The Matinee ’21 v. 053 has rounded out to have something for everyone on this fine hump day. From singer-songwriter ballads, upbeat alt- and electro-pop, embracing indie-rock, and some much-needed anthemic music, this is the perfect pick me up to get you through the rest of the week.
Rachael Jenkins – “untitled” (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Florist, Tiny Ruins
Rachael Jenkins’ debut single is quite a long-time coming. Building a steady following on TikTok with covers and snippets of original music, people were organically introduced to Jenkins’ undeniable talent. It’s surprising to learn that “untitled” is Jenkins’ first single. From its lyrics to its composition, it sounds like something from someone with years of experience.
“untitled” is a song with a subject that is echoed in the lyrics of songwriters like TORRES and Julien Baker. It’s about coming to terms with how faith has affected her life as an LGBTQ+ person. Jenkins grew up in Utah as a Mormon, and “untitled” is about leaving the church, realizing the damage that it caused, and the reality of no longer being sheltered in that bubble. The music itself is truly stunning while Jenkins’ voice is brittlely powerfully and each lyric is presented so intentionally. The future is incredibly bright for Jenkins.
ETAN – “I’m Back” (London, England)
RIYL: Danz CM, St. Vincent, Robyn
The fabric of ETAN’s music is made up of the mixture of settings that her music is a window into. Born in London and relocated to Tel Aviv at a young age, ETAN absorbed quite a broad list of influences. With just a handful of singles to her name, she’s already created a musical aesthetic that is completely her own.
ETAN continues to define her style on “I’m Back”. Spearheaded by some infectious synth and drums, its opening moments are inviting. ETAN’s vocals are lush with harmonies and some occasional backing vocals that really keep things fresh throughout. The song is a throwback in many ways, but it doesn’t fall into the pitfall many similar tracks to. It feels very modern and fresh, and its lyrics even complement that – from the perspective of an outsider, an alien, returning to a familiar place. It’s a relatable thing when you call two places home, like ETAN. It’s hard to feel like you fit in anywhere, like an alien.
Demons Of Ruby Mae – “Alright” (Leicester, England)
RIYL: Foals, Editors, Bloc Party
While for most of the past year we have lived under a dense cloud of darkness, glimmers of hope now peek through this once impenetrable wall. Soon we’ll permanently break through and feel the light. Feel exhilarated and alive. When that day finally arrives, it probably will feel like the emotions that flood through Demons Of Ruby Mae’s anthemic new single, “Alright”.
The Leicester duo have crafted a song that resonates with the adrenaline-inducing, explosive indie rock of Foals. It is electrifying, euphoric, and an ear-worm of the nth degree. Its searing approach may cause folks to race towards the wall and try to knock it down with their bare hands. They, however, won’t be alone because their best friends will be right next to them. This song, after all, is about the unbreakable bonds between people, and how those who truly know and love us will be there when we need them. They will be there to pick us up and be the light when we need them most.
“’Cause I’ll get by with my friends, I’ll be alright
I don’t need anybody, I’d like you in my life”
Watch the video to the song on YouTube and be further moved by this awesome tune.
Wallice – “Hey Michael” ft David Marinelli (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Girl in Red, Caroline Rose, King Princess
In horror movies, young, charming women are often the victims at the hands of a psychotic, often white male. From Psycho to Nightmare on Elm Street to Scream, this stereotype has been perpetuated for decades. Rarely are the roles reversed – that is until now. Maybe “Hey Michael” isn’t a full-length feature film, but rising alt-pop star Wallice makes a brash and awesome statement on her latest single and video.
As a steady, beach-like groove emanates from the jangly guitars and the stuttering rhythms, Wallice calmly and confidently says at the start, “I heard you’re pretty good at drums, I think that’s pretty cool / But if you try to fuck my friend, I’ll push you in the pool”. The young artist is laying down the rules on a manipulative man named Michael. The antagonist is like a young Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, who thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Playing the part of Michael is guitarist Marinelli, who sings with a swagger, “My band’s about to hit it big / Pretty soon I won’t have time.”
Wallice, though, is the one who doesn’t have time for Michael’s gaslighting, and she starts to take things in her own hands. As she lays waste to everyone, including Michael, she sings with little remorse:
“You’re the life of the party, but the party is finally over
I think I’m gonna lose my shit, I’m gonna lose my composure”
All we have to say to that is, “Go Wallice!” She’s the femme fatale that the music industry needs as well as the world requires in this day of all the Michaels who think they’re bigger than the rest.
Remember Sports – “Out Loud” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Hop Along, Ratboys, Waxahatchee
There must be something in Philadelphia’s water because many of its indie bands create music that represent the masses. We’re not talking about songs made for commercial consumption but rather stories and themes that reflect our shared hopes and dreams as well as our concerns and anxieties. Forget City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia is the City of Fraternity, thanks to bands and artists like Kurt Vile, Hop Along, Waxahatchee, The War On Drugs, and Remember Sports.
The quartet of Carmen Perry (vocals/guitar), Catherine Dwyer (bass), Jack Washburn (guitar), and Connor Perry’s (drums) new album, Like a Stone, is just around corner. Specifically, it releases April 23rd via Father/Daughter Records and Big Scary Monsters, and the singles shared to date demonstrate the band’s innate ability to connect with its listeners. The melodic rocker “Materialistic” found comfort in the inanimate while “Pinky Ring” turned heartbreak into a cathartic experience. Now they make loneliness and isolation feel stupendous on “Out Loud”.
