The Matinee ’21 v. 082 seamlessly moves from cavernous dungeons to bonfires at the beach to the outer edges of space. This first mini-playlist of June has a bit of everything, so hopefully you will find something to get you through another hump day.
CIEL – “Never Alone Again” (Brighton, England via Netherlands)
RIYL: Melody’s Echo Chamber, Helena Deland, Men I Trust
Almost four years to the day, we were introduced to Ciel [pronunciation: sjɛl], which means “sky” in French. This moniker, though, was for Dutch artist Michelle Hindriks, who had us in suspended in the air with her single, “Awake”. Since then, Hindriks (vocal, guitar) has moved across the English channel and made Brighton her new home. There she met Jorge Bela Jimenez (guitar, synthesizer, bass) and Tim Spencer (drums), turning the solo project into a multiple-person effort (which goes without saying). While the tendency is for bands to try to extend themselves so that everyone can be heard, the trio build on what has worked for Hindriks, and that is making stunning dream-pop. But with two extra pair of hands, Ciel can truly take people to the skies, like they do with “Never Alone Again”.
While still dreamy in its complexion, the song has an unexpected edge to it. The gritty guitar and the pulsing rhythms add a melodic groove, providing a brilliantly-executed contrast to Hindriks’ soft, saccharine vocal and the crystallized synth. The pairing provides the perfect setting to Hindriks’ story of experiencing loneliness and depression during more than a year locked in her apartment. Despite being stuck in one place, she is still racing. Her mind is running in all directions. She brilliantly captures her situation when she sings:
“I hope that someday I will
Find stillness within these times
That somehow I could shine a light
When it’s moonless in the dead of night
I’m so crippled by memories
Often stuck in this tendency
trying not to feel much anymore”
Like the old saying goes, the sky is the limit for Ciel (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
Social Haul – “This Is All I Need” (Chichester, England)
RIYL: TRAAMS, The Clockworks, The Strokes
Who doesn’t like a good rock tune, particularly one that gets the blood flowing and makes for the perfect track for a heavyweight champion’s entrance into the boxing ring? If you’re like us, then “This Is All I Need” will surely be your speed. It will be the adrenaline rush that you need today and any day.
The song from TRAAMS‘ Leigh Padley’s new project, Social Haul, is just an old-school rocker. Well, it’s more like a late-’90s / early ’00s garage-rocker, where the overdriven guitar and the pumping rhythms equally drive the track and create an energizing urgency. Like Tyson Fury showing off his footwork before the sound of the bell, you’ll be bouncing on your toes and getting ready to take on all comers. Padley’s lyrics, too, indicate that the song’s heroine is ready to beat back the “Stockholm syndrome, parasite’s head, so oblivious to damaging trends”. But instead of declaring war, the protagonist adapts, changes, and learns to accept. So instead of chasing away the perceived enemy, she makes peace with him. That’s a very welcoming thought isn’t it?
Social Haul are Leigh Padley (lead vocals, guitar), Daniel William Daws (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Richard Trust (drums). Their self-titled album is out June 11th on FatCat Records. Pre-orders available on Bandcamp.
Coalfalls – “Stone” (Ipswich, Australia)
RIYL: Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, DIIV, Ride, Slowdive
In post-rock, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and Sigur Rós have established themselves as titans of their genre. Within the jangle dream-pop landscape, DIIV and Beach Fossils often get mentioned first. Meanwhile, Slowdive, Ride, and Cocteau Twins are usually the names people utter when speaking about the great shoegaze bands. Then a band comes along and creates a song – forget an album but just a single – that forges the best elements of these influential collectives. This is what Queensland trio Coalfalls have done with “Stone”.
The track is an epic, sonic experience that is rich in wonder and awe. The surf vibes emanating from the song’s beginning creates the feeling we are gliding like a Royal Albatross making its annual pilgrimage across the Pacific before it ascends to the snow-kissed peak of Mt. Fuji. And upwards we continue, traversing through the asteroid belt before finding our way to Alpha Centauri. Yes, this track is like being inside a Christopher Nolan space film but with a more satisfying ending.
Drug Store Romeos – “Secret Plan” (Fleet, Hampshire, England)
RIYL: Beach House, Still Corners, Alvvays
We often like to play, What if? What if Charlie, Jonny, and Sarah, who comprise Drug Store Romeos, had released their debut album in 2011 instead of this year? What if the trio’s sensual dream-pop was heard at the height of the indie music renaissance that started a decade ago? In all likelihood, they would have been considered trendsetters and mentioned in the same breath as Beach House and Alvvays. While we cannot rewind time, the band is still on a trajectory to be one of the great UK bands of the 2020s with a sound that expands and perfects their predecessors’ work, as evidenced by “Secret Plan”.
