The Matinee ’20 November 20 offers nine tracks for your weekend listening. Featuring newcomers, an indie supergroup and a new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, this playlist is a sonic feast.
The Weather Station – “Tried to Tell You” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Feist, Sharon Van Etten, Broken Social Scene
Back in October, Tamara Hope (also known as Tamara Lindeman) teased fans with “Robber”, stating at the time it was a one-off single for her project The Weather Station. Maybe since the song was released so close to Halloween, she wanted to play a trick on us. Now with the Yuletide season fast approaching, she’s opted to give us a treat – or maybe it’s a present. The gift she offers is the announcement that her fifth album, Ignorance, will be fully unveiled on February 5th, 2021 on Fat Possum Records and Next Door Records. It’s time to uncork the champagne and celebrate! While the bubbly is being poured, sway to “Tried to Tell You”.
The song personifies everything that The Weather Station’s legion of fans, including us, adore about the Toronto native. With a graceful assurance, Lindeman has crafted a riveting and blissful anthem without blowing out the speakers or unnecessary bells and whistles. She instead allows each and every element to shine while working in harmony, such as the steady rhythms providing the cool groove to the shimmering qualities of the synths and strings. It’s the ideal song to dance to while the shines glimmer in the cloudless autumn sky. This sense of dazzlement and even bewilderment is expressed in Lindeman’s lyrics, as she observes someone dear succumb to an illness.
“I cannot sell you on your own need
But some days there might be nothing you encounter
To stand behind the fragile idea that
I’ll feel as useless as a tree in a city park
Standing as a symbol of what we have blown apart”
Pre-orders of Ignorance are available on Bandcamp. We cannot wait for its arrival.
Speed Stick– “Knots” (feat. Kelley Deal) (Carrboro, NC, USA)
RIYL: The Breeders, Polvo, Superchunk, R. Ring
Remember making mix tapes back in the day? (If you’re under 30, just nod as if you do.) There was an art to this beloved ritual for Gen-X and elder Millennials. The trick to creating the perfect mix tape was combining artists of similar sub-genres to ensure a harmonious flow. In the early ‘90s you might record a Breeders tune between Pixies and Superchunk. But that was the old-school way. Here in the modern era the artists have done the work for you by forming supergroups. One new collaboration has us particularly thrilled since it includes many of our mix tape regulars. Say hello to Speed Stick, a powerhouse of a group featuring musicians from the Carrboro, North Carolina music scene. While that hip southern town may not be familiar to you, the names of the musicians should be. Their new single “Knots” features Kelley Deal (The Breeders) and is one of many star-studded tracks on the forthcoming debut album, Volume One.
Get ready to channel your inner teenager, because “Knots” revs up the angst in a big way. The opening percussion takes you back to those first solo drives after you had gotten your license. You felt powerful in the driver’s seat. You could feel the vibration of the music on the steering wheel, and the road belonged to you. Those feelings may be a distant memory now, but this tune will rekindle those thrills anew. The punch of the guitar power chords and hearing Kelley Deal’s warm vocals are sure to revive that sense of excitement. Grab your car keys and crank this on your next joyride.
Speed Stick is comprised of Ash Bowie (Polvo), Charles Chase (The Paul Swest), Laura King (Bat Fangs, Flesh Wounds), and Thomas Simpson (The Love Language). Other guests on the album include Mac McCaughan (Superchunk), Mike Montgomery (R. Ring), Stuart McLamb (The Love Language) and more.
Shame – “Water in the Well” (London, England)
RIYL: IDLES, Talking Heads, OMNI
In 2018, London post-punk outfit Shame made a statement with their debut album Songs of Praise. In our opinions, it ignited the current wave of great post-punk, opening the gates for bands like Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital to get more publicity. As 2020 has been the year of post-punk, it’s only fitting that Eddie Green, Charlie Forbes, Josh Finerty, Sean Coyle-Smith, and Charlie Steen sustain the genre’s momentum in 2021. Early in the new year, specifically January 15th, the quintet’s sophomore album, Drunk Tank Pink, will be released on Dead Oceans.
In September, the band foreshadowed a new album was coming when they released the brilliant “Alphabet”. It sounded like a return to basics, but boy were we wrong. Their newest single showcases a band expanding its post-punk flair while retaining the intensity and lyrical poignancy that has made them one of the UK’s most important bands of the past half-decade.
