If you listened to the World Edition of today’s The Matinee, it probably brought you to The Matinee ’22 v. 008 – North American Edition. Seven more songs are featured and each one different from the other. They are, however, all brilliant, particularly the stories that they tell. Since you’ve come this far for new music, just a reminder to spin the Songs of January 2022 playlist on SoundCloud or Spotify.

 

Big Thief – “Simulation Swarm” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Big Thief

Big Thief‘s double LP, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, is shaping up to be a monster. Among the 20 tracks that will be on the record, Big Thief have already shared standouts “Certainty”, “Sparrow”, “Little Things”, “Time Escaping”, “Spud Infinity” and “No Reason”. Each song radiates feelings of warmth with many songs feeling like they were recorded during a fireside singalong. 

The latest single they’ve shared, “Simulation Swarm”, keeps that warmth, but it expands on the sounds we’ve heard so far on the record in big ways. The opening moments feature gorgeous acoustic guitar, bass, and just enough drums to keep things moving forward. Adrianne Lenker’s vocal delivery here is fantastic, words just flowing out as the song progresses. More instruments come in and out, there’s a wonderful guitar solo (that’s definitively Buck Meek), which ties things together nicely. The song itself was inspired by Lenker being hospitalized in 2020, and captures the chaotic nature of a moment like that in a way very few songwriters could.

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You arrives February 11th, 2022 via 4AD with pre-orders here.

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Uwade – “Do You See the Light Around Me?” (New York City, USA via Nigeria)

RIYL: Tasha, Sharon Van Etten, Wet

At just 21 years old, the world is truly Uwade’s for the taking, as the Nigerian-born singer-songwriter has excelled in everything she’s attempted. She’s studied Classics at Columbia and Oxford, receiving fellowships and scholarships. She sang on Fleet Foxes’ 2020 Shore album, which brought her to the forefront of the indie scene.

While it would be easy to say she was born to succeed, her short life has not been without its challenges. Just as her star was starting to explode, her father passed away in August 2020, temporarily halting her career. But instead of staying in a state of grief, she found inspiration, as heard on the sublime “The Man Who Sees Tomorrow”. This one song showcased Uwade’s vast potential (as well as her resilience) and why we think her greatest achievements are still to come. Why we think she’ll have the world eating from hands, especially after they hear “Do You See the Light Around Me?”

Uwade’s newest single is a further demonstration of her mastery of the musical arts. While arrangement is stripped back and fairly minimalist, the melody is delicately breezy, immensely intimate, and breathtaking. It gives the song a serene, calming effect, which is further accentuated by Uwade’s stunning voice and poetic songwriting. While this is a love song, her words make this tale not about Uwade but about us.

“Do I make you see yourself clearer?
I don’t even think we need the sunlight
Don’t bring anybody else nearer
If I could I’d drown them out”

The single is out on Sylvan Esso’s new label, Psychic Hotline.

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Georgia Harmer – “Austin” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: Black Belt Eagle Scout, Palehound, Lucy Dacus

Despite just one single to her name – the dashing ear-worm “Headrush” – Georgia Harmer was included on our Artists to Watch list. Call it a hunch, but we think the young Canadian will be a star. She definitely has the foundation to continue to push boundaries, as she comes from a musical family and has performed as a back-up singer for Alessia Cara. While the easy road to immediate success would be to follow the pop star’s path, she’s blazing her own path and showing her versatility in the process, as revealed on “Austin”.

Forget sugary pop structures and warm and fuzzy sounds. Harmer gets grittier on “Austin”, and this side of her is awesome. A grizzled guitar opens the track before a steel guitar and rhythms join the fray. This is the sound of a world that is dark and full of mystery and uncertainty. There is, however, one thing that keeps us succumbing to the bleakness and that is Harmer’s delicate vocals, which is like a slim light piercing the all-encompassing blackness. Her voice sounds distant, as it is shrouded in memory and of a time when the world was truly free. She recalls her time in the Texas state capital and how a single day turned into a lifetime – a lifetime she wishes to relive once again.

“Went to Austin Texas for a day
To everyone I saw I said your name
The setting sun the hot wind on my face
Felt like home an unfamiliar place

We were cowboys in another life
But I am you your other life is mine
Often when I speak to you I cry
Never can explain the reason why
Never understood the reason”

The single is out on Arts & Crafts. Surely news of Harmer’s debut album or EP is coming. 

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Girlpool – “Lie Love Lullaby” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: BROODS, BØRNS, Depeche Mode

After releasing the incredible “Faultline” at the end of 2021, a new album from Girlpool had to be coming. Sure enough, the duo of Harmony Tividad and Avery Tucker announced that Forgiveness will be coming just after Easter. The revelation was accompanied by the electric “Lie Love Lullaby”.

