The return of a sleeping indie giant, the release of a forgotten classic, a dystopian escapade, a young artist finding her voice, and a love told through the eyes of an apprehensive woman, The Matinee ’21 v. 067 is filled with memorable stories. A tight five songs are featured, but they are enough to fill your day with a bit of wonder, awe, and escapism.
Warpaint – “Lilys” (HBO ‘Made For Love’ Cut) (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Depeche Mode, YONAKA
We’ve been waiting years for Warpaint to share something, anything p. While Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa have kept busy undertaking various side projects, the quartet have collectively been quiet since their 2016 album, Heads Up. Interrupting their hiatus, however, was the draw to be part of HBO history and, specifically, to set the tone for the network’s new series, Made for Love. We won’t delve into the details of the show (read critics reviews on Rotten Tomatoes), but if “Lilys” is any indication of what the tone of the show it should be must-see television. And Warpaint’s newest single is must-listen theater.
“Lilys” is stark, cinematic, and mesmerizing. It is the quartet at their bleakest best, as Gothic, post-punk undertones filter through the dark-pop hypnotism. This is Warpaint channeling their inner Depeche Mode, with whom they last toured back in 2016-17. But whereas the legendary English trio grabbed attention with pulsating synths, Warpaint’s firm grip lies in the chiming echoes of Wayman’s and Kokal’s guitars and the foreboding tones of Lindberg’s bass and Mozgawa’s percussion. Kokal’s voice, likewise, is ghostly, as she narrates a dangerous tale of cat and mouse between two people. “Would you rather be happy or rather be right? / We’re so dangerous / And complicated,” she sings.
Here’s hoping the single is the start of Warpaint’s resurrection.
Kevin Morby – “Dumcane” (Kansas City, USA)
RIYL: Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan
Kevin Morby is unquestionably one of the great songwriters and storytellers of this generation. He can tell stories of the people of a city he once called home (2017’s City Music) or return to his roots and reassess life and its lessons (2020’s outstanding Sundowner). He is what Bob Dylan was fifty years ago but done through a more intimate and soulful approach. His 2016 album, Singing Saw, in particular, showcased the former Woods bassist’s superb song-writing skills. One song, however, never made it on to the final cut, which Morby and his friend Sam Cohen recently found. Yesterday, he dusted off the track and shared it with the world.
“Dumcane” feels like a timeless classic. It could have been recorded in 1961 or 2021, yet it was made in 2016. Simplistic in its approach, the song radiates with the warmth of the first day of spring, removing the curtain of darkness that has long veiled our lives and in the process bringing smiles to everyone’s faces.
His story, too, is one of innocence and optimism. He shares memories of his youth when he was sheltered from the world’s pains, and, therefore, he could focus on dreaming about the next day’s adventure with someone he adored. In the end, though, they’ve gone their separate ways, but Morby returns one final time to say goodbye and thank you. He also reminds us we can always return home to find some peace.
The song is out on Dead Oceans.
Hallan – “Orwell’s Idyllic Future” (Portsmouth, England)
RIYL: Bambara, Iceage, Fontaines D.C.
Portsmouth post-punk outfit Hallan first made our ears perk with the Orwellian-esque “Modern England” some nine months ago. Shortly thereafter, they released the bodacious, “Hands Up”, which was another all-too-familiar yet surreal tale. The two songs demonstrated that Conor, Josh R, Josh T, and Adam were not just an awesome band, but four young men who probably could write a thesis dissertation on post-modern sociological theory and the applicability of Marshall McLuhan’s hypotheses on today’s society. Or maybe they’ll stick to George Orwell, which they do on the aptly (and ironically) titled, “Orwell’s Idyllic Future”.
With Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984 as its inspiration, this dark, rollicking number examines how people have become dependent on technology. As a searing guitar rips through the hammering, propulsive atmosphere, Conor nonchalantly exults that, “Big Brother is going to save my soul”. There’s no concern that his actions and words are being monitored because our realities are now manufactured and our futures are “make believe”. This is our world today, where fiction and reality are increasingly blurred. Where we, the people, are nothing more than minions within this great game of life.
Phoenix Mundy – “Omen” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Patchwork Guilt, Ghostly Kisses, Haux
Nearly five years ago, a young woman introduced herself to the music world as Patchwork Guilt, and she created blissful alt-pop music. Earlier this year, the Bristol-based artist decided to shed the moniker and use her given name, Phoenix Mundy. As she said in a Facebook post, Patchwork Guilt represented a specific time in her young career, but now as a more confident woman she wanted people to know her by her real name. With a song like “Omen”, they certainly will.
A tranquil piano-led melody hovers in the background while Mundy’s smoky and quietly booming voice fills the air. The song is part lullaby and another part fantasy, sounding like it could be part of a Sylvain Chomet animated film (the director behind Les triplettes de Belleville) or a Guillermo del Toro movie. The video, too, gives this sense of enchantment, perfectly complementing Mundy’s story of a young person’s first foray into the real world. She wonders out loud is lady luck, fate, and the gods will be on her side. Will they work with her and bless her with good fortune or will her days end before they even begin? For Munday, we believe the former is her fate but she’ll do it, as she says, on her own time.
Tristen – “Wrong with You” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Faye Webster, Steady Holiday, Moaning
We cannot say that Tristen Gaspadarek is a newcomer to know because she’s been around for nearly a decade. We can say that she is one of the most exciting voices in music today since she isn’t confined to any particular genre nor focused on any singular theme. For instance, her new album, Aquatic Flowers, is shaping up to be extremely varied and diverse, as she has already shared the glass-ceiling shattering, “Athena”, and the compelling, self-destructive love song, “Complex”. The LP’s third single, meanwhile, showcases another side to the Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s side.
“Wrong with You” is a light, little pop ditty that is intended to shower the world with a bit of happiness and sunshine. Tristen’s saccharine vocal sprinkles through the carefree soundscape, featuring a summery guitar riff, bubbling rhythms, and a quiet organ arrangement. The energy in her voice, too, gives the indication of elation. However, instead of feeling joy, apprehension weighs heavily on her mind as she tries to make sense as to why another decides to stay with her. “I’m weary of a good thing”, she openly states. She continues:
“So I come off as shy
But I’m trapped in my mind
You can’t live with me
I live alone”
Come June 4th, you don’t have to choose to live alone. Instead, welcome Aquatic Flowers into your home. The LP will be released on Mama Bird Recording Co. Pre-orders / pre-saves are available here as well as on Bandcamp.
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