating as a double espresso, thanks in part to the gently rollicking guitar work. This followup to his May 2020 single (“Hello Take Me Anywhere“) is streaming now from Dangerbird Records. We eagerly await the day when live music resumes so we can experience this gem of a tune in person.
Thrillhouse – “Wild Child” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Talking Heads x Prince or Bowie
Over the past few months Thrillhouse have been providing us with new tracks that include the most nostalgic 80s vibes we didn’t know we needed. They came out strong with their disco funk infused debut “One of These Days”. Their newest offering is such an awesome mix with nods to some of the greats. “Wild Child” could be imagined on any killer 80s soundtrack like Footloose, Purple Rain, Breakfast Club, Top Gun, Weird Science. The biggest difference here from previous offerings is the prominent guitar which reminds of Bryan Adams or John Mellencamp.
The vibe is upbeat and can definitely get you moving even though the content could be a bit more serious than at first glance. It’s definitely an introspective track that could get anyone to reflect on their past experiences.
“Did you ever wonder what was coming? As the lanes divided from the open road to the back of the line It moves so fast”.
Thrillhouse are Alistair Scott, Jackie Nielsen, and Sam Strawberry. We are happy to hear that more tracks will be released later this year.
HUMAN LOVE – “Pomona” feat. Kamilah (Los Angeles via Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The Dig, The Antlers, Radiohead (‘King of Limbs’ era)
The move to the west coast has served the band HUMAN LOVE (f.k.a. The Dig) extremely well. In Brooklyn they created summery alt-pop. Now in Los Angeles, they have refused to stick to any single genre and even limited their exposure to the “sun-kissed” territory. Their previous single, “Lemon Dove”, was disco music brought to the modern era. Heck, the band’s debut EP, Black Void, is a sonic wonderland. On it, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Emile Mosseri, vocalist/bassist David Baldwin, synth/keyboard player Erick Eiser, and drummer Mark Demiglio take listeners on a ride on “Pomona.”
Imagine Radiohead taking the songs from King of Limbs and turning them into extravagant, cinematic experiences, where every note elicits a pulverizing response. Specifically, it incites you to jerk your head while spinning beneath a single beacon of light. It is urgent, dazzling, dramatic, and unforgettable with a story of escapism and self-discovery right out of an Oscar-worthy film. For that matter, “Pomona” is The Dig’s, excuse us, HUMAN LOVE’s grandest achievement to date. Where they head next will be exciting to witness.
Jacuzzi Boys – “The Pits” (Miami, USA)
RIYL: Wavves, Skeggs, T. Rex
In terms of music, Miami might be better known for its beaches, night clubs, and huge EDM parties, but it is home to one of the finest surf-rock / garage-rock bands on the planet. We’re of course referring to Jacuzzi Boys who have been pummeling fans’ eardrums since 2007. Their energetic, raucous live shows have helped them carve out a sizable niche in South Florida, as they’ve proven time and time again that you don’t need any stimulants to feel alive. So with this in mind, you want want to be in cool place when spinning “The Pits”.
At just barely over 2 minutes, the latest from Gabriel Alcala (vocals/guitar), Diego Monasterios (drums), and Danny Gonzales (bass) is another blazer, although of a different kind. With nods to the glam-rock of the ’70s (specifically the glittery sonic aerobatics of T. Rex), the song will get your blood flowing. Alcala’s lyrics, though, are more contemplative. Like so many people today, he describes his struggles living in these chaotic and conflicting times. These days are “The Pits”, especially for those feeling like:
“Bed, lying in my coffin instead
The way I feel I’d rather be dead
Sucking off a cherry so red,
It’s the pits, it’s the pits,
Don’t look down you stepped on shit”
Blondfire – “Marigold” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: The Raveonettes, The Cardigans, Black Honey
Blondfire (fronted by Erica Driscoll) is back in a big way this year. The band has been fairly quiet, probably because Erica become a mother and took some well deserved time off. If you follow her Instagram you will know the beautiful kiddo in the promo photo is none other than her son who recently turned two. It sounds like inspiration is on full display with Blondfire’s new releases.
“Marigold” might be an ode to staying true to one’s self as she sees her son develop his own wonderful personality. It’s a great anthem for anyone embracing who they are regardless of what others may think. Last month Blondfire dropped the perfect dreamy synth-pop single “Climb”. “Marigold” is another uplifting track that will satisfy all shoegaze lovers. The guitar work is on fire with vocals that completely soar. Driscoll is one of the most underrated female vocalists out there, and here her sweet yet angelic tone shines.
