The Matinee ’21 v. 142 features an eclectic mix of new music from rising upstarts to well established outfits that need no introduction. These songs are included on our Songs of October 2021 playlist, which can be found on SoundCloud and Spotify.
Sprints – “Modern Job” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: IDLES, TV Priest, Tired Lion
IDLES, Fontaines D.C., and TV Priest – these three post-punk bands experienced meteoric rises to indie stardom due to releasing intelligent yet seismic records. So who could follow in their footsteps? If we were the betting types, rising Irish outfit Sprints would be our choice. We did name them Artists to Watch in 2021, and they delivered on their promise with one of the year’s best EPs in Manifesto. Their time is coming because they combine those bands’ roaring approach with smart, relatable stories. Their tale of an introvert during a pandemic, as told on “How Does the Story Go?”, evidenced the quartet’s limitless talent, and they make another massive statement with “Modern Job”.
With its feverish guitars, jackhammer rhythms, and singer Karla Chubb’s surging vocals, the song personifies contemporary post-punk. The band adopt a take-no-prisoners mentality, as there is nary a break or even a moment for one to catch your breath. Through the ear-splitting intensity, Chubb addresses what it is like to grow up queer in a world that is still very much governed by traditional perceptions of the “perfect life” that includes homes with white-picket fences and 9-to-5 jobs. Most people can relate because we are all prisoners to the expectations that have been ingrained in us through textbooks and media. But if Sprints have their way, they’ll tear down these foundations one song at a time.
Sprints are Karla Chubb (lead vocals/guitar), Sam McCann (bass/backing vocals), Colm O’Reilly (guitar/backing vocals), and Jack Callan (drums).
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – “Lava Lamp Pisco” (Perth, Australia)
RIYL: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Black Sabbath, Ty Segall
When Psychedelic Porn Crumpets released SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound earlier this year, they took listeners on a zany adventure that exceeded expectations of a cosmic trip. As the quintet look to the future, they see one more grounded in the here and now. So instead of lifting off to other dimensions and galaxies, Jack McEwan (guitar, vocals), Luke Parish (guitar), Luke Reynolds (bass), Chris Young (keys), and Danny Caddy (drums) lay down the hammer on “Lava Lamp Pisco”.
The track’s title actually gives the indication of another intergalactic expedition or at least a dive down the rabbit hole. This tune is neither. It is instead one heavy, cataclysmic psych-rocker. From the flaming guitars to the thunderous rhythms, the band have one goal in mind – to completely pulverize our ear drums and crush our minds. It is like Black Sabbath joining forces with King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard with each member getting the opportunity to showcase their explosive skills. And it’s awesome.
While every note is crushed, McEwan channels his inner Ty Segall and delivers through his falsetto an observation of the current state of affairs. He unleashes his disdain at how society equates the mundane as the ideal life. To him, this is the work of evil that tears apart his soul:
“I tried to take it on,
But I’m left with four teeth and a broken skull,
All inside content pouring out my ears,
All I want is the pieces picked back up”
The band is expected to release a new album in 2022. This single is out on What Reality? Records.
Casper Skulls – “The Mouth” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: The Weather Station, Sun June, Lomelda
It wasn’t long ago – a month to be exact – when Casper Skulls graced us with the beautifully sanguine “Tommy”, a tribute to a man who brought great joy to singer Melanie St-Pierre’s neighborhood. The song revealed how music can be incredibly moving, as we felt like St-Pierre and her mother seeing the bus stop that Tommy adorned with little decorations. For the band’s next song, they grab our hand and guide us to “The Mouth”, which is short for The Mouth Park that lies near the edge of Lake Huron in Ontario.
A revitalizing quality emerges from this folk-rocker. Light guitars and keys first fill the atmosphere, allowing St-Pierre’s delicate vocals to shine. She sings about how The Mouth represented a community. It was a place where friends and families united at birthday parties and pick-up games were held. Despite what it represented, it was one time threatened as the government wanted to turn the park into a nuclear waste dump. “I will try to serve you, if you ask me to”, St-Pierre repeats as the track begins to swell and reach its riveting climax.
The song reminds us that change comes when people join forces to protect what is important. In this case, it was St-Pierre’s grandmother and her community saving a piece of land for future generations, like Melanie, to enjoy.
Casper Skulls are Neil Bednis (guitar), Melanie St-Pierre (vocal, guitar), Fraser McClean (bass), and Aurora Bangarth (drums).
