A dirty dozen of songs is included on The Matinee ’22 v. 066, which is filled with enchanting numbers, roaring anthems, and even a club-worthy banger. The whole purpose is to celebrate the end of another week.

More weekend music is available on the Songs of May 2022 Playlist, which can be found on SoundCloud and Spotify.

 

Valley Queen – “Falling” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Big Thief, Mothers, Margaret Glaspy

Four years ago, Los Angeles-based Valley Queen delivered one of the year’s finest albums with their debut Supergiant. It was classic yet modern southern rock, filled with songs that could be considered as, well, modern classics. On their latest single, “Falling”, Valley Queen add so much depth to that sound that drew us in. 

“Falling” starts out with a playful sound, as plucky chords resembling a toy piano float alongside Natalie Carol’s voice. In the first chorus, things take a slight turn. Those chords become individual notes descending a scale with a big bass synth underneath. There are some fantastic little guitar parts accentuating everything. For the next chorus, it’s a much bigger sound with strings, harmonies, and a truly great rock song comes to the surface. The building sounds are echoed in the track’s lyrics, which frame falling not as failure or an end. It is, on the contrary, a journey itself, and sometimes there’s more to it than hitting the ground.

“And if ever you’re really dead
If ever you are dead and gone
You said deaths the starting line
It was just the beginning
Feels like falling”

Valley Queen are Natalie Carol (guitar, vocals), Neil Wogensen (bass, synth, keys); and Mike DeLuccia (percussion). The single is out on AWAL.

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Kiwi Jr. – “Night Vision” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: The Editors, Wolf Parade, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

A band’s upward trajectory can be foreshadowed by its collaborators. The group could be joined by popular artists, who may sing a few lines or play an instrument. Or in the case of Kiwi Jr., they had the privilege to work with the genius that is Dan Boeckner, who is best known for co-fronting some of the greatest indie bands of the 21st Century (Wolf Parade, Operators, Divine Fits, and Handsome Furs). With the Canadian music veteran’s support, it is safe to say that Kiwi Jr’s quirky, retro origins would be transformed and taken to a whole new level. Sure enough, the lead single from their forthcoming third album, Chopper, sees the quartet move out of the shadows of the ’90s and into the 2020s. And it’s gripping drama.

Jeremy Gaudet (vocals, guitar, keys), Brian Murphy (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Walker (bass, keys, backing vocals), and Brohan Moore (drums, backing vocals) get more amplified and electric on “Night Vision”. Swelling keys, a protruding bass, and a stammering guitar rift create a sense of late-night mystery. There is an urgency to the track unheard in previous Kiwi Jr. numbers, and it gives greater gravity to this tale of a few teens going for a joyride but all they see is tragedy.

“Then there’s light
bleeding in the ditch
your band hears a brand new Outkast song
for the very first time

Making all the stops, hit the storage locker, there’s a dead deer
lit up in the sensor light behind the Petro-Can”

Chopper drops August 12th via Sub Pop (global) and their own Kiwi Club imprint. Pre-saves and pre-orders available at these links and Bandcamp.

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Angel Olsen – “Through The Fires” (Asheville, NC, USA)

RIYL: Angel Olsen in the 1930s

It’s no secret that we think Angel Olsen is one of the best songwriters of the Century. We’ve said all we can about her past when she released her most recent singles, “All the Good Times” and “Big Time”. Both songs had us immensely excited for the arrival of her upcoming record, Big Time, and anticipation is further heightened on the LP’s latest single. 

Olsen describes “Through The Fires” as the “centerpiece” of Big Time. Where the previous singles celebrate the joy and freedom that came with embracing her queerness, Olsen was quickly reminded of how temporary things can be. Not long after coming out to her parents, they both passed away. “Through The Fires” echoes that in a big way. It concerns how everything is temporary, and the good and bad that comes with this realization. Her message is wrapped together nicely in typical Olsen fashion with her unwavering vocal gliding over a vintage sound. 

“Who exists in the past
But be freed from the longing
For one moment to last
And walk through the fires

Of all earthly desires
And let go of the pain that obstructs you from higher higher higher”

Big Time is due out June 3rd on Jagjaguwar. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here.

