With all the great releases this week, we’re offering a one-two punch with The Matinee ’22 v. 002 focused on songs from the UK and Ireland. Most of the artists and bands listed are familiar ones with one newcomer to the list. This mini-playlist can be referred to as Beauty and The Beast. Listen below to learn why.
Fontaines D.C. – “Jackie Down The Line” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Shame, Iceage, Eagulls
Just as we had predicted (or more like hoped), Fontaines D.C. have announced the follow-up to their outstanding 2020 album, A Hero’s Death. Grian Chatten, Conor Deegan III, Carlos O’Connell, Conor Curley, and Tom Coll ‘s sophomore output was bleak and brooding, but it perfectly captured the times and will be remembered as one of the great post-punk albums of the 21st Century. While it’s too early to say in what direction their forthcoming LP, Skinty Fia (which translated from Gaelic to English means “the damnation of the deer”), its lead single indicates the band parting the darkness and adding a bit of light – just a wee bit.
While still trembling in its approach, “Jackie Down The Line” infuses a touch of a Brit-pop to give the track a less gloomy feeling. The tapping percussion, the strumming acoustic guitar, and the delayed, crystalline guitar (which echoes a young The Edge) illuminate the track. However, a darkness still exists with the probing bass and Chatten’s downtrodden vocal. His story is even more foreboding, as he tells the story about the murder of his friend Sally. With her death, Chatten, too, dies a little, and he is focused on revenge. First, he must make the assailant face his victim.
“So come on down to Sally’s boneyard
See her spirit in decline
See the handsome mourners crying
They hawked a beating heart for a sturdy spine, yeah
What good is happiness to me
if I’ve to wield it carefully?
For care I’ll always come up short
It’s only right”
The video for the song is worth viewing on YouTube.
Sprints – “Little Fix” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: IDLES, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bully
Fresh off releasing one of 2021’s outstanding EPs in Manifesto, Sprints are set to once again set the world ablaze with their fiery post-punk. Circle March 11th on your calendar because that is when their new extended player, A Modern Job, will be released via Nice Swan Records (pre-orders are available on Bandcamp). They’ve already released a couple of flamethrowers in “How Does the Story Go?” and “Modern Job”, and they add more petrol to their raging inferno with “Little Fix”.
Like every song they’ve released so far, the track is unrelenting in its energy, edge, and explosiveness. Every element erupts with the urgency of a band with nothing to lose because who knows if tomorrow will come. As the guitars rain down seismic riffs and the rhythms shock the ground like a 9.0 earthquake, front-person Karla Chubb ignites the air with her soaring vocal. As one of the great, young front-persons in the business, she hollers back at her critics and controllers, who want her to fit in with stereotypes of being “the nice girl next door” and a “proper woman”.
“It’s a new hallucination, a new little fix
I say a cog in the machine, they say the cogs do not exist
Because I’m medicated, medicated
Oh, they like me better when I’m sedated
So tell me doctor how do you fix, a problem they seem to think doesn’t really exist
Should a stupid little girl ride backseat of a car
Wearing shame like a shaul and her body like a scar?”
But anyone who has followed this band from its beginnings know that Chubb (lead vocals/guitar) nor her bandmates – Sam McCann (bass/backing vocals), Colm O’Reilly (guitar/backing vocals), and Jack Callan (drums) – are not conformists. They are instead marching to the beat of their own drum and in the process have emerged as one of the best bands around.
Crake – “Winter’s Song” (Leeds / London, England)
RIYL: Big Thief, Strand of Oaks, Luca Wilding
For all the songs we have been excited to hear this week, one song made us go, “Wow!” It comes from a band whose history is quite brief, but the path ahead is long, wide, and golden. By the time their debut album, Human’s Worst Conditions, is released in the spring, Crake could be identified as the England’s answer to Big Thief – or even the standard to which future indie-folk and Gothic-folk bands are compared. Just a single listen to “Winter’s Song” is all that is required to comprehend the quartet’s immense potential.
Darkness and light collide on this stunning affair, which commences with a fleeting melody. It slowly builds into a beautiful, fantasy moment, which then gives way to the growl of a quietly rumbling guitar that occasionally shrieks. The orchestration is superb, drawing the listener in with each note. Front-person Rowan Sandle’s voice, meanwhile, possesses a mysterious allure, as it cracks occasionally to reveal the vulnerability in her soul. She sings about how our hearts are often cold, seeking to satisfy our own insatiable thirst for power and attention. There are, however, occasions where a gentler side emerges, which is what she encourages to hold on to.
“That time I saw the moon rise
And I swore it was a sun set
Caught out and a little tired
It’s when I’m at my best
That’s when I’m at my best”
Crake are: Rowan Sandle (acoustic guitar, vocals), Russell Searle (electric guitar, piano), Rob Slater (drums, backing vocals), and Sarah Statham (bass, backing vocals). The band’s debut album, Human’s Worst Conditions, will be released April 8th via Fika Recordings. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
Public Body – “Reset My Password” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: OMNI, Protomartyr, Shame
After sharing “Naughty on My Bike”, “Hard to Concentrate”, and “Table Manners”, we can confidently call Public Body lyrical historians and sociologists. But unlike academics, they chronicle the present with clever stories, biting statements, and an amusing soundtrack. They also pay attention to the little things, where the minutiae end up defining an era’s biggest moments. The little act of changing one’s work password has become the symbol of a pandemic world, which is what the Brighton-based quintet describe on “Reset My Password”.
