The Matinee ’22 v. 011 is the first of two mini-playlists shared on Friday, January 28th. The songs are organized by time zones with the eight songs in this post featuring artists in Europe and North America’s Eastern Time Zone. A few names are familiar, some are new, and each tantalise with their brilliant artistry.
For the artists and bands outside Europe and the EST, head over to The Matinee ’22 v. 012.
Widowspeak – “While You Wait” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Mazzy Star, Cowboy Junkies, Howling Bells
Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl’s musical output as Widowspeak has been nothing short of stellar. Last year, the duo released a fantastic EP, Honeychurch, which followed up one of 2020’s best records, Plum. On both releases, Widowspeak painted observational portraits of life that resonated with listeners. Earlier this month, they also released the sublime “Everything Is Simple” and announced their next record, The Jacket.
On the next single from their upcoming record, Widowspeak continue to charm listeners with “While You Wait”. Its early moments are just stunning. Sampled woodwinds and finger-picked electric guitar create a wonderful foundation for Molly Hamilton’s voice. Even with some distorted guitar chords here and there, the song stays in a calm realm. Lyrically, Widowspeak describe the song as an “opening credits scene”. With the way they describe something as simple as the passage of time during a work day, describing the sun coming up, shops opening and closing, they yet again make something so simple feel magical.
watch the world, it’s just turning on
someone left the lights burning all night
someone was up, working in the quiet
now it’s broken by their morning song
Suki Waterhouse – “Melrose Meltdown” (London, England)
RIYL: Lana Del Rey, Sam Valdez, Fenne Lily
Suki Waterhouse is a star in the fashion industry. Her image has been plastered on billboards and store fronts and in magazines, as she has modeled clothing and accessories for heavyweights Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, and Redken. She’s expanded her work into film, having been cast for nearly two dozen movies. Soon, however, her name will be associated with beauty of another sort – her sultry alto and music that can melt the most timid heart.
Waterhouse’s previous single, “My Mind”, which was our first introduction to the 30-year old British artist, was a seductive dream. Her latest, “Melrose Meltdown”, meanwhile, is a cinematic stunner that is breathtaking yet soul crushing. Waterhouse’s beautifully hushed vocal effortlessly glides over the widescreen arrangement that soars with a dazzling display of swirling synths. Her songwriting, meanwhile, is like a screenplay, telling the story of a broken heart in vivid and poetic ways. This, however, isn’t the typical heartbreak song, as it could easily be about lost, sacrifice, and isolation.
“Welcome to my Melrose Meltdown
Nobody ever breaks up
We just break down
We really fucked it up
In diamonds and drugstores
That’s what we came for
And when you get it, you got what you need”
Work Wife – “Creases” (Brooklyn via Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Faye Webster, Bess Atwell, Jess Locke
Call it a hunch, but we have a feeling that Meredith Lampe could be one of 2022’s breakout artists. While her main band Colatura is on the verge of something special themselves, Lampe’s solo project Work Wife could be this year’s Faye Webster. Although her previous singles were upbeat and jangly, Lampe shows a completely different side of herself on her latest single.
“Creases” is just Lampe’s voice and finger-picked guitar. It is a slow burn that is truly stunning musically, while she tells a story in a way few songwriters can. On “Creases”, Lampe sings about prioritizing art and love, and how art will always win out and accepting that reality. Lampe recorded the song in one take while in isolation after returning to Seattle from New York. Its minimalist composition made her seek out ways to flesh out the sound. There was, however, something about the sound of that first take that made it feel right, and we couldn’t agree more.
The video for the song is on YouTube and well worth viewing. It was shot on a ferry in Seattle by Justin Buschardt, a photographer and videographer who has worked with Alvvays, St. Vincent, Mac DeMarco, and many others.
The Smile – “The Smoke” (Oxford, England)
RIYL: Radiohead + Kamasi Washington + Khruangbin
Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke’s side project with Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner had been teased for the better part of six months, and The Smile was made official earlier this month when the trio released “You Will Never Work In Television Again”. The track recalled Radiohead in their alt-rock youthful days, but any fan of the influential band knows that the next song would be different. After all, Greenwood and Yorke have never been known to be stationary. Sure enough, their second single goes in an opposite direction.
“The Smoke” is a sleek and hypnotic endeavor into the far reaches of our souls. Khruangbin-like psychedelic-funk textures hover throughout the track, particularly in the terrific Laura Lee-esque bass line that drives the track. A bellow of the horns and the flutter of a clarinet occasionally interrupt the mood, adding a coolness to the shallow darkness. This atmosphere perfectly provides the setting to Yorke’s lyrics about desires, pressures, and disappointments. They are the fires from which the smoke emerges and, thus, consumes us.
“It’s easy to leave me
We should give ourselves another chance
Let go of our troubles
Into our caress
And we set ourselves on fire
We set ourselves on fire”
The trio’s debut album should be released any week now on XL Recordings.
