The Matinee ’22 v. 013 feels like a Friday night, featuring nine cathartic and upbeat songs that will put a smile on your face and a wiggle in your hips. As usual, though, each song is more than it sonically appears. These nine songs also complete the Songs of January 2022 playlist, which is available on SoundCloud or Spotify.
Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS – “In Tangerine” (Kouvola, Finland)
RIYL: Hinds, The Big Moon, The Regrettes
Arguably the best band name in the business – or at least right up there with Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, and Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes – has reappeared after a lengthy absence. Almost exactly four years to the day, Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS released the boisterous, fun, and unpretentious Jazabelle 1984/1988. After that, they disappeared. Like so many people, the trio from the small town of Kouvola needed a break. The most important thing, however, is that the band has returned, sounding as lively as they did before.
“In Tangerine” is a blustery and bombastic pop-rock tune made to lift everyone’s spirits, including the most dour. The approach is reminiscent of Hind’s most energetic fare that will have people dancing, jumping, or rushing out the door and think they could run a marathon (although we might just get to the end of the street). Unlike their previous songs that were imaginative and often fictional, the band offer a bit of insight as to why they took a hiatus. From friends that were more “vultures” than trustworthy companions and dealing with either depression or anxiety (“I sing the suicide blues” and “will I even make it to the end?”), the four years have been a struggle. At the end of the day, Susse Stemma-Sihvola (vocals, bass), Ekku Lintunen (vocals, guitar), and Janne-Petteri Pitkälä (drums) have each other. “We stay together in tangerine”, holler Susse and Ekku in unison.
Let’s hope this union lasts forever and we won’t have to wait four years to hear new music from this excellent Finnish trio.
The single is out on VILD Records.
EVNTYD – “Parisian Fur” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: The War on Drugs, Phoenix, DIIV
In 2020, EVNTYD, the project of Austin songwriter Julián Berdegué, released “Kyoto, Tokyo”, a first draft and introduction to their music. Last year, two proper singles followed, “Kingdom Come” and “Black Hills”. Both singles had a warm and nostalgic quality that’s fitting of the band’s namesake, eventide or the end of the day.
On their latest single, “Parisian Fur”, the nostalgic guitar jangle from their earlier releases is in full force. Add to it a great guitar-led intro reminiscent of The War on Drugs, and “Parisian Fur” is something really special. When the vocals kick in, the song shifts a bit more into something that would sound more on a Phoenix record. Then both tones combine and EVNTYD create something completely their own. The last minute of the song is a complete knockout, too ,with its building guitar solo, which gives way into a really dreamy finish.
You can check out the single now on Bandcamp.
Wah Together – “You Got The Blues” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: The Rapture, Bush Tetras, Ava Luna, Blonde Redhead
For anyone who’s followed the New York City music scene over the last two decades, it’s hard to describe Wah Together as anything but a super-group. Composed of bassist Phil Mossman (ex LCD Soundsystem), drummer Vito Roccoforte (The Rapture, Poolside), guitarist Steve Schiltz (Longwave), and vocalist Jaiko Suzuki (Electroputas NYC), the group bring a lot of different styles together.
On their second single, “You Got The Blues”, it sounds a lot like a band trying to find their sound. A great bass line and catchy guitar lay the foundation underneath Suzuki’s floating vocals. Where the song shines is when it seems to just go off the rails – in a good way. The hypnotic early moments give way to an incredible ending after a little guitar break. Things get louder, bass gets distorted, drums get heavier, and guitar comes in in a huge way. All while Suzuki’s vocals transform from those early moments into a complete whirlwind.
You can purchase “You Got The Blues” on Wah Together’s Bandcamp here. The group will release their debut record, Let’s Wah Together, on March 4th via Dedstrange, the record label founded by A Place to Bury Strangers’ Oliver Ackermann.
Blue J – “Borderline” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Nada Surf, The Shins, The Pains of Being Pure of Heart
Blue J have been trickling out singles and EPs over the last few years. In 2018, they released a fantastic five-track EP, simply titled EP. In 2022, however, the Vancouver band will release their first full-length, A Sign of Good Luck, on March 4th.
The fifth single Blue J have shared from the forthcoming album is “Borderline”. The song has a catchy guitar hook that makes it incredibly inviting. Justice McLellan’s vocal adds to the warm qualities of that hook, along with a wonderful keyboard lying just underneath everything. The harmonies as the song reaches its conclusion are fantastic, and give way to one last line from McLellan. It’s an incredibly well-constructed song, and an undeniably catchy one at that with a message that all should heed. McLellan describes how we can be our own worst enemy, creating fictitious borders and artificial deadlines. The song is filled with great lines, such as: “There’s a pyramid scheme that I’m selling to myself / The crippling belief that there is nothing else” and “When it all has become a mountain of misery / At an elevation where you can hardly breathe”. Simply brilliant
Mondo Cosmo – “Meant For Livin'” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Wondering what Neutral Milk Hotel would sound like if Bob Dylan replaced Jeff Mangum
Josh Ostrander’s creativity is the driving force behind Mondo Cosmo. Both of his albums, Plastic Soul and New Medicine, are diverse efforts, drawing from a range of styles. Ostrander’s lyricism is fantastic as well, and everything he does feels so unique even with obvious influence. That continues on Mondo Cosmo’s latest single “Meant for Livin'”.
