The Matinee ’22 v. 015 is filled with numerous favorites and some newer outfits that have joined the alumni. As usual, the music selection is top notch – from the spectacular and immersive music to the incredibly moving and poignant songwriting.

After spinning these tunes, spend the rest of the weekend with the Songs of February 2022 playlist, which is on SoundCloud and Spotify.

 

SASAMI – “Call Me Home” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Hand Habits, Angel Olsen, Weyes Blood

There is no use in trying to categorize SASAMI Ashworth’s artistry because she’s unpredictable. All we can do is enjoy the ride, fully experiencing every stop that the LA-based, multi-talented individual takes us. For instance, in the span of 8 minutes at the end of 2021, she took us to Eastern Europe’s metal scene and then the serene forests of Pickathon on “Skin a Rat” and “The Greatest”, respectively. The next destination was the land of industrial music with the heavy and assertive “To Say It”. She teases us further on “Call Me Home”.

“Sensational” was the first word out of our mouths when hearing the song. It’s operatic opening gave the indication that Ashworth was taking us to the theater, but she instead takes us to the planetarium or maybe this place is somewhere in the Milky Way. It is folk-rock taken to gorgeous, intergalactic levels, where its dreaminess intensifies with the rise of the synths and Ashworth’s vocal getting more dazzling with every lyric.

Beneath the sonic euphoria, however, lies another experience – a rocky uneasiness. “Settle in to life that you lied for a little while / Have a kid get a pretty wife / Get a real job and a fake smile”, she sings at the start. This place is all a facade, where “nothing is wrong but nothing is right” and the only person being hurt is oneself. While we, too, may feel such feelings, for a few minutes we get to escape with SASAMI.

Her new record, Squeeze, will be released February 25th on Domino Records. Pre-order it here. It is shaping up to be a stunner. And here’s hoping she’ll experience a similar breakthrough as her good friend Michelle Zauner – a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast.

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Lucy Dacus – “Kissing Lessons” (Richmond, VA USA)

RIYL: Faye Webster, Margaret Glaspy, Mitski

We say it almost every time she releases a song, but we can’t deny that Lucy Dacus is one of the great songwriters of this generation. Last year, Dacus released the memorable Home Videos, which was one of our Favorite Albums of the Year. Its deeply personal and emotion-packed songs were rooted in Dacus’ queerness. 

One song that didn’t make the cut for Home Videos is Dacus’ latest single “Kissing Lessons”. The song hits on some of the album’s themes, but it feels a bit more upbeat than the LP that produced “Thumbs”. It’s about young love, where Dacus sings about practicing kissing with a friend when she was in second grade. It’s also a perfect example of Dacus’ immersive storytelling, capturing moments in life that may have only lasted a short amount of time while creating a timeless sound with it. Even at just under two minutes, it’s a track that feels timeless. Its distorted guitar, energetic drums and short run-time make “Kissing Lessons” feel like a sort of nostalgic punk track in a way that only Lucy Dacus can manage. 

“Rachel’s family moved out of town
I don’t remember when we stopped hanging out
But I still wear a letter R charm on my bracelet
And wonder if she thinks of me as her first kiss”

The single is out on Matador Records and can be picked up directly on Bandcamp.

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illuminati hotties – “Sandwich Sharer” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Beach Bunny, Ratboys, Snail Mail

Last year, illuminati hotties released Let Me Do One More, which was a fun, endearing, and intelligent album. It basically was everything that we’ve come to expect from Sarah Tudzin and company, as they’ve been creating such music from Day 1. Their music is like our trusty, favorite pillow or blanket – always reliable and there when we need them. But like everything in our lives, it’s good to have a few options in the closet to fit our moods. And thus, Tudzin adds to the inventory with “sandwich sharer”.

