While summer is coming to a close, there is still time to take a road trip, and The Matinee ’21 v. 117 edition has the music just for you. From newcomers who will open your ears and indie stalwarts that will leave you in awe once more, this is the place to hear and discover great new music.
Deni – “Missed Call” (feat. Jann) (Winchester, VA USA)
RIYL: Maggie Rogers, Hatchie, The Western Den
Discovering a new favorite artist is a bit like falling in love: a first encounter triggers sparks that ignite interest and eventual infatuation. Then you want to tell the world about your newfound obsession. Rising solo artist Deni (of indie band The Western Den) elicits similar feelings. On her debut single, the Berklee College of Music alumna displays pure talent and passion – two qualities that fueled the meteoric rise of Maggie Rogers in 2016. It won’t be long before Deni joins Rogers and other powerful indie stars (Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Japanese Breakfast) on festival stages at home and abroad.
“Missed Call” is a dazzling introduction to an artist with a bright future. This synth-pop gem shines on multiple levels. The radio-friendly hooks are paired with refreshing lyrical honesty about intimacy issues. Anyone who has ignored an incoming phone call will appreciate the opening line (“I got a missed call while I was staring right at it”). As her warm alto vocals offer a confession of sorts, your piqued interest rises:
“But at this point
I’m sure you feel it too
I don’t really want to talk to you
Don’t want you to know me at all”
At the chorus those small sparks of interest become fully incendiary. Deni showcases more of her vocal range by delivering lines that are equally relatable and irresistible:
“If I feel it, should I say it?
Is talking overrated?
Should I just leave you alone
I am off and on
I am often not on at all”
Pip Blom – “You Don’t Want This” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: The Beths, Illuminati Hotties, The Beths
Equally as exciting as discovering a new artist is watching one blossom into an indie stalwart. From her early beginnings as a solo artist and releasing rocking tunes like “Taxi Driver” to forming a band that led to a guitar-pop gem in “Keep It Together” and the shifting and topsy-turvy adventure of “It Should Have Been Fun”, Pip Blom has become must-listen entertainment. From her catchy, anthemic approach to her wise-beyond-her-years songwriting, the young Dutch artist always impresses. No wonder the legendary Heavenly Recordings signed her and will be releasing her new album, Welcome Break, on October 8th. If you’re late to joining Blom’s bandwagon, then “You Don’t Want This” is the perfect launching point.
The song is a mere microcosm of Blom and her band’s artistic genius. Musically, it’s an instant, rollicking crowd-pleaser that will get every patron on their feet and dancing. It is a song meant to wash away our worries while believing our daydreams can come true. Blom’s lyrics, too, tell a personal tale of living the mundane life based on success instead of happiness. She reminds us, however, that it’s not too late to live the dream. Blom, after all, is living hers, and we can aspire to equally be great.
In addition to Pip Blom (vocals/guitar), the band includes Tender Blom (guitar/vocals), Darek Mercks (bass), and Gini Cameron (drums). Pre-orders of Welcome Break are available here.
Vox Humana – “Mother” (Los Angles, USA)
RIYL: Preoccupations, A Place To Bury Strangers, Bloodslide
A month ago, Joseph, Misael, Seb, and Ethan announced the launch of what will soon be a band that takes LA by storm. Vox Humana is their project, and they have the ability to do what Interpol and A Place To Bury Strangers did for the Big Apple. That is make the City of Angels a haven for post-punk and jarring shoegaze. They have two songs under the belt so far, but their debut single is the one that will make you believe in their potential.
“Mother” is a whirling, startling, and jarring piece of electrifying darkgaze. It is an epic mind-bender that hardly slows down. The only points where the song relaxes are at the very start and when it ends. Everything in between is like a trip through space at warp speed. The furious approach mimics the band’s tale of losing someone. This is the story of four individuals’ experience through despair, grief, and disbelief.
“You melt right in my arms
Your smile then fades away
I’ll scream out towards the heavens
For this day’s dismay”
Charlotte OC – “Centre of the Universe” (Blackburn, England)
RIYL: Solange, Dev Hynes / Blood Orange, Arlo Parks
It wasn’t long ago when Charlotte Mary O’Connor – a.k.a. Charlotte OC – made our hearts crumble, tears stream from our eyes, and cherish the times we have with our loved ones. “Inevitable” was a beautiful but raw track dedicated to her late father. It also showcased a vulnerable, intimte side to the English star. As O’Connor gracefully ages, she further reveals more of herself and, in the process, she’s leaving everlasting scars. She strikes again with “Centre of the Universe”.
Smooth yet brooding alt-R&B tones hum through the track, creating the feeling that we’re in one of London’s most exclusive clubs. The lights are dimmed, the patrons are slowly dancing or swaying on the upholstered furniture, and all minds are lost within the song’s intoxication. Eyes gradually close, imagining O’Connor’s words come to life. We imagine a world where we are the star of the show, and all eyes are fixated on us. We imagine a place where we all are loved, no pain is experienced, and death is just a concept and not inevitable. For 204 seconds, we actually believe this.
