The Matinee ’20 October 28 edition features ten songs from nine artists. They are all completely compelling and captivating, and it begins with an all-time favorite.
Still Corners – “Crying” (London, England)
RIYL: Mazzy Star, Widowspeak, Beach House
It seemed like only yesterday that Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes surprised everyone when they shared part three of their Road Trilogy, the desert beauty “Last Exit”. The song demonstrated the duo’s versatility, who easily sway between mesmerizing and cinematic synth-pop and blustery dream-pop. They are the monarchs of pure bliss, where like Midas everything they touch turns into gold. Their latest single is another precious addition to their growing vault.
“Crying” is magical. Hughes’ production is surgical, as he allows every single element to occupy a bit of space while complementing the others. The little whistle, for instance, provides the perfect, enchanting component to the hollow synths, the chiming guitar, and the stuttering rhythms. Murray’s light and saccharine vocals, meanwhile, sits on top of the engrossing melody. With a tinge of desperation and vulnerability, she reveals the pain that lingers in her heart after losing someone. It’s a pain that we all can feel and have even experienced, and we hope to never experience it again. Despite the hurt, Still Corners somehow still find beauty in the experience.
“I’ve been clapping my hands
So I could shut down
I’ve been counting to ten
While the world falls down
I’ve been crying
I’ve been trying
To forget you”
The duo’s fifth album, The Last Exit, arrives in stores on January 22, 2021. Wrecking Light Records will release it. We cannot wait for the calendar to turn.
Gold Connections – “Stick Figures” (Charlottesville, VA, USA)
RIYL: Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Mountain Goats
For those who have been following Gold Connections since their formation about half-a-decade ago already know they are ’90s indie-rock revivalists. They are like the resurrection of Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and the Mountain Goats, giving younger audiences clever yet relatable songs that once occupied every college-radio station in North America. Their previous single, “Stick Figures”, was a catchy romp through one’s younger, more innocent days. Their latest offering, though, is more present and every bit awesome.
First, let’s be clear that “Ammunition” isn’t about the Second Amendment. Instead, it is a metaphor for finding the motivation to move forward and find solutions without having to resort to violence. Through the filter of a classic, jangly indie-rock vibe that will get people dancing or bopping along to every rhythmic jolt and steely guitar, Marsh describes a long journey home to only have his heart broken and in the end he falls apart. He might want everything to end right there and then, but the young man, like his predecessors, realizes that it’s more important to take a downer moment and turn it into a memorable story and have some fun with it. After all, maybe someone will find the humor in their own unlucky situations.
Gold Connections are Will Marsh (vocals/guitar), Brett Jones (bass/guitar), Ryan Lipps (guitar/mellotron), Stephan Larue (drums), and Will Evans (percussion). Their new EP, Ammunition, is out November 16th via AWAL. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Coach Party – “Really OK on My Own” (Isle of Wight, England)
RIYL: a young Wolf Alice, The Big Moon, Pale Honey
The little Isle of Wight with its population of 140,000 inhabitants is probably one of the last spots one would expect to find England’s next great band. Brighton, London, Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle tend to be the most likely locations, yet we find ourselves impatiently and excitedly waiting for Coach Party to release new material. Jessica Eastwood, Guy Page, Joe Perry and Stephanie Norris are riding a massive wave of momentum this year after releasing singles “Bleach” and “Can’t Talk, Won’t” and an EP, Party Food. They’ve been featured on BBC Radio and covered across the globe. If it wasn’t for a pandemic, they would likely be prepping for a massive tour with spots lined up at SXSW, Reading, Leeds, and Glastonbury. The next best thing they can do is release music that make people take notice, such as “Really OK on My Own”.
Like Wolf Alice in their early days, Coach Party deliver an infectious banger that not only gets stuck in your head because of its swirling-rock melody but also Eastwood’s smart lyrics. While the song never truly erupts, it ebbs in multiple directions where the guitars go from clear and crisp to overdriven with fuzz to shallow and throbbing. The rhythms, likewise, twist in multiple directions, altering its pace like a person anxiously waiting for THE phone call. The approach provides the perfect palette to Eastwood’s story of the constant search to find comfort and confidence within one’s own skin. To understand that one can be at ease while still being vulnerable. In this environment, we are all getting more comfortable with all of our own idiosyncrasies, and Coach Party are helping us get there.
