We’re kicking off the week with a doubleheader, and The Matinee ’22 v. 041 is dedicated to European artists who startle, rage, and enthrall. This mini-playlist commences with the return of one of indie’s quietest superstars.

The second part of today’s new music selection, which is focused on artists from the US and New Zealand, can be found here. All the songs we’ve been digging this month are available, as usual, on The Songs of March 2022 playlist. Head to SoundCloud and Spotify to spin it. 


Lykke Li – “No Hotel” (Ystad, Sweden)

RIYL: Lykke Li

Just as we had hoped at the beginning year, the great Lykke Li will be releasing a new album this year. Her fifth LP, EYEYE, will arrive on May 20th via PIAS and Crush Music, and late last week she gave a taste of what is to come. 

Li unabashedly proclaims she writes love songs, but she does it in a way few do – with raw emotion and great songwriting where her words paint the scene of a grand story. On “No Hotel Room”, she adopts a minimalist approach. A single, mournful electric guitar is the only instrument supporting Li, whose voice is tender, intimate, and full of pain. The approach allows us to feel like we’re sitting next to her on the bed of a lonely hotel room. There Li reveals the anguish in her heart, where she loves someone who does not feel the same.

“There’s no hotel
No cigarettes
And you’re still in love
With someone else

It’s cracking dawn
Street soaking wet
I’m on your doorstep
I’m not losing yet

Cause in the back of my mind
I’m in the back of your car
So now baby rewind
Take me back”

Well, we will openly take Li back, and we only have eight weeks to wait to full embrace her.

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HVOB – “The Lack of You” (Vienna, Austria)

RIYL: Purity Ring, Electric Youth, Odesza

On the first three singles of their upcoming album, HVOB displayed their cinematic side, sending us to the far reaches of space, out of our bodies, and through a glorified cinematic journey on “Eyes Alive”, “Bruise”, and “A Piece of Me”. These songs showcased that in the right hands electronic music can be more than just made for dance floors. Then again, Anna Müller and Paul Wallner are no ordinary duo, who apply their classical music training to make their songs fit any venue. This includes an intergalactic night club, which is where they take us on “The Lack of You”.

Whereas some groups will amp up the production and effects, HVOB keep them restrained. Their focus is not to overwhelm listeners with beats and electronics but to take us to places. To take us to places that we can only envision in our minds and dreams and feel free. As Wallner’s exquisite production work swirls in the background, Müller lavishly captures the moment.

“Our bodies crave what they once had
They will forget
Cannot cope with the hope
Of yellow lights lost white nights

I don‘t think I am in won‘t wait for you
The lack of you
Our bodies will forget
When w
e keep distance”

More moments will arrive on April 8th, which is when HVOB’s new album, TOO, will be released.  It can be pre-ordered here.

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Jane Weaver – “Oblique Fantasy” (Liverpool, England)

RIYL: Still Corners, Cat Power, The Mynabirds

Don’t tell Jane Weaver that she should be slowing down since she recently turned 50. For that matter, ignore her age entirely because she is only improving with age. Unlike many artists half her age, she refuses to play by the rules let along to do it safely. The American-born, Liverpool-based artist is a chameleon, much in the same way that Cat Power and St. Vincent are. While she has yet to achieve mass popularity, she’s a favorite of the indie community and record labels on both sides of the Pond. As evidence, the highly-respected and one of the extraordinary producers on the planet, Dan Carey, asked Weaver to do the honors in being the 40th installment of his label’s, Speedy Wunderground, most excellent singles series. And thus, “Oblique Fantasy” was born.

This tune was made for late-night drives. It is smooth and suspenseful, groovy and hypnotic. Sparks flickering from the dissonant guitar while beats and rhythms percolate on top of the surface. Together they steal away our attention from the road, making us thing of where we were and what we may be forgetting. Weaver’s voice, meanwhile, hovers like a phantasm, haunting our minds with words like, “I will get under your skin / You can do what you want (this time) / You can do what you want (this time) / Lost seasons of good vibrations”. What do we want? What do we desire? We can have it all in this spectacular place where every fantasy, even the most oblique, can be fulfilled. Or at least it can be in our minds with this sumptuous single.

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CIEL – “Fine Everything” (Brighton, England via Netherlands)

RIYL: Garbage, Elastica, Black Honey

In their first five years as band, Ciel [pronunciation: sjɛl], which means “sky” in French, created stunning yet gritty dream-pop, as witnessed on “Awake” and “Never Alone Again”. They were on track to possibly be the next The Jesus and Mary Chain. Well, those days are in the rear-view mirror – well at least temporarily anyway. Now Michelle Hindriks (guitar), Jorge Bela Jimenez (guitar, synthesizer, bass), and Tim Spencer (drums) delve into blistering grunge-pop, unleashing an awesome, seismic number in “Fine Everything”.

Good luck trying to get this song out of your head today, tomorrow, and all week because this buzzsaw is more than just an ear-worm. It is the anthem that will guide us on our march to liberation. It will lead us in a direction that allows us to chase after what we long desire. The rumbling rhythms and the searing guitar illuminate the path, but Hindriks’ voice motivates us to listen the voice in the back of our head and live our lives to the fullest. She wants us to ignore the people who tell us to not follow our guts because they don’t have our best interests at heart. They are only concerned about their own. So screw those who tell us everything is fine.

