The Matinee ’22 v. 068 feels mostly like a Friday mini-playlist, featuring new singles that will get the adrenaline flowing, lift spirits, and have you in a celebratory mood. There are also tunes that will leave you in a state of suspended animation due to their tantalizing power.
Macey – “The River” (Auckland, New Zealand via the United Kingdom)
RIYL: Ra Ra Riot, Death Cab for Cutie, Passion Pit
As a teenager, Harry Parsons drew comparisons to Bob Dylan and Matt Corby with his folk sound and bigger-than-life songwriting. The buzz behind him was real and building. Who knows, if he had continued down this trail, he and fellow Kiwi Marlon Williams could have formed the New Zealand and modern-day version of the Traveling Wilburys. Maybe such a project is still in the cards, but right now Parsons has reinvented himself under the name of Macey.
Like Dylan going electric at Newport, Parsons heads into electrified air but towards shimmering alt-pop . The result is a song that people from every corner of the Earth will be talking about and dancing while doing so.
“The River” is a sweltering number in the mold of Ra Ra Riot and Death Cab for Cutie. The stammering bass with the sparse keys warmly welcome us into Parsons’ new chapter. As the drums kick in, synths emerge, and a guitar distantly chimes, the track gradually becomes increasingly euphoric. Sweeping through this dreamy soundscape is Parsons’ embracing voice. It has the charming tone of RRR’s Wes Miles paired with the songwriting imagery of Ben Gibbard. While the song may lift our spirits, he reflects on a six-year relationship coming to an end, where “the river has run its course”. However, the UK-born singer-songwriter has found a new path that should lead to new memories.
The single is out on FiveAM Records. Parsons’ debut album as Macey is expected later in the year.
Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – “Aw the Time” (Glasgow via East Kilbride, Scotland)
RIYL: Fontaines D.C., The Blinders, The Ninth Wave
With so many great post-punk bands coming from Ireland and the UK, it’s difficult to say which one is the very best. Instead of trying to rank them, we’ll just say their are all superb, and this includes Declan Welsh & The Decadent West. In the short time we’ve covered the four Scots, they have delivered two types of songs – soaring and suspenseful or raucous and earth-moving. In other words, Declan Welsh (vocals), Duncan McBride (guitar), Ben Corlett (bass), and Murray Noble (drums) desire to literally rattle bodies, minds, and walls alike, as they demonstrated on “Impermanency”. The Glasgow-based outfit now take us down into the corridors of the underground with “Aw the Time”.
The track is post-punk at its mind-altering, hypnotic best. It immediately grabs hold with the ringing guitar and the grimy, pulsating rhythms, which together form a gloomy and eerie environment. Welsh’s vocal, meanwhile, is steady and unwavering, resembling a man who is completely unaware of the dangers that surround him in this place. Or is he now a part of this underworld, where he is “sleeping in all the time”? Where he now shows his “devotion and care” to its ruler? It’s a great tale of how humanity has become immune to the greatest threats to our existence, which is ourselves.
The quartet’s forthcoming, new EP, Impermanency, releases July 4th via Frictionless Music. It should be a great one.
Mamalarky – “You Know I Know” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Slow Pulp, Sasami, Deerhoof
Mamalarky‘s 2020 self-titled debut was a wild and fun ride. At times, it was folky, other times jammy, and occasionally it got loud. Livvy Bennett, Dylan Hill, Michael Hunter, and Noor Khan have an undeniable gift of creativity and a true commitment to the art they create. It goes beyond the unpredictable sounds with some engaging and intelligent lyrics paired with them.
Mamalarky describe their latest single, “You Know I Know”, as “MGMT meets Weezer meets Sheryl Crow”. Qualities of those artists are present, but Mamalarky’s approach makes them feel completely unique when assembled together. Its production is a bit lo-fi, and the track benefits from that greatly. The laid-back guitar and synth are a perfect combination to showcase Livvy Bennett’s voice. In the choruses, her voice soars over that guitar while drums bubble over in a big way. Lyrically, “You Know I Know” is about life on the road and dreams of trying to make it as a band. It’s a fantastic single, and one that Bennett almost decided not to release. We’re glad she did.
“Flip a cushion find a fortune
Taking that time is so important
Taking that time is so important
Nine hundred fifty nine away
Passing a shop with shotgun displays
Passing a shop with shotgun displays
You know that I know that we know all we will become
Sorcery distortion the scenery the hard pit of a plum”
Find this single on Fire Talk Records.
Shearwater – “Laguna Seca” (New York City & Austin, USA)
RIYL: Loma, Okkervil River, John Grant
As Jonathan Meiburg approaches his 30th anniversary of his music career, the Baltimore-born singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has proven to be one of the most creative forces within the industry. He’s done this without compromising his creativity for mass popularity. Listen to any Shearwater record or recent releases with Loma, and it is evident that Meiburg operates on his own terms. This allows him to create mythical fantasies, as he did with the hypnotic first singles, “Xenarthran” and “Aqaba”, to his forthcoming album, The Great Awakening. Now prepare to get on the magic carpet with the third and final single from the LP.
An extension of “Xenarthran”, “Laguna Seca” could be the soundtrack to a great historical mystery set among Egypt’s grand pyramids or the cold sands of the Petra Desert. The methodical, Middle Eastern-inspired rhythms and the strokes of the strings create the trembling space for Meiburg to tell his tale taken right from mythology. It concerns how fantasy and reality become blurred, and a person can be changed from an experience that happens here or some other dimension. And how we all can change from a single, innocuous moment.
