The Matinee ’21 v. 135 is filled with wit, humor, and insightful social commentary. The nine songs will make you dance and look at life in whimsical ways or have you slow down and contemplate where we are today.
EERA – “Ladder” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: The Breeders, My Bloody Valentine, Fenne Lily
Has it been a while since a new song left you speechless? If so, prepare to be wowed by “Ladder” from Berlin-based indie project EERA. Between the ethereal vocals of singer Anna Lena Bruland and the sonic quicksand of the music, this song has the power to render you awestruck.
The opening riffs hint at a variety of ‘90s-era influences – from The Breeders to My Bloody Valentine – but the song is very much grounded in the present day. Power chords and power vocals give this tune its wow factor. It is like it was shot out of cannon with the intention of crushing everyone in the path of EERA’s hurtling ball of intoxicating dream-rock. But we do not move. We instead openly accept the jarring nature of the song – from the propulsive bass that drives the track to the searing guitar that illuminates the sky to Bruland’s whispery yet immersive voice. As she repeats the words, “Pushing down the ladder”, this is her way to remind us that life is better than it seems. She wants us to stop living our self-fulfilling prophecies and instead to really and truly live.
And with a song as memorable, as urgent, and as anthemic as this, who wouldn’t want to live another day?
EERA are: Anna Lena Bruland, Allister Kellaway, and Tobias Humble.
Team Picture – “The Big Trees, The Little Trees” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: W.H. Lung, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem
For more than half-decade, Team Picture have amazed us with their unpredictability. Whether it’s dream-pop, art-rock, art-punk, a John Hughes-worthy synth-pop number, or even Radiohead-like electronic, they do it exquisitely. They do it with perfection. Their inventiveness and brilliance were fully displayed on The Menace of Mechanical Music, which was one of our favorite albums of 2020. The Leeds-based outfit should be way more popular than they are, but time is on this quintet’s side. Maybe with concerts and festivals now being held in most of the world, they’ll finally receive the attention and acclaim they rightfully deserve. To demonstrate their musical muscle, they surprise with a new single.
Get up and start doing your best Arnold Schwarzenegger poses with “The Big Trees, The Little Trees”. With the off-kilter quirkiness of David Byrne and Talking Heads at their creative heights and the buzzing infectious of LCD Soundsystem, Team Picture have once again crafted a delirious marvel of a tune. Whether it’s the buzzing synths, the gyrating rhythms, or the cool vocals, your body, mind, and soul will be sent through the rabbit hole, where you might imagine yourself dancing alongside the Mad Hatter or the March Hare.
Even the lyrics are madly creative. “I felt like the only boy in the whole world who wasn’t fucking”, are the song’s opening lines. The story then discusses how “the big trees swallow the little trees” and “how in a previous life I was a serial killer”. So how does the band cope with the chaos in their minds? They, of course, just “Flex!” These are weird times, so may as well do the unexpected and may as well follow in Team Picture’s lead.
If you need something to lift your spirits, then “Flex” like the band in the song’s music video. The single is out on Clue Records. If you live in the UK, catch this amazing band in concert, as they kick off a tour this week.
Eels – “Good Night on Earth” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: The Black Keys, Kaleo, Tame Impala
Leave it to Eels to name-check Colin Firth in a quirky, apocalyptic rock ditty. This is just one of the many surprises on the “Good Night on Earth” single from the band’s upcoming 14th LP, EXTREME WITCHCRAFT. This is the first bit of good news. The other factoid that warrants glee is that Mark Oliver Everett (aka E) co-wrote and produced the album with PJ Harvey guitarist & producer John Parish – their first collaboration since the 2001 album, Souljacker. And for the trifecta of fun, tickets are on sale for their 2022 tour that kicks off March 11th in Belfast.
The bluesy intro launches this scuzzy, reverb-heavy cautionary tale. Its message reminds us to live in the present because “the trouble never ends” on this planet:
“Soak it all in like tonic and gin
Everything, for what it’s worth, is relative
But look my friend
It’s a good night on Earth”
Good advice never sounded so catchy.