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Soccer Mommy – “Bones” (Nashville, USA)

RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo, Holly Humberstone

Sophie Allison has made quite a name for herself as Soccer Mommy. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter has an undeniable ability to channel late-Millennial and Gen-Z anxieties and problems into some fantastic art and making them relatable to all in the process. Whether it’s the wide range of 90’s alternative sounds or early 2000s digital aesthetics in her music videos, Allison is a master of capturing moments and vibes in a way few are.

Soccer Mommy’s latest single, “Bones”, was originally written for a romantic comedy. Luckily, Allison decided it would fit much better on one of her records. We’re inclined to agree, especially when grouped with the breezy “Shotgun” and the dark “Unholy Affliction” from the upcoming Sometimes, Forever. “Bones” has a lot of what defined that earlier Soccer Mommy sound: power chords, some great leads, and Allison’s voice reaching dreamy territory over everything. Lyrically, it’s about the self-inflicted insecurities that can tax a relationship and prevent it from thriving, even if they’re not really there. Like most of Soccer Mommy’s music, the track captures those types of moments perfectly with a combination of reflection, melancholy, and honesty.

“I wanna know what’s wrong
With all of the ways I am
I’m trying to be someone
That you could love and understand
But I know that I’m not
I’m not

You make me feel like I am whole again
But I think your heart could use a tourniquet
‘Cause I’ve bled you out and patched you up again
Far too much
To call it love”

Pre-orders and pre-saves for Sometimes, Forever are available at these links and  Bandcamp. It lands on June 24th via  Loma Vista Recordings.

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Sinead O’Brien – “Multitudes” (Limerick, Ireland)

RIYL: a young P.J. Harvey, Iceage, Emma Ruth Rundle

Ever imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with a songwriter that has a lot to say? Would they be like their onstage persona or be more reserved and quiet? We wonder this about Sinead O’Brien because in a short time she’s cemented herself as one of this generation’s great songwriters and storytellers. While she easily could follow the standard pop formula and write catchy, repetitive choruses, she refuses because there is too much happening in this world to talk about. There are too many things to ignore, such as equality and empowerment (“GIRLKIND”), and the vital role hope plays (“Good Times Are Coming”) in a world that is increasingly going backwards (“Holy Country”). She tackles all three themes on the immensely imaginative “Multitudes”.

More Gothic-folk in its approach compared to the post-punk foundations of the previous singles, “Multitudes” immediately captivates with its more restrained and haunting tone. A mournful fiddle carves through the melodic rhythms at the start. The melody then shifts with the rhythm section intensifying and wailing like a desperate group of Crusaders about to meet their end. O’Brien’s songwriting similarly creates this image, as Biblical references are weaved into the post-apocalyptic world she’s created. This world is part The Handmaid’s Tale and The Scarlett Letter, where all that is considered holy is unholy and vice versa.

“Praise the vision who returns in multitudes
Blinded by indecision
Bleach the books and let the tools go to ruin
Praise the body precious
Fearful beauty looks into the lowliness of submission
Burnt and bleached by desert suns
Praise the vision who returns
In multitudes comes and comes
Praise the vision”

Simply brilliant. The track is more evidence why we think O’Brien’s debut album, Time Bend and Break The Bower, will be among the year’s very best. It arrives out June 10th on Chess Club Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available here and on Bandcamp.

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Foals – “2001” (Oxford, England)

RIYL: Foals

A month still separates us and the arrival of Foals‘ new album, Life Is Yours. From the songs that Yannis Philippakis, Jack Bevan, and Jimmy Smith have released so far – “Wake Me Up”, “2am”, and “Looking High” – the Oxford outfit seem to have just one thing on their mind: to celebrate life. After all, we all have been cooped up for a couple of years and who knows maybe our days are numbered. So instead of wallowing on negativity, the trio raise our spirits with another booming single in “2001”.

The track is Foals channeling their inner Prince with the funky grooves as well as Daft Punk with the glittery nu-disco waves. At the same time, it is completely Foals with Philippakis’ trademark falsetto and the upbeat vibes that stream from start to finish. While for us the song may get the endorphins firing and thinking of what great things are to come, the band look back at the time when they were still unknown and full of youthful innocence. Specifically, they reflect on their carefree days in Brighton and when the world was pandemic-free.

