The Matinee ’21 v. 047 is your mid-week music therapy session and workout in one. Some tracks will resonate deep in your soul while others will invigorate you with raw punk energy. What more can you ask for?
Mannequin Pussy – “Control” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Priests, Bully, Palehound
Between its brutally honest lyricism and unmatched energy, Mannequin Pussy‘s 2019 album, Patience, is one of the most important releases in recent years. Last year the band (like everyone else) went into isolation. Now they have reemerged as a trio, with Missy Dabice on vocals and guitar, Colins “Bear” Regisford on bass, and Kaleen Reading on drums.
This week the band shares “Control”, the first single from their new five track EP, Perfect. It’s exactly what we need from the Philly punk trio. It starts out with just Missy singing over guitar. It’s lush and even a bit disarming before it explodes into something bigger with distorted power chords, heavy drums, and howling vocals. Between the roar, the introspective lyrics, and a more dynamic sound, “Control” showcases what makes Mannequin Pussy one of the best bands on the planet and one that captures our collective disdain:
“I’m in control
That’s what I tell myself
When all the walls around me close in
You have this way
You repeat all of the words
That everyone one else says
And I know no one’s waiting for anyone
Yeah, I know no one’s waiting for anyone”
Stone Jack Jones – “I’m Made” (feat. Adia Victoria) (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Tom Waits, Mark Lanegan, Nick Cave
The southern United States is a beautiful land full of scenic wonders and vibrant people. But you barely have to dig to unearth reminders of its dark past. The soil there has seen plenty of bloodshed and heartache, two elements that figure heavily in southern music. While many indie folk fans are familiar with Adia Victoria, the name Stone Jack Jones is lesser known. Hopefully this song will make fans of this talented artist.
“I’m Made” serves as one hell of an introduction to Jones. His brand of dusty, psychedelic folk is more than storytelling and a few chords: it’s whiskey and poetry brought to life in ways that can lift your spirits or knock you sideways. Consume with caution, knowing you stand a good chance of becoming addicted as this nine-minute tale unfolds. His piercing lyrics are devastating on their own. But add the hypnotic interplay between his smoky vocals and Adia Victoria’s haunting harmonies, and only the hardest of souls can deny this song’s magic:
“The dreams that we dream when we pass in the day
When we pass in the night with nothing to say…
The bones that are broken, the flesh that is torn
The clothes that tatter, the shoes that are worn…
The coming, the going, the struggle, the sorrow
The fallen, the flying, the wrestling tomorrow…”
Pour yourself a stiff drink and sit a while with this tune. Stone Jack Jones channels the best brooding troubadours (Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Nick Cave), so it’s high time you made his acquaintance.
Mia Joy – “Freak” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Hand Habits, Lala Lala,
Mia Rocha – a.k.a. Mia Joy – is a few months away from releasing her debut album, Spirit Tamer. The Chicago-based artist has kept us wanting more with each release, from her captivating Gemini Moon EP to recent single, “See Us.” Her newest song from the upcoming album reminds us why we love this artist so much.
Right from the opening line on “Freak”, Mia shows exactly why her songwriting is so compelling. With a quick lyrical nod to Korn’s “Freak on a Leash”, she turns that phrase into a relatable and powerful statement. It equates the feeling to being in a toxic relationship, feeling constrained, and the freedom of finally becoming unleashed. Musically, that about as far from that Korn track as you can get. With just a guitar and an ethereal layer of reverb paired with her vocals, the lyrics pack an even harder punch:
“I’m not a freak on a leash
Cause you burned me to set me free
It’s not about will but I’m finding my own path”
Eliza Shaddad – “Blossom” (London, England)
RIYL: Julien Baker, Samantha Crain, Hope Sandoval
It has been a while since Eliza Shaddad graced us with her stunning, cinematic art-rock. A year ago she shared a fabulous cover of All Saints’ “Pure Shores” which came 15 months after her last EP, Sept ~ Dec. The delay is understandable: getting married during a global pandemic while juggling multiple jobs (composer, teacher, linguist) leaves little time to record. But expecting one of our all-time favorites to go more than a year without sharing new music is foolhardy. Shaddad’s welcome return shines light on our ever-changing world.
Embracing her intimate folk beginnings, Shaddad delivers sonic springtime on “Blossom”. The song commences with a simple arrangement that centers around an acoustic guitar and her vocals. She sings first of a memory when we could freely move outside, lie beneath a blooming tree, and simply live. Then suddenly, the world is trapped indoors, as everyone battles an invisible enemy. The arrival of 2021 offers hope that we will return to the lives we knew, as she sings:
“I tell myself I’m dreaming oh in order not to raise the hope
I’ve been in hibernation for so long now I would just like to know
But as the air begins to warm I breathe it in
And as my heart begins to sing, ‘I think it must be Spring again'”
“Blossom” is Shaddad at her cinematic best, building the song so it lifts our spirits and makes us believe that normalcy is returning. The song is available now on Bandcamp.
Holiday Ghosts – “Off Grid” (Brighton via Falmouth, England)
RIYL: The Modern Lovers, Dick Diver, The Feelies
This single offers plenty of feel-good vibes to make you believe better days are ahead. It’s a tune that makes you want to raise your arms to the sky like you’ve smelled the sweet air of freedom for the first time in a year.
“Off Grid” from Holidays Ghosts will release your inner child, or at least make you feel a bit younger. The jangly garage-pop vibes are not merely infectious; they are exhilarating. For those who like to play air guitar and drums, the track offers plenty of moments to showcase those skills. Meanwhile, Samuel Stacpoole (vocals/guitar) and Katja Rackin (vocals/drums) add fun and amusement with their story of escaping the concrete jungle and the connected world. Their tale is of a week in the wilderness where they fend off fruit flies, get sunburnt, and yet feel liberated. “I don’t think I’m coming back,” they holler, indicating that they have been transformed physically, emotionally, and mentally.
With the arrival of spring and the administration of vaccines, hopefully we will soon experience the same release they describe here. Until then, this awesome tune is enough to keep our spirits high.
UV-TV – “Distant Lullaby” (Queens, NY via Gainesville, FL USA)
RIYL: Veronica Falls, Vivian Girls, Colleen Green
Let’s keep the energy up with more adrenaline-inducing tunes. This time, have a towel nearby because you might be drenched in sweat as you dance around to UV-TV‘s new single, “Distant Lullaby.”
If this is the first time you’ve heard of the band, you’re not alone as they’ve hovered under the radar since 2015. In their early years, front-woman and bassist Rose Vastola and guitarist Ian Bernacett plied their trade in Florida, rattling the walls of every establishment with their garage-punk act. Not long ago they packed their van and relocated to New York City, where they released their exuberant second album, Happy. As they prep for their next release, drummer Ian Rose has joined them to round out their sound – or more accurately, to help them evolve. With “Distant Lullaby”, the trio share one rollicking, power guitar-pop number.
The song is like rocket fuel, as there is no calm nor reprieve during the 140-second duration. Instead, guitars sizzle and rhythms (including the cowbell!) hammer loudly, inciting us to forget our problems and enjoy the moment. The music isn’t the only thing that gets you out of your seat. Vastola, whose voice soars with the airy sweetness of Nina Gordon, also encourages us to “move along / move on” from our self-inflicted imprisonment and take control. She hollers at us to wake up!
“But if we wait
I’m just saying,
We’re sleeping in a lie
But if we wait
I’m just saying,
It’s a distant lullaby”
The upcoming album, Always Something, arrives May 28th on PaperCup Music. It should be the perfect summer road-trip record.
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