The second half of our doubleheader of new music – a.k.a. The Matinee ’22 v. 031 – focuses on artists and bands from Australia and the US. There is a mix of recognizable stars and newcomers, all of whom dazzle with their exquisite melodies and fabulous songwriting.

For part one of today’s new music selection, which features European musicians, click here. All 18 of today’s featured tunes are included on the Songs of March 2022 playlist, which can be found on SoundCloud and Spotify.


Kurt Vile – “Hey Like A Child” (Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL: Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile has a trademark sound that never grows old. On the contrary, when the reverb-drenched, twangy notes are heard at the start of his songs, as they were on his previous single, “Like Exploding Stones”, and showcased on “Hey Like A Child”, we smile. We widely grin because this is the sound of one of the great artists of our time and it also reminds us of better days. Vile’s songwriting, too, guides us to the unforgettable and often life-defining moments.

On this track, he delivers a wonderful ode to his daughter. Even if we do not have children, we can apply the lyrics to someone who has brightened our lives. “Gleamin’ in the sun you’re the one, you’re the one, you’re the one / Hey like a child you walked into my life / Hey like a mild high I’m feelin’ fine”, he sings at the start. Then he recounts his daughter’s innocence, who reaches up to the sky to try to grab the sun and whose smile is like a ray of sunshine. Not even Vile can believe she is of his blood.

In a dream I drew my blueprint
And it was you on every page that I drew there”

Whoever created the blueprint for Vile, though, must have thrown it away because there is no one else like him.

Vile’s new album, (watch my moves), will be released on April 15th via Verve Records. Pre-order it here.

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James Mantis – “SUCKAPUNCH” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Genesis Owusu, Binki, Bloc Party

If you haven’t been paying attention, a great dynamic is happening in indie music – the industry is diversifying. Up until around 2010, the majority of bands and artists were white men. Today, some of the most celebrated musicians have Korean (Japanese Breakfast), Japanese (Mitski, SASAMI), and Filipino (Jay Som) ancestry. In addition, artists with African roots are becoming staples of Award shows, on radio stations like KEXP and NPR, and on festival posters. In Australia, Genesis Owusu won four ARIAs, including album of the year. Binki and Blvck Hippie are two of the industry’s biggest risers. And soon to join them is James Mantis.

The LA-based artist has an EP, Jab Step Pop, to his credit, and it showcased Mantis’ potential to emerge as a future Pitchfork Festival headliner. Getting him closer to that feat is “SUCKAPUNCH”, which is an explosive pop-rock anthem. With the energy that explodes from Mantis’ soaring vocal, the over-driven guitar riff, and the stuttering rhythms, the song sounds much longer than its 147 seconds. It feels more like a ten-minute banger – or at least we want it to be that long so that we can dance to its euphoric jubilation. We also want to feel the energy from Mantis’ positive message, where he encourages people to not succumb to the rage and malice that boil under our skin. Instead, he encourages us to put our head down, move forward, and let our work speak for itself. Or in Mantis’ case, he’s going to let his music do all the talking because he “on the up and up”, and people will know his name sooner than later.

Mantis is an artist to watch and a star in the making.

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Tanners – “10,000 Dominos (My Best Friend’s Breakup Song)” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Cannons, Cults, Caroline Polachek

Back in 2018 when Tanner Peterson introduced the world to her project, Tanners, her brilliant reinterpretation of ’80s synth-pop landed her on our Favorite Hidden Gems list. After releasing a few more singles afterwards, the model-turned-singer-songwriter took a little hiatus, like most of us. When a person has a good thing going, though, they eventually come back to it, and on Friday Tanners released her first song in two years. As one would expect, it is a perfect slice of nostalgia.

Sit alongside with your bestie and dance together to “10,000 Dominos (My Best Friend’s Breakup Song)”. Sway to the smooth pop melodies that encircle Peterson’s saccharine voice and, with her lyrics providing guidance, get pass the aches that pierce your heart. Let Tanners be your BFF on this occasion, as she reminds us that there is still a love and a bound that still remain unbreakable. That person is sitting next to you, and you can sing together:

“With just a single strike of a match you burn down all your bridges
I did my best to stop in the world and all my jagged edges
‘Cause I’ve been counting on you
To confuse
Cruelty and loving me
Back down on my knees
Let me go so I can stop counting on you”

Welcome back Tanners!