O’Connor’s new album, Here Comes Trouble, will be released October 15th on Embassy of Music.
Good Morning – “Country” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Nap Eyes, Hovvdy
From momentarily thinking the universe spins around us, we now dive back into reality. For 19 months and counting, many of us have been separated from loved ones and started new lives without them. As we try to rekindle old friendships, we quickly realize that what once was is no longer, and it’s time to move on. This is brilliantly captured on Good Morning‘s new single, “Country”.
While the popular indie-rock duo of Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons call Melbourne home, they’ve crafted a song made for a road trip across America. An elongated intro raises the anticipation of what is to come, as the jittery, repeating guitar riff gets listeners on their toes. The song, though, kicks in when the lyrics do, and we’re enraptured by Blair’s memories. Or should we say our own memories of moving on:
“So I’m writing you this song I wanna send you
In this room that I’m tryna keep clean
It’s time we overhear you by the whole truth
In the deaf nothing you could sleep
You know that I’m incapable of changing
Some people just get stuck in their ways
Never thought it’d be me locked
They say I was meant to be brave”
The Wombats – “If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, Passion Pit, Ra Ra Riot
After a brief hiatus and pursuing side projects, The Wombats emphatically announced their return with with the buzzing “Method to the Madness”, which showed a bit of a more serious side. It’s as if the time apart allowed Matthew Murphy (vocals, guitar), Dan Haggis (drums) and Tord Øverland-Knudsen (bass) to reconsider the purpose of their art. Their journey continues on the glorious “If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You”.
The song is a shiny and upbeat ode to your loved one, featuring unforgettable hooks with their pop-rock vibe and this release is no different. The lyrics paint the picture of doing anything to please their love.
“I’m forever locking myself in the glass of your review
Trying to make friends with the friends you’re close to”
Making things work, however, requires two to tango.
“You know I’ll do whatever you want me to
Throw a banquet in a mosh pit
I’ll get out of bed, stop listening to Radiohead”
The lyrics also mention stopping a few negative habits like “No more breaking stuff, no more acting up”. It’s almost hinting at the possibility of a future break up and that changes must be made to save it. Apparently, the trio have salvaged plenty since their new album, Fix Yourself, Not The World, will be released January 22, 2022 via AWAL.
Mister Strange – “Moving Along” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: The Stooges, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall
Some days you just need some completely thrilling in your face rock. Look no further than Mister Strange, who are an up-and-coming quartet that brings ‘Wunder-Fezz” as they so lovingly describe themselves.
“Moving Along” is in your face garage rock that kicks off with a pretty killer bass line. It’s a raucous track that commands respect from the first note. If this track doesn’t get your day going, we’re not sure what else might. It’s the perfect blend of garage rock, punk and psych.
The band shares a bit about the theme behind their newest track:
“As the title says; the song gives light to the mood we’re all in right now. A feeling of looking ahead and getting on track to bring back the good energy and unstick your feet from the sludge which pours around you when it can. The song rides through a tight groove ridden start that moves into interjections of garage led freakouts that ride their way to an outro with the heavy firmly pressed into the palms of your hand. You’re moving along with us, so get used to it. “
Mister Strange is led by vocalist/drummer Tomas Walmsley (also of acclaimed Manchester garage rockers Fruit Tones), and completed by Callum Rogers on bass, Ste Bradbury on guitar and synths, and Daryl Taylor on guitar.
“Moving Along” is out on PNKSLM Recordings and they will be releasing a New EP ‘I’ out September 10th.
SHEAFS – “Spectator” (Sheffield, England)
RIYL: Joy Division, Iceage, a very young U2
If you thought 2020 was the year of post-punk, this year is shaping up to be another stellar year for the genre. Leading the charge, though, are not the usual stalwarts. Instead, a second wave has emerged – some of whom are newcomers and others, like SHEAFS, have been percolating below the radar but now are quickly gathering momentum.
Those in middle England likely know about Lawrence Feenstra (vocals), Chris Goodacre (guitar, backing vocals), Charles Mellor (guitar), Callum Wright (bass, backing vocals), Charlie Eastap’s (drums) existence, and probably attended one or a few of their gigs. Now it’s time for the rest of the world to discover why the quintet could be Joy Division reincarnated. And why “Spectator” is their “Shadowplay”.
Stark and sparse guitars, a throbbing yet foreboding bass, and patiently suspenseful drums create the dark and chilling soundscape. It is the tunnel in which we find ourselves in during the grips of a pandemic, but there’s no light at the end. We are trapped in this soul-crippling place, and the only thing that keeps us going is Feenstra’s voice. He, too, sounds defeated.
“Behind the face, scenarios no one can see
A blanket for raw emotion
A cover for ill feeling
Unsolved at best, a sudden cry for help
Drowned out by routine
Only they will know, only they will know
I’m just a spectator”
The only spectators around, though, are us, as we are watching a band ascending towards greatness.
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