The Matinee ’21 v. 072 is one rambunctious affair, filled with radiant rockers, thrilling scorchers, and blustery cinema. Every song will wake up your senses, just in time to say adios to the week and bonjour to the weekend. If you need more music for the weekend, listen to our Songs of May 2021 playlist, which features all the songs we’re digging this month. They are on SoundCloud and Spotify.
Stay safe everyone.
TORRES – “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Lucy Dacus, Liza Anne
Only a little more than a year has passed since Mackenzie Scott, the mastermind behind TORRES, released Silver Tongue. Her fourth album was a defiant statement that she will not be held down by grief, love, or losing motivation. The power, emotion, and musical brilliance led to it being one of our favorite albums of 2020. Many tough times led to the creation of Silver Tongue, but it resulted in a stronger, more confident TORRES.
Since that record, Scott has felt something new – joy. “I’ve been conjuring this deep, deep joy that I honestly didn’t feel for most of my life,” Scott said while describing her new single, “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head”. Musically, it certainly sounds that way. From its lush synths, its reverbed drums, and Scott’s confidence in her vocals, there’s a positivity that radiates from every note. The result is a rejuvenated sound for Scott. It’s not necessarily a huge musical departure, but one that now has an influx of constructive energy. “Don’t Go Puttin’ Wishes in My Head” is a triumphant statement of victory from a songwriter that was once on the brink of defeat. From an artist who was drawn to the darkness but now illuminates light, and finding that one person who understands every ounce of your soul will do that.
“So if we’re calling off the funeral
Then I’m calling for a hitching
For a while, I was sinking
But from here on out, I swear I’m swimming
From here on out, I’m swimming
I swear, from here on out, I’m swimming”
Alex McArtor – “Bras and Jeans” (Dallas, USA)
RIYL: Lana Del Rey with The Killers, Hatchie, Charli Adams
In the little time we’ve gotten to know Alex McArtor, she’s batting 1.000. Three songs and three brilliant numbers later– “Biggest Fan”, “House On the Bay”, and “Baby Don’t Cut Your Hair For Anyone” – she’s now a fixture in these parts. It doesn’t take much to realize why she’s become one of our favorite. At just 18 years old, the Texan has impeccable songwriting chops that rival Lana Del Rey.
Like the more famed artist, McArtor merges poetry, cinema, and poignant lyricism into each of her songs. And others have taken notice, as her popularity has significantly increased in the past year. Before 2021 ends, expect to see her on several Rising Star and Favorite Discoveries lists (which she was for us last year) because her new EP, Welcome to the Wasteland, which is out June 25th, should turn plenty of heads. It will also leave people in a euphoric state due to “Bras and Jeans”.
While her previous songs were chest-swelling, cinematic affairs, “Bras and Jeans” is a jangly, pop-rock anthem that could fill an 80,000-capacity stadium. Its soaring approach is reminiscent of The Killers. The song’s climax is a moment where we want to stretch our arms out wide and spin, breathing in the clean air and getting lost in the moment. Although the track represents a change in approach, McArtor’s brilliant songwriting has not been sacrificed. She tackles the prevailing misogyny in the world, particularly in the entertainment industry, where women are offered empty promises and left on the side of the road after they’ve done their part.
“Girls in bras and jeans
Like a collage cut from magazines
Virgins taken by reality
Long gone before dawn
Give us back our fever dreams
Baptize us in the blue chlorine
Promised us the silver screen
But never turned the camera on
Not the only ones
Growing old too young”
She’s going to be a star, but she’ll do it her way.
Wombo – “Situations” (Louisville, USA)
RIYL: Deerhoof + Gustav + Dry Cleaning
We admittedly were late to the Wombo party, having been introduced to the Kentucky band last month when they shared the quirky and wildly infectious buzzsaw, “Dreamsickle”. Granted, the trio of Sydney Chadwick (vocals/bass), Cameron Lowe (guitar), and Joel Taylor (drums) have only been around a couple of years, but their non-linear, off-kilter, hodgepodge sound is exactly what we love to hear. Forget following the mainstream pop playbook, the Louisville-based outfit are literally marching to the beat of their own drum, as evidenced on “Situations”.