“Water in the Well” is sheer genius. It’s is a cross-breed of bounce-off-the-walls, manic post-punk and off-kilter, witty new wave. It’s like David Byrne fronting a super-band comprised of members of Protomartyr, IDLES, and Preoccupations. For just over three minutes, the song goes in multiple directions. It is furious at times, but then it turns into a jerky, quirky dance tune. Even Steen’s lyrics are somewhat surreal, yet they are immensely relevant as he discusses the chaotic state of the world.
“Look and I see it
The new enemy
I make it heat
I take it, I take it
Stiff in the wind
They’re just a preacher
Ugh, they’re just a saviour
Look and you’ll see it
Cause I never could“
Pre-orders and pre-saves for Drunk Tank Pink can be found here.
Martin Gore – “Mandrill” (Santa Barbara, USA via Essex, England)
RIYL: Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails
Multi-instumentalist Martin Gore has showcased his talents in Depeche Mode for decades, playing guitar, bass, and synths with equal dexterity. The band – who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month – benefitted from Gore’s musical and vocal skills. But what many fans may not know is that Gore has a successful solo career and will soon release The Third Chimpanzee EP, his first new music since 2015. The lead single “Mandrill” is a dazzling experience even without Gore’s recognizable vocals.
From the start, darker tones convey an industrial vibe. This tune would work nicely in a film score for a psychological thriller. The primal energy conveys an urgency that builds for the first two minutes. Then Gore introduces a brief flash of electronic elements for heightened effect. Your pulse quickens, triggered by fight-or-flight instincts. Perhaps this is the pivotal moment where the film’s protagonist must flee from imminent danger. The steady continuation of those driving rhythms further fuels your imagination. Does the hunter become the hunted? What prompted the mandrill’s rage? Or is this story only a dream that exists in the darkest corners of your mind? Those answers may be revealed on the other four tracks of The Third Chimpanzee EP. We are excitedly intrigued.
Waves of Dread – “Stars (beach cut)” (Newcastle upon Tyne, England)
RIYL: Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain
The arrival of cooler winter temps brings mixed feelings. Even the most ardent fans of snowy weather will admit to missing a warm, sunny beach once the seasonal doldrums set in. This lush tune from English shoegaze outfit Waves of Dread provides the balance you need to endure the cold. Their latest offering brings plenty of seaside warmth for your mental escape needs.
“Stars (beach cut)” is an extended remix of the original found on their II EP which released in July. While initial stripped-down version has a hushed intimacy, the beach cut is a far bolder experience. Here the melody shines with the addition of richly layered guitar, synths and percussion. Those hazy textures give the song an instantly hypnotic air, so be prepared to fall into a languid stupor as you listen. You will want to keep this one on repeat for a few hours to fully absorb its grandeur. Close your eyes and let the sonic waves wash over you. It is the next best thing to feeling warm coastal breezes on your face and sand in your toes.
La femme – “Cool Colorado” (Paris, France)
RIYL: Portugal. The Man, The Pirouettes, laid-back Tame Impala
Back in September, French retro-indie favorites La femme had us out of our seats with the nu-disco anthem, “Paradigme”. The track recalled a time when a young generation revolted against conservative values in exchange for true liberation. The night clubs were often where people gathered and collectively expressed their freedom. But before night fell, people still had to go about their days, working their 9-to-5 jobs and daydreaming about other realities. The trio of Sacha Got, Marlon Magnée, and Sam Lefèvre offer one such alternative with their latest single, “Cool Colorado”.
If “Paradigme” encouraged us to put on our platform shoes and sequined shirts, “Cool Colorado” makes us want to deck out in tie-dye shirts, blue jeans, and every hippie fashion imaginable. This ultra-cool, psychedelic-pop tune is the sound of summertime bliss, independence, and salvation. The groove is head-nodding infectious while the trippy swirls are intoxicating. Got’s smoky voice sounds like it was transported from the past as he sings about when America was the place where dreams came true. Out in the Wild Wild West, you could be anything and everything, whether a cowboy tending to his herd or seeking to be a movie star. It is also a song that represents how America was once the land of the progressive, as Colorado led the way in decriminalizing marijuana use, which the band reference in the line:
“Et je fume dans les rues sans le stress” (translates to “And I smoke in the streets without stress”).
