Today is Bandcamp Friday, which means 100% of purchases go to the artists. For the The Matinee ’20 September 4th edition, we have included Bandcamp links where possible so you can purchase the music that supports talented musicians and worthy causes.
Adrianne Lenker – “anything” (Boston, USA)
RIYL: Elliott Smith, Julien Baker, Sufjan Stevens
Adrianne Lenker should be traveling across North America right now with her main band, Big Thief. When COVID-19 put the band’s tour on hold, Lenker took shelter in a cabin in western Massachusetts. Anyone who has followed Lenker’s career knows she is not one to stay idle for long. With the downtime, she grabbed her acoustic guitar and wrote some songs. Specifically, she wrote nine tracks and arranged another ten or so that will appear on two albums – songs and instrumentals. The former features the stories she wrote during this time while the latter contained improvised, acoustic guitar arrangements. While they are separate records, they are linked in their mood and atmospheres, as fans will hear on October 23rd when 4AD releases the LPs. For a first taste, though, Lenker shared “anything” this week.
“anything” possesses all the traits that has made Lenker one of the preeminent artists of her time. It is simple in its approach yet stunning and emotive in effect. Lenker’s rolling guitar work and introspective balladry are reminiscent of Elliott Smith. And like the late, great singer-songwriter, Lenker tells a story that might first seem like she’s revealing her heart and soul to everyone. Instead she is telling a tale about how loneliness has become the new normal. During these moments, all we long for is the presence of a loved one. It might be a partner, a child, a relative, or a friend – just someone with whom to share these quiet days. So grab that special someone when you listen to this song and play it endlessly.
Pre-orders for songs and instrumentals can be found here.
Dirty Nice – “The Deep Down” (London/Bournemouth, England)
RIYL: Coast Modern, Courtship., Jungle
“The Deep Down” is an upbeat, feel-good track from British indie pop duo Dirty Nice. This song is for everyone who puts others first and who needs to look inward and love themselves.
Dirty Nice is comprised of Charlie Pelling and Mark Thompson, and they have been creating addicting tunes for a few years now. “The Deep Down” is one to add to your feelgood/weekend playlist, especially for the line “Time to dust off my heart and use it.”
The duo explain a bit further about their newest track:
“The Deep Down is the place where you keep your soul. It could be in your belly, at the back of your head or in an old box under your bed. Like the Picture of Dorian Gray it is weathered down by the consequences of living. Wherever you keep it, make sure you take good care of it and be careful not to ignore it for too long or it will become harder and harder to take it out and it will take longer and longer to heal. Accept it for what it is. It’s you…welcome to The Deep Down and good luck.”
Go do something this weekend that makes you happy. Dust off your heart and practice some self love, even if that is taking it easy and resting.
The single is out now via Bristol-based label Chiverin.
Ghost of Vroom – “Rona Polonna” (Memphis, USA)
RIYL: Soul Coughing, The Beastie Boys, Beck
If you have been waiting for the best pandemic song – the one that truly captures life in 2020 using ferocious, irresistible hooks – then you have found your winner in “Rona Pollona” from Mike Doughty’s new project, Ghost of Vroom.
Yes, you read that right: the man, the myth, the legend from ’90s indie groove gurus Soul Coughing is back. The strong “Super Bon Bon” vibes here transport you to a more carefree era while his wry lyrics help soundtrack our collective nightmare of germaphobic isolation and unrest:
“Don’t touch the box / don’t touch the shelf
Don’t touch the people / don’t touch yourself
Lysol sprayed on the wheel
No hugging, no shaking, hand-holding, no feel”
Few artists can namecheck Lysol, Mnuchin and Cardi B with effortless ease. Every verse is packed with the vivid lyrical imagery (“Conversatin’ with an Amazon bot / Whataburger drive-thru dressing like an astronaut) you expect from Doughty. The track gets an added boost from project partner Andrew “Scrap” Livingston on cello along with trombone from Victor Sawyer and Madden “Lil Pepper” Klass on drums.
Be prepared to have the chorus on a loop in your head for the rest of the year: “You’ll never know if you’re doing it right” is the perfect summation of how we are all coping.
Flunk – “Down Here/Moon Above” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Björk, Portishead, Sigur Rós
Just who are Flunk? Post-rock fans likely know the quartet of producer Ulf Nygaard, guitarist Jo Bakke, drummer Erik Ruud, and vocalist Anja Oyen Vister, as they emerged at the start of the last decade as Norway’s equivalent to international stars Sigur Rós. Newcomers to the band, though, might want to take their tagline to heart – “Probably the prettiest band in Oslo!” After hearing their new single, “Down Here/Moon Above”, you just might agree with the description.
