The Matinee ’21 v. 031 features seven delectable new music singles that will sate your thirst for energizing sounds, refreshing stories, and pure honesty. What more can you ask for on a Wednesday?


Chad VanGaalen – “Nightwaves” (Calgary, Canada)

RIYL: Of Montreal, Walter TV, Juan Wauters

Chad VanGaalen‘s mind must be cavernous, where behind every nook and corner a whimsical idea is being generated. Some of them likely never go beyond the embryonic stage, but then a few bloom and become cultivated into a witty and amusing tale like “Samurai Sword”. Then there are those that are nurtured a little longer so it can grow beyond its limits. The intent of this harvest, as such, is not just to bring gratification but also to amaze and awe. These expressions are what “Nightwaves” elicit.

Whereas “Samurai Sword” was a delightful entrée from VanGaalen’s forthcoming new album, World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener, “Nightwaves” is the main course. It is a hardy, heavy number that gradually immerses the consumer with each bite or in this case with every note. Every little sample causes one to reach out for more, experiencing something that feels familiar (a xylophone, a rummaging electric guitar) and not-so-familiar (is VanGaalen banging on cooper pipes or maybe a kettle?). It’s all a little weird, but in a delirious, spacey, neo-psychedelic way. VanGaalen’s voice, too, is ghostly and almost mechanical. He’s like a new-age HAL-9000, asking us if our desire for information has been sated. “Is your machine calling to you now?”, he asks to everyone seeking the latest piece of news or like on their phones. Whereas VanGaalen’s world is based on the natural, our experiences reside more in the artificial.

World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener is out March 19th via Flemish Eye (Canada) and Sub Pop (world). Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here or directly from Bandcamp. (Do click the Bandcamp link to read the liner notes at the bottom!)

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The Phoenix Foundation – “Beside Yourself” (feat. Fazerdaze) (Wellington, New Zealand)

RIYL: Night Beats, Temples, Grizzly Bear

New Zealand music fans have probably been rejoicing the last two days after Wellington legends The Phoenix Foundation released their newest single that features Amelia Murray of Fazerdaze. Talk about a dream collaboration! Of course, what we see on paper matters little if the audio product is lacking, but this is The Phoenix Foundation, whose members also dabble in production, sound engineering, and film scoring. So set aside any doubts, put on the shades, and bask in the radiance of “Beside Yourself”.

This little psych-pop number is a sun-kissed dazzler. It’s a song meant to be heard on sandy shores and wide-open fields, where the cool breezes reinvigorate our overheated souls. The arrangements recall the Laurel Canyon sound of the ’70s, where life was more carefree and innocent. The smooth vocals of Samuel Flynn Scott and Murray breathe a retro vibe to the track as well, as they effortlessly tell the story of a lost soul searching for meaning in his life and friendship in these strange times.

“We cannibalise our friends
Spit out the bones and chew on the burnt ends
We cannibalise our own
Caught in the cold
It’s a long way home”

The Phoenix Foundation are Samuel Flynn Scott, Luke Buda, Conrad Wedde, Tom Callwood, Will Ricketts, and Chris O’Connor. Their new EP, Life Boat, which contains two b-side singles from their seventh studio LP, Friend Ship, is out April 20th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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Alice Phoebe Lou – “Dirty Mouth” (Berlin, Germany via Cape Town, South Africa)

RIYL: Molly Burch, Julia Jacklin, Stella Donnelly

Alice Phoebe Lou has been flying under the radar for way too long. Her 2016 debut, Orbit, was a stunner of a record. Lou followed it up with a diverse and complex record, Paper Castles in 2019. It may seem easy to sit back and compare her sound to a lot of different songwriters out there, from some vocal qualities of Stella Donnelly to expansive soundscapes reminiscent of Julia Holter, but she never stays in one place too long to truly be compared to anyone. There’s no one quite like Alice Phoebe Lou.

Sometimes nothing makes you feel better than to just turn off the filter and speak right from the soul, holding nothing back. By throwing manners and politeness aside, Alice Phoebe Lou has created a cathartic, upbeat track that pulls no punches on “Dirty Mouth”. Its lyrics are full with wit, and charm. There’s an energy on the track that’s simply uncontainable. From its playful acoustic guitar chords, to its groovy bass line, to Alice’s inviting voice, there’s tons to love here. About halfway through it gets even more interesting, when it kicks into an even higher gear.

“Dirty Mouth” is out now, and will be part of Alice Phoebe Lou’s upcoming record, Glow, out March 19th. You can pre-order the record here. “Dirty Mouth” comes with a video as energetic as the song, check that out here.

