The weekend has arrived and The Matinee ’21 v. 102 provides the perfect getaway to the liberation that awaits. There are showstoppers and catchy numbers plus some dreamy tunes. Happy weekend everyone!
W. H. Lung – “Showstopper” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Arcade Fire + OMNI + Team Picture
In the eight years we’ve been doing this gig, we have discovered thousands of incredibly talented artists and bands. Many have become favorites, where we’ve traveled long and far to see them perform. We have not had the opportunity to fly to England to see W.H. Lung, but they are near the top of list of bands we want to see live. They are among the most exciting bands we’ve heard, and their new album, Vanities, is one we cannot wait to hear in full. We, however, have to wait two months to find out what Tom Sharkett (guitar), Joe Evans (vocals), and Alex Mercer Main (drums), Hannah Peace (synths, vocals), and Chris Mulligan (bass, synths) have in store for us. Fortunately for us, they’ve already shared one tune with the psych-disco sparkler, “Pearl In The Palm”, and now “Showstopper”.
This song exhibits everything we adore about the band. It is a medley of sounds and influences. Art-rock jerkiness, disco-psych grooves, and post-punk collide to create one infectious number. With this varied combination, the track could be heard in nearly any environment. It could be a musty, dank dive bar; a secretive club in London’s Soho area; or in the intimate confines of our car. Their talents, though, also extend to the collective’s fantastic songwriting. On “Showstopper”, they share the anxiety that stopped them from doing great things to finding inspiration in the unexpected to be someone better.
“It’s a fatal vulnerability that says,
‘You know, to hell with it’, but I’m at peace with my decision
And my body and my body and my body is a river, as it sings along
I feel fine, I’m quite in love with your smile and movement my child
Oh yes, I feel fine, shall we glimmer and rise together
One last time?”
Let this not be the last time you hear W.H. Lung. Instead, circle September 3rd on your calendars, as that is when Melodic Records will release Vanities. Pre-orders, pre-saves, and tickets for the upcoming tour are available here. Also head to Bandcamp to pick up the album.
TORRES – “Thirstier” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Lady Lamb, Bleached
There’s so much to be said about the resilient nature of TORRES’s Mackenzie Scott.She is an artist who doesn’t do anything halfway. Her music is intense at times, wholly personal, and always with an edge to it that makes it feel like it’s constantly on the verge of explosion. Since 2017’s Three Futures, the career of Scott hasn’t always been certain. Dropped from a label, picked up by another, but along the way Scott has found a new source of stability and inspiration, her fiancée Jenna Gribbon.
The songs TORRES has shared from her upcoming record, Thirstier, have focused on how that relationship has given Scott a previously unfamiliar feeling of joy. “Don’t Go Puttin’ Wishes In My Head” and “Hug From A Dinosaur” were about acts of love, small and large, and the effect they can have. The title track, “Thirstier” is no different, but perhaps more personal and honest. Musically, it plays on that edge like some of TORRES’ best tracks. There’s a calming quality to the guitar in the verses that grows larger in the choruses. Scott’s voice is as powerful and dynamic as ever. It’s absolutely a knockout track and with the other songs she’s shared so far, Thirstier is shaping up to be among the year’s best.
Hana Vu – “Maker” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Dehd, Lala Lala, Babeheaven
Since the age of 13, Hana Vu has been crafting beautifully emotional music. She wasn’t just doing the covers things but creating original songs that possessed the same power as Sharon Van Etten. Now entering her 20s, the young singer-songwriter is starting her new decade by signing with Ghostly. Her addition to the great label represents a bit of a shift since Ghostly is known more for its roster of outstanding electronic-driven artists, including Tycho, Phantogram, and, of course, co-founder Matthew Dear. This says it all about Vu’s talent and potential. She has the chance to erupt into stardom like Phoebe Bridgers has over the past 18 months, and maybe it happens today or tomorrow with Elton John gushing about “Maker”.
A sweet urgency bellows from this Americana-tinged indie rocker. A banjo is strummed over a second guitar and tantalizing keys, and the swell of instruments delivers a lovely and wondrous melody. It is part dream, part reality, and completely mesmerizing. Vu’s voice lightly hovers offer the arrangement, but her tale is not one of joy, jubilation, nor even hope. Her story is one of forgiveness, vulnerability, and help.
“Save me, oh, my angel
Are you angry?
‘Cause I’m not stronger and I crumble
Oh, that’s my nature
Just like you”
She’s going to be a star. Someone let Elton John know.
Valley Palace – “Friend” (Fresno, CA USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Small Black, TV on the Radio
What are the elements of a perfect summer day? Sunshine, stress-free vibes, and a sense of adventure usually play key roles. Blue skies and a fresh breeze help perfect that idyllic scene. All you need now is the perfect summer song to soundtrack the moment. This fresh tune from promising newcomer Valley Palace meets your needs and then some.
“Friend” is a sun-kissed slice of indie pop perfection. The warm, jangly riffs are instantly addicting while the lyrics offer reassurance for anyone who struggles with anxiety and self-doubt:
“I never thought that I’d be worth it but I’m gonna try
Don’t really think I could impress
I get nervous and get restless
Then I change my mind”
If those lines are the hook, then the phrase “Should be every day that you’re feelin’ fine” truly captures Nathan Taylor’s message. He does more than deliver a melody that will linger in your head for weeks. He offers an anthem of joyful independence. “Friend” encourages listeners to never give up on being themselves and chasing their dreams. The world needs more messages like this from voices as inviting as his. We cannot wait to hear what Valley Palace shares next.
