The Matinee ’22 v. 047 is filled with memorable moments from some of music’s very finest as well as young artists whose careers are just starting to blossom. Some of the songs will leave you in a state of catharsis, others in euphoria, or maybe both. 

For Part 2 and the North America edition, click this link. Afterwards, visit the Songs of April playlist, which includes these songs, on SoundCloud and Spotify.

 

Porridge Radio – “The Rip” (Brighton, England)

RIYL: Warpaint, Desperate Journalist, Buzz Kill

We are witnessing one of the world’s most talented bands emerge into an international tour-de-force. We are seeing Porridge Radio evolve into more than just an angst-filled, art-punk band and into something indescribable. Their 2020 album, Every Bad, was truly devastating, eye-popping, and soul-jarring, and one of the great albums of the 21st Century. 

In Dana Margolin (vocals, guitar), Maddie Ryall (bass), Georgie Stott (keys), and Sam Yardley’s (drums) next chapter, they seem to be pulling back the curtains and allowing the light shine – or at least partially. Their previous single, “Back to the Radio”, was surprisingly bright and euphoric. We almost did not recognize the band except for Margolin’s powerful and riveting vocal. The Brighton quartet further inch their way out of the shadows with “The Rip”.

In the press release, Margolin revealed the band wanted to create a Charli XCX-like pop tune, at least in its effect. This is, however, Porridge Radio, who likely will never release a mainstream pop track. Instead, their trademark urgency and catharsis will always reign, which it does on this track. While “The Rip” starts off like a midnight dip into the lake, it eventually transforms into a desperate pleas of want and desire. A burst of grizzled guitars, soaring synths, and crushing rhythms emerges around Margolin’s unmistakable holler, as she expresses her want to be with someone and to be herself:

“The top of my voice
The top of my lungs
It’s all that I want
It’s all that I want

I pulled it apart
Got sick of the whole thing
I know what I want
I know how that seems”

“The Rip” is taken from Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky. Pre-orders / pre-saves available here and on Bandcamp ahead of its May 20th release via Secretly Canadian.

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Many Voices Speak – “Nothing’s Gone” (Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Land of Talk, Highasakite, Rosie Carney

There is an unrivaled beauty, weakness, and sincerity to Many Voices Speak‘s music. They exist in the breathtaking melancholy of each song and Matilda Mård’s gentle but striking vocal, which made  Tank Town a debut to remember. While many artists may suffer through the sophomore slump, Mård shows no signs this condition will afflict her. On the contrary, all-consuming singles “Seat for Sadness” and Within Reach” signal that the Swedish singer-songwriter has only skimmed her potential, and “Nothing’s Gone” is more evidence that we are witnessing the blossoming of an extraordinary talent.

Settle in, close your eyes, and allow this stunning number sweep you away. Its delicate arrangement of floating synths, a lingering guitar, and heart-pulsing percussion envelopes around Mård’s tranquil voice. She sounds like the most beautiful siren, whose whispery delivery has the intimacy of a bedroom encounter. In her story, though, there is not a single embrace or touch nor even a connection. Instead, Mård shares with us the fleeting moments of a person who has gone to another place. 

“Thinking about
What your old memory would write
It always seemed easy to be sincere on the way down

Thinking it’s best
To cling to the thriller that is left
What is more frightful than a lasting threat leaving you dry

It’s no art to start moving on
It’s an art when nothing’s gone”

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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Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Alma” (Paris via Aix-en-Provence, France)

RIYL: Coeur de Pirate, La Luz, Helena Deland

There are few artists that make music as consistently spellbinding as Melody Prochet does as Melody’s Echo Chamber. Her music feels like stepping into a cinematic, psychedelic world at times. The way Prochet brings her songs to life is truly art. Recently, Prochet has been gearing up for the release of Emotional Eternal, from which she has shared the post-apocalyptic stunner, “Looking Backward”, and what might be her masterpiece, “Personal Message”.

The newest single from the forthcoming LP is “Alma”, which is about the love and beauty if motherhood. It also concerns the first time Prochet had to spend away from her newborn child. It’s a gorgeous song, full of cinematic orchestrations and Prochet’s inviting voice throughout. The song alternates between French and English, adding even more to the vibe. It’s really nice to hear such a beautiful tune circle around something as joyous as the love of a mother for her child, and it’s something captured wonderfully on “Alma”.

“I’m so happy, and so proud…
You’re asking nothing to prove myself
And your love is enough
Is this something everybody should know?

I’m so lucky, to have you…
And so proud, to hold you…
Asking nothing to prove myself
And your love is enough
You’re so pure…”

Emotional Eternal will be released April 29th on Domino Recording Co. Pre-orders are available at these links.

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Courting – “Tennis” (Liverpool, England)

RIYL: Geese, Sports Team, Dry Cleaning

Not too long ago, Courting was one of our 20 Favorite Hidden Gems. The Liverpudlians combined clever and often amusing lyricism with a buzzing art-rock sound that was a mélange of the Talking Heads, Pavement, and Ought. They did release a song called “David Byrne’s Badside”, whose title alone explains everything. Over the past two years, the quartet’s popularity has steadily risen and coincided with Brit-rock’s revival. Now that gigs can happen, the buzz should only increase because this band was made for the stage. In this setting, Courting’s songs can come alive, so much so that they can actually mimic the titles and lyrics. For instance, they could grab some rackets and pretend to be playing “Tennis”.

