Your wake-up call arrives in the form of The Matinee ’21 v. 116, which features 8 songs that will fire up the synapses and get the heart pumping. It’s the perfect way to get motivated to start the work week. Happy Monday everyone!

 

Sea Power – “Two Fingers” (Reading, England)

RIYL: Manchester Orchestra, The Editors, These New Puritans

There are many ways a band can make a notable political statement. The obvious approach is to release an unrelenting song that poignantly addresses one of society’s many social ills or takes aim at the powers that be. In the case of UK indie-rock greats, Sea Power, they changed their name, dropping the word British due to the rising wave of nationalism sweeping across Great Britain and across the globe. While they risk alienating fans that have grown up with them for more than two decades, their values and integrity outweigh any potential financial gain. At the same time, they are likely to gain a new mass following with their anthemic sound and for what they represent – a band that seeks to bring people together. They do this on “Two Fingers”.

Stand up because Sea Power’s first single in four years is a stadium-sized rocker. It roars, electrifies, and soars with the intensity of a band seeking to remember the past while changing the course of the present and, thus, the future. From the searing guitars, the propulsive rhythms, and Abi Fry’s feverish violin, every element ignites the air like fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day. But this day is not celebrating one man’s failure, but rather one man’s memory. Specifically, the song is a dedication to Yan Scott and Neil Hamiton Wilkinson’s late father, who would give a two-fingered salute to the people on the television. And now, they salute him and everyone past and present. They now provide the anthem for us to move on and take on the world.

“Two fingers for the dead
Two fingers for the living
Two fingers to the world that we all live in”

Sea Power are Yan Scott Wilkinson, Neil Hamilton Wilkinson, Martin Noble, Matthew Wood, Phil Sumner, and Abi Fry. The band’s new album, Everything Was Forever, is coming February 11, 2022. Pre-orders are available here.

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The Clockworks – “Throw It All Away” (London, England via Galway, Ireland)

RIYL: Iceage, Fontaines D.C., The Murder Capital

If it wasn’t for a pandemic, Irish post-punk quartet The Clockworks likely would be the buzz band of the year. One of our Artists to Watch likely would have toured across Europe and possibly North America and in the process gain a legion of fans. From the high intensity of their approach to front-man James McGregor’s intelligent and relevant songwriting, this band possess all the traits to emerge as indie stars a la Iceage and Fontaines D.C. Like these two outstanding outfits, The Clockworks are still evolving, as they showed on the Brit-rocker “Feels So Real” and once again with “Throw It All Away”.

While James McGregor (vocals, guitar), Sean Connelly (guitar), Damian Greaney (drums), and Tom Freeman’s (bass) latest song moves away from cathartic post-punk, a fiery urgency still streams throughout “Throw It All Away”. Led by Greaney pummeling his drum kit and Freeman hammering a throbbing bass line, the song depicts a young group of four on a mission to salvage their identity. But to make ends, they need to sell their soul to the soulless corporate world. As McGregor sings: “I have half a mind to sign on the line / And half a mind to throw it all away”. It’s a dilemma we all face, but hopefully The Clockworks will achieve enough success soon so they don’t have to live like the rest of us.

The track is out now on Alan McGee’s renamed It’s Creation Baby label. We’re still waiting for news of the band’s new LP, which we hope will catapult them to stardom. The Clockworks, after all, have the potential to be the band that represents an entire generation.

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Wings of Desire – “OUTTAMAMIND” (London, England)

RIYL: INHEAVEN, Wolf Alice, Thyla

While we still hold out hope that INHEAVEN will reunite, two of its members – Chloe Little and James Taylor – have helped us overcome our disappointment through their project Wings of Desire. Like their previous band, the duo know only one way to create music – with anthemic urgency. Their debut EP, Amun-Ra, evidences their artistic exploits, where each of the four songs, including “Choose A Life”, gets listeners off their keisters and ready to take on yet another grueling day and week ahead. Given today is Monday, the duo’s final release from the record is just the sonic tonic we need.

