From ringing techno-pop to old-school soul and everything in between, The Matinee ’20 August 28 has a little something for everyone.
Ela Minus – “el cielo no es de nadie” (Brooklyn, USA via Bogotà, Colombia)
RIYL: Alice Glass, Health, Grimes
Gabriela Jimeno describes the music she releases as Ela Minus as “bright music for dark times” and man, are these times dark. From a global pandemic keeping us socially distant with no end in sight, to constant reminders of racial and political injustice in the world. We need some brightness in this world. Thankfully, this week Jimeno shares “el cielo no es de nadie”. It’s the third single she’s this year, joining “they told us it was hard, but they were wrong“, and “megapunk“, all three tracks will be on her upcoming debut record, acts of rebellion.
Jimeno explains, “The song’s title, ‘el cielo no es de nadie,’ refers to the phrase ‘I’ll give you the sky,’ a common expression used in Spanish when in love. In the song, I defy it: ‘you can’t give me the sky’/it isn’t yours to give.” It’s a song about expressing love in smaller, more meaningful ways, instead of grand, performative gestures. Musically, it features that distinctive Ela Minus style, for those unfamiliar, it’s layered synths, immersive bass, and a vocal part that is barely more than a whisper. The result is some of the most infectious and inviting music you can’t help but dance to.
“el cielo no se de nadie” is accompanied by a music video that was recorded at Elsewhere in Brooklyn, NY. It’s a music venue that I’ve seen Ela Minus play numerous times, it’s eerie to see it empty with Jimeno up on stage, but her signature grooves and inviting performance in the video makes it obvious why Ela Minus at Elsewhere is a can’t miss show.
Cherry Pickles – “BlackHole” (Birmingham, England)
RIYL: The Runaways, L.A. Witch, Ramona Hammer
When we were first introduced to Cherry Pickles back in August, we were not only amused by Priscila B (guitar/vocals/songwriting) and Mimi B’s (drums) moniker but their single, “Out of This World”, had us dancing out of our shoes. The duo proved on that song that they were like a worm hole to yesteryear, where they took the sounds of the ’50s and fast-forwarded them to the present. Not all attempts to bridge the past and the future are successful, so could B&B replicate the success of their previous track? The answer, of course, is a resounding yes.
Like The Runaways roaring alongside The New York Dolls, “BlackHole” is a rollicking, punk-rock number. Even with just the two of them, B&B unleash a torrent of manic sound. Not a single person can stoically sit on their keister as this song is played. At the very least, heads will bang and fists will pump. If you’re the energetic type, this time will have you on your feet and thrashing around like it is the first day of a brand new year. As Mimi’s drum kit throbs and Priscila’s guitar wails with a thick dose of fuzz, the latter reminds us that there are people that want us to be obedient individuals and not rattle the walls that contain us. Little do these people know that a punk-rock band is the last ones to abide by the rules, and we hope Cherry Pickles never cede to conformists.
Thrillhouse – “2045” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Talking Heads x Oingo Boingo
It’s 2020 and it’s been a crazy year. Why not transport yourself into the future with Thrillhouse’s new track “2045”. It’s definitely one you can jam out to and even hit the repeat button a few more times. So far the band has a way of leaving you wanting to hear more with each new release.
The inquisitive track is pretty much what we are all thinking about this year. Can we have a do over? Ask the lyrics encourage moving forward and not giving up.
“So start again, So try again! Where are we going now?”
Thrillhouse emerged late last year and with each new release it’s really is like a box of chocolates (For all you Forrest Gump fans), with each listen you just don’t know what you’re gonna get. So far every listen we’ve had from Thrillhouse has been unique and different. Just when you think their sound is futuristic and possibly predictable, they throw in a harmonica and keep it super interesting. One thing is for sure the trio of Thrillhouse are evolving their sound and it’s nice to watch their progression evolve.
Thrillhouse are Alistair Scott, Jackie Nielsen, and Sam Strawberry. We are happy to hear that more tracks will be released later this year.
Corey Flood – “Down the Hill” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Dehd, Deeper, The Cure
2020 may suck as a whole, but boy has it been a great year for music. In the face of uncertainty and chaos, young and older artists around the world are giving us a reprieve and sometimes an escape. Many have reminded us of more innocent times, where we felt free. A time that we felt like ourselves. Although we have plenty of time to reflect on those days, sometimes we need a reminder, and Philly’s Corey Flood provide the perfect nudge with “Down the Hill”.
The trio of Ivy Gray-Klein (bass/vocals), Em Boltz (guitar/vocals), and Juliette Rando (drums) first grabbed a few headlines with their tantalizing dark-pop EP, Wish You Hadn’t, back in 2018. They were cited as a new generation’s Liz Phair and the voice of disenfranchised youth. But in this very bleak year, they changed pace and try to bring a bit of light into of our world. Although “Down the Hill” trembles with touches of The Cure’s Gothic rock and Deeper’s creeping post-punk, Boltz recalls a time of youthful liberation and serenity. Specifically, she shares the memory of spending a few days with a long-distance friend, and it was pure bliss. It was a dream occurring in real time.
“There is no shame in humility
Hanging garden, 19th century
Maybe it is really nothing
But I was in love”
Hopefully we’ll get to return to such days. In the meantime, we’ll relive our own experiences spinning this song and when the trio’s debut album, Hanging Garden, is out September 4th. Fire Talk Records will release it. Links to pre-order or pre-save can be found here or head to Bandcamp.