The single is out now Chess Club Records.
Jesse Mac Cormack – “Let It Go” & “Incomplete” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Volcano Choir, Atoms for Peace, The Postal Service
Early in his career, Jesse Mac Cormack developed a reputation as one of Canada’s rising singer-songwriters. He along with fellow Montrealers Leif Vollebekk and Patrick Watson were part of a wave of artists who were set to take over from the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Ron Sexsmith, but Mac Cormack has refused to be pigeon-holed. Since releasing his 2016 EP, After Glow, Mac Cormack has delved more into experimental music, forging his singer-songwriter and indie-folk beginnings with contemporary indietronica. The two sides brilliantly come together on his newest singles.
The first, “Let It Go”, is a bristling and mesmerizing electronic number that is reminiscent of Justin Vernon’s non-Bon Iver projects. The beats and synths bounce with the urgency of a woman about to experience freedom for the first time in two decades. Mac Cormack’s lyrics, too, articulate her newly-found liberation, but this prison is the coercive relationship she was in. Now, though, she has freed herself. On “Incomplete”, Mac Cormack slows things down and channels his inner Thom Yorke, offering a hypnotic yet mysterious number. Stark beats burst at first before a synth adds some light to the darkness. The contrast helps Mac Cormack paint the image of a man “whose eyes are vacant and left us incomplete”. This is a man seeking answers from the divine yet his questions go without a response.
Mac Cormack’s new album is expected in early 2021. In the meantime, the singles are out on Secret City Records.
EUT – “Party Time” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Metric, Black Honey, Fickle Friends
And always putting a smile on our faces are EUT, who in our humble opinions are the best indie band from the Netherlands. Megan de Klerk (vocals), Tessa Raadman (guitar), Emiel De Nennie (guitar), Sergio Escoda (bass/keys), and Jim Geurts (drums) have a knack for creating anthemic indie pop-rock with messages that could lift the spirits of even the most pessimistic person. Their charismatic music is infectious and has made them favorites not just in their home country but also across Europe and the UK. All that’s keeping them from global domination – or at least popularity in North America – is a tour. Those visions are obviously on hold for now, but in the age of the internet there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be embracing the band and their song, “Party Time.”
The single is everything that we love about the band. It is fun and vibrant, catchy yet purposeful, and a sugary ear-worm we could spin for days. More importantly, the track highlights the band’s brilliance, specifically how the true meaning of the song lies much deeper than its title. A single glance at “Party Time” and one listen to the energetic, jumpy guitar-pop approach would have you assuming this is a tune made for weekend binges. On the contrary, this is a self-empowerment anthem. Its message encourages people to be celebrate who they are as well as recognize the greatness that exists in each other.
“Be who I want to be
Be who I want to be
I like the idea of you
And I don’t mean your body
I like the idea of you
And I don’t see what I can’t be”
The single is out on V2 Records Benelux. Get to know this band!
Maybe Babs – “Simple Life” (Montréal, Canada)
RIYL: Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Julien Baker
In this era of great singer-songwriters, room can always be made to include a “new-ish” artist to our music libraries and, thus, into our hearts. In the case of Montréal-based singer-songwriter Babette Hayward and her project Maybe Babs, you might want to give your heart to her because she absolutely crushes it with the tender “Simple Life”.
Few songs leave us speechless, but “Simple Life” does. It’s the rare that speaks for itself, where words don’t cannot describe its immense beauty. The soft yet deft arrangement is gorgeous, as a steel guitar occasionally echoes through the extremely delicate rhythms, piano, and keys. What immediately grabs you is Hayward’s tender and angelic voice, which sways vulnerably like a solitary, whitely-adorned dandelion in the midst of a raging wind storm. With her voice clouded in memory, she recalls a past friend’s struggles and how her soul slowly disappeared from its physical existence.
