Unexpected surprises fill The Matinee ’21 v. 098, as the songs seamlessly move from dreamy and breathtaking to euphoric and cathartic. Some of the tunes feature all these traits. Have a great middle of the week wherever you may be.
Amen Dunes – “Feel Nothing” (New York, USA)
RIYL: Bright Eyes, Lower Dens, Steve Gunn
For over a decade, Damon McMahon has channeled his immense creativity through his project, Amen Dunes. It’s hard to really put a label on his music. At times, it can be calming and lush. Other times, it’s a raw sonic experience. His most recent record, Freedom, was a unique blend of styles that showcased all that makes McMahon’s music so notable.
In his first release since 2018’s Freedom, Amen Dunes returns with “Feel Nothing”. The track continues the trend towards a blend of styles, even getting an assist from Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson. Early on, “Feel Nothing” is a chilled-out number with McMahon’s vocal delivery little more than just spoken word. A great drum beat lies underneath, as the song goes through some transitions. Suddenly, it all cuts out and some distortion comes through and it all explodes into a wild danceable ending. “Feel Nothing” feels like an important moment for Amen Dunes. It’s their first song on Sub Pop, and it’s a solid shift in sound, an embrace of what was dabbled in previously.
Coma Culture – “Bad Habits” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Caveman, Two Door Cinema Club, Young the Giant
In March, an unexpected surprise came from Young the Giant members, Eric Cannata and Francois Comtois, when they announced they had joined forces with producer Jonathan O’Brien to form Coma Culture. Their eponymous debut single was a hook-filled stunner that had us wondering if the band could be even bigger than their big brother. The answer won’t be known for years, but we think a healthy debate may ensue if the trio stay together for several more years. For that matter, let the discussion begin because “Bad Habits” rivals anything that Young the Giant have created.
This surging, synth-pop piece of ear-candy goodness is sensational. “Bad Habits” is filled with moments that are simultaneously breathtaking and exhilarating, stealing away not just the air in your lungs but also your attention. An energy, however, streams across the track, where instead of being in a state of paralysis the track encourages us to move. Cannata’s story, too, is uplifting. His tale could be interpreted as a contemporary rendition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, where Quasimodo discovers he can be loved by others thanks to the kindhearted Esmeralda.
“I’ve got to get better
And it’s all that I can do
Is it what you want me to?
If you had a drink with me
I would smile through crooked teeth”
Horte – “Pelko karistaa järjen” (Lievestuore, Finland)
RIYL: Autolux, Årabrot, Womb
Approximately 265 kilometers north of Helsinki likes the remote lake district of Lievestruore. Its 2500 inhabitants live a quiet life, as the area is surrounded by immense natural beauty. In the heart of winter, the nights are long and illuminated by the northern lights. Anyone fortunate enough to see this spectacle knows how spectacular the experience is. Wonder, awe, and amazement are the feelings often tied to this event. These three expressions also apply to the music of a local band, who at this time remain as mysterious as the Aurora Borealis.
Post-rock fans, get to know Horte. They’ve actually been around for a few years, and their third album, Maa antaa yon vaientaa, is due out August 27th on Pelagic Records. To offer a sneak peek, they have shared “Pelko karistaa järjen”, which is less the glacial soundscapes of Sigur Rös or the electrifying dynamism of Explosions in the Sky. Instead, be seduced into another dimension that lies somewhere between reality and where dreams reside.
Dark reverberations are unleashed from the over-driven guitars while a Gothic suspense emerges from the tapping percussion and spatial production. Within this bleak yet enchanting vortex lies a voice that is angelic yet mystifying. She lures us further into this unknown world, promising us that we will be freed from our sorrow and pain. And more importantly, we will no longer live in fear. We’ll just be in awe of the experience.
Pre-orders for Maa antaa yon vaientaa are available at the label’s store.
The Lonely Together – “Shots Fired…” (Edinburgh, Scotland)
RIYL: Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon
Speaking of amazing experiences and little-known bands, this next track will bowl you over. Well, it did for us. And if you’re like us, you’ll ask yourself, “How have I not listened to The Lonely Together sooner? How come I’m not already a fan?” It’s never too late to make amends, get on the bandwagon, and tell all your friends about the band and their single, “Shots Fired…”
In listening to the song for the first time, our expression was, “Oh my gosh!” It is a breathtaking, emotional, and cinematic epic meant to blow every synapse in your mind. Beyond the spectacular arrangement, there lies a story that is even more devastating than the slowly cascading dreaminess and rising urgency. This tale concerns a grieving soul who lost his true love and now can no longer find a reason to live.
