Stretch your limbs before starting up The Matinee ’20 September 18 edition because the songs on the mini-playlist will get you moving. Many of the songs also perfectly capture the reality before us. Happy Weekend!
Aaron Frazer – “Bad News” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Durand Jones & The Indications, Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron
Are you ready to be swept off your feet? “Bad News” from soul artist Aaron Frazer will do just that. While the Brooklyn-based soul artist is best known as drummer and co-lead singer of Durand Jones & The Indications, this single showcases his smoother than cashmere vocals and old-school soul grooves.
We have all had our share of bad news this year. But once you hit play on this Dan Auerbach-produced scorcher, Frazer shifts your focus to a different direction. The lyrics are a climate change wake-up call. Lines like “I’m on fire / I’m burning / I can barely keep it turning” have urgent, real-world connotations. So while you sway your head and body to these irresistible beats, heed the underlying message:
“I know I’m getting older
but the winter seems much colder than before
I wish you’d stop and see what you’ve been doing to me
I can’t take much more”
“Bad News” also features an impressive list of backing talent. Frazer is joined by musicians from the Daptone Records family and session players from the Memphis Boys who backed legends like Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield.
Mobley – “James Crow” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Pharrell Williams, Usher, Steven A. Clark
While the days remain gloomy with the constant bombardment of lies and deceit and a virus that far too many people ignore, there is one positive that has come out of this mess – it has resulted in some of the finest music this century. Genres do not matter, as artists and bands across the board are creating that simultaneous chronicles the present state while motivating people to act for the benefit of the greater good. Change and progress start with a voice, and singers and musicians have the platform to inspire. So turn up the volume and let Mobley incite you to start a movement with his fantastic new single, “James Crow”.
The Austin native has delivered a infectious funk-pop number that will get people dancing until dawn. The slick production and lively arrangements are right out of a Pharrell Williams-envisioned track. It jitters and soars into a dance floor delight. However, what should move you most is what Mobley has to say. His first words are pure genius, as he describes what it is like to live as a black man in America: “I’ve been seeing the world through a dead man’s eyes”. Practically everywhere he turns and nearly everything he has learned has come from the perspective of white enslavers and those who believed segregation should be normalized and institutionalized. If you think the days of the ’60s are long past us, look towards the White House. Then maybe you’ll see an America that is trending back to its past.
Mourn – “Men” (Barcelona, Spain)
RIYL: Joanna Gruesome, Speedy Ortiz, Sleater-Kinney
Let’s be honest – men as a whole suck, and one of the guys here at The Revue wrote this. We have the incessant habit of having to speak over and above women. Whether it’s “mansplaining”, the insatiable need to be right, or wanting to be heard, we can be absolute jerks and disrespectful. Once upon a time, our behavior was encouraged while women were taught to “serve and obey”. Those days are behind us – or are they? Most of our world is still governed by bigoted old men and their rules. Eventually, however, their castles will be toppled because women like the ladies from Mourn will not conform to their wishes nor bend to their will. They unleash their disgust at the establishment on the appropriately titled new single, “Men”.
The track roars with the ferocity of the great alt-rock and post-punk music of the ’90s and early ’00s while featuring the attitude of the riot grrrl movement in its early days. It is like Hole in overdrive or when bands like Joanna Gruesome and Speedy Ortiz first arrived to prove once again that women can rock as hard as the men. Through the searing guitars and hammering rhythms, Carla Pérez Vas (vocals/guitar), Jazz Rodríguez (vocals/guitar), and Leia Rodríguez (vocals/bass) channel their inner Liz Phair. The trio comment about the narrow-mindedness and shallowness of men and their (our) tendency to objectify women and downplay the importance of anything they have to say. These young women, however, are having no part of it. Instead, they’re the ones staring down at the men and making them (us) feel insignificant.
Harpo Milk – “Always A Party” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Jason Molina, Sam Cohen, Kevin Morby
We would like to make one thing absolutely clear – we are not proponents of bands breaking up. We would much prefer to see an outfit play together to the end of their days. That said, should Circa Waves guitarist Joe Falconer opt to dedicate all his energies to his solo project, Harpo Milk, we would fully support him. Falconer first impressed us with “Glue” and then had us hooked with “Swim Again”. The singles revealed an incredibly gifted songwriter and composer was hiding within the bigger, anthemic sounds of the popular Brit-pop band. Maybe his third single will have everyone drawing this conclusion.
Sit down, open your mind, and allow the sweltering shoegaze of “Always A Party” blow you away. The track possesses the anthemic intimacy of Jason Molina and Kevin Morby, where the song leaves you gasping for a breath despite the searing guitar overwhelming the track at its zenith. It’s a song that you just want to drown in over and over again. Falconer’s lyrics, too, have you reliving a past life when you would do anything to be with someone. Where you would do everything to see that person one last time before you have to say goodbye. One day and hopefully soon, people will be lining up to hear Falconer perform live. The young man is a talent.
Harpo Milk’s debut EP, Always A Party, is out now, and it’s truly great. Find it in your preferred streaming service (although he does not have a Bandcamp page).