“OUTTAMAMIND” is a quintuple musical espresso full of vigor, energy, and bite. From the start, the song soars with the electrical shockwaves bursting from Taylor’s guitar, Little’s keys, and accompanying rhythm section. For the song’s entire 3:20 duration, Wings of Desire never let their foot off the gas pedal because they want to take us on a ride inside their heads. They want to show us how crazy this world is, where we seek divine intervention and the “charity” of conglomerates to save our souls.

“Foolish desire
A life on the run
Jesus can’t save me
I ain’t having none
Nobody’s daughter, nobody’s son
My love don’t give me the feeling I belong.”

The excellent Amun-Ra is out now on the duo’s boutique label WMD Recordings. Stream and get it everywhere, including Bandcamp.

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Ghost Woman – “ It Might Be Dress Day” (Arizona, USA)

RIYL: Khruangbin, Garcia Peoples, The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Most great stories are told with words. This is not an earth-shattering concept, and most would agree with it. Arizona psych-rock wunderkinds, Ghost Woman, are great storytellers, as they depicted earlier this year with “Demons” and “Dead & Gone”. But can they replicate this ability through an instrumental number? Can they channel their inner Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor and ignite people’s imaginations? Now that would be a talent. As if they want to prove everyone, including us, they have this skill, the quintet unveil “It Might Be Dress Day”.

The sound of a still desert reverberates across the track with the shallow almost guttural lead guitar and drumming. At the same time, a suspenseful tone is heard, as the pacing shakers do their job of representing a lonely stranger entering town. Is this person arriving to rattle this sleepy town’s way of life or just stopping for a rest as they head further westward? Or maybe she is The Bride from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, and she is looking for vengeance. And today, she is wearing the gown she adorned on the day her betrayers left her for dead. Now let your own imagination think of the possibilities, or simply sit back with a drink and let your mind slip away within the psychedelic swirls of this ingenious instrumental piece.

Ghost Woman are Evan Ushenko (vocal, guitar), Travis Salty (guitar), Nick Hay (guitar), Jon Lent (bass), and Eli Browning (drums). Their new EP, Lost Echo’s, is out now via Full Time Hobby on Bandcamp.

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Oddnesse – “Rome” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Sjowgren, Rodes Rollins, Bad Actor

We all have an artist or band that we always return to because their music always lifts our spirits. Rebeca Arango’s project Oddnesse is the artist that we often listen to if we need to hear a blissful melody or a great story, such as “Bad Underwear”. In many ways, she’s very much like us, experiencing the same highs and lows. What differentiates her from us is that she is able to take life’s daily struggles and obstacles and find the humor in them. She showcases her creative chops on “Rome”.

Like many of her previous songs, “Rome” is like living a daydream. It actually is a daydream. With her trademark breezy, summer-pop sound that could make the palm trees on Venice Beach sway, Arango imagines what life could be in a post-pandemic world. She shares several vignettes of what life in Italy’s capital city could be. From spilling wine at one’s favorite restaurant to wondering what a wedding proposal could be at the foot of the Spanish Steps, her story is part fairy tale and part Mr. Bean disaster comedy.

“The way you threw my heart
On the church steps
And declared I would be Queen
Really complicated things
Out of the catacombs
Where you spilled my trust
Down the spiral stairs
On the streets of Rome”

The single is out on Make More Records.

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Caveman – “Don’t Call Me” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Future Islands, The Shins, Steve Winwood

A nearly seven-minute sonic journey awaits you on this single from Caveman. While the Brooklyn-based indie band’s earlier albums introduced listeners to their retro-inspired sound, their newly released fourth LP, Smash, finds them exploring life from more contemplative angles.

