From the euphoria of an indie legend to the ethereal lushness of a band on the rise and everything in between, The Matinee ’21 v. 068 edition is the soundtrack for not just Friday but the weekend. Each of the nine songs will leave you feeling like the best days are ahead. Today is also Bandcamp Friday, so we’ve listed, where available, links to get the songs.
Modest Mouse – “We Are Between” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Modest Mouse, New Order, Broken Social Scene
Next year, indie-rock icons Modest Mouse will celebrate their 30th anniversary. While the lineup has evolved over the years, which included Johnny Marr joining the collective for a six-year stint, front-man Isaac Brock and drummer Jeremiah Green continue to be the foundations around which the band are founded. The Washington-state born, Portland-based group have had a storied career, including one of the 21st Century’s seminal records, The Moon & Antarctica.
Despite the cult following they’ve amassed in nearly three decades of existence, Modest Mouse have been patient in releasing new material. Six years have passed since their sixth and most recent LP, Strangers to Ourselves, which was released eight years after We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Their hibernation, though, was due to expire. Much to delight of millions of fans around the globe, they released a new single the other day. The jubilation, however, goes beyond hearing new music from Modest Mouse, but it also extends right into “We Are Between”.
Through a catchy guitar riff, a Peter Hook-esque bass line, and a vibrant sound reminiscent of New Order in their prime, “We Are Between” is surprisingly upbeat, groovy, and euphoric. The single is a celebration of our lives and life as a whole. It reminds us that while differences exist between us, we are still all the same. We are all made of the flesh and bone and dream similar dreams. The song comes just at the right time, as the world begins to recover and make amends for recent sins. “We Are Between” is the much-needed anthem of 2021.
LUMP – “Animal” (London, England)
RIYL: Laura Marling, Tunng, La Femme
When it comes to the most prolific songwriters of this generation, it’s impossible to create a list that leaves out Laura Marling. Her folk stylings echo some of the most influential songwriters of all-time, from Mitchell to Cohen to Dylan. In 2018, Marling collaborated Tunng’s Mike Lindsay on a project called LUMP to create a much more electronic edge of folk music. LUMP’s self-titled debut was a perfect mesh of styles – Marling’s voice over epic, lush, and atmospheric soundscapes created a truly memorable record.
Marling and Lindsay are back this week with a new track, “Animal”. Guided by its thumping bass, and a wonderful synth lead that floats over its early moments, “Animal” shows a more focused sound than their debut. It has a distinctive ’80s feel that borders on pop. However, between Marling’s vocal delivery and that bass line as well as a stumbling section right in the middle of the song, it feels more sinister and raw. Lindsay and Marling describe LUMP as a gateway to a parallel universe. From the sounds that both artists present on “Animal”, in that parallel universe, they channel their inner beast.
The Joy Formidable – “Back to Nothing” (Utah via Flintshire, Wales)
RIYL: The Duke Spirit, Blood Red Shoes, School of Seven Bells
There are few bands that create roaring anthems as well as The Joy Formidable. Their first record was perhaps the most accurately titled album of all time, and since The Big Roar The Joy Formidable have cultivated a diverse, heartfelt, and intense discography. When they released “Into The Blue” as a single recently, it felt like a culmination of all the band has achieved so far.
With “Back to Nothing”, it feels like a partial return to those old days. The huge guitar sound and drums that make tracks like “A Heavy Abacus” appealing is present throughout “Back to Nothing”. However, the more mature sound of the later records is present. “Back to Nothing” has gorgeous layers of harmonies on Ritzy Bryan’s voice, to the impactful leveraging of the quiet moments with the loud, especially in the song’s final moments. Lyrically, it also shows the growth of the band, it’s a reflective track with a more mature outlook than those Big Roar tracks of a decade ago.
“Back to Nothing” will be on The Joy Formidable’s upcoming record, Into The Blue, out August 20th, pre-order it here. From the first two tracks we’ve heard, it’s sure to be among the band’s best.