Maybe one day the USA will once again lead the way.
The single is out on the trio’s own Disque Pointu label. Their new album is expected in 2021.
Topographies – “False Desire” (San Francisco / Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Choir Boy, Soft Kill, Cold Cave
Few bands make Gothic post-punk darkgaze as foreboding yet exhilarating as Topographies. For the past two years, the trio of Gray Tolhurst, Jeremie Ruest, and Justin Oronos gradually made their mark within the Bay-area music scene and the broader indie landscape through the release of a couple of EPs and split singles. In two weeks, their debut album, Ideal Form, will be unveiled for the entire world to drown into their unsettling yet mesmerizing world. The band has already shared two songs – “Rose of Sharon” and “See You As You Fall” – from the LP and to further raise expectations on what to come they’ve shared one more tune.
Similar to the first singles, “False Desire” is devouring. More like it will devour you with its penetrating, harrowing tones; the striking, crystalline, shoegaze guitar; and Tolhurst’s trademark, ghostly vocals. The song is like stepping inside a forbidden realm for the first time, where doubt immediately overwhelms you. But instead of turning around and escaping, you continue onwards because something inside is calling you. Something magnetic draws you further and further in, and your curiosity overrules your fear. Even Tolhurst’s words resemble this uneasy feeling:
“Alone I feel the boundaries of my lust
Broken buildings lovers filled with rust
I want it now
To feel the kick inside
Lay your hands upon me sister
Only darkness I can trust”
For those who stick around for the song’s near four-minute duration, you’ll be rewarded with an experience that you will want to re-live again. That you will want to step inside over and over and over.
Pre-orders for Ideal Form are available on Bandcamp.
The Churchhill Garden – “Reality” (Lucerne, Switzerland)
RIYL: LUSH, Pinkshinyultrablast, Echobelly
If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that creativity is not deterred by physical distance. In fact, this season of global separation has prompted an increase in collaboration from afar. Take the dreampop/shoegaze duo The Churchhill Garden for example: not even an ocean between them can dampen their creative magic. This international project comprised of Andy Jossi in Switzerland and Krissy Vanderwoude in the USA has delivered a truly stunning release with their new “reality” single.
Fans of more uptempo shoegaze have much to delight in here. This seamless fusion of bright vocals and richly textured instrumentation takes listeners into a dreamworld. The churning guitars provide a dense foundation that leads this pure adrenaline rush. Even the lyrical imagery dazzles as frontwoman Krissy Vanderwoude’s ethereal vocals soar over these lines:
“If only we could live in dreams
I’d keep you right here with me
And we’d never have to wake up…
Never let this dreaming end”
Finally, something positive arrives in 2020 to counterbalance the stress. We look forward to hearing more from The Churchhill Garden as soon as possible.
This song is available for digital purchase at Bandcamp, along with the band’s earlier releases that all belong in your music library.
Circe – “Dancer” (London, England)
RIYL: Björk, Portishead, Kate Bush
We started the mini-playlist celebrating another new album from one of Canada’s great indie artists and her endless brilliance. To finish, we shine the spotlight on a young woman whose potential is limitless and who, like Tamara Hope, knows how to crush one’s soul with a tale that seems to real to be true. Her name is simply Circe, named after the Greek enchantress. When you hear her sing for the first time, she will leave you enchanted. She will leave you in a state of awe upon hearing “Dancer”.
The song is what we imagine a collaboration between Björk and Portishead would sound like. It is dark-pop taken to cinematic and spine-tingling levels, yet at the same time leaves you paralyzed and in complete awe. As the deep bass pulses and the synths throbs, Circe’s fairy-like vocals slowly rises and delivers a tale of vulnerability, sacrifice, and loss innocence. Specifically, she references one young girl freely giving herself to Father Yod and The Source Family cult, who established a commune in Hollywood Hills. Her words, though, could apply to many other situations.
“Remember when how you felt the first time you saw me
The blood ran from your mouth
The skin between our bodies gets thinner every time you touch me
And like your weight upon me
And you never really said morning
Even though I was your last disciple
And you never felt the same way
I was never inside you”
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