The Matinee ’21 v. 139 is jam-packed addition of new music, featuring songs that depict a people and a world in constant movement.
Orton – “Amongst Us” (Nottingham, England)
RIYL: Team Picture, Ride, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Another week comes and another eye-raising, ear-tingling artist emerges from the UK. This fact is as dependable as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, and today brings us Orton, the project of producer Will Crumpton. When the term “producer” is used next to a single name, the assumption is that individual is a beat maker (or “beat scientist”). Crumpton, instead, is a multi-instrumentalist who also produces tunes. This time, he’s moving in front of the glass and having his name on the marquee, catching everyone’s attention with “Amongst Us”.
Akin to the multi-genre artistry of fellow Brits Team Picture and W.H. Lung, Crumpton has crafted a soaring rocker that brilliantly melds together art-rock, shoegaze, and post-punk. Reverb-drenched guitars reminiscent of Ride and Swervedriver pierce through a pulsating rhythm section that echoes the great Interpol.
Crumpton’s voice, though, is soft and lush, providing the perfect contrast to the dark, gripping fuzz. He tells the story of a friend who has shut every door and does not allow anyone peer into his world. His companion is like a stranger walking among the crowd. Crumpton, however, “won’t give up” on his friend and, therefore, will keep his door open for him. “You’re in front of me / I won’t leave until I’ve left”, he shares. And everyone should do the same for Crumpton, keeping their minds open to a talented, young artist.
New EP, Sparring, is out October 29th via Phlexx Records.
Dinner – “Connection” (feat. Molly Burch) (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Amen Dunes, Kevin Morby, Nap Eyes
Four years have passed since Danish multi-instrumentalist Anders Rhedin and his project, Dinner, have been heard. In 2017, he released his acclaimed album, New Work, which arrived at a time where people needed a pick-me up. As if he heeding the call again in a time of instability and chaos, Rhedin marks his return with a song that can only be described as perfect.
“Connection” is perfect in so many ways. It arrives at the ideal time when we call could use a timeout and relax. With the hazy, dreamy tones and Rhedin’s soft and intimate vocal, the song possesses therapeutic powers that will calm every frayed nerve. It is perfect in its message, as Rhedin tells our story about the relationships we have with other people and our environment.
“You change your face like a golden flower
You feel the connection
You feel the connection
Psychic revelations and you’re fine”
It is made even more perfect with Molly Burch providing backing vocals. With her hushed, smokey voice, she adds another level of intoxication to this perfect autumn tune. And all we can do is just take it all in and smile.
Phoebe Green – “So Grown Up” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Holly Humberstone, Magdalena Bay, Hatchie
Back in April, we stated that Annie Clark needs to look out for Phoebe Green after the young English singer-songwriter released “IDK”. The song revealed a maturity and imaginative artistry to the young Manchester resident. Where many artists of a similar age strive for mainstream pop success, Green sought to provoke musically and lyrically. She opted to create something fresh and meaningful, and the combination should eventually result in her becoming a star. Maybe that happens with “So Grown Up”.
The song is blustery, synth-pop cinema that equally stirs the body as it does the soul. Its intensifying euphoria is both dazzling and invigorating, creating sensations of aimlessly drifting through life and rushing out the door to go after the one thing we desire the most. It’s not only musically that makes “So Grown Up” perfect for a coming-of-age movie, whether created in the ’80s or 2021, but Green’s tale of growing up is made for the big screen. As she reflects on her and her best friend’s teenage years and early 20s, they are now at the point where they have moved on. “Now you’re in love with a man the same age as your dad / And I’m in love with a girl I can’t stand”. She further describes their crossroads when she sings three lines that we can all relate to at one point in our lives:
“And you don’t seem all that different now
You act like a woman but you look like a child
You’re so grown up now”
The single is out now on Chess Club Records. We’ll say it again, Green has the makings to the UK’s next big thing. She has the talent to be a huge star.
Harrison Whitford – “Linoleum” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Buck Meek, Big Thief, Phoebe Bridgers
Songs about relationships have been written for as long as we can remember. They’ve likely existed since the day humans created music. So how can a track covering the most popular theme stand out from the crowd? The answer is simple – one merely needs to tell a great story like the ones we read in books or see on the screen. This is easier said than done, but some artists have this innate ability. Working with great singer-songwriters, too, certainly helps one master their craft, which is the advantage Harrison Whitford possesses.
As Phoebe Bridgers’ touring guitarist, Whitford has the unique opportunity to watch and learn from one of this generation’s preeminent songwriters. He’s been able to watch firsthand how thousands of concertgoers sing in unison to every lyric and how they become a part of the song, as if they were the principal character. It’s one thing, however, to observe. It’s another thing to execute, and Whitford puts himself alongside Bridgers with his latest single, “Linoleum”.
He also puts himself in the same realm as Big Thief, Andy Shauf, and Buck Meek with the intimate, indie-folk approach. A light guitar, deft percussion, and Whitford’s graceful voice channel a time when many young singer-songwriters aspired to be Dylan, Baez, Mitchell, or Prine. There is an immediacy to the track, where we feel this story is about our current relationship. But this is Whitford’s tale, as he sings about his imperfections yet somehow, some way, that person sticks with him.
“I did not know you held so many tears in your face
Did not know I was imperfect
Did not know I was no saint
Didn’t know my hands could destroy as much as they create”
Strawberry Guy – “Company” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: The Beatles, Andy Shauf
Two years ago a Welsh-born, Liverpool-based artist released an EP full of lush dream-pop textures. That debut from Strawberry Guy (née Alex Stephens) now has more than 70 million streams on Spotify, an impressive feat for a relative newcomer. So who is this guy, and why isn’t he better known? The release of his upcoming Sun Outside My Window LP should answer those questions. Its lead single certainly offers clues.
