The Matinee ’22 v. 023 is another celebration of us with each of the eight songs featured addressing who we are, where we want to be, or for what we stand. The talent on display is, as usual, off the charts.

And more outstanding talent can be heard on the Songs of February 2022 playlist, which is available on SoundCloud and Spotify.

 

Bodega – “Statuette on the Console” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Illuminati Hotties, The Go Gos, Parquet Courts

Some songs we intentionally leave until after the weekend because they do two things. First, they provide the pick-me-up most of us need to get going on a Monday. Second, they help us rationalize any guilt we may have for what we did or did not do on the weekend, like skipping church or generally being agnostic. Bodega‘s latest number, “Statuette On The Console”, does both, making us boogie out of the door while also aiding us to look forward and forget what (didn’t) happened yesterday.

Sounding like The Go Gos playing with a very young Parquet Courts, the track is 133 seconds of non-stop, adrenaline-inducing pop-rock. It’s the song that gets everyone in the bar dancing, gleefully bouncing around, raising their arms, and then laughing by the end of it. A greater sense of liberation is felt in Nikki Belfiglio’s lyrics. Using the image of a religious figure that often adorns the dashboard of many vehicles in the US, she explains that her life has been perfectly fine without having to attend Saturday or Sunday services. Meanwhile, religion isn’t without its indiscretions.

“I never was born with God.
Never had a need to rape or pillage.
When I live on this earth and try no hurt more than necessary.

Oh I know, I’ll never know who’s fantasy I’ll be apart.
But God don’t be confused you ain’t getting any part of my attitude, You’re just a,
Statuette on the console Statuette on the console, Oh”

Preach on Nikki, who recorded the song in nine different languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Ukrainian. Like holy Batman!

Bodega are Ben Hozie (vocals, guitar), Nikki Belfiglio (vocals), Adam See (bass), Tai Lee (percussion), and Madison Velding-VanDam (guitar). Their new album, Broken Equipment, will be released March 11, 2021 via What’s Your Rupture? Records. Pre-orders available here and directly on Bandcamp. Get the multilingual version of “Statuette on the Console” here.

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White Lies – “Blue Drift” (London, England)

RIYL: Kaspian, Glasvegas, Foals

As Harry McVeigh (lead vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, backing vocals), and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) approach the 15th anniversary since their formation as White Lies, they can look back on their six albums, including their latest As I Try Not To Fall Apart, with pride. They have not strayed far from the anthemic pop-rock of their debut, To Lose My Life, nor the themes of struggle, perseverance, and redemption that characterize their songs. And unlike some of their contemporaries, the London-based trio have remained true to who they are instead of delving into the real of formulaic mainstream pop. They may not replicate the success of their first LP, which debuted at #1 in the UK, but White Lies have aged like a fine wine if you ask us. “Blue Drift”, taken from As I Try Not Fall Apart, is the evidence all one needs.

“Blue Drift” is a soaring electro-rocker made for the grand spaces of the O2 Arena and even Wembley Stadium. Over-driven guitars, sparkling synths, and a terrific, rolling drum line create the booming soundscape that at first is euphoric and then eases into a solemn dream at the bridge. It then takes off again with the instrumentation rising and McVeigh’s voice ascending above it. Like many of White Lies’ past songs, he tackles the inner demons and unresolved thoughts that occupy his soul and mind. He lets us know that he, too, suffers daily, and maybe we can find some solace knowing someone out there shares our anxiety.

“I’m in a house built for the dead, trying to find a window
Once hidden songs weigh down my head
Their tunes all regrets of old heroes

So sick of my wonder…

I’m on my back
And the dark is feeding

Blue drift is taking me home…”

You can take home  As I Try Not to Fall Apart via these links. It is out everywhere via PIAS Recordings.

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MIYNT – “Of the Sun” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Still Corners, Molly Burch, Tame Impala

There simply are no limits to MIYNT‘s art. The Swedish singer-songwriter has long extended herself during her seven years in the industry, rarely idling within a specific genre for too long. Her sweet spot, though, is psychedelic pop, where her saccharine voice can be accentuated by hazy, dizzying layers. But what if her vocal was framed around a shimmering, disco-infused, desert-psych arrangement, like something that Still Corners could create if Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) was the producer? The question is answered on “Of the Sun”.

