From the heavy-hearted to the blissful to the fun and groovy, The Matinee ’21 v. 012 features five songs that will help you find your voice. All the artists and bands featured have tremendous potential to be stars.
Roller Derby – “Can’t See You” (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Alvvays, Human League, Pillow Queens
Back in December, we were introduced to a band from Germany that had us daydreaming all day with “Flying High”. Roller Derby made an enormous first impression that we strongly considered them as one of our Artists to Watch in 2021, but we needed to hear another tune before drawing a conclusion. We’re regretting that decision after listening to “Can’t See You”.
This dreamy, synth-pop number transports us back to our youth and watching films like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and St. Elmo’s Fire. Like those classic coming-of-age movies, this track will remind you about the unbreakable bonds of friendship. It will remind you that even during these dark days that we can find hope and optimism in the presence of the people who know us best. As the synth and keys buzz and the rhythms shake, front-woman Philine Meyer’s warm, smokey vocals rise above the exhilarating atmosphere. She tells us everything we want to hear:
“Take your time
Take my hand and we go on a ride
I’m alright when
You understand me
And we finally find our way
I’m alright when
I see what’s going down
Can’t see you with my eyes, no
Look at me, what do you need?
And you know it, you know it
Can’t see you with my eyes”
Sounds like the start to a film for today’s youth.
Roller Derby are Philine Meyer (vocals, keys), Manuel Romero Soria (guitar), and Max Nielsen (bass). As we said last month, this band is going places.
Goat Girl – “Badibaba” (London, England)
RIYL: Warpaint, Grizzly Bear, Kate Tempest
Plenty of bands get labeled as “The UK’s next big thing”, which creates tremendous pressure on them to deliver. Some do, and others come up a little short. When Goat Girls released their eponymous, post-punk debut album in 2018, outlets such as NME, Dork, The Line of Best Fit, and others raved about its unpredictable and uncompromising genius. So what do Lottie “Cream” Pendlebury (lead vocals, guitar), L.E.D. Ellie “L.E.D.” Rose Davies (guitar, vocals), Naima “Jelly” Redina-Bock (bass), and Rosy “Bones” Jones (drums) have in store for album number two? Well, more unpredictability, as shown with singles, “Sad Cowboy” and “The Track”. Gone is the brooding, dark tones and in their place is an unexpected art-rock approach, which is mastered on “Badibaba”.
Sounding like a trippy carnival taking place in the world of The Clockwork Orange, the song is simultaneously dizzying, eerie, and dreamy. The serene atmosphere is interrupted by Redina-Bock’s spine-tingling bass and dark notes of the synth. Through the fog is Pendlebury’s nearly unemotional voice, which only adds to the track’s foreboding tones. She tells a tale right out of The Matrix. No, not the one about machines taking over the planet, but instead the virus known as humanity that is destroying the planet. With a quiet disdain, she sings, “Tainted from our imperfections / Littered seas, feels like we’re an infection”. The moral of the story is heightened when delirium and chaos whirl in the instrumentation, which is, well, sheer, unexpected genius.
Olivia Kaplan – “Wrong” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Adrianne Lenker, Frances Quinlan, Mary Chapin Carpenter
For years, Olivia Kaplan was the definition of a hidden gem, performing in little clubs and sharing music on Bandcamp in hopes of being discovered. Like so many artists, she worked at her craft, and her hard work has led to her big break, as she recently signed with the great Topshelf Records. Her first single for the super indie label will result in many wondering out loud, “How did she hover under the radar for so long?”
“Wrong” is a light, fluttering dazzler. It is ’70s folk-rock meets 2021 indie-folk, as Kaplan’s soft, angelic voice hovering over a warm, gentle, yet taut groove. As the song progresses, all one can do is close her eyes, slowly rock her head back and forth, and smile. And one will also listen to every word sung by Kaplan, whose songwriting recalls the personal and relatable storytelling of Mary Chapin Carpenter.
She tells the tale of a young woman trying to figure out her life and make sense of a world filled with devastation, lies, and surreal realities. As Kaplan says, she’s “wondering if she’s getting it wrong”, but then Kaplan reminds her that she has time to solve the puzzle. There’s no need to rush, but instead we just need to take a breath and gradually put the pieces together. This is what Kaplan did, and now success is hopefully before her.
Eggshells – “Descent” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: The XX, Chromatics, Washed Out
“Descent” from Seattle experimental pop trio Eggshells soundtracks those fleeting moments of breathless awe we experience too infrequently. This languid trip combines the electric rush of a first kiss with the mysterious aura of a fog-shrouded midnight walk. Prepare to be mesmerized by Sera Han’s ethereal vocals while sibling bandmates Benjamin Verdoes (Iska Dhaaf, Mount St. Helens Vietnam Band) and Peter Verdoes (In Praise of Folly) create haunting downtempo textures.
This is atmospheric pop at its finest – unhurried and evocative, expressing the unspoken with layers of triphop-inspired tones. This is to be expected of the group, as their output is driven more by creative perfection than rigorous label production demands. As such, each album is a new world to discover where every note invites listeners to dive in and explore. Their newest release, Hopeless Romancers, extends that invitation yet again and delivers dazzling rewards.
Barry Paquin Roberge – “BPR Strut (Join Us & You’ll Be Fine)” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: The Bee Gees meets “Weird Al” Jankovic, Walter TV
Once upon a time, Dick Van Dyck told us to “put on a happy face”. Those five words take on new meaning today, as finding the little things that make us smile become more difficult by the day. If you’re in need of something that turns the frown upside down, then this latest song and video will be the cure to your downtrodden malady. You, however, have to dress for the occasion to truly experience this tune, which means putting on your best disco outfit or deck out in ’70s and ’80s aerobics gear. Trust us, you’ll need some flexible attire because you likely will be dancing or doing calisthenics with Barry Paquin Roberge‘s immensely fun new single, “BPR Strut (Join Us & You’ll Be Fine)”.
A little glam-rock-esque and a whole lot of disco, this tune is made for, well, strutting. It’s groovy, methodical beat will have you posing like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever or doing exercises seen on a Jane Fonda aerobics videotape. When moving like these iconic individuals and raising your heart rate, you’re sure to start feeling good and momentarily forgetting about the crap going on around you. As the band sing:
“Oooh baby, look at you
You’re barely living, everybody treats you like a fool
Get your glam on, it’s time to dance
Party over and over and never stop!”
BPR is comprised of Etienne Barry, Sebastien Paquin, Alexis Roberge, Jonathan Lafrance, Jocelyn Gagné, and Anna Frances Meyer (Les Deuxluxes). The sextet’s new album, Exordium Extasy, is out February 26th via Costume Records.
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