Jaws The Shark – “Still Young” (London, England)
RIYL: FIDLAR, Royal Blood, Drenge
On the strength of singles, “Erase Myself”, “Demon Dream” and “Loose Change”, and “Cold Feet”, Jaws the Shark were one of Favorite Hidden Gems of 2021. The band may only feature Olly Bailey (vocal, guitar) and Elliot Rawson (drums), but they create more noise and energy than a typical four- or five-piece. Imagine what they would sound like if the band grew by just one. Well, they probably don’t need another band member because their garage-rock is already awesome, which also describes “Still Young”.
Rawson’s patiently-delivered drums sets the head-nodding tempo. Bailey’s rummaging guitar, meanwhile, provides the electricity, rummaging along with reverb-drenched grit with the occasional lightning strike. His voice, though, is what gives the song its intensity. Piercing through the noise, he hollers to anyone listening the thoughts filling his mind. Inspired by Nirvana’s Nevermind (and the song includes a specific reference to the seminal LP), Bailey encourages us to set aside the negativity and make positive change. He encourages to take action while we’re still young; otherwise, everything may come crashing down around us. This full-throttle number is the anthem to get us moving.
Zola Blood – “It Never Goes” (London, England)
RIYL: Rufus Du Sol, Mansionair, Mt. Wolf
Nineteen months have passed since Zola Blood was last heard. In the spring of 2020, they released the hypnotic Two Hearts EP, which was the perfect accompaniment to a late-night session of contemplation. Their music long has been made for such occasions due to its immersive and introspective nature. This is why they have emerged as one of the UK’s most exciting indietronic / darkwave bands of the past decade. Matt West (vocals), Ed Smith (synths), and Paul Brown (guitars) return to demonstrate why they have been held in such high regard.
“It Never Goes” is the ideal winter evening tune with its brooding and pensive approach that is both mesmerizing and chilling. Each strike of the synth, guitar, drums, and keys is done with patient execution. Nothing is hurried to allow every tone to be heard and absorbed. West’s trademark lush vocal seamlessly melts inside this enchanting sonic cloud, where we find him sinking away. His words sound like they belong to a man residing alone in a faraway, desolate place, counting down the days to his rebirth.
“There’s no sleeping it
From every thought in every day
Got hours to kill and days to fight
Like falling sand and breaking light
A second skin we’re sinking in
That starts to set in permanence”
And permanence is where we may find the trio next, as their sophomore album is expected later this year. 225 Records will release it.
TEMPERS – “Nightwalking” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Chromatics, Lebanon Hanover, Glass Spells
As we seek shelter in the heart of winter, why seek the comforts in front of an open fire when we could head to the dank basement? Here we can replicate Berlin’s music underground of the late ’70s and early ’80s when Gothwave and coldwave were born. We do not need to revisit the bands of that time because we can listen to TEMPERS. As they did prior to the holidays when they shared “Unfamiliar”, Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper keep us in these dark, mesmerizing places with “Nightwalking”.
A harrowing tone emerges from the bleak synths, the throbbing pulses of the 808s, and the duo’s ghostly vocals. A steely, post-punk-ish guitar slices through the darkness, acting like the glittering lights that occasionally emerge in the horizon. It’s all mesmerizing and hypnotic yet somehow peaceful, like a lonely walk through deserted streets in the wee hours of the morning. This is exactly the image and feelings the duo wish to evoke, as the tune is a description of what it is like to walk alone at night in New York. “Someone help me when I’m petrified”, Golestaneh repeats at the beginning. But is she really calling for help or just enjoying the reprieve from the constant bombardment or lights, ads, and people?
Sister Ray – “Crucified” (Toronto via Edmonton, Canada)
RIYL: Big Thief, Julien Baker, Mount Eerie
There are debuts and then there are DEBUTS. The truly great ones leave an everlasting impression where you want to revisit the song again and again. This is what Edmonton-born Métis singer-songwriter Ella Coyes, who goes by the moniker Sister Ray, has done with “Crucified”. It’s a song that Coyes said took over three years to bring to life.
“Crucified” indeed feels like a song that took a long time to come together. Starting out as just Coyes and guitar, they build on that with some ambient versions of those sounds. The atmosphere created on the single is just incredible, from those ambient guitar sounds to haunting vocals floating in an empty background space. The guitar strumming gets heavier and the vocals intensify before the song ends right back where it began. Lyrically, it shows off Coyes’ captivating storytelling ability. Right from the first line, they demand the listener’s attention and don’t let go until the song’s final lines,
“Do you see what I could do you
1000 times over the course of a year or two
I know everything must die
You forget it when the pleasure comes every time
You can forget it until I light everything on fire”
“Crucified” is not just a great debut – it’s one of the best songs of the early year. It’s out on Royal Mountain Records.
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