The Matinee ’20 October 2nd edition is a soundtrack for weekend bliss. Today is also Bandcamp Friday, when all proceeds of sales through that site go directly to the artists. We have included links to each artist’s Bandcamp page wherever possible. We start things off with a couple of timely songs for those keeping a close on the US elections and end the mini-playlist with a super indie band reinventing itself.
Ani DiFranco – “Do or Die” (New Orleans, USA)
RIYL: Aimee Mann, Dar Williams, Rhiannon Giddens
Musicians are no strangers to social and political activism. Folk hero Woody Guthrie played a guitar famously emblazoned with the phrase “This machine kills fascists” and inspired future generations to follow his lead. With the U.S. elections in November quickly approaching, singers of all genres are using their voices to effect change. Genre-defying indie artist and feminist icon Ani DiFranco has been doing this since the early ’90s, and her newest single finds her at the peak of her artistry.
“Do or Die” pulls no punches with its mention of “bad news every day” and “right there on Pennsylvania Avenue the sheet-less KKK.” Over bluesy, ambling riffs she asks the questions we all can answer in the affirmative:
“Do you ever just wanna give up
Are you shocked by what people get used to
Do you wake up in a cold sweat?”
Instead of merely lamenting with her fellow Americans, DiFranco offers an action-driven solution: vote. She urges citizens to remember the best tool in a democracy is the ballot, and this year is truly a do or die election. “Let us look down at our hands and remember we’re armed,” she sings. Let us all remember that fact next month and beyond.
Sloan – “Silence Trumps Lies” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Matthew Sweet, Nada Surf, The New Pornographers
The statement on social media about Canada feeling like they are living above a meth lab is merit based. Given the current mayhem in the U.S., it’s a miracle everyone from Toronto to Vancouver hasn’t fled the continent in search of more peaceful neighbors. So imagine our collective delight when Toronto indie stalwarts Sloan delivered a new tune this week that is oh so fitting for these times.
“Silence Trumps Lies” is a mellow rocker with a message. Or is it? Interpreted one way, you can infer a general theme about people who speak more than they listen. But even a casual listen will reveal the real target. Despite a strategically omitted apostrophe in the title, the song addresses a singular unspoken character. This world leader pretend has wreaked havoc on the global stage for four years. Even without saying his name directly, Sloan call out this clown for his colossal shortcomings:
“You couldn’t listen to someone else
You thought you’d tackle this one yourself
When it’s important and you’re not familiarized
Silence Trumps Lies”
The line “Quiet is something to keep and be” is especially poignant. Kudos to Sloan for putting our collective thoughts to music.
Jesse Jo Stark – “Die Young” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Hope Sandoval with Pink Floyd, Florence Welch
Through her many endeavors, Jesse Jo Stark has excelled. Whether it’s in fashion, art, or music, the god-daughter of Cher has demonstrated two things: her styles are wide-ranging, and she’s always learning and evolving. As a musician, she started in pop and pop-punk before moving towards Mazzy Star-level dreaminess and then later to rock ‘n roll and the gritty desert-noir soundscapes. Now, she enters a new realm – or maybe more accurately she straddles the divide between her previous two musical lives and delivers a song that can only be described as a stunner.
“Die Young” is like the immaculate conception between Hope Sandoval and “Wish You Were Here”-era Pink Floyd. Elements of Florence + The Machine are also sprinkled throughout, though the song is thoroughly the property of Stark. It is simultaneously dreamy yet intimately gritty, where she makes ghost towns and decaying streets sound like utopia. The various keys, delicate rhythms, and then the swelling of the strings take this track to majestically breathtaking heights. As your body starts to levitate, Stark crushes your soul with her words. She cries out, “The older I get, the more I want to die young”, as reference to all the people we, as a society, have forgotten.
Coach Party – “Can’t Talk, Won’t” (Isle of Wight, England)
RIYL: Black Honey, Tired Lion, Wolf Alice
Back in June when Coach Party shared “Bleach”, we said they could be the voice of a new generation with their anthemic, angsty pop-rock style. The quartet of Jessica Eastwood, Guy Page, Joe Perry and Stephanie Norris aren’t just writing songs about themselves but about every young person feeling disenfranchised, ignored, and alone. They continue the trend with ‘Can’t Talk, Won’t”.
First, this song absolutely rocks. For 191 seconds, the band deliver an addictive adrenaline rush. It is 100% pure energy that will revive your body, mind, and soul more than your usual latte or Red Bull. The first half is driven by an excellent rhythm section. Its hammering, heart-pounding approach creates urgency. Then the guitars become even more overdriven, leading to the awesome guitar solo that would make Jim James and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket proud. Through this incredible wall of noise rises Eastwood’s vocals. She reveals how she feels stuck while the world moves forward. Her words apply to many, especially those who keep quiet amidst overwhelming depression and anxiety. Fortunately for us, we have Coach Party to speak what’s on our minds:
“And I can’t quite talk
But I still find the words to say
And I’m not quite there
‘Cause I think I’m really scared
I don’t compare
Don’t think I don’t want to die
That I don’t want to die!
Don’t think I don’t want to die!”
The single is out now Chess Club Records. This band is going places fast.
