The Matinee ’22 v. 070 is the second half of our new music doubleheader. Like Part 1, it features eight superb songs that range from propulsive to club-worthy, from intoxicating to mind-bending.
NoSo – “Parasites” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Lunar Vacation, Naked Giants, Hana Vu
We all have our favorite bands and artists, but there are some who we cheer on a little harder and hope success greets them sooner than later. Abby Hwong is one of them. As NoSo, they’ve created music that is part cinema and part fantasy, as was the case with “Honey Understand”. It was a song to completely lose oneself in, and “Parasites” is one in which we drown.
A gorgeous folktronica approach welcomes us into Hwong’s mythical world. It sounds like it has emerged from the most glorious dream. Floating within this dazzling environment is Hwong’s lush voice. It is soft, immersive, and reflective, and their words, too, are introspective as they seek to be freed from expectations and appreciated for who they are.
“It’s your life
take off the drag
The Parasites, removed from your skin
And so lovely, lovely to meet you, again
Lovely to be born again“
Unfortunately, are expectations, hopes, and dreams for Hwong are sky high. This is due to her new album, Stay Proud of Me, coming out July 8th via Partisan Records. Pre-order the LP here or on Bandcamp. It should be a great one.
TV Priest – “It Was Beautiful” (London, England)
RIYL: IDLES, The Clockworks, The Murder Capital
The sign of a great band is their ability to constantly provoke and astonish across a variety of soundscapes and environments. And TV Priest are one of the great bands to emerge in the last half-decade. We say this not just because they are Artists to Watch alumni, but rather due to their consistency to make outstanding music. This year alone, Charlie Drinkwater (vocals), Alex Sprogis (guitar), Nic Smith (bass, keys), and Ed Kelland (drums) have released three eye-opening epics: “One Easy Thing”, “Bury Me in My Shoes”, and the stark “Limehouse Cut”. The quartet, though, are at their best when they amp up the intensity and unleash raucous post-punk and indie rock, which they do on “It Was Beautiful”.
With Smith’s unrelenting, throbbing bass line leading the way and Sprogis’ searing guitar providing the fuel, this tune will have you on the tips of your toes. It will have you bouncing around if not feverishly dancing or running. To say “It Was Beautiful” is an energizer would be underselling the power of this number, as it is also a slap in the face. That is, the song is intended to wake us up from our stupor and understand that there is beauty and light in this ugly, dark world. Drinkwater, with his trademark baritone, recites how he symbolizes humanity’s self-defeating mentality, and he, too, needs a wake-up call.
“You found me
Living like some mad king
Hiding under my bed
Walking the same old ground
And I couldn’t see
That a life was playing out
Gathering up at my feet
So I don’t forget
Write it on my head
It was beautiful”
Moving, relevant, and just awesome.
Courting – “Loaded” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Blur on 20 Red Bulls, Sports Team, Johnny Kills
Not too long ago, Courting was one of our 20 Favorite Hidden Gems. How could we not name a band that merges Brit-pop and art-punk into one furious brand of off-the-wall rock? Sean Murphy-O’Neill (guitar, vocals), Sean Thomas (drums, vocals), Michael Downes (guitar), and Sam Brennan (bass) are a party waiting to happen – or is that they are the party and we’re just waiting to be invited? Regardless, the quartet are preparing to extend their reaches and get people into a dizzying mood as their debut album is coming in a few months. They already gave a taste of what is to come when they played a mind-blowing game of “Tennis”. The LP’s second course is another gargantuan number that will, well, have you bouncing off the walls or into the person next to you.
Literally, “Loaded” is at-their-peak Blur on 20 Red Bulls. It is manically delightful with guitars swirling in every direction and rhythms (including a cowbell!) acting like jack hammers in order to reign in the chaos. Meanwhile, Murphy-O’Neill defiantly screams through the noise. He takes on all the imposters in the world, including the imposters who think he’s an imposter. He also confronts those who seek comforts behind white picket fences while setting aside their dreams. His words are clever and at times self-deprecating, but there is a lot of truth to what he has to say.
“So as these car parks get demolished into car parks
Well let’s think of all the places we could park when we were younger
People don’t do drugs anymore we sit around praying for money in oncoming traffic
We don’t, we don’t, we don’t do anything drastic
There are people that live here
Buildings Without feeling
Identical and soulless
It’s just a laugh
You’ve been using that word wrong, the whole time
And we didn’t even tell you”
We have to say it… Fuck yeah!
Courting’s debut album, Guitar Music, releases September 23rd on Play It Again Sam. It’s one we’ll be highly anticipating.
Momma – “Lucky” (Brooklyn via Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Veruca Salt, Elastica, Girlpool
Etta Friedman and Allega Weingarten may not have been born when grunge and grunge-pop were at their peaks in the ’90s, but their youth has not prevented them from becoming a present-day version of Veruca Salt and Elastica. So while the duo’s music as Momma may sound retro to us older music fans, it is refreshing in this day of mostly overproduced, top-40 music. It also is refreshing to hear a young band write meaningful songs that touch minds, hearts, and souls alike. Even when they were racing down Highway 1 on the exhilarating “Speeding 72”, they still found a way to slow down to pick us up. They do exactly this on “Lucky”.