“I was there when you were building all your shrines
In your childhood bedroom where we’d spend most of our time
A focus in your eyes I couldn’t comprehend
You were already gone even way back then”
Canada has its next great singer-songwriter. Hayward has the makings of a being a star like Joni Mitchell, Feist, and Sarah McLachlan before her.
Stillehavet – “Gaia” (Vestland, Norway)
RIYL: Austra, Young Galaxy, Aphex Twin
We often are asked for our opinions as to which countries outside the US and UK are producing the finest indie music. Norway is one of the first one we mention. Buzzing indie guitar-pop, boisterous indie rock, experimental cinematic indie, and lush, imaginative dream-folk, the country pretty much has it all. We have not, though, shared much Norwegian music within the electronic and indietronica genres. Today, this changes as Stillehavet welcome us into their world.
The project of Marit Elisabeth Svendsbøe Stedje and Gaute Stedje, the duo define “under-the-radar”. They released an album four years ago that largely went unnoticed. The lack of acknowledgement, however, didn’t deter them from pursuing their art. On the contrary, they’re motivated to prove everyone – especially “tastemakers” that have ignored their existence (we’re guilty) – that they are a band to watch closely. With a song like “Gaia”, people will be hard-pressed to ignore them for long.
“Gaia” is one of those songs where you just want to lay back, close your eyes, and get lost within its dreamy, interstellar beauty. The song bursts with the alluring charm of Austra and the cosmic radiance of London Grammar. It is simply intoxicating. For those keen for lyrical content, listen closely to Marit’s words. She either recounts the disappearance of a woman from one person’s mind or the history of the Greek goddess who gave life to all. Or maybe her tale is a bit of both, where she informs us that life as we know it is slowly decaying and may completely disintegrate. As Gaia grows weaker, so do we. For six minutes, you can contemplate the message and continuously spin the track until you decide.
The duo’s new album, Kama Muta, is out November 11th.
Told Slant – “Whirlpool” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Florist, Modest Mouse, Julien Baker
The captivating quality of Told Slant’s music isn’t the amount of bands Felix Walworth has played in, we’ve covered that tons of times. It is the beauty, honesty, and relatability in their songs. Each word sung by Walworth reverberates deep within the soul, thanks to their unique voice, and relatively sparse instrumentals. Where they lack in epic guitar solos (though their first album has more than a few moments where it absolutely rips, especially live) they utterly shine in authentic, heartfelt, and heartwrenching lyricism.
This week, Told Slant have shared their latest single, “Whirlpool”. It’s full of that distinctive Told Slant sound, but it’s also full of evidence that their sound has matured. Percussively finger-picked acoustic guitar provides the backbone, and is eventually joined by banjo, and harp, which Walworth has been learning recently. The lyrics cut just as deep as ever, with Walworth singing:
“I just want to know you
But that’s hard
Because I used to”
Told Slant’s upcoming record, Point The Flashlight and Walk, is due November 13 on Double Double Whammy.
Two Tribes – “Cruel Sensuality” (London, England)
RIYL: Grimes, Peaches, Portishead
Two Tribes are making an impact in the indie-electronica realm. Their new single, “Cruel Sensuality”, recalls ’90s pioneers like Portishead and Massive Attack . The track is heavy-hitting with dance-ready beats and Annalisa lembo’s mesmerizing vocals.
The entire feel of the track would be perfect if we were all going out to club (even though many are still currently closed around the world). So if you can’t get out in dance in public, it’s definitely time to get your body moving and add this to your workout playlist ASAP.
Beyond the hypnotic grooves and Iembo’s stirring voice, the song is one person’s attempt to free herself from the chains that have constrained her for too long. As lembo shares:
“The lyrics focus on detaching yourself emotionally from another person, making the transition from sensuous to desensitized, and trying to figure out what part of yourself needs to be severed in order to leave a bad situation behind. Identity is a common theme in our music, and writing ‘Cruel Sensuality’ was an opportunity to explore the self-reflection and reinvention that occurs when dismantling a relationship.”
Two Tribesare Patrick Smith (vocals, guitars), Annalisa Iembo (vocals, synths, and samples), and Kim Engelhardt (bass).
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