The Matinee ’22 v. 069 Part 1 of 2 mini-playlists for this Friday, May 27th is filled with amazing music. It commences with two singer-songwriters to know and then includes remarkable songs from familiar names.
Ella Tiritiello – “Say Something” (Kristianstad, Sweden)
RIYL: Amanda Tenfjord, Aurora, Ellie Goulding
With Eurovision 2022 in the rear-view mirror, we cannot help but wonder if the outcome would have been different if Ella Tiritiello represented Sweden. This is no offence to Cornelia Jakobs, who sang on behalf of the Tre Konor, or Kalush Orchestra, who won the event, but the voting public loves a great story. And everyone loves the tale of the underdog, particularly a teenager with a remarkable voice and mature songwriting who emerges from a small town and stuns tens of millions of viewers. Maybe as soon as next year 15-year old Ella Tiritiello will be performing in the final round and awarded the coveted prize. Music listeners, however, do not have to wait a year to be astounded. Instead, all we have to do is listen to her debut single, “Say Something”.
The only word that needs to be said is, “Wow!” The sweeping, cinematic dark-pop approach – complete with a superb string section – provides the perfect backdrop to Tiritiello’s immersive voice. She sounds both innocent yet mature well beyond her years, pleading to a friend or a loved one to tear down the walls and share their thoughts and inner turmoil. Tiritiello’s begs them to be honest, so that they both can move on instead of wallowing in painful silence. Her message is meaningful, powerful, and timely.
“Is this the way it stops?
You can’t open up
So we just fade, oh, what a shame
Is it a—
Is it a little too late for us?
A little too much right now
Well, here we go, I guess
You lose a friend”
The single is out on Platoon. Tiritiello is going to be a star. Let’s just hope that when she eventually signs with a massive label that she still will dictate her own path.
Sorcha Richardson – “Archie” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Middle Kids, Lucy Dacus, Sharon Van Etten
When we first covered Sorcha Richardson, it was 2015 and the Irish singer-songwriter called Brooklyn home. She had released “Petrol Station”, which was intimate electro-pop. In the seven years since, Richardson moved to LA before returning to Dublin. Like her physical journey, her music career has come full circle. She’s exchanged the synths and electronics for the classic instruments and the result is an even wider-screen sound. A sound that is simply awe-inspiring as heard on “Archie”.
Like Sharon Van Etten, Lucy Dacus, and Middle Kids, Richardson has created a slow-burning, emotive single that is among the year’s very best. The intimate yet mournful approach that opens the track provides the perfect base for Richardson to reflect on a relationship from her youth. Her voice is drenched in memory and contemplation, as she tries to recall every memory with Archie. This once unbreakable friendship erodes over time, and the gradual swell of acoustic guitar, slide guitar, bass, keys, and drums accentuates their separation. The climax is an incredibly stunning moment, but Richardson’s words are what cuts the jugular.
“I won’t hate you if you don’t
I ain’t waiting by the phone
But if you ever make that call
I’ll meet you on the dance floor
If you get a way out
Call me when you land
I’ve been making posters
Tryna start a band
Waiting on the weekend
There’s nothing for me here
So don’t you be a stranger
Don’t you disappear”
Richardson’s sophomore album is expected later this year. We cannot wait to hear what is to come.
Household Dogs – “Dead Cool” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Iceage, The Blinders, Bambara
Earlier this year, Household Dogs startled with the eerie brilliance of “Jesus in Leather”, which was a clever critique of the world we live in today. It was just a taste of the Leeds-based sextet’s creativity, as their outstanding EP, To Be Adored, revealed other layers to their craft. But instead of sitting back and taking a breather, the band have stayed busy and released another single, which could be considered an appendix to their record.
Dark, Gothic, and awesome is “Dead Cool”, mimicking the cinematic quality of Iceage at their height. The track rotates between a quiet, jumpy uneasiness to blustery, shallow wails of a deadened guitar, booming bass, and throbbing percussion. It’s like riding a hurricane, as the band take us high up mammoth waves and then have us crashing to the bottom. And it’s all exhilarating and hypnotic. Front-man Declan Newcombe, meanwhile, offers fleeting descriptions of how a mundane life built around routine have left us soulless. How it has left us dead. We have become slaves to the suburban life and the 9-to-5 job. In the process, we have become the person we feared we would become.
Household Dogs are: Declan Newcombe (lead vocals and guitar), Matthew Fogg (bass), Alex Fletcher (guitar), Ross Day (guitar), Alex Carrie (keyboards and percussion), and Joshua Hagan (drums). This song is out on Come Play With Me as part of a split 7″ with 52 Hertz Whale.
Chappaqua Wrestling – “Full Round Table” (London via Manchester, England)
RIYL: DMA’s, Palma Violets, Sam Fender
If the Brit-pop of the late-’90s and ’00s is to make a comeback, Chappaqua Wrestling likely will be at the forefront of this revolution – or more accurately resurrection. Originally from Manchester and now based in south London, the four-piece know how to forge together blistering guitar riffs, catchy melodies, and relatable songwriting. They could be, in other words, the next The Verve. We’ll be cheering on Charlie Woods, Jake Mac, Jude Lilley, and John-Paul Townsend because the world could surely use more songs like “Full Round Table”.
Akin to the aforementioned Brit legends, Chappaqua Wrestling seduce listeners with a stripped-back, calm melody. Anticipation of something grand, however, bubbles underneath because the bass pulses loudly and Woods’ voice is emotive and urgent. As he sings about ignoring all the noise and the doomsayers, his band mates kick the track into another gear. The moment is similar to the storm clouds parting to allow the sunshine to emerge and, thus, revitalize our souls. This tune does the exact same through the instrumental energy bursts and Woods and Mac’s terrific songwriting.
