To kick off the first week of July, The Matinee ’22 v. 086 offers a hodgepodge of songs. Call the mini-playlist diverse, eclectic, or wide-ranging, but hopefully you’ll agree these eight tunes are really great. A super-group commences this week’s music selection.
Broken Bells – “We’re Not In Orbit Yet” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Broken Bells, Spoon, Shearwater
Just as we thought (or more like hoped), James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) – a.k.a. Broken Bells – will be releasing a new album this year, and it will be their first since 2014’s After the Disco. Into the Blue will be out “soon” according to the band, and it represents their first new music since standalone singles “Good Luck” and “Shelter”, which were heard in 2020 and 2019, respectively. After a lengthy break, what can be expected from two of music’s powerhouses? Will they go the way of many veteran artists and play it safe, delivering music that either is made for the radio or is just familiar? For those who have followed Mercer’s and Burton’s careers, the answer is obvious – of course not.
Despite its name, “We’re Not In Orbit Yet” is a cosmic art-rock number that could be the opening track to an intergalactic opera. But instead of hurtling through the cosmos, this is more of an unhurried Sunday drive, where we contemplate our purpose and what lies before us. Or in this case, it is, at least the first half, an easy journey through the blackness of space. During this time, Mercer calmly shares:
“Nothing to learn
Pages to burn
There’s no real world for you to know
So shut your mouth
Your inner self
How many heads are gonna roll?”
When Mercer finishes his sermon, the guitar rises, streaking like a comet across the vast expanse. The moment is an eye-opening, mind-bending spectacle that not only signals the return of a great band but a song-of-the-year candidate.
Trunky Juno – “Oxford English Dictionary” (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England)
RIYL: Dayglow, Sugar Ray, Boy Pablo
Ever since we first heard him in March of last year, Trunky Juno has solidly been among our favorite songwriters. His music is great! Between a pair of EPs and a handful of singles, Juno creates such perfect vibes for the stories he’s trying to tell. It’s those stories paired with his wit and remarkable way with words that make Trunky Juno really stand out like Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. Take for instance his newest single.
“Mississippi is a pretty difficult word to spell” are the first words uttered on Trunky Juno’s new single, “Oxford English Dictionary”, setting the stage for this sonic ear-worm. Bouncy acoustic guitar, occasional synth flourishes, and some blissed-out guitar make things quite inviting. The production is also improved over Juno’s previous releases, and the result is a fantastically well-rounded sound with a lot of depth. The vocals are terrific as well, as Juno’s laid-back delivery is complemented by a singalong chorus. At one point, Juno proclaims his love for Bill Goldberg as he watches an episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It’s amazing how Juno takes some mundane and boring moments like reading the dictionary or eating a TV dinner and adds so much life and excitement by just adding his own color to them.
“I can be your Oxford English Dictionary on the shelf,
As long as I’ve got nothing new,
Nothing better to do.
Is it ok on your own.
Is it everything you wanted and more.
Yeah i’m starting to change,
Do you feel the same?
I don’t know what this is.”
The single is out on Silent Kid Records.
Rachel Bobbitt – “Bandages” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Maple Glider, Babehoven, Ada Lea
Rachel Bobbitt‘s upcoming EP, The Ceiling Could Collapse, is poised to be a significant breakout record. It’s not the beginning of Bobbitt’s journey, but it’s a point where Bobbitt may have found her true identity as a songwriter and artist. In her formative years, Bobbitt would post covers of songs to YouTube and TikTok. She’d cover the likes of Big Thief, Bright Eyes, and Sharon Van Etten among many others. Those artists’ influence can be heard in her sound. However, as revealed on the powerful and empowering “More”, which she released in May, there are plenty of unique qualities to draw listeners in. Since then, she’s released three new songs, “Gemini Ties”, “What About The Kids”, and her latest single, “Bandages”.
“Bandages” hits as hard as any song of those three previously named influences. Starting out with delicately strummed guitar, Bobbitt’s vocals layered in gorgeous harmonies. Drums kick in, but just muddied enough to create a dreamlike sound. Bobbitt says the single “is about the helpless feeling of loving someone who is struggling.”Even with that hopelessness, Bobbitt doesn’t give up. Working through those emotions in her songwriting, the song ends with Bobbitt repeating three simple words.
“Feels like I’ve been born tired
I could take it back but where’s the fun in that
I love you (x3)“
Anna Erhard – “Campsite” (Berlin, Germany via Basel, Switzerland)
RIYL: Wet Leg, Yard Act, Of Montreal
Last month, Swiss artist Anna Erhard amused us with the addictive “Guestroom”. The track was fun in its approach yet clever in its message, and it was a great introduction to the Swiss-born, Berlin-based artist’s music. With no interest to fade away to the sunset, Erhard builds on her winning formula with “Campsite”.
This number is like David Byrne joining Wet Leg on a whirlwind jaunt through the woods. It is quirky, groovy, and immensely entertaining with the bumbling guitars and the head-nodding goodness of the jerky rhythms. Erhard’s nonchalant and unassuming vocal delivery is perfect for the track, as she sounds like a person unimpressed by her situation. In this case, she’s always the bridesmaid and never the bride while being the subject of her companions’ entertainment. She shares her predicament with self-deprecating humor and honesty.
