Adventure is the theme of The Matinee ’22 v. 048 – North America Edition, as this indie all-star cast send us through rabbit holes and worm holes, to memories of our past to those that are to be created.

Part 1, the World edition, is available at this link. As usual, we encourage you to follow our Songs of April playlist on SoundCloud and Spotify, so you can hear all the tracks we’re digging this month.

 

Sunflower Bean – “I Don’t Have Control Sometimes” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Natalie Prass, Molly Burch, Wolf Alice

For most of their career, Sunflower Bean have been revivalists. Their debut record, Human Ceremony, was a high-octane journey through some ’60s and ’70s psych rock. They followed that up with the shimmering Twentytwo in Blue, and lately they’ve shown their assertive, edgier sides on “Who Put You Up to This” and “Roll The Dice”

The trio now go “gentler” on their latest single “I Don’t Have Control Sometimes”. Their newest track feels like a throwback from the start,with singer Julia Cumming easing listeners in with a sweet, wordless intro. The upbeat nature is kept up with the bouncy and complex drum work of Olive Faber. A great layer of acoustic guitar lies under everything with an occasional lead flourish from guitarist Nick Kivlen. While the song has a bubbly appearance on the surface, “I Don’t Have Control” is about how things are truly out of control – from the little things like getting locked out of the house to realizing bad habits that sometimes make things hard. In a time where it seems like so much is out of our control, there’s something to be learned from the song’s embrace of the lack of control by the end.

“On Friday I don’t care what’s the future brings
On Sunday I stay home and close my blinds.
And I don’t care what tomorrow thinks
Today I’m totally mine.”

Sunflower Bean’s new album, Headful of Sugar, is out May 6th on Mom + Pop Music. Links to purchase the album and tickets to the trio’s forthcoming tour are available here. The LP can also be picked up on Bandcamp.

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Cola – “Water Table” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Ought, The Clockworks, Deeper

So how will we remember Cola when the year draws to an end? Could they be considered a “Hidden Gem” or “Artists to Watch” when each member is already known for their work with established bands? Can they be acknowledged as one of Canada’s great bands even though they just formed last year and their debut LP drops around Victoria Day long weekend (that’s late May for the non-Canadians)? Or maybe we’ll just say that Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy of Ought and Evan Cartwright of US Girls are just awesome. Their first two singles exhibited all the traits of their moniker – cool and refreshing was “Blank Curtain” while “So Excited” was spunky and fizzy. Song number three, meanwhile, is the thirst quenching satisfaction that follows.

The trio ease back on the gas pedal on “Water Table”. The song still features the angular art-punk of Ought, but the tempo is more like a Sunday walk in the park instead of the adrenaline rush of a Friday night. But it is all very much catchy, an ear-worm made for long contemplation over the weekend. Darcy’s lyrics are, as usual, superb. He tackles humanity’s over-dependence and obsession with technology, where we have lost the ability to entertain ourselves, read maps, and tell time. But one thing technology cannot replicate – our natural creativity, of which Cola has an abundance.

“Last long enough to go extinct, just long enough to overthink
Don’t worry about losing our way home, I have that technology, right?
Blasé and lucky tonight, go get yourself under those dead sea lights
Sun setting on the brink, I can only point at it and say”

Cola’s debut album, Deep In View, will be released May 20th via Fire Talk Records and Next Door Records. Pre-orders available here and on Bandcamp.

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Jesse Mac Cormack – “All at Once” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Atoms for Peace, Caribou, Four Tet

Today, Jesse Mac Cormack‘s new album, SOLO, will see the light of day. In all likelihood, it will hover under the radar due to the numerous LPs released on this day plus specific world events dominating news headlines. SOLO, however, should not be overlooked because it’s a wonderful demonstration of Mac Cormack’s exceptional and multiple talents. For instance, with “Blue World”, he took listeners to the skies, creating the sensation of us observing our planet from a distant place. “NHFN”, meanwhile, was an extension of “Blue World”, transporting us through the black calmness of space. With “All at Once”, he recreates the feeling of a supernova exploding before our eyes.

If we were to witness such a phenomenon, it likely would be full of beauty, fascination, and uncertainty. The stuttering percussion circling the trembling yet lithe guitar and pensive keys represent these vast emotions. As the song builds, its zenith is spectacular. It is an array of wonderstruck sound. This cosmic event, though, is happening much closer than it appears. It is occurring within us, where our deepest desires and wishes explode at the sight of someone or something, a thought, or a memory.

“Looking inside dreams we had
Wind is blowing
So I can see ya
All at once in an eggshell
Falling in love
Colour blind

I could feel your chest about to disappear
Everything I did was a shot in the dark”

SOLO is available to stream or purchase at these links and on Bandcamp. Secret City Records has the honors.

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Oceanator – “Last Summer” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Slothrust, False Advertising, Weaves

Oceanator, the project of Elise Okusami, impressed us in 2020 with Things I Never Said. It was a record full of diverse music, creativity, and just some fantastic rock songs. Earlier this year, Okusami released two additional superb rockers in “Bad Brain Daze” and “Stuck”.

