The Matinee ’21 v. 055 is a wave of emotion, as the seven artists featured reveal their most intimate feelings, share their unforgettable losses, attempt to mend frayed relationships, and unveil the pains they’ve endured. Through despair, tragedy, and the unknown, they all still find a way to celebrate what was and what is to come.

 

Kandle – “Misty Morning” (Vancouver, Canada)

RIYL: Lana Del Rey, Elena Tonra, Sarah McLachlan

When Kandle Osborne – or simply Kandle – performed in Ottawa back in 2014, we called her a star in the making. A lot has changed since that time, as she ripped up her contract with a major label and went fully independent. Without the burden of making radio-friendly, commercial-pop tunes, she’s traversed many genres – swampy blues, witch rock, psych-rock, alternative, desert psychedelia, and 007-worthy film-noir. She is an artist who refuses to take the safe route, which she probably takes from her father Neil, who is the frontman for Canadian band 54-40.

While we have heard Osborne craft widescreen dramas, very rarely does she expose herself to the world to hear. That is to be vulnerable, where there is just her voice and a solitary instrument. It’s never easy for any individual to be the singular focal point, but as is the case with everything Osborne has done she excels in the quiet intimacy of “Misty Morning”.

Featuring Osborne alone at the piano, she does not assume another character’s persona. There’s no Jackie Brown or Emma Peel in this track, but rather the protagonist is Osborne herself. With a sultry intimacy, she reveals how she has finally found love. The song isn’t the usual love tune, as she never says the word. Instead, she shares how she long wished to be accepted, and her wish has finally come true.

“Felt just like a body since the age of 17
Learned to keep my mouth shut,
Never saying what I mean
I see there’s more than one thing a boy could want from me
Never did I dream I could be adored
No one has every tried to stick around before”

Just simply a beautiful song, which is taken from Osborne’s forthcoming new album, Set the Fire. It will be released this summer.

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Sam Valdez – “Palms Casino” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Liza Anne, Pearl Charles

For nearly four years, a young artist from Los Angeles has mesmerized us with her angelic voice (and it’s one of the great ones in all of music), endearing songwriting, and Laurel Canyon vibes. Her name is Sam Valdez, who would have been a mega-star if she was releasing music in the ’70s and ’80s. Her blend of dream-pop, folk, shoegaze, and Americana recalls an era when songs were experiences. They told stories, elicit emotions in us, and often provided a brief escape, and all these things are wonderfully captured in “Palms Casino”.

The song feels like a road trip to nowhere on a beautiful late-spring and summer day. It is made for adventure, as its desert-inspired dreamgaze approach is breathtaking yet exhilarating. It leaves one feeling renewed and refreshed, feeling alive. As dreaminess descends upon the melody, Valdez’s voice fills the voids in our souls. Like the song, she encourages us to get into our vehicles and explore what’s out there (when it is safe to do so, of course) or at the very least to take a chance when the opportunity presents itself. We live only once, so let’s have no regrets.

And people will have no regrets purchasing Valdez’s new album, Take Care, which is out May 7th. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.

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The Wallflowers – “Roots and Wings” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Jayhawks

It seems 2021 is shaping up to be the year of big comebacks. Live music events are returning, along with beloved bands on reunion tours. While we usually focus on nascent artists, it’s fitting to share this new single from The Wallflowers. This group with a rich musical pedigree has been quiet for nearly a decade. Soon the Jakob Dylan-led project will release their first album since 2012 and embark on a 53-date arena tour.

“Roots and Wings” reminds longtime fans of what makes this American band so timeless. Their roots-driven rock steers clear of flashy filler, focusing instead on honest storytelling paired with classic instrumentation. But this tune is also an introduction for listeners born after the Los Angeles-based band formed in 1989. Their young ears might not detect the echoes of Springsteen and Petty in the song. They might not be aware of the musical legacy of the frontman. Neither can diminish the appeal of “Roots and Wings” – no, this tune’s quality is evident from the first chord. The song and the upcoming Exit Wounds LP will bridge multiple generations of music lovers.

The album arrives July 9th via New West Records with pre-orders here.

