The Matinee ’20 August 7 just might be your highlight for the week, as the 9 featured songs will make you forget what was while preparing for what is to come this weekend. We hope you find your new favorite song or band today. Happy Weekend!
The Clockworks – “Can I Speak to a Manager?” (Galway, Ireland)
RIYL: The Streets, Fontaines D.C., Shame, Bloc Party
Move over IDLES and Fontaines D.C., there’s a hungry, emerging band poised to oust you as the kings of indie post-punk. With their razor-sharp fusion of attitude, amps, and adrenaline, The Clockworks are heirs apparent to the throne. One spin of the now London-based Irish band’s latest single dispels any notions to the contrary.
“Can I Speak to a Manager” is an absolute banger. This diatribe against everything wrong in modern society is something we can all sing along with. As frontman James McGregor spits out relatable frustrations (“All I want is a refund / All I’m getting is an earful”) with a sniper’s precision, the band launch an assault of their own. The guitars crescendo into a roaring fury for the final minute. In doing so, The Clockworks create a massive sound worthy of any major festival’s headline slot. These guys have the sonic snarl of Foals and the swagger of Shame – not bad considering they’re still getting warmed up. We expect The Clockworks will soon be a household name.
Look for this tune when it’s released next week via Alan McGee’s Creation 23 label.
The Clockworks are: James McGregor (vocals, guitar), Sean Connelly (guitar), Damian Greaney (guitar, drums), and Tom Freeman (bass).
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – “Mr. Prism” (Perth, Australia)
RIYL: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, POND, OSees
There is probably only one other band on the planet that is more brilliantly whacked than the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, and they reside a few thousand kilometres to the southeast of Perth. Psych-rock fans will know of whom we speak – a comparison that underscores how great a band PPC are. They’re not only an entertaining group that makes wild and zany neo-psychedelia; they craft intelligent and creative tales. As Jack McEwan, Luke Parish, Danny Caddy, and Luke Reynolds get older, the more they tackle issues confronting people and the world. With that context set, listen intently while you lose your mind during “Mr. Prism”.
The song is typical PPC – a triple shot of espresso that injects adrenaline to every part of your body and awakens your mind. You’ll either want to race around the block or mosh in the nearest open space. But for all the playful theatrics, the outfit dive deep inside the world of the privatization of medicine where doctors are more keen to prescribe than diagnose. The results can be devastating when people become addicted to narcotics. Or in the case of McEwan, it meant the birth of his alter-ego, “Mr. Prism” – a tripped-out, surreal version of the guy that throws himself into every show and song. It’s a clever tune from one of the world’s most outstanding bands.
Bully – “Hours and Hours” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Speedy Ortiz, Slothrust, Liz Phair
Alicia Bognanno is best known for creating ear-drum bursting, thought-provoking rock as Bully. In Bully’s first two albums that included Clayton Parker and Reece Lazarus, the band didn’t become one of Nashville’s best bands by creating love ballads or predictable pop tunes. This doesn’t mean Bognanno is incapable of crafting emotional and intimate numbers. Her slower, more melancholic and mellower tunes are equally as jarring as her heavier tracks. A reason for this is that she can maintain the edge and grit even when she’s let the foot off their pedal. Her masterful artistry is fully displayed on “Hours and Hours”.
For more than two minutes, the song stays restrained with the exception of a single tremor. This handbrake approach allows Bognanno’s voice to be the song’s heart and soul. Her voice wavers between soft and introspective to cracking with sheer emotional pain. She’s trying to make sense of her relationship with her mother – what went wrong, how it fell apart, and whether it can be salvaged. As the song progresses into a fierce growl, she takes us with her on this roller-coaster experience, not knowing when the ride will go upside-down or fall into an uncontrollable dive. At one point, she hollers:
“I’m pulling out my hair trying to figure this out
Don’t even know any more what we’re talking about.”
By the end, though, she’s ready to forgive and move on, stating emphatically, “But I’m not angry any more / I’m not holding onto that!” By which time, we’re tightly holding on to every word, wondering what is to come.
Naked Giants – “(God Damn!) What I Am” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Car Seat Headrest, Ron Gallo, Jacuzzi Boys
Seattle punk outfit Naked Giants do not mess around when it comes to their craft. These guys keep releasing songs with the tightest hooks and brightest tones. If “blitzkrieg bop” were a genre and not just a song title, it would nearly describe the bemused ferocity of their sound. Sure, they can rattle the walls, but it’s clear that Naked Giants believe in having fun. Their latest single is proof of that. No, we’re not talking about the lush shoegaze number “Turns Blue” that we shared on Monday. The other brand-new track from their upcoming LP, The Shadow, is its audio antithesis.
“(God Damn!) What I Am” is a high-octane thrill ride through jangly, pulse-racing riffs. It will get your heart beating and your limbs flailing. This is prime weekend catharsis just waiting to be cranked all the way to 11. Maybe it’s premature for us to say, but bangers like this will catapult Naked Giants high onto our Favorite Albums of 2020 list.
Naked Giants are: Gianni Aiello (vocals, bass, guitar, keys), Henry LaVallee (vocals, drums, keys, percussion), and Grant Mullen (vocals, guitar, keys).
