Since yesterday’s The Matinee was an all-American affair, The Matinee ’22 v. 052 is a global one. All nine songs are from artists and bands outside the USA, although one American indie star makes a cameo. Prepare yourself for a roller coaster ride of emotions, as these tunes hit hard emotionally and at times soar through the galaxy.
Fontaines D.C. – “Roman Holiday” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: The Verve, Doves, Richard Ashcroft
Many groups deserve to be recognized as the best band in the world, but if you asked us there would be about 10 or 12 that are true contenders. Among them are Fontaines D.C., who already have two all-time great albums in their discography – Dongrel and A Hero’s Death. The quintet of Grian Chatten, Conor Deegan III, Carlos O’Connell, Conor Curley, and Tom Coll show no signs of slowing down. They also reveal that they are not content with creating skin-crawling post-punk, as album #3, Skinty Fa, is shaping to be a wide-spanning LP.
In “Jackie Down The Line”, “I Love You”, and “Skinty Fia”, the five Dubliners shared three diverse tunes that ranged from Brit-rock to Gothic darkwave. Their post-punk foundations still remain, but more as an underlying layer that adds suspense and grit to each song. Fontaines D.C., after all, are not a mainstream pop band making lighthearted fare. That’s not in their DNA at this point because their stories deal with who we are and society’s imperfections. They tackle both on “Roman Holiday”.
Like many of their previous tracks, the song’s title is a red herring. This tune, in other words, is not about a trip to Italy. On the contrary, with a superb, stark bass line driving the number and a crystalline guitar ricocheting off the stuttering percussion, Chatten addresses what it is to be Irish while living in London. The imagery is full of irony given Ireland and Great Britain’s uneasy history. Time, though, yields change, where five Irish blokes and their partners can make a life in one of the world’s great metropolises. Where they can enjoy its many amenities yet be reminded that they are still Irish at heart.
“Baby come on whose side are you on?
I don’t wanna see the queen
I already sing her song
While they’re snuffing out hopes and they’re blotting out suns
They claim to know the form in which genius comes“
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Kepler 22-B” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard channel Unknown Mortal Orchestra
What else can be written about King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard that already has not been said? The Melbourne six-piece are one of the most unpredictable, ambitious, and gifted bands on the planet. In their dozen years as a band that includes soon-to-be twenty albums, they’ve done pretty much everything imaginable across the psychedelic-rock spectrum. They also have dabbled in death metal, blackgaze, stoner rock, garage rock, and blues rock. Heck, the 18-minute mind-bender, “The Dripping Tap”, was a microcosm of their deep history while the hazy heights of “Magenta Mountain” showcased their more otherworldly side. On “Kepler 22-B”, The Gizz reveal their groovy and retrospective side.
The song echoes Unknown Mortal Orchestra at their height, as The Gizz deliver a dazzler of a psych-pop number. One could swim through the sultry piano keys, the vibrant bass line (which is so good), and the cool, jazzy percussion. The light beeps of the sax add an extra layer of coolness to this song about childhood dreams. Specifically, Mackenzie shares his youthful aspirations to be an astronaut. While that probably isn’t in the cards for him now, he still dreams of traversing the universe and seeing the stars up close.
“Didn’t get the grades to be a NASA astronaut
Couldn’t knuckle down or focus on my schoolwork
I became a ghetto engineer making shit out of glass to refract the light from distant stars
Then I built a telescope
Pointed it at Kepler-22b
That’s the place for me”
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are: Stu Mackenzie, Joe Walker, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Lucas Skinner, Cook Craig, and Michael Cavanagh. Their 20th album, Omnium Gatherum, will be released this Friday, April 22nd on the band’s own KGLW Records. Pre-order it on Bandcamp. It should be another fun one.
Ellevator – “Party Trick” (Hamilton, Canada)
RIYL: Lanterns on the Lake, Land of Talk, The Weather Station
The trio of Nabi Sue Bersche, Elliott Gwynne, and Tyler Bersche have been on our radar for a few years at this point. To say we’re eagerly awaiting Ellevator‘s debut record would be an understatement. Whether it’s the first song we covered of theirs back in 2018 or the singles released ahead of The Words You Spoke Still Move Me, “Charlie IO“, “Slip” and “Easy”, each release has been stunning and brought something new to the table.