On this amusing and buzzing pop-punk number that is made for vigorous bopping at a live show (the guitar work is great), Tudzin discusses what it’s like to be in a relationship. It’s not a love song in the traditional sense, but rather she documents the idiosyncrasies that make couple-hood work. From using tomato sauce to look like real blood in order to freak out her partner to describing a lunch outing, the song is humorous and immensely relatable.

“Sandwich sharer
Unprepared for
What comes after this
Take the big half
I will bite back
What you won’t finish
Until we’re finished”

The single is out on Tudzin’s own Snack Shack Records, and it is released in partnership with Hopeless Records. Pick up the tune on Bandcamp.

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “The Way It Shatters” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: Broncho, Phantastic Ferniture, Skegss

It wasn’t long ago that we were asking if Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever were the best band from Australia. They arguably are after releasing two outstanding albums in Sideways to New Italy and Hope Downs. They’ll seek to cement their status when Endless Rooms arrives in a few months. Well, we may not need to wait that long to confirm this because the LP’s lead single is a summation of the band’s brilliance.

“The Way It Shatters” is a jangly indie-rock ear-worm that will stick in your head for hours. Jingling guitars, bustling rhythms, and a very catchy and buzzing synth create the bopping groove. The song is made for long road trips or quick dashes around the neighborhood. It’s made to get us moving as well as realizing that some evils are necessary for us to survive. We just need to be aware of them so as to not lose everything.

“It’s desolation by rote
All around your home
If you were in the boat
Would you turn the other way?

Lost in a magazine town
It’s all falling up again
And in my head, I tell myself
It’s all just a necessary evil.”

Endless Rooms, though, won’t be a chore to listen to, but it should be one of the year’s great albums. It arrives May 6th on Sub Pop Records. Pre-orders are available here and directly on Bandcamp

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are: Tom Russo, Joe White, Fran Keaney, Joe Russo, and Marcel Tussie

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Many Voices Speak – “Seat for Sadness” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Land of Talk, Maple Glider, Cigarettes After Sex

Three years have passed since Matilda Mård released her debut album, Tank Town, as Many Voices Speak. It was a thing of marvelous beauty, intimacy, and vulnerability. With an approach that is so unforgettable, why change anything? Rather, Mård builds on her brittle dream-pop approach and actually makes it even more devastating. At least, that’s the case with “Seat for Sadness”.

Mård’s fleeting vocal floats effortlessly through the delayed guitar riff, the patient rhythms, and the fluttering synths. A longing fills every word, as she shares her story of loneliness and isolation. In this moment, her only friends are the quiet night, the distant pale moon, and the unbreakable boredom.

“It’s just a threat by night
And my fantasy knows no bounds
How long will it be out of sight
That’s how long that I will fumble in the light

Cause it’s always been around making echoes shorter
It’s always been around pointing at the corner
And days to come, days to come that I close in on, close in on”

Mård’s sophomore album, Gestures, will be released April 29th on Strangers Candy. It’s available for pre-orders here and on Bandcamp.

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Crush – “bckwards 36” (Manchester, England)

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Wolf Alice

Imagine it’s 1983 in Dublin, Ireland and out on to the stage walks four young university-aged individuals. They start performing, barely making contact with the eyes out in the audience but instead gazing at their pedals. From the speakers emerge spellbinding, crystalline guitars, taut rhythms, and restrained, floating vocals. In that moment, a legendary band was born. Others would follow My Bloody Valentine’s footsteps and make shoegaze one of the most influential genres in modern music history. It’s the genre that refuses to die because bands like Crush are simultaneously recapturing its magic while refining it for contemporary audiences. They are making it blissful, ethereal, yet urgent and vulnerable, which is what the young Manchester four-piece achieve on “bckwards 36”.

