With the feasting festivities behind us and attention turns to the mad dash to buy holiday presents (or gifts for one self with all the sales happening), the music on The Matinee ’21 v. 160 will help you with digestion, fasting, shopping, or whatever you might have planned today. The mini-playlist is just six songs, all by European artists and bands. Kind of seems fitting actually.
DITZ – “The Warden” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Gilla Band, METZ, IDLES
As the post-punk renaissance becomes cemented into the global musical psyche, the spotlight is finally shining on under-the-radar bands. The world in turn gets to understand why a band like DITZ has established a cult following with their frenetic shows and unrelenting style. This outfit, however, isn’t the typical post-punk band, as they can also delve into the harsh noise rock that emerged in the mid-’00s. By adding the explosiveness of a METZ or Swans, they turn post-punk into an electrifying and menacing affair, which is what they do with their newest single.
“The Warden” is a stark reminder of the days that were and even those that are. It’s a reminder that someone is watching and controlling us even if we don’t know it. As the guitars surge and the rhythms pound with the ferocity of ten jackhammers to create an intoxicating wall of swirling noise, we spiral down to the abyss, where front-man Cal Francis await. He assumes the identity of this manipulator, voyeur, and sadomasochist, asking us, “Do you know who I am?” He tells us that “I am you”, explaining that he “can feel you / I can wear you as a glove / Your skin pressed firmly against”. We are his prisoners, trapped in this harrowing world. And it is awesome.
DITZ are Cal Francis (vocals), Anton Mocock (guitar), Jack Looker (guitar), Caleb Remnant (bass), and Sam Evans (drums). Their debut album, The Great Regression, is expected early in 2022 and will be released on Alcopop! Records.
Circe – “Mess with Your Head” (London, England)
RIYL: Dragonette, Purity Ring, CHVRCHES
A year ago, a young woman wrote a song that took dark-pop to cinematic spaces. “Dancer” wove together the brilliance of Björk and Portishead into one fabulous tune. The track was our introduction to Circe, and it was a mind-opening revelation. So what does she have in store for us to end the year? She takes us to the dance floor and makes us a feel whole again with a rapturous piece of electro-pop.
Get ready to extend your arms far and wide while deeply inhaling because you’ll be bathing in the shimmering synths and Circe’s radiant vocals that bubble within “Mess with Your Head”. The single commences with a dark edge and intensity, but then it slowly illuminates, as the synths turn from foreboding to chiming. Her voice, meanwhile, is heavenly, hovering above the glistening effects. “And you guard and you save me / And I’m safe in your arms”, she sings to the person who has given her a second chance at life. Now it’s her turn to resurrect herself and the other person, to feel alive once more.
“You’re always looking back, but I’m still the best
You gave me my heart and I gave you a pound of flesh
What can we salvage from what we’ve got left?
Searching outside of our messed-up heads”
garbagepink – “West Coast” (Växjö, Sweden)
RIYL: girl in red, Sad13, Avril Lavigne
Some artists are shapeshifters. They refuse to be confined to any particular genre and often are involved in multiple projects to display their multifaceted nature. Swedish artist Louise Lindenger is one such individual. She is known in her homeland for performing in alt-folk / psych-folk band Stranded Mermaid and alt-pop group I don’t speak french. The native of Växjö can now add grunge-pop to her resume, which is where she takes her latest project, garbagepink.
This new venture is Lindenger’s baby, hers and hers alone. As a result, it’s the medium by which she can tell her stories through an approach all her own. Her debut single, “West Coast”, is a microcosm of what Lindenger can create and achieve.
The song echoes of the grunge-pop that peaked in the early ’00s (think Avril Lavigne and Gwen Stefani’s early post-No Doubt solo work), yet it has a distinguishable modern feel with the buzzing synths, overdriven guitar, and trembling rhythms. It’s a song, in other words, that cannot be easily pigeonholed within any single genre nor decade. It’s completely Lindenberg, who also delivers a compelling story of the competing appeals of home and the opportunities presented in America. “Maybe we can be millionaires”, she dreams out loud, thinking that with riches she can have the best of both worlds. Maybe that will come one day, particularly as she continues to further expand her art.
“West Coast” is out on Swedish indie label Indie Shake Records.