The single encapsulates the greatness of Remember Sports. The warm and light indie-rock melody embraces you immediately, and it hooks you as it gradually builds to its urgent climax. You stay, though, to listen to what each members has to say. Whereas the previous two singles were more introspective, “Out Loud” is the band reaching out their hands to lift us out of our self-imposed isolation and encouraging us to no longer hide who we are. They are encouraging us to be true to ourselves and, thus, each other.
“And I won’t stop, never give up
Trying to get everything out
Of your head into your mouth
We can make this last if you say it out loud”
Holly Humberstone – “Haunted House” (Grantham, England)
RIYL: Julien Baker, Maggie Rogers, Angie McMahon
Holly Humberstone has been on our radar ever since sharing her mind bending debut, “Falling Asleep At The Wheel”, almost a year ago. She’s included in our ones to watch list as well. Her combination of spellbinding vocals and vulnerable storytelling has her on a fast trajectory towards stardom, and her latest single will only accelerate her journey to this ultimate destination.
“Haunted House” is a sweeping and beautiful track that is truly about growing up in her childhood home, which was believed to be haunted. It is also about internal struggles in life including our own “ghosts”. Humberstone’s vocals and piano take the forefront as the song builds into a wall of sweeping harmonies and a simple exit. The only negative to this track is the length, as it definitely has the listener wanting more. Holly shares a bit more about the track:
“I wrote this song about the old and characterful house I grew up in. The house is such a huge part of who I am and our family. With my sisters and I moving out and living separate lives, coming home feels very comforting and one of the only things keeping us all connected. The house is almost falling down around us now though, and we’ve realised that pretty soon we’ll be forced to leave. There’s a cellar full of meat hooks and a climate so damp mushrooms grow out of the walls. Loads of people have probably died here in the past, but I’ve always felt really safe. It’s like a seventh family member. It’s part of me.”
“Haunted House” is the first we hear from Humberstone and sets up nicely her upcoming EP. She also will be touring a bit in the summer and attending a few festivals. The single is out via Darkroom/Interscope and Polydor Records.
Tristen – “Athena” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Faye Webster, Sarah Bethe Nelson, Jess Locke
Should we ever do a post that featured great lyrics in music, “Athena” from singer-songwriter Tristen Gaspadarek – or simply Tristen – would undoubtedly be included. Has anyone written a better set of lyrics this year than:
“Would you know it if you had?
She was written by a man
Only a warrior until she undresses”
We don’t think so, as the Nashville-based singer-songwriter has brilliantly captured how women have been sexualized in mythology, literature, TV, film, and music throughout history. Even when they possess super-natural powers, they are still depicted as an object to be desired.
The entire song is filled with lyrical gems, and it is also filled with an infectious psychedelic, garage-pop sound that feels like a late-summer’s evening. Jangly chords and a stuttering rhythm section swirl in the still air, luring us into Tristen’s hazy world. She, however, isn’t wearing rose-colored glasses in this place. Instead, her vision is crystal clear, and her mission is to make us realize our own hypocrisies. When we are able to do this, then can we truly see the strength and true beauty of gods and heroes like Athena and Tristen.
“She’s your heroine
Shut her up again
Long may she reign
If she can hide her strength”
PACKS – “New TV” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Lomelda, Pavement, The Shins
From the moment PACKS hit our ears for the first time, we could tell there was something unique about Madeline Link’s music. Link has quite an interesting background. She’s in a power-pop group with her sister called Triples, and she’s a commercial set dresser. On top of that, she spent time as an artist in Mexico creating and destroying her own artwork.
Link dedicates her new single, “New TV”, to “other people’s garbage.” That ’90s slacker grunge vibe that drew us in to PACKS initially is immediately present. Its opening guitar chords is just a hazy layer of distortion on it. Link’s voice comes in with some harmonies, but in a perfectly surreal way. Link has proven herself to be quite a witty songwriter, singing about the instant gratification of finding sweet deal on something and tossing out the old.
JWestern – “Aspirin” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Dominic Fike, Easy Life, Rex Orange County
JWestern (AKA John Gooding) has his first release of 2021 with “Aspirin”. The track is the perfect culmination of gleaming guitar washes, shuffling drums and an addicting bass groove. His combination of melding jazz with a hip-hop flair and approachable lyrics, he has what it takes to take off much like Gus Dapperton or Dominic Fike have. The single was inspired by the weirdness of being stuck at home last year. He shares a bit more:
“Being so isolated and restricted this last year I found myself trapped in my own head, spending hours reflecting on past experiences and how those experiences have fed into me as a person”, he confides.
“Similar to ‘Just People’, I’ve always used my songs as a coping mechanism, but this time it just felt easier to be more honest than before. I’m scared of my feelings, scared of the future, scared of losing the people around me and for long periods I put a shutter over certain parts of my brain just trying to keep those thoughts at bay. Predictably, in the early hours of the morning I’d find myself awake contemplating all these different thoughts. All these songs stem from those moments, half awake, alone, writing everything down on the notes app of my phone.”
“Aspirin” is the follow up single from JWestern’s debut EP, Just People. The single is out today via Heist or Hit.
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