Reverb-drenched guitars collide with the heart-beating percussion and the hypnotic pulses of the bass, and together they create a gorgeous cloud of dreamgaze. The song floats in this calm space for a couple minutes, which allows front-woman Amber Warren to paint the scene of lonely, winter nights during another lockdown. Her voice is heavenly, and she sounds like she’s sitting next to us. Or we dream that she is. As Warren explains how her bodies is starting to waste away in these dark, solemn days, a wall of glorious noise forms. It’s shoegaze at its finest, where suddenly the air around us is exploding with a dazzling display of sonic fireworks. Through the exhibition, Warren desperately calls out:

“So weather beaten
A sunless walk again
Gets me out my head
The world has lost its mind
And we’re all just wasting time”

The UK has another band that one day could be legends, where everyone may know the names of Amber Warren (guitar & vocals), Arthur Boyd (guitar), Will Milton (bass), and Fotis Kalantzis (drums).

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DITZ – “I am Kate Moss” (Brighton, England)

RIYL: IDLES, The Murder Capital, Fontaines D.C.

While post-punk’s renaissance started some five years ago, bands that once were unknown are getting recognized by major media outlets. The question for many now is how to separate themselves from the trendsetters like Iceage, Protomartyr, IDLES, and Fontaines D.C. For DITZ, the answer is to think outside the box and infuse krautrock and EDM to create the equivalent of a dystopian world. It’s one thing to create dark, Gothic noise, and then there is creating harrowing uneasiness. This trait is why we listed Cal Francis (vocals), Anton Mocock (guitar), Jack Looker (guitar), Caleb Remnant (bass), and Sam Evans (drums) as Artists to Watch this year. The quartet show their teeth on “I am Kate Moss”.

Heavy, raw, and sinister is the Brighton-based outfit’s newest tune. The opening refrain is minimalist with a bouncing guitar line and lithe percussion providing the platform for Francis’ deadpan vocal. And yet, it all feels incredibly unnerving. “I’ve got a striking figure”, he repeats, assuming the identity of the famous model. Just before the instrumentation bursts into a calm detonation of bleak noise, he hollers, “And it cuts me back”. The words are brilliant to describe how the fashion industry and our society as a whole destroys people. For Moss, it was alcoholism, although she was associated with the “heroin chic” look of grossly underweight women with bloodshot eyes. Her experience is a microcosm of what ails humanity, and DITZ reminds us this still exists today. That even nearly 30 years later, we have not learned a thing. This is why DITZ is a band to watch for a very, very long time.

The band’s debut album, The Great Regression, which includes the propulsive “The Warden”, is due March 4th and will be released on Alcopop! Records. Pre-orders available here and on Bandcamp.

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The Districts – “No Blood” (Philadelphia via Lititz, PA, USA)

RIYL: Vacation Manor, Seafret, Hippo Campus

The Districts continue to do the unexpected. Long are the days when the trio were modernizing southern rock for younger generation’s ears. Now they’re as diverse as Broken Social Scene, where they seamlessly move from indie rock to alt-pop to art-rock to synth-pop or some combination of all of the above. As they prepare for the release of their fifth album (where has the time gone?), they’ve already showcased their diversity with the euphoric pop-rock of “I Want to Feel It All” and the synth-driven, alt-pop dazzler “Outlaw Love”. Now they blast an arena-size anthem with “No Blood”.

For exactly four minutes, the Pennsylvania trio unleash pure euphoria. The song jumps out of the speakers with the jittery rhythms and the dissonant, chiming guitar, and it reaches a memorable climax when the guitar is front and center. Front and center is Rob Grote’s voice. While The Districts’ sound has evolved, Grote’s engaging songwriting has not. He gets political in addressing the constant gun violence in the US. He does this not by getting preachy. On the contrary, he does it with great storytelling and how innocent individuals become victims of senseless violence. When Grote sings, “There’s no blood left in this town”, many of us can fully comprehend these seven words’ meaning. 

The Districts are: Rob Grote (vocals/guitar), Pat Cassidy (guitar), and Braden Lawrence (drums). Their new album has been moved to March 11th. Fat Possum Records will release it. Pre-orders can be found here.

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