On this Valentine’s Day, The Matinee ’22 v. 019 is dedicated to all the independent artists and bands with all the songs featured by those who reached out to us on SubmitHub. The music, as always, is stellar and diverse – not just in terms of genres but also country origins. Germany and the USA are represented twice, while the Netherlands, Portugal, England, Scotland, and Australia have one representative.
Mogli – “Aftermath” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: Elena Tonra, Ghostly Kisses, MARINA
About six months ago, Mogli welcomed a baby girl. Her artistic life was put on hold, which meant her concept album and film, Ravage, would be delayed. It was not, however, completely set aside. Anyone who has remotely followed the Berlin-based singer-songwriter and multi-talented artist’s career knows that she will find the time to make this project a reality. Plus, she’ll have something to share with her daughter when each of Ravage‘s ten songs and accompanying videos, which together form the entire film, are released. So far, Mogli has shared four episodes: “Echo”, “The Current”, “Ghost”, and “Bones”. Each song has been different, and number five is no different.
“Aftermath” is a plaintive piano-led tune, yet it is beautifully executed. Like Elena Tonra of Daughter, Mogli, which is the brainchild of Selima Taibi, turns vulnerability and uncertainty into a stunning encounter. Her delicate voice is striking in its quality while her words are jarring. As the song gently builds, she shares the final thoughts that enter her mind, as she prepares to leave. Whether she’s leaving a place she’s known all her life or even life itself is unknown. We’ll just have to wait for episode six to find out.
“Afraid of my deep hollow
And no time for the light in me
Afraid of my deep hollow
I’m calm but I talk like a waterfall
Taking more and more until I burst
And then I can’t live with the aftermath
GPU Panic – “Glimpse Of Me” (Lisbon, Portugal)
RIYL: Sleep Party People, North Downs, Atoms for Peace
Plenty of songs make the mind go numb just by the sheer magic that emanates from the instrumentation. Not often, however, does the artist describe the experience in detail. Usually, the tale is one of love, lost, or a journey to an unknown destination. Trying to articulate the sensations coursing through our veins and igniting our synapses is no easy task. This makes us wonder what Guilherme Tomé Ribeiro’s day job is because on “Glimpse Of Me”, he is part poet and part biological scientist.
Outside the office, laboratory, or wherever his main occupation is, Ribeiro moonlights as GPU Panic. Given the moniker, his primary job actually might be that of a software designer or electrical engineer, which then would make him more like Thomas Anderson from 9:00 to 17:00 and Neo from 18:00 to 6:00. Like the hero of The Matrix collection, Ribeiro attempts to distinguish reality from fiction. He does this within a mysterious yet hypnotic arrangement that could have been derived from the mind of Brian Batz (Sleep Party People) while his words are Thom Yorke-like in their abstract imagery.
“There’s blood rushing through our veins
And it’s burning
It sounds like sizzling water, let it run
There’s blood rushing though our veins
Let it run as fast as you can
Again and again”
Ribeiro’s new EP expected in April via Discotexas. Be prepared to take the red pill when it arrives.
Body Horror – “Cull the Culture” (London, England)
RIYL: The Birthday Party, The Horrors, Opus Kink
Halloween is still more than eight months away, but any day, including Valentine’s Day, is good to hear a bone-chilling and harrowing post-punk number, especially if it makes us confront “the beast” that lives within and around us. The band that delivers the knee-knocking, goose bump-inducing goods are the aptly named Body Horror, who cause love-stricken hearts to go into cardiac arrest with “Cull The Culture”.
Coming from the same dark places that have given us The Birthday Party and Opus Kink, the London-based quartet wade through the daily grime of London, New York, Tokyo, and all the capitalist metropolises who prioritize profit over well-being. Their inhabitants are no more than foot soldiers doing the dirty deeds of the elite. In the process, humanity is destroying itself, as we seek material riches that become more difficult to attain by the day. Our only hope is to “Cull the Culture”, which means destroying everything we have, including tearing down who we are.
Memes – “Second Thought” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Deeper, Sleaford Mods, Shame
From harrowing post-punk, we look towards cousins John and Paul McLinden and their project Memes to turbo-charge it. Yeah, not all post-punk has to be dark and trembling. It can still be entertaining without sacrificing the witty songwriting that has long been associated with the genre. So get ready to jump to your feet, recall all the times self-doubt trickled into your mind, and laugh as you spin “Second Thought”.