Angular post-punk melds with art-rock and jangle pop-rock to form a rambunctious, herky-jerky blazer that will cause people to oddly move in every direction. Your feet may point one way while your arms flail in the opposite direction, and soon you’re mimicking Elaine’s work-party performance on the classic Seinfeld episode. No one, however, is laughing at you, but instead they’re similarly grooving and dancing in bizarre ways. This is the whole point of this short, quirky, yet stupendous number – to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations and live them instead of over-analyzing what to do. As the band says, “This song is about obsessive thoughts, avoidance and overthinking yourself into a frenzied state to the point where it would’ve been easier and less chaotic to face the situation head on.” So let your free will shine and dance the day away with Wombo.
Whispering Sons – “Heat” (Brussels, Belgium)
RIYL: Protomartyr, The Murder Capital, Preoccupations
We’ve long stated that the best songs are those that you can feel in every part of your body while imagining the events being described. They are more than just background music but multi-sensory experiences. If they can make you shiver in your seat or hide under the covers, then even better. This, for us, is the personification of art, and Belgian outfit Whispering Sons have made it their mission to give its audiences the full meal deal. The quintet don’t take shortcuts, as they match their harrowing brand of angular post-punk with stories that could form the basis of a future George R.R. Martin novel or a John Carpenter film. This brilliant combination is depicted on “Heat”.
A stark bass bass line and a trembling guitar line welcome us into Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Lijnen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vandeborne (bass), and Sander Pelsmaekers’ (drums) demented world. This place is one where a cult gathers, which could be in a remote open field or deep in the caverns of a mansion filled with secrets. As his bandmates’ instrumentation grows darker and intensifies, Kuppens, through his ghostly vocal, tells the tale of an individual entering a sacrifice.
“Amid a transfixed crowd, their mouths agape
Gathered around a centerpiece
Amid pillars and statues so majestic
I move with their mechanical dancing
Beaming like the highest art
She strikes divine, yet taunts me with her smile
I’m mystified as we lock eyes”
Is this woman simply a participant, the one to be given to the divinity to whom this sect worships, or is she the leader?
“Swelling smoke streams around her feet
Her veins glowing bright with heat
She reveals fissures in her magnificence
While I still dwell on diligence
I see the masses disperse at the sight of it
Their shutters hide the sight of it
And I am stunned by the sight of it
I stand still”
Simply awesome storytelling with the perfect music to make us shudder, cower, and maybe even scream.
Brodka – “Hey Man” (Żywiec, Poland)
RIYL: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, The Raveonettes
Monika Brodka is a Polish pop star who originally rose to fame from winning Polish Pop Idol in 2004. She has had quite a hiatus from her last release in 2016 (Clashes). This year, Brodka returns and she does so in a big way. “Hey Man” has that upbeat rigor found in Yeah Yeah Yeahs but with 1000% more edge to it. The video is also quite stellar as we see Brodka herself and other women completely taking control of a man.
“Hey Man” follows “Game Change” which is leading up to her new album out later this month. So far, her theme is women empowerment and exploring and possibly changing the existing roles women sometimes can get stuck in. “Hey Man” starts off melodic and grows into a stellar rock track dripping with attitude. Brodka’s vocals can be delicate yet commanding and there’s no doubt the addicting melodies from her newest release you won’t soon forget. Although her lyrics may indicate a chance meeting, she is instead taking on the leerers and misogynists and putting them in their place. They might want to be with her, but she won’t let them come close. They instead could go, you know…
Brodka’s new album, BRUT, is out May 28th. Pre-order it here ahead of its May 28th release.
Julia Bardo – “Do This To Me” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Neko Case, Angel Olsen, Jenny Lewis
There’s been something fulfilling about following Julia Bardo’s path to the release of her first record, Bauhaus, L’Appartamento. Last year, Bardo released two EPs – Phase and The Raw – and they provided a glimpse of what the songwriter was capable of. Both EPs were diverse, recalling some of the best voices from the early 2000s as well as 1970s songwriter pop. She followed those up with a great single “It’s Okay (To Not Be Okay)”.