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Laveda – “bb” (Albany, NY, USA)

RIYL: Wolf Alice, My Bloody Valentine, Hater

Two years ago, a duo grabbed our attention with “Rager” and “Ghost”. Those two singles would find a home on Laveda‘s fantastic record, What Happens After. It was a record that had dreamy and haunting qualities, and a whole lot of creativity that put the duo of Ali Genevich and Jake Brooks among the best in the current wave of shoegaze revival.

With “bb”, Laveda add even more depth to their sound. “bb” starts out like a dream, droning guitar chords and a faded, reverbed voice welcomes listeners before it all kicks into gear. When it does, it’s dense, loud guitars and heavy hitting drums. It all gives way for some beautiful moments, but that chaos keeps churning underneath, ready to explode in the song’s later moments. When it all comes back, Genevich’s voice struggles to overcome the wall of sound before it all just vanishes. 

“In the basement
And I’m never coming out
Fucking wasted
For what’s done while in the dark
Think you’re so smart
Look at the way things are
Buy the shit that only gives you comfort”

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Sahara Beck – “Stillness” (Brisbane, Australia)

RIYL: SASAMI, Suki Waterhouse, Jaguar Jonze

Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, there was a short period of time where rock songs possessed a dark, theatrical quality. We are not referring to Meatloaf-like extravaganzas, but much more subdued tunes. Beneath the quietly sneering fireworks, a dreamy, smoky layer resided underneath. These tunes, as such, equally belonged in a dungy venue as they did on the stage of a grand concert hall. They were dramatic, suspenseful, and cathartic, and Australian singer-songwriter Sahara Beck captures this era on “Stillness”.

The juxtaposition between the over-driven guitar, the humming synths, and the patient drumming with Beck’s soft and stunning vocal is brilliantly executed. It sounds like the most beautiful, haunting mystery created, where we feel like we’re skipping on clouds in one moment and then digging ourselves out of the ground the next. These conflicting feelings are echoed in Beck’s lyrics, who lushly hollers to get out of the “Stillness”. She seeks to free herself from her personal prison.

“Just breathe for a minute
Remember you’re in it
Stuck in the silence
It feels nice

It’s just for a minute
I’m stuck in my head and
I don’t wanna stop it the stillness is nice”


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Palm Friends – “Domino” (Minneapolis, USA)

RIYL: Why Bonnie, Palehound, Womb

Palm Friends‘ 2019 EP Nice Weather was a wonderful combination of jangly guitar rock and good vibes. Since then, they’ve been working on their next EP, The Delivery, and shared “Hidden Perks” earlier this year. It marked a shift towards Shawnna Stennes’ vocals while adding an illuminating quality to Palm Friends’ sound.

With “Domino”, Palm Friends once again add more layers to their approach. A delicate almost tranquil pace is set by the dabbling percussion and the lithe jangles of the lead guitar. Stennes’ voice is graceful, as she calmly sings about discovering who she is and where she belongs. The song then shifts, as the arrangement intensifies. Each band member adds to the surging dynamic – the precision pacing of Jon Lindquist’s drumming, the great guitar work of Jesse Pedersen, and the underlying bass of Will Bunton. Along with Stennes’ terrific songwriting, all the elements come together in a striking package that makes their upcoming EP something to keep an eye on.

“Where I belong
I love to be wrong
I swear
It gets me everywhere
Sure I’ll let it in
And roll it around on my lips
And then I’ll pick
I smell the fire and I’m holding seeds in both hands
Don’t wanna lay in my echoes that’s not getting me anywhere
So cuddle baby what you’ve won
When the day is done
What a choice companion”

The Delivery, will be released March 25th via Forged Artifacts. Get it on Bandcamp.