“I bleed, but I go on
It hurts more now you’re gone
This is the worst thing that I’ve ever done
Holding on to the smoking gun
You can’t sleep in your own home
When was the last time that you loved someone?
Your final swan song
When was the last time that you needed someone?
When was the last time that you loved someone?”
Simply a remarkable song and one of the year’s very best.
The Lonely Together are Mike Baillie (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Gemma Thurston (vocals), Matthew Casey (bass), and David Calder (drums). Their new album, Everything Viewed Backwards Through The Rearviewmirror, arrives on Friday, July 9th. Get it on Bandcamp.
The Parrots – “You Work All Day And Then You Die” (Madrid, Spain)
RIYL: W.H. Lung, Working Men’s Club, HINDS
Yeah we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic and our way of life has changed significantly. We still have to work, though, whether that’s at home, outside somewhere, or within the confines of an establishment. COVID may have altered a lot of things, but it didn’t do away with the 9-to-5 routine. We’re still stuck in this rut of a lifestyle, but two guys have found a way to make the mundane sound fun. Then again, Diego Garcia (guitar, vocals) and Alex de Lucas (bass) have always found a brighter side to life through their project The Parrots, like they do with their newest single.
Put on your dancing shoes, clear the hallways from any obstacles, and prance around to “You Work All Day And Then You Die”. This buzz-saw, pop-rock anthem well exceeds exhilaration and exuberance. It is a surging tidal wave of unrelenting energy meant to inspire us to do greater things. The Madrid-based duo encourage us to “find some peace of mind” now and make our mark before it’s too late. Garcia and de Lucas are not suggesting we quit our jobs, but rather to not let them define who we are. Instead, let the jubilant, dancing freak within us be our guide.
Pale Moon – “Parachutes” (Barcelona, Spain via Reykjavík, Iceland)
RIYL: Tennis, Natalie Prass, Faye Webster
Pale Moon have been a fun band to follow over the last few years. Their folk-inspired style layered with a classic rock vibe makes their music incredibly inviting. They’ve released a short EP and a handful of singles, and now they’re gearing up for their debut LP. The songs released from the LP so far have been nothing short of fantastic, from “Stranger” and its wonderful guitar work to the darker side of “Happier”.
On “Parachutes”, Pale Moon channel that throwback psychedelic sound, but instead of the folk we’ve become accustomed to, the band goes a bit more into ’70s disco as its backbone. Immensely danceable, upbeat, and charming, “Parachutes” has so much to enjoy. Its lyrics add to the fun, singing of pretending to be rock stars, romance, and being on the road. It’s a perfect late summer afternoon song to take in the sun by the ocean.
Kristiane – “Better On Your Own” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Claud, Snail Mail
Kristiane has all of the things needed to be the next big breakout artist. Her first single, “Wish I Could Be Your Girl”, was a catchy, sad pop track much in the vein of artists like Wallice and Claud. There is something to be said about dancing the sadness away.
On her latest single, “Better on Your Own”, leans more towards an indie sound. Its early moments are just a gently strummed guitar, drums, and Kristiane Alphson’s voice. As it gets to the chorus, it becomes much bigger. Her voice is joined by gorgeous harmonies, the guitar gets louder, and the song feels complete. “Better on Your Own” is a stunner of a track. Judging by it and “Wish I Could Be Your Girl”, Kristiane already has shown us a range of style and emotion. It’s only the beginning and we can’t wait to hear more.
Ghostly Kisses – “Don’t Know Why” (Québec City, Canada)
RIYL: Helena Deland, Rhye, Haux, deryk
Earlier this year, Margaux Sauvé released a sensational, melancholic cover of Indochine‘s iconic 2002 single, “J’ai demandé à la lune”. It was the first song she released in 2021 via her Ghostly Kisses project. Four months later, Sauvé has released her first original song of the year, and the wait was immensely worth it.
Like everything she has done, Sauvé unveils a gorgeous, dreamy single in “Don’t Know Why”. Her angelic voice effortlessly floats above the stunning yet delicate arrangement. A finger-plucked guitar, a longing piano, the low hum of a synth, and a few strings are all that are featured on this track, yet the atmosphere is alluring and mesmerizing. The approach enables the emotion from Sauvé’s songwriting to naturally build. She sings about accepting the situation instead of making amends. It is time for her to move on because the hurt and pain will eventually return. As she says, “Because deep inside / I don’t want to make it all right”.
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