Ten songs from nine artists and bands litter The Matinee ’22 v. 050, and each number is full of drama. These songs address how so much of world has changed and, by extension, how we have changed. When thinking more deeply about today’s musical selection, the theme could not be more fitting given the holiday that awaits.

With the long weekend approach, we will be off on Friday and Monday. We, however, may still add songs to the Songs of April playlist, so give it a follow on SoundCloud and Spotify.

 

Georgia Harmer – “Top Down” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: Sarah Harmer, Lucy Dacus, Alvvays

To say we’re eagerly awaiting Georgia Harmer‘s debut record, Stay in Touch, would be an understatement. The Toronto-based singer-songwriter was one of our Artists to Watch for 2022, and she has not proven us wrong. Whether we’re talking about “Headrush”“Austin”, “All My Mind”, or “Talamanca”, the singles Harmer has shared from Stay in Touch have been a diverse and impressive collection.

On her latest single, “Top Down”, Harmer yet again surprises. With the blend of alt-country and dream-pop, she sounds like her talented aunt Sarah Harmer collaborating with Canadian royals Alvvays. There are even points where she voice has a trace of her aunt’s blissful cooing, which are accentuated by the shimmering acoustic and great electric leads.

Lyrically, Harmer says the song is “about feeling frustrated by my own powerlessness.” While the song starts out as an encounter trying to help a friend, it’s easy to relate to Harmer’s own helplessness.

“I feel so small
Sitting in my kitchen crying to my mom
I feel so young
Like I don’t know how to be someone
I feel so small
When you are in my dream
I wake up alone
I feel so young and so wrong”

The single has been paired with a nostalgic music video, featuring Harmer at a closed amusement park. Harmer’s debut album, Stay In Touch, will be released April 22nd on Arts & Crafts. Pre-orders are available here.

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Aubrey Haddard – “Green as Ever” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL:  Squirrel Flower, Snail Mail, Bess Atwell

We’ve described past releases from Aubrey Haddard as a “modern-day fairy tale” (“Portuguese Red”) and a “Shakespearean-like tragedy” (“National Tragedy”). Her ability to create huge, cinematic songs rivals bands that have been around for much longer, as heard on “Just A Wall”. Her latest single, “Green as Ever”, only builds on that reputation.

The song’s opening moments are defined by a series of synth chord strikes that feel a bit like 8-bit bleeps and bloops. However, the track quickly builds on that simple foundation with pristine guitar chords. Combined with a chugging bass line and lush harmonies, Haddard creates a truly fantastic sound throughout. The song draws influence from Michael Pollan’s book, The Botany of Desire, about how humans manipulate plants to create something specifically for them. Haddard then transposes that to molding human relations and herself. As she shown so far, she is extremely flexible and malleable.

“Green as Ever” is accompanied by a nostalgic, summery video recorded on the street Haddard grew up.

Haddard’s new album, Awake and Talking, will be released August 19th on Beverly Martel. It could be one of the year’s biggest surprises.

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Wyldest – “The Best Is Yet to Come” (London, England)

RIYL: Highasakite, Rosie Carney, Flora Cash

Beyond the gorgeous, cinematic soundscapes of Zoe Mead’s project, Wydlest, her music is incredibly thoughtful. As such, it’s not just the gauzy dream-pop that lures people into each song but also her moving and often relatable songwriting. Whereas many young and even popular artists adopt a diarist approach, the Londoner’s tales are as much about her as it about someone else and even sometimes us. It’s a gift to create music that truly concerns the sum more than its individual parts, and this explains why Mead is a long-time favorite in these parts (approaching seven years). Our adoration for her grows with “The Best is Yet to Come”.

A stunning tranquility forms at the beginning, as an electric guitar is lightly plucked while electronics quaintly hum. Beats and a violin then emerge, turning the song into that familiar Wyldest widescreen sound. The track, however remains intimate and endearing thanks to Mead’s gentle and emotive vocal. She sings about an experience we know all too well – isolated at home again while others elsewhere move forward, leaving many, including us, behind. She beautifully captures the loneliness and separation of a pandemic when she sings:

“I don’t mind the weather
It’s just fine
You got plans
And I got mine
I’m certain

Cos you moved out of the city
To avoid the over density of
Poison in the air

The best is yet to come
And I don’t mind, I’ll wait for you
If I only had someone
To compromise my lonely nights”

Regardless if Mead’s music career takes off, she’ll always be a star in our eyes. And probably in the eyes of Hand in Hive, who have the privilege of sharing this song to the world.