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Old Sea Brigade – “Mirror Moon” (Nashville, USA)

RIYL: Sea Wolf, Gregory Alan Isakov, Freyr

Last month we swooned hard over “Nothing Clever” from Nashville artist Old Sea Brigade. The musical textures Ben Cramer creates are a balm for the soul, soothing from both a lyrical and musical standpoint. This is what attracts listeners to his sound. Cramer strikes the perfect balance, delivering heartfelt lines with the feather-light style of Gregory Alan Isakov and Julien Baker.

Cramer’s songwriting talents shine again on the newest track from his upcoming Motivational Speaking album. His whispered delivery on “Mirror Moon” heightens the intimacy of the lyrics. As we begin our collective return to whatever constitutes normal, this song reminds us that uncertainty is our shared emotion. Most listeners can relate to the lines “Everything is stranger now / Will anything feel the same?” The truth is, none of us has answers yet. We cannot predict what lies ahead. Fortunately we have talented artists like Old Sea Brigade joining us on the journey.

Motivational Speaking is due May 14th via Nettwerk Music Group. Pre-order/pre-save links are available here and at Bandcamp.

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Dance Lessons – “Just Chemistry” (London, England)

RIYL: London Grammar, Morcheeba, HÆLOS

Nearly a year ago, a new trio from across the Pond made us do a slow dance all by ourselves with their sultry, soulful blend of trip-hop and dark-pop. “New Job” from Dance Lessons stayed in our heads for weeks, and yes we danced alone in our bedrooms. As good as that song was, Ann, Nat, and Tom have one-upped themselves with their latest tune, which requires listening with dusk descending upon the day and the room dimly lit by a few candles.

“Just Chemistry” drips of the intimate and emotionally stirring trip-hop of London Grammar and Morcheeba. With its sultry and hypnotic bass line, Ann’s haunting vocals, and the trembling mystique of the unexpected saxophone, the song is made for the night. It is made for reconnecting with the one we truly love after weeks, months, and even more than a year apart. But this tune isn’t about a one-night affair nor even about falling in love. On the contrary, it’s about rebuilding trusts between people. “I’m not you’re enemy / We are just chemistry”, Ann sings with a touch of doubt in her voice. Her words are a reminder that in these strange times we are not alone and we don’t need to grow apart.

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Fanclubwallet – “C’mon Be Cool” (Ottawa, Canada)

RIYL: Frankie Cosmos, Adult Mom, Emily Yacina

Armed with a Casio keyboard, there’s a lot to dig about of Hannah Judge. It’s been about a year since she released her first song as fanclubwallet, a cover of The Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody”). However, Judge has been making music for herself for much longer than that. She wrote her upcoming EP, Hurt is Boring, in her childhood bedroom in-between hospital visits for a Crohn’s flare-up.

The isolation of being stuck in your childhood bed for months has actually become quite relatable over the last year. While it’s about staying still, “C’mon Be Cool” is quite an upbeat pop song. “I went to bed and didn’t get out for ten months”, Judge sings, over an infectious drumbeat and catchy guitar chords. Judge also sings about how much people can change, out of sight for months. The Ottawa-based singer-songwriter attempts to reassure us that we should all be “cool” with each other, even with all those changes.

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Joseph of Mercury – “Pretty Blonde Boy” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: Morrissey, The Human League, Sam Himself

For nearly a decade, Joseph Salusbury has redefined the term “crooner” via his project Joseph of Mercury. Instead of overly emotive love songs performed to a theatrical-pop approach, the Toronto resident has delved into other genres while telling stories that most crooners would avoid. Salusbury, after all, is an artist not a showman. When he does sing about love, it is an outpouring of emotion to people he knew, cared for, and lost. This is the case with “Pretty Blonde Boy”.

Through a darkly enchanting, new wave / synth-pop approach, Salusbury shares his heartbreak to the world. He sings about Dakota Luke Kavanagh, Dmytro Stefaniv, and everyone else who passed as a result of fentanyl. Kavangh was like a brother to Salusbury while Stefaniv was his oldest, closets, and dearest friend. He was more than a best friend and a brother; he was the person that Salusbury leaned on in difficult times and turned to at the moment of celebration. Now, he is a memory.

“There are those who you only know for a short time
But bright lights burn faster”

Look after one another everyone, now more than ever.

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