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Alex the Astronaut – “Octopus” (Sydney, Australia)

RIYL: Alex Lahey, Jack River, Ali Barter

Alex Lynn is a person we adore. We admire her for her determination, as she went across the world to study in New York City. We admire her many talents. Not only is she a great singer-songwriter, but she’s an excellent footballer (or soccer player), an entrepreneur, and a social activist. We admire her for being true to herself, teaching us that self-love is vital to a happy life. And finally, we admire her for her optimism, where she finds positivity in pretty much everything. Through her music as Alex The Astronaut, she continuously shares uplifting messages, like reconnecting with loved ones on “Airport”. On “Octopus”, she shares her reactions and living with her recent diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In Lynn’s usual fashion, she does not focus on the negatives. Instead, she shares the challenges she experiences, many of which she never realizes are even happening because this is her reality. With an upbeat, toe-tapping pop melody, she shares:

“When I’m walking through the day
I’ve learnt the right thing to say
But at the supermarket today
I forgot the right things to say”

But like an octopus, she transforms herself and adapts to her environment. There are still days where not everything is crystal clear, but Lynn leans on others. At the same time, she asks us to understand that she, too, sees things we do not, and we can, therefore, learn from each other. 

When you pass an octopus a little shell
Across the line of life they take it from your hand
Put it in their home and can you tell from how I speak?
It made me sad to think that at the supermarket
someone might not cross the line to understand me
I think I’m like an octopus sometimes
Trying so hard to fit in
I forgot that I have something I could give”

Lynn has plenty to offer, and we’ll get to hear more of her stories soon when How to Grow A Sunflower Underwater is released on July 22nd. Nettwerk Music Group as usual has the honors.

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Le Pain – “Is That How You Want Me To Feel?” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: MIYNT, Crumb, Alvvays

When we were introduced to LA-based super-group Le Pain, who shared the super-smooth and groovy “Troisième Groupe”, we not-so-quietly hoped that its four members, which perform in Yucky Duster and Public Practice, would unveil a slew of songs. Their French-inspired, nostalgic pop was fresh, inviting, and felt like spring. With old man winter still blasting cold weather in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, we sure could use something that warms us up and puts a smile on our face. Lo and behold, sisters Madeline and Olivia Babuka Black, multi-instrumentalist Scott Rosenthal, and bassist Alan Everhart deliver on all accounts with “Is That How You Want Me To Feel?”

Just like when our first impression, Le Pain’s latest single is the perfect slice of ’60s psych-pop. It is delightfully catchy and sweet on the ears with the jangly guitars and the fluttering percussion. The Blacks’ harmonies are lovingly tender, where we could hear them sing all day and never tire. Despite the endearing quality of the song, the band tell a tale of betrayal, although one with a twist. We’re not sure if this is an actual experience or a story they’ve written as the pilot for a future comedy series.

“If you wanted it so bad so bad
Why did I catch you with another man
Is that what you’re used to
You picked up and moved far away
Even took the cat I thought you wanted to stay
I guess that’s what you’re used”

Funny and amusing. The single is out on Lucky Buckeye Records. Here’s hoping an album is coming.



Sister Ray – “Visions” (Toronto via Edmonton, Canada)

RIYL: Ada Lea, Squirrel Flower, Maple Glider

Edmonton-born Métis singer-songwriter Ella Coyes, who goes by the moniker Sister Ray, shared “Crucified” earlier this year. It took three years to bring to life, but it was well worth the wait. “Crucified” was one of the strongest debut singles we’ve ever heard, which illustrates just how exceptional the song is.

Sister Ray has followed that track up with yet another stunner, “Visions”. On the single, Sister Ray add more depth to their sound with pristine guitar work and perfect layers of drums and harmonies on top of that. It is dreamy yet urgent, gritty yet intimate. Coyes’ lyrics don’t pull any punches either, right from the song’s first lines.

“Who did you really love
in the basement getting fucked up
Who cares now?
We’re moving out
selling the couch
split the money then I’ll split town
You can take the christmas tree
all I want is the joint you owe me and the bedsheets
I want to sleep comfortably”

The lyrical content and the immersive sound achieved on “Visions” is indicative of an artist who’s not afraid to create the art they want. It’s all intentional, and it’s not shying away from these things to be more accessible. And, it’s actually way more compelling because of it.

Coyes’ debut album, Communion, will be released May 22nd on Royal Mountain Records. Pre-orders available at these links and on Bandcamp.

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