Whether haunting or riveting, brittle or resembling a massive wall of noise, every song on The Matinee ’21 v. 092 leaves a scar. These songs are truly unforgettable.
Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys – “Warm II” (Berlin, Germany via Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa)
RIYL: Emma Ruth Rundle, A.A Williams, Ghostly Kisses
More than a month ago, a young artist and her band left a permanent scar on our memory when they released the hypnotic and foreboding “Evening Train” and “A Stranger’s Chest”. We’re of course speaking about Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys, who constantly conjure dark, Gothic-folk that devours our essence of our souls. They do this with simplicity and restraint, where quaint subtly is as powerful as a wall of dense noise. The Berlin-based collective showcase how quietness can be enrapturing on “Warm II”.
The song is the perfect companion for a lonely walk during the darkest moments of the night. We don’t need our conscience to speak to us because Kruger acts the part. With the mournful guitar and the feathery percussion in the background, Kruger’s thoughts are our own. She recalls seeing someone for the first time and falling in love. While they have yet to meet again, a yearning in her heart remains, and we can feel it. We know this feeling.
“That I was seconds away from spilling everything
Moments away from telling you anything
And when you sat close to me
I swear to God I could hardly breathe
Could you hear me
Now I want to write you songs
I want to send you books
Anything to make you listen
Make you look
Towards me, me”
Ada Lea – “hurt” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Mothers, Flock of Dimes, Highasakite
Some songs possess the power of awe, leaving you in wonder over what you just heard. Others cause your knees to buckle, your eyes to shed a few tears, and your mind focused on every single lyric. Then there are the few that do all of these things. So before pressing play to Ada Lea‘s new single, “hurt”, you might wish to sit down, stop what you’re doing, and just listen. You don’t want to miss anything.
The moniker of Alexandra Levy, the Montreal-based singer-songwriter has crafted an incredibly beautiful but painful song that will leave a scar on all those that hear it. With a mournful guitar, a weeping string arrangement, and a patiently throbbing rhythm section playing in the background, Levy’s brittle voice reveals a woman who has been literally beaten. Every word she utters feels like her last:
“I’m not being dramatic
Or dark in tone when I say,
Somebody hurt me badly
Now I’m stuck in a runt
Now I’m going crazy
Somebody hurt me badly
Now I’m stuck in a runt
Now I don’t know my body”
And yet she perseveres and is able to share her story with us. In the process, she’s crafted not only one of 2021’s most devastating songs but one of the year’s very best.
The single is out on Saddle Creek.
Sunshine Boysclub – “Patience” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Foster the People, MGMT, Balthazar
On hump days, some people prefer more melancholic, laid-back tunes. We think every mid-week playlist requires at least one get-off-your-keister, adrenaline-rushing number. Plus, it’s summer, so what are we doing lounging inside? Providing the anthem for today is a name you may not recognize at first until you learn who’s behind the “mask”.
Get up and get ready to dance to “Patience”, which is the debut single of Sunshine Boysclub. Saying “debut” is a bit deceiving since Sam Martin is the lead singer and songwriter of indie-pop band Youngblood Hawke. Like his main outfit, Martin has crafted one banger of a psych-pop number. It is jubilant and euphoric, bursting with energy from the start to finish. The song is, well, like sunshine on a cloudy and turbulent day. And this dark day is described by Martin. Beneath the summertime bliss is a story of a person who has long lived a stormy life. Depression and anxiety endlessly occupied Martin’s mind. As he describes:
“But then it pulls me down
And I ain’t sleeping right
All my smiles are tight
And I lose patience with myself again
And in the morning light
It’s always such a fright
To be open now”
Let the song serve as a reminder to look after ourselves and each other.
Bloodslide – “MVP” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Black Mountain, Protomartyr, Preoccupations
Some super-groups get plenty of media attention while others fly under the radar. With respect to the latter, these bands don’t get the respect they should receive because they’re creating music not for the masses but for themselves. They’re making music that is intended to raise the ceiling of music as an art form as opposed to giving the masses another generic number. With Protomartyr’s Greg Ahee (guitars), Preoccupations’ Mike Wallace (who is only one of the great drummers around), and AJ Lambert (vocals, bass), who just so happens to be Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter, they’re clearly not seeking to be another low-hanging fruit band. They are instead seeking to take their project, Bloodslide, to extraordinary heights. In the process, they will blow minds as they do with their third single “MVP”.
Fasten your seat belts because “MVP” is a riveting, jarring journey into our personal abysses. A lush yet heavily distorted layer of a shoegaze guitar welcomes us to a new dimension. This realm is home to our phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs, and every technology we own. It is our world of entrapment.
Just as the song seems to be settling into a cosmic groove, it transitions into a hypnotic, post-punk-esque soundscape. Lambert’s voice is haunting yet gripping. Then suddenly, a cascade of thunderous noise envelops the track. And through the piercing shoegaze lies Wallace’s voice. This moment marks the first time he has lent his vocal to any song, and his emotionless approach mirrors his friend and fellow Preoccupations band mate Matt Flegel’s tone. If Lambert is Siri, Alexa, Hound, and the all-knowing being we depend on daily, then Wallace is the voice of deliverance.
Simply an awesome and brilliant song, and it sets Bloodslide’s debut EP to be one of the summer’s most anticipated releases. The record is expected in July.
