The Matinee ’22 v. 083 edition traverses great expanses, escalating to the far reaches of space to the depths of our inner consciousness with these nine songs. It also a strong Canadian flavor, which is apt given Canada Day is Friday.
RIYL: London Grammar, SKYE, M83
Whether or not Stefano Milella’s project Nother takes off and yields commercial success, his fingerprints on the entertainment industry will be permanent, as he’s composed music for several Italian TV shows and films. At the same time, which artist does not want to see their name on the marquee or mentioned in the same breath as M83? With his ability to craft majestic, interstellar soundscapes, his day should come and hopefully soon. What will help him get to that next level is partnering with talented individuals like Moon Leap, who he’s worked with for a couple of years, including last year’s epic, “Lines”. The two come together again on “US”.
Imagine the most improbable love story set in the middle of space, and this is what Nother and Moon Leap have created. Milella’s orchestration, as expected, is superb. Each element is patiently and intimately delivered. As such, instead of overwhelming the listener, he brings us into the track. More importantly, he keeps the layered synths, keys, beats, and electronics restrained so that Moon Leap’s lush voice and songwriting can shine. She sings about “going back in time” to start all over again as well as “going home to save us”. To save what we had and hopefully still have – plus to propel she and Milella to stardom.
The single is out on Abyond Music.
Dilettante – “Monster” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Kate Bush + Pulp + Nation of Language
In a not-so-previous life, Natalie Panacci and Julia Wittmann formed a band called For Jane. But like so many lives affected by the pandemic, they decided to start anew and, thus, Dilettante was born. Whether the name change will yield success will be determined with the passing of time, these two long-time friends who were born two days apart can take pride in knowing they’re creating music that gets people out of their seats. Check that, they get people running, dancing, and generally thinking they can conquer the world with songs like “Monster”.
Or in the case of the ultimate song from their debut album, Dilettante, they have crafted the perfect song for Stranger Things. If Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was Sam’s anchor to the real world, “Monster” is the anthem for Eleven, Michael, Dustin, Sam, Lucas, Will, Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve’s battle again Vecma. It is a soaring, ’80s-inspired synth-pop epic. Like the music of that great decade, everything is delivered with extra panache from the start, but it is not until the climax when the song reaches delirious heights. Panacci’s assertive voice, meanwhile, flies through the track, and she confronts the monster, making him know how he almost destroyed. Today, however, she exacts her revenge.
Such an awesome tune from a band whose name would signify music that is more delicate. Thankfully they are not that.
Beau – “Even If You’re Gone” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Marissa Nadler, Fiona Apple, The Smile
Heather Goldin and Emma Jenney are a rarity in New York City’s music scene – the lifelong friends are born and bred New Yorkers. Coming from families active within the Big Apple’s arts scene, they were exposed to everything the city has to offer. This partially explains why their project, Beau, spans multiple genres – alt-pop, art-rock, punk, folk, and contemporary pop. Where the duo are at their best is when they take different parts of their hometown and integrate it into a single. This means combining the drama, the mystery, and the allure of NYC, which is what they do on “Even If You’re Gone”.
Goldin and Jenny have created a beautifully dark and suspenseful number that could be included in an upcoming off-Broadway theatre production. The lingering, gauzy guitar adds a mystifying tone to the track while the whole orchestration is widescreen yet bold, akin to what Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead has composed. A seductive quality also emerges in the form of Goldin’s soaring vocal. She sings about starting over after losing someone, whether that is the passing of someone dear or a relationship coming to an abrupt end. Her words are poetic.
“It didn’t take me very long to find my way out
The door was wide open
What held me back was doubt
Of crossing the ocean without you at my side
But you wanted to leave to feel justified”
Beau’s third EP, Life Twice, is expected later this year. The video for the song is a must-see and should help bide the time into the record drops.