The duo’s newest song features a completely different sound than what we’ve heard from Girlpool. The instrumentals are all synth and drum machine. Vocally, it’s as powerful as what we’d expect from Tividad and Tucker, harmonizing and accenting in stunning ways. Later in the track, layers of distortion on Tucker’s voice clash with the dreamy vocals of Tividad. That is, until everything fades away and Tucker’s voice, unmasked, is front and center in an incredible moment. Lyrically, it has an honest and unrestrained nature that Tucker said comes from “a time where I felt that my innocence affected my ability to choose a person who was good for me”. A shift in sound like the one heard on “Lie Love Lullaby” can be tough to pull off, but Girlpool pulls it off flawlessly and it only makes it more exciting to think of what else awaits on Forgiveness.

“I always try to get her back you know that’s why I’m showing up like that
Pass out in a day dream cum so much to memory
Twist me over the sink knock out my envy let it go
She comes through the door
She drives me crazy when she sings a lie love lullaby tease me in a sin too tight
What’s a lie love lullaby when we sing it every night?”

Pre-orders for Forgiveness are available here and on Bandcamp ahead of its April 29th release. ANTI Records has the honors.

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Bambara – “Birds” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Iceage, Fontaines D.C., Liily

When Bambara released their sophomore album, Stray, they made chaos cinematic and the bleakness even more chilling than a John Carpenter film. The trio’s ability to create such sensations is what makes them one of the best bands in the business – we’re not talking about post-punk but all of music. What will keep them in such lofty places is that they are constantly evolving. They’re still very much a post-punk band, but as they showed on “Mythic Love” they can take the bleakness to the Wild West. Now they add plenty of light to their brooding sound, delivering an awesome spectacle with “Birds”.

This track might just be Bambara’s most illuminating track. Shimmering guitars ring throughout and they’re joined by sparkling synths. An urgency still exists in the rhythms, but they are delivered with jittery optimism. The result is a song that might have people swaying and even possibly methodically dancing. While the sound has changed, one thing has remained – Reid Bateh’s widescreen songwriting. His story would make Quentin Tarantino and Hunter S. Thompson proud.

“You and Nick were scared, yelling where to go.
But the Firebird was skidding all over the road.
I said, ‘Damn thing’s dancing on its own.
We make it or we don’t.’

Passed out on the train.
I woke up to find the sun blinding.
You were still sound asleep,
So I closed my eyes.”

Bambara are Reid Bateh (vocals, guitar), Blaze Bateh (drums), and William Brookshire (bass). Their new EP, Love on My Mind, will be released February 25th, 2022 on Wharf Cat Records. Pre-order it at the label’s store or on Bandcamp.

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Crystal Eyes – “Wishes” (Calgary, Canada)

RIYL: Camera Obscura + New Order + Alvvays

If you had the good fortune to grow up in the early to mid-’90s, you would have gleefully listened to bands like Sixpence None the Richer, Camera Obscura, and, of course, The Cranberries. They created dreamy guitar-pop that we could listen endlessly for days, weeks, and even months. If you’re not old enough to remember those times or are old enough but want to re-live that great era, then you’ve come to the right place. More correctly, Crystal Eyes will take you back to those times with “Wishes”.

Warm up your facial muscles because this tune will have you smiling for a long time. The shimmering guitars and the rattling percussion all channel the greatness of the ’90s. What adds to this track, though, is the Peter Hook-ish bass line that gives the song is soul. Its heart lies in the saccharine vocal of front-woman and founder Erin Jenkins. With an air of Tracyanne Campbell, she wonders aloud whether dreams can be reality or at least whether we can momentarily escape this world with our one true friend. It does not have to be some fantasy, but just anywhere away to make new dreams come true. Isn’t that a thought that brings a smile to your face?

Crystal Eyes are Erin Jenkins (singer/guitarist), Jordan Tettensor (guitar), Joleen Toner (synth), Will Johnson (bass) and Paul de Andrade (drums). The band’s new album, The Sweetness Restored, will be released April 22nd on Bobo Integral. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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Bellows – “Death of Dog” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Trace Mountains, Another Michael

In November, Bellows released two singles from their upcoming record, Next of Kin, “Rancher’s Pride” and “McNally Jackson”. Both were very different tracks, one inspired by the vast expanse outside of the city, while the other was inspired by a bookstore in New York.

“Death of Dog” sits in between those two tracks on Next of Kin, and it makes sense when you hear all three. There’s a building, nostalgic feeling on “Death of Dog”, with Oliver Kalb recalling the passing of his childhood dog, Loubie. Even though the reflection is rooted in loss, Kalb hears Loubie’s howl when he visits his childhood home, and it’s a reminder to appreciate things in the moment. Kalb’s voice with a bit of autotune is joined by harmonies provided by Alenni (Another Michael). The instrumentals on the track are pristine, elevated by the piano of Frank Meadows, synth of Jack Greanleaf (Sharpless) and drums of Ian Cory (Lamniformes). 

“I still remember my dog’s howl
Still feel like a child when I’m in this house
Though I get older I hold less and less
Still feel like a child, like I’m innocent
Greens change to orange in autumn, they see nothing changing at all”

“Death of Dog” will be on Bellows’s upcoming record, Next of Kin. It arrives March 23rd, 2022, via Topshelf Records with pre-orders here and on Bandcamp

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