From songs about our forever companions to insightful social commentary to quirky tunes, The Matinee ’21 v. 113 is the wake-up call you need to start another week. Eight songs are featured on the mini-playlist, which kicks off with an all-time favorite.
Strand of Oaks – “Jimi & Stan” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Tom Petty, Jason Molina
Strand of Oaks frontman Tim Showalter has the word “SURVIVE” tattooed in large block letters on his right forearm. The word is a reminder that even the darkest, most painful times can be endured. Anyone who has endured the loss of a loved one – whether human or animal – understands the pain. It can seem unsurvivable. But on his newest single, the now Texas-based artist envisions joy beyond the suffering.
“Jimi & Stan” offers listeners a jubilant dose of comfort. The song is a tribute to his beloved cat, Stan, who was diagnosed with cancer right after his mother-in-law was killed in an auto accident. The bold guitar hooks buoy your spirits even as Showalter sings about no longer having his buddy around. Yet in typical Strand of Oaks fashion, his laser focus on the positive restores balance. It’s impossible not to smile as he imagines Stan hanging out in the great beyond with none other than Jimi Hendrix:
“Jimi and Stan in Heaven
Making friends going to shows
In my dreams I just hope
They’re having a blast”
Whenever life challenges your mental health, just crank this or any other Strand of Oaks song. Tim Showalter offers tips for survival on every album. His upcoming seventh LP, In Heaven, promises to deliver more of the rock & roll therapy that his fans love.
Liily – “Odds Are It’s Blue” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Iceage, Shame, Fontaines D.C.
Ears are usually pointed in the direction of Europe and the city of Chicago when it comes to post-punk. The continent and the Windy City virtually have held dominion over the genre of late. LA-based quintet Liily, though, are determined to break the oligarchy, putting the City of Angels as a place to find more than just beachy pop tunes and electronic bangers. Last month’s single, “I Am Who I Think You Think I Am” was a plodding, ferocious number that reminded us that free will is just a concept but not a reality. They build on this idea while further making a name for themselves with “Odds Are It’s Blue”.
A frenetic energy whirls through this pulsating, electrified post-punk number. As the numerous instruments crisscross and collide, a delirium begins to swell. As much as we try to refocus on minds, we’re left spinning inside Liily’s swirling vortex of manic noise. We’re spinning inside our own minds trying to come to terms that we are not masters of our fate. Rather, invisible forces are in control and dictating our every thought and move. Fight back we try but to no avail because the enemy is also us, as the band brilliantly describe:
“I need those eyes that’ll make me smile
I need the pieces of a story to tell
Until then I don’t have a reason to stay
And now my legs
They fall asleep
I don’t, get far
I’m lost in the tall order you bring
And so I hesitate and I try to think
I go, I stay
I don’t get far”
Liily are Maxx Morando (drums), Sam De La Torre (guitar), Charlie Anastasis (bass), Aaron Reeves (guitar), and Dylan Nash (lead vocals). Flush Records once again has released the single. This band is going places.
Destroy Boys – “Locker Room Bully” (Sacramento, USA)
RIYL: Bad Waitress, Screaming Females, Cherry Glazerr
In their nearly five years as a band, Alexia Roditis and Violet Mayugba have lived by their moniker, Destroy Boys, to a tee. They have long sought to tear down the misogynist institutions that try to maintain archaic conservative values regarding gender, human rights, LGBTQI+, and other social justice issues. While some may try to knock them down, they always get up and fight with more vigor and purpose. In the process, they give the rest of us a belief that in the end we can succeed. It sure helps to create riveting anthems to get the adrenaline flowing, as they do with “Locker Room Bully”.
Get ready to be covered in sweat as the Roditis (vocals, guitar), Mayugba (guitar, vocals), and Narsai Malik (drums) dial up the intensity on this raging and roaring number. While the song is only 147 seconds long, it feels like a 10-minute epic that could raze the Conservative Political Action Conference to the ground. And it is meant to, as the trio set their sights of those who continue to try to oppress people. Right off the bat, Roditis delivers eye-opening lyrics, “Hunting witches has turned into hunting bitches / And for some reason I can’t seem to relax”.
Roditis, though, won’t be the victim nor the prey. The front-person instead faces the assailants in the eyes and challenges them on their so-called “facts” and beliefs.
“I hate biting my tongue
When I know what’s right
And I don’t like being mean
But I won’t run from a fight”
Fight on Destroy Boys! Fight on! And the battle rages right to October 8th, which is when the trio’s new album, Open Mouth Open Heart, is released on Hopeless Records. Pre-orders available at these links and directly on Bandcamp.
Adia Victoria – “Magnolia Blues” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: Rhiannon Giddens, Valerie June, Allison Russell
American women have been singing the blues for generations: legends like Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith paved the way for modern artists with similar messages. Add the name Adia Victoria to the list of singers whose blues music is timeless and classic.
The South Carolina native moved to Nashville in 2010 with a dream of recording an album with famed producer T Bone Burnett. That dream becomes a reality next month with the release of her third LP, A Southern Gothic. The album’s first single solidifies her status as a future legend in the making.
“Magnolia Blues” is a homecoming song of sorts. Its languid tempo brings to life the stifling southern atmosphere while her sultry delivery conveys power. This is a woman returning to her roots. She finds strength in the land of her past and uses it to forge a better future:
“I’m going back south
Down to Carolina
I’m gonna plant myself
Under a magnolia
I’m gonna left that dirt
Do its work”
This is a powerful opening for an album that features a who’s who roster of guest musicians, including The National’s Matt Berninger, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, and more.
