In like a lamb and out like a lion is The Matinee ’21 v. 077 edition, as we opt to ease people into the week before knocking your socks off with some higher-energy buzzsaws. Eight songs are featured today, which to us is the perfect number for a Monday.

 

Melby – “Concorde” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Men I Trust, Kluster b, Yumi Zouma

The iconic Concorde last took to the skies on October 24, 2003, ending 37 years of service. Only a select few could travel on this jewel of the skies, which could travel at speeds of 1,350 miles (2,160 km) per hour. Despite it being out of service for 18 years, the Air France jet remains the standard by which air travel is measured. It was sleek and smooth and a symbol of luxury, dreams, and the possibilities humankind could achieve when it stretched its imagination. All these things can be said about Melby‘s new single.

Those who have followed the Stockholm indie outfit’s five-year career know they are capable of creating anything. This year alone, they’ve released several songs – “Common Sense”, “Old Life”, “Somewhere New”, and “Magic” – that span numerous genres. Their fifth single of 2021, “Concorde”, is arguably the sleekest and smoothest song they’ve released.

A cool, late-night sultriness emanates from this jazz-infused, dark-pop number. The bass drips with seduction while the the feathery percussion and quiet sear of the guitar offer a bit of a moonlight suspense. Front-woman Matilda Wiezell’s calm yet enrapturing voice resembles that of a solitary jazz singer, who is the center of attention in this smokey parlor. She alluringly sings about our insatiable desire to have more, where we thirst to have the finest things in life but they’re out of reach. We just don’t earn enough to even come within an inch of the possibility of sitting in first class yet alone at the back of the Concorde. We’re not like the couple that spent $60,000 on eBay just to take a flight. But instead, we have to find the joys in the little things, like a song as tantalizing as this one. Like any song from Melby.

The band is comprised of Matilda Wiezell (vocals), Are Engen Steinsholm (back-up vocals, guitar), David Jehrlander (bass), and Teo Jernkvist (drums) have plenty of it. The single is out via Rama Lama Records.

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Oddnesse – “Bad Underwear” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Sjowgren, Jess Cornelius, Faye Webster

For as long as we’ve covered Rebeca Arango and her project, Oddnesse, which was pretty much from day one, she has repeatedly made us look at our lives through a different lens. She’s made us realize that our lives aren’t so bad during our lowest points but not always so great when we’re on a high. Arango, in other words, has given us perspective and kept us in our place. At the same time, she is able to spin negative experiences and uneasy feelings into lighthearted and often self-deprecating humor, as she does with “Bad Underwear”.

Arango lulls us with her trademark, breezy, grunge-pop sound. The chiming guitars are dreamy, and they are set against a gentle, head-nodding rhythm. Her lithe voice, meanwhile, hovers at a higher altitude, singing about uncomfortable moments in our lives and how we have the urge to jump out of the window in embarrassment. Listen closely and her lyrics are something out of an episode of Seinfeld.

From scientists making a miscalculation to businessmen getting the price wrong, even the experts make mistakes and want to hide. Of if you’re Arango, “Everywhere I turn up / People stare at my underwear / My bad underwear”. Well, she’s not alone because we all know the feeling. It may not be our underwear, but it could be a booger hanging from our nostril, a piece of spinach stuck between our teeth, or a rip right down the middle of our pants. But as Arango has taught us, we just need to smile and move on because tomorrow is a new day.

The single is out on Make More Records. More people need to gravitate to Oddnesse’s relatable and wonderful sound.

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Binki – “Clay Pigeon” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Bloc Party, David Sitek / Maximum Balloon, Dayglow

About this time of year, an artist arrives that turns plenty of heads with an anthem for the summer, and her/his/their path to stardom is accelerated. Could Binki be this year’s feelgood story? Could the NYC-via-Pennsylvania-via-North Carolina artist who blurs hip hop, pop, and rock be a cross-genre star? If we were the gambling types, we would bet on it because his new single, “Clay Pigeon”, has all the makings of being a viral hit.