“Offer him something
He’ll never return
The lack of all respect
The lives underneath
And down in the market
It’s a race
Just Mustard – “Seed” (Dundalk, Ireland)
RIYL: The Murder Capital + Suuns + Ritual + Siouxsie Sioux
Speaking about great post-punk bands across the pond, Just Mustard continue to perplex and awe. In “Still” and “Mirrors”, the Irish quartet delivered two of the most devouring singles of 2022. They were songs that long stayed etched in your mind, which is what great bands do. For their third and final single from their soon-to-be-released sophomore album, Heart Under, Just Mustard leave not just a mark but a permanent scar.
Katie Ball (vocal), David Noonan (guitar, vocal), Mete Kalyoncuoglu (guitar), Rob Clarke (bass), and Shane Maguire (drums) traverse more Gothic, experimental darkwave soundscapes on “Seed”. It is a brilliantly dark, foreboding, and shadowy number that swirls between sheer, frightening noise to tepid and uneasy moments. The orchestration is superb with the harrowing guitar, coursing bass, and thunderous percussion.
Ball’s voice, meanwhile, resembles a banshee in the night, hollering in the distance and playing tricks on our minds. Eventually, she gets closer to the point where we feel her presence curled up under the covers, lying warmly next to us. All we can do is welcome her even if we are left trembling throughout the night. She has implanted a seed of doubt, fear, and anxiety in our mind.
The Shivas – “Doom Revolver” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: La Luz, Ty Segall, The Black Angels
So many bands around the world still wait to receive their overdue recognition. Sure The Shivas have established a cult following since arriving in 2006, winning over fans with their ’70s-drenched psychedelic rock. Jared Molyneux (vocal, guitar), Eric Shanafelt (bass), Kristin Leonard (drums, vocal), and Jeff City (guitar), however, should be acknowledged on the same level as Ty Segall, The Black Angels, OSEES, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Bass Drum of Death, who all emerged at approximately the same time. Then again, maybe flying under the radar suits the quartet because they could continue to do what they do best instead of being manufactured by industry big wigs. If they were more popular, would we get a deliciously trippy rocker like “Doom Revolver”?
Find those bell bottoms, flowery and paisley tops, and straighten your hair because this tune will send you back to the era of T. Rex and The Byrds. Like the great music of the ’70s, the track ebbs and flows, at times surging with flaming guitars and hammering rhythms and other moments easing into a gentle hallucination. All the while, the sugary harmonies of Molyneux and Leonard float through the sonic vortex, adding further delirium to the track. Their lyrics mimic the song’s dizziness, recounting how life is cyclical: where death gives way to life and how we all must one day meet our maker. But first, we’ll enjoy the times we have thanks to The Shivas.
Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? – “Troglodyte” (Kouvola, Finland)
RIYL: Silversun Pickups + Wolf Parade + The Go! Team
One of the funnest bands on the planet are unquestionably Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? The name says it all! For nearly a decade, Susse Stemma-Sihvola (vocals, bass), Ekku Lintunen (vocals, guitar), and Janne-Petteri Pitkälä (drums) have made fans, including us, smile, laugh, and go beserk. For instance, their previous single, “Pool”, was made for summertime parties. Their bombastic and cathartic approach complements their positive messages, which tend to focus on lifting people’s spirits, having us realize that better days are ahead. They replicate their tried-and-true formula on the superbly anthemic “Troglodyte”.
The trio’s newest single is made for the largest stadiums in the world. It is a loud, energetic, and boisterous ear-worm that will incite waves of jumping and shouting. This tune, however, is no cookie cutter, as proggy synths drive the track (it’s very Wolf Parade in that sense). As the song spirals like a sonic funnel cloud, Stemma-Sihvola humming voice tells us that “This time I got it together / This time I’ve got it together”, signalling that she’s ready to take on the world after years of hibernation. She, however, will not do this alone but encourages us to join her, Lintunen, and Pitkälä on a new adventure. To join them to live our lives to the fullest before the sun sets.
The song is taken from the trio’s new album, Main Coon. It will be released June 3rd on VILD Records, just in time for the summer holidays.
JayWood – “Thank You” (Winnipeg, Canada)
RIYL: Genesis Owusu, Blood Orange, Baker
Ask most Canadians about what is there to know about Winnipeg, and most would say very cold winters and tons of black flies in the summer. For that matter, most Winnipeggers would say the same. The Manitoba capital, though, has more going for it, including some great architecture, art galleries, and JayWood.
While Jeremy Haywood-Smith’s project is still in its early days, he is a name to remember because very soon he will be collecting Juno Awards and receiving other accolades. With a wide-ranging style and thoughtful and insightful songwriting, as he displayed on “God Is A Reptile” and “Just Sayin”, his music will appeal to teenagers to seniors and everyone in-between. And he’ll get people of all ages in a celebratory and hopeful mood with “Thank You”.
Haywood-Smith’s newest song is made for everyone. It is made to unite people and jointly celebrate our diversity and acknowledge our individuality. As the infectious ’90s R&B-laced, bedroom-pop melody plays and Haywood-Smith’s silky smooth voice glides over the popping synths, groovy beats, and diligently plucked guitar, we can dance together. We can clap in unison during the bopping chorus. And we can sing along with JayWood when he says:
“I just want to thank you for the best years of my life
When I finally grow
I wish I could rest some loneliness that follows
But the best is yet to come”
This tune could not have come at a better time as we say goodbye to those we love and hello to those we have not seen in many years.
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