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S. Carey – “Sunshower” (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA)

RIYL: Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, The National

It’s been a while since we’ve had a full length S. Carey record. The long-time Justin Vernon collaborator has a way of creating atmospheric records that’s unparalleled. His songs can be lush and gorgeous or simple and intimate, but they always take listeners on journeys. Carey’s 2018 record, Hundred Acres, was an absolute classic, and it captured a vast expanse of sound and memory. Four years later, Carey is gearing up to release Break Me Open, and he has already shared the stellar pair of “Waking Up” and “Break Me Open” from the album.

Immediately, the qualities that make S. Carey’s music so immersive are apparent on “Sunshower”. A glitchy piano loop sets the scene perfectly. Carey’s distinctive whispery and layered vocal is as stunning as ever. It all adds up to a track that’s truly atmospheric with strings, synth, and hypnotic chiming guitar leading to a breathtaking moment. Simply another stunner.

Break Me Open will be out April 22nd on Jagjaguwar. Pre-order available here.

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Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – “Impermanency” (Glasgow via East Kilbride, Scotland)

RIYL: The Ninth Wave, Eagulls, My Bloody Valentine

An argument could be made that Austin is the mecca of the indie music scene (hello SXSW) and Australia might be best at celebrating its independent artists (see Triple J and ARIA winners past and present). The UK, meanwhile, arguably – well unquestionably – has the most supportive fan base. We’ve seen how music fans of all ages and indie labels have helped catapult the careers of many bands. Joy Division may be the best example of how grassroots support can turn a little outfit into an international juggernaut. Other bands have followed their lead, including numerous bands with just a handful of songs to their credit develop a massive following because of their awesome live shows and intelligent music. One of them is Declan Welsh & The Decadent West, who are one of the finest indie-rock outfits anywhere.

The four Scots know only one speed – and that is fast. Their intent is to rile up the masses with their sonic delirium, as they showcase on “Impermanency”. Declan Welsh (vocals), Duncan McBride (guitar), Ben Corlett (bass), and Murray Noble (drums) deliver a fiery and gauzy post-punk number. It’s the equivalent of a 187-second adrenaline rush, where there’s barely a moment to cool down. Even the melodic beginning is amped up thanks to Noble’s urgent drumming and Welsh’s poignant songwriting. His words are introspective, as he sings about the volatility that runs rampant in his mind. He questions what his legacy could be before he takes his last breath. Maybe his impression will be the tombstone that marks his resting place, but we doubt that. As one of the great, young Scottish bands around, they’ve already left a lasting imprint on thousands of fans.

The song it taken from the quartet’s forthcoming, new EP, Impermanency, which is expected later this year. Those in the UK can get a sneak peek of the mini-album when the band support Twin Atlantic this May. Or if you’re one of the lucky Glaswegians and holding a ticket to one of their three soldout shows, you’ll probably get to hear the record before the rest of us.

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Launder – “Unwound” and  “Chipper” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: DIIV, Beach Fossils, Slowdive

Over the course of a handful of singles and EP, John Cudip has created some great tunes as Launder. His 2018 release, Pink Cloud, was as a lo-fi and hypnotic shoegaze inspired EP. In 2020, he released a single, “Half-Life”, which carried a lot of the qualities of Pink Cloud but with a more fleshed out sound. Since then, Launder has been fairly silent. Until now, that is. 

This week, Launder have released a pair of singles, “Unwound” and “Chipper”, from his upcoming debut record, HappeningBoth singles were written with DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith and Colin Caulfield. Hearing both singles, it’s easy to hear their influences, but Cudip molds those sounds directly into his own style. “Unwound” has some heavy guitar chords, before they give way to booming drums and Cudip’s whispery voice. Mixed in are some fantastic guitar moments that seem like they’d be epic to encounter live.

“Chipper” is a shorter track at just over 2 minutes, and it has a quick, panicky pace to match. It is also more retro in its sound, radiating with the blossoming shoegaze goodness of the early ’90s. Just like what Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine did back then, all we can do is smile and delight in the shimmering noise. Delight in the thoughts of being with loved ones again, as Cudip sings.

Happening is set for a July 15th release via Ghostly. Pre-order it at these links.