HANYA – “Texas” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Men I Trust, Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes, Cults
It’s Friday and we all need a little beauty in our lives. In this case, it’s beautiful dream pop from HANYA. “Texas” floats along and completely puts you in a better mood. The track explores the wonderful beginnings of a relationship where there are dreams of running away to a big ass state like Texas, which is really super far from the quartet’s hometown of Brighton.
The guitar riffs are mesmorizing as well as the vocals by Heather Sheret. The overall vibe is perfect to listen to on any warm summer day as we all might dream about going somewhere different than we currently are.
The quartet share a bit about their newest release: “‘Texas’ was entirely written and recorded during lockdown, testing ourselves to work remotely as a group. The track explores the feeling of wanting to run away with someone when you first meet them – the head-over-heels uncertainty, the self-doubt and the desire to know each other entirely”.
HANYA is Heather Sheret (guitar, vocal), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass), Jack Watkins (drums)
Devon Gilfillian – “Cracks In The Ceiling” (feat. Joseph) (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Marvin Gaye, Charles Bradley, Leon Bridges
Musicians have always sung about the issues of their time. No matter the genre – from Marvin Gaye asking “What’s Goin’ On” to Rage Against the Machine singing about racial injustice – social issues inspire artists to speak truth to power. Nashville-based R&B/soul musician Devon Gilfillian is one of this generation’s powerhouse singers who is using his voice to address a current issue. “Cracks in the Ceiling” is a soulful tune he wrote with the band Joseph, about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our awakening to systemic change.
It takes a special artist to write a song (via Zoom, no less) about an urgent topic that has the power to educate and unite. But anyone who has heard the Philadelphia transplant sing knows Devon Gilfillian is indeed a rare gem. His old-school soul delivery channels the greats while sounding fresh and modern. The voices of the Oregon-based folk sister trio add elements of sun-kissed hope to the track, making it an uplifting rallying cry. They urge us to ask important questions, to identify what is causing the cracks in the ceiling of ourselves and the world. Their voices inspire listeners to seek answers with open hearts. Having an artist like Gilfillian steer the conversation reminds us that a change is gonna come provided we work together.
Chadwick Station – “Cryin’ (Ain’t Gonna Win Her Back)” (Nashville, USA via London, UK)
RIYL: Lee Fields and the Expressions, Charles Bradley, James Hunter Six
Old-school soul charm is the basis of the newest release from Chadwick Station. The irresistibly groovy “Cryin’ (Ain’t Gonna Win Her Back)” finds the Nashville-via-London outfit laying down serious retro vibes on their first new single in several years. While these guys have only just now made it onto our radar, this song has made us instant fans.
Prepare to start moving from the very first note. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself raising an eyebrow in approval in the first three seconds. There is no denying the instant appeal of this track. You will start swaying at the intro, wowed by the scorching horns and silky-smooth vocals. Your low-key grooving soon becomes full body movement as the rhythms possess you. So close your eyes, surrender to the sweet, soulful sounds of Chadwick Station, and let this tune help mend your broken heart. We can’t promise it will cure everything that ails you, but we guarantee you’ll feel better after one spin.
Zimbru – “The Ground” (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
RIYL: The Knife, The Eurythmics, LCD Soundsystem
To the dance floor we return with a song from a Romanian quartet everyone should know. They are called Zimbru, which we think is the Romanian word for a now extinct breed of bison (in English, they’re called aurochs). Translation attempts aside, this band won’t disappear anytime soon. Instead, Teodora Retegan, Paul Bucovesan, Andrei Bobiș and Oana Pop could very well achieve continental fame and maybe even represent their country at a future Eurovision contest because their brand of alt-disco / disco-punk is intoxicating and wonderfully delirious. And no, they’re not like ABBA. They are rather a brilliant experiment of The Knife, The Eurhythmics, LCD Soundsystem and Future Islands, as revealed on “The Ground”.
Buzzing synths, angular guitars, and a sparkling percussion swarm the air, creating a vibrant yet alluring soundscape. The swelling music will make you feel like you’re the only one on the dance floor with the spotlight shining brightly on you and every color from the overhanging disco ball converging on your levitating soul. Through the enchantment emerges Retegan’s smokey and immersive vocal. She is the voice of reason, trying to unify this otherworldly experience with reality. Trying to remind us that we must strive to achieve this state of inner utopia within the world we live in, specifically bringing harmony between humanity and nature. If we can achieve this, then every day can be full of bliss.
Hi Frisco – “Headspin” (ft. Charlotte Spiral) (London, England)
RIYL: The Dig, Electric Guest, Ra Ra Riot
“Headspin” is the newest track from Hi Frisco. It’s the perfect blend of dreamy indie rock with a dash of electronic and a drizzle of psych vibes. It’s the perfect track to add to your laid back summer weekend playlist. It definitely one to give you a bit of a relaxing feel with the ooh la la’s and of course fast paced enough to want you to move and groove.
The duo are making waves so far with each new track released after their debut track, Snowfall. So far they are casting a wide net with their overall sound which can garner so man fans that move between Electronica, Indie Rock and Synth Pop.
The lyrics tackle a relationship that seems to have a crazy ebb and flow. We’ve all had those relationships where there is that headspin involved which can have both good and bad elements to it. The additional vocals from Charlotte Spiral’s Amy Spencer makes for a hypnotic and moving track.
The duo share a bit more about the track: “Lyrically it’s a love song that was always written to be a duet offering the view of a defiant relationship, struggling against the anxiety and stress of modern life from both perspectives. We spent a while trying to find the right person to match up with the imagined voice in our heads, luckily our friend Alice introduced us to Charlotte Spiral and she more than delivered.”
Hi Frisco are Henry Eastham and Felix Rashman. Their debut album, Goodbye, Blue Monday, is out October 9th.
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