Whereas Beach House would leave listeners in a state of paralysis, Drug Store Romeos do the same but leave us smiling throughout. Through a restrained but elegant approach, the Hampshire three-piece have made a song that defines peace and serenity. With the twinkling synth, the low throb of the bass, and pitter-patter of the drums, you feel refreshed, calm, and surprisingly gleeful. Only the truly magical songs can have this effect on this people, and this band truly is magical.
Scout – “Rather Be Blind (Than See My Life Without You)” (London, England)
RIYL: Lorde, Fickle Friends, Christine & The Queens
Scout only have two releases to their name, but they’ve already made quite an impact. Their debut single, “Never Fade”, was a gorgeous and lush synth-pop masterpiece. Its dreamy layers and intimate lyrics were instantly impactful. Add to it Scout’s cover of The National’s “I Need My Girl”, it’s impossible to deny that Scout can create astounding sad and beautiful music.
The sad stunners continue with “Rather Be Blind (Than See My Life Without You)”. Just from its title, you can tell it’s a bit dramatic, but when listening it’s completely relatable, and even a bit witty. Wonderful layers of synth welcome listeners with vocals that are barely more than a whisper. As the song builds, it gets immensely danceable. From its catchy chorus to Scout’s vocal delivery throughout, there’s so much to love about “Rather Be Blind”. While it’s a story that’s been told many times before, Scout helps dance away the sadness of losing love.
Scout’s debut EP is expected to be out this year.
A Place To Bury Strangers – “I Might Have” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: A Place To Bury Strangers
While A Place To Bury Strangers have had a rotating lineup of late centered around founding member and front-man Oliver Ackermann, one thing never changes about the band – they are guaranteed to unleash a wailing storm of thunderous rock. It’s usually ferocious post-punk-instilled shoegaze, but occasionally they’ll infuse some psychedelia and channel their inner Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They’ll also delve way back to their more youthful days and get a little grungy, a little garage-like, and just be really raw. This is what Ackermann, John Fedowitz (bass), and Sandra Fedowitz (drums) have done on “I Might Have”.
Made for the dungeons of New York’s, London’s, and Berlin’s underground scene, there are only three words to describe this song: an absolute ripper. Like Sonic Youth turning famed disco club CGBG into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, APTBS lay waste to everything in their wake. Everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, is delivered with the intensity of a dozen jackhammers. This is the only way for Ackermann to look in the rear-view mirror and basically exclaim, “Fuck it!” That’s the last time he’ll look backwards because he’s learned to accept who he is, which in the video below is a freak. Then again, no ordinary person could continue to deliver one propulsive track after another.
LUMP – “Climb Every Wall” (London, England)
RIYL: Laura Marling, Tunng, La Femme
Laura Marling is one of the most significant songwriters of this generation. Her music channels what makes folk music such an influential force, evoking the styles of Dylan, Mitchell, and Cohen among others. Tunng explore new sonic spaces and are not afraid to get into the weird and surreal. Perhaps it is strange to think of a project that combines these two forces, but Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay of Tunng have blended their two styles effortlessly with LUMP. Marling’s voice is the perfect complement to the spacey and lush atmospheric vibes of Lindsay’s music. The two released a fantastic album together in 2018, and released a single earlier this year, “Animal”.
With their latest single, “Climb Every Wall”, Marling and Lindsay blend their styles effortlessly once again. A catchy bass groove with some lovely synth layers lay the foundation for Marling’s voice. When LUMP released “Animal”, they described their upcoming album as a gateway to a parallel universe. It certainly feels that way on “Climb Every Wall”. Its chorus feels familiar, almost like a joyous singalong. But there is a layer of strangeness to it, from its haunting synth to the way Marling and Lindsay’s voices clash.
Trunky Juno – “Serial Killer Vibes” (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England)
RIYL: Hippo Campus, Peach Pit, Mac DeMarco
When we were introduced to Trunky Juno back in March when he released “Daddy’s Gone for Cigarettes”, we commented how many people focus on the music and ignore the message being shared. The meaning behind the song, in our humble opinion, is as crucial as the arrangement and melody. When the two come perfectly together, then you have one fantastic tune. Well, Juno has more than one outstanding track in his arsenal because “Serial Killer Vibes” is his latest achievement.
Cool, breezy surf vibes swirl through the song’s jet stream, making this number an ideal one to spin around a bonfire at the seashore. As you press play, watch your friends and strangers sway side to side to the beachy tones and Juno’s smooth vocal. Smiles may start to emerge from their faces while those listening closely to what Juno has to say, may start to contemplate their own existence and behaviors. Not their serial killer tendencies, but rather how they’ve set aside their true selves in order to be someone else. How we’ve become superficial just to chase someone else’s dreams and, in the process, “messed up our lives”.
Trunky Juno’s debut EP, Good Dog, will be released July 2nd via Young Poet Records.
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