Bombastic and fun, the song is a 2.5-minute blast of bombastic energy. Fire-cracking guitars and wall-shaking drums fill every second of this awesome tune that has us bopping our heads, exuberantly jumping around, or doing a mosh with strangers (or our pets). The approach is perfect for us to forget about all the times we’ve second guessed ourselves. For the McLinden’s, they share all the times they had second thoughts about careers, marriage, and even who was their favorite knight of Camelot. And it’s all amusing yet we can completely relate.
“I thought this ticket would hit the jackpot
But now I’ve had a second thought
I’ll storm the walls of Camelot
But now I’ve had a second thought
My favourite knight was Lancelot
But now I’ve had a second thought
I once was grateful for what I’ve got
But now I’ve had a second thought”
One thing we don’t have a second thought about is that Memes would be great to see live. Well, maybe we actually need to see them first before drawing that conclusion.
Goon – “Fruiting Body” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Alex G, Pinback, Big Thief
It was only a couple of weeks ago when Goon swept us off our feet with the gentle, Sparklehorse-esque “Garden of Our Neighbor”. The song represented a change from a band who a few years ago delivered thoughtful and rollicking indie rock in the Kurt Vile mould. But like so many people around the world, these past two years have greatly changed us. Things we once ignored, we value even more. Beliefs we didn’t know we had, now make up a significant part of who we are. Friends and family that we thought we knew so well, we learned they were much different. It is in this state of self-reflection that we find front-man Kenny Becker in on “Fruiting Body”.
The song is based on the long walks Becker once took, during which he would contemplate what was and what is to come. As his band mates create a tranquil and serene melody that sounds perfect for a daydream if not even mild meditation, Becker shares various aspects of his jaunt. He describes seeing “worms in the leaf bed”, a “mint plant and cat friend”. The song, however, is filled with nostalgia, which is often our companion on solitude walks. During these moments of reflection, he becomes honest with himself.
“I found some pink glass / Buried under the deep end / Come near, find rest / When November admits it” is his way of admitting that he has long lived his life through rose-colored glasses. But on this autumn day, he confronts the truth. He confronts the realization that he’s not the same person he was two years ago or even yesterday.
Goon are: Andy Polito (drums), Dillon Peralta (guitar), Tamara Simons (bass), and Kenny Becker (vocals, guitar, synth, drums, composer, engineer). The band’s new EP, Paint by Numbers, Vol. 1, will be released February 25th on démodé recordings. Pre-orders available on Bandcamp.
RVBY MY DEAR – “Black Moon” (New York City, USA via Perth, Australia)
RIYL: Weyes Blood, Still Corners, Half Waif
Almost six years ago, RVBY MY DEAR introduced themselves to us with “Hidden Threads”. Since then, much has changed for the band. Once a quintet, RVBY MY DEAR now centers around Gabriella (“Gabbi”) Clara Coenen, who moved from her hometown of Perth, Australia to New York City, which explains why a few years have passed between 2019’s Waiting LP and her latest single. The wait, however, has been worth it with the release of “Black Moon”.
Coenen’s newest song is poetic cinema. Her lush voice gracefully floats through the stirring, piano-driven arrangement. The song is full of moments of calm drama as well as breathtaking dreaminess, reminiscent of Weyes Blood’s widescreen experiences. Like Natalie Mering, Coenen does not keep us comfortable for long. Just as we are about to settle into a state of suspended relaxation, subtle shifts in the melody add touches of darkness and uneasiness. The track wavers between these two emotions. Coenen’s terrific songwriting, which is more like a screenplay for a future Netflix show, heighten this feeling. Her tale of doom-scrolling during isolation is known to many, where we get lost in the lives of others at the expense of those closest to us.
“Forget living life, I’m killing time tonight
I’ll remain by the light of a black moon
Don’t speak to my eyes
Just listen to the cries outside”
Coenen is joined by Jorge Balbi (drums) and Andrew Lappin (producer, engineer, mixing, electric guitar, synth, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, programming, percussion). Maybe we’ll hear this song on the big or little screen one day.