New Bleach – “Stranger” (Québec City, Canada)
RIYL: Methyl Ethel, The Phoenix Foundation, Rhye
Slowly the world is re-opening and our lives are returning to normal. Then again, can we ever return to the lives that we once knew? Life as we know has significantly changed, and it goes beyond a global pandemic that forced us to stay in our homes for weeks and months at a time. Even though we can step outside again, see people we haven’t seen in more than a year, and attend a concert, uncertainty lingers around every corner. It lingers long in our mind. This apprehension is brilliantly captured in new-ish duo New Bleach‘s latest single, “Stranger”.
Neon electro-disco of the ’80s merges with contemporary psychedelic disco, and the result is a mesmerizing, infectious, yet suspenseful number. It is a song meant to be heard in dance clubs across the globe yet it would perfectly reside in a film-noir about a chance and tragic meeting between two people. Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin, who are also members of Caravane, however, have crafted a story with a more chilling theme. The “Stranger” they speak about exists within ourselves. Fear, anxiety, despair, and desperation are what haunt us every second of our existence. As the beats pulse, the fantastic bass throbs, and the synths hum, the two capture our internal struggle:
“If love is nothing, but chemistry
How come I feel paranoid?
When I’m all alone, my sanity
It drifts away into the void
This life is strange and I’m
I’m a stranger inside my home
If life is pain then I’m
I’m a painter who fills the holes”
Watch this duo as they could be the best story to come out of Canada’s indie scene this year, and Coyote Records has the good fortune to share their music.
CHILDCARE – “Karaoke Mantra” (London, England)
RIYL: David Byrne, Bauhaus, Of Montreal
We’re not sure how we missed this one, as CHILDCARE released “Karaoke Mantra” toward the end of March but it’s totally worth sharing. The genius of Ed Cares returns and this time we are graced with a groovy bassline and frenetic ’80s-inspired keys. The backing vocals are perfect here, and they never seem to take themselves too seriously with lyrics that include “peanut butter pilates” and “I’m into tantra and spiritual things like playing recorder on the beach” (with an actual recorder in the background).
The harmonies are undeniably catchy and you just want to sing along. You also won’t soon forget the “karaokeeeeeee” shrill at the end. But more importantly, the band’s take of the contradictions of our lives is priceless. We may be “woke” in our beliefs, yet we still desire the finest goods. We might want to save the environment, but we also want to profit from it. The songwriting is simply brilliantly, and it is reflected in the clever video. In it, the band look like Best Buy employees fruitlessly tugging on a rope tied to stationary things. Their creativity and quirkiness is what makes this band undeniably who they are – brilliant and unique.
CHILDCARE are Ed Cares (vocals), Emma Topolski (bass), Rich Legate (guitar), and Glyn Daniels (drums). The single is out on eOne Music UK.
Bnny – “Time Walk” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Lightning Dust, Jess Cornelius, Dehd
Chicago’s Fire Talk Records has a knack for finding great artists and bands across the US, although most of their roster either started or are currently based in the Windy City. They’re pretty much monopolized the indie scene in the home of the Bears, Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks, which also tells us that we all need to pay closer attention to the Illinois metropolis’ art scene. The latest addition to the Fire Talk family is a young woman who rewinds the clocks and takes us back to a time when life was much more low-key and simpler.
Jess Viscius is her name, and she fronts Bnny, which includes her twin sister Alexa Viscius and best friends Tim Makowski and Matt Pelkey. Jess’ story resembles that of many musicians in the ’60s and ’70s, where she picked up a guitar, learned a few chords, and started to write songs to the music she was creating. A songwriter was born. A band was born. And maybe eventually, we’ll say a star is born with Viscius following the same trajectory of other self-taught artists like Hendrix, Bowie, Presley, and Jett before her. It begins with “Time Walk”.
Despite its brevity, “Time Walk” is a catchy and terrific piece of ’70s psychedelic folk-rock. It is a song that recalls the sweltering days in the dusty landscapes of Black Rock Desert, as people gathered to share their music, stories, and other things. But no hallucinogenics are required for this tune, as the jangly guitars and the moaning rhythms along with Viscius’ visceral vocals provide all the haze required. Jess, however, doesn’t wish to take us to another time or even escape reality. On the contrary, the song is, as she says, a wake-up call. It’s about finding clarity in the people and things with whom we’ve grown comfortable and realizing that people change. That we change and sometimes we need to move on. And move shall Bnny, to hopefully the top of Chicago indie landscape.
