The Matinee ’21 v. 083 edition is full of energizing rippers plus a song that will make you stop in your tracks. While you might want to just lose yourself in the music, most of the song are filled with, as usual, great stories.
IDER – “BORED” (London, England)
RIYL: MUNA, HAIM, Warpaint
Being an independent band in today’s over-saturated music scene is no easy task. Countless hours are spent on writing and recording their own music and producing their own promotional material. Then they have to work normal jobs so they can pay the bills to make their dreams come true. Independence, though, yields freedom, as artists are not constrained by the big record labels’ rigid parameters. And when an album does not sell as well as expected, they can be instantly dropped (just as Mackenzie Scott, a.k.a. TORRES). This helps explain why Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville have turned their project, IDER, independent. If they were still with a label, would they have been able to release a song as honest as “BORED”? Probably not.
Fortunately for us, however, we’re the beneficiaries of Markwick and Somerville’s decision. A smooth, alt-pop vibe grooves in the foreground, but beneath the head-nodding tempo is a bubbling frustration and anger. On the one hand, the duo target the heavy-handed nature of the music industry, where “egos” want to manicure young artists into their vision. In the process, these emerging talents’ identity is ripped from their souls. On the other hand, they express their disappointment with a world full of broken promises and apathy. Their lyrics would make Virginia Woolf proud.
“Bored of the pictures, I’m bored of your pose
Yeah, I’m bored of the wages you stuff up your nose
Yeah, I’m bored of your ego, I’m bored of your shame
I’m bored of you forgetting my name
Yeah, I’m bored of the way we think we know what we’re saying
I’m bored of the way we think we’re saving
The planet, the world with our bank account savings
I’m bored of the ads and I’m bored of the craving
Bored of the hyper-normalization”
Public Service Broadcasting – “People, Let’s Dance” feat. EERA (London, England)
RIYL: Daft Punk, Maribou State, Hot Chip
For most of their musical career as Public Service Broadcasting, J. Willgoose, Esq. (guitar, banjo, other stringed instruments, samplings, electronic musical instruments); Wrigglesworth (drums, piano, electronic musical instruments); and J. F. Abraham (flugelhorn, bass guitar, drums and assorted other instruments including a vibraslap) have often taken listeners to the far reaches of the universe with their brand of electrified post-rock. They have even used actual NASA recordings in their songs, and the Space Agency has also used their music. So when the band announced their new album, Bright Magic, will be out in the fall, the expectation was that it would be another intergalactic experience. We can forget that idea after hearing “People, Let’s Dance”.
Instead of covering unexplored spaces, Public Service Broadcasting fill a massive void left by Daft Punk’s retirement. “People, Let’s Dance” is a cosmic brand of electrified funk. Every moment of this 5 1/2-minute track is made for one thing – obviously that’s dancing. There is, however, still a spacey element, which EERA provides. Sounding like the female version of HAL 9000, the London-based, Norwegian singer-songwriter sings mostly in German, which adds to the track’s sweltering seduction.
School of X – “Feel of It” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Phoenix, Balthazar, Pixey
Two months ago, Rasmus Littauer, who moonlights as the drummer for Danish pop star MØ, swept us away with his made-for-a-movie single “Away”. It was a song that put his solo project, School of X, on the global indie map. The song showcased Littauer’s ability to evoke multiple feelings in a few short minutes. It was basically a little piece of cinema encapsulated in music. For his second single of 2021, the Copenhagen-based multi-instrumentalist focuses on just a single emotion, which is just fine for a Friday.
“Feel of It” is a sparkling piece of infectious psych-disco-pop that will stick in your mind for days. The energy emitted from the song encourages us to strut down the street with confidence, find any open space and dance, or run that extra mile to get that high. All this so we can, as Littauer, says, “feel it again!” To feel alive again after more than a year stuck inside. This is the anthem for what 2021 could become if we all do our part in make that light at the end of the tunnel much bigger.
Red Ribbon – “Planet X” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Billie Marten with Khruangbin, Juanita Stein
With her new album, Planet X, just around the corner, Emma Danner – a.k.a. Red Ribbon – has already released a couple of singles, including “Renegade”. Danner also has a fantastic record Dark Party to her name, one loaded with surreal lyricism, and an incredible ability to change moods and directions without warning.
“Planet X” again takes a dive into the strange. Musically, it sounds like a theme song from an old Western movie. Layered vocals over reverb heavy guitar, with occasional sweeping synth add to the eerie imagery of the track. Danner says the song was inspired by being on tour during the 2018 California wildfires and driving through the areas that were destroyed. It’s a warning that the world is burning, and turning into something unrecognizable.
“Take us west on Planet X,
We won’t die
Molly Burch – “Heart of Gold” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Julie Byrne, Julia Jacklin, Bedouine
Since her first record, Molly Burch has carved out a reputation for herself as a modern-day throwback. Evoking smoky rooms and Billie Holiday, Burch’s voice had a quality to it that fit those older styles absolutely perfectly. There is something familiar about spinning a Molly Burch record, even for the first time. Burch’s latest releases, however, have shown a shift in her sound, but it still retains a throwback vibe, albeit from another era. “Emotion” and “Control” from her upcoming Romantic Images both channel late 70’s and early ’80s vibes that are just delightful. Burch meets those styles right in the middle with “Heart of Gold”.