“Yeah you and me both know what not to read into,
The morning scroll makes your whole day blind
Their finger points with a denture smile
But you and me both know half empty’s see through,
The glass is full and the future’s bright
So I don’t care they ignore what we can do,
The papers and the cynics aren’t right,
There’s always a plane and a full round table
So take this shit out my mind, stay out my life”
Just awesome and extremely relevant in these times.
“Full Round Table” is out everywhere on EMI Music.
Gordi – “Way I Go” (Sydney via Canowindra, Australia)
RIYL: Rosie Carney, S. Carey, Fenne Lily
If people did not already know, Sophie Payten has an innate ability to heal the deepest wounds. Literally, she can help people recover because she’s a doctor. She is an everyday hero that for the past two years has worked and volunteered to treat people with COVID. As such, she put her other career, which we know as Gordi, on pause. Evidently, she didn’t completely stop because she found time to write new music.
This news, however, should not be surprising because Payten, too, needs medicine, which is her music. Writing and creating is her outlet. Touring, too, is part of her healing process, and she recently got to shed her scrubs for a few weeks to open for Kristian Matsson (a.k.a. The Tallest Man on Earth) on his European tour. During the shows, Payten shared songs from her forthcoming new EP, INHUMAN, including its lead single, “Way I Go”.
Payten’s first single since “Grass Is Blue” features all the elements that made us fans almost six years ago to this very day. Her soft, reverb-touched vocal remains as delicate and spine-tingling as a partner’s light caress on one’s back. The folktronica approach, which in this case features mostly Payten’s acoustic guitar with a bit of ambient noise, is calming yet embracing. Then there is Payten’s songwriting, which once again is enduring and fully of humility as she sings about unbreakable connections. Her words are not just lip-service – she’s experienced it first hand while watching others grapple with lost of loved ones.
“So traverse the earth to come back home
Hear me without a sound
I am mystified that wanting you is how
My feet firmly felt the ground
My feet firmly felt the ground
You’re the way I go
We’re winding like an open road
You’re the way I go”
Andrew Bird – “Make a Picture” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Andrew Bird, Kishi Bashi, The Tallest Man on Earth
Many terms could be used to describe Andrew Bird. He’s obviously one of the great violinist and fiddle players on the planet, but he’s also an outstanding composer, songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. There is very little that Bird cannot do when it comes to music, which he demonstrated earlier this year with the Joan Didion-inspired “Atomized” and “Underlands”, the first two singles from his forthcoming new album, Inside Problems. For the third song from the LP, he gets us to bop around and smile with the shimmering “Make a Picture”.
In these days of dour news, Bird reminds us to slow down time and remember all the little moments that end up defining our lives. Not only do his words tell us this but the superb orchestration as well. Each element is allowed to shine, whether throughout the track (such as the jittery percussion and the plucky bass) or in small doses (Bird’s trademark violin, the jammy guitar). When the instrument is not at the forefront, it plays a supporting role to allow the other components to come through. Bird’s smooth vocal sits on top of everything and tells us:
“All the scowling faces
All those feral brows
All those burn-out cases
Make ’em take a bow
I pass them smiling faces
Come on and show us how
Nevermind the braces
Love you anyhow
We love you anyhow”
Another perfect tune at the perfect time.
Ganser – “People Watching” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Dry Cleaning, Deeper, Secret Shame
Nearly two years have passed since Ganser released their awesome album, Just Look At That Sky. It was an instant post-punk classic that painted images of living in a dystopia. Written shortly before the world fell apart due to COVID-19 and released during the summer of 2020, it felt like such an urgent and timely record. Since then, the four-piece of Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums), and Charlie Landsman (guitar) have been relatively quiet when it comes to original tunes. Last year, they released an EP with a handful of songs from Just Look At That Sky remixed by artists like Bartees Strange, Algiers, and Sad13.
On their first single since then, “People Watching”, Ganser keep that explosive post-punk energy up and build on it in a big way. A simple but effective bass line kicks things off, and it is quickly joined by a crunchy guitar and some fantastic drum work. The vocals from Garofalo are delivered in a spoken word nature that complements the contained chaos of the song underneath. Its lyrics tackle how overwhelming everything can be, and how hopeless that feels. However, Garofalo stated “It’s not the idea that ‘It doesn’t matter, so don’t do it.’ It’s like, ‘It doesn’t matter, so just do what you want to do.”
“Yeah, the world is big
And nothing you do matters
You shake when you’re nervous
But you should be flattered
Oh yeah, the world is big
And you could do better
You shake when you’re nervous
But it doesn’t matter”
Katy J Pearson – “Alligator” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: IAN SWEET, Lauran Hibberd, Stevie Nicks
Katy J Pearson has really carved a place among our favorite songwriters recently. Her debut LP, Return, was a fantastic record where old met new in refreshing ways. She followed that up with some fantastic singles recently, including “Talk Over Town” and “Game of Cards”. It’s a sound that feels familiar, but pushes the boundaries of those sounds in such creative and inviting ways.
The latest single from Pearson, “Alligator”, is exactly what we love about Pearson’s music. Early on, it feels like a modern indie single with a great bass line leading into Pearson’s dynamic voice. It then kicks into gear with a booming chorus, as Pearson’s voice hovers over horns and a huge drumbeat. When it comes back in later in the song, it goes to even bigger places, before giving way to Pearson’s voice repeating itself through a little bit of distortion. It’s a really fun ride despite being about the anxieties that Pearson was facing when she wrote the single. Perhaps that’s exactly the point.
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