Elenne May – “Uncomfortably New” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Kate Bush, Agnes Obel, Imogen Heap
It’s worth repeating that music’s future and present are female. Women are making the most creative music at this time, taking chances and delving into dark places that others fear to tread. In addition, they continue to challenge our perceptions as to what is appropriate and why we continue to hold up archaic, patriarchal structures. Kate Bush started to put cracks on these foundations over forty years ago, but the struggle continues. Thankfully, young artists like Elenne May have taken up the cause.
Born in Holland, raised in Australia, and now back in the Netherlands, May could be the next great European artist, following in the footsteps of the aforementioned Bush, Agnes Obel, Jenny Hval, and Imogen Heap. Her new single, “Uncomfortably New”, not only gets her closer to their status but it features elements their artistry.
The quiet intensity, the bubbling grit, and the tremendous climax, where the song slowly rages, is Bush at the zenith of her career. Obel and Hval can be heard in the varied, complex orchestration, where freak-folk and alt-pop merge together before being set aside for the grunge-rock. May’s voice, meanwhile, has the range of Heap, where it can be delicate in one moment and forceful the next. They all come together on this powerful song about ownership – or more precisely for May and everyone to reclaim who they are and what is theirs. Their bodies, their minds, and their souls are not for us. Or as May poignantly sings:
“This body, my body,
Is no product of society,
It has no duty to please,
No obligation to give.
Why give if everyone takes,
Why give if yearning never stops.
Don’t they know that this body is mine,
Don’t they know that this body longs to be in charge.”
Look out world, a powerhouse is coming in the form of Elenne May.
Skinny Dippers – “Wedding Ring” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: TOLEDO, Slow Pulp, The Shins
The greatest love songs are those that tell stories. This is our opinion anyway because revealing one’s heart and mind has been done for centuries. To describe a specific event, build drama, and make us feel we’re actually a part of the tale takes talent. When the story has an unexpected ending that leads to a devastating revelation, that elevates the musical experience. Yes we know today’s Valentine’s Day, but this does not mean all songs have to be cheesy and cheery. They can be heart-wrenching like Skinny Dippers‘ newest tune, “Wedding Ring”.
The project of Ryan Gross delivers an engrossing story that at first feels like the great romance ever told. Through a ’90s indie-rock approach reminiscent of The Shins and later mastered by TOLEDO (whose members Jordan Dunn-Pilz and Dan Alvarez perform on this song), he shares how he is in love with someone but cannot say the words. She is the woman of his dreams, and each day he realizes she’s the one. As the song builds and the melody changes from a breezy, summer-like dream-rock to grizzled and urgent, Gross reveals the moment when everything stopped if not ended.
“I thought of everything, except your wedding ring
It’s hard to notice what you can’t comprehend
In spite of everything, find out it’s just a fling
I got my hopes up now I’m let down again
And I remember in the morning as the sun poured in
As we’re awaking lying naked in our summer skin
My heart is racing it’s the start of something happening
I didn’t notice on your hand you wore that silver ring”
Now that’s an ending. Skinny Dippers’ debut album, The Town & The City, is expected this summer.
Digital Carbs – “Maniac” (Munich, Germany)
RIYL: The Libertines, Sundara Karma, The Killers
We end on a high note because it’s Monday and we all could use a shot of adrenaline. We could use a searing rocker that gets us out off our keisters and moving, which Johannes Rest – a.k.a. Digital Carbs – delivers and then some with “Maniac”.
The song surges with the energy and electricity of The Libertines or The Killers in their prime, and it never relents. Full-throttle guitars and propulsive rhythms drive the song for more than five minutes (which must be exhausting). Rest’s booming voice bursts at the start and later in the track while in between he allows the onslaught of turbulent noise do the storytelling duties. Specifically, Rest drew inspiration from a 2017 documentary called, City of the Sun, which chronicled life in the nearly-abandoned Georgian (the country) city of Chiatura. Rest assumes the identify of one of the town’s citizens, and he describes the incessant battle to get out of this forever gray place. As the instrumentation rains down around him, he shares:
“Flash of light
Flesh of mine
Someone is always there
Making sure everyone holds back their tears
Have my back
Swallow me whole
Give me birth
Feed me the Earth
Watch me grow in the mirror”
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