“I used to have a good time
on the campsite
I used to get compliments
for my tan lines
Once I got so close
and then won second price
I was this close
to being Miss Campsite
in the torchlight
I was a leader ‘cause
I had the most mosquito bites”
Winsome – “Novice” (Oakland, USA)
RIYL: HOVVDY, Toledo, Alex G
Just by their name, Winsome evoke a nostalgic feeling. Their description of themselves, “raw, sweet, moody, and nostalgic”, echoes that as well. The Northern California-based band’s albums and singles also are littered with clippings of old magazine ads and family photos, and they add to their retrospective approach. Their 2021 record, Jukebox Blues, unsurprisingly features layers of nostalgic haze, but also adds a contemporary feel to things in the vein of bands like Real Estate or Alex G.
Their latest single, “Novice”, is an expansion of that sound into something even more impactful. Raw guitar chords echo under everything, while vocalist Joey Oliveira’s voice is drenched in reverb and accompanied by harmonies. The drums also have a distinctively vintage quality to them,and each cymbal strike ringing out pristinely. Lyrically, “Novice” feels like it’s looking back, but there’s a bit of a realization of maturity and self-awareness in its words. There’s a lovely build at the end of the song with a brief but eye-popping guitar solo, before it all gives way for one final refrain:
“Honest to God I donʼt think Iʼll ever know
I donʼt think I’ll ever know”
Winsome are Joey Oliveira (vocals, guitar), Jess Carey (bass, vocals), and Aaron Inacio (drums).
Emily Lubitz – “Like I Do” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Pearl Charles, Juanita Stein, Tinpan Orange
Emily Lubitz has been crafting wonderful indie-folk songs for over a decade. A member of Tinpan Orange, which includes her brother Jesse, the band has a well-defined sound. However, after years of performing and recording with the same people, Lubitz is ready to take her first step towards a solo career.
Lubitz’s debut single as a solo artist is “Like I Do”. It’s impossible to deny the track’s Laurel Canyon vibes and parallels between the songwriting of Lubitz and many of those legends who passed through the canyon. The song’s foundation starts out almost understated, with a little guitar hook and some acoustic guitar chords ringing out. It’s a perfect canvas for Lubitz’s powerful voice to paint upon. As the song progresses, though, it reaches soaring heights, especially in its harmony-drenched choruses. It all feels very cinematic, punctuated by the song’s examination of how a relationship can change over years yet things still stay the same.
“After all this time we’re still awkward on the phone
Why do I say more when I’m alone
I thought I’d work you out in a year or two for sure
But you’re still so strange, I wanna know you a little more
But it was different when we were younger
We didn’t know it would last this long
We were drunk and full of bluster
Now we got these blue eyed sons
I wanna love you
I wanna love you like I do“
Jake Whiskin – “Headfirst Dive” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Eels, The Uglysuit, Gin Blossoms
English singer-songwriter Jake Whiskin is a man of many faces. He can be a crooner and troubadour, singing romantic tales and melting hearts in the process. He can turn into a rocker and deliver some awesome guitar licks. Occasionally, he’ll strum his acoustic guitar and transform into folk hero. Or as he shows on “Headfirst Dive”, Whiskin can channel the pop-rock stars of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s and share a song straight out of a coming-of-age movie.
This melodic rocker echoes of Eels in their prime and indie legends like Gin Blossoms and The Uglysuit. Akin to these bands, Whiskin has created an anthem for a younger generation still searching for purpose in this chaotic world. In some instances, they never find out, choosing instead a different path that Whiskin reveals during the song’s chest-swelling bridge. Listen carefully to his words because this is not a love song but a tribute to everyone who left this world too early and the mark they left on us.
“Can’t catch a breath, there’s no way out
All your bridges have burned down
You thought you could get higher
But you’re out on the wire again
I’m jumping in with a headfirst dive
It begins with a last goodbye
Because I’ve wasted so much time
Spent in my mind with dreams of you”
The single is out on Dance To The Radio.
Mines Falls – “Right Angle” (feat. O Mer) (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Sleep Party People, Son Lux, Radiohead
Within a five-year period, Carson (vocal) and Erik Lund (production) released three records as Mines Falls. In all likelihood, Once I Was You, Mines Fall, and Nepenthe flew under the radar for most people, including ourselves. But as we all know, popularity is not an indicator of ability, and some gifted artists and bands never get their due. Let’s hope, however, that the LA-based duo get noticed very soon so that songs like “Right Angle” can be heard in every Urban Outffiters and HMV store across the globe and then occupying Spotify playlists.
Mines Falls’ newest single is a spiraling, art-rock epic. It comes from the same, innovative dimension of Sleep Party People and In Rainbows-era Radiohead, where each individual element stands out but performs an important role in this unnerving story. With stuttering rhythms intertwined with percolating guitars and pulsing keys, the song is the space where dreams and nightmares collide. It is simultaneously stunning yet startling and only Carson’s immersive baritone keeps us from being torn apart, although his tale of the demons in our minds just might do the deeds.
“For all the lies in the basement
And all the hours wasted
Now we know what’s waiting
And now the fire’s raging
Point your rifles at
The all-knowing eye
Hold true and mean it
Fill your pockets up
And now you’re running wild
All through the evening”
Simply a terrific song from a band that we will be watching closely from now on.
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