To help those who feasted during Thanksgiving and to aid those about to or have completed an epic Black Friday shopping spree, The Matinee ’20 November 27 edition offers a lean seven songs. Six of them are of the energetic kind while one will serenade you with its simple charm and immaculate songwriting. Have a great weekend everyone.
Grace Gillespie – “Song For Nick Drake” (London, England)
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, June Carter
Today, one of the great songwriters is sharing her sophomore EP. Grace Gillespie‘s After the Harvest Moon rises, and it is an absolute gem. The record is filled with post-modern lullabies, including “Hoppers” and “The Child”. She, however, saves the best for last with a ballad dedicated to the great storytellers of modern history.
“Song For Nick Drake” is an incredibly beautiful number. Featuring just Gillespie and her acoustic guitar, she shares not just a song, not just a story, but a poem that should be read by all. Throughout her lovely piece of literature, she cites how many of the great writers and songwriters affected her. One, though, stands above the rest. We don’t do this often, but we have to share the lyrics to half the song:
“So I howl for Allen Ginsberg
And I cry for Kerouac and Plathe
And for Dickenson and Angelou finally set free
And for Nick I will stand before the sea
Only silence for your sweetest tragedy
So I tried to live in lyric, I suppose a life like you
Gathering up words and trying to make them stand up tall and true
But poetry’s not dead, I saw her shiver in the draught
Nick I’m sorry they did not listen, you know it nearly broke my heart”
Undoubtedly one of the year’s finest songs.
Street Hockey Champ – “Timid Dogs” (Nashville via Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Pinegrove, Futurebirds, Car Seat Headrest
For the Canadians in the group, a band called Street Hockey Champ is going to immediately catch our attention. We have to say, “What a great band name!” Of course, Connor Gilmore, the mastermind behind the group, is American, which is where the Stanley Cup has unfortunately resided for the last 27 years and counting. Hockey and great monikers aside, what’s going to grab our attention is a great song, and there is indeed a lot of substance behind the young man decked out in vintage 3D glasses.
Grab a nice cold one, kick back, and bask in the splendid indie-rock that is “Timid Dogs”. With a touch of country twang lacing through the breezy, East Coast vibes, the song feels like a joyride through the countryside at dusk, as you, your partner, and all your pals gather on the back of a pickup truck and feel freedom blow through your hair. It is an anthem of unforgotten innocence, of a time we fell in love for the first time and wish to re-live that moment. For Gilmore, he reminisces of the one that got away, as he recalls a moment of warmth beneath the nighttime cold and when it all came to an end. As he sings:
“Oh, I miss you like no other
Maybe I’ll see you when you’re older
Oh, I loved you like no other
Maybe I’ll see you when you’re older
If our hearts don’t grow colder”
Someone sign this young man! In the meantime, enjoy Street Hockey Champ’s self-titled EP, which is out now on Bandcamp.
Malady – “London, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down” (London, England)
RIYL: Bloc Party, Maximo Park, LCD Soundsystem
Once again, the fine folks at Nice Swan Records are introducing the world to another talented, young band from the UK. Despite their name, Malady isn’t a group that we want to avoid. Instead, people should quickly gravitate to them because the London-based quartet are rekindling the great era of late-’90s and early-00s indie Brit pop-rock, which saw Kasabian, The Editors, Bloc Party, and Maximo Park emerge. Nearly two decades later, we’re in the midst of another great musical wave, and now is the time to embrace Malady before they hit it big. When you hear, “London, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down”, you’ll completely understand why the label, other curators, and ourselves are bullish about their potential.
The single is a kaleidoscope of sound, as it is constantly shifting. From jangle pop-rock to brooding indie rock to even dashes of dream-pop and indietronica, the quartet have created their own brilliant piece of symphonic indie. Like a great composition, multiple emotions will flood over you – from calm and blissful to desperation and concern.
More importantly, the band will stimulate your mind and think about the city or town you call home. For Percy Junior Cobbinah (vocals/guitar), Charlie Clark (guitar/synth), Ertan Cimen (drums), and Khaleem Mitchell-Patterson (bass), they describe their love-hate relationship with London. Cobbinah touches on issues of gentrification and the demolition of small businesses in favor of building another high-rise and coffee shop, of the growing disparity between rich and poor, and the evaporation of the city’s soul. With bands like Malady, however, we might be able to recapture the past and bring it back to the present.
Possumwulf – “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Blight” (Little Rock, USA)
RIYL: Mogwai + Ennio Morricone + Gang of Four + My Morning Jacket
It’s instrumental time! Yes, we know it’s Friday, and when people see the word “instrumental” they think a languid, easy-listening tune. Oh, this tune is the pure opposite. Sure, there aren’t any lyrics, but “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Blight” from Arkansas outfit Possumwulf will get the juices flowing. It will also blow your mind for its ingenuity.
Part post-rock, part post-punk, part-Spaghetti Western, part-southern rock, and completely brilliant and invigorating, the song is epic. It is like Ennio Morricone producing Mogwai’s new album with My Morning Jacket providing additional backing instrumentation. The experience can only be described as one wild trip that spans multiple dimensions.