Another Vision – “Rieger” (Vienna, Austria)
RIYL: Boards of Canada, Flying Lotus, Bibio
Vienna, the home of great composers. Such a statement often applies to classical music, where the likes of Haydn, Mozart, Mahler, Schubert, and Strauss all once studied, performed, and lived. For any music fan, a tour of and seeing an opera in the Wiener Staatsoper (or the Vienna State Opera House) is a must. The former Habsburg capital, however, is more than just a place to hear a grand orchestra or symphony perform. It is also home to one of Europe’s most exciting electronic scenes. But instead of the heavy EDM or house of North America, this new generation of composers are still inspired by the original masters. The only difference is that instead of strings, horns, and woodwinds, their instruments of choice are synths, keys, drum machines, drum kits, guitars, and basses. Still they can capture the imagination like Another Vision do with “Rieger”.
But instead of moving overtures that represent the snow-capped Alps or the pristine glacial streams, Moritz Kristmann and Michael Schmückin take us to the brink of the galaxy with their latest single. With the taut guitars weaving between the mind-bending arrangement of synths and percussion, a voice emerges like a phoenix from the ashes. Its low bellow contrasts with the hypnotic darkwave spell that circles overhead. “I’m trying to retrieve it / I can’t let go / Uneasy to reveal it / My shadow”, it says in our direction. This voice is like us – lingering in the darkness and constantly seeking a way out. “I can’t feel it / It’s taken my soul”, the voice later reveals, as its body and mind get slowly consumed by its surroundings. Likewise, we, the listeners, get completely consumed by Another Vision’s imagery.
The single is out on soda. mit himbeer records.
Holm – “K’s Choice” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Yung, Iceage, Okkervil River
We were wondering what happened to Holm‘s debut album. Why Don’t You Dance originally had a November 12th release date, but it has been moved to early in the new year. That’s not a bad strategy given all the albums that have been released this month. The delay also allows us to soak in one more song from Mikkel Holm-Silkjær, who already has delivered instant classics in “Intelligent Moves” and “Erase & Repeat”. Make that three instant classics.
“K’s Choice” epitomizes everything we admire about Holm-Silkjær, whether it is through his solo project or as the front-man for post-punk outfit Yung. The song reeks of desperation and urgency that is formed from the oscillating guitar line and the wavering intensity of the drums. The push-and-pull approach also captures the self-doubt that exists in Holm-Silkjær’s mind. “I don’t really understand?”, he repeatedly asks in the song’s chorus. His question is directed at himself and those around him, as he wonders how people can drastically change after yielding unexpected good fortune. His imagery is terrific.
“How you won the lottery that day
But it wasn’t intentional
‘Cause you bought your ticket at a discount store
And now you can put your crown of thorns on her head
And that’s intentional
Because you bargain, you bought a little friend”
Why Don’t You Dance will be unveiled January 28th, 2022. PNKSLM Recordings will release it. Pre-orders available here and directly on Bandcamp. Expect to see this LP on our Most Anticipated Albums of 2022.
THYLA – “Flush” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Black Honey, Makthaverskan
Speaking of Most Anticipated Albums of 2022, Thyla‘s long-awaited debut, Thyla, will surely be on our list. After all, we’ve only been waiting since 2015 for the trio to deliver a full-length compilation of sonic goodies. Now we just have two months to wait, but at least Millie Duthie (vocal, guitar), Dan Hole (bass), and Danny Southwell (drums) have shared some music in the meantime. In September, they teased with the blistering yet euphoric “Gum” and followed that up with the anthemic “3”. The third single from the album is another booming number that is so Thyla.
With the indie-rock flair of Wolf Alice and the shoegaze touches of Makthaverskan, the Brighton-based threesome deliver a soaring track in “Flush”. With its surging, arena-sized sound and Duthie’s tale of feeling lost and alone, the track could be the third single on the soundtrack for a ’90s coming-of-age film. Alternatively, it could be the anthem of a young generation feeling the pinch of lost opportunities caused by a pandemic. “I sit on, I sit on the fence ’cause I’m out of my mind and feeling so helpless”, Duthie cries out and her lyrics reflect the mood of the past 22 months.
Eventually, however, these feelings will go away, where the veil of these times will be lifted. We’ll guess that will be January 28th, 2022 when Thyla finally sees the light of day. Easy Life will release it. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.
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