This high-energy ripper will get you out of your seats and moving. With a bustling and brilliant bass line driving it, the song will fill every centimeter of your body with adrenaline and, in the process, prepare you for the days to come. The arrangement sounds like it could have been crafted from the mind of David Sitek or Bloc Party in their prime. Binki, meanwhile, depicts his life as a clay pigeon that gets tossed in the air and used as another person’s toy. Binki, though, is both the one pulling the trigger and the target, where he plays with the feelings of those close to him while others take aim at him. Soon, though, he’ll be the only one pulling the lever with his stardom being launched to the skies.

Binki’s debut EP, MOTOR FUNCTION, is out August 13 via FADER Label.

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FUR – “The Fine Line of a Quiet Life” (Brighton, England)

RIYL: Futurebirds, J Roddy Walston and the Business, Lord Huron

When we first became aware of FUR, they were reviving the sounds of Ricky Valance with their ultra-hip ’50s pop-rock. This led them to being one of our Favorite Discoveries of 2018, although at that time they had a substantial following after releasing a handful of viral hits. Now the Brighton quartet are inching towards the present with their more recent releases. This is not to say they’ve gone contemporary. They’re still pretty retro, just that they’ve crept up a decade or two with “The Fine Line of a Quiet Life”.

This classic rock ‘n roll number is one boisterous affair. Quick keys strikes, hammering rhythms, and ripping guitars burst and sizzle for 160 seconds. It is non-stop energy made to get us through the day and tough times alike. To get us through the most difficult moments, including when a relationship comes to an unexpected conclusion. For front-man William Murray, he comes to the realization that things have come to an end and it’s time to move on.

“I see a glass half full and you say you don’t
I know you say you will but I know you won’t
Your teeth dug in and they won’t let go, you try your best but it just don’t show
And when the road is closed and you’re walking home
Could it be time to call it
And just go home to your fine line of a quiet life
Acquired by knowing that”

FUR are singer William Murray, guitarist Josh Buchanan, bassist William ‘Tav’ Taverner, and drummer Flynn Whelan. The foursome have signed with Norwegian label 777 Music, who will also release the band’s debut album potentially this year or next.

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Delacey – “Drama Queen” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Pearl Charles, Lauren Ruth Ward, Lana Del Rey

It’s always interesting to hear a songwriter that has written mainstream pop hits for other artists go out on her own. Will her music sound like what we know or will she branch out and surprise? Will she truly make her own mark as an artist? When it comes to Brittany Marie Amaradio, the answer is pretty obvious.

If Amaradio duplicated the hit songs she’s written for Halsey, Zara Larsson, and The Chainsmokers, we likely would not feature her. Instead, under the moniker Delacey, the multi-platinum songwriter has gone in a much different direction. Instead of radio-friendly pop tunes, she’s delved into everything from electro-pop to alt-rock to desert-psych country, which is where we find her with “Drama Queen”.

With a touch of Laurel Canyon and an air of the Mojave Desert, “Drama Queen” is a stunning, intimate ballad. The wow factor isn’t in over-electrified arrangements and overblown bass. Instead, it resides in the stirring echo of the steel guitar, the slight hum of the harmonica, and Amaradio’s moving vocal and honest songwriting. Her words are a hard look into the mirror, where following a public fight with her partner she realizes that she has a, as she says, a flair “for the dramatics”. This is her apology to her significant other and an honest expression of who she is.

“I say I’m not a heavy drinker
My liver probably begs to differ
Yeah, runs in my family
Better alone with my bad temper
I’d love to get myself more centered
Yeah, but that sounds drastic”

The single is out on Hitmaker Music Group and Delacey’s her own Delicate Flower label. Her forthcoming new album, The Girl Has A Dream, is expected August 6th.

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ViVii – “Smackdown” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Still Corners, The Raveonettes, Fleetwood Mac

Sweden has a notable sound – the Scandi-pop sound that The Cardigans help ignite, and Westkust, Amason, and Makthaverskan later perfected. Even Icona Pop occasionally dabble in. The country also has a growing dream-pop scene, and among the bands leading the way are  ViVii.