Tashi Delay – “Deception” (New Orleans, USA)
RIYL: Tom Tom Club, Sinead O’Brien, Shopping
If people thought 2020 and 2021 were big dumpster fires, the events – or more like the decisions handed down by the US Supreme Court – of last Thursday and Friday may have been the pinnacle of 2.5 years of crappiness. They showed that objectivity is just a word, as in practice the far right hand feeds the other right hand and ideology permeates in all branches of government. Some of the Chief Justices were so emboldened by the events that they made it clear they had agendas to deliver – their own as well as a whole political party. While Tashi Delay, the project of British-born, New Orleans-based Emily Seabroke, do not sing about what happened last week, they tackled the corruption that permeates in US politics on their latest single, “Deception”.
Musically, the tune is a ’60s / ’70s-laced, punk-infused, surf-rock number. It’s groovy and fun, highlighted by a terrific guitar riff and the plucky bass line. The song is made for beach parties. The best part, however, is Seabroke’s storytelling, as she describes how a Politician and a Banker form a lifelong relationship based on mutual benefit – riches and gifts to the Politician in return for political favors. Eventually, however, they get lost because they lose sight of the things that matter and what the people want.
“Politician and the Banker went to sea in a beautiful Lazzara yacht,
They took champers, and plenty of hampers, plan was to drink a lot.
Politician looked at their chart,
And realized that they were lost,
‘Hey Banker you’re really not that smart,
We’ve crossed the same ocean for days, And days, And days.’
Banker said to the Politician,
‘What a jumped up suspicion! You really are a shit!
It’s to confuse the cops, they’ll be searching non stop. I’m a clever boy you have to admit.'”
Tashi Delay are Emily Seabroke (vocals, guitar, bass), Josh Benitez (guitar), Matt Gross (drums), and Jonas Morbach (producer, sound engineer). Their debut album is expected his autumn.
JEEN. – “Mountain” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten + Broken Social Scene + Weather Station
Jeen O’Brien is the underdog that everyone cheers for because she is like us – a person living a simple life but with grand dreams. In the years that we have gotten to know her through her music as JEEN. – specifically her albums JEEN and Dog Bite, which were released during the pandemic – we have come to understand that she wishes to inspire people. O’Brien doesn’t need to be an international superstar. She just needs to be heard, whether on the radio, a TV show, or a film. Maybe her breakthrough happens later in the year when Tracer is released. Or it could happen now with “Mountain”.
Whereas many of O’Brien’s previous songs were in the guitar-pop and pop-rock spectrums, she turns to glimmering dream-pop on her latest single. A breathtaking dreaminess forms when the chiming guitar and the percolating synths emerge. The combination replicates the feeling one gets when a cool breeze unexpectedly blows on a scorching, summer day. It is reinvigorating and spirit-lifting, as are O’Brien’s lyrics. Her vulnerable yet inviting vocal reminds us that we “don’t have to move a mountain” to make meaningful change in our lives. For that matter, in a decade marred by chaos and uncertainty, we just need to trust our gut or that “sentimental feeling” we all get when we question what step to take next.
Supporting JEEN on the track are Robin Hatch (synths), Stephan Szczesniak (drums), and Ian Blurton (lead guitars, synth, bass).
“Mountain” is the lead single from O’Brien’s third album, Tracer, which will be released October 21st.
Lowell – “Hamptons City Cowboy” (Toronto via Calgary, Canada)
RIYL: Lana Del Rey, Lykke Li, Your Friend
Watching Elizabeth Lowell Boland and her project, Lowell, has been a treat. When she emerged on the scene almost a decade ago, she was creating catchy and dynamic electro-pop, which provided the canvas for her superb, observational songwriting. Her debut album, We Loved Her Dearly, as such, was remarkable. Since then, she’s delved into electro-rock and alt-pop, which encompassed her sophomore output, Lone Wolf. In what direction will she turn to next? She possibly provides an answer on “Hamptons City Cowboy”.
