The Matinee ’22 v. 009 is home to eight songs that feature impeccable songwriting and some pushing the envelope on what’s possible musically. Each one could make a convincing case for Song-of-the-Year consideration. They are that good. As a friendly reminder, please give our Songs of January 2022 playlist a follow on SoundCloud or Spotify.

 

Black Country, New Road – “Snow Globes” (London, England)

RIYL: Black Midi, Arcade Fire, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

In their short time as a band, Black Country, New Road have astounded us from Day 1. Their debut album, For the First Time, was more than just one of the best albums of 2021, but a seminal LP that should endure for decades to come. The septet, however, are just getting started if recent singles “Bread Song”, “Chaos Space Machine”, and “Concorde” are any indication. As great as those tracks are and what was on For the First Time, “Snow Globes” could very well be their masterpiece.

Post-rock, art-rock, and and orchestral pop converge on this nine-plus minute, turbulent epic. Its melancholic opener captivates, feeling like a beautiful dream about to commence. The breeziness, however, ends during the emotionally-charged, chaotic climax, which is absolutely striking. As the drums rattle in a formless state around the pensive and mournful violin, Isaac Wood’s baritone hollers through the noise, screaming at a friend who is slowly fading out of sight. The story about Henry and how his faith betrayed him is beyond startling.

“That’s a funny looking shrine on your bedroom wall
Well I’m sorry Henry
He doesn’t look anything like Jesus at all
Your friend, the one that you loved

Did you keep him on your side?
Did you ever get to ask what on Earth he meant by
‘Might take some time to learn how to use these bodies right
But it is for this that God has gave us both the night'”

Simply astounding. We are in a state of perpetual awe of Lewis Evans, May Kershaw, Charlie Wayne, Luke Mark, Isaac Wood, Tyler Hyde, and Georgia Ellery’s limitless talent.

The band’s new album, Ant From Up There, will be released February 22nd on Ninja Tune. You can pre-order it from these links, the label, or Bandcamp.

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Mogli – “Bones” (Berlin, Germany)

RIYL: Aurora, Ghostly Kisses, London Grammar

Mogli is the rare individual for which the term “artist” holds multiple meanings. She’s an acclaimed singer-songwriter, composer, and producer. She’s also a screenplay writer, photographer, director, and visual artist. There is no limit to the Berlin-based “artist’s” ability, and she’s putting all her eggs into a single basket on her latest project. Specifically, by the time 2022 ends, her concept movie and album, Ravage, will be unveiled. It will be released in ten parts, each based around a song with the accompanying videos linked together to form the film. To date, she’s shared three of the segments, including “Echo” and  “Ghost”, and they’ve been gripping, Gothic cinema. For part four, “Bones”, she brings light into this world.

A lovely piano arrangement, which is surrounded by sparse beats and soaring synths, drives this beautiful mélange of trip-hop, dark-pop, and orchestral pop. It is part cinema, part theatre, and part late-night drive that induces endless contemplation. For Mogli, the song is her battle against an unknown enemy – depression and how its toxicity controlled her every being. As is always the case, she describes the scene with vivid imagery.

“Darling you‘re a lioness
But you’re not made of stone
You are not cut out for this
Not made to be alone

Life’s in a violent temper
Oh no you’re not special
Love about time you know your place”

However, as depicted in the video, she is still standing, and we’ll get to follow Mogli’s journey every month as Ravage is gradually unveiled one video at a time.

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TUMMYACHE – “Alive Again” (London, England via Nashville & Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Porridge Radio + Radiohead + Lala Lala

Listening to “Soak” and “Porcupine” were all we needed to identify Soren Bryce and her project TUMMYACHE as an Artist to Watch. Her artistry is without borders, as she can grind out a ’90s-esque grunge tune or head into the stark corners of shoegaze and dark-pop. She is, in other words, breaking down misconceptions that the best way to be noticed is to carve out a niche within a specific genre. She’s also dismantling notions that only male artists can be inspired by Radiohead, as she proves on “Alive Again”.

