The Matinee ’20 November 23 playlist will ease you into a new week. We revisit some familiar voices and meet a few newcomers as well. Today we begin with a mellow warm-up from a longtime favorite.
Freyr – “You Want Love” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Nick Drake, Bon Iver, Alexi Murdoch, José González
“Songs have always been a vehicle,” sings Swedish dream-folk artist Freyr on his newest single, “You Want Love.” This sweeping ballad offers listeners an oasis of calm. Amid layers of warm vocals and soothing acoustic guitar, Freyr creates a place of lush tranquility that channels Alexi Murdoch, Bon Iver, and José González.
Freyr consistently delivers the kind of soul-soothing music that transcends the strict confines of the “folk” genre label. His pieces are infused with tender, atmospheric nuances that produce a meditative air. This comes from his lifelong study of multiple instruments, from flute and piano to guitar, bass, and drums. “You Want Love” follows the single “Avalon” and his earlier 2020 EP, I’m Sorry, which rank high on our list of favorites from this year.
As winter approaches and you search for music to cozy up with, look no further than Freyr to warm your heart and soul. His songs are indeed a vehicle to a place of bliss where the journey is as lovely as the destination.
Yves Jarvis – “Emblem” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Gregory Alan Isakov, Damien Jurado, Fleet Foxes
As the holiday season nears, we begin considering contenders for our “Best of 2020” music lists. While the rest of the year has been a global nightmare, its one saving grace has been the steady arrival of incredible music. One release that may have flown under your radar is from Canadian artist Jean-Sébastien Audet – a.k.a. Yves Jarvis. His fourth LP, Sundry Rock Song Stock, is a real gem that features melodies so lush you will wish you could swim around inside them. The album arrived in September, but Jarvis recently shared a video for the dazzling track “Emblem.”
“Emblem” may be a brief song, clocking in at under two minutes. But what it lacks in length it more than makes up for with gently psychedelic tones that take your breath away. From beneath muted, seemingly underwater layers emerges kaleidoscopic verses and shimmering choruses. It takes mere seconds for Jarvis to put your mind at ease. The words he utters become a mantra of relaxation; the notes he plays become a conduit to peace. There are a million things to love about this song, and it may take you as many listens to identify them all. But one thing is certain: this magical tune has arrived at precisely the right moment in this year. Keep it on repeat for maximum therapeutic benefit.
Steady Holiday – “Tangerine” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Julia Holter, Phoebe Bridgers, Katie Von Schleicher
As Steady Holiday, Dre Babinski has become one of the most interesting storytellers in music. Her ability to create vivid imagery from her lyrics, telling surreal and nostalgic tales is unrivaled. In February, Babinski will be releasing her third record, Take The Corners Gently, one that tackles the impact illness has had on her family.
“Tangerine” is the most recent single from the upcoming record. It is as creative as we’d expect from Steady Holiday.. Babinski shared that “Tangerine” is about “witnessing someone’s behavior change without warning”. Musically, the track is driven by hammering piano chords and frenetic drumming, it adds to the heaviness of the lyrical content. “Tangerine” is accompanied by a short film that can be watched by saving the song on Spotify or Apple Music here.
“Tangerine is this the ending
Forever now or maybe
The conversation empty”
Steady Holiday’s new album, Take the Corners Gently, is scheduled to be released February 5, 2021. You purchase “Tangerine” now on Bandcamp.
Thrillhouse – “The Tin Man” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Rick Springfield, Bad English, Corey Hart
Brighton-based Thrillhouse have been intriguing us since appearing in December of last year. The funky, ’80s inspired trio have just continued to release one solid single after another. “The Tin Man” is now their seventh single and it takes a bit of a departure from what they have released so far. It seems to prove the band continues to experiment and evolve, though with each new release. The guitar riffs are supremely ’80s and the addition of a children’s chorus and saxophone really mix it up a bit. The band is mixing up their own special flavor, there really currently are no band comparisons regarding ‘who they sound like’.
There also still isn’t an official band photo of these guys, either but they’ve continued to make music during this craziness of 2020. Maybe the Tin Man is about just this messed up year and how we just can’t get away from it. It’s a possibility perhaps.
Here’s to hoping they continue to release infectious and addicting dance ready beats. After spinning this track a couple of times you just cannot help but want to move. This is the perfect track to spin while getting ready for the weekend, and even getting some exercise in. “The Tin Man” is out now on all digital platforms.
Lael Neale – “For No One For Now” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Sylvan Esso, Sharon Van Etten, Anaïs Mitchell
Lael Neale grabs your attention immediately with her newest release. The intro on “For No One For Now” features stuttering percussion and a majestic Omnichord that prompts you to sit up and pay attention to this new Sub Pop signee. Your intent focus is rewarded with a slice of DIY indie perfection that evokes Sylvan Esso and Sharon Van Etten.
Neale is usually Los Angeles-based but has been back home in rural Virginia during the pandemic. Like many artists, she has used this time of isolation to find inspiration in the natural world around her. The vitality that shines in every note here is a testament to the purity of her talents. Her vocals float with the gentleness of leaves dancing in the autumn breeze while her poetic lyrics dazzle your imagination. Prepare to have your heart flutter as she sings of being “on the freeway, making plans for no one for now”. Inject those delicious, carefree vibes straight into our veins, please.