Oceanator has followed up those two with another ripper, “Last Summer”. It is packed with a ton of pop punk energy – from its crunchy guitar chords, heavy drumming, and Okusami’s rapid attack on vocals. Lyrically, the song tells little stories of days spent with friends, just hanging out, living life, and appreciating the unbeatable combo of Cherry Coke and fries. Paired with the song’s upbeat sound, it makes the whole song feel like a celebration of the good times, even if it’s recalling them in the past. It’s all capped off with a fun guitar solo and sing-along section at the end.

“Cherry coke and french fries
See you on the other side
These are the nights I will remember
I’ll hold onto them forever

Cruisin’ around with nowhere specific in mind
Yeah this is how I will remember
The last summer together
Another saturday night and we’re doing just fine”

Okusami’s new album, Nothing’s Ever Fine, is coming April 8th via Big Scary Monsters and Polyvinyl Records. Pre-orders available here and on Bandcamp.

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Automatic – “Venus Hour” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Shopping, The Wants, Trio

Few indie bands make their living without a guitar and for good reason – it’s difficult to create catchy music without the electric sizzle of a Fender or Gibson. Automatic, however, are debunking that myth with their rhythm-driven approach. Then again the trio of Izzy Glaudini (synths, lead vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals) aren’t known as followers. On the contrary, they’ve organically built their name and fan base through their unique, moody, and off-kilter blend of art-punk and indie rock. Our introduction to Automatic happened just last month, when they shared the fabulously jerky “New Beginning”. Now they make us bop as if we were listening to Trio from the ’80s with “Venus Hour” 

Instead of singing “a dah dah dah”, we’re “oohing” along with the LA-based threesome while grooving in time to Saxon’s superbly bouncing bass line. We might even be doing the robot, as Glaudini adopts a very mechanical approach to note how society has long objectified and underestimated women. She, Dompé, and Saxon, however, will not be held down. They will instead do as they please, acting on their desires and wants. “I want to feel the passion in the palm of my head“, Glaudini sings, no longer satisfied with appeasing others at her expense. 

We’ll get to learn what paths Automatic will follow come June 24th, which is when their new album, Excess, will be released. Stones Throw Records will distribute it. Pre-order the LP at the label’s store and Bandcamp.

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Grace Ives – “Lullaby” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Maggie Rogers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX

Grace Ives creates some truly infectious pop music. The beats tend to draw listeners in, but where she sets herself apart is her introspective lyrics delivered in a way only she can. We’ve argued that her earlier releases were forerunners for a lot of the current lo-fi indie-pop out there, especially records crafted during the pandemic. Whereas others tried to replicate what she had one, Ives went in another direction. With the buzzing, lo-fi synth-pop, “Loose”, she’s expanded her sound, adding layers and accelerating the tempo. She continues to expand on her fantastic single, “Lullaby”.

Ives instantly transports the listener into a relatable scene, finding comfort in watching a movie for a hundredth time. From there, Ives sings about imperfections, embellishments, real estate ads, and the general mess life can be. “Lullaby” is full of charming pop sounds, from the bouncy organ and drum combo in the song’s intro to the voice samples and synth throughout. While the song is about those imperfect moments, Ives is sure to reassure us, “No it’s nothing to be sad about, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about.

Ives’ new record, Janky Star will be released June 10th on True Panther and Harvest Records. Pre-orders available here

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The Besnard Lakes – “She’s an Icicle” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Cocteau Twins, Spiritualized, The Jesus and Mary Chain

For two decades, Canadian indie legends The Besnard Lakes have weaved majestic tapestries. They can deliver songs that feel like a full-throttle retreat into the far reaches of space or the most exhilarating free fall down the proverbial rabbit hole. Every song they have created has been an adventure. This explains their staying power and why their fan base is among the most loyal – because we patiently await the next journey. The new one didn’t take too long to come, following 2021’s The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings and the single “Superego”. To end our new music selection for the week, we sit back and let the Montrealers guide us to oblivion with “She’s an Icicle”.

This gargantuan number is the perfect marriage of post-rock and shoegaze. It is heavenly in its beginning with Jace Lasek’s and Olga Goreas’ vocals calmly hovering over a fluttering, tranquil arrangement. We could fall asleep to this sound given how gentle and warm it is. But this is The Besnard Lakes, and staying in one place is not in their DNA. Eventually, the song turns into a soaring, euphoric, interstellar experience. Gauzy guitars, glistening keys, and heart-pacing rhythms ignite, and Lasek’s voice echoes through this dizzying stream. It’s sensual, lush, and mysterious. It is all pure ecstasy. 

The Besnard Lakes are Jace Lasek (vocal, guitars) Olga Goreas (vocals), Sheenah Ko (keys), Gabriel Lambert (guitar), and Kevin Laing (drums). The single is out on Full Time Hobby, and a new EP is expected some time this year. 

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