Dowse yourself inside the brilliant stories and memories of the eight songs that fill The Matinee ’21 v. 085. Seven of the artists featured today are alumni, making this a special reunion of sorts.
Lucy Dacus – “Brando” (Richmond, VA USA)
RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Big Thief, Faye Webster
There’s no denying that Lucy Dacus is one of today’s most notable songwriters. Her first two albums contain some of the best songs of the last five years. With her third record on the horizon, it’s hard not to get excited, especially with what she’s shared so far. From the personal and emotional stories of “VBS” and “Thumbs” to the Springsteen-esque “Hot & Heavy”, so far it’s been everything that draws us to Dacus’ music and much more. It also created a dynamic between the very different sound of each song, with us anticipating how Dacus would fill in the gaps.
With “Brando”, Dacus ties things together a bit more, and Home Video comes more into focus. On “Brando”, Dacus tells the story about someone obsessed with the media they were consuming, and recruiting Dacus to play a role in his movie-like life. But quite honestly and brutally, Dacus sings “You’re yelling at me ‘Stella!’ and I’m laughing cause you think you’re Brando but you’ll never come close”.
It’s those stories and the wit of Dacus that make her truly stand out, whether it’s describing a moment in the coffee shop in “Night Shift” or the wisdom in the final moments of “Thumbs”. It’s easy to imagine these people, these stories, and with just a few lines and a couple of minutes, Dacus gives them so much life and color.
Blood Red Shoes – “A Little Love” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: The Duke Spirit, Death From Above 1979, The Kills
Blood Red Shoes have a reputation for crafting some intense, hard-hitting rock music. The duo’s distinctive roar can be heard on their catalog that dates back over a decade. Recently, they released a series of collaborations with JLX, Alice Go, AA Sessions, PROJECTOR and others. While those were exciting releases, we’re stoked to hear Blood Red Shoes have released their first non-collaborative effort since 2019’s Get Tragic.
“A Little Love” is everything that makes Blood Red Shoes such a kick ass band. It’s heavy, and it roars. Laura-Mary Carter’s voice has a sinister edge to it over the roar of her guitar, while Steven Ansell’s drumming is as powerful as ever. That sinister sound is intentional, “A Little Love” is inspired by true-crime podcasts and Netflix documentaries on serial killers, and their manipulative tactics. Ansell provides his voice for the chorus, repeating “A little love won’t hurt you” in a dark monotone before Carter’s guitar explodes through.
The single is out on the duo’s own Velveteen Records.
Odd Beholder – “Accept Nature” (Zurich, Switzerland)
RIYL: Joan As Police Woman, The Weather Station, Flock of Dimes
Daniela Weinmann has been creating immersive dream pop for a few years as Odd Beholder. Her first record, 2018’s All Reality is Virtual, is immensely engaging with its ethereal qualities drawing in listeners. Its intelligent commentaries on our connectivity to the virtual world, social media, and cable news highlighted how isolating those ways can be.
Weinmann returns with a new record on the horizon. Its latest single, “Accept Nature”, is yet another intelligent commentary on modern life. Weinmann describes the song as “about anxieties caused by unrealistic and, often, meaningless work goal(s)”. It’s relatable, as her lyrics center on the unfulfilling feeling of work, particularly now as more employees return to offices to stare at spreadsheets in their generic cubicles. Musically, it blends some wonderful electronics with guitar. Weinmann’s voice is inviting, and it’s easy to hear the frustration of the song’s protagonist in the way each lyric is delivered.
“Accept Nature” will be on Weinmann’s new album, Sunny Bay, which will be released later this year on Sinnbus.
Strange Talk – “Down Low” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Cut Copy, Ra Ra Riot, A Silent Film
It’s been quite a long hiatus for the Australian duo Strange Talk. Their last notable release was back in 2019. The duo have been working hard on new material and sharing with fans via social media that a new album is coming. “Down Low” is the first release this year, and it’s pretty obvious that Stephen Docker and Gerard Sidhu are fully back in swing. Their newest single is best suited to be played to for those upcoming summer weekends with it upbeat, dance vibes and addictive tendencies. And for those whose routines include a run or a hours at the gym, it’s also the ideal rack to include in one of your workout playlists.
For us, we’ll enjoy the smooth production of this perfectly-packaged synth-pop gem in the confines of our home.
BLAB – “Eton Mess” (Essex, England)
RIYL: Pip Blom, Sports Team, Do Nothing
Frances Murray caught our attention way back in 2016 when she released her debut EP, Everything is Everyone Else’s Fault as BLAB. Her raw yet infectious pop-rock melodies drew us in, but where we were truly stunned was her songwriting ability at her young age. It was obvious the potential that Murray had, as if she could create such a diverse EP, the sky was the limit.