“I’ve been waiting all day inside
Waiting for a summer sky
When we run wild
We’ll come up for air & go under again

Oh now the lights come up
Your eyes don’t lie
Blue when you call me up
We all know why!
Raspberry candy cane
Raspberry candy cane”

Life is Yours will be released June 17th via ADA/Warner UK Ltd. Pre-orders available on the band’s online store. It could very well be the party album of the year.

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Baby Strange – “Poor Old Me” (Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland)

RIYL: The Clockworks, Japandroids, Slaves

Another album dropping on June 17th and not to be overlooked is Baby Strange‘s World Below. While it likely won’t be a party album, it still will be cathartic and filled with impeccable songwriting. The Scottish trio are among the very finest in the business at either creating epic tales that belong on the big screen or capturing contemporary history in their music. For instance, on their previous single, “Only Feel It When I’m With You” that featured The Jezabels’ Hayley Mary, they brilliantly described the lingering torment that occupies people’s minds in these days filled with isolation and false information. For their latest output, “Poor Old Me”, they look at the role the medical profession  plays in people’s dependency.

As is the usual case, Baby Strange dial up the intensity with this blistering rocker. The guitars ignite while the rhythms erupt around Johnny Madden’s wavering vocal. His voice moves from intense and desperate to resigned and downtrodden. His approach mimics how he feels – a man battling with desperation and anxiety. As he seeks helps, all he gets is another prescription for drugs, which make him feel even worse. So how can he be helped and start feeling better when even the doctors cannot help him? As he shares:

“Oh poor me I’m so predictable
I can’t be happy if I try
And when I try not to be cynical 
It multiplies”
.

Baby Strange are: Johnny Madden, Connaire McCann, and Aidan McCann, who are signed with Icons Creating Evil Art (ICEA). Their sophomore album, World Below, will be released June 17th.

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Launder – “Become” (feat. Soko) (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Slowdive, Lush, present-day Deafheaven

In April, John Cudip released a pair of singles, “Unwound” and “Chipper”, under his project Launder, and they were simply dazzling. It was our introduction to the LA-based artists dream-inflicted work, where he brought the shoegaze grandeur of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive to the present. As great as those songs were, he reaches a whole other level of glory with “Become”.

Cudip’s instrumentation is superb, honoring the shoegaze greats of three decades ago by not trying to do too much. He instead allows his reverbed guitar to chime and create an out-of-body sensation. More importantly, he keeps everything restrained so that French indie star Soko‘s angelic voice can shine and rise above the gauzy delirium. Soko’s lyrics are similarly heavenly, as they share a tale of a person’s metamorphosis. Of a resurrection to become who they are meant to be. It’s a story that many know and the rest of us should. And likewise, we all should know the brilliance of Cudip and Launder.

Launder’s new album, Happening, will be unveiled July 15th via Ghostly. Pre-order it at these links. Cudip is joined by Chase Meier (bass), Bryan DeLeon (drums), and Nathan Hawelu (lead guitar).

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Zola Jesus – “The Fall” (Seattle, USA)

RIYL: Deradoorian, London Grammar, Krakow Loves Adana

Even some of music’s biggest artists are not immune to supply chain disruptions. Today, we should have been listening to and celebrating Arkhon, Nika Roza Danilova’s newest album as Zola Jesus. Instead, we have to wait another five weeks. While Danilova could have left us hanging, she’s opted to tease us with one more single and prepare us for what is to come. To prepare us for her metamorphosis, her transformation beyond the often seismic Gothic rush of her previous efforts. She gave hints of her evolution with “Lost” and “Desire”, on which she entered a realm of vulnerable starkness. Now Zola Jesus enters the world of Gothic, post-punk-tinged darkwave on “The Fall”.

The song commences like a morbid hymn, as shallow piano keys provide the stage for Danilova’s autotuned vocal. She sounds distant yet present, like a phantasm tracing our every step. Her words are full of power and imagery, as she sings: Clear new moon on dark sight / Looking at the stars waiting for signs / It took some time, but now I feel light / Can’t deny what’s wrong”.

The song gradually builds, as synths, percussion, bass, guitar, and electronics flood the soundscape. Suddenly, “The Fall” turns from solemn to widescreen and startlingly immense. To whom she is directing her words of uneasy devotion is unknown, as it could be a person, an institution, or a deity. Regardless of the target, the effect is the same – we become a prisoner within that other entity’s power and losing ourselves in the process.