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Coach Party – “Everybody Hates Me” (Isle of Wight, England)

RIYL: Black Honey, Sløtface, Speedy Ortiz

“All aboard!”, the conductor loudly bellows minutes before the train is about to leave. If you fail to get onboard, you run the risk of missing out on an adventure of a lifetime. Or in the case of fast-rising UK indie outfit Coach Party, you’ll miss out on watching a young group develop into one of the great new bands to arrive this decade and could dominate music for the next ten years or more. As one of our Artists to Watch in 2021, we are obviously bullish on Jessica Eastwood, Guy Page, Joe Perry, and Stephanie Norris’ potential. Last year, they shared rollicking yet intelligent singles in “Really OK on My Own”, “Bleach” and “Can’t Talk, Won’t” and an awesome EP in the aptly titled, Party Food. Their first release of 2021 further solidifies their path to stardom.

Taking aim at people who have nothing better to do than to criticize people, “Everybody Hates Me” is another anthemic barn-burner. Its ebullient pop-rock atmospherics are worthy of not just fist pumps but manic dancing in the streets, where we tell the world we are proud of who we are. As the guitars sizzle and the rhythms pound, Eastwood proudly takes ownership of all the garbage slung her way. She sings:

“Everybody hates me
I’m boring and unhappy

I really like affection
I’m jealous and controlling”

Despite what the naysayers have to say, all we have to ask is, “Who’s laughing now?” The single is out now Chess Club Records. This band is going to be big.

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Wy – “Dream House” (Malmö, Sweden)

RIYL: Mint Julep, School of Seven Bells, Blondfire

It is nearly impossible to write about Swedish dream-pop duo Wy without using words like lush and memorable. Last month we praised their single “Come Here” as a “melancholic breath-taker” – a term that also fits their newest release.

“Dream House” finds Ebba and Michel Gustafsson Ågren creating more of their sonic magic, enhanced by some throwback elements. The opening notes evoke the late-‘80s sophisticated synth era dominated by songs from When in Rome and Everything But the Girl. “Dream House” begins in a similar fashion, with plenty of bright hooks and dreamy vocals full of yearning. The energy here remains infectious throughout each verse, but the chorus is where Wy truly capture your heart.

As you hear Ebba sing “Oh, I think we’re in love,” you can’t help but sigh in remembrance of your first crush. Those teenage emotions come flooding back when the lyrics describe hopeful scenarios tinged by melancholy:

“Next year we might swim in the sea
Or visit that house from my dream
Without this big sadness in me”

This bittersweetness is what endears Wy to their fans: their perfect fusion of soaring melodies with grounded lyrics becomes addictive after one listen. 

The duo’s new album, Marriages, arrives May 7th via Rama Lama Records. Pre-order it from the label’s store or Bandcamp.

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Freyr – “Nicotine Bunker” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Nick Drake, The Tallest Man on Earth, José González

We are huge fans of Swedish artists in general, but one particular artist always make us sigh in appreciation. Longtime indie folk favorite Freyr is no stranger to this site: last year the singles “Avalon and “I’m Sorry” from his two EPs remained in heavy rotation. Now, after much anticipation, this rising star will soon release his full-length debut. The album’s title track is another mellow masterpiece.

“Nicotine Bunker” takes listeners inside an alluring place of uncertainty and intrigue. While the term refers to a communal place where hippies smoke and chill, Freyr recreates the essence of those places in the song. The carefree melody winds around your ears, lowering your inhibitions while raising your curiosity. As he sings “Tell me something sweet,” you wonder what kind of tales will soon unfold in his serenade.

This place he invites you to is easy to access, as is all of his music. You simply need to close your eyes to be transported. And just as the video shows, once you board the vehicle, you cannot be sure where it might take you. One thing is certain, though: it will be a most enjoyable journey. Freyr makes music for dreamers whose souls thrive on love.

The album Nicotine Bunker is due July 23rd via Nettwerk Music Group with pre-orders from these links.

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Mia Joy – “See Us” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: Snail Mail, Hand Habits, Lala Lala

Mia Rocha – a.k.a. Mia Joy – has just one short EP to her name at the moment. However, in just four tracks, Gemini Moon left listeners wanting more. Earlier this year Joy released a fantastic single, “Haha”, a smart but dark track that built on what made that first EP so special.

Mia Joy’s newest single, “See Us”, shows us even more sides of Joy’s songwriting. Ushered in by gorgeously strummed guitar chords and Joy’s voice, it leaves a big impression at first listen. Written in January 2020, it was actually one of the last tracks for her upcoming record. Mia describes it as “I had fallen in love again and felt like I could see a promising future with plenty of opportunities.” Sadly, 2020 being what it was, those opportunities were put on hold, and specifically for Mia, that relationship did not last. But those faded dreams gives “See Us” perhaps an even more hopeful meaning: when things are normal once again, there will be plenty of things to celebrate.

Joy’s debut album, Spirit Tamer, is out May 7th on Fire Talk Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here and Bandcamp.

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