Fun and quirky numbers, a tongue-in-cheek political anthem, sultry and smooth tracks, and boisterous rockers comprise The Matinee ’21 v. 005 edition. It’s a nice little soundtrack for a Friday.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – “Pukebox” (Perth, Australia)
RIYL: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Ty Segall, Fuzz
Leave it to the awesome Aussie band Psychedelic Porn Crumpets to release a song with the title “Pukebox” and make you want to listen to it over and over again instead of tossing it aside (see what we did there?). Then again, Jack McEwan (guitar, vocals), Luke Parish (guitar), Danny Caddy (drums), Luke Reynolds (bass), and Chris Young (keys) have an incredible gift of making the bizarre seem normal, but these days are not normal. Enough with the existential and philosophical chit chat, and instead it’s time to buckle up and take one delirious, trippy ride with the five Perthies.
“Pukebox” is outrageously fun. It’s psychedelic-rock on a 48-hour bender where the action is fast, furious, and non-stop. Right off the bat, the dual guitars ignite, the drums pound, and the bass throbs with funky flair. If you thought the title and arrangements were awesomely wacked, McEwan’s story is, well, quirky and in his own way existential in nature. As the psych fireworks burst around, he first discusses drinking some of his father’s moonshine while contemplating if someone else is doing the same. He then switches gears and adopts a new character – himself in another dimension and gallivanting around the world and sampling each destination’s toxic cocktails. His tale, though, isn’t of unbridled exuberance and youthful ignorance. Rather, it concerns our insatiable desire to escape reality and life’s daily troubles and demons.
“No time for tired, everything now all of the time
Don’t you like living out on the fringe?
Morning rolls round in some foreign town
Head in a cumulus cloud
As we melt in the day
All these days lead to madness
All of these days I live lead to my madness”
JP Harris – “Take Off Your Tin Foil Hat” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Arlo Guthrie, Todd Snider, John Prine, Langhorne Slim
Musicians often get inspiration from current events: politics, after all, is a recurring theme in genres from folk to punk and rap. But sometimes those current events hit way too close to home, as is the case with Americana/honky tonk singer-songwriter JP Harris. The Nashville-based artist had been working on a new song late last year about the nuttier than fruitcake disinformation spread among fans of a certain U.S. president. The song wasn’t finished when a Christmas morning bomb detonated in Music City’s downtown area, but that explosion prompted Harris to finish it. The result is “Take Off Your Tin Foil Hat,” a wry tale about the brainwashed masses and their insane conspiracy theories. Its release is especially timely considering those tinfoil hat wearers just stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., last week.
This knee slappin’ ditty has some of the year’s best lyrics (“The virus is fake / masks make you want to have sex with sheep” and “I only trust news that is tailored to my discerning palate”) and a chorus that would make John Prine proud:
“Good Lord, y’all must be bored
You need to get off the internet”
Kalbells – “Purplepink” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Caroline Rose, Cuddle Magic, U.S. Girls
Kalbells continue to push their sound into new, stranger places with each release. That’s almost expected from one of the creative forces behind Rubblebucket, however with even less restraints, Kalmia Traver’s creativity brings her music to new heights. Even listening to her last year’s worth of releases, from her deeply personal Mothertime EP to the wild, playful “Hump The Beach” single released in October, you really never know what to expect from Kalbells.
That trend continues with “Purplepink”. It’s another infectiously groovy track, full of synth, and a delectably smooth bass line. It’s spacey, with synthesized effects throughout to intentionally evoke a sci-fi feel. Its lyrics are equally surreal, describing the sky as “purplepink” within the first few lines. One of the many awesome moments in this song is a shredder of a solo from Maddie Rice, who’s performed with Rubblebucket, but also as part of the house band on both Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, and Saturday Night Live. Her sound adds to what is already arguably an all-star Kalbells lineup, with Angelica Bess (Body Language), Sarah Pendinotti (Railbird), and Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy, Sad13).
Miss Grit – “Impostor” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: St. Vincent, Torres, Sad13
From the moment the music of Miss Grit hits the ear, it’s obvious Margaret Sohn understands how to manipulate sound at a level few others do. As a NYU student, Sohn studied Music Technology, and built guitar pedals of her own. Her EP Talk Talk, as well as her other singles made her one of our Artists to Watch in 2021.
“Impostor” is the title track from her upcoming record. It has a guitar roar that absolutely rips. Sohn’s voice floats over the roar, and at times it’s overwhelmed by it. The track ends with the roar subsiding, and Sohn repeating “Let me smile“. From being half-Korean in a majority white space in Michigan and trying to find a place where she felt like she fit in, to gaining acclaim for her first EP while feeling she was just “impersonating a musician” “Impostor” is about the constant battle with impostor syndrome that Sohn has faced throughout her life. On Imposter, she does it mostly on her own, to prove that she belongs, both to her listeners, and to herself.
You’re no star
Waltzer – “Lantern” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: early St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Priests
There are no shortage of great guitarists. We’re not talking musicians who can put together a few chords together, but who can transform their instrument into a cathartic catalyst. St. Vincent, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Melissa Paternoster of Screaming Females, Jim James and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jackets, and, or course, Jack White are just some of the living greats. Pretty soon, Sophie Sputnik and their project, Waltzer, will soon to mentioned in the same breath.
The latest signing to Side Hustle Records, the new imprint from the influential PR company Big Hassle, the Chicago-based artist is an emerging guitar god. But not only that, Waltzer applies their gifted fingers to pen and paper, crafting songs that resemble a Margaret Atwood or Stephen King short story. That is, stories that are vividly imaginative, such as “Lantern”.
The song commences with a blues-rock vibe that at first sounds like the start of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet”. But instead of a steamy, sultry track, Waltzer unleashes a fiery pieces of garage-rock. As the song progresses, their raw power can be heard in the searing guitar, their roaring vocal, and the poignant lyrics. “I’m a flickering lighthouse / Waltzing over the Ocean / I’m fading searchlight / Waltzing into the trees”, Waltzer hollers. These words are their revelation to the world that despite the medicine they take to control their ADD, they cannot be stopped or turned off. Instead, they will continue to shine even when the darkness overcomes them. Brilliant.
Sputnik’s debut album, Time Traveler, is out January 29th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Beafets – “Open Letter” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, Stereophonics, The Libertines
There must be something akin to magic in the Scottish water supply. How else can you explain the level of absolute brilliance found in their musicians? Scotland has produced some of the finest bands – from The Jesus and Mary Chain and Mogwai to Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad. This is why we aren’t surprised when we learn that an emerging band with a catchy sound is Scottish. Such is the case with Beafets: a few seconds into the first listen of their new single made us instant fans of this four-piece from East Kilbride outside Glasgow.
“Open Letter” is the upbeat jolt of sonic adrenaline you need to kickstart your year. Its bright hooks evoke the energetic charm of Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand. The sparkling, radio-friendly intro casts an immediate spell. From there the band serve up a constant stream of jangly power chords and infectious vocals that beg listeners to sing along. Hopefully this summer will see the return of live music, as this belter should be experienced properly in a festival setting.
If this tune is any indication, it won’t be long before Beafets join The Jesus and Mary Chain and Aztec Camera as East Kilbride’s greatest musical exports.
“Open Letter” is out now from these sources. We cannot wait to hear more from these guys!
Beafets are: Adam McMonagle (vocals/guitar), John Loughran (lead guitar), Scott Taylor (bass), and Aaron Johnston (drums).
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