“Symbols shake
How it’s forming
Fall in love too deep, that warning
Now it’s like a myth
Crossing the abyss
Into something new”

Arkhon is out June 24th via Sacred Bones Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves for Arkhon are available at these links as well as on Bandcamp.

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Pale Moon – “Truman Show” (Reykjavík, Iceland)

RIYL: Widowspeak, Neko Case, Trisha Yearwood

We were first introduced to Icelandic duo Árni and Nata’s project, Pale Moon, a year ago when they blew us away with “Parachutes”. At the time, they took us back to the ’70s with their psych-tinged folk-rock. The song had us thinking if they were around at that time, could they have been as well-known as Fleetwood Mac and people singing their songs at karaoke? Maybe this will be in the cards down the road, but for now they remain a hidden gem. But hopefully not for long when their debut album, Lemon Street, is released on June 1st. To prep us for what is to come, they share another throwback dazzler.

Sit back, relax, hold your partner’s hand, and get lost within “Truman Show”. Nata’s stunning voice, which approaches Neko Case levels, hovers over a dreamy, country-folk arrangement, which is highlighted by Árni’s Lindsay Buckingham-esque guitar solo. Although the track breathes elegance in its approach, grit and even anger consume Nata’s lyrics. With the film Truman Show as its inspiration, she sings about a life controlled by people one cannot see. Life is manipulated everyday and in every way, and we are just merely puppets entertaining the masses.

Brilliant.

Pre-save links for Lemon Street are available here.

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Living Hour – “Feelings Meeting” (feat. Jay Som) (Winnipeg, Canada)

RIYL: Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Blushing

Is Winnipeg turning into Canada’s new indie mecca? It’s too early to say, but the Manitoba capital is producing some great artists and bands and the world is noticing. For instance, NY-based Kanine Records and Canadian company Next Door Records have signed Living Hour. These two labels don’t just sign anyone off the street – they’re quite meticulous in who they add to their roster. As such, listeners can be guaranteed that they will hear outstanding music. We can be assured to be awed, as is the case with “Feelings Meeting”.

It’s not just the labels that see the potential and talent of Gilad Carroll (guitar, vocals), Adam Soloway (guitar, vocals), Sam Sarty (bass, keys, vocals), and Brett Ticzon (drums, bass, keys). Melina Mae Duterte of Jay Som joins them on this stunning number that glistens with the otherworldly intoxication of Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine in their prime. Like those great bands, the entire songs leaves one in a state of hypnosis, completely paralyzed by the gauzy guitars, the pulsing rhythms, and the vocal elegance of Sarty and Duterte. Living Hour, however, are not merely all about sonic fireworks, but they also deliver an introspective tale of loss, isolation, and the desire to reconnect. The desire to feel not forgotten.

“Leaning into nothing I can’t explain it.
Pulling back the wood on to a rented floorboard.
A certain kind of feeling I can’t afford.
Even when I’m still somewhere water is boiling.”

Living Hour’s new album, Someday is Today, is out September 2nd on Kanine Records and Next Door Records. Pre-orders available at these links and Bandcamp.

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Haiku Hands – “Bye Bye” (Sydney via Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: Sofi Tukker, Icona Pop, MARINA

If you have had a terrible day, week, month, or year(s), this song should lift your spirits. Well, it should at the very least help you temporarily get rid of all the bad vibes and raise two big middle fingers at everyone and everything that has made you frown, cry, hurt, or angry. Haiku Hands‘ latest number, too, will have you waving and hollering “Bye Bye” to those jerks.

“Bye Bye” was made for every club, dance floor, and electronic music festival. It will induce people to dance, wave their hands in the air, and, most importantly, smile. It is an outrageously fun banger that is obviously made for Friday and Saturday nights. Heck, it’s made for every night where we need to a pick-me up. There is a sense of humor and empowerment, however, intertwined within the bouncy beats and sizzling electronics. Beatrice Lewis, Claire Nakazawa, and Mie Nakazawa’s words are those everyone will be singing before the day is out.

“I don’t care what you say (I don’t!)
I won’t do what you say (I won’t)
Hey you get out of my face (get out!)
I’ve had enough of… you!

See you later!
Bye bye!
Alligator!
Don’t cry!”

The single is out on Spinning Top Records.

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