This game, though, isn’t the beautiful ballet of Roger Federer. On the contrary, it is the fast, furious, and manic styles of Nick Kyrgios and John McEnroe. Even in the “slower” parts, the track drips of intensity, and we all know that an outburst is coming. Sure enough, about halfway, “Tennis” ignites with flaming guitars and hammering guitars. Front-man Murphy-O’Neill’s voice intensifies and reaches a near hollering pitch. Unlike the aforementioned players, however, he never loses his cool. He really cannot because this game he’s playing is one about love. He tells the story through the eyes of both parties, who describe the many ways in which their relationship is tearing at the seams. 

“A muscle piggy bank
You can’t just piggy back off me
There was trade involved
I was paying you to love me

Yeah I was paying you
And I’m in great shape
The grass is always greener
In the country house”

Fun, awesome, and so Courting, who are Sean Murphy-O’Neill (guitar, vocals), Sean Thomas (drums, vocals), Michael Downes (guitar), and Sam Brennan (bass). The single is out on Play It Again Sam

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Sophie May – “With The Band” and “Bruises & Scratches” (London, England)


RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Pearl Charles, Lana del Rey

Once upon a time, the next big thing in music could be found on YouTube (see Justin Bieber). Now TikTok is the medium where a young artist’s fame can grow without officially releasing a single. This explains how 22-year old Sophie May has a following of over 200,000 on that platform and approaching 90,000 on Instagram. Yesterday, the South Londoner officially released her debut singles, and now all music fans will know who she is.

Get to know May know before she signs with a label, which should happen very soon. On “With The Band”, May sits alone with her electric guitar and strums a song that is reminiscent of Lucy Dacus and early Phoebe Bridgers. Its arrangement is relatively simple, yet it is beautifully executed. What grabs your attention, however, are May’s superb voice and her terrific songwriting. She describes one, young woman’s story of following an unnamed band around. One night and many there after, she is assaulted, and she rationalizes the behavior as being necessary to be a part of the band. 

On “Bruises & Scratches”, May does not deviate from the stripped-back, single-instrument approach. The melody, though, is a little jangly with a ’70s flair. Her voice has a Lana Del Rey quality with the songwriting to match. She again narrates another young woman’s tale of abuse and neglect. Despite the evidence on her body (i.e., the bruises and scratches) and his drug addiction, she stays with him because “she might be in love”. It’s a great tale of how so many women are unable to leave an abusive relationship and a reminder to all of us to look for the signs to help our mothers, sisters, cousins, and friends.

May is going to be a star. 

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Robin Kester – “Leave Now” (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

RIYL: Feist, The Weather Station, Jenny Hval

The Netherlands’ indie scene is often overlooked, but the small European country has given the world Amber Arcades, Pip Blom, and My Baby. Its biggest star, though, eventually could be Robin Kester. With her warm and intimate approach, she could be the Dutch version of Feist or The Weather Station, as she showcases on “Leave Now”.

The light stammering of the bass and a percolating drum line open the song before the glistening strums of the electric guitar emerge.  A little bit of delirium forms, and Kester’s soft, blissful voice has not even emerged. But when it does, the song ascends to even dreamier and stunning heights. This all happens without any single element going off the rails. Instead, everything is restrained, yet we feel the uneasiness and desperation in Kester’s words. 

“It’s hard to breathe when you’re left alone”, she repeats, signalling how a sudden shock to the system can cause us to lose control. For Kester, a rude awakening during  a chaotic trip to Vietnam caused her sensations to go into overdrive. For us, it might be the two years of isolation taking their toll. This is long COVID of a different sorts, where our mental health and well-being have been slowly dismantled. But now, we feel revived thanks to a star-in-the-making.

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Jaguar Jonze – “Trigger Happy” (Brisbane, Australia via Yokohama, Japan)

RIYL: Janet Jackson (‘Rhythm Nation’ era), Black Red Shoes, Black Honey

Deena Lynch has showed several different sides of herself through her project, Jaguar Jonze, which includes the made-for-Eurovision single, “Little Fires”. She’s at her best, however, when she teeters the line between darkness and light. This is where we find her on “Trigger Happy”.

With the assertive attitude of a young Janet Jackson but the fiery mentality of Black Red Shoes, Lynch delivers an infectious and gritty banger made for all people to stand their ground. Made to encourage people to say, “We don’t have space for your shit anymore”. Actually, not just state this but to scream loudly and let the manipulators, pretenders, and controllers here our frustrations. She is a woman on a mission and that is to ensure no one succumbs to the whims of those who think they own us. And she’s speaking from experience.

“It was a good idea
Now I am more than done
It was a pretty picture
But now I’ve had enough

Pushing the upper limits
Shooting down everyone
Before you’ve tried to listen”

Hopefully Lynch performed this on Eurovision because it would open plenty of eyes and show the world that there is so much more to her craft. The folks at Nettwerk Music Group already know this, as they’ll be releasing Jaguar Jonze’s debut album, Bunny Mode, on June 3rd.

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