On The Matinee ’21 v. 152b – Rest of the World Edition, which is the second half of our doubleheader, the songs featured have a more embracing and endearing quality. Some still rock, others tantalize with sun-kissed notes or haunting darkness, and one will leave you in awe.
Cola – “Blank Curtain” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Ought, Parquet Courts, OMNI
Two days ago, the indie world said goodbye to one of the great Canadian bands of the past decade. Ought, who helped kickstart Canada’s indie renaissance, bid adieu. But before fans could mourn the end of the post-punk / indie-rock quartet, two of its members – Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy – announced they were teaming up with US Girls drummer Evan Cartwright to form Cola. The name may seem nondescript (and Ought was pretty nondescript), but there is probably more to it than at first glance. A cola, for instance, may elicit reactions such as cool, energizing, bubbly, dark caramel, and, for some, refreshment. All these terms apply to the trio’s debut single, “Blank Curtain”.
The song possesses the same off-kilter coolness of the band’s predecessor. A jangly guitar crisscrosses through the bubbly bass line and stammering drum roll, creating a sound that can only be described as funky post-punk. All the while Darcy’s trademark, nonchalant timber brims above the arrangement. His lyrics seem at first to be nonsensical, but dig a little deeper and one can hear Catholic references intertwined with The Twilight Zone surrealism. The imagery is ingenious, where faith is not so different from science fiction.
“Of the Blank curtain
What’s on the other side
Of the blinding solar?
I’ll take it as it rides”
The single is out on Fire Talk Records. An album has to be coming next year, right? We can only hope.
Veps – “His Brother” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Goat Girl, The Orielles, Hinds
We have to repeat something we’ve stated twice this year – Veps are one of the most exciting new bands we’ve discovered in 2021. Despite their youthful age, they create moving and intelligent songs a la Goat Girl, Big Thief, and Hinds. Their debut EP, Open Door, was a page-turner, featuring standouts “Ecstasy”, “Girl on TV”, and the massively wow of “Oliver”. This young band still remains under-the-radar, but expect them to see on several Favorite New Bands articles in 2022 (they’ll be on our 2021 list). Or maybe curators will come across “His Brother” and start re-drafting their end-of-year lists.
There are not a lot of bands who make emotive rockers sound fresh, urgent, and meaningful, but Laura Dodson (guitar), June K. Urholt (bass), Maja B. Berge (drums), and Helena Olasveengen (keys) have mastered it. On “His Brother”, they ease listeners with a shimmering indie pop-rock vibe. It feels like a light jaunt on a mid-summer’s day, but then it turns slightly. Gritty, over-driven and crunchy guitars arrive to change the mood while the vocals intensify. The song eventually builds into a moment of pure angst, as the foursome express their frustrations with being lied, cheated, and misdirected by the world. A world that has hurt way too many young women.
“I don’t wanna believe
The things you said to me
A lie, a mess, a girl, no dress
A twisted game of chess
Your brother’s sweet
With bigger shoes
It’s safe to say
You never spoke the truth
How did I end up with”
The single is out on Kanine Records, who we hope will release the quartet’s debut album in 2022.
Valley Palace – “Patch” (Fresno, CA USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Beach Fossils, New Order
We’re going to have to start anointing Nathan Taylor as our go-to for feelgood euphoria. The young man’s project Valley Palace is pure sunshine, as he revealed back in July with “Friend”. Despite the blissful effects, his songs are incredibly intimate due to his soft voice and relatable stories. He once again brings us close to him, so that he can tell us his most vulnerable feelings. All the while, he makes us smile despite the inner turmoil consuming him.
With “Patch”, Taylor has delivered another slice of dream-pop perfection. The intertwine of the jangly guitar, the Peter Hook-ish bass line (which is so good!), and the teetering rhythms create a heavenly almost surreal atmosphere. This is a place where we can forever get lost in and escape the chaos and uncertainty of the real world. As we delight within this wondrous soundscape, Taylor whispers in our ears how he’s trying to overcome disappointment and the whirlwind of emotions that eats away at him. This song is as much as a cure for him as it is for us.
“I’ll wait for another day
Close my eyes, and then I fade away
I’ll wait for another day
Patch my heart until I feel okay”
The single is out now on Run For Cover Records, who is also releasing Taylor’s back catalogue of music. The young man is going to be an indie sensation.
Blushing – “Blame” (feat. Miki Berenyi) (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Lush, Pinkshinyultrablast, Frankie Rose
Texas-based indie dream-pop outfit Blushing reach new heights on their latest single, “Blame.” The nearly five-minute track transports listeners inside their world of gauzy rock and enchanting vocal layers. But what makes this tune from their upcoming album, Possessions, especially charming is a secret weapon of sorts. Miki Berenyi of Lush lends her musical talents here, and the result is instant shoegaze brilliance.