This buzzing, frenetic number echoes the blistering art-punk of the US Midwest. The dueling guitars and rumbling rhythms create a kinetic energy suitable for any dance club, even one that specializes in EDM. In this space, however, listeners gyrate and jerk around in time to the off-kilter tempo. We also listen to front-man Seb Gilmore’s story of how absurd the world has become when we’re told to continue to work at home while a constantly mutating virus infects hundreds of millions of people. Never mind the high number of fatalities or people who will have long-lasting health conditions, our daily lives are still governed by “company policy” and the almighty dollar (or Pound in this case). Simply a brilliant analogy.
Public Body are: Seb Gilmore (vocals), Theo Verney (guitar), Joe Stevens (bass), Tom Bacon (guitar), and Thom Mills (drums). The band’s new EP, Flavour Of Labour, arrives March 4th with pre-orders on Bandcamp.
Silverbacks – “A Job Worth Something” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Parquet Courts, Ought, Gang of Four
Speaking of modern-day chroniclers, one of the very best are Silverbacks. After revealing “Where My Medals” and “Rolodex City”, including their forthcoming LP, Archive Material, on our Most Anticipated Albums was an easy decision. The songs were intelligent and insightful, not to mention catchy and punchy indie-rock / art-rock. While U2 and My Bloody Valentine still own Dublin and Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital have claim as their heirs, brothers Daniel (guitar, vocals) and Kilian O’Kelly (guitar, vocals), Emma Hanlon (bass, vocals), Peadar Kearney (guitar), and Gary Wickham (drums) also have a compelling case as the next great Irish band. Heck, they already are, and “A Job Worth Something” depicts their greatness.
While the song is more plucky, upbeat, and melodic than their past tracks, it is still playful, witty, and timely. While the jangly guitar riff and stuttering drum beat may induce toe-tapping, the band’s lyrics will cause people to stop and ponder life of the past two years. We will look back at what we once had, where we had stable jobs, tended gatherings without fear, and felt we had value. Now, what do we have? Why are we here?
“Waking up with no purpose just to go to sleep
And the cogs won’t turn to the devil on the beat
And the joke’s gone viral (to the devil on the beat)
Sucking on a straw (to the devil on the beat)
Treading on a countdown (to the devil on the beat)
Everyone is in awe (to the devil on the beat)”
NewDad – “Say It” (Galway, Ireland)
RIYL: Hazel English, Bleach Lab, Alvvays
We stay in the beautiful country known locally as Eire, but this time it’s for more blustery dream-pop. You know, music that puts a smile on your face and lets you escape the reality for a short time. As the Irish equivalent of Alvvays, NewDad can be trusted to add some sunshine and warmth in the dead of winter. They do deliver once again with their latest single, “Say It”, which is the fire that we gravitate towards on this wintry January day.
A peppy and bouncing rhythm section and the delightful jangle tones of the guitar provide the energy and heat to the track. It has us similarly bopping around, and thus further raising the temperature. A different fire, however, burns within front-woman Julie Dawson. With her saccharine voice, she describes how a relationship is reaching its breaking point. It’s become a one-way street, where one’s love is no longer reciprocated. For that matter, the relationship has turned into one of control.
“You don’t say much to my face
You just sit tying your laces like you’re fucking famous
And you don’t want to leave a trace
But you get mad if someone takes your place
No you don’t like me at all
You just want to see me fall for you
And I don’t want to”
NewDad are Julie Dawson, Áindle O’Beirn, Sean O’Dowd, and Fiachra Parslow. Their new EP, Banshee, drops February 9th via Fair Youth Records. Pre-saves and pre-orders are available here. This is a band to watch for years to come.
Spiritualized – “Crazy” (London, England)
RIYL: Spacemen 3, David Bowie, Air
For all the times that J. Spaceman has taken us to the far reaches of the galaxy through his various projects, including as Spiritualized, he still finds ways to keep us grounded. This is where we found him on the atmospheric “Always Together With You”. Today, we find him closer to Earth and less in the cosmos, as he delivers one of the most tender and sweetest folk / Americana tunes of the past decade with “Crazy”.
We admittedly are not the most inclined to love songs, but when it is delivered as delicately, emotionally, and beautifully as “Crazy”, we have no choice but to share it. The twangs of the steel guitar, the wonderful additions of the strings and piano, and the gorgeous harmonies masterfully come together, lulling us into a state of bliss at the start and then causing our chests to swell at its lush climax. Spaceman’s lyrics are sincere, where he not only expresses his undying love but also reveals the mistakes he’s made.
“Darling, I’m sorry, I must make amends
For messing around with you
We’ve all heard the story, we know how it ends
Darling, I wish it weren’t true”
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