Bryce’s latest single would make Jonny Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, Colin Greenwood, Philip Selway, and Thom Yorke nod with vicious approval. The song sounds like it could be part of a B-sides compilation of OK Computer, particularly the lingering guitar line that is Jonny Greenwood-esque while the patiently throbbing bass line echoes O’Brien’s tonal approach. With a similar fading style with which Yorke has become associated, Bryce’s lustful vocal streams in and out of the track. The approach represents her consciousness fading away, then reviving, and back again. “Feel suffocated from a life / Moderated by design / Elementary division layered in the grime”, she sings about living in this post-modern, almost post-apocalyptic world. She later adds with a Yorke-like imagination and poignancy:

“Roll in the mud to ease the burn
Easy habits I have learned
Opportunity is chosen
It’s never really earned”

We’ll say it again, Bryce is an Artist to Watch; someone who could further push the boundaries of what is possible. We’ll get to hear more come May 20th, which is when TUMMYACHE’s new album, Soak, will be released via Tone Tree Music .

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Mikayla McVey – “New Year” (Oakland, USA)

RIYL: Adrianne Lenker or Julia Jacklin + Broken Social Scene

The year is early but we have our first Favorite Discovery of 2022. Well, that’s not quite accurate since we did hear a song from Mikayla McVey just before Christmas, but unfortunately The Matinee sessions had ended for the year. But that song, “On Naming”, which features Twain, piqued our interests and put the Oakland-based singer-songwriter on our radar. Fortunately for us, McVey is just commencing her music career, and on February 4th her debut album, Time Turns Everything, will be released on Long Road Society. To give us one more sample at what is to come (plus an opportunity for us to write about this exciting, young artist), she unveils a stunning epic.

“New Year” is a dazzling romp through the fringes of space. Krautrock textures fuse with alt-folk to create one of the most sensual and immediate celestial experiences in music. The pulsating bass, the tempered tattering of the drums, and the gorgeous lingering guitar create the engrossing soundscape. McVey’s voice, meanwhile, is restrained and contemplative yet still stunning. She imagines what life could be like if she was someone else. Would it be full of innocence or shrouded in mystery? Would she see the world like she does now or would it seem completely out of touch with the reality she knows?

“What would it be like
To be a beautiful young man?
What would it be like?
To wake up and understand
Where I was and where I am?
How’d I get to where I am?”

If you need something to put a further smile on your face, we suggest watching the very warm video on YouTube. It stars McVey’s long-time friend and collaborator, Pancho Morris, who bears a resemblance to Rainn Wilson. Afterwards, pre-order Time Turns Everything at the label’s store.

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OSKA – “Mona Lisa, a girl’s best friend” (Vienna, Austria)

RIYL: Holly Humberstone, Millie Turner, Jade Bird

OSKA‘s debut EP, Honeymoon Phase, was one of last year’s most striking releases. It showed an understated beauty throughout, driven by Maria Burger’s melancholic songwriting. Since then, Burger has shared more music as OSKA, including the flooring “Responsibility” and the break-up track “Lousy T-Shirt“. 

On “Mona Lisa, a girl’s best friend”, OSKA remembers her first dog, as well as an ill family member. While the song is rooted in the loss of her dog and tough emotional times, there’s a warmth throughout the single.

“My great aunt was very sick, but she survived saying it was my family, our dogs, and the apples in our garden that got her through,” she says. “Years later my dog Mona died unexpectedly, and it got me thinking about life and death a lot and that all we can really do is to be there for each other.” “Mona Lisa, a girl’s best friend” is indeed a reminder of where our strength to keep going comes from and the people and things around us that bring us the joy we need to continue. Musically, it’s a charming pop song that only adds to the nostalgic warmth of the lyrics.

OSKA’s debut album, My world, My love, Paris, will be released February 25th on Nettwerk Music Group.