On “Party Trick”, Ellevator do it again with perhaps their most breathtaking single yet. Lush harmonies and a gorgeous combination of piano, ambient guitar, and airy drums create an atmosphere that echoes throughout the track. Through the delicate soundscape, Nabi Sue Bersche writes to her younger self, who at that time had trouble making meaningful connections with others. It’s a reminder to not fall into those traps and embrace the love and support from others because, in the end, it’s necessary, especially in a band.
“You roll down the window putting your shades on
Blowing bubblegum bubbles, one arm in the sun
You could have anybody, but you don’t want nobody
‘Cause if you had somebody you wouldn’t be alone
And that’s your party trick”
Fanclubwallet – “Trying To Be Nice” (Ottawa, Canada)
RIYL: Soccer Mommy, Frankie Cosmos, Lala Lala
Hannah Judge created something special on her recent EP as Fanclubwallet, Hurt is Boring. The mini-record was written in Judge’s childhood bedroom in between hospital visits for a Crohn’s flare-up. It was a relatable record, which, while personal, possessed a charm that kept Hurt is Boring feel light, notably on its single “C’mon Be Cool”.
On her latest single, “Trying To Be Nice”, Fanclubwallet builds on what drew us to Hurt is Boring. The track was written at two different times. As Judge recalls:
“The first half of the song includes lyrics I wrote on the Greyhound to my hometown after deciding to move back home, and the second half was written a few years later in a studio in the woods.”
It’s a breakup song but a reflective one, as Judge examines she and her peers reacted. While that sounds serious, a big strength of Judge’s songwriting is how self-aware she is. Built on a foundation of some really great and understated guitar work mixed with some charming keyboard parts, the song is a blast to listen to and fits in nicely with the other singles Judge has released so far: the dreamy “That I Won’t Do” and electric rocker “Gr8 Timing!”.
“Can’t remember my own name
So I’ll change it on Facebook to
Confuse you and my other friends
Woke up in someone else’s clothes
If I interview in them
Will I get the position their up for?”
BATTS – “Blue” feat. Sharon Van Etten (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Maple Glider, Skullcrusher
In the years we’ve been covering BATTS, the project of Tanya Batt, we’ve compared her to some big names. It’s clear why once you listen to her music, it has all the qualities of some of today’s greatest songwriters, ranging from Angel Olsen, Aldous Harding, and Sharon Van Etten. An absolute dream collaboration would be if she crossed paths with any of them, and we’ve just been treated to that, as Sharon Van Etten joins the Aussie singer-songwriter on “Blue”.
“Blue” starts out beautifully. Batt’s voice hovers over a guitar, some light drums, and bass. As the song builds, harmonies, keys, and other atmospheric elements are added. Batt’s voice, meanwhile, has a perfect layer of melancholy, as she sings of grief and how it can stop us from seeing beauty in things we’ve always appreciated. Halfway through, Van Etten’s unmistakable voice emerges. After her verse, the song just goes into some incredible territory, leading to a huge building bridge section. It all gives way to the song’s chorus, and at this point the song is nothing short of stunning.
“That everything left on this place
Makes no sense I feel displaced
I can’t see beauty in a damn thing
That should be beautiful
I want to feel the way I used to feel
Is that possible
I want to see the light seep through the cracks
Will that come back
I don’t care where I start just help me out”
“Blue” is out now and streaming at these links.
Matilda Mann – “Nice” (London, England)
RIYL: Billie Marten, Lucy Dacus, PRONOUN
In February, Matilda Mann released a stellar single with “Four Leaf Dream”, which was a charming stomper. In 2021, she also released Sonder, a fantastic jazzy and folky EP, which showcased another side to the young singer-songwriter.
On “Nice”, we see yet a different side to Matilda Mann, and it rules. Starting out like a fairly typical folk song with just guitar and Mann’s voice, the song explodes into a huge rocker. Big harmonies, huge guitar sounds, and heavy drumming take the song to some great heights. Mann sings about how being “Nice” is simply a bare minimum, and it’s how we all should be. Mann calls out those who expect anything in return for performing minimalistic acts. It’s just a fantastic song with a strong statement, especially in these me-first times.