With the protruding and probing bass line, the song starts in the harrowing, dark confines of a solitary, abandoned home in the middle of nowhere. It quickly shifts to the deserted, 2AM streets of Los Angeles, as the tempo picks up and the cool aura of ghostly voices fill the air. A moment of calm arises, replicating the feeling of ascending towards the sky. This solitude, of course, is only momentary. As the shoegaze guitars wail and the rhythms ignite, the track takes on the feeling of a cataclysmic journey through the far reaches of space. Our end is arriving, but we don’t fear it. We welcome it. Not even Christopher Nolan could imagine such an adventure.
Possumwulf is actually a one-man band derived from J. Flatte’s mind. His new EP, Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Blight, is out now, and it’s available on Bandcamp.
Elizabeth Leslie – “Empire Falls” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Jehnny Beth, So Below, NIN
From hurtling through the cosmos, we come crashing back to Earth and land in the secretive underground of Munich. There we find an industrial-driven rave happening, where the patrons are losing all their inhibitions. They are hypnotically dancing to an original Gothic dark-pop cut from the producer in the DJ booth. The young person is Elizabeth Leslie. While the Montréal native fronted a synth-pop band early in past decade, she has now emerged out of the shadow of Chromeo, for whom she programmed 808s and schlepped vintage synths. But unlike the electro-funk of the popular duo, Leslie finds inspiration in the foreboding noise of Jehnny Beth and Nine Inch Nails, as shown on “Empire Falls”.
Although we are practising good social distancing norms this weekend, it is still possible to recreate a rave setting. In the blackness of the night, shine the flashlight from your phone to the ceiling and press play. Afterwards: Let. Your. Self. Go. Let your body naturally move to the pounding of the electric drums and the exploding synths. Let your mind succumb to Leslie’s haunting yet mesmerizing voice, who advises us to give in to one last urge because the apocalypse is coming for the Emperor who wears no clothes. A new era is about to begin.
“There’s no time to even speak
Read the letters, scroll until you blink
Watch the empire fall on TV
Talk to a stranger, a stranger you should meet
Wait until you feel, wait until you’re beat
Wait until next week
The Empire Falls, as we sleep”
And sure enough, the dawn of new age is about to emerge from the darkness.
Davis IL – “Queenie Pie” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Ezra Furman, Elton John, Perfume Genius, Trevor Sensor
There’s a bit of a theme in today’s The Matinee, which is ingenuity. Whether musically, lyrically, or both, all the songs exude creativity. This next tune might take the cake for its inventiveness. Just one look at the RIYL tells you that Davis IL must be a musical genius – or at the very least he’s a provocateur. He spent the last half of the 2010s with the band Growwler, but now he’s doing the solo thing. This has enabled him to push the envelope as far and with “Queenie Pie” he has concocted what can only be described as a brilliant mosaic.
Davis IL has done virtually the impossible. He has combined numerous genres into one catchy, coherent, and super-cool song. Everything from glam-rock, funk, ’70s disco-pop, ska, alt-pop, and even chamber pop are thrown into the proverbial blender, but it takes a master chef to perfectly balance the clashing elements. The tickling of the ivory keys catches your attention at first and has you moving. When the horns take over later on, we begin to groove like our parents did during the funky ’70s. The bridge, though, is an unexpected, rocking meltdown that leaves you astonished and unexpectedly exhilarated. The glam-rock-funk vibe then returns, and we’re back to strutting and dancing.
The best part, though, is Davis IL’s story. Through his booming and sassy vocal, he tells the story of famed dancer Carol Doda and her time in his hometown. As he explains, “The lyrics name-check locales of her North Beach residence and characters of the Barbary Coast culture she stood for. I wrote it after many years soaking up its nightlife, but more importantly in tribute to her passing.”
We think she’s probably dancing right now.
Eau Rouge – “I Know That You Know” (Berlin via Stuttgart, Germany)
RIYL: MGMT, Balthazar, Foster the People
We end the mini-playlist on a high note. Specifically, we end it with a song that is perfect for spinning throughout the day and will cause you to bop your head and maybe even dance. A song that is the perfect gateway to the weekend or overcoming the fatigue that has set in after hours of shopping. Folks, get to know this German trio because they very well could be the next big thing. Eau Rouge could be this decade’s MGMT, and this is definitely possibly if their future songs are infectious numbers akin to “I Know That You Know”.
Like MGMT, the band has crafted a song that is equally made for the dance floor as it is for spinning in your car as you embark on a journey to nowhere. It is a little funky, it’s extremely groovy, and it’s awfully addictive. The hooks are off the chart while the beats recall a time when big hair and Converse shoes were the trends. The song personifies cool and style. It also may provide those who recently had their hearts broken with motivation to move on. While the trio lament the end of a relationship, they also realize that the sun will rise again. And maybe, just maybe, the one who got away will once again be yours. In the meantime, make Eau Rouge a part of your regular rotation.
The band is comprised of Jonas Teryuco (vocals, guitar, keys,bass); Bo Zillmann (guitar, vocals, bass, keys) and Magnus Frey (drums, percussion). They are signed to French indie label Riptide Records.
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