“Don’t Call Me” still features the dazzling instrumentation fans love, paired with frontman Matthew Iwanusa’s warm vocals. But they aren’t trying to project a rosy façade of relationship bliss here. Both the world and the band have changed since the 2016 release of their last hit album, Otero War. Those changes – specifically, wisdom born of loss and growth – are reflected in relatable ways. Who hasn’t reached a turning point in a relationship when you wonder whether to keep trying or walk away? “Don’t Call Me” soundtracks those complex emotions:

“Keep on looking around to feel alive
What’s the moment you’re trying to save
If we’re going about our separate lives
Do we throw it all away

Is it lost in a way we can never replace
I’m waiting on another frame of mind
Was it wrong that I stayed
If there’s love I can wait

When you feel let down
You don’t call me anymore”

The new album, Smash, is out now via Fortune Tellers from these links and Bandcamp. Their U.S. east coast tour kicks off next month in New York.

Caveman are: Matthew Iwanusa, Jimmy Carbonetti, Jeff Berrall, and Nico Chiotellis.

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Astrologer – “Tomorrow” (Phoenix, USA)

RIYL: Allah-Las, Blur, Supergrass, Weird Radicals

Tight, jangly hooks. High octane energy. Instantly memorizable lyrics. What more can you ask for in a hit song? Phoenix indie psych-pop project Astrologer delivers all that and more on their debut single, “Tomorrow.” This outfit led by Andrew Cameron Cline and backing vocalist Candy Caballero make a wildly positive first impression with this tune.

The connection is made from the first notes of the uptempo intro. An effortless fusion of ‘90s-era Britpop with psychedelic overtones makes “Tomorrow” irresistible. Imagine hearing Blur at Glastonbury while Allah-Las and The Lemon Twigs perform on nearby stages. That fictional sonic mashup comes alive in a big way here. Astrologer even capture the carefree festival attitude with lyrics that advocate living in the now and embracing the unknown:

“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow
I don’t know what will happen today
You lead and I’ll follow

I don’t know where we’re going
Don’t know what we might do
Just hope it will be with you”

If you haven’t already discovered your Song of the Summer, then look no further than this anthemic banger. We cannot wait to hear more from Astrologer.

“Tomorrow” is streaming on Spotify via Lolipop Records. It was produced by their Lolipop label mate, Wyatt Blair, so their forthcoming debut album, Legerdemain, could include some of his equally delicious vibes.

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second thoughts – “nicotine stains” (Hertfordshire, England)

RIYL: Illuminati Hotties, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Maccabees

Be honest, what are the first things that come to mind when you see the words, “TikTok stars”? You might be saying, “Not another cover song”, “A Justin Bieber wannabe”, or “Video indeed did kill the radio star.” Young English outfit, second thoughts, though, might make you have, well, second thoughts when thinking about the talent that exists on the popular social medium. Forget Bieber, Perry, Rodrigo, Drake, or Timberlake, the quartet find inspiration in Bombay Bicycle and Pavement. That’s quite the diverse pairing – a bopping, indie-pop band and one of the seminal indie-rock bands from the ’90s fronted by one of the great songwriters of the past 40 years. These characteristics are featured fully on “nicotine stains”.

The song is a buzzing and upbeat piece of overly infectious indie Brit-pop. From the pristine guitars to the jittery rhythms to the emphatic vocals, “nicotine stains” gets the heart pumping, the arms waving, the hips shaking, and the legs jerking in every direction. Despite the euphoria that begins to consumer the listener, your mind is focused on the band’s lyrics. We all have a friend who has battled addiction, and we’ve tried to help her beat it. Despite our best efforts, he falls off the wagon again and again.

“I came to slow, the words I said
Melt like snow, under rain
Missing the one that I used to know, wondering now if i should go
Could you show, a diffеrent way
How’d I know, it’s a shame
Trying begins to feel old, I could havе done more but you did it alone”

So second thoughts may be TikTok sensations, but they’re talented ones. Their talents will be showcased on their upcoming EP, dog days. Look for it soon and expect to see this young quartet’s name plastered on festival posters in 2022.

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