“Company” showcases his talents: richly layered symphonic elements lend to immediate swooning, while his mellow delivery places him in a sonic cosmos between The Beatles and Andy Shauf. Some moments he channels the former while still sounding as modern as the latter. His self-described style is a “one-man impressionist” who paints “majestic soundscapes” from his Liverpool flat. He’s not a new artist (we covered his previous bands, including The Orielles and Trudy & The Romance), but he is taking his time building his solo career. The new album – two years in the making – reflects that deliberate, leisurely pace. “Company” also evokes feelings of calm with just a hint of melancholy. This makes his use of Monet’s “Meadow at Giverny” on the cover especially apropos.
You cannot help but smile as he delivers the lines “I don’t need love I just want company / But you can hold me close, I won’t complain”. “Company” is the kind of song that becomes a fast companion upon first spin. If the rest of the LP matches its charm, it will be an Album of the Year contender for sure.
Arliston – “Centre” (Whitechapel, England)
RIYL: S. Carey, Big Red Machine, James Blake
Further showcasing how the UK is in a golden era of music comes another band slowly on the rise. But instead of pop and rock, Jordi, Jack, and George are part of the darktronica revival happening across the pond. Applauded by several tastemakers overseas, their project Arliston is developing a reputation of crafting music that more than captivates – it enthralls and amazes in the same way that Mt. Wolf, Elder Island, Zola Blood, and Phoria have been doing for nearly a decade. So settle in and take a deep breath because “Centre” will leave you gasping.
Spellbinding, gorgeous, dazzling – pick an adjective that is synonymous with these words and it would describe the song’s gripping and beautifully haunting qualities. Like a surgeon, the trio meticulously slice incisions with each key stroke, pulsating beat, and hallow word acting as the instruments of choice. But instead of shying in fear, we freely bare ourselves in order to feel the overwhelming power of Arliston and the song’s sheer emotion. It concerns how we must make sacrifices to get through these confounding times and the labyrinth before us. A great song, too, is another way to help us through the uncertainty.
The single is out on the fantastically-named Sob Story Records.
TUMMYACHE – “Soak” (London, England via Nashville & Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Cherry Glazerr, Warpaint, Nirvana, Sonic Youth
The journey to discover oneself can be endless, and it often involves constant movement. For Soren Bryce, she has gone from Nashville to Brooklyn and has now settled in London. Across the Atlantic is where she’s taking her grunge and alt-rock foundations to a more trembling place. In the process, she’s turning heads with her project Tummyache, reminding those who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s of the crippling force music once had and introducing a new generation to what rock truly was.
Don’t let the delicate introduction of “Soak” fool you. Bryce’s lush vocal creates a false sense of calm. Her words indicate a growing darkness that lingers underneath, and the quietly urgent guitar riff and rhythms further signal what is to come. As “Soak” builds, it then drips with the feverish intensity of a young Sonic Youth combined with the bone-chilling shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine and A Place to Bury Strangers. The arrangement is mesmerizing, and Bryce’s looping lyrics reflect the troubling isolation and anxiety that accompanies a pandemic. “It never stops”, as Bryce rightfully states, before telling herself that she “will settle down”. Eventually, maybe, but for now she is one in constant movement, including moving up as an artist to watch.
My Son The Doctor – “Hotel For Dogs” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Pavement, Modern Baseball, Viagra Boys
My Son The Doctor’s 2020 EP, Dad Time, was a fun ride. A fantastic indie, punk, and pop infused ride with catchy tracks, ripping guitar solos, and some fun lyrics. With songs like “Sturdy Ass Table”, of course there’s some humor in everything the band does. Earlier this year, the quartet released “King of The Zoomers” from their newest EP, Taste Those Dreams, which continued the witty styling that made Dad Time so much fun. It’s a great example of what makes Brian Hemmert (vocals), Joel Kalow (guitar), John Mason (drums), and Matt Nitzberg (bass) great.
Taste Those Dreams was released last week, and it included the single “Hotel for Dogs”. The guitar work on the track is part of what makes it stand out on the EP. A catchy guitar hook makes the song so easy to get sucked into, but it goes so much further than that. It’s just as fun as their previous releases, too, with dogs barking in the background throughout. The song’s bridge is a great example of the witty songwriting of the band.
The rest of Taste Those Dreams is full plenty of great moments and songs, diving headfirst into pop-punk with “Bethany” and the absolutely kickass “Rubber Hands”. The EP , Taste Those Dreams, is out now via Paper Moon Records. Get it on Bandcamp.
la loye – “white summer” (The Hague, Netherlands)
RIYL: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Tiny Ruins
la loye hasn’t released much, but what Lieke Heusinkveld has under that name has been nothing short of stunning. Last year, the Dutch songwriter released “i’m still asleep”, a dynamic track with gorgeous vocals and a fantastic build. la loye followed that up with another beautiful acoustic guitar-led song, “i only hear you in my song”. Both tracks show incredible potential for the songwriter.
Last week, la loye released their latest single “white summer”. It’s another stunner of a track. Acoustic guitar and lushly produced vocals guide the listener through the song’s early moments. Shortly, synthesizer and some time-shifting effects give the song an ethereal quality. Eventually, some drums sneak in and it all explodes into something amazing in its final moments. Lyrically, the song is about Heusinkveld’s conflicting feelings about summer, and its final moments feel like a gut punch with her repeating “it’s never the same without your love”.
la loye’s debut EP will be out November 11th.
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