Pre-orders for Extreme Witchcraft are available from these links. It’s due January 28th.
Coach Party – “FLAG (Feel Like A Girl)” (Isle of Wight, England)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Black Honey, YONAKA
With their explosive introduction to the world in 2020, Coach Party have become masters of turning the anthemic into an art form. Their songs to date – which include “Really OK on My Own”, “Bleach” and “Can’t Talk, Won’t”, “Everybody Hates Me”, and an awesome EP, Party Food – are boisterous, fiery, and smart. Jessica Eastwood, Guy Page, Joe Perry, and Stephanie Norris are not just another band. They, instead, could very well be this decade’s Wolf Alice. We’re not just saying this, but we firmly believe it, as evidenced by the quartet’s inclusion on our Artists to Watch in 2021 list. Coach Party, however, have been more patient in releasing new music this year, so maybe 2022 will be their year. To set the stage for that possibility, they uncork a song that can only be described as soul destroying.
The souls they aim to crush on “FLAG (Feel Like A Girl)” are the asshole blokes who take advantage of women, treating them like replaceable objects. With the intensity of a five-alarm fire, Coach Party’s instruments are their punching bags, hammering hard to add to the fury that is in Eastwood’s voice. She is the voice of vengeance who will ensure her tormentor will also suffer.
“I’ve been up all night
I can barely sleep
Wanna hurt you bad
Just like how you hurt me
When did you become
This obsessive freak
Wanna hurt you bad
Just like how you hurt me”
Simply another memorable track from a band that many will be remembering for a long, long time.
The single is out now Chess Club Records. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – this band is going to be big. Actually, they’re going to be massive!
San Fermin – “My First Life” (feat. Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak) (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Wye Oak, Small Black, Phoria
“My First Life” is a triumphant return for Brooklyn-based San Fermin. The band is constantly evolving and experimenting with different themes and sounds. This time we are graced with the combination of Jenn Wasner‘s soothing vocals set against grandiose synth, lush strings, and timely acoustics. San Fermin always has a way with creating songs that take you away to somewhere magical. “My First Life” accomplishes just that.
The lyrical content was actually a poem written by Wasner that Ludwig-Leone then set to his own composition. San Fermin has been known to work with other artists and use vocals from various guest stars. For San Fermin’s upcoming album, we will be graced with a multitude of guests ranging from Sorcha Richardson, Thao Nguyen, The Districts, and Wild Pink to name a few.
The pandemic really played a huge part for this new offering, as Ludwig-Leone explained: “When the pandemic arrived, the idea of a shared space was drawn in even more absolute terms as something more valuable and fragile than many of us had imagined,” he says “To battle the growing feeling of isolation, I tried to embrace the sentiment of the times, and invited some of my favorite musicians to write with me, long-distance, in an effort to bring back a feeling of community and shared experience.”
San Fermin is led by Ellis Ludwig-Leone (keyboard/composer) with Allen Tate (vocals), Charlene Kaye (vocals), Rebekah Durham (violin), John Brandon (trumpet), Stephen Chen (saxophone), Tyler McDiarmid (guitar), and Michael Hanf (drums).
“My First Life” is out on the bands’ own Better Company Records. It is the first single released from their upcoming collaboration album, In This House, out December 10th.
Damien Jurado – “Take Your Time” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Durand Jones & The Indications
Just in time for the cool autumn weather, indie folk icon Damien Jurado has shared new music. Earlier this year he released The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania on his own Maraqopa Records. This single is a one-off that finds the troubadour dispensing soulful tips for modern living.