John Andrews & The Yawns – “Try” (New Hampshire, USA)
RIYL: Woods, Alex Bleeker & The Freaks, Kevin Morby
While he may be more known for his work with bands like Woods, EZTV, and Widowspeak, John Andrews & The Yawns‘ 2017 record, Bad Posture, is a true hidden gem. Andrews’ lyricism paints vivid portraits of his time living out in the isolation of Barrington, New Hampshire. The result was an intelligent, whimsical, and wonderfully laid-back record that would fit nicely wedged in-between any two 1960s folk records.
Andrews is back and gearing up to release his third record, Cookbook. This week he shared “Try”, which features all of the qualities that made Bad Posture such a special record. Its simple piano chords, Andrew’s reverb-heavy vocal delivery, and a buttery smooth bass-line. Add in the wonderful organ, and tasty guitar hooks, “Try” really shines as a track. Cookbook is described as an album of love songs. That theme is prominent on “Try”, about how important love is, and how rewarding it is to put effort in.
T. Hardy Morris – “Down & Out” (Athens, GA, USA)
RIYL: Dead Confederate, George Harrison, Drive By Truckers
The music of T. Hardy Morris is a bit of an enigma. From his time as frontman of Dead Confederate, his contributions to Diamond Rugs, or the more folky stylings of his solo work, it’s hard to fit him in a box. His last record, Dude, The Obscure was a diverse folk record that showcased how skilled Morris is at telling stories and transporting listeners right into a time and place.
That distinctive lyricism and transformative ability are clear on “Down & Out”, Morris’ latest single. “Down & Out” has a dreamy quality to it, accentuated by Morris’ reverbed vocals, and intertwining keyboards and guitar. As Morris repeats the chorus, it borders on hypnotic. Lyrically, it’s a track with a bit of a playful quality. Morris talks about letting his “freak flag fly” and uses “trending” not as a buzzword but to describe decline. It’s a statement on the United States throughout the year of 2020, featuring a poignant verse about how our actions are received by the younger generation.
“What will the children think?
When they see our lack of effort?
Will they need to believe
In our hearts we knew no different?”
“Down & Out” will be on T. Hardy Morris’ upcoming record, The Digital Age of Rome, out June 25th on New West Records. The Digital Age of Rome features appearances from Faye Webster, Shelly Colvin, and Drive-by Truckers drummer Brad Morgan.
Stray Fossa – “Wish I Could Stay” (Charlottesville, VA, USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Beach Fossils, Future Islands
We end the week with a tune that perfectly guides us – or should we say glide? – to the weekend. Yes, we’ll say it – “Wish I Could Stay” from Stray Fossil is the perfect ending to the week and the ideal way to start the liberation of a Friday night. It is everything one could want in a song just as they punch the time clock for the last time this week.
With its blissful, dreamy shoegaze approach, “Wish I Could Stay” will put a smile on your face and make you feel like you’re levitating on Cloud 9. The combination of the crystalline guitar and the soothing keys create the intoxicating soundscape, and even the bubbling bass adds to the song’s exhilarating atmosphere. Wait, though, for the dreamy bridge that leads to the cathartic finale, which is simply a moment of great awe. All the while, the band deliver a story that makes us believe that tomorrow will indeed be better than today. That the fears of our past, the lessons we’ve learned, and the demons that haunt us will disappear and in their place will be the start of something magnificent.
“You said goodbyes
Never meant a thing
But I started guessing
Though we’d gathered our best
It was known for a while
That all through the night
You’d stayed wondering,
Haunted by old dreams
You could not share
In fear you’d throw them all away”
The song is from Stray Fossa’s new album, With You For Ever, which is out now. It’s an underrated gem, so stream it on your favorite platform or better yet pick it up on Bandcamp.
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