We kick off the new year with, as usual, The Matinee ’21 v. 001. The title has been changed, but the content remains the same. As such, expect more great songs in our mini-playlist, which we hope to share a bit more regularly this year. The first volume features a few established names plus a song from a band we expect will be huge this year.
Lost Horizons – “In Quiet Moments” feat. Ural Thomas (London, England)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins meets Gil Scott Heron
Breathe in deeply, then exhale. You did it: you made it through 2020 and can now face all that awaits you in 2021. What you need now is a song to help you make that transition from the old to the new – something mellow that feels like a warm hug as you ask “I wonder what this year is gonna bring?” “In Quiet Moments” from Lost Horizons is the ideal track to meet your need.
Lost Horizons is the duo of Cocteau Twins and Bella Union founder Simon Raymonde and Richie Thomas of Dif Juz, and their project often features collaborations with other notable artists. Last month they released the first part of their In Quiet Moments double album which includes guests like C Duncan, John Grant, Marissa Nadler, and more. Now they have shared the title track ahead of the album’s second part release next month. These dreamy psychedelic tones beg you to surrender to their intoxicating charms. The smooth vocals from 82-year-old American soul singer Ural Thomas take this otherwise groovy tune and launch it high into celestial realms. You may feel as though you are floating amongst stars as he serenades you. The experience is nothing short of exquisite.
Molly Burch – “Emotion” feat. Wild Nothing (Austin, USA)
RIYL: U.S. Girls, Tennis, La Femme
With her smoky yet velvety-smooth delivery and a style that recalled everyone from Patsy Cline to Roy Orbison to Billie Holiday, Molly Burch rightfully earned the reputation as a modern-day throwback. Her first two albums, Please Be Mine and First Flower, channeled these legends’ grace, poignancy, and intimacy. Consequently, the LPs were beautifully subtle and striking efforts with the latter landing on our Favorite Albums of 2018. As a result of her mastery of the past, expectations are that every new release will similarly be retro in its approach. But as the L.A.-born, Austin-based artist reveals on her latest single, reinterpreting the past does not mean she can be pigeonholed in any one genre nor era.
With an assist from Jack Tatum (a.k.a. Wild Nothing), Burch takes her artistry from the Grand Ole Opry to Studio 54 with the psych-disco number, “Emotion”. This dazzling single recalls the innocence and liberation of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Burch’s silky falsetto coupled with Tatum’s cool grooves creates the hot, steamy, dog days of summer where we lose all our inhibitions. The song is escapism at its finest, and for four minutes we can take the most positive feelings emanating from our souls and let the world see them. Burch’s lyrics, too, give the indication that we can embrace our emotions and turn them into something positive if not incredibly beautiful. Right now, we sure could use more beauty in this world.
The single is out on Captured Tracks. Burch has not shared any hints that a new album is on the way, but we can expect her music going forward will be distinctly different than what she’s previously done. We cannot wait to hear what she will concoct next.
The Besnard Lakes – “Feuds with Guns” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: The Joy Formidable, Pure Bathing Culture, School of Seven Bells
The easiest way to ease into a new year is with bold new music that sweeps you off your feet. Canadian indie rockers The Besnard Lakes have been doing just that for nearly twenty years now, delighting fans with their dense sonic textures and breathtaking harmonies. Later this month the Montreal-based outfit will release their sixth studio LP, The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings. Based on the astounding quality of this single, the album will likely be one of our favorites for 2021.
“Feuds With Guns” is the perfect rousing anthem to kickstart a clean slate. It features lush ambient tones during a minute-long extended intro that puts listeners on a taxiway toward psychedelic heights. When this vehicle lifts off just after the one-minute mark, you feel the surge deep in your bones. Sweeping layers of rich guitars and vocals send you soaring. There you remain for the next few minutes, entranced by the splendor this band crafts so effortlessly. Longtime fans of the band will rejoice at their return after a four-year break; new fans will be wondering how they’ve only now discovered such an incredible group. This song, along with its predecessor (“Our Hearts on Fire Again”) are all the proof we need that 2021 will be full of musical treasures.
Pre-orders for The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings are available here ahead of its January 29th release via Flemish Eye (CAN), Fat Cat Records (US), and Full Time Hobby (rest of the world).
The Besnard Lakes are: Jace Lasek, Olga Goreas, Richard White, Sheenah Koh, Kevin Laing, and Robbie MacArthur.
London Grammar – “Lose Your Head” (London, England)
RIYL: London Grammar
Entering their twelfth year as London Grammar, Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman, and Dominic “Dot” Major have emerged as one of the most influential electro-pop / dark-pop bands to come from the UK. Artists and bands all over the globe attempt to mimic the trio’s soaring, often epic soundscapes that are infused with pop sensibilities. Unsurprisingly, their forthcoming third album, Californian Soil, is one of the most anticipated records of the year (including for us). They’ve already shared the soulful title track, and the LP’s newest number perfectly encapsulates what makes the London-based outfit stand well above the pack.
Euphoric yet breathtaking, mysterious yet cathartic, “Lose Your Head” is an eye-opening and exhilarating experience. Its enchanting beginning creates a sense of calm at first, and Rothman and Major’s subtle instrumentation allow Reid’s stirring vocals to shine. She reveals that we all need to “find some kind of peace of mind” from the demons that occupy our heads. For the next two minutes, the trio gradually take listeners down the rabbit hole of their souls, as the song slowly grows in urgency and intensity. Suddenly, we become captive inside the song’s spiraling vortex and temporarily lose ourselves within London Grammar’s sonic brilliance.
TV Priest – “Press Gang” (London, England)
RIYL: IDLES, Protomartyr, Shame
Two of our main reasons for naming TV Priest as Artists to Watch in 2021 last week were their explosive sound and their hard-charging, politically-centered messages. Charlie Drinkwater (vocals), Alex Sprogis (guitar), Nic Smith (bass, keys), and Ed Kelland (drums) are not here to play nice nor to utter sweet-nothings into our ears. Instead, their intentions are to open our eyes, ears, and minds to the shit that is going on in this world. Their last single, “Decoration”, for instance, tackled how capitalism was destroying humanity’s soul. That song, though, represents just the tip of the iceberg, as their debut album, Uppers, will be released February 5th, 2021 on Sub Pop Records (pre-order the special vinyl here or go to Bandcamp). The LP promises to feature more brutally honest observations, such as revealed on “Press Gang”.
As Kelland’s drums throb at first and then are joined by Smith’s percolating bass line, Drinkwater articulates a story of a land of “post-truths”. In other words, a world besieged by lies, lies, and more lies. The false prophets are not the only ones to blame but also those that further propagate their message. As such, an information war occurs between those who seek to tell the truth and those that wish to paint an alternate reality. This collision is brilliantly captured when Sprogis’ guitar joins the rhythmic fray and ignites the song. Meanwhile, Drinkwater calm utters:
“Here’s the real story for ya
Once took a keen eye to nail that smile
Once took a keener eye to part stars and lovers
How the press gang went down fighting
Oh how the press gang went down swinging
It’s got legs! It’s got legs!”
And later he accurately concludes, “You’re better off uninformed”. If we could only rewind the tape by more than four years, then maybe a good chunk of the population could have been uninformed of the lies that are now part of our society.
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