The Matinee ’21 v. 096 fires up the 4th of July long weekend with, what else, a global affair of exhilarating music. Eights songs from seven artists/bands are featured, and they represent five different countries. Hey, the best music is borderless. Happy weekend everyone!
POND – “Toast” (Fremantle, Australia)
RIYL: Elton John meets with Tame Impala
In their thirteen years as POND, Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry, and James Ireland have known to mostly release tripped-out, adrenaline-rushing songs, like the spaced-out “Pink Lunettes” and the super groovy “America’s Cup”. So when the quintet released “Toast” the other day, expectations were they were unleashing another get-up-off-your-keister buzz-saw. Well, just like how their new album, 9, is shaping up, they deliver a surprise.
“Toast” is the perfect slow groove for a Friday night. It’s a song made for a ’70s dance floor, where the disco ball glitters in all directions while couples gather and gently sway to the delicate guitar line, the lithe rhythms, the romantic strings, and Allbrook’s tender voice. Oh, and there is of course a sexy sax solo. As we slowly dance with our partner, we fall under the spell of this tantalizing number and its story about the end of days. Or what seemed like the end of days with the entire world shuttered at one point and little hope on the horizon. During such times, our minds may wonder like Allbrook’s does:
“Sat upon Cable Beach
Cheeks like a robin’s breast
With four horsemen shod with flames in the west
And all I can give is all that I’ve got
I’m sorry but it’s true
Life’s too short
To be away from you”
Chicano Batman – “Dark Star” and “Pastel Sunrise” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: POND, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Babe Rainbow
It’s one thing for a great band like Chicano Batman to drop one surprise single. It’s another to offer two unexpected tunes, which makes July 2nd feel like December 25th. Making the gifts even better is that the songs are perfect for the upcoming long weekend. For “Dark Star”, get on your marching shoes that can double as dancing footwear because this groovy, psych-disco number is made for moving. The grimy-turned-smooth guitars and Bardo Martinez’s vibrant vocal take us to another dimension, although his lyrics focus on America’s fall from grace and its treatment of immigrants. “The wall is here / Spread that fear”, he states, and the march to “melt down the wall now” has commenced.
“Pastel Sunrise”, meanwhile, is meant for a slow, coastal drive or chilling out in the backyard and sipping your favorite summer cocktail this holiday weekend. The smooth, psych-disco vibes create a feeling of cool relaxation and chilling out with our partner, friends, and family. It’s a song made for togetherness in the face of the “Dark Star” that is before us. Leave it to Eduardo Arenas (bass/guitar/vocals), Carlos Arévalo (guitar), Bardo Martinez (lead vocals/keyboard/guitar), and Gabriel Villa (drums/vocals) to offer two different yet companion pieces.
Magdalena Bay – “Chaeri” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Electric Youth, BROODS, FM-84
In 2017, a little duo not long out of high school made us look in the mirror. “Set Me Off” was our first introduction to Mica Tenenbaum (songwriting/vocals) and Matthew Lewin’s (songwriting/vocals/production) project Magdalena Bay, which channeled the great synth-pop of the ’80s. Their music was equally made to be heard on Silver Spoons and Pretty in Pink, which is an impressive feat since neither were born when these pop-culture pieces were shown respectively on the little and big screen. In the four years that have followed, the pair have established a solid following, bringing together people across different generations to recall the greatness of a bygone era. Not surprisingly, news of their long-awaited debut album, Mercurial World, has spread like wildfire with dozens of publications covering the news. It’s not difficult to understand people’s excitement after hearing “Chaeri”.
The song is the wonderful merger of the past and present. The dazzlement and cinema of the ’80s brims through Tenenbaun’s saccharine voice and story of the dissolution of a friendship. Like a John Hughes movie, she seeks to make amends and change the past. An air of modern electro-pop, however, streams through the track, specifically the delicate beats that act as the bridge to the Anthony Gonzalez-esque surge at the song’s peak. From start to finish, the song grabs hold and never lets go. Its gravitational pull is heightened when Tenenbaum sings:
“Let it come alive
Let it grow
RIYL: M83, London Grammar, Maribou State
Speaking of M83, look across the Atlantic and towards the southern coast of Italy. There one will find composer and producer Stefano Milella, who has composed music for several films and TV shows. Via his project, Nother, he brings the cinema and its stars to music. He’s crafting music that sounds like an unforgettable adventure; one that we tend to view in our dreams or in grand screens. So as you prepare to spin his latest single, grab some popcorn, get comfortable, and prepare for an epic journey.
