The Matinee ’21 v. 017 edition features six songs that make emphatic statements. Some discuss the state of the world and warn us to not let our guard now while a few address the demons that eat away out our soul. The times are improving, but they still remain surreal.

 

Eriel Indigo – “Renegades” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: FKA Twigs, Ramsey, Algiers, Rage Against the Machine

On January 21st, much of the world exhaled when Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was inaugurated as President of the United States of America. This change brought relief and a moment of calm, but we know the storm has only temporarily dissipated. It will soon return because the former Oval Office occupant continues to spews his lies and spread his alternate reality. Whether we are Americans or citizens of another country, it is our responsibility to combat falsehoods with truth and evidence. It is also our duty to never forget, which is why we are sharing Eriel Indigo‘s single, “RENEGADES”.

Released at the end of 2020, the Los Angeles-based multimedia and multi-visionary artist unleashes an empowering political anthem that condemns the hate and vision of 45 while uniting the masses to fight back. The track is powerful in all respects, soaring with the aggressive, dark-pop propulsion of FKA Twigs and Ramsey while channeling the likes of Franklin James Fisher of Algiers and Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha in her lyrical poignancy. It is, in other words, a call for action and a call to take a stand. It is a call for unity and what it means to be American:

“But we the people, indivisible say fuck your little games
We are still invincible, ain’t caught up in your invisible chains
And you may have an arsenal of heartless fools marchin’ in a carnival of fear & pain
But we are bad, our art is fueled by heart & soul
And we got an army of love droppin’ harmony bombs on da U.S.A.”

Times may have changed, but never forget what we experienced for four years. Let us not repeat the mistakes of recent history.

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Augustine – “Prom” (Gothenburg, Sweden)

RIYL: Boniface, CRUISR, The Drums

Nearly a year ago, a young artist from Sweden wowed us with his thoughtful and dreamy single, “Picking Up Speed”. Now Augustine is seeking to wow a much bigger base throughout the year in order to build anticipation for his debut album, which is expected later this year. The buzz should naturally and easily develop should the Stockholm-based artist create more smart, provocative, and infectious tunes like “Prom”.

A dreamy, breezy, pop sound emanates immediately, and feelgood vibes quickly form. The song’s sublime atmosphere is as warm and optimistic as the first day of spring, where the bright sunshine and budding flowers are indications that good days are to come. And in this situation, smiles abound and we merrily dance through open meadows and spaces. But like the month of March which can be tantalizing spring-like one day and stormy the next, there is so much more to this song.

Underneath the shimmering quality lies a story of a young man who calling for help. His days are not filled with the smells of roses and images of the birds and bees. Instead, he is afflicted with inner turmoil as he tries to figure who he is in a world full of self-absorbed actors. As other chase dreams, he tries to live another day.

“Baby
Tie my wrist before I hit the sun
Before the backseat
Blows right out throughout the windows gone

Now what’s this city and who’s the people
Oh alright
I’m dressed up pretty, real delightful for the night
But I was nearly suicidal before your car arrived”

This young artist is definitely one to watch.

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Loney Dear – “Trifles” (Jönköping, Sweden)

RIYL: Jens Lekman, Sufjan Stevens, Volcano Choir, Patrick Watson

Loney Dear – the project of Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen – has been creating soul-stirring music for nearly two decades. His soundscapes capture the beauty of nature with lush lyrical imagery and soothing voice. In doing so, he provides listeners a means of escape from the world around them. His newest offering further showcases the talents of this extraordinary artist.

“Trifles” initially evokes the starkness of winter: gentle, piano-driven passages flow with a wintry coolness often associated with Scandinavian terrain. But soon a transformation becomes evident. A warming of textures and a brightening crescendo turn winter into spring, filling listeners with a swell of hope towards the halfway mark. Deeper, muted percussion heralds atmospheric change. With closed eyes you can imagine melting ice crashing to the ground below. We have long suspected that Loney Dear can command nature with his hypnotic vocals and vivid lyrics like these:

“The tide is rising
Loudly soaring
Nothing is static
Nothing is steady now
All things change”

Here he ushers in a new era of change, a welcome gift at this time of year.

His forthcoming album, A Lantern and A Bell, is due March 26th via Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. Pre-orders are available here while this single is available digitally on Bandcamp.

