The long weekend may be behind us, but just means another week to share new music on The Matinee ’21 v. 052. Six songs comprise today’s mini-playlist, which begins with a bang and ends with some mystery.
POND – “Pink Lunettes” (Fremantle, Australia)
RIYL: Tame Impala, Gum, Methyl Ethyl
With the long weekend now forgotten and the pall of the work week before us, getting up today likely was difficult for many. If that was the case, then quickly turn up the volume and let your body and soul awaken to the spaced-out, disco-psychedelia of “Pink Lunettes”, the newest single from the great POND.
For thirteen years, Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry, and James Ireland have taken listeners through interstellar time warps, to mind-bending tea parties after traveling down numerous rabbit holes, and deep into our own psyches. This time around, they send us to the great dance halls of the ’70s, where we can, as Allbrook states in the liner notes, become “totally unhinged”. There aren’t any tripped-out psych guitars driving this tune, but instead we lose our minds to the dizzying buzz of synths, percussion, and drum machines. We become lost within this cyclone of ravishing noise that reminds us to live even during these weird times. The song title is, after all, a play on “rose-colored glasses”, so for a moment look at life in an optimistic and glorious way. And don’t forget to dance.
This song is out now via Spinning Top Music and available from these links. Those in Western Australia will also get to see the band live in concert over the next month. The previous link has the shortcut to the tour dates.
Caveman – “Helpless” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Future Islands, BNQT, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Tennyson once wrote “In the Spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.” We recall that timeless truth when the rising temps remind us of our true love: live music. Naturally our thoughts turn to speculation about rescheduled festivals and which of our favorite artists will grace the stages. At the risk of vexing the festival gods, we feel confident about seeing longtime favorites Caveman again soon. The arrival of their new single is the dose of sweet sonic optimism we all need right now.
“Helpless” finds the Brooklyn-based trio staying true to their retro synth-pop roots. Every note of this sunny gem captures the carefree feelings of a summer day. This band has been delivering kaleidoscopic sounds for over a decade, and on “Helpless” they showcase everything that fans love about them. Frontman Matthew Iwanusa keeps listeners spellbound with his warm vocals while Sam Hopkins’ synths dazzle along with Jimmy Carbonetti’s trademark guitar magic. If the upbeat instrumentation doesn’t recharge you instantly, then the video (directed and edited by Iwanusa) will.
New music from Caveman is always a good thing. But this single is more than just a sunny tune: it’s a positive sign that the world is one step closer to normalcy.
“Helpless” is out now from these links. Hopefully a full album is on the way.
Sterre Weldring – “Not With Me” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: The Weather Station, Eliza Shaddad, Basia Bulat
There are songs that make you gently say wow. Then there are songs that make your heart flutter, have you noticeably gasping for a breath, and, in the end, leave you in awe. Such songs personify music as art, which makes 23-year-old Sterre Weldring an emerging maestro at her craft because her new single, “Not With Me”, is an emotional masterpiece.
Sit down, take a deep breath, and allow the native of Alkmaar enchant you. At first, the song is the equivalent to a late-night lullaby with its calm, dreamy, alt-folk approach. The interplay between the piano and the guitar creates the lush melody, but then it builds into a grand, cinematic moment. Through it all, Weldring’s soaring voice stands above. She sings either to someone that was once close to her heart or even to herself about whether to remain or leave. Does she try to recapture what was or start a new chapter? As stirring the music is, Weldring’s lyrics are even more powerful.
“So give me one good reason for why I should say
One good reason not to go away?
‘Cause you were never with me,
You would never try to forgive me
When I wasn’t scared of you leaving
But how can you leave when you were never here?
The young woman is going to be a powerhouse on the Dutch music scene if not all of Europe and beyond.
Bess Atwell – “Time Comes in Roses” (London, England)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Julia Jacklin, Nadia Reid
Last month, London singer-songwriter Bess Atwell introduced herself with the beautiful yet engrossing “Co-op”. The song was a statement, revealing to the world a young artist who can bowl over listeners with just her voice, poignant songwriting, and an intimate approach. As great as “Co-op” was, “Time Comes in Roses” is equally, if not even more so, moving and spectacular.
More stripped back in its approach but still possessing Atwell’s impeccable lyricism, “Time Comes in Roses” is a stunner. Its delicate alt-folk approach and Atwell’s gorgeous voice may cause you to smile and recall fond memories. As it builds, though, it leaves you paralyzed. Whatever you were doing, you come to an immediate halt as the song subtly grows darker. During this time, Atwell shares the anxiety that eats away at her during countless hours and days at home while in lockdown. She may be with her family, but this place is where “nobody things I’m special yet”. She feels trapped.
“But time comes in roses, I really love ya
I’m tired of being like my mother
I get excited, I get depressed
I’m never happy with how I’m dressed
Five years wasted, I’m still young
But only by a couple months
And then I’m dead for all intents and purposes
And I’ve been slower than I thought
At getting my life off the rocks”
Jet City Sports Club – “Redfern Station” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: The Beths, Phantastic Ferniture, Middle Kids
The Australian music scene is like an endless songwriting contest, where nearly every artist and band – whether they’re established or just arriving – are focused on writing great stories. They’re not simply here to entertain and create ear-candy. They’re here to share their own experiences, tell the tales of people who cannot, or move us to act with emotional or politically-charged messages. Every year, the country offers the world a bevy of talented new artists, including Lilla Obradovic, Jack O’Connor, Sebastian de Haas, and Dominic Maher who make up Jet City Sports Club.
The Sydney-based quartet released their debut EP, September Sun, at the end of March. This great little record included “Spinning Me Out”, which was a dazzling piece of guitar-pop that brought us back to our youth. We anticipated that this song would be the record’s centerpiece, but “Redfern Station” might be the one that people will remember years from now.
Its shimmering, indie pop-rock approach is warm and enticing on the senses, like awakening from a splendid dream that includes every important person in your life. It makes you feel alert, renewed, and alive. Likewise, this tune is an ode to something special to the band. Specifically, it is a dedication to their hometown of Sydney and the people – family and strangers alike – that occupy it. While many may choose adventures elsewhere, they still keep coming back to the Harbour City, which is what people will do when they hear this fantastic song and when they hear more from Australia’s next great band. As Obradovic sings:
“Everybody is telling you to take a leap
How ‘bout in front of me?
Get on the train, get on the train”
Kidä – “Souvenir” (London, England)
RIYL: Dev Hynes/Blood Orange, Solange, Yves Tumor
While Dev Hynes (the mastermind behind Blood Orange) and Def Jam’s Genesis Garcia were early champions of Kidä, we are more recent members of her bandwagon. The London-based composer, producer, and singer-songwriter amazed us with “Brother” a month ago. Now with just days before her debut EP, Burn To Make It Glow, is released (officially out this Wednesday, April 7), she moves from the mysterious and groovy to a dark, suspenseful atmosphere on “Souvenir”.
Like the aforementioned Hynes, Kidä is an experimenter who refuses to follow tried-and-true formulae. Like the song’s definition, “Souvenir” echoes of times when bands pushed the envelope. Specifically, the era of trip-hop sultriness, Gothic electronica, and searing dark-pop reverberates across the track. It is Portishead, Massive Attack, and Depeche Mode all rolled up into one sonic spectacle. Consequently, the song is simultaneously inviting yet alarming, particularly when Kidä’s soaring voice arrives and shares her heartbreak. But instead of taking the usual tack of wanting revenge or sharing her pain, she instead wants her the other person to forever be haunted by her memory. She wants that person to never forget who Kidä is, keeping her image like a souvenir or a “lucky charm”. Soon, people won’t forget her name.
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