On “Heart of Gold”, Burch effortlessly blends the grooviness that made “Emotion” such an ear-worm with the charm and soul of her earlier songs. Burch’s voice floats over a fantastic bass line, perfectly complemented by some impactful drumming. There’s some accompaniment from some guitar and synth that tie everything together beautifully. There’s a beautiful solo section at the end with Burch’s voice reaching ethereal levels as the song reaches its final moments.
“Heart of Gold” is a combination of all the things that make Burch such a special artist. She isn’t afraid to push boundaries, she can be quite witty lyrically, and musically she’s become full of surprises lately. It has us even more excited to hear what else will be on Romantic Images. Romantic Images will be out July 23rd on Captured Tracks.
Central Heat Exchange – “Tulips at My Bedside” (feat. Living Hour‘s Sam Sarty)
(Austin & Chicago, USA & Winnipeg, Canada)
RIYL: Living Hour, Daphne Tunes, Varsity, Pool Holograph, Lala Lala
During the pandemic that resulted in the majority of the world being locked down, numerous collaborations were born, as artists used Zoom, Google Chat, and other platforms to share ideas and even play and record music. Most of these joint efforts will be one-off projects, sharing a song or two. We have a feeling, though, that Current Heat Exchange will be around for a little while. Even though the core members of Adam Soloway of Living Hour, Santiago RD of Daphne Tunes and Jacob and Paul Stoltz of Varsity and Pool Holograph, reside in three separate cities, their chemistry is off the charts, as demonstrated on their debut single, “Tulips at My Bedside”.
With a big assist from Sam Sarty of Living Hour, who provides the lead vocals, the band have crafted, in our humble opinion, THE song that personifies everything that is indie. It is vibrant and levitating at first with its shimmering melody and head-bobbing rhythms. Sarty’s dreamy vocals add to the song’s intoxicating effect, as she speaks about the push-and-pull happening within and around her. Just as the song settles into a groove, it brilliantly transitions into a hazy and nearly breathtaking outro. This is truly a moment of awe. We truly feel like Sarty as she sings:
“Frozen pixels on my television
Was it nice to meet me
Golden standard for a healthy living
Was it nice to meet me”
The band’s debut album, which will feature contributions from other stellar independent artists, is expected in the fall and to be released on Birthday Cake.
Toad Venom – “Three Hearts” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with Siouxsie Sioux, Black Mountain, Midlake
Every music fan knows by now that Sweden has a great music scene that spans pretty much every genre, although its psych-rock scene is quite underrated. Not many people, including music connoisseurs (us included), would immediately mention the country of the Tre Kronor as the place to go to get their psychedelic fix. Newcomers Toad Venom, though, just might single-handedly change all this with “Three Hearts”.
This mysterious band’s debut single with Welfare Sounds is one trippy yet majestic experience. It commences with a delirious, hazy approach and siren-like vocals, and the combination lures you into their mystical world. It’s intoxicating, clouding our minds with an array of sonic colors. But then strings join the fray and the song takes on post-rock characteristics, where suddenly we’re shooting through space and passing stars, comets, and asteroids. We are not, however, alone on this escapade because the band is with us every step of the way. And that’s because we have formed a union with them, where our hearts are now bonded by our love for wondrous psychedelia.
More adventures are coming later this year, as the band plans to release its debut album soon.
The Murlocs – “Bittersweet Demons” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Matthew E. White, The Beatles, Lo Talker
Those who follow the Aussie music scene, especially the Melbourne one, know that The Murlocs are one of the Garden City’s gems. Like the Victoria state capital, the band is a mosaic of sound. They’ve blended rock with R&B, infused psychedelic rock with a old-school folk notes. Now with “Bittersweet Demons”, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Cal Shortal, Cook Craig, Tim Karmouche, and Matt Blach turn bluesy Americana-rock into one trippy expedition.
Like The Beatles merged with Matthew E. White, the song is like a skip through Wonderland. It is catchy and playful, yet there is a creepiness that bubbles beneath the surface. It might be Kenny-Smith’s chilling vocal, the stuttering suspense of the bass line, or the moody piano. Or possibly it’s this storyline of a person, possibly a down-on-his-luck guy, who from a distant longs to love another. Yeah, he might be a stalker or maybe he’s just a fool in love.
“Live out of love not reward you’re the angel I adored
Lionized through the eyes of the ones left behind
Fall apart start again self-destruction it’s hard to shake
Come one with your bittersweet demons today”
Elina – “Love Come Around” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Anna Clendening, Lorde, Julien Baker
Elina Stridh’s musical reach goes far beyond her pair of EPs and handful of singles as Elina. She has alsoco-written songs with some huge names, such as Maroon 5, SZA, and Zara Larsson to name a few. While those aren’t names we’d typically cover, when Elina does her own thing, it becomes obvious why these names want to work with her. Her songwriting is among some of the best, and her solo work is much more personal than what could be expected from collaborating with multi-platinum pop artists.
On her latest single, “Love Come Around”, Elina once again connects with listeners at a very human level. Beautifully finger-picked guitar lays the foundation of the song, which meshes perfectly with Stridh’s stunning voice. The song builds into something even more breathtaking, the precise fingerpicking turns into huge guitar strums. Stridh’s voice is joined by sweeping harmonies. “Love Come Around” is a commentary on the world, how overwhelming it can be, from politics to the need for validation from love and unrealistic expectations.
“Love Come Around” is available to stream here.
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