“Not sure what else to say, I’ve heard it all today
Go take your niceness, please, and shove it where the Sun can’t see
I know your repertoire, you think you’ve nailed the art
Of getting through the day with nothing interesting to say”
The single is out on Arista Records.
Mastergrief – “Asterion” (Basel, Switzerland)
RIYL: Son Lux, Small Black, Phoria
Sonic journeys to the cosmos are often exhilarating and seismic, as King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard have often shown. Ditto M83 and Slowdive, who often make the experience immaculate and incredibly stunning. The trip to the stars, though, can also be filled with wonder and in the end be breathtaking. Bands like Phoria, Son Lux, and Small Black have perfected this celestial art, which combines indietronica, darkwave, post-rock, and art-rock. Joining these three great bands is a Swiss quartet who amaze with their new single, “Asterion”.
Mastergrief is the group’s name, and they’ve gradually established a reputation for making music that is equivalent to an out-of-body experience. On “Asterion”, they forge a pensive and emotive drama that is dazzling from the very first note to its last. It commences innocently with just a guitar strumming in the background while front-man Joachim Setlik articulates his final steps. Other instruments join the fray – mournful keys and electronics, somber rhythms, and a second guitar. “It is time that I asked you for forgiveness / I’ve played my part / Jealous, mighty whisper”, he hollers to an unseen being or entity. The track then builds, reaching not one but two jaw-dropping apexes. These points represent one man’s fall and his potential resurrection in a place far, far away.
Mastergrief are Joachim Setlik, Matthias Gusset, Alon Ben, and Raphael Scheiwiller. The band’s debut album, Fey, is out now on Radicalis.
Solar Eyes – “Dreaming of the Moon” (Birmingham, England)
RIYL: Elephant Stone, Spacemen 3, The Black Angels
If the previous song created the sensation of drifting through space, this next one creates the opposite reaction. With a name like Solar Eyes, there can only be one outcome – a whirling, hurtling adventure through the vast blackness as heard on “Dreaming of the Moon”.
Just a single listen to the song provides all the answers as to why Fierce Panda signed the Birmingham newcomers. With nods to the desert-tinged, cosmic psychedelia of Spacemen 3 and The Black Angels,”Dreaming of the Moon” is an epic ride. Coming in just shy of 3 minutes, 30 seconds, the English trio chart a course to the lunar rock that orbits Earth. There, they hope to sail the sands of the Sea of Tranquility and find their one true love – or to convince the person to join them in this distant place and live happily ever after. It’s a modern fairy tale for all the dreamers out there and one we could re-live over and over again because this might be the closest we get to the moon.
Solar Eyes are Glenn Smyth, Tom Ford, and Seb Maynard-Francis. Their debut EP, Dreaming of the Moon, is out now on and available at these links.
Dan Mangan – “In Your Corner (for Scott Hutchison)” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Frightened Rabbit
Time is supposed to heal wounds, but some just never seem to fade away. Instead, we are forever scarred. With the fourth anniversary of Scott Hutchison’s passing approaching, many of us are still coping with his death. The Frightened Rabbit front-man was one of the most gifted and sincere singer-songwriters, who shared his emotions, thoughts, and demons in every song. His songbook was his journal, and we were his confidantes. While he passed way too soon, he left us lifelong lessons – to never be afraid to seek help, to never be afraid to share your deepest thoughts and secrets, and to remember you’re never alone. These lessons are shared on Dan Mangan‘s new single, which he dedicates to the affable Scotsman.
“In Your Corner (for Scott Hutchison)” is a direct reply to FR’s “The Woodpile”, on which Hutchison shared the darkness and depression that occupied every centimeter of his mind. Mangan, though, tells Hutchison and those similarly struggling to “come find us if you can”. To come out from the shadows and find the light. If you cannot today, we will be waiting. We will always be waiting.
“So come find us if you can
We’ll be unified and sad
We’ll be in your corner
Leave a light on when it’s bad
And we will congregate and make a plan
We’ll be in your corner
Leave a light on if you can
Until it’s crystal clear, and you understand
We’ll be in your corner
We’ll all be in your corner”
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