Instrumentally, the song starts out with just Ostrander and guitar, but it explodes into a chaotic mix of distortion, weird instrumentation, and drums. Lyrically, the song is politically charged and aimed at those who try to tell us how to live our lives, and how many of them hide behind religion. With all of the instruction, chaos, and insurrection we’ve all seen since early 2020, it’s a song we can all relate to. While its lyrics should be taken seriously, there’s an absurdity to it all. It’s even better that “Meant for Livin'” is all wrapped up in quite a fun package, especially when the song’s music video is taken into account.
“Do your drugs and pray to Jesus,
Brush your teeth and take your meetings
Revelations, compensation, memories of masturbation
Tell the reaper to come meet us in the Library of Congress
I’ll be sittin’ with Johanna, we’ll be smoking marijuana
Say a prayer for Momma’s wears and here’s to hoping that you get out alive”
Mi von Ahn – “Damaged Goods” (Umeå, Sweden)
RIYL: Land of Talk, The Weather Station, Katie Von Schleicher
Swedish songwriter Mi von Ahn‘s 2018 debut Signals was a striking record. It showed a ton of potential of a new songwriter. Mi von Ahn’s voice was powerful, layered with gorgeous harmonies. The songs were cinematic in nature as well. With a gorgeous combination of folk and atmospheric indie music, it felt like just the beginning.
It’s taken four years, but Mi von Ahn is gearing up to release a new record. The first single she has shared is the spellbinding “Damaged Goods”. The same qualities that made her first record so impactful are present but taken to new levels. Ahn’s breathy voice soothes during the song’s verses. It all becomes huge when she sings the words, “I’m all right”, as the harmonies create an intensely dreamy moment. The dreaminess returns later in the song, and it’s incredible when paired with the simple keyboard part and just the right amount of guitar. As the song progress, it’s so easy to find yourself getting lost in von Ahn’s gorgeous melancholy.
verbrasco – “CAPO 7” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Beach Fossils, Spacey Jane, Dick Diver
Melbourne is known for many things. It’s obviously home to the Australian Open, is considered Australia’s culinary capital, and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. It’s the jewel of the southern hemisphere that never seems to stop giving, and this also includes musically. The Garden City has produced some of the most outstanding bands and artists in the world (Nick Cave, Courtney Barnett, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard), and the next one up could very well be verbrasco, if their newest single is a sign of things to come.
Get up and get moving because “CAPO 7” is a piece of surf rock goodness á là Beach Fossils. Jangly guitars bubble over the jittery rhythms, and the quick beats providing the timing to our dance steps and hip shakes. It’s a little party squeezed into a tight 196 seconds. Despite the energetic approach, the band’s tale of loneliness and uncertainty is anything but joyous.
“You wonder why
I’m stopping at the red light
You waste my time
I think I just might
Go back to mine to think about it
‘Cause I don’t want to go, I don’t want to be alone tonight”
Look out for this band, who consist of Brody Verhagen (vocals, lead guitar), Ethan Bowman (bass, production), and Tage Hosking-Gregory (rhythm guitar).
Ducks Ltd. – “Sheets Of Grey” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Kiwi Jr., Ultimate Painting
Accompanying a name change, Ducks Ltd. released their entertaining debut album, Modern Fiction, on Carpark Records and Royal Mountain Records. It was prototypical Canadian indie – catchy melodies, sing-along lyrics, and immensely poignant stories. While it is never too late to revisit any music, Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis give everyone a reason to spin the LP with their newest track, “Sheets Of Grey”.
The song was one of the final cuts from the record. One listen to the upbeat jangle pop-rock and McGreevy’s warm vocal, however, makes it immediately known why this song had to see the light of day. It’s cathartic yet immensely intimate, making the tune a crowd-pleaser, which it is. But like what the duo has done since they were known as Ducks Limited, the cheery mood is contrasted by the introspective lyrics. McGreevy shares how he is stuck in an unbreakable cycle of depression. As he attempts to deal with his inner demons, he gives us “a sense of purpose” by helping us realize we’re not alone.
“I try to right the ship again
And try to give a shit again
Those guys I criticize then act in the same way
I’ll never hear the end of it”
Caroline Kingsbury – “Strawberry Sheets” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Berlin, Belinda Carlisle, Cannons
All an artist needs is a chance to be heard. When that happens, they can blow away even the biggest names and most talented artists in the business. When Adam Grandusciel of The War on Drugs listened to Caroline Kingsbury‘s songs after she reached out to him on Instagram to ask if she could open for the acclaimed indie-rock band on their most recent tour, he was flabbergasted. In his words:
“I had never heard of her but I listened to a few songs and I knew SHE NEEDED TO PLAY MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. Big songs, big voice. Great hooks. I loved it.”
We had a similar reaction when we heard back in 2018 when she was known as Kingsbury and then a year ago when she released “Lose”, which from her brilliantly nostalgic album, Heaven’s Just a Flight. If people need more proof as to why she’s going to be a star, she shares a song that fully encompasses the meaning of breathtaking.
“Strawberry Sheets” is straight out of the ’80s and the gorgeous synth-pop/new wave of Berlin with the intimacy of Belinda Carlisle. Everything about this song is dazzling, leaving one to feel either levitating in the clouds above or having an enormous weight removed from their shoulders. Beyond the shoegaze guitars, the cool yet vibrant rhythms, and the shimmering synths, Kingsbury’s breathy, stunning voice is the showstopper. You just want to smother in them like a warm blanket on a cold wintry night. This song is the perfect way to end our music choices for today and the month of January.
The single is out on Fortune Tellers Music.
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