Ailsa Tully – “Greedy” (London, England via Wales)
RIYL: Dehd, Lala Lala, Flock of Dimes
Honesty with oneself may be one of the most difficult challenges any person goes through. This requires being truthful to one self, being vulnerable, and admitting that we were wrong and apologizing for our decisions, words, and actions. The process, though, can also be rewarding. It may even lead to the creation of something whimsical, witty, and wonderful. For Welsh singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Ailsa Tully, she takes her introspection and turns it into a brilliant piece of art-pop that she calls “Greedy”.
Tully’s playful, layered vocal matches the song’s off-kilter and similarly playful approach. It feels like we’re children again and innocently wandering through the nearby forbidden forest. Under each overturned stone and around every bend of the hill, a new discovery is found. For Tully, she finds not an object, but things less tangible to us yet more concrete for herself. She understands that she has been “greedy for your hunger”, meaning she has asked more from others than from herself. Tully has sought to see herself in others instead of being her true self. Now as she moves ahead as the latest exciting UK artist, she will reveal more of her character in the coming months and years.
It all begins on August 20th, when her new EP, Holy Isle, is released on Dalliance Recordings. In the meantime, head to Bandcamp to hear more of her material and tell all your friends about Wales’ next big thing.
Dolly Valentine – “Do It All For You” (Cape Cod, MA via Cincinnati, USA)
RIYL: Kacey Musgraves, Edward Sharpe, Taylor Swift
Dolly Valentine‘s “debut” record, How To Be Good, was one of 2020’s best records. It was a warm record, full of human moments. In a world going through many crises, it was important to find comfort and meaning in the small gestures of love and appreciation, and in the world around you. Valentine’s music has an undeniable way to make listeners miss people they’ve never met and places they’ve never been. Since releasing How To Be Good, Dolly spent the year in Cape Cod, Massachusetts starting a biodynamic farm and studying historical architecture, religious history, and psychology. For those familiar with her work either as Dolly Valentine or Holy Golden, it’s obvious how important those fields are to the artist.
The warm feeling and sound of How To Be Good return on “Do It All For You”. “Do It All For You” is described as a “joyful pagan love song made for sunshine and summer days”. Perhaps no setting is better to take in those summer days than Cape Cod. Valentine sings of sailing to an island in the ocean, parting the seas, and bathing in the sun. It’s about finding comfort and connection through the Earth, its seasons, and its beauty. Musically, it’s a gorgeous nostalgic country song with chiming guitar, delicately played piano, and beautiful harmonies. “Do It All For You” contains all that makes Dolly Valentine a special artist.
Stream/Download “Do It All For You” here. While “Do It All For You” is a stand-alone single, Valentine will be writing a new album in a medieval castle in Italy. Knowing how well Valentine captures her surroundings in song, this upcoming record has the potential to be even more of a stunner.
Bek Sarkoezy – “New Year” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Oh Pep!, Laura Marling, Alex the Astronaut
With each passing week, we come across yet another Australian singer-songwriter who makes us do double takes. It’s not necessarily the music that grabs our attention, but the words that they say and the stories they express. The land Down Under is one of, if not THE, songwriting factory today, and this applies to all genres. Of course, the arena of all things folk dominates because under this umbrella can a young artist like Bek Sarkoezy truly shine. Where her creative sonic mind and lyrical genius thrive, as they do on “New Year”.
A pleasant soundscape evolves from the track, and it reminiscent of the countryside fairs that litter the English countryside in the summer. It is warm, blissful, and just perfect for a jaunt in the meadow. But as the guitars and bass are lightly plucked and soft bellows of the trumpet and sax are heard, Sarkoezy’s story is anything but joyful. She instead shares the anxieties and insecurities of people like her, who wish to be away from the crowds and parties of New Year’s Eve and want a quiet moment for themselves. They just, as she says, “want to go home” because this day reminds them of their loneliness and their fears of what awaits over the next 365 days and beyond.
“I wander to a friend of mine
I look him in the eye and say,
‘Of all the days, of the years
That make me want to cry
It’s today, it’s today
It’s the rest of my life”
Should Sarkoezy continue to write such great songs, she’ll soon have to perform in front of thousands of adoring fans and embrace the moment. She might actually already be.
Wye Oak – “Its Way With Me” (Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: The Weather Station, Laura Marling, Fenne Lily
Every great musical journey needs a song that leaves one in a very peaceful and serene place when the last note is played. If there is one band that has perfected turning a song into a memory, it is Wye Oak. For 15 years, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have blessed us with tracks that have quietly roared and others that have sounded heavenly. Everything they touch is magic, which is what could be said for “Its Way With Me”.
The song is prototypical Wye Oak. It is a stunner made for calm summer nights and for a time when the darkness is starting to lift. A beautiful, Spanish-influenced guitar line crafts a tranquil and peaceful tone. Wasner’s voice, meanwhile, is delicate and immersive. She is like the calm voice in our head that tells us better days are to come. She reminds us that we have come this far that there’s no turning back.
“I can write all the way off the page
But I can never answer myself
What’s the use of these things I have made
Thеy are cords into a realm
So I push through the dark to the Earth
Have a future I can see
If my life is a hem in the breeze
It can have its way with me”
The single is out via Merge Records.
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