“Take Your Time” pairs Jurado’s cashmere-smooth vocals and mellow, R&B-inspired sounds. The result is three minutes of therapy you can dance to. Close your eyes and sway along as Jurado offers these pearls of wisdom:
“Don’t be in such a hurry
Don’t be what they thought
You’re a train at the station that doesn’t stop
You were strong in your silence
You were louder than life
Don’t hold onto anger that isn’t yours
Just take your time
And I’ll take mine
With the moon in your pocket
The universe at your command
With every window open
Holm – “Intelligent Moves” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Yung, Iceage, Cloud Nothings
For those who follow the Danish indie scene, which is quite extraordinary, will know the awesome post-punk outfit Yung. One of the traits that makes the band stand out is its front-man, Mikkel Holm-Silkjær, who is one of the industry’s great songwriters. He’s virtually on par with Iceage’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, crafting stories that are real, relatable, and extremely insightful. Through Yung, however, the messages and tales focus on the collective and inciting social change. But with so many memories and observations to share, Holm-Silkjær uses his solo project Holm to do that. Although more inward looking, his songs still are clever, perceptive, and awesome, which are three words to describe “Intelligent Moves”.
With a blend of pop-rock and post-punk, the track is 214 seconds of rollicking urgency. It sounds like a man that is about to combust from all the pressures of life, as he is about to reach his breaking point. “Is this me detaching from myself? Is this me throwing it all away out?”, he asks while trying to figure how he can move on. As the probing bass line, the chiming guitar, and the splattering percussion decelerate, he opens up:
“I didn’t know how far we came that night
We cried and cried, but we never reached the breaking point
Eventually you’re going to feel it my friend
Because it’s always going to come back again”
We will come back to not just this song but Holm-Silkjær’s debut album, Why Don’t You Dance. It will be released November 12th on PNKSLM Recordings. Pre-orders available here and directly on Bandcamp.
Wet Leg – “Wet Dream” (Isle of Wight, England)
RIYL: Dream Wife, Gustaf, Giant Dog
Normally, we like to be more reserved in our excitement about a new band, wanting to see if they can create more than one great song. Music history is littered with one-hit wonders plus one does not know if the group will suddenly deviate towards the mainstream and formulaic. We have an inkling, however, that Wet Leg will continue down the path of creating whimsically awesome songs because they can then have full ownership of their music. Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, in other words, will achieve success on their own terms. If bands like Wolf Alice, Foals, Dream Wife, Arcade Fire, and Radiohead can do it, why can’t they? Their debut single, “Chaise Lounge”, revealed the magnetic energy of their art-punk sound (it’s also a song-of-the-year candidate). The residents of a small town on the Isle of Wight further pull us into their astonishing world with “Wet Dream”.
At a quick 140 seconds, the song is a whirling, buzzing, and immensely infectious piece of a disco-infused pop-punk. The track is an absolute riot that would turn a household, pub, or any environment into one manic dance party. It is made to get people excited about the moment and life as a whole. The duo’s imagination, however, does not stop at the bustling arrangement. Their story of how people think behaving in lewd ways can be attractive is entertaining to say the least.
“You climb on to the bonnet
And you’re licking the windscreen
I’ve never seen anything so obscene
It’s enough to make a girl blush”
We cannot wait to see Teasdale and Chambers in concert. In the meantime, we and everyone else can also view the video to this wildly entertaining single on YouTube. The song is out on Domino Recording Co.
Nicolas Michaux – “Amusement Park” (Brussels, Belgium)
RIYL: Jeff Buckley, Robert Plant, Serge Gainsbourg
If you are a fan of sleek, sophisticated dream pop, then say hello to Belgian artist Nicolas Michaux. His new single is an invitation to misty, gently psychedelic world far from the reality you know.
“Amusement Park” mentions holidays in Norway and summer breezes, but the melancholy vocals evoke the opposite. The song’s allure comes from Michaux’s tranquil delivery. You may wonder if he is channeling Robert Plant and Jeff Buckley because of the yearning in his voice. When pure emotion meets pure talent, the result is a song like this.
The atmospheric tones complement the lyrics that describe a reality you want to hide from. Our modern world gives us many reasons to seek escape. Neon lights and negative news stories drain our hope. To conserve our strength we must recharge in solitude. This makes his lyrics about isolation particularly relatable:
“Now the world has become
one big amusement park
I’d rather stay in the dark for a while”
When you feel overwhelmed (and who doesn’t?), the music of Nicolas Michaux is an oasis of calm. This song is available on Bandcamp and Spotify via Capitane Records. The video, meanwhile, is worth viewing on YouTube.
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