If this was 1980, this song would be gold – that is MIYNT would earn a gold record and asked to perform it on Solid Gold. With its smooth and sultry tones and neo-psychedelic textures, “Of the Sun” would be equally ideal for a long road trip as it is for the dance floors of Club 57. We can be lost in a daydream or slowly dancing to this sweet number, and MIYNT herself is doing both. Her words are introspective, as she contemplates her next steps in life and whether she will ever meet her soul mate. But whatever path she decides to take and who she meets on the way, one thing we do know is that her journey will continue with unexpected results. She is, after all, wonderfully unpredictable, and that’s why she’s a favorite in these parts.

The single is out now via B3SCI Records

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Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys – “Amsterdam” (Berlin, Germany via Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa)

RIYL: Emma Ruth Rundle, Laura Carbone, Chelsea Wolfe

Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys‘ music is characterized by a beautiful pensiveness. It is brooding and stark, yet like Emma Ruth Rundle and Chelsea Wolfe they are able to turn melancholy until a powerfully gripping experience. This was evidenced on Transit Tapes (for women who move furniture around). The quartet, however, had more stories to share, specifically a prequel to their outstanding 2021 album. They hinted at what is to come with the stark and mesmerizing “Play”, which they shared late last year, and again with “Amsterdam”.

A stunning gloominess abounds across the track. A withdrawn guitar lingers in the foreground while another quietly sizzles in the background. Kruger’s gentle almost stoic vocal, meanwhile, streams between the two. She describes a night in the Netherlands capital city that at first seems innocent but then turns into tragedy. “You lose the thing that you love / I don’t want the sun to split up the night / You are all of the light that I want to see”, Kruger fleetingly sings. The song then turns, as the guitars rise and a wonderful wall of Gothic intensity forms. This number is simply a cinematic marvel and an example of why this little band from Berlin deserves more attention.

In addition to Kruger (vocals, guitar), the band includes Liú Mottes (guitar), Andreas Miranda (bass), and Martin Perret (drums, percussion and electronic production). Their new album, Teen Tapes (for performing your own stunts), will be released on June 4th via German Unique Records and Polish Schubert Music Europe. Get it on Bandcamp.

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System Exclusive – “Game Of The Fool” (Pasedena, CA, USA)

RIYL: My Baby + Peter Bjorn and John + Kraftwerk

“Patience is a virtue” is a proverb we’ve all heard. It often equates to our over-eagerness for results and things to happen immediately and quickly. More often than not, however, if we wait a little longer the outcome is more rewarding. If this proverb is applied to “Game Of The Fool”, the new single from Castle Face Records’ newest roster addition, System Exclusive, those who wait will be richly rewarded.

The first 38 seconds is mostly white noise before a sweeping layer akin to an airplane gliding at 35,000 feet is heard. Another 30 seconds or so pass before the track picks up, as krautrock synths, a tingling guitar riff, and quick percussion arrive. Suddenly, this unassuming glide has turned into a super-sonic flight. It sounds like a mix of My Baby’s voodoo psychedelia and Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks”, and it’s awesome. During this part of the journey, Ari Blaisdell’s voice emerges along the combusting instrumentation. She sings about how we’ve all become parts of the greater machine. She encourages us to “give up” all the things we’ve accumulated and to set ourselves free. For about four minutes, we do that with this great musical nugget.

System Exclusive are Ari Blaisdell and Matt Jones. Their self-titled, debut album is out March 4, 2022 via Castle Face Records. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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Colatura – “Scars” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Belle Mare, Wilsen, French for Rabbits

When Colatura shared “We Run on Empty” in November 2021, we wondered out loud if they could be the next Mazzy Star because their dream-pop is beyond heavenly. It is pure escapism. Colatura, however, do not rely just on breathtaking soundscapes to take listeners on a little jaunt away from reality, but they also accomplish this with melodies that have the same effect of a cool ocean breeze on a hot day. This is the feeling one gets with “Scars”.