No Vacation – “Waltzing Back” (The Cranberries cover) (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: The Cranberries meets Slowdive
Everyone who lived in the ’90s and grew up during the rise of alternative music had The Cranberries’ debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? The LP is not just iconic, but it is also one of the great records recorded since CDs became a pop culture staple.
While most people will remembers songs like “Linger”, “Dreams”, and “Sunday”, in the middle of the album lied “Waltzing Back”, which was raw, gritty, and haunting with Dolores O’Riordan’s signature voice at the center. Get a room full of fans, play that song, and watch everyone sing to it. Now take that same group of people and turn on No Vacation‘s rendition of that same song, and they probably won’t realize they’re hearing the same song. And that to us is what makes a great cover.
Sabrina Mai (vocals/guitar), Marisa Saunders (bass), Nat Lee (synths), and Harrison Spencer (guitar) have made “Waltzing Back” into a gorgeously dark and suspenseful piece of breathtaking shoegaze. They have taken a classic and made it their own without compromising its integrity nor power. Whereas O’Riordan’s voice was prominent, Mai’s delivery is ghostly, where it sinks into the crystalline dizziness and the trembling percussion. While the original was a statement of strengthen, the cover is one of grand mystery. And in its own way, this version is a classic.
The Greeting Committee – “Float Away” (Kansas City, USA)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Lunar Vacation, Remi Wolf
The Greeting Committee have developed quite a unique sound since they first broke through in 2015. It took them a while to get to their debut, 2018’s This Is It, but it was well worth the wait. At times, their sound is a throwback with gorgeous horn sections. Other times it’s contemporary indie-rock stompers. Addie Sartino (vocals), Brandon Yangmi (guitar), Pierce Turcotte (bass), and Austin Fraser (drums) all bring something special to the dance.
On their latest single, “Float Away”, The Greeting Committee have added even more depth to their sound. An intense drumbeat and distorted guitar provide the backbone for the track. Sartino’s voice goes from laid back into a huge release in the choruses, layered upon itself with a bit of distortion. Its closing moments are incredible. Lyrically, it has a bit of a dissociative nature to it. It captures the feelings many of us felt during the last year of isolation.
“My life don’t feel like mine these days I find these days.
Stale rye, once an apples eye. I’m losing sight I’m”
Soccer Mommy – “rom com 2004” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Snail Mail, Lomelda, Listening to “circle the drain’ on a corrupt iPod
There’s no denying that Soccer Mommy has become one of the biggest names in indie music over the last few years. Sophia Allison’s most recent record, color theory, was an instant classic and one of 2020’s great LPs. Released in early March 2020, it was a perfect companion to ease us into the uncertain times that loomed ahead. Allison’s music is rooted in anxiety, self-doubt, and heartache, but it comes with an honesty that makes it completely relatable.
On “rom com 2004”, Soccer Mommy picks up right where color theory left off. It is catchy at its core but filled with a bit of distortion to give it a glitchy and warped feeling as the song progresses. The song’s foundations are what makes Soccer Mommy so great – the ’90s pop influence, the heartache, and the warmth that brings it all together.
The track, which is out on Loma Vista Recordings, was produced by BJ Burton, who’s worked with Charli XCX, Empress Of, and Bon Iver. “rom com 2004” is also accompanied by a fun music video from Fustic Studio, featuring Allison in Nintendo Mii style jumping around digital 3D worlds.
Sunken – “Show Me Your Mind” (London, England)
RIYL: Blondie, Warpaint, St. Vincent
Prepare to become hypnotized by this stunner of a tune. “Show Me Your Mind” from London-based outfit Sunken elevates your mind with head-spinning disco grooves so powerful it should come with a health advisory. The song’s vintage vibes evoke late ‘70s-era Blondie one moment then channel modern guitar goddesses like Warpaint and St. Vincent the next. In other words, say hello to your new musical crush.
They crank up the charm from the first note. Sultry vocals ignite an instant fascination that is heightened by impeccable instrumentation. Tight percussion sets your heart racing, a feeling that remains until the final beat. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself hitting repeat multiple times to fully absorb the brilliance of this tune.
Sunken may be a new name for most listeners. The five-piece have been together a few years and released their debut EP, Hometime, last September. Those five tracks showcased the talents of a band with a polished sound and a bright future. They introduced listeners to their range, almost as a sly wink to what lies ahead. Perhaps the EP was a warmup for 2021, since the languid shoegaze tones of Hometime offered little indication that their sound would lift off in such a big way. “Show Me Your Mind” is the rocket fuel that will indeed launch Sunken into superstardom. Keep an eye on this group.
Broken Baby – “Get the Piss Up” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Le Tigre, Les Savy Fav, Dear Rouge
If we were planning a neighborhood bash and in charge of the music, we would probably call Amber Bollinger and rock veteran/producer Alex Dezen of The Damnwells to ask if they and their project, Broken Baby, would be available. We wouldn’t call them a party band because that has certain connotations. They are, however, one fun and energetic outfit, whose music would have the young’uns and the older folks dancing and jumping. But don’t mistaken the catchiness of their tunes as lacking in substance. As they demonstrated with “Madonna’s a Dick”, they used their exhilarating fare to communicate about the shallowness of the world. They take on societal norms again with another ripper of a tune.
Grab the person next to you and start jumping and dancing to “Get the Piss Up”. For more than three-and-a-half minutes, the duo fire off one catchy riff after another with the intent to make us think we can overcome anything. They want to make us realize that we “can be anything that you want to be”. To get to this point, we need to break free from the chains and tear down the walls that imprison our true selves. As Bollinger boisterously bellows:
“Fill up your guts and scream it from the rooftops
Go place your bets cause this is where the buck stops
It’s do or die at the coup d’état”
The party has started!
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