It is Friday the 13th, but the entire year has been full of bad luck so today is just another day. Actually, it’s not. It’s the start of the weekend! The songs featured on The Matinee ’20 November 13 edition include extraordinary dazzlers (including Song of the Year contenders), a super collaboration, great band names, and the return of a beloved indie band. Obviously we begin with the latter.
Teenage Fanclub – “Home” (Bellshill, Scotland)
RIYL: Teenage Fanclub, Mercury Rev, Spiritualized
Three little words can elicit squeals of delight when said to certain people. For many music fans, the faintest utter of “new Teenage Fanclub” may produce shrieks of delight. If you noticed a global rumbling yesterday, that’s because the beloved indie band shared a new video and details about their forthcoming tenth studio album. “Home” is the lead single from Endless Arcade which arrives next spring. What a delight it is to be serenaded by this calming number.
The video for “Home” is testament to the resilience of artists during this difficult year. As the band perform it – in a socially-distanced setting inside Edinburgh’s Leith Theatre – they capture the feelings we share these days. The current pandemic keeps taking an emotional toll on those separated from their families and friends. The lines “I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be home again / I just don’t know when I’ll open that door again” ring especially true with the holidays approaching. The song’s mellow vibes soothe listeners with the warm vocals and rich instrumentation the band have been delivering for three decades.
While this album is the first since the departure of co-founding member and bassist Gerard Love, “Home” is solid proof that Teenage Fanclub remain one of Scotland’s finest bands. Endless Arcade is due March 5th, 2021 on Pema and Merge Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.
Teenage Fanclub are: Norman Blake (vocals, guitar), Raymond McGinley (vocals, lead guitar), Francis MacDonald (drums, vocals), Dave McGowan (bass, vocals) and Euros Childs (keyboards, vocals).
Lime – “Fever” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Dream Wife, The Orielles, Men I Trust
It’s Friday night, so let’s head to the club! OK, maybe that’s not a good idea now, but that doesn’t mean you have to be inactive or bored. Instead, push the furniture aside, dim the lights, and illuminate your mobiles to create your own makeshift dance floor. The next step is pick some tunes that will get you, your mates, and family (yes, including parents, siblings, children, and grandparents) replicating the energy of Studio 54. This means you’ll need at least one song that cuts across multiple eras and generations yet still feels fresh and new.
“Fever” from fast-rising Brighton outfit Lime is the answer to this inter-generational riddle. The song is a groovy nu-disco tune that will get the old folks thinking they’re 21 again while taking the younger folks back to the liberating glory days of the ’70s. It is a reminder that we can still have fun in these times. It is also a reminder that even an increasingly complicated world we can still be true to ourselves. We don’t have to chase after every shiny object or try to appeal to everyone. As frontwoman Chloe Howard sings:
“Why should I be up when the rest of us are down?
Why should I do my makeup when it’s all inside my head?
Mirror, mirror on the wall, I’m the fairest of them all
No clear-view mirror on the ground, you don’t catch me lost or found
The track is available on Bandcamp. Lime are: Chloe Howard (vocals/guitar), Leila Deeley (guitar), Tippi Morgan (bass), and Annabel Whittle (drums).
The Avalanches – “Interstellar Love” (feat. Leon Bridges) (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Boards of Canada, Caribou, DJ Shadow
“The sun in your eyes made all of the lies worth believing” is one of the more memorable lines from the 1982 hit from Alan Parsons Project. Its return in the modern era is unexpected but not surprising since The Avalanches are the ones using it in their new single. What is surprising is who the Australian group have teamed up with on “Interstellar Love”: American soul crooner Leon Bridges. He is one of many talents featured on the group’s upcoming album, We Will Always Love You.
Be prepared to have the repetitive sample stuck in your head for the rest of the year. As fans of The Avalanches know, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi are mad geniuses when it comes to creating sweet sonic earworms. The catchiness of “Interstellar Love” cannot be understated. With its smooth synth hooks and danceable tempo, this track becomes an immersive experience on the first play. Its polished layers wash over you and then swallow you whole, leaving you with only one option: surrender to the flow and just groove along.
