The Matinee ’21 v. 058 is a master-class in songwriting, featuring stories that belong on film, in a novel, or on a manifesto that encourages the world to change for the better.
Trevor Sensor – “Chiron, Galactus” (Sterling, IL USA)
RIYL: Kyle Craft, Old Sea Brigade, Eddie Vedder
Trevor Sensor is one of the great storytellers of our time. Songwriters like him are treasures that we should cherish and hold in high regard because they are immensely rare. And Sensor is still in his early twenties, meaning that he has a lifetime ahead of him to further cement his status as a young generation’s Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Lou Reed. He is an incredible talent.
Most of his releases to date have been rambunctious, imaginative tales, such as the Hunter S. Thompson-like “These Dark Days” and pretty much everything on his excellent LP, Andy Warhol’s Dream. His songs are insightful, at times humorous and lighthearted, and always provocative. For his latest single, however, Sensor turns the page on “Chiron, Galactus”, which represents a new chapter in the gifted American’s story.
“Chiron, Galactus” is Sensor’s darkest and arguably most mesmerizing output to date. It is his “Guernica” – his cinematic masterpiece that is awe-inspiring in its visual power; knee-buckling in its forceful and widescreen orchestration; and emotionally and psychologically crippling in its lyrical content. This song of pain, loss, and eventually revenge is made for the big screen, which is where Sensor drew inspiration. Channeling Nicholas Cage’s character, Red, from the horror-revenge movie, Mandy, Sensor is a wounded man seeking vengeance on those who took his wife’s life. As the song builds, Sensor’s voice screams with the pain and agony of a man who has lost his soul. He has lost everything.
“I know their secrets
I caught them licking bones
That woman was sure my wife
And y’all took her life
In the name of Jesus
Well now look who’s looking crucified”
In the process of writing this song, though, Sensor has found another gear to his incredible artistry. We’ll get to learn more about his evolution when his sophomore album, On Account of Exile Vol.1, is released June 18th 2021 on his own label, High Black Desert Records.
Charli Adams – “Cheer Captain” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Holly Humberstone, Dizzy
It wasn’t long ago when we said Charli Adams was becoming one of our all-time favorites. Well, she is one of our favorites, as the music she arranges and the stories she crafts always hit several emotional chords, such as the bewitching “Maybe Could Have Loved”. Despite her young age, she doesn’t opt to take short cuts. She instead chooses to be fully heard, allowing the entirety of her songs to resonate with listeners instead of just a repetitive segment. While her following is still growing, it should exponentially increase in the coming weeks and months, especially around July 16th when her debut album, Bullseye, is released. The first single from the forthcoming LP is everything one would expect from the rising star.
“Cheer Captain” is an emotive pop-rocker that dazzles and jars, akin to Phoebe Bridgers’ most crippling number. The song stirs the soul during its gritty yet dreamy chorus and when Adams shares the many times she felt like a prisoner in the eyes of others. She recounts her childhood days living in Alabama in a religious family, where she recognizes for the first time that she was “a people pleaser”. Whether in the eyes of God, appeasing her mother, or as captain of the cheerleading team, she was “living a lie”. Her upbringing to be subservient to others later manifested itself in the form of a toxic relationship, where she once again allowed another to govern her life.
“I shouldn’t have called
I know he’s probably busy
And when he fucks me over
I’ll say that I’m sorry
And then I’ll take it off so he says that he wants me
Cause I’m a people pleaser”
Raw, real, and powerful. The song encapsulates why we think Adams will be a star.
Bullseye will be released Color Study.
Oscar Lang – “Stuck” (London, England)
RIYL: FIDLAR, WAVVES, Alex Lahey
Oscar Lang‘s music is like a massive head-rush. The 21-year old Brit pretty much only knows one gear and that is to rock out and let loose, which he revealed on his excellent EP, Antidote to Being Bored, that included songs “Antidote to Being Bored”, “That Wasn’t What I Said”, and “Get Out”. There will be time in his future to slow down and turn to melancholy, but right now he’s using his youthful years to bring exuberance to this world. After more than a year of lockdowns and isolation, we all certainly could use a full-throttle belter to which we can lose our own minds. The young man delivers that in spades with “Stuck”.
You might want to open the windows before spinning this track because the song is intended to be a mental and emotional release. As the guitars wail and the rhythms pound heavily, Lang’s vocal roars through the rollicking noise. His voice is desperate, assertive, and boisterous, sounding like a man trapped in a tiny cell. This little prison is his mind, where conflicting thoughts, feelings, unrealistic expectations, and pent-up frustrations occupy our minds. And there’s only two things to do: scream and holler along with Lang and dance wildly until we are freed of these chains. Just let it all go for a moment and be released of all the pressures. Let Oscar Lang be the guide to our breakout.
The single is out on Dirty Hit.
Native Sun – “Jesus” (New York, USA)
RIYL: Ty Segall, Fuzz, FIDLAR
Native Sun have carved out a place for themselves among the great New York City rock bands of the last decade. Their music is undeniably cool, defined by loud guitars and in-your-face vocals and lyricism. All usually delivered at a breakneck pace. Their 2020 singles both say a lot about Native Sun. “Juarez” had an infectious guitar hook, and some just heavy rock and roll goodness. “Government Shutdown” dove more into a raw punk sound.
On their latest single, “Jesus”, Native Sun go in yet another direction. With roaring guitars and blaring vocals, it’s impossible to not find yourself headbanging along. Sometimes the roar disappears, with some piano and a reassuring vocal line before it all catches fire again. There are countless great guitar moments, too, from interludes to the intertwining solos at the end. “Jesus” will not disappoint anyone who digs a good shred session. Lyrically, it tackles faith and channels its imagery from that. It’s a call-out to challenge the way that religion has been used to manipulate. It’s accompanied by a music video that channels all of that into a surreal and wild ride.
Native Sun are Dany Gomez (vocals/guitar), Jake Pflum (lead guitar), Alexis Castro (drums), and Mo Martinez (bass). The single is out on Grand Jury Music, and you can buy/download/stream “Jesus” here.
Trace Kotik – “Hesitant” (Israel)
RIYL: Haux and Justin Vernon meets Manchester Orchestra and Frightened Rabbit
Despite only having a handful of songs to his name, Trace Kotik is already a genre-defying artist. From his early single “Enough” and its folk-stomp, to the huge guitar solos of the indie-rocking “Snips”, to the heavy “Until Next Time”, Kotik isn’t afraid to dabble in different styles. What’s also notable is that even with the wide range of sounds, everything Kotik does sounds fantastic.
That trend absolutely continues on his latest single, “Hesitant“. Kotik slows things down a bit, early on with just his voice and guitar. Without even realizing it, the song reaches some incredible heights, each layer being added one by one. It comes to a head with swirling guitar solos and heavy drums. All that noise before it all breaks down again to just vocals and guitar. It doesn’t stay that way long as Kotik builds it all back up into a huge cathartic moment. “Hesitant” is all about those moments of hesitation – questioning where we are, what we are doing. Even musically, there’s moments where things stop and go, but in the end the growth is embraced, and the feeling is pure elation.
Kotik’s new album, Everything has been done by now so now everything is possible…, is out next week, April 23rd to be precise. Pre-saves available here.
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