Shimmering guitars provide balance as the vocals keep you spellbound. The surface breeziness of the music is its own contrast to the lyrics that reveal the darker side of a relationship. And just like any seemingly perfect relationship, there is grit beneath the surface. Soon the guitars and bass begin churning beneath the harmonies. This tension mirrors the familiar tug of emotions in a relationship. Anyone who has experienced a one-sided commitment will find this song relatable:
“Kinda hard to believe you plead devotion to stay
I’ll take the blame when you have a doubt
Any way it goes you’ll be the one to pay
Stick around, find out”
Blushing are: Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals), Jacob Soto (drums), Christina Carmona (vocals, bass), and Noe Carmona (guitar).
Charlotte Adigéry, Bolis Pupul – “Blenda” (Ghent, Belgium)
RIYL: Ela Minus, Danz CM, Grimes
In an era where dance music relies on cookie cutter approaches and singing about the same old story with the same old repetition, it’s refreshing to hear a duo go beyond the typical. Oh, Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul have a well-earned reputation of creating vibrant and club-ready electronica, but there is significant depth to their music. From the musical approach to Adigéry’s lyrics, the pair’s music is unlike their contemporaries, which they display on “Blenda”.
The song is a wonderful mosaic of sound and texture. Caribbean and Latin rhythms and vibes intertwine with French nu-disco and late ’80s electronic, creating a cool and uplifting effect. It’s a song made for easy dancing and swaying during these chilly autumn evenings. While we shake our hips and momentarily lose our minds to the buzzing melody, Adigéry discusses how she, too, gets lost, but in her situation it is within the white person’s world. She may speak and sound like her fellow Belgians, but she doesn’t look like them. This leads her to ponder her identity and her place in this Eurocentric world.
“Go back to your country where you belong
Siri, can you tell me where I belong?
Go back to the country where you belong
Siri, can you tell if the road is long?”
Kraków Loves Adana – “Taint My Love” (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Cold Cave, Soft Kill, Hunter As A Horse
In their fifteen years together as Kraków Loves Adana, Deniz Cicek and Robert Heitmann have been overlooked and underestimated. Even when they appeared to have finally gotten their big break by signing with a label, they were still disrespected with the industry wanting to change their sound and image. That experience cemented their desire to stay independent, which in turn has allowed them to continue to deliver chilling darkwave and coldwave. If you asked us, we need more bands like KLA and more songs like “Taint My Mind”.
Reminiscent of the darktronica that enveloped much of Europe in the early ’80s, “Taint My Mind” is a gripping dazzler. Harrowing beats and Cicek’s ghostly vocal welcome us to this haunting, almost surreal place. Strikes of synths occasionally emerge, offering another layer of delirium and intoxication. Another layer of obsession if not subversion. Cicek’s story is very much these two things, as she recounts how one person has become the prisoner of another individual’s unhealthy obsession.
“You watch over me
With your pale eyes
A secret land
Of silent seas
There’s nothing below
There’s nothing above
No fear no tears only love”
The single is taken from the duo’s forthcoming new album, Follow The Voice, which drops next Friday, November 12th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Night Shop – “For a While” (feat. Jess Williamson) (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Kevin Morby, Leif Vollebekk, Angie McMahon
Pretty soon, Justin Sullivan’s project Night Shop will be as well known as Woods, Kevin Morby, and Waxahatchee, from whom he is a direct descendant. We’re obviously not referring to genealogical linkage but rather musically since he’s been the drummer for these great musicians. Like them, he has a great skill for creating instant classics, such as the spry rocker, “Forever Night”. He also has an incredible skill for taking a familiar storyline and making it fresh, warm, and sincere. So with that as we conclude this Friday’s set of songs, grab your partner and slow dance to “For a While”.
With an assist from the lovely vocal of Jess Williamson, Sullivan serenades us with a delicate slow romp through ’80s rock. Feathery percussion and lithe rhythms guide the song’s graceful melody, which is filled with breathtaking moments. “For a while, it felt like we belonged / In each other’s arms. Forever more”, Sullivan sings at the start, setting the stage for what should be a remarkable love story. The relationship, however, is on the rocks. But instead of choosing to reflect on the pain, they try to focus on the memories of what made their love one for the ages.
“They could be like you for a while.
Now I’m like Ulysses when night falls. One last time, I plot the course.
Someone’s saying ‘lights out’ in the halls.
‘Someones’ in our rooms we don’t know at all.
But I’ll choose to remember more: you dancing around the kitchen floor and the look on my face, like a child.
That was our home for a while.”
And this song is one for the ages.
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