Mumble Tide – “Good 4 Me” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Wy, Dehd, Belle Mare
In the past decade, a few bands (mostly duos) have turned sadcore into a dreamy work of art. They’ve communicated stories of heartbreak, mental illness, loneliness, and abandonment through a dazzling, jarring soundscape. A somewhat new pair joins the likes of Belle Mare, Dehd, and Wy and, therefore, are ones to watch. We are, of course, speaking about Mumble Tide.
Formed last year in the midst of a global pandemic, Gina Leonard and Ryan Roger are the rare bright lights that emerged from that time of confinement. While they met via Gumtree, the duo sound like they’ve been playing together since they were children. This speaks to their natural chemistry, which shines on “Good 4 Me”.
A stunning, nostalgic vibe emanates from the deft guitars and rhythms and the light booms of a Casio keyboard. Through this perfectly-executed piece of sadcore, Leonard’s gripping vocal rises. A shade of weakness echoes from each word she sings, as she seeks to have some stability in her unstable world. She finds calm by reflecting on the small things that once defined her life.
“I miss the traffic in the rain in the city walking home lights up the tarmac
Catching eyes through the car’s black windows TV screens switching channels too fast
I drop the colours, drop the glances are always for the puddles for the drains”
Maybe in the future, we’ll look back at October 28th, 2021 as Mumble Tide’s breakout. This date is when the duo’s debut album, Everything Ugly, will be released on Nothing Fancy Records. Pre-orders available on Bandcamp.
Typical Girls – “Nice Boys” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Makthaverskan / Westkust / Agent Blå + Khruangbin + Tame Impala
Indie music fans know that Gothenburg is one of the great music cities on the planet. It may be home to just over half-a-million people, but the Swedish city has cultivated numerous great bands like Makthaverskan, Westkust, and Agent Blå. Another one to add to the list is Typical Girls, which can be defined a super-group. Featuring members of the aforementioned bands – specifically Julia Bjernelind (Westkust), Hugo Randulv (Westkust, Makthaverskan) and Felix Skörvald (Agent Blå) – the trio quietly released an EP way back in 2017. It didn’t receive a lot of fanfare outside of Scandinavian, but their next release promises to reach a larger audience, as they have signed with NY-based Kanine Records. The first single with the great label is an eye-opener.
While the songs of Makthaverskan, Westkust, and Agent Blå tend to be a blend of glimmer dreamgaze and post-punk, Typical Girls dabble in dazzling psychedelic pop on “Nice Boys”. A tropical, sultry vibe fills the air, slowly grooving with the seductive nature of Khruangbin’s trippy numbers. Meanwhile, cool yet sweltering psychedelic tones, which are reminiscent of Tame Impala’s early works, stream throughout. The combination yields a track perfect for a slow dance under the setting sun. Bjernelind’s tale also concerns seduction and flirtation, where she tries to not succumb to the games nice boys play. While she resists, we openly give ourselves to the band’s glistening world.
Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – “Talking to Myself” (Glasgow via East Kilbride, Scotland)
RIYL: The Libertines, The Kooks, Pulp
Many music fans’ favorite bands spend years performing in small venues, stuck outside the mainstream spotlight. But some find a crack in the commercial armor and develop a cult following. Those are the feel-good stories of the industry, where Declan Welsh & The Decadent West belong. Now based in Glasgow after starting their careers in East Kilbride, the quintet have more opportunities to share with the world – or at least UK listeners – their nostalgic brand of pop-rock. People will get to hear songs like “Lull” and now “Talking to Myself” to understand why they draw comparisons to The Kooks, Pulp, and The Libertines. Or in other words, why they have the talent to be the Next Big Thing.
With “Talking to Myself”, the band take us back to the days of jukeboxes, leather jackets, and beehive hairstyles. Like the music of that era, the track bursts with an infectious energy with its groovy, rollicking approach. But unlike ’50s and ’60s tunes, this track is not about sipping milkshakes with our partner nor cruising in a convertible. Instead, as is always the case with this band, they tackle the plight of young people trying to find their ways in this complicated world. They’ve been beaten down time and time again, yet each day they get up and “find myself again”. Declan Welsh (vocals), Duncan McBride (guitar), Ben Corlett (bass), and Murray Noble (drums), however, are not on the way down. No, they’re on their way up. Way up.
The band’s new EP is expected next month. It might take them to the path of stardom.
Saloon Dion – “VHS” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Gang Of Four, Parquet Courts, Squid
Sticking with the nostalgic theme, an emerging group from Bristol are doing their part to ensure art-punk remains hip and relevant. Saloon Dion sounds more appropriate for a psych-country group than one that is bringing new life to the music that Gang of Four help popularize. Like the legends, this young quintet are pairing catchy grooves with insightful social commentary. Should Jon King, Andy Gill, Dave Allen, and Hugo Burnham (the original members of Gang of Four) be listening to “VHS”, we imagine their heads will be nodding in approval.
With its off-kilter approach, the track could be the theme music to one’s arrival at the office or for practising David Byrne- and David Bowie-esque dance moves. Whatever situation you find yourself in, the song is meant to inspire and build confidence. It is a polite middle finger to consumerism, commercialism, and conformity while celebrating a simple life (as well as the TV series Better Call Saul). As his bandmates deliver the funky grooves, frontman Taryn McDonnell casually sings:
“Who wants to be a millionaire? (Who wouldn’t?)
Not me, who in fact I’m quite content
As long as Mr. Landlord lets me pay my rent”
The single is out on Disobedient Records. Saloon Dion are: Taryn McDonnell (guitar, vocals), Tom Simpkins (guitar, vocals), David Sturgess (synth, vocals), Luke Mullins (bass), and Ben Molyneux (drums).
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