Some songs elicit scenes from a fairy tale, take you beyond the stratosphere, or resemble exquisite works of art. Then there are the rare ones that do all three. “Down Here/Moon Above” is one of those rarities. The calm, almost serene instrumentation occupies multiple environments. At times it feels like it is submerged in the Marianas Trench. Other moments it lifts listeners into the skies and launches you into space. The varied approach is breathtaking. There is something more celestial at work, and it exists within Oyen Vister’s transcendent vocals. She hauntingly describes how two people’s chance encounter on Earth can result in something not even science can describe. Her story is a fairy tale set in a magical world we can only envision in our dreams. Or in this case, see in a song that personifies escapism.
Flunk are working on a yet-to-be-titled album. In the meantime, the single is available via Beatservice Records.
The Arthur Brothers – “Sun Gun” (London, England)
RIYL: The Flaming Lips, Lemon Twigs, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Spiritualized, David Bowie, Queen
If you thought the trip to the cosmos had ended, it has just begun. For this latest track, though, we highly recommend you find a place to ground yourself because you might get a little light-headed while spinning “Sun Gun” from new-ish trio The Arthur Brothers.
This adventure is not a calm, idyllic one. Instead, it is a delirious expedition into the heart of our nearest star, on which we find ourselves with a loved one absorbing its exhilarating heat. Creating this feeling is the trio’s cinematic orchestration which blends a vast array of influences. Psychedelic rock from the ’60s and ’00s collide with glam rock, Spiritualized-esque space-rock, and ’70s Americana. There’s even a touch of the Bee Gees in the way the Brothers’ harmonies easily come together and sound like they’re drifting in another dimension. When the song comes to a near pause and builds again, the sonic revelry of Queen comes to mind. When a song combines so many genres and influences into one song, the experiment is usually a mess. But The Arthur Brothers have crafted what can only be described as cinematic genius.
The single is out on Declared Goods. We cannot wait to hear what the band has in store next.
Golden Aquarians – “High Enough” (Dallas/Austin USA)
RIYL: Sarah Jaffe, Roberto Sanchez
Golden Aquarians is the project from Texas-born artists Sarah Jaffe and Roberto Sanchez. They were touring earlier in 2020 as the global pandemic emerged. After returning to New York City, they joined their peers in seclusion. Resolved not to let isolation squander creativity, the two started sending ideas back and forth until their collaboration reached it’s first completion. Their debut track, “High Enough,” is a perfect anthem for the state of the world today. It’s laid-back and dreamy but with an important message about breaking away from it all.
The track is an awesome blend of funky sampled beats, choppy synths, Jaffe’s smooth yet fierce vocals and killer steel guitar courtesy of Eric Swanson (Israel Nash). The most important lyric might just sum up the feelings for many of us for the entirety of 2020: “I ain’t high enough for this shit, though. I hope we make it out alive.”
Golden Aquarians have released their new track on Bandcamp and will be donating proceeds to The Loveland Foundation.
Soft Set – “7 on Up” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, RIDE, Slowdive
Are you ready to experience a surge of misty-eyed nostalgia? Emerging dream-pop duo Soft Set capture the fluttery feelings of a first teenage crush on their “7 On Up” single. It’s taken from their debut EP, Love and Dancing, that is out today.
You would be hard-pressed to find a better song than “7 on Up” to soundtrack a sunny day. Band members James Gray and Nathan Athay excel at melding dreamy vocals with upbeat shoegaze instrumentation. If pioneers of the genre like Ride and Slowdive had hailed from southern California, they would certainly sound like this. Perhaps having Ride’s Mark Gardener mix this album accounts for some of that magic? One thing is certain: every second of this nearly five-minute track exudes carefree bliss. Close your eyes and recall the feelings of days long past, when one smile from your crush would make you swoon. Soft Set have delivered a gorgeous reprieve from reality with “7 on Up.” It’s worth keeping on repeat for the rest of the year.
StillSureMan – “Can’t Find No Heaven” (Long Beach, CA, USA)
RIYL: Moby, Fat Boy Slim, Black Fly
When spinning an electronic tune, we generally seek to either be energized with a dance-floor banger or be swept away into another dimension. We have one such song in this mini-playlist. It’s not often that the songwriting outshines the production work. Here’s a challenge: name an electronic tune where the lyrics were more moving than the 808s or synths. Not that easy, eh? Well, this latest track might be the answer to that question.
Hailing from Long Beach, California is aspiring producer StillSureMan, who two days ago released “Can’t Find No Heaven”. The track is like Moby and Fat Boy Slim on the down low, or experimenting with downtempo and tropical soul approaches. It is soothing, sounding like the perfect tune to spin while lazing poolside.
The subtle approach is intentional, allowing StillSureMan’s lyrics to shine. In a daze he contemplates the world we live in and how our isolation has allowed us – or should have allowed us – to fully comprehend the problems around us. If America is supposed to be the land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, he has yet to see it. What he sees is corruption, inequality, pain, and struggle. He doesn’t see a place where dreams come true.
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