Five years have passed since Neale released her debut album, I’ll Be Your Man, from which her “Born in the Summer” single came and left us instantly smitten. Hopefully the coming year will see the release of its highly anticipated follow-up.
Dry Cleaning – “Scratchcard Lanyard” (London, England)
RIYL: The B-52s, Shopping, OMNI
As Lao Tzu once said, “Simplicity is sophistication.” This three-word sentence should be hung in every music studio across the world because some of the best music still remains songs that are restrained in their approach yet still emotionally and physically move you with outstanding musicianship and songwriting. It seems, well, simple, but many artists and bands often think more is more. For Dry Cleaning, less is more, as the London-based quartet have established a sizeable following across the pond with their unfussy, unpretentious, and direct indie rock and post-punk. They’ve now signed with 4AD, which means their popularity should exponentially grow across the globe and it begins with “Scratchcard Lanyard”.
For those who love their lo-fi, bass-driven post-punk (think OMNI) will find themselves doing the Robot, jerking every body part in different directions in time with the plucky, throbbing rhythms. For those with more rhythm, you might yourself bouncing to the dissonant guitar and the steely melody. Everyone, though, will be drawn into front-woman Florence Shaw’s spoken-word approach. The university lecturer and researcher does not beat around the bush in describing how we, as humans, are empty. Everyday, we seek to fulfill our mundnane lives with hobbies, vacations, and adventures. We “do everything and feel nothing”. This is repeated every time the sun rises. The song is littered with great vignettes, referencing how a bouncy ball in Tokyo, Oslo, and Rio de Janeiro is still a bouncy ball just in a different place
Dry Cleaning are: Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass), and Florence Shaw (vocals). The single is available for purchase on Bandcamp. Go get it! This band is about to explode.
Bayuk & Andreas Vey – “Arms Of Who” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: San Fermin, Rhye, Allen Tate
We are admittedly not the most sentimental types, as we seldomly share songs about the instant connection between two people – or love songs. The ones that we do end up writing about have two things in common – they rise above the pack with a melody that leaves you breathless and a story that could have been the start of a screenplay or a novel. These songs, in other words, steal our imaginations, and the songwriters make us believe they are singing about us. This is exactly what under-the-radar German artists, Bayuk and Andreas Vey have done with “Arms Of Who”.
If you’re in your vehicle, at work, in the kitchen prepping a meal, whatever it is you may be doing, just stop for a moment. Pull over to the side of the road, turn off your computer screen, set aside the knife, and just listen to this gorgeous piece of cinematic indie. The song starts off innocently enough, with the gentle voice of Magnus Hesse, who is Bayuk. Vey’s stirring voice then arrives, and the two together make pure magic, as they tell a tale of two people going to great lengths to heal and love again. This is a story so pertinent today that so many of us crave to reconnect with those we love, yet we cannot. Although we may feel trapped at the moment, Hesse and Vey offer a moment of escapism with its swelling climax. It is one of the great moments of the year, leaving you not just breathless but speechless.
HANYA – “Monochrome” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Beach House, Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes, Cults
It’s Monday and for some hopefully a very short week with a Holiday upcoming stateside. Brighton-based HANYA have recently delivered another jangly, dream-pop gem. “Monochrome” is hazy yet full of life with a feel good acoustic backdrop that allows Heather Sheret’s captivating vocals to float right along.
This is the perfect track to spin for this upcoming holiday as the single provides all the warm feels inside, just like warm apple pie. The quartet have been serving us up shoegaze perfection and will hopefully continue to garner attention with each new release. The band shares a bit about their newest track: “It’s a song about re-connection with what makes you happy, taking pleasure from the little things”.
HANYA is Heather Sheret (guitar, vocal), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Jorge Bela Jimenez (bass), Jack Watkins (drums). “Monochrome” is out now via all digital platforms.
LANNDS – “not in a good way” (Jacksonville, USA)
RIYL: London Grammar, Oh Wonder, GEMS
Back in August when we were introduced to Rania Woodard and Brian Squillace’s project LANNDS, they tantalized us with “O.O.W.” The song was reminiscent to Sylvan Esso’s early days, but as we did more into their discography we’re reminded of another under-the-radar electro-dream-pop band, GEMS. Their ability to create melodies that sweep over you like a refreshing breeze on a hot day and write stories that hit close to home makes them a duo that could one day hit it big. Very big. Someone just needs to take a chance on them, whether it is a label or a band like Phantogram inviting them on a nationwide tour. This day should come if they continue to release songs like “not in a good way”.
With its stirring and delicately-dramatic electro-pop approach, “not in a good way” is made for a still night, where we sit alone near the fireplace or in our car driving to nowhere. It is made for us to contemplate what was and what could have been while being thankful that things did come to an end when they did. As Squillace’s chilling yet dark production sets the mood, Woodard painstakingly shares the moment she and another went their separate ways:
“Oh how you’re different
I know it’s difficult
But you want the freedom
The road between us isn’t rather bleak
This is how it’s always gonna be
Push away, it’s what we both know best
I hear the weather is always nice out west”
LANNDS’ new EP, Lotus, is out now. Purchasing and streaming links are available here. Get to know this band.
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