Five songs occupy The Matinee ’21 v. 007 edition. It includes a few new artists and bands plus one for whom we have high expectations in 2021.
Jess Locke – “Dead And Gone” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Lady Lamb, Angel Olsen
As we’ve mentioned several times, Australia is a singer-songwriter factory. Every year, the country Down Under unveils new artists who blow away music fans with their exquisite stories and moving arrangements. So who will be this year’s Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin, Stella Donnelly, Alex Lahey, and Alex the Astronaut? Our pick is Jess Locke, who we named as one of our Artists to Watch in 2021, and the Melbourne native makes us our prognostication look really good with “Dead And Gone”.
The song is an instant, timeless classic. A ’70s country-folk vibe emanates in the first half with the delicately strummed acoustic guitar and the titter-tatter of the rhythms. Then the song swells like the euphoric grandeur heard in Angel Olsen’s booming folk-rockers, inducing plenty of “oohs” and “ahs”. Locke’s songwriting, too, is awe-inspiring, as she writes a message to herself to not fret about the past and the things that have come to an end. Or as she movingly sings, “Don’t go worrying about what’s dead and gone”.
But do keep an eye out on this emerging talent, specifically March 26th. This is when Locke’s new album, Don’t Ask Yourself Why, will be released via Pool House Records. Pre-save it here or go directly to Bandcamp.
GRITS. – “You’ve Seen It All” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Shakey Graves
In a perfect world, Brooklyn-based soul/rock outfit GRITS. would be on every major festival lineup. We mean the upper third of the list, where you don’t need a magnifying glass to read the tiny font. But alas, since their formation in 2017, this New York band with a southern-sounding name have yet to achieve headliner level of fame. This song, however, is all the proof you need that they are on the right track. Their bluesy delivery on “You’ve Seen It All” takes you back to those sweaty packed venues where you discovered your favorite band years ago. With energy that’s damn near palpable, these guys serve up scorching hot riffs that would make Shakey Graves and Dr. Dog jealous.
After a brass-accented intro, frontman Eric Breeding channels My Morning Jacket’s Jim James one moment and Nathaniel Rateliff the next as he croons “I just want someone to love me all night.” The instrumentation is equally tight with the band keeping the heat applied in every note. You usually hear this level of cohesion in a band with a dozen albums under their belts. We can’t explain why GRITS hasn’t been signed to a major record label. Perhaps 2021 will be the year that the world comes back to its senses. When live music makes its triumphant return, this is one band high on our must-see wish list.
EUT – “Cool” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Fickle Friends, Sylvan Esso, Sløtface
Are you aware about our fandom for Dutch outfit EUT? If not, then you’ll have to revisit some of their past songs. They are arguably the finest indie band from the country of bicycles, canals, and world-class speed skaters. Megan de Klerk (vocals), Tessa Raadman (guitar), Emiel De Nennie (guitar), Sergio Escoda (bass/keys), and Jim Geurts (drums) usually create buzzing, energetic tunes that get people moving, but their first release of 2021 sees the band turn down the volume and electricity a touch to allow de Klerk’s sultry vocals and uplifting lyrics do the duties of raising people’s spirits.
A light, melancholic pop groove streams across the track, and it immediately calms all nerves and anxieties. A slight smile may start forming on your face while your eyes close due to the song’s haziness. All the while you listen intently to what de Klerk has to say. She shares two ex-lovers trying to make amends and taking another shot at love. “You said it would be easy”, she repeats to her partner, telling him that he has to be all in for this to work. Through the uncertainty and building anxiety, de Klerk reminds herself to stay cool because one way or another everything will work out.
The single is taken from EUT’s forthcoming new album, Party Time. It will be released February 19th via V2 Records Benelux.
TESSEL – “Family Time” (Utrecht, Netherlands)
RIYL: Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, Yeasayer
TESSEL have delivered the perfect, laid-back single with “Family Time”. The beachy guitar licks will instantly adjust your mood and have you dreaming of those upcoming warmer days spent outside. Their sound is dreamy pop/rock that reminds a bit of Real Estate. Even though there is a nostalgic vibe and airy melodies, the lyrical content is a bit more morose.
The band elaborates:
“Even though the sound is light and cheerful, the themes of the lyrics carry the opposite message. The song tells a story of a person who has become entangled in the image of ‘the perfect life’. Just when everything seems to be right: a family, a beautiful car in the driveway, a dinner with the family, the person decides to flee, because “All I ever know, great moments will pass”.
The quartet have also released a video that adds some visual life into the pastel tones of the track. It’s the perfect single to add to your upbeat new music playlist.
TESSEL are Levi Oostermeijer (lead vocals and guitar), Joshua Bredow (Guitar), Jens Wierckx (drums and backing vocals) and Thijs van Zutphen (bass and backing vocals). “Family Time” is out via [PIAS] Recordings.
Rat Tally – “Shrug” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, Sun June
Addy Harris describes her project, Rat Tally, as “music for sad people, or happy people, or whoever.” Her first EP, When You Wake Up, was an emphasis on the sad, but it was also an undeniably great sample of what Harris’ songwriting is about. It was enough to get the attention of 6131 Records, a label that’s been home to Julien Baker, Kindling, Joyce Manor, and Sami Lanzetta, and it’s absolutely a perfect landing spot for Rat Tally.
On “Shrug”, things start out distorted, a little lo-fi, with Harris’ voice and guitar. Things clear up when drums and bass kick in, as well as a great little guitar part. The song builds quite nicely, leading to a huge moment of catharsis before fading to just Harris and guitar, repeating “I hope that helps”. In a release, Harris said, “Shrug” is “about navigating romantic relationships while struggling with mental health.” It’s a heavy issue, but relatable, and its lyrics cut right to the core. It’s a stunning track that is hopefully only a sign of things to come from Rat Tally.
“And sometimes I wanna scream it in your face,
Your dead eyes gawking wide
I wanna throw a fit, fuck, then forget it
And sometimes I think you’re worth it”
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