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Palma Louca – “Stationary Life” (Newcastle upon Tyne, England)

RIYL: Sundara Karma, The Night Care, The National

Standing out in the competitive UK indie scene is difficult because the every city and county brims with talent. Newcastle upon Tyne alone has Maximo Park, Lanterns on the Lake, and Swine Tax, and its was once home to the now defunct Stereo Honey. A city, though, can never have too much good music. All we right? Another band that is about to explode are Palma Louca.

Consisting of brothers Joe and Richard, along with friends Andrew, Cameron, and Daniel, the quintet have been buzzing around North East England for a few years. A subtle change from alt-rock to anthemic indie pop-rock, though, might be what gets the hard-working lads over the top. Their latest single, “Stationary Life”, is sure to be a favorite of the BBC Radio DJs and the numerous media outlines across the pond.

The track bursts with the energy and exhilaration of Sundara Karma. It is cathartic and energizing and euphoric and moving. It is an adrenaline-inducing number whose climax roars with sizzling, shoegaze-kissed guitars, glistening synths glisten, and throbbing rhythms. The desperation that rings throughout matches the urgency in Joe’s vocals and lyrics. He perfectly captures the dead-end lives of many people, who are endlessly searching for meaning, especially in these days of seclusion and isolation. “If you don’t live now then you won’t live forever”, he says with the wisdom of a young Confucius. Joe and his mates, though, are speaking from experience, as they have forego so much just for a chance to be heard. Their sacrifices now has them on the cusp of being recognized as the UK’s next big thing.

The band is signed with Pillar Artists.

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Lo Talker – “Don’t Hide That Light Pt. 2” (Athens, GA, USA)

RIYL: Bright Eyes, Okkervil River, M. Ward

Back in October of last year when we were first introduced to indie southern rockers Lo Talker, they put a clever spin on the surreal reality we were living in at that time with “No Champagne”. Although it seems that normalcy has somewhat returned in these past 11 days, the bizarre and the insanity still exist around us. One does not need to look too far to hear and see it (just turn of Fox News). Eventually, we’ll once again be inundated with lies, and Andrew Shepard (vocals, guitar), Zach Shepard (bass), Rhett Fuller (guitar), Alec Stanley (guitar, keys), and Jeremiah Johnson (drums) remind us once again that we don’t have to nor should fall down that rabbit hole on their latest single, “Don’t Hid That Light Pt. 2”.

The track echoes Bright Eyes in their prime with its whirling, top-tapping arrangement, which may also incite one to twirl under the disco ball or sprint out of the house and take a quick run around the block. It is energizing in its sonic allure, but its message is more serious. Through his soft falsetto, Andrew tells us to keep our eye on the ball and not every misconceived statement is a joke.

“Cosmic humor has a way with words
Replacing subtleties with the absurd
So beware of what it really means”

Words to live by and to remember because those who chant “fake news” are living in their own fake reality.

Lo Talker’s new album, A Comedy of Errors, is out March 19th via Arts & Crafts. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here as well as on Bandcamp.

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A Festival, A Parade – “Area Man” (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England)

RIYL: Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, Mastersystem

Anyone who believed that guitar-driven music was dead surely wasn’t paying attention to what was happening overseas over the past decade. Numerous great indie-rock bands have emerged, including A Festival, A Parade.

Joe Allan (vocals/guitar), Reece Spencer (lead guitar), Ollie Winn (bass), and George Rowan’s (drums) project are not your typical rock band, though. In the same vein as Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, and The National, they are the thinking person’s band because they’re not merely here to entertain. On the contrary, the quartet use their music to tell stories about the challenges facing the world and the everyday person. They are historians, sociologists, and psychologists analyzing the slow decay of humanity and the world in which we live, as they showed on “Straight to Work” and “Big Screen TV”. They do this again with “Area Man”.

This insightful track should be part of a university course in the aforementioned fields. As the song gradually progresses, Allan recounts how everyday life is tearing apart a single man. His life is spiraling out of control, as he no longer controls it. “I can barely breathe, under the company pulling me down”, Allan sings with a weary voice. His mental state of mind has his carrying a gun in case he needs for, but for what purpose is unknown. Then the song, in prototypical AFAP style, explodes into a maelstrom of sonic fury. The guitars ignite, the rhythms explode, and a moment of uneasy euphoria occurs. This ability to take the serious and make it cathartic is what makes AFAP a long-time favorite and one that we hope will achieve much more success in the near future.

The track is from the band’s upcoming EP, Company. Initially released in 2020 as a digital five-track EP, Company has been re-packaged with two new songs, including “Area Man”, and it will be release February 26th. Pre-orders are available on Bandcamp.

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