On her latest single, “Do This To Me”, Bardo takes all of those things that made those EPs notable and turns them into a wonderful, well-produced package. Bardo’s voice has a quality that makes it a perfect fit for the song’s jangly guitar and grooving rhythm section. There’s plenty of dreamy qualities, but when a bit of distorted guitar cuts through, there’s a tension that grows through the track. Bardo sings about the complexities of growing up and trying to find herself while trying to please her family. That’s where much of the inspiration behind Bauhaus, L’Appartamento comes from. Emotional moments, family, friends, and more. From the two singles already release, it’s shaping up to be something special.
Shannon and the Clams – “Midnight Wine” (Oakland, USA)
RIYL: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Ty Segall, Osees
In the eight years of The Revue, we have covered thousands of bands and artists. Somehow we have never covered Shannon and the Clams, other than in one of our Mundo lists regarding bands that are unabashedly retro. To say we were astonished upon learning this fact would be an understatement since many of us have been fans of the quartet since nearly their inception. We would like to express our sincerest apologies to Shannon Shaw, Cody Blanchard, Nate Mahan, and Will Sprott for our inexcusable neglect. Today, however, is a new day, and it represents an occasion to celebrate the arrival of their newest single, “Midnight Wine”.
“Midnight Wine” is a wonderfully cinematic piece of psychedelic rock. For over three minutes, Shannon and the Clams take us on a thrilling mind-bender, as if we’re under the control of a hallucinogenic. It’s a little creepy and suspenseful yet exhilarating. The twirling ravel of instruments sounds like a concoction that King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Ty Segall might create if they collaborated on the theme song to a long lost Stanley Kubrick film. As we strut around to the surging wave of infectious guitar, sitar, keys, and rhythms, the band tell the tale of a man walking towards the dark and the end of his days. He is walking to meet his long-written fate.
“Pale and grey I find my way
By streetlamps down to Hell
For I was damned the day I was born
To a daddy in a cell, to a daddy in a cell”
Awesome. Just simply awesome.
koleżanka – “7th st/ 7th ave” (Brooklyn via Phoenix, USA)
RIYL: Mitski, Miya Folick, Jay Som
Kristina Moore has been releasing music as koleżanka for about half-a-decade. Moore’s first record, Vessel, was a very creative, synth-driven record. Meanwhile, 2018’s Disengagement was even more creative with a more robust sound. Both proved that koleżanka was a project that wasn’t afraid to push boundaries and be brutally honest with listeners.
On her latest song, “7th st/7th ave”, Moore continues to stay in motion. With a more straightforward indie-rock vibe, “7th st/7th ave” just sounds fantastic. Its guitar work is complex, at times it’s groovy as hell, and at other times it’s absolutely ripping through the laid-back bass lines. There’s also this moment of bliss-out calm, right before that guitar cuts through like a knife, and it’s awesome. “7th st/7th ave” describes three different moments in three different places, blurring the lines between places that Moore has called home. It is, in other words, about a woman who is in constant motion.
Where she goes next will be shared on Place Is, which is the title of koleżanka’s new album. It will be released July 30th via Bar/None Records. Pre-orders links are here, and the album is also available directly on Bandcamp.
Sylvan Esso – “Numb” (Durham, NC USA)
RIYL: Sylvan Esso
We have a brand new video released this week from electro pop duo, Sylvan Esso. They finally visually represent their track “Numb” directed by Amelia Meath herself. It’s one of the duo’s most dance-ready tracks that speaks to shaking off all the negativity and truly enjoying life. The track originally appeared on their Free Love album.
Another bit of good news also arrived with the video premiere – an upcoming tour which is aptly titled Shaking Off the Numb Tour. It’s most aptly titled as well as we can most definitely hope to shake off the last year of being stuck at home from a pandemic. If you are finally ready to get out and about and feel comfortable doing so, tour dates can be found here.
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