Ciel’s new EP expected later this year. If this is the direction that the trio is headed, the mini-album should be awesome.

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Dead Pony – “Bullet Farm” (Glasgow, Scotland)

RIYL: Wolf Alice, The Mysterines, The Joy Formidable

And speaking of bands that bring out our rebellious nature, Dead Pony are as reliable as they come. The Glaswegians, however, change up their sound on their latest number. Instead of the fiery post-punk we’ve come accustomed to hearing, they turn their sights to the south and the anthemic Brit-rock that bands like Wolf Alice, The Mysterines, and The Joy Formidable have escalated and elevated. So get ready to jump, dance, and lose your marbles while spinning “Bullet Farm”.

The song is like a five-alarm fire. Literally, it starts with a booming fire alarm, signalling to us that Anna Shields (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Liam Adams (bass), and Aidan McAllister (drums) are about to set our minds aflame. Shortly thereafter, wall-rattling rhythms and feverish guitar riffs explode around us and Shields’ voice. She channels her inner Shirley Manson, faces her detractors, and says, “You call me crazy but I really know what I’m like”. Then she tells them that, “You better get another face because you look like Dracula”, essentially calling them bloodsuckers that suck the life out of us. Dead Pony, though, do the opposite – they fill our souls with life. With our lives.

The single is out on LAB Records. Could a new album be coming? We’ll find out soon.

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Boy With Apple – “Brighter Than the Sun” (Gothenburg, Sweden)

RIYL: Slowdive, Blushing, Makthaverskan

Is it 1991 again? It sure seems like it whenever Boy With Apple enter the room. The Swedish trio’s ability to capture the essence of shoegaze made them a Favorite Hidden Gem in 2021, and they’ve cemented their place in our hearts after sharing “Linger On” a month ago. Just when we think they surely could not make shoegaze extraordinary, they pull a rabbit out of their hat and have us in absolute awe with their latest single.

“Brighter Than the Sun” is pure magic. Saga Fransson, Zara Henriksson, and Tim Hedlund have concocted a spellbinding number that would have been a radio hit thirty years ago. Today, the song is one that will be treasured by shoegaze fans, whose bodies will go limp to the wonderfully gauzy guitars, the head-swaying rhythms, and Fransson’s distant yet embracing voice. When she calls on us to “Come take my hand”, we do so without delay because in this moment we all “feel happy”. Our souls levitate even more when she reminds us how friendship can get us through the bleakest of times.

“You’re brighter than the sun is to me
Everything reminds me of you
Hold me
’til I forget who i am
You show me
How to forgive my self”

The single is out on VÅRØ Records. We’re still patiently waiting for word on when the band’s debut album or EP will be released. It surely has to be coming, right?

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Klangstof – “A Comforting Release” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

RIYL: Son Lux, Zola Blood, The xx

Earlier in the month, one of the most underrated electronic bands released a terrific EP. Klangstof‘s Over View, is a sublime, moody compilation of darktonica, which takes listeners through multiple dimensions. It’s essentially the perfect evening companion, as you sit in your favorite chair with a drink in hand and watching dusk fade in the distance. The one song from the mini-album that encapsulates this feeling is the ultimate track, “A Comforting Release”.

A solemn tone opens this stunning number, as a lightly strummed guitar and the occasional keys are heard. Koen van de Wardt’s somber vocal emerges, and he shares his current situation. “Mind the false hopes / Still not sure how I lost it all / March on to unknowns / Solitude is my only home”, he sings with the tone of a man who has come to terms with his fate.

Slowly the synths rise, the percussion enters the fray, and the guitar takes on a sublime, dissonant tone. This represents van de Wardt’s fall further and further down the rabbit hole. Down the endless spiraling of eternal suffering

“How long should I keep it silent
I found comfort in losing touch
Cold hearts never break as violent
Despite of you trying
Everything gets lost in anger
I’m prepared to let you suffer”

Klangstof are Koen van de Wardt, Wannes Salome, and Erik Buschman. Over View is available on Bandcamp. Go and get it.

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Lizzie Reid – “Bible” (Glasgow, Scotland)

RIYL: Maple Glider, Babehoven, Ada Lea

We have often commented on how we are in the midst of a golden era in songwriting. This might not quite be evident on the radio, but look beyond the dials and one will find a lengthy list of great singer-songwriters of all ages. There are so many young talents in music today that we have a hard time in keeping track and sharing their music. This includes Lizzie Reid, who is signed to 7476 (Sunken, IMOGEN, and recent favorite Kathleen Frances).

Like many of her compatriots, the young Scot has a knack for pairing stirring, emotive melodies with poignant songwriting. On “Bible”, for instance, she has crafted one of the year’s most honest and gripping songs. With mostly just an acoustic guitar supporting her with a light synth and an electric guitar arriving later, the atmosphere is beautifully pensive yet uneasy. These two adjectives also describe her songwriting. She honestly discusses faith and how it defined her early on but now leaves her wondering how many sacrifices must she make to feel wanted. And, thus, to be loved.

“I feel like the Gods got it wrong
I feel like they’ve lined me up
And I can’t seem to undo my love”

The young woman is going to a songwriting star.

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