On her latest track, “Eton Mess”, BLAB continues to add to that small yet diverse catalog, which includes the infectious rocker “R.I.P.” and the slower paced “Casual Sex”. “Eton Mess” is a punk-rocker at break-neck speed, complete with an “Oi! Oi! Oi!” shout along in the chorus. Under two minutes, heavily strummed guitar chords and frenetic drumming set the pace. Just like its punk origins, Murray calls out the British government in an “anti-fascist anthem”, as she describes it. It’s another great track from an artist who’s proven that she has both the guts and ability to make whatever kind of music she wants, and absolutely kill it each time.
Oscar Lang – “21st Century Hobby” (London, England)
RIYL: Mikal Cronin, Alfie Templeman, Gus Dapperton
Oscar Lang may only be 21 years old, but he has the mind of a person who has walked eons on the planet. His songs are undeniably exuberant in their sonic impact while the observations he shares are mature and insightful. He’s a rare breed in this era of cookie cutters and love-struck songwriters, and hopefully he’ll start a new movement with his intellectual pop-rock. Maybe this musical revolution starts on July 16th, which is when his debut album, Chew the Scenery, will be released on Dirty Hit. Or maybe it starts now with “21st Century Hobby”.
As usual, Lang delivers a song made for the smallest and biggest venues. He gradually draws the listener in with a melodic, toe-tapping, head-bopping, pop-rock melody. A bubbly sensation emerges from the track, which is enough to hook people in and listen intently to what his says. The first few lyrics, meanwhile, grab our attention because we absolutely know what he means when he sings:
Living life to pretend
Only fun ’til they end”
We have become slaves to the me-first, superficial mentality. Style matters more than substance. Quick highs are sought over making life-changing memories. Instant likes are treated like gold while meaningful relationships are shunned. This is the world we live, where:
“The joy is gone, but they’re still there
We’re not made to compare
But it’s a twenty-first century hobby”
The young man is a genius. To hear more of his clever wordplay, pre-orders Chew the Scenery here.
New Candys – “Helluva Zoo” (Venice, Italy)
RIYL: Black Angels, Night Beats, The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Italy’s New Candys are simply one of the great psych-rock bands on the planet. Fernando Nuti (guitars, sitar/vocals), Andrea Volpato (guitars/vocals), Alessandro Boschiero (bass), and Dario Lucchesi (drums/percussion) can get really dark and grimy like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They can get trippy and delirious á là Ty Segall and FUZZ. Or they can fire off groovy, spaghetti western vibes like they do on “Helluva Zoo”.
If you have a horse, get on it and trot through the countryside. If not, get on your bike and just take a nice, pleasant spin along the beach, the river, or through your favorite park. Whatever your mode of transport, be sure to let this track fill your ears. The twangy guitar licks and the groovy rhythms are smile-inducing and worthy of a few shoulder shimmies (or several dozen). If you thought this little number is a trip, Nuti’s lyrics are even more out there as he assumes the identity of animals trapped in a zoo.
“I’ve found the answer just beyond the truth
Right from the other side, where it all begun
Come meet me in my cell, I really feel alone
Come see my innocence, humanoids don’t know”
Bnny – “Ambulance” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Emma Ruth Rundle, Porridge Radio, Babehoven
Last month, our love affair with Jess Viscius and her project Bnny commenced when she shared “Time Walk”. The single was a catchy and terrific piece of ’70s psychedelic folk-rock meant for traversing the dusty landscapes of Black Rock Desert. It was a throwback to a time when music could move a person in multiple ways. It was also a glimpse into the power and brilliance of the young Chicagoan. To further display her gifts, she dials everything way back and startles through gloomy minimalism on “Ambulance”.
A dark intimacy descends on the air, as just a shallow guitar and a bass accompany Viscius and her vulnerable voice. She sounds like a person deep in despair, lost in the chaos around her, and isolated from the moving waves of people that pass her on the street. She is lost inside the memory of a person she had no choice but to say about to. And in the process, she had to learn to reconcile with her past, her present, and herself. Viscius doesn’t say a whole lot, but she does not need to when writes lyrics as penetrating as these:
“When I see
I close my eyes
If I can’t see
Then no one dies
I’ll never forget those flashing lights”
Bnny’s debut album, Everything, is out August 20th on Fire Talk Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here or go directly to Bandcamp. Viscius is joined by her twin sister Alexa and best friends Tim Makowski and Matt Pelkey.
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