Andrew St. James – “Grounded” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Jonathan Wilson, Steve Gunn, Mikal Cronin
There are countless stories of gifted artists who become staples of their local music scene but never break through at a national or global level. Every so often, however, one finally gets noticed and suddenly everyone wants in on the action. Could this be Andrew St. James‘s time? A mainstay of the Bay-area music scene for at least a decade, the singer-songwriter took a mini-hiatus to reflect on what’s next. Then in 2020 the world stopped. With time on his hands, he picked up his guitar and started playing and writing. From his pandemic sessions, he came up with “Grounded”.
This spirited rocker is rooted in the sounds of the ’70s-era America south. The dabbling guitar riff is classic as are St. James’s vocals. The energy that bursts from each lyric could belong on a lost Lynyrd Skynyrd record, yet it is very much 2021. This tale of how some people give into their situation and remain stuck is not his fate. St. James is choosing to move forward and lift himself onward to better things. “There’s no use in hanging around / When your feet don’t touch the ground”, he proclaims.
Hopefully this song will lift people’s spirits and get everyone finding a new path. The track is streaming via indie label War Chant Music. You can find his earlier releases on Bandcamp.
Make Friends – “Fever” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Local Natives, Grizzly Bear, Midlake
If indie music’s golden era started a decade ago, then this period should endure for many more years with bands like Make Friends. Forget predictable beats and drops or all too familiar storylines and arrangements, the Bristol-based outfit are adopters of the Grizzly Bear, Midlake, and Local Natives philosophy. That is to combine elements of various genres and create unique, awe-inspiring art, which they did with “Sleep Sound” and “Call Me Out”. They continue down this yellow brick road with “Fever”.
At first, the track traverses the tranquil, dreamy waters of Midlake before it pivots into something more jittery. An urgency brims and escalates with each guitar riff. It soon reaches a rapturous climax that would leave Animal Collective and Sundara Karma in awe. Adding to the exhilaration is frontman Tom Andrew who narrates the tale of an individual who has fallen on difficult times. Gone are the days of bright lights and charmed days, replaced by cautious times. “Go and touch the water” is his urging, though uncertainty about the water’s safety lingers. A fever, however, overcomes us – a desire to do what we once did and prove to ourselves that nothing has changed. But everything has.
Their new EP, Is This Real, arrives November 26th. Until then, you can get this track on Bandcamp.
Make Friends are: Tom Andrew (vocals, bass), David Thomas (guitar), Connor Crabb (guitar), and Max Lewin (drums)
Suki Waterhouse – “My Mind” (London, England)
RIYL: Mazzy Star, Duffy, Fiona Apple
Don’t be surprised if you start daydreaming while listening to “My Mind” from new Sub Pop signee Suki Waterhouse. The first notes of this languid scorcher will have you picturing the moment you watch her perform this song live. She grabs your attention with one casual strum of her guitar. The delivery is confident yet understated. But what truly hooks you is how her sultry alto vocals practically purr on the verses. Of course, this comes as no surprise since Waterhouse is an artist with a keen understanding of audience seduction.
The London-based talent already has proven successes in acting, photography, fashion design, and runway modeling. The next step in her plans for global domination is with new music. Though she has not yet achieved mononymic fame à la Beyonce or Madonna, Waterhouse seems poised to make a splash with her own music instead of sharing the spotlight. In 2019 she appeared with Cara Delevigne in the video for Halsey’s hit song, “Nightmare.” On this song, Waterhouse reaches farther back for inspiration. She channels a bit of Mazzy Star and Fiona Apple while still sounding fresh and modern. This tune (along with companion track “Moves”) offers more than a hint at the greatness to come when her full-length album arrives in 2022 via Sub Pop.
Band of Horses – “Crutch” (Charleston, SC USA)
RIYL: Dawes, Grandaddy, My Morning Jacket, The Radio Dept.
Some bands churn out new albums with clockwork precision every other year. Others take their time between releases, keeping their fans in suspense. American indie rockers Band of Horses fall into the latter category. This week, the South Carolina-based outfit delivered their first new music in five years. “Crutch” is from their upcoming sixth studio LP, Things Are Great.
This uptempo track maintains the sunny energy of “Casual Party” from their 2016 album, Why Are You OK. Fans who love this side of the band have much to appreciate here, as it features plenty of frontman Ben Bridwell’s signature sound. His vocal warmth invites you sing along while the instrumentation will have you playing air guitar and drums whenever this radio-friendly tune gets airplay. And it should receive plenty of spins on both indie and commercial stations.
These hooks will sound even more vibrant when the band hit the road later this month. Their brief U.S. tour begins next week in Brooklyn and includes nine more stops through mid-November. Details are listed on their website.
“Crutch” is out now and available from these links.
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