The Matinee ’21 v. 046 is fun and endearing. It features songs about escapism and vulnerability, second chances and lost opportunities, and perseverance. The six songs are all different, but at the core they share one thing in common – that there is an unexpected hero to be found around and within us.

 

Trunky Juno – “Daddy’s Gone For Cigarettes” (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England)

RIYL: Gus Dapperton, Michael Rault, Lo Talker

The latest trend in indie music is pairing upbeat melodies with more dire or down-to-Earth stories. This method is the artist’s way of turning a life-changing moment into something positive. Most people just get lost in the music while tuning out what is being said, which is, in our opinion, a major faux pas. It’s not the arrangement that makes the song, but rather the message that holds the greatest meaning. With that, be sure to pay attention to what Trunky Juno says on “Daddy’s Gone For Cigarettes”.

With an energetic jangle-pop approach, the track is a sonic delight. If the first day of Spring were captured in a song, it would sound like this glimmering number that puts an instant smile on your face. Then you listen to what Juno’s lyrics and realize he’s not talking about optimistic summer days or pouring his heart out to someone he loves. He instead reveals the depression that has consumed him, where he struggles to get out of bed. He longs to escape his reality to be reborn, even if it means temporarily saying goodbye to his kids. But hopefully Juno does not go too far or change drastically because the world needs more artists who bring sunshine to the gloomy days.

The single is out on Young Poet Records.

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Opus Kink – “Wild Bill” (Brighton, England)

RIYL: Bambara + The Blinders + Gogol Bordello

If the previous track got you moving, this one will make you want to start a dancing mosh pit – yes, a mosh pit where the patrons dance together in a frenzy instead of pushing and shoving one another. OK, it’s not quite safe to do that, but you can dance and lose your proverbial shit while blasting “Wild Bill” from Opus Kink.

This song is gypsy post-punk in all its glory. The beginning is relatively calm but an urgency rings with the stuttering rhythms and frontman Angus Rogers’ intense vocals. He’s telling the story of “a man that you cannot kill / His gun is his word / And he goes with the birds / And his name is Wild Bill”. After the introduction, the sextet holler like cultists their love and appreciation to this legend. Then the track goes off with a firecracker beat, steely guitars, boisterous trumpets, and even a cowbell. At this point, you want to lock arms with your companions and dance manically like worshipers around a bonfire.

You have entered the raucous world of a band that have been entertaining Brighton residents for the last few years. Now they’re about to undertaken world dominance – or at least greater popularity – with their raucous, swash-buckling style. Leave it to the fine folks at Nice Swan Records to help them achieve their goal.

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Flora Cash – “The Bright Lights” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Lana Del Rey, Rosie Carney, Glass Animals

It wasn’t long ago that Flora Cash were hidden gems – from when we first covered them in 2015 and even as recently as 2018 when real-life partners Shpresa Lleshaj and Cole Randall were still navigating their way through the convoluted music world. Today,they stand as one of Sweden’s great electro-pop groups, because they are able to create bold anthems like Phantogram or endearing ballads akin to Poliça. It is on the latter that we find the duo delivering the perfect song for these times.

“The Bright Lights” is simply a stunner. The piano-and-string-driven arrangement is equal parts spell-binding, enthralling, and uneasy. A heavy darkness lingers throughout the track, and Lleshaj’s delicate vocal, too, is brittle, as it wavers with the weakness of a woman about to see the light for the final time. Her words, however, offer strength.

“One day, you will see
That the bright lights, will shine on me
And the dark side will disappear
And I’ll shine like a star”

The single is out on Flower Money Records. No word yet on when their follow-up to their 2020 album, Baby, It’s Okay, will be released.

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OK Cool – “Divers” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: Girlpool, Soccer Mommy, Nervous Dater

The name of Bridget Stiebris and Haley Bloomquist’s project may not evoke much excitement, however just hearing OK Cool‘s music is enough to get hyped about. The duo are a side-project of alt-punk The Weekend Run Club, while that project leans into stylings of late 90’s emo and math rock, OK Cool bring a more low-key but equally enjoyable energy to their music. The duo released a fantastic three-track EP last year, Anomia, which was a brutally honest indie-punk affair, showing a ton of potential.

On their latest song, “Divers”, they’ve expanded their sound from Anomia. So much so, that “Divers” is almost two very different tracks come together. Its opening moments are just vocals, guitar, and a drum machine. It creates an inviting introduction, until it explodes into a much bigger sound. Drums kick in, reverbed guitar, and the vocals kick it up a notch. It’s a hell of a ride for just a hair over two minutes. In those early moments, the lyrics are an emotional gut punch, Stiebris described “Divers” as “a very honest song about a rough night I had a couple of years ago, and the current struggles I still have with recurring dreams and grief.”

New EP, Surrealist, is out this Friday, March 26th. Pre-order / pre-saves are available here.

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TWIN XL – “Slow Heart” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Hotel Mira, Secret Cities, The Zolas

In just three short years, TWIN XL have quickly developed a reputation for releasing anthemic numbers. Their songs are meant for Friday nights, where their booming sonic fireworks bombard the air with pulsating beats, roaring synths, and honest, sometimes brutally so, lyrics. Often times, twin brothers brothers Stephen and John Gomez and Cameron Walker-Wright get introspective and become their worst critic, as they do with their newest single

“Slow Heart” is a banger. For 190 seconds, the trio deliver an electro, alt-pop number that could have the entire San Fernando Valley jubilantly dancing or playing loudly in their cars as they cruise the streets. It’s the type of song that would bring life to a party or even start a block party. Despite its infectious quality, the track is the opposite of a good time. It is Walker-Wright confronting and telling himself that he cannot love the people around him if he cannot love himself. He bitingly says at the beginning:

“Walking through the city
Trading happiness for drugs
I wasted all my money on the people I don’t love
What do you want? How do you feel? What do you think about me?
My thoughts are convincing me that I am the villain I thought I’d never be”

“Slow Heart” might be a party starter, but its power lies in its message. All the more reason why we think this band is going places.

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Jesse Marchant – “Go Lightly” (New York City, USA via Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Jim James, Patrick Watson, SYML

Jesse Marchant‘s style is heart-melting. From his tender and endearing voice to his poetic songwriting approach, the Montreal-born singer-songwriter leaves a lasting mark on all those who have heard one of his songs or seen him perform. And yet Marchant, who is now in his 40s, criminally hovers under the radar. His 2018 LP, Illusions of Love, was spellbinding while his eponymous album was stunning and unforgettable. The latter made several “Best of” lists, including our own, revealing both Marchant’s tremendous talents and how seven years later he continues to be overlooked. Maybe this situation changes now that AntiFragile Music is behind him, and his newest single with the NYC record label is, as one would expect, a dazzler.

Sit back, grab your favorite after-work beverage, take a deep breath, and lose yourself in “Go Lightly”. For over five minutes, he takes us on a crippling journey that resembles a mid-January day, where the air is cold and crisp yet the snow-covered plains glisten under the bright sunshine. It is simultaneously chilling yet beautiful to behold. Marchant’s voice, too, aches with winter’s chill, as it floats gently across a calm yet atmospheric piano-led arrangement. His songwriting is, as usual, beautifully poetic. His tale is introspective, as he shares his isolation, yet it is also narrative, discussing how remoteness affects the people he loves. This song, as such, is not just about Marchant’s time during a pandemic, but our collective experience as well. This is what makes Marchant a gem – his ability to make us feel a part of his world.

Marchant’s new album,  Antelope Running, is expected in the summer.

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