Declan McKenna – “Be an Astronaut” (London, England)
RIYL: David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust, a young Elton John, Queen
At only 21 years old, Declan McKenna is already a star. But he has done it his way. When he exploded on the scene at age 16, he was not crafting tales of teenage heartbreak or being the unpopular kid. He was instead channeling his inner Bob Dylan and Rage Against the Machine and formulating powerful protest songs. He was the Greta Thunburg of music – a young person convincing people much older than himself to make a difference. For his next album, however, he’s aiming for the stars. Literally, he’s created a sci-fi album inspired by none other than David Bowie. Man, could we use a concept album that takes us simultaneously to faraway places and back to a bygone era, which he does on “Be an Astronaut”.
Like Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust days, “Be an Astronaut” is a stupendous glam-rock anthem littered with “wow” moments from start to finish. The song commences almost like a wistful pop-rocker as McKenna’s voice coolly hovers over the piano. Then horns, rhythms, guitars, and a synth gradually join the fray, increasing the drama. The plot of Daniel and his destiny to be an astronaut thickens, reaching its zenith when the instruments cascade into a wail of noise. McKenna’s songwriting is equally eye-opening. He brilliantly articulates Daniel’s struggles and perseverance to overcome the naysayers. And if one stretches her/his imagination, you might wonder if Daniel is Major Tom’s son. You may even think McKenna could one day be as decorated and immortalized like the Star Man himself.
Baby Bulldog – “Rodney” (Los Angeles, CA)
RIYL: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Courtney Barnett, Girlpool
It’s not every day you get sent an EP with an image of a Chrysler PT Cruiser catching some waves. As someone who loves quirky cars and silly imagery, I (Rich) had high expectations for Baby Bulldog. These were heightened after learning it is the project of Steph Barker, a drummer who’s toured with Miya Folick and Kate Nash. The second I hit play on her EP, Rodney, those expectations were exceeded thanks to its unrestrained creativity. Today we take a look at the title track from the EP.
The quirkiness of Baby Bulldog’s image is captured immediately in “Rodney”. It kicks off with some fun guitar and bass work. It’s lyrically clever, as her voice is distorted in a Fever To Tell-era Karen O style. “Rodney” is about the car on the EP’s cover. It’s about being let down by lovers, but finding love in an affordable, compact wagon. Barker sings that “We don’t need no one in shot-y / ride or die he’s always got me”. It’s just a great track, and the first on a really fun, smart, quirky EP that’s an absolute gem.
Rodney is out now. Check it out on Bandcamp.
Grace Turner – “Crossed Your Mind” (Newcastle, Australia)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Courtney Barnett, Angel Olsen
Grace Turner’s debut EP Half Truths is out today. Much of it was written before the world went into a state of constant disruption. An early single from the EP, “Half Light” felt immensely timely in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, and the half-truths society tells itself. This week, Turner shared “Crossed Your Mind”, which grapples with a different type of anxiety.
Turner says she wrote “Crossed Your Mind” during a time she was obsessed and terrified by death. It’s another timely and relevant commentary with all that is happening in the world and how delicate life has been over the last few months. It’s a loud track with some great guitar distortion and drum work to kick it off. Turner’s voice starts out relatively calm, before the whole thing kicks into another gear as Turner yells, accepting, and confronting the impermanence of life. Paired with “Half Light”, it really shows how Turner can channel a concern into a powerful, musical statement.
Half Truths is available now from these links.
Running Lights – “One In A Million” (New York, USA)
RIYL: Bad Suns, The Unlikely Candidates, Young Rising Suns
The weekend is a perfect time to jam to a fresh new synth-pop track that will make you feel alive, and Running Lights‘ “One In a Million” is the song everyone needs to hear right now. It’s upbeat and optimistic, making it ideal for your workout/cardio playlists.
“‘One in a Million’ is simply about letting go, being present, and embracing the magic that sometimes wanders across your path,” explains lead singer and guitarist Mike Squillante.
The lyrics are the perfect “dedication” song and anyone younger than 40 who probably never heard a song dedicated to another on their local radio station (or recorded it on cassette tape for that matter):
“Take you anywhere that you want to go
If you hold my hand when the lights get low.
Cause it’s me and you and that makes two,
But I swear we’re one in a million.”
Here’s to that someone special and we are sure if anything, “One in a Million” will alter your mood in the best way. The track is out now and available on all digital platforms here.
Running Lights include brothers Nick and Mike Squillante and longtime friend and drummer Stephen Ranellone.
Slight Of – “Winter’s Maze” (Brooklyn, NY)
RIYL: Bellows, LVL UP, Trace Mountains
On their sophomore LP, Slight Of look at things from a different perspective. Titled Other People, it’s out August 28, and from the tracks we’ve heard, it’s an album full of humanity. Jim Hill’s songwriting is immensely captivating. From the title track and its description of New Year’s to the intricate storytelling of “Americana”, Hill tells relevant and relatable stories. This week, Slight Of has shared the third track from the album, “Winter’s Maze”.
“Winter’s Maze” starts out slow and low-key, much like a mellow winter day. It captures a moment beautifully, singing of a frozen skyline, the sun reflecting off the ice, and the search for emotional warmth. The song builds to a pretty slick guitar solo that wraps it all quite nicely.
Other People is out August 28th via Dadstache Records and available on Bandcamp. Slight Of are also releasing a track as part of You’re Gonna Be Great, a compilation in support of IntegrateNYC (a youth organization for integration of NYC schools) that will feature some of our favorites including Screaming Females, Yohuna, Amy Klein, and Painted Zeroes.
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