The trio of Emil and Caroline Jonsson and Anders Eckeborn have channeled the likes of Beach House, Cults, and Cannons on their previous efforts, creating songs that caused hearts to flutter and people to take long, deep breaths. On “Smackdown”, however, the band increase the urgency to forge a song that is more euphoric and cathartic. As a result, ViVii have crafted a number that feels like a journey into the unknown and less a timeout for a mental break. It is a song intended to move us in the same way that Fleetwood Mac’s classics once did or Still Corners’ cinematic dream-pop currently does. It encourages us to move beyond the constant pressures and “smack downs” and chase after our dreams. With an upbeat tempo and the stunning multi-part harmonies, we will do just that.

ViVii, meanwhile, are living their dream, as their sophomore album, Mondays, was released last Friday via Dumont Dumont. Purchase and streaming links are available here.

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Corduroy – “NLMN” (Norrköping, Sweden)

RIYL: Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Pale Saints

Speaking of Sweden’s burgeoning dream-pop scene, make room in your music library for Conduroy. This new-ish band are inspired by the great shoegaze groups of the ’80s and ’90s, such as Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse, Pale Saints, and Lush. Should Amanda Wallin, Olle Rosén, Martin Boström, and Serafim Kristjansson go on and have a 20+ year career together, they could find themselves mentioned alongside these great outfits one day. For that matter, some might be willing to anoint them the rightful heirs to these industry giants, especially after listening to “NLMN”.

This song is pure joy for shoegaze enthusiasts. The reverb-drenched, crystalline guitars, the Gothic bass line, the titillating rhythms, and the ghostly vocals are also classically executed. At the same time, the track possesses a modernity to it. Instead of putting the listener into a hazy dream-like state, the arrangement is energizing. It’s like the constant lightning bolts illuminating the sky and turning a somber, dark night into a hypnotic display of flashing lights. The lyrics are minimal, but like the music they point towards the future and the start of something new. They point in the direction of a band going somewhere, and that could be as Sweden’s next great music export. As soon-to-be shoegaze royalty.

The single is out on VÅRØ Records. It’s one of the great shoegaze songs we’ve heard all year.

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Johnny Mafia – “TV And Disney” (Sens, France)

RIYL: Eades, Johnny Kills, The All-American Rejects

To end The Matinee ’21, v. 077, we’re opting to go out on a mega-high. Hey, it’s Monday, and we all could use a pick-me-up.  Usually, we would be looking towards the UK or in our backyard to get our wake-up call. Instead, we head to France and its underrated indie-rock scene, and there we find Johnny Mafia.

Set aside all the romantic images and thoughts you have of France and replace them with scenes of small, dank bars filled with sweaty patrons who have been rocking out to the high-energy band on stage. Yeah, Théo Courtet (guitar, vocals), Fabio Amico (guitar, vocals), William Aguedach (bass, vocals), and Enzo Boulanger (drums) are a band that should be playing at London’s Rocksteady, NYC’s hidden gem Arlene’s Grocery, or D.C.’s 930 Club. Only in these venues could fans go ballistic and mosh out to “TV and Disney”.

The song is the musical equivalent to a couple of Red Bulls. It is one fast, furious, and barn-storming, wall-shaking, head-spinning rocker. Every single element pops with the over-exuberance of a six-year old visiting Toys ‘R Us for the first time. And like that child, you’ll be bouncing off the walls, racing between the aisles, and having sensory overload. Likewise, the band’s clever little tale focuses on how we’ve become overly dependent on television, social media, and all other forms of artificial stimulation to feel good about ourselves. We have become defined by the things we want and see, and in the process we’ve lost all sense of ourselves. This isn’t the case for this boisterous band of musicians, who undoubtedly wear their personalities on their sleeves and in their music.

The band’s new album, Sentimental, is out at this moment on Howlin’ Banana Records. Get it on Bandcamp.

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