Summer has arrived which means the big anthems should be out, but The Matinee ’21 v. 091 edition goes in the opposite direction and offers eight singles that hit heavily on our emotions and psyches. Some of these songs you might hear again at the end of the year because they’re that good. Happy Monday everyone!
Desperate Journalist – “Everything You Wanted” (London, England)
RIYL: Blondie + The Cure, Wolf Alice, Savages
Since the first time Desperate Journalist swept us away with their raw, unbridled angst more than six years ago, they have continued to blow our minds. Whether they were headlining a gig at London’s Scala or showcasing a new depth on their remarkable sophomore album, Grow Up, Jo Bevan (vocals), Rob Hardy (guitar), Simon Drowner (bass) and Caroline Helbert (drums) emerged as one of the great Goth-rock / post-punk bands. So when they released “Fault” earlier this year, a collective, primal scream could be heard as anticipation grew for another outstanding release from London-based quartet. “Personality Girlfriend” raised expectations of more greatness to come, and the band respond with what not only is one of the best songs that they’ve created but of the entire year.
“Everything You Wanted” is an epic masterpiece of brooding yet mesmerizing Gothic alt-pop. It is The Cure’s Gothic brilliance meshed with Blondie’s penchant for creating exhilarating disco-punk. It is Wolf Alice’s anthemic qualities cloaked in a shroud of inescapable darkness. And we seek to be further consumed by Drowner’s harrowing bass line, Hardy’s delayed, crystalline guitar, and Helbert’s hypnotic percussion arrangement. To be even further devoured by Bevans’ powerful vocal and magnificent songwriting, as she sings about our collective search for meaning and purpose. At the heart of her tale, though, is artist and performer Kevin Bewersdorf, who went from promoting his Maximum Sorrow brand to erasing his online presence. He, however, is not alone in realizing “you’ll never be everything you wanted” while trying to fill “the emptiness you were born”.
Wet – “On Your Side” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Yumi Zouma, BROODS, The xx
We (Ben and Rich) often tell this story, so please forgive us if you’ve heard it before. It was a late September evening in 2013, and we traveled to the now abolished Glasslands in Brooklyn to watch a couple of emerging talents. The headliner was TORRES and the opener was Wet. This was one of their first shows, and they had maybe 500 followers on Facebook (which was more than us). A day later, we wrote about what we had witnessed. Needlessly to say, Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle, and Marty Sulkow (who is no longer with the band) left a lasting impression, not only with us but now tens of thousands of fans across the globe.
Zutrau and Valle have been releasing a handful of singles since 2018’s Still Run. They are now prepping for the release of their new album, although details remain secretive. In the meantime, they offer a hint of what is to come with “On Your Side”. The single encapsulates Wet’s minimalist yet lush electro-pop approach. Every element is purposely restrained in order to create a bedroom-like intimacy. With every light guitar and key stroke and each deft beat, the song gradually becomes dreamier, more serene, and more immediate. It becomes a part of our world, particularly as Zutrau sings:
“Baby trust me
I’m not your enemy
I’m on your side
Baby believe me”
We’ll keep you informed of the duo’s new album once we know.
Eliza Shaddad – “The Man I Admire” (London, England)
RIYL: Mitski, Olivia Kaplan, Cassandra Jenkins
Eliza Shaddad has a knack for making a human connection with the listener, which explains why she’s one of our most covered artists. Her impeccable voice, her moving stories, and her own story (master’s degree holder, philanthropist) are additional reasons why she’s one of our all-time favorites. She further cements her position as one of music’s finest with “The Man I Admire”
After sharing “Blossom”, “Heaven”, and “Now You’re Alone”, which displayed Shaddad’s maturation as a songwriter and musician far beyond her folk beginnings, “The Man I Admire” sees the London-based singer-songwriter use intimacy to startling effect. Delicately fingerpicked guitar with just a bit of effects on them create a perfect dreamlike backbone for Shaddad’s voice. Gorgeous harmonies join her about halfway through, which are one of many small but powerful layers that are added onto the track as it goes on. It’s a pretty simple formula. but it’s undeniably effective in bringing to life a tale of abandonment come to life.
“I was hoping you would save me from the dark
Instead you hid under your pillow
And I thought to myself how could you hide your head
When your house is on fire
Darling I know you’ll feel blue
But where is the man I admire?”
Max RM – “Emerald” (London, England)
RIYL: Sam Evian, Andy Shauf, Cass McCombs
For many people, lockdown was a time of immense productivity. We got to exercise a bit more than we would usually do, we tackled projects around the house and those we’ve left aside for years, and, for many musicians, reworked some old material and refined them. Now the new version does not always sound better than the original, as artists and engineers could become too heavy handed with fine-tuning the end product. But for Max RM, he used his time at home to turn some old, raw recordings and turn them into perfection, which he does with “Emerald”.
With the dreamy airiness of Sam Evian and the immersive songwriting of Andy Shauf, London-based singer-songwriter has crafted a song made for summer’s twilight hours. Its gorgeous folk-pop arrangement reflects the time when we start to settle in for the day, as the rejuvenation of the sun’s energy subsides in favor of the night’s calm serenity. These are the times when we begin to reflect on what was and what is to come. Through his soothing falsetto, Max RM, however, challenges us to not become complacent. He instead encourages us to use every second to better ourselves because we just never know when life’s routines will become disrupted and normalcy becomes a fleeting idea.
“I thought I was celebrating; everything changed within a moment in time
I figured the pace would overtake us if we never questioned why”
Simply a stunning affair.