HEALTH – “CYBERPUNK 18.104.22.168.” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Depeche Mode, Keep Shelly in Athens
Five minutes of sonic rapture: this is what awaits you on the latest from Los Angeles post-rock outfit HEALTH. The hypnotic extended intro on “CYBERPUNK 22.214.171.124.” draws you in with pulsing rhythms. But that’s only the beginning. Their signature synths send a jolt of adrenaline through you, keeping you transfixed for the duration of the song.
Fans of HEALTH know to brace for this effect. Since the release of their self-titled 2007 debut album, the band has been cultivating a strong and devoted fanbase. Their hybrid blend of rock genres tends to make instant fans of first-time listeners. Be warned if you fall into the latter category: once bitten by this dark sonic beast, you will most certainly crave more of the delirium-inducing artistry that Jake Duzsik (vocals/guitar), John Famiglietti (bass), and BJ Miller (drums) produce.
The band’s upcoming fifth album, DISCO4 :: PART 1, arrives October 16 via Loma Vista Recordings with pre-orders offered here. The digital version of this single is available now at Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify.
Black Honey – “Run For Cover” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Dream Wife, YONAKA, Red Blood Shoes
Followers of our site will know that we have been on the Black Honey bandwagon since April 2016. The quartet of Izzy B Phillips, Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor, and Tom Dewhurst have an uncanny knack of creating music that gets adrenaline flowing and the synapses firing. They are the rock band of choice for those who simultaneously want to lose their marbles while hearing a great tale or to be challenged with a provocative question. The thoughtful person’s rock band? We could buy that. One thing is for certain, their rising popularity has been earned as a result of good old-fashion hard work. They don’t have a major label nor a big PR machine behind them. Instead, they let their music – like their new “Run For Cover” single – do all the talking for them.
The song is prototypical Black Honey. It is heavy and teeters on the edge, yet “Run For Cover” has an anthemic infectiousness that will cause people to dance, jump, or even mosh. Or maybe you’re the air guitar type, as the song features an awesome, fuzzed-out, lead guitar. And for good measure (and for the Will Ferrell fans) there is even a cowbell, which might give you some ideas for a costume this Halloween. Speaking of which, Phillips tells a tale of a person who is no longer recognizable. Her appearance is not the only thing that has changed, but her entire being. But exactly who is she? She might be the pending apocalypse or a victim seeking vengeance like Stephen King’s Carrie. Whoever and whatever she may be, we might all want to run for cover, but only after spinning this awesome track.
The single is out on is out now on Foxfive Records. We anxiously await news of the band’s sophomore album.
Moontower – “Hit The Lights” (Los Angeles via St. Louis and Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: Knox Hamilton, Twin XL, Winnetka Bowling League,
Moontower have recently popped onto the scene with super feel good indie pop. The band released their debut EP last year and most recently their second EP released during quarantine, What Day Is It?
If you have Austin connections (like some writers here do) one might think this band could be from Texas or paying homage to Austin for their famous moontowers placed throughout the city. The real reason behind their band name is actually an ode to Richard Linklater’s Dazed & Confused which was of course set in Austin and made partying at the moontower quite famous.
Their new “Hit the Lights” track is upbeat and super infectious. The harmonies make for the perfect song to jam on your weekend playlist, and even to stay motivated during your cardio workout. The band already seem to have a super cool party vibe as Dazed and Confused inspired their band name, another famous artist inspired the video for “Hit the Lights” that was just released.
The music video is a quirky homage to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” where she famously travels everywhere while playing her piano. It’s definitely worth a view and should definitely put a smile on your face. The trio are definitely staying busy during quarantine as they recently released their latest EP and will actually start recording their upcoming debut album this fall. The band have also collaborated with Goldroom on “Guess I’m Jaded” which included a remix from RAC on their track together.
Moontower are Jacob Culver, Tom Carpenter and Devan Welsh.
Skegss – “Fantasising” (Byron Bay, Australia)
RIYL: Spacey Jane, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Hockey Dad
When looking towards Australia for music, we are likely to find great female singer-songwriters, outstanding psychedelic bands, creative art-rock / alt-pop artists, and rock bands that make us feel we’re not alone in this social distancing world. On the latter, the country Down Under has no shortage of fantastic bands. Three of them are listed in the RIYL, and Skegss are another. Toby Cregan (upright bass), Jonny Laneway (drums), and Ben Reed (vocals/guitar/synth) might be better known for their rollicking live shows and carefree attitude, but the trio are excellent storytellers and songwriters. They’re like the Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket of the 21st Century – that is, a vastly underrated band who represents the feelings of young people everywhere. Maybe with “Fantasising”, more people outside their home nation will acknowledge their immense talents.
The song recalls the indie rock of the ’90s, as the jangly guitar notes and the stuttering rhythms are right out of the songbooks of the two aforementioned bands. The jittery approach is infectious, making it the perfect late-summer (or early spring, if you’re in the southern hemisphere) track. Although we come for the music, we stay for the lyrics. Our attention is fixated on every word Reed says as he reflects on his past and contemplates what the uncertain future brings. There is concern, fear, and hope in his words and voice. His words are also our own:
“When I’m occupied
I don’t have to think to breathe
As long as I’m making better memories
Cos these things last as far as I can see
But when I’m up at night
And I’m sinking in these sheets
And thinking of these memories
Yeah, these things last as far as I can see”
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