Eagle Eyed Tiger – “Siren” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Porcelain Raft, Wild Nothing
Discovering new artists is a perennial joy. We love the electric rush that comes from the first spin of a song that sends our senses reeling. These discoveries are even more crucial this year. Fortunately bands like Eagle Eyed Tiger restore our faith in the future with their lush, kaleidoscopic indie dream pop. It’s impossible not to feel a tingle down your spine when listening to their new single.
“Siren” channels the best of the past while still looking ahead. Its seamless textures beckon listeners to bask in the warm, breezy vocals and vibrant synths. You might hear faint echoes of New Order one moment and a hint of Wild Nothing and DIIV the next. A variety of influences swirl throughout yet remain indecipherable. “Siren” is the perfect song for an aimless moonlit drive. So grab your keys, hit the road, and roll down the window. Let the wind caress your face as these melodies keep you spellbound and dissolve your troubles away.
Eagle Eyed Tiger is worth getting to know right now. Their Smile for the Camera album is coming soon, but this split single is out now at Bandcamp and these other links. You can also stream it on Spotify.
SKIA – “Pocket” (Liverpool, England via Norway)
RIYL: Kim Petras, Robyn, Sigrid
SKIA returns with a new single after releasing her debut EP Apricot earlier this year back in May. “Pocket” is an addicting track with tender emotion and relatable lyrics. SKIA’s vocals flitter around simplistic guitar riffs, beats and handclaps.
It’s an upbeat dance ready track that screams for someone to stick around regardless of what’s going on in their life. It’s perfect for spinning during your weekend playlist and even while working out or staying motivated to complete any new task around the house.
Discussing its origins, SKIA explained: “I wrote this song when my friend Nina went back to Munich earlier in the year after having a rough time, and I became worried she wasn’t going to come back to Liverpool again. We’ve both made a life in a new country, and the feeling of not knowing where we belong creeps up from time to time. ‘Pocket’ is essentially a song about friendship, and about working through your problems together instead of fleeing from them”.
Anna of the North – “Someone Special” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: CHVRCHES, Yumi Zouma, Keep Shelly in Athens
Anna of the North is back. The Scandi Pop star offers a sweet and touching track set against simple piano actually played by her father. “Someone Special” might just be a message to the world – that we are all worth something and special in our own way.
The instrumentation on “Someone Special” is simplistic and moving. Anna of the North’s vocals are so pure and spellbinding, she truly shines with intimate and stripped down melodies. Once again, the lyrics remind that not matter what we are going through, we are never truly alone. We are always special to someone.
“If you wake up alonе in the mornin’
Clouds lay heavy on your head
And the rain starts to fall without warning’
Don’t you know, I’ll always be right there”
The track comes ahead of Anna’s EP, Believe, which is out October 23rd on 300 Entertainment. On the inspiration behind Believe, Anna explains “this EP and the songs are very personal and inspired by the time we’re in right now. Every song was chosen cause they mean a lot to me, and have done for a very long time.
Edwin Organ – “Self Alarm” (West Side, Scotland)
RIYL: Jonathan Bree, Boniface, Metronomy
With autumn here and the outlook looking pretty gloomy, we would completely understand if you’re in the doldrums. So how can you put an extra pep in your step and find a little joy? The answer for us is obvious – a great little tune that will get you bouncing down the street while reflecting on more frivolous things, such as that feeling you get when see that one person who makes your heart flutter, your jaw drop, and your mouth unable to form any coherent words. We all have experienced this at least once, but the moment never sounded as joyful and fun as “Self Alarm”.
The newest single from Scottish artist Edwin Organ is sugary, electro-pop goodness. It bops with the catchy beats of Metronomy, yet it possesses a touch of mystery theater one would expect from a Jonathan Bree track. The result is a tune that will have you skipping down the road thinking about the first person who left you speechless. Thinking about a time when life was so simple and carefree and your biggest worry was yearning to know if she loved or loved me not. In today’s chaotic world, a little bit of innocent escapism goes a very long way.
Excuse us while we dig out the old yearbooks and reminisce.
While you stream this tune on Soundcloud, head over to Bandcamp to check out his other releases.
London Grammar – “Californian Soil” (London, England)
RIYL: London Grammar but if pressed Massive Attack meets Florence + The Machine
Back in August when London Grammar released “Baby It’s You”, we had an inkling that Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman, and Dominic “Dot” Major were working on something big. Yesterday, they in typical fashion quietly unveiled the news we hoped to hear: a new album is indeed on the way. We’ll have to wait until February 21, 2021 to hear Californian Soil in its entirety, but the trio have not left us hanging. They have offered a sampling in releasing the title track, and it’s a stunner that hints at a gorgeous and dramatic evolution.
Fans of the London three-piece have grown accustomed to their grand and cinematic dark-pop, where their music overwhelms our souls and take us to a whole different dimension. On “Californian Soil”, however, they leave us breathless in different ways. Strikes of a dissonant guitar and harrowing, trip-hop beats are interlaced with a swell of strings, and the combination yields an atmosphere that is stark, haunting, and dystopian in nature. Through this desolate landscape rises Reid’s vocals, which are more vulnerable and brittle than we’ve ever heard them. She is like a lonely survivor that is on an endless search for hope and vengeance.
I’m young, I’m old
And so you do what you told
I never had a willing hand
And so you pack up all your bags
But I’m kinda got you here
But I’m glad I’ve got you here
This is just one story to the album, which, according to Reid, is about “regaining possession” from the misogynists who attempted to keep her down. Pre-order or pre-save the LP here.
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