Rosie Carney – “Party Dress” (Downings, Ireland via Hampshire, England)
RIYL: Angie McMahon, Flora Cash, Tiny Ruins
Rosie Carney is one of the most interesting, emerging voices at the moment. Her 2019 debut, Bare, was nothing short of breathtaking, and featured an assist from Lisa Hannigan. She followed it up with a stellar EP in 2020, i dreamed I was the night, as well as with a full length cover of Radiohead’s The Bends. Both of the more recent releases establishing more depth to Carney’s sound.
Since then, Carney has been working on new material, and she also attended a Spotify songwriting camp at Metropolis Studios in London. At that camp, Carney met Alt-J’s Charlie Andrews and Ben Francis-Leftwich and together, they created “Party Dress”. It’s all the things that make Carney so interesting – her haunting voice that is one of the most beautiful in the entire industry, the pristine acoustic guitar, and a huge emotional heft behind each line. The entire song is simultaneously beautiful and vulnerable, as if Carney has finally freed herself of the shackles that have long imprisoned her. Or more specifically as Carney says, it is a song concerning “the end of an extremely toxic relationship, in which I constantly felt the need to minimise myself for the other person”. Her lyrics poetically describe her experience.
“I’m doing my best to love
God know that I’ve tried to forgive
But time has timing of its own
So I put on a party dress
To get over the words you said
To keep me in chains I’ve learned to break”
Party Dress is available on streaming services here. Carney is also working on her second full-length record, which she promises will be “my longest, shortest, most delicate and heaviest songs all in one place.”
Roller Derby – “Underwater” (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Molly Burch, Cigarettes After Sex, Bleach Lab
Although Roller Derby are only a few songs and not even a year into their music careers, the Hamburg-based trio have already made us feeling young and nostalgic with “Flying High” and “Can’t See You”. They’ve also made us recall some of the great coming-to-age movies of the ’80s and ’90s because of the stories they have crafted. Whereas the former concerned their own fears, the latter was about enduring friendships. It’s only natural, then, that the band sing about the empty space that exists in their heart, which they stunningly achieve with “Underwater”.
Front-woman Philine Meyer’s smokey warble, which is akin to Molly Burch’s voice, draws you in, as does the beautiful, dreamy, and cinematic soundscape that resembles the sultriness of Cigarettes After Sex’s best material. The result is a song that features multiple “wow!” occasions. The transition at the 10-second mark is the first, and the second arrives a few seconds later when Meyer’s voice arrives. Then there are the several instances when the song’s dreaminess gets elevated with Manuel Romero Soria’s guitar heading into intoxicating shoegaze territory and Max Nielsen’s bass mimicking the pounding of our aching heart. This ache is the result of Meyer’s story that many of us know all too well.
“Clouded view, an empty seat
I can see you only in my dreams
Will there ever be someone like you?
Or am I lost in time?”
While we don’t have the answers to Meyer’s questions, we do know we are lost within the song’s sheer beauty.
Roller Derby again are Philine Meyer (vocals, keys), Manuel Romero Soria (guitar), and Max Nielsen (bass). Look out world, Germany’s next great music export has arrived.
Talking Violet – “Delusional” (Windsor, Canada)
RIYL: Lush, Cocteau Twins, My Morning Jacket
Speaking of nostalgic, we travel to Windsor, Ontario for some classic shoegaze with modern touches. By this, imagine legendary shoegaze outfit Lush taking one of their dreamiest songs and adding some My Morning Jacket-esque qualities, where they jam the ending and turn the entire experience from ethereal to mind-blowing territory. A band who is doing just that are Talking Violet.
Comprised of Jill Goyeau (vocals, guitar), Jay Turnbull (guitar, backing vocals), Nate Blackton (bass), and Jeremie Brousseau (drums), the quartet are prepping the release of their debut album, Tell Your Friends You Love Them, on October 1st. From the record is a song that needs to be heard live. “Delusional” needs to be performed in the elaborate environments of Red Rocks, where its 10,000 patrons sway side-to-side as the setting sun illuminates the fiery sands. The power, though, is on stage, where the four people from the rugged city on the Canada-US border overwhelm us with the surging reverb of the guitars, the urgent probing of the rhythms, and Goyeau’s warm vocal. Her tale, however, is not one of euphoria, but that of pain. It concerns watching a loved one slowly fade from reality and become a person trapped in another time.
“I’ll let you go when someone believes me
That you once showed me the way to go
Just ‘cause your hands are bigger than mine
Doesn’t mean the ink won’t show
I’ve been trying to heal the sore
I’ll keep the bracelet in my drawer
I know that I was the one you adored
But your version of family is a war”
Pre-orders for Tell Your Friends You Love Them are available here.
Jiordy – “Hard to Say” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Charlotte Day Wilson, Jess Locke, Lana Del Rey
Three months ago, fast-rising Australian singer-songwriter Jiordy resurrected us with the sublime “Vigor”. It was a hint of the beauty and grace in her music and why tens of thousands of people are become fans. Yes, she has become a viral sensation, but unlike many internet stars, substance oozes out of the young Melbourne artist. That is, she’s not here to merely entertain, but she’s using her platform to share her stories and make us understand that we’re not the only ones struggling. On “Hard to Say”, Jiordy extends her hand to lift us up.
A gentle romanticism hums through the song, as the melody is serene and beautiful. As the echo of a soft synth quietly cuts through the keys and lithe percussion, we were left in state of suspended awe. It’s as if we have just watched the most spectacular sunset and want to hold on to this moment for the rest of our lives.
Jiordy’s deft yet vulnerable voice adds to the song’s allure and gives it is soul. She shares with us her own meandering journey of pain, growth, and self-preservation. And through it all, she now understands what she needs to do and who she is. She finally has learned how to navigate her life after years of trying to “run away”. Now, she is running towards being recognized as another great singer-songwriter from the home of great singer-songwriters.
Jiordy’s debut EP, A Sprig Of Wattle, is set to be released in August.
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