“Lines” is an absolute stunner. From the very first beat and sparkling production to the words that Moon Leap lushly sings, one becomes immediately suspended within the breathtaking soundscape. The song then builds and builds and builds, gradually accelerating so it feels like we’re hurtling through space. For a solid forty seconds, the track reaches a point of indescribable exhilaration and ecstasy. This is our destiny, the place where we are meant to find meaning within ourselves and in others. As Moon Leap says, “Waiting for something in the lines / Rising chapters in my mind”. There is, however, no point in waiting to acknowledge the brilliance of these two artists, who have delivered one of the year’s most stunning songs.
Nother’s new album, Future Is Bright, is out July 22nd on Abyond Music.
TV People – “Out of Silence” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Interpol, Editors, Protomartyr
After naming TV People one of our favorite discoveries of 2020, we’ve been waiting patiently for TV People to release new material. Obviously a global pandemic has made it difficult to make music, particularly when a band only comprises of two members (they were originally a quartet) and every element needs to be meticulously crafted. Better to take the time to create something awesome than to rush to get something out there for the masses to hear. And Paul Donohoe and Brendan Clarke have done exactly this – that is they’ve wisely used their time to share another melodic thumper in “Out of the Silence”.
The single is reminiscent of Interpol in their youth with its dark, brooding tones and anthemic qualities. It is, as such, chilling and foreboding yet worthy of filling airwaves and concert venues across the globe. Despite its tone, the song is an awakening of two people learning to appreciate their surroundings once again. Specifically, it is an acknowledgement of Donohoe and Clarke’s fortune to live in Dublin, which despite a troubled history still finds way to flourish. The city and its lively music scene have helped them further advance their art and find their sound without any expectations. In the process, they still might conquer the world as we predicted a year ago.
Strange Talk – “Love Elevation” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Cut Copy, Ra Ra Riot, A Silent Film
Every long weekend needs a slow jam, and we head Down Under to get. Specifically, we turn to Strange Talk, who offered a modern, sultry love song in “Love Elevation”.
After a significant hiatus, the song can also be viewed as more than just the typical yearning. It is also Stephen Docker and Gerard Sidhu marking their return as one of Australia’s great electro-pop duos. Tantalizing beats, shimmering synths, and circling vocals form a hypnotic atmosphere, which seems perfect for spinning as the sun slowly sets over the horizon. But for Docker and Sidhu, the sun is rising once again.
How high Strange Talk’s sun will rise in the sky is unknown, but the duo have hinted at a new album. While we are waiting for that, it’s time to kick back with your favorite adult beverage and soak it in and let it elevate your mood for the coming weekend.
Mister Strange – “High Heel Heavy” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: DZ Deathrays, OSees, Ty Segall,
Sometimes we just need an all-out banger to get our energy levels elevated. Cue English garage rockers Mister Strange, who provide just that – an injection of electrified energy. “High Heel Heavy” holds nothing back with is raucous guitar riffs, killer percussion, and fuzzy vocals. It’s the kind of track that screams to be turned all. the. way. upppp!!!
As many across the world are heading dead into the heat of summer, this is the perfect song to spin getting ready to go out with friends or if you need to be really really motivated either with work or working out.
The band shares a bit about their newest track:
“High Heel Heavy is a song about walking down the street in your killer heeled boots, not giving a care in the world as you strut to a familiar place to wreak havoc and keep your inner fire lit. It came to life in our rehearsal room, also known as ‘The Humid’, for its damp quality over the winter month of January during the bleakest part of lockdown life.”
Mister Strange is comprised of vocalist/drummer Tomas Walmsley (also of acclaimed band the Fruit Tones) and completed by Callum Rogers on bass, Ste Bradbury on guitar and synths, and Daryl Taylor on guitars.
Their newest single is out now via PNKSLM Recordings.
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