Through a melodic yet gritty grunge-pop approach, the song could be on The Empire Records or Singles soundtracks. It possesses the same embracing qualities of the aforementioned Veruca Salt, complete with tantalizing harmonies and soaring guitar work. At times, the track feels like a piece of escapism, and other moments it’s as intimate as two friends sharing a secret. The pair’s tale, too, is intimate and moving, as they reflect on the months and years of separation from those they loved.
“How’d I get so lucky?
Next to you in shades of green
If I drive in four days time
I’d reach the face that can’t compete
Buckle up, I’ll be there
I need you near to me
We can’t keep getting separated
Can we forget how unsafe it seems?
We can’t keep getting separated”
TV People – “You Were Loved” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Interpol, Editors, Protomartyr
TV People were one of our favorite discoveries of 2020. Last year, they released their debut EP, Nothing More, a fantastic five-track ride that echoed the sounds of some of the best bands of the last 20 years. Killer bass grooves, huge guitar moments, and stirring vocals permeated throughout the EP. Considering its short length, it only left us wanting more. Luckily, we just got a little more.
The duo of Paul Donohoe (vocals, guitar) and Brendan Clarke (drums) return with “You Were Loved”. Everything that made that debut EP inviting is here: the bass, the guitar, the vocals. The drums here are also on another level, as huge tom fills dominate a good portion of the song and give way to moments of quiet before kicking back in. There’s a moment where just a little jingling guitar comes in before the song gets reassembled piece by piece, and it’s truly stunning. Before it all comes to a close, the bass builds up and a guitar cuts through in a huge way, before going back to the intense tom-heavy drumming. What a song!
“But I hope you know that you were loved
Open my eyes
To find myself by your side
I’ve tried to leave this behind
Why can’t I?
The single is out on Blowtorch Records.
Katrina Ford – “Go Deep” (Baltimore, USA)
RIYL: Celebration, Mt. Royal, Portishead
Anyone who’s heard her work with Celebration knows Katrina Ford has one of the best voices out there right now. Celebration had a pretty diverse sound, originally described as “psychedelic soul”, but they quickly added a lot of depth to their sound. After releasing their last record, Wounded Healer, in 2017, Celebration has been quiet. However, Ford has launched her own solo career and released three great new tracks “Peace Out”, “Gleaming The Cube” and “Peach”.
“Go Deep” is another fantastic single from Ford’s upcoming EP. Warm, bassy synth that feels like it came right out of the 1980s. Ford’s vocals are as powerful as one would expect, especially when it’s complemented with vocal samples creating some really cool layered sounds. Those layered qualities are present throughout, whether it’s the synth horns, the piano bubbling under everything, or the drum machine driving everything forward. “Go Deep” is just a really fun single that’s incredibly danceable, and one that begs for you to hit that repeat button.
“You can’t stop the sun, from telling anyone, go deep.
Another day has come, inviting everyone. Go deep.
And rest my soul, cause I can’t keep moving on.
It’s here it’s here it’s HERE”
Ford’s debut solo EP is due June 24 via Violin Films.
Why Bonnie – “90 in November” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Ratboys, Big Thief, Lomelda
In the four years since Why Bonnie released their debut EP, Nightgown (and one of our Favorites of 2018), they immediately became a band to watch. Gradually, their popularity has increased, as more people gravitated to their endearing music and front-woman Blair Howerton’s relatable songwriting. While some bands start cutting corners as the follower counts rise, Why Bonnie get better with each and every song, such as last year’s blissful “Galveston” and this year’s “90 in November”.
The track highlights what Howerton (vocals), Kendall Powell (keys), Josh Malett (drums), Sam Houdek (guitar), and Chance Williams (bass) do so well – that is create sweeping, dreamy soundscapes with underlying edge and urgency. In “90 in November”, this grittier side is heard in Houdek’s dangling guitar and Howerton’s downtrodden vocal. As unseasonable heat grips the heart of Texas, she sings about having writer’s block and struggling to make it through the day.
“I’ve been trailing off…
Lack of punctuation
Yelling like a dove
And sleeping like a question
Picking up a pen that’s running out of ink
Crossing my eyes and dotting all my T’s
Still it seems
Like it doesn’t mean a thing”
Why Bonnie’s sophomore album, 90 in November, is out August 19th on Keeled Scales.
Muna – “Home By Now” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Hatchie, HAIM, Ralph
MUNA really are poised to be one of the biggest bands out there once they release their self-titled third record. The trio of Katie Gavin, Naomi McPherson, and Josette Maskin are signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records, and Bridgers appears on their record. However, the reason for MUNA’s eventual conquest of the music world is not riding on Bridgers’ coattails. Rather, it’s because of songs like their most recent single, “Home By Now”.
“Home By Now” joins the trio of singles, “Kind of Girl”, “Anything But Me”, and “Silk Chiffon”, that the band have already released. “Home By Now” has such a warm layer of synth under everything. The drumbeat is just perfect for the vibes of the song, as is the lush vocal track over everything. While it is addictively danceable, the song is a heart-wrenching, breakup track, asking if it was the right call to break things off. The lyrics paint those moments of uncertainty so perfectly:
“Would we have turned a corner if i had waited
Do I need to lower my expectations
If we’d kept heading the same direction
Would we be home by
Now I don’t know if I’d been okay with
holding out hope for your stack of rainchecks
If I had been able to grin and bear it
Would we be home by now”
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