The lyrics are definitely inspiring: “Let your colors glow Marigold and we’ll never fade away…”
We hear there is more music to be released this year from Blondfire, and possibly a new album in the works as well. We look forward to hearing what else is in store.
San Cisco – “Messages” (Fremantle, Australia)
RIYL: Chic, Yumi Zouma, Men I Trust
The high level of creativity and artistry in Australia challenges every single artist and band to constantly raise their games. This includes the well-established individuals and groups, where lazy songwriting and imitation are rarely tolerated. Fortunately, outfits like San Cisco are also ones that are leading the way and raising the bar.
Although the trio from Western Australia exploded on the scene nearly a decade ago with their fresh, invigorating, and varied indie sound (think Vampire Weekend crossed with early Arctic Monkeys), they have consistently refuted to be just another band. They have instead demonstrated that a band can still create catchy, infectious music while still being creative and thoughtful, and one does not have to look any further than “Messages”.
The track is ’70s disco-pop brought to 2020. It is vibrant, entertaining, and immensely charming, and it will leave a smile on your face. That is until Scarlett Stevens’ voice arrives, and the first words she lushly sings is, “You’re the worst best friend that I’ve ever had / You don’t reciprocate a thing I do / It makes me sad”. So while the tune may get you dancing, it will also have you recalling all the so-called “friends” who treat you like nothing more than diary, where they do all the talking and nothing else. It’s a clever track, and everyone who has felt a friend has taken them for granted finally have an anthem with which to fight back.
San Cisco are Jordi Davieson (vocals/guitar/keys), Josh Biondillo (vocals/guitar/keys), and Scarlett Stevens (drums/vocals). Their new album, Between You and Me, is out September 4th on Nettwerk Music Group. Pre-order it here.
Yukon Blonde – “Get Precious” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Danger Mouse, Portugal. The Man, Tame Impala
Anyone who has followed Yukon Blonde‘s career from the start probably thought they were the happy-go-lucky, Canadian version of The Avett Brothers. We sure did. Some seven years later after wading into more pop and rock waters, the quintet of Jeffrey Innes, Brandon Scott, Graham Jones, James Younger, and Rebecca Gray are dipping their toes into new territory, and the transformation is awesome.
Like the psychedelic-funk days of Shaft, “Get Precious” is an absolute gem from another era. It sounds like a classic from nearly 50 years ago, yet it feels reinvented and revitalized, much like what Brian Joseph Burton and Kevin Parker have been doing for the past decade. The song exudes confidence, and it may have you strutting down Main Street and thinking you own the place. All the while, you won’t have a care in the world, including not “getting angry with my phone”, because life, as we have found out these last several months, is just too precious. So set aside all your burdens and worries and get a little funky with Yukon Blonde.
The single is out now on Dine Alone Records. No indication has been given on whether a new album is forthcoming, but hopefully it is more of this trippy goodness.
She Keeps Bees – “Star Stone Skin” feat. Tim Carr (Brooklyn & Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Erika Wennerstrom, Lightning Dust, PJ Harvey
Since their formation 14 years ago, She Keeps Bees have used their platform to advance specific causes. Their music may sound contemporary, but they share more in common with the artists of the late ’60s and ’70s who fought for social change. Their approach partially explains why they remain a treasured secret of the indie community and why mainstream success has eluded them. And yet, Jessica Larrabee (vocals/guitar) and Andy LaPlant (drums) likely would not change a thing because then they would not be asked to work with multi-instrumentalist Tim Carr to release a very special tune in “Star Stone Skin”.
Lo-fi, gritty indie rock is forged with the sounds of the desert and touches of Native American folklore on this haunting and mystical number. The low throb of the guitars and rhythms are spine-tingling while Larrabee’s enchanting vocals are hypnotic. Her lyrics, meanwhile, are beautifully poetic, and they also echo the stories told by elders to younger generations. In this instance, Larrabee seeks to find harmony between people as well as between the spiritual, natural, and human worlds. Her words are the sermon we need to hear in our endless struggle to find meaning and peace.
“Reach into the stream
Change one stone move it where it wants to be moved
Unbound myself vow to be open
And i’ll try to help you move that stone
Set the circle into a spin, into a spiral
Set the circle into a spin, into a dance”
The single is part of a web-based collaboration series called Future Unknown, which was imagined and curated by Future Gods in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Due to the most current events, 100% of Bandcamp proceeds will go to Black Lives Matter LA.
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