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Dropper – “Ok Ok Ok” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Faye Webster, Moaning, Phantastic Ferniture

One of our Artists to Watch who also happen to have one of our Most Anticipated Albums, we have some pretty high expectations from Dropper. With each release, Andrea Scanniello, Larry Scanniello, Yukary Morishima, and Jono Bernstein justify those expectations, whether it’s the throwback pop-rock of “Don’t Worry”, the smart lyricism of “Memoirs of Working in a Bowling Alley”, or the great groove of their latest single “Ok Ok Ok”

There’s a lot of energy to be found on the quartet’s last number. The track is driven by its great bass line and energetic drums and accented by some huge guitar moments. Lyrically, Andrea Scanniello was inspired by running into someone she didn’t want to at a party. It’s about taking the place that she is entitled to, finding joy in being able to feel okay and knowing that’s probably eating up the other person inside. Even with the small victory of just feeling “okay”, the choruses feel triumphant. 

“Every time you see my face
I love to rain on your parade
Letting you know I’m ok”

The quartet’s new album, Don’t Talk to Me, is out February 11th, 2022 on their own Dirt Dog Records.

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Luke Sital-Singh – “Me & God” (Los Angeles, USA via London, England)

RIYL: José González, SYML, The Tallest Man on Earth

There are few who can captivate with words like Luke Sital-Singh. His music is emotional and intimate in ways that form a connection with listeners almost instantaneously. He was once quoted as saying, “I love a good depressing song!”, and that love is apparent by the emotion he conveys in each of his releases.

Luke Sital-Singh was raised to be religious. In the formative years, religious imagery can be powerful and stick with people long after they feel their connection with that religion fade. During the pandemic, Sital-Singh re-explored his relationship with God and recorded “Me & God”.

Lyrically, “Me & God” is an incredible piece of songwriting. Each line is so powerful and relatable to those who have fallen out with religion similarly. Sital-Singh sings of false promises and people talking up the fulfillment of finding meaning in God. Sital-Singh doesn’t see it, and he’s still far from re-igniting his relationship with God, feeling like he’s been left “on read”. He also addresses the counting the dead and all the unanswered bedside prayers. All of this is wrapped up in a beautiful song, fingerpicked guitar, accented with just a little electric organ, along with Sital-Singh’s gorgeous voice and stellar songwriting. 

“Me and God have been fighting again
But I’m too tired to make amends
‘Cause I count the dead while he prays by his bed
For forgiveness and the rain to end

There’s just so much I’ll never understand
But I know for sure I’m can’t help listening”

The single is out on Nettwerk Music Group.

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Alex the Astronaut – “Airport” (Sydney, Australia)

RIYL: Stella Donnelly, Courtney Barnett, Phoebe Bridgers

Alex The Astronaut has been an artist we’ve dug for quite a few years now. It’s easy to hear why when you hear Alex Lynn’s upbeat folk-pop music. There’s a joyful quality in much of Lynn’s music, whether it’s the cheery harmonies and hand claps of “Lost” or the charming relatability of “Split The Sky”.

That joy and bright presence is still heard on “Airport”, Lynn’s latest song. Lynn’s lyricism shines immediately, as she laments the time lost over the past two years. Specifically, she provides a beautiful confession of love, painting the picture of a reunion with a loved one at an airport, and all of the effort needed to get to that point. In a time where so many people are separated from loved ones due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, it’s a song that resonates so much. Hopefully it’s a feeling many of us will get to experience soon – the joy of seeing someone again after years apart.

The instrumentals are just as beautiful as the song’s sentiment. Lush strings, gorgeous guitar chime, and Lynn’s captivating vocal delivery make one stellar single. 

“One by one they’re walking out
In slow motion
I found you
You look at me and cried
I ran, pulled you in
I am home again”

This single is also out on Nettwerk Music Group, which demonstrates how great and influential the label is.

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