The opening notes of the New York-based trio’s newest single ring with surprising urgency, but this is merely just the curtain lifting just as the spotlights descend on the members. A gentle, windswept tempo then emerges, highlighted by the dashing keys and front-woman Jennica Best’s angelic vocals. “Scars” occasionally is interrupted by a wave of colliding noise, but in the end it is blissful and stunning as the guitars turn gauzy and Best’s voice reaches another level of dreaminess. While we escape to the coast, Best remains stuck in a memory, which is filled with heartbreak, loneliness, and a touch or vindictiveness. Someday you will have scars that match my heart”, she repeats at the end. While her words intend to do harm to the one who hurt her, we gladly accept the scars that Colatura have left on us.

Colatura include Jennica Best (vocals, bass, synth), Meredith Lampe (vocals, guitar, synth), and Digo Best (guitar) with Alex Kirkpatrick (drums). Their debut album, And Then I’ll Be Happy, will be out April 22nd.

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No Suits in Miami – “Over and Over” (Lund, Sweden)

RIYL: Fazerdaze, Alvvays, A Sunny Day in Glasgow

With singles, “What We Have”, “Make You See”, and “The Robins Song”, we have come to depend on No Suits in Miami to be the ones to part the skies and offer warmth and radiance with their sun-kissed dream-pop. They have a knack like Alvvays, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, and Fazerdaze to make everything seem to be all right even on the greyest of days or if the world seems to be tearing at the seams. The Swedish outfit, too, find solace in their own music because like everyone else they could use a pick-me-up on occasion. With “Over and Over”, they search for some beauty and color in today’s dreary world.

Lovers of jangly dream-pop are in for a treat. The jangly guitars sound like they are reverberating off the walls, as they ring and chime with the classic smile-inducing. The plucky bass line and the pattering drums offer the rhythmic toe-taps that have long defined the genre. Michelle Dzgoeva’s vocal, meanwhile, is lush and breezy, and it feels like the cool wind coming off the North Sea on blustery day. Her story is based on what seems to be a never-ending winter, and all she wishes for a reprieve from the cold, snow, and isolation. She wishes to be able to feel free of her confines again, which is a message we all can relate to after two very long years.

For fans of Michelle Dzgoeva, Olle Oscarsson, Hannes “Hasse” Ponzlid, and Erik Lange, you won’t have to wait that long for No Suits in Miami’s debut album. Nothing Ever Happens drops March 25th with pre-orders at Bandcamp.

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Cosmic Crooner – “Reflexopolis” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

RIYL: Alex Cameron, The Lemon Twigs, Father John Misty

Many of the great band names and monikers are nonsensical, but they are clever and creative. Then there are the few aliases that are smart yet perfectly describe the artist’s music. So when imagining what Joep Meyer’s pseudonym, Cosmic Crooner, could sound like, don’t put too much effort into it. The young Dutchman is a crooner. Now, he’s not in the category of Michael Bublé, James Blunt, or Frank Sinatra, but rather he’s part of a new generation of “crooners”. These individuals – Alex Cameron, Dan Bejar, Joshua Tillman to name three – are putting a splash of old-school cinema and off-Broadway theater into folk, pop, and rock. Meyer is, likewise, doing the same as he demonstrates on “Reflexopolis”.

Seventies psychedelic tones swirl with the light piano arrangement and tapping drums on this delicate crooner-like arrangement, which includes a very classic, sparkling guitar solo at the end. Like most crooners, however, one listens not just for the feel-good, breezy melodies but also for the stories they tell. While the more traditional crooners tell the usual love story, Meyer puts it on its head, adds humor and irony to his introspective approach. His story sounds like the sequel to Father John Misty’s iconic “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Kiss”, as he tries to separate his wishful feelings from reality. Meyer’s songwriting is, well, creative.

“Getting caught in a dream
Two missed calls from the hot-line suspense comedy
Yesterday’s apocalypstick
Got reviewed today

Let’s built a wall of trust
And watch classics on that same wall
Eyes wide shut
And stop worrying at all
About the bomb
It’s all clear now
That my songs maybe slow
But my love will grow”

The song is out on LAB Music. Could an EP or album be coming?

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