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Victory Chimes – “Conductor” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Interpol, Editors, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Lurking in the shadows of Montreal’s burgeoning indie scene is Jeff Louch, who as the mastermind behind Victory Chimes already has two EPs to his credit. While he may be unknown to many, he’s been awarded a scholarship to attend the International Songwriter’s program at the Banff Centre of the Arts and received a Quebec Council of Arts Research and Development grant. So several more qualified and knowledgeable people clearly believe in his potential. For the rest of us, we do not need an application nor an audition to be convinced of his talent. All we need to do is press play to “Conductor”.

Victory Chimes’ newest tune is an engrossing affair. It trembles with the bleak tones of Interpol while Louch’s songwriting possesses the imaginative and enlightened style of Nick Cave. Together, the band deliver a wonderful piece of suspenseful cinema. With the pounding of the keys and the wavering tones of the ondes Martenot and percussion, the atmosphere feels like the unsettling but quiet moments that exist right before the storm unleashes its fury. Louch narrates a similar tale, describing how a believer in disinformation ignores the truth despite Mother Nature displaying her destructive capabilities. He is guided by blind faith, which leads him to believe he’s the master of all.

The stars were my disciples and I lectured over them from my self appointed position atop this homemade podium
My finger wags in hypocrisy but my science is sure in this natural state of leader and follower
With God on my side I can never fail and Jesus whispers in my ear commands running through my body with heaven so near
And the oceans welled up into a wall and stood there waiting for the wave of the hand to set the sea down to crash”

Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Victory Chimes are Jeff Louch (vocals, keys), Alex Formosa (guitars, ondes Martenot), Tony Spina (drums), Lisa Iwanycki (vocals), and Jimmy Hall (bass). Their new album, When the Fog Rolls In, is out May 20th.

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La Sécurité – “Suspens” (Montreal, Canada)

RIYL: Gustaf, Shopping, LCD Soundsystem

If you asked us what has been the best development in music the past two years, we would probably say the (re-)emergence of art-punk. With bands like Squid, Geese, Gustaf, and Black Country, New Road, they’ve added either a theatrical tone or a groovy, off-kilter vibe to the often bleak and propulsive genre. A new band now is upping the stakes with their disco-infused approach. Yep, art-punk has turned into a dance-party music thanks to La Sécurité and their awesome debut single, “Suspens”.

Plucky synths, whimsical guitar lines, jittery percussion, and hand claps create a mini-riot of feel-good vibes. We just want to dance in a herky-jerky style, completely unconcerned about what people may think. The quintet do encourage us to “danser, relaxer”. They also tell us to live life and trust our hearts because life is too short. Life is too short to worry about things we cannot control.

“J’ai perdu le fil
Faut que je reste tranquille
J’ai juste envie de sortir
Fais attention à ton cœur
C’est un petit moteur”

With a song like this, we can easily wash away our worries and fears. We are, after all, in the hands of Security.

The single is out on Mothland. More music from Montreal’s next great band should be coming in the next few weeks.

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Just Mustard – “Mirrors” (Dundalk, Ireland)

RIYL: Womb, Wombo, Squid

Just Mustard don’t get enough credit for being one of the best bands to emerge in the past half-decade. While many of their Irish cousins and fellow post-punk inventors get the star treatment and plenty of acclaim, the Dundalk quintet quietly go about their business. This isn’t to say they have been ignored; rather that curators and tastemakers, us included, have taken for granted these masters of the trembling arts. We are then reminded of their greatness when they release a song like “Still”, which was simply devouring. Then we further appreciate their talents when listening to “Mirrors”.

So many superlatives could be expressed to describe the sheer genius of this song. Katie Ball’s voice is intoxicating, sounding like a seductive poltergeist enticing us to follow. The beating percussion is executed with military-like precision, and, thus, helping the listener to stay grounded. Mournful guitars echo in the distant. They turn steely and desperate in one moment and shallow and downtrodden the next.

Together, these elements create a wall of wondrous sound that is simultaneously like a dream and a nightmare. For Ball and David Noonan, this duality exists in their mind and the rooms they occupy. Everywhere they look, they see, they feel someone staring back at them. However, they do not recognize the person in the mirror.

Look in the mirror
Staring someone else in the eye
Look in the mirror
Staring someone else in the eye
Lost for a second
In the silence that’s staring back
Lost for a second
In the silence that’s staring back

Just Mustard are Katie Ball (vocal), David Noonan (guitar, vocal), Mete Kalyoncuoglu (guitar), Rob Clarke (bass), and Shane Maguire (drums).

Pre-orders for the band’s sophomore album, Heart Under, are available here and on Bandcamp. It releases May 27th on Partisan Records.

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