This stunner of a sad-pop ballad is reminiscent of Lana Del Rey’s cinematic numbers – both in its composition and Boland’s songwriting. Throughout its three minutes, the song constantly transitions, shifting from a piano-led intimacy to a widescreen, full sensory affair as synths, drums, bass, and guitar enter the fray. It’s a breathtaking ride that we wish to experience again and again. Boland’s story of falling in love, too, is one we could relive. She tells this familiar tale, however, differently than most, as she never says the word “love” nor fully describes her own emotions. Instead, she recounts how an innocent encounter led to something unexpected and something she desires to repeat.
The single is out now on Arts & Crafts. Maybe a new album is coming or another transformation in Boland’s constantly-evolving career.
Void Comp – “Lo-Pan” (Edmonton, Canada)
RIYL: Weval, Jon Hopkins, Moderat
Alberta’s music history is relatively lean in terms of major stars. k.d. lang and Nickelback are probably the most well-known of the bunch, but the province’s indie scene is undergoing its long-awaited second renaissance. After the likes of Chad VanGaalen and Preoccupations led the first wave nearly a decade ago, the next chapter should see an onslaught of new artists and bands emerge from a wider range of genres. Among the forerunners could be Void Comp, the project of multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter David Julé.
Forget about country music, rock, or even indie, Julé reveals the indietronica side of the province. With “Lo-Pan”, he’s crafted a mesmerizing yet stark number that infiltrates the unforbidden zones of our consciousness. Each shimmering synth and every pulsing beat sinks deeper into our minds, causing us to temporarily fall into a state of hypnosis. Our bodies grow limp while our thoughts float within this startling electronic vortex. Julé’s ghostly vocal sits alongside, telling us to let go if we want to be set free. His words are those of experience – those of an artist who is distinct from his fellow Albertans.
JW Francis – “Our Story” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Real Estate, John Andrews & The Yawns, Stray Fossa
JW Francis has been quietly making a name for himself among the New York indie scene. Self-described as “lofi jangle dream slacker bedroom pop”, that mess of words accurately describes what Francis is all about. Last year, Francis released WANDERKID, which he released while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Like its title suggests, the LP concerned wandering and changing and escaping your surroundings. The result was a fantastic and relatable record that really struck at a time where it felt quite relevant, as people once again started wandering after months of isolation.
Francis’ latest single, “Our Story”, is a perfect introduction to his music. The guitar jangle and Francis’ unique storytelling define the track. The sound is warm and inviting, and Francis’ voice is more reminiscent of a conversation with a friend than a powerful, booming voice, and that adds so much charm to his sound. A charm that’s amplified by Francis’ unique guitar sounds and the infectious percussion throughout the track. “Our Story” is accompanied by a wonderfully creative music video that matches the song’s vibe, featuring a puppet version of Francis.
Sydney Sprague – “Think Nothing” (Phoenix, USA)
RIYL: Soccer Mommy, Hop Along, Laura Stevenson
Last year, Sydney Sprague released a fantastic record in maybe i will see you at the end of the world. It was a mix of songwriter folk and indie folk, among other influences. There are some really stunning moments on that record, such as the end of “quitter” to the loud moments of “time is gone”. With a record that good came praise from all over, including NPR, Uproxx, and others.
The praise is part of what inspired her latest single, “Think Nothing”. Finally seeing her hard work pay off, Sprague admittedly battled a bout of imposter syndrome. The song was a reminder to indeed “Think Nothing” and turn that negative internal monologue off. Sprague’s voice booms over some huge guitar moments and crashing drums, which occasionally give way for moments of clarity. Its closing moments are immensely powerful, from the heavy drumming kicking in to Sprague’s voice powering over all of the noise. A symbolic drowning out of all that distortion, which is also reflected in her poignant songwriting.
“Think tonight’s the night
I’m gonna take myself for a real long drive
I’ll start another life cause I’m too scared of heights and the limelight
When I run and hide I know that I look like a stupid deer in the headlights”
Follow The Revue On...
Share This Article On...