We Will Always Love You arrives December 11th on Universal Music Australia. The album also features appearances from Neneh Cherry, Tricky, Rivers Cuomo, Blood Orange, Jamie xx, and more. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.
KALI – “Back to the Start” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Benee, Mallrat, Rhye
Once upon a time, a five-year old Michael Jackson turned heads as he co-fronted the family band Jackson 5. Fast-forward to 2015 when a 13-year old grabbed tastemakers’ attention with her assertive and refreshing approach to electro-pop. The star who went on to win a number of Grammys in 2020 is, of course, Billie Eilish. So who’s the next musical prodigy? That just might be 16-year old Kali Flanagan, or simply KALI.
Signed to Nettwerk Music Group, the LA native is traversing the pop streams, but not the typical sub-genres one hears on the radio. Instead for her debut single, “Back to the Start”, she goes back a couple of decades before she was born for inspiration. The result is a song that will resonate with people of all ages. It is sultry and dreamy like the hazy psych-pop that filled the airwaves in the San Fernando Valley back in the ’70s. At the same time, the song possesses a touch of romantic cinema, as the strings in the latter half elevate the track to a stirring intimacy that reminiscent of Rhye. Flanagan’s lyrics, too, are intro- and retrospective, as she tries to move on from a person who has dragged her down.
I don’t know how to feel
Trying hard just to heal
It hurts too bad
to live in the past
But you keep pulling me
Back to the start”
A star is born.
For those wanting to feel alive today, check out the song’s video.
Bored At My Grandmas House – “Showers” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Soccer Mommy, Sasami
The music world is littered with great monikers and band names, and the last few years have seen a few emerge (one of them ends today’s The Matinee). Nineteen-year old Amber Strawbridge might just take the title for best alias with her project Bored At My Grandmas House.
Strawbridge’s moniker literally reflects a time she spent at her nana’s, and it is even more applicable today since countries across the globe enforce new lockdown measures. Despite the images and feelings her stage name may elicit, the Cumbria-born teenager is using her music to shine light into people’s lives. No, she’s not a perky pop star. Rather, Strawbridge is the reincarnation of Slowdive and The Jesus and Mary Chain – she’s a contemporary dreamgaze giant about to emerge and it continues with “Showers”.
Like the aforementioned legends who were staring at their pedals before Strawbridge was conceived, the young English artist has crafted a chest-swelling, scintillating number. As her guitar crystalizes the air and the rhythms urgently pulse in the background, Strawbridge’s lush voice occupies the radiance between them and adds an extra bit of dreaminess. Her words, though, are more akin to the emotionally buoyant songwriting of Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, and Lucy Dacus, where she attempts to find positivity through the darkness. In this case, she finds a daily routine to be a moment of rejuvenation. “Do you ever think that a shower is like a new beginning? / They refresh your body and take you away”, she calmly states to no one yet every one. In these days of growing solitude, every little thing that offers us a bit of hope should be embraced.
Silver Strands – “When The Lighthouse Fades” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Okkervil River, Shearwater, Great Lake Swimmers
We don’t have many regrets because life is too short to wallow about the past. We do, however, think mistakes offer many lessons to learn from them. So what does this have to do with Silver Strands and its mastermind, Nathan Beale? A month ago, he released his debut single, “4th of July”, which we opted not to share. This was a missed opportunity to introduce people to a gifted singer-songwriter who puts his heart and soul into his music and songwriting. It was clear then that Silver Strands is an outlet for Beale to share his stories and bring people into this world, and this is further clarified on “When The Lighthouse Fades”.
Beale’s newest single is exquisite. It truly is a masterpiece of emotional art that pulls at every heart string and leaves you holding on to your breath as the song gently swells into one of its many stunning moments. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter achieves this through a minimalist arrangement. Other than the occasional bellow of a trumpet and soft backing vocals, there aren’t any extra bells nor whistles. Only Beale’s intimate yet engrossing vocals and the usual instruments are featured, and yet he’s crafted a song that leaves us amazed and his words crush our souls even more with every listen.
“Have we gone too far?
Is it too late?
When did the light burn down?
Were we even great?
This is the late goodbye
Our final page
In anger we pay no mind to the warning signs
When the lighthouse fades
No one is safe”
Margot – “Falling In Between Days” (London, England)
RIYL: DIIV, Yuck, Wild Nothing
Remember life before lockdown? Before the pandemic disrupted everyone’s lives and sense of normalcy? These feelings are at the heart of the latest from London indie outfit Margot. Their exploration of the strange new normal on “Falling In Between Days” is one of the brightest moments of 2020.
For starters, every element of the tune shimmers with subtle rays of hope. The hazy New Order-esque synths and breezy, warm vocals evoke a cloudy beach day after a storm. The opening verse reveals the unwanted move home of someone whose consequences changed due to loss. Each chord conveys the anxious dejection that often accompanies upheaval. Yet as the song progresses you detect a shift in tone: those grey clouds give way to rays of sunshine that slowly break through. The rousing chorus sends ripples of electricity down your spine and prompts a deep inhale. Close your eyes and dream of “my ideal life” they sing about. Repeated spins will only strengthen your resolve to survive these trying times.
Margot are comprised of Alex Hannaway (vocals), Rob Fenner (guitar, keys), Albi Cleghorn (guitar), Michael Webb (bass), and Ben Andrewes (drums).
CLAVVS – “Heyi” (Brooklyn via Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: GEMS, Meadowlark, Dahila Sleeps
It’s Friday and it’s time to let loose a bit. Electronic duo CLAVVS (Amber Renee and Graham Marsh) have just the track to help us unwind. “Heyi” is feel good and dance ready. It’s also super catchy with an unforgettable chorus showcasing Amber Renee’s lush vocals. The beat is laid back yet trippy and their video showcases the duo dancing near sunset on a rooftop.
“Heyi” is a refreshing upbeat offering from the duo who have previously mastered brooding pop. Amber and Graham speak a bit about their outlook on making new music: “The question became, how do we make CLAVVS songs that we can dance and smile to?” they also note “We aren’t taking ourselves very seriously anymore”, “We just want to have fund with our band”
The duo are releasing new tracks on their own label, Turn To Wind.
Pick up the song on Bandcamp.
Rosehip Teahouse – “Summer Sleep” (Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: No Vacation, Why Bonnie, Ian Sweet
Back in October, Cardiff’s Rosehip Teahouse swept us off our feet with “A Million Times”. This was the perfect introduction to a band that captures the warm angst of the ’90s, as heard in bands like The Cranberries and The Cardigans. If Faye Rogers (vocals/guitar), Will Dickins (drums), Tony Williams (guitar), Josh Dickins (bass), and Teddy Hunter (keys) were alive at that time and making music, they likely would have been stars. The quartet’s career, though, is just getting started, and they could very well one day be performing on Later with Jools Holland. For now, they will occupy spots on BBC Introducing and on the pages of music curators, where eventually our little secret will be known to the world, especially if they continue to release songs like “Summer Sleep” (or in this case re-release a song they originally wrote in 2017).
Once you hit play you’ll understand why this song not only bookends today’s The Matinee but the entire week’s worth of music. It is a beautifully serene yet emotionally-charged dream-pop ballad that will leave mouths agape and bones jarred. Hunter’s delicate keys guide the track at first before Williams’ chiming guitar enters the fray, and a dreamy spell is cast. Rogers’ sweet but brittle vocals and aching lyrics, though, are the showstoppers. She tells the story of saying one final goodbye to someone who meant everything to her.
“I dreamt that we saw her together.
She lay in a hospital bed.
Your eyes were so full of love and upset.
I woke up to your face and it looked so soft and I wanted to cry.
You moan in your sleep, and I’ll always know it’s for her and not for me.”
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