Nine songs are included on The Matinee ’22 v. 088, featuring powerful and emotional messages as well as tunes full of introspection and contemplation of what the present means for the future.
Pet Owner – “Helping Hand” (Lucerne, Switzerland)
RIYL: Cate Le Bon, L’Impératrice, Helena Deland
Let’s kick things off with a new artist who could become yours and everyone’s latest musical crush. Lea Mathis is her name, and she goes by the moniker Pet Owner. Her pseudonym may elicit many images – could be the name for a singer who creates lullabies or catchy, educational pop tunes for kids. She obviously is none of the above, but rather she is turning dream-pop into a heavenly experience. For instance, her debut single, “Hysterical”, was a delightful, springtime ditty that induced plenty of smiles. Meanwhile, Mathis’ second single, “Helping Hand”, will further recharge the batteries and leave you in a splendid move.
Seventies’ psych-pop intertwine with French dream-pop on Pet Owner’s second single. With its crunchy guitars, beeps, bops, and rhythmic splashes, the track is perfect for a pleasant day at a beach-side carnival. It is pure, glorious sunshine. At the same time, a coolness is felt, specifically from Mathis’ breezy, velvety vocal. Despite the calmness of her delivery, she recalls a time when a friend or a family member was struggling to get through each day. Their place is in shambles, and their lives are falling apart. Mathis, however, let’s them know she’s there for them.“I’ll offer a hand if it made a difference / I am sure this won’t take no time”, she sings at the very end, offering one final positive message to what was a gloomy moment.
Pet Owner’s debut album, Natural Behaviour, will be released September 9th via Red Brick Chapel.
Aubrey Haddard – “Future Boxes” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Bess Atwell, Zella Day,
One of our favorite discoveries of the past year is Aubrey Haddard. We admittedly were slow to get on the bandwagon, but now we cannot see us getting off anytime soon. She’s released four stellar songs in a row, beginning with the enticing “Portuguese Red”. She followed that up with a challenging examination of the state of the world on “National Tragedy”, tore down her self-imposed prison on “Just A Wall”, and tackled manipulation on “Green as Ever”. Now she makes us take a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we will take a leap of faith on “Future Boxes”.
The third single from Haddard’s forthcoming album, Awake and Talking, features all the elements that drew us to her music. It is a bold, trembling number that straddles the boundaries of darkness and light. A chiming, gauzy guitar competes with the brooding pulses of the bass and synth, and this battle is like the war raging in our minds. But instead of pulling us apart, this song is riveting and addictive. It is the stimulant we need to do something we normally would not. The motivation we need to take a risk and find out if there is more to life – if there is more to our own capabilities.
Awake and Talking will be released August 19th on Beverly Martel.
Julien Baker – “Guthrie” (Memphis, USA)
RIYL: Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, Phoebe Bridgers
Last year, Julien Baker released Little Oblivions, which was quintessential Baker – a powerful album full of extraordinary songwriting. Unsurprisingly, it was one of our favorite LPs of 2021. Three songs, however, did not make the final cut, but they were too good to be collecting dust. As such, they will be included on B-Sides, a three-song EP that could be considered an compendium to Little Oblivions.
Listening to the first single from the EP, “Guthrie”, it’s easy to hear why it didn’t quite fit in with Little Oblivions. Whereas the aforementioned record was full of huge cathartic moments in big rock moments, “Guthrie” is just Baker and her guitar. It’s a fantastic single on its own and reminiscent of what made her first LP, Sprained Ankle, special. Her lyricism hits just as hard as ever, and it’s amplified over a finger-picked acoustic guitar. “Guthrie” is such a fantastic track and it deserves the proper release it’s getting. Whether the other tracks on B-Sides are acoustic or not, we do not know, but the first of the three tracks leaves a mark right from the start, particularly Baker’s introspective songwriting.
“I hit the bottom, and start pulling up floor boards.
Whatever I get, always need just a little bit more.
So I’m catching a ride now to get on the first flight.
You told me it scares you–the way that I was tonight
Oh I miss when I was certain about every little thing;
Was so scared of forgetting that I put it down in ink.
used to call upon the spirit, now I think heaven lets it ring.
I wanted so bad to be good, but there’s no such thing.”
Pronoun – “roe vs. gofvckurself” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Natalie Imbruglia, Vanessa Carlton, Sixpence None the Richer
June 27, 2022 will be a date long remembered in American history but not for the right reasons. On this day, the conservative majority of the US Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion, which was originally conferred in the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade. In the two-plus weeks that have passed, numerous songs, poems, articles, and essays have been written on the topic. People are rightfully angry, sad, and disappointed. Articulating these emotions is Alyse Vellturo – a.k.a. Pronoun – on her newest single, “roe vs. gofvckurself”.
Despite the title, the song is not an angry nor ferocious number. Rather, it’s a delicate and thoughtful tune reminiscent of the folk-touched pop numbers of the late ’90s and early ’00s. The melody is soothing and endearing with the feathery drums and the terrific combo of acoustic guitar and chiming electric guitar. Vellturo’s sincere voice and introspective songwriting, however, are the stars. She reflects on where she was and what she was doing when the news broke that Supreme Court’s decision was official. Her final words leave the deepest scars, where women once again are subjected to a set of laws that puts them unequal to men.
“People say to just trust the system
But those who run it don’t see us the same way
One of my exes texted me that
The other texted me it will be okay
And it’s the way you make us feel like nothing at all
Five years later
Burn it all
Burn it down”
If you wish to support efforts to promote and ensure women’s reproductive health and rights, the ACLU has prepared a list of organizations, services, and advocacy groups.
Lunar Isles – “Balloons” (Cheongju-si, Republic of Korea)
RIYL: Marlin’s Dreaming, Washed Out, Soaked Oats
The only things we know about Lunar Isles is that his name is David Skimming, and he’s a Scot living in South Korea. We also know that he spends some of his spare time creating blissful dream-pop, and we came across this information after hearing the Washed Out-esque “Subnivean”. Whether Skimming can find success with his bedroom project in a country that gave us K-pop is a monumental task, but the young man did move across the planet to start a new life. As such, we won’t underestimate what he’s capable of doing, especially if he continues to craft magic like “Balloons”.
Just close your eyes and let your imagination run free while breathing in the intoxicating atmospherics of Lunar Isles’ newest single. It is beyond dreamy. Instead, with the jangly guitar perfectly executed against the easygoing rhythms and Skimming’s heavenly vocals, the whole experience is more like a trip to another dimension or a dive into the rabbit hole and finding our Utopia. This is pure escapism, which Skimming finds in balloons that rise to the clouds and effortlessly glide in the wind.
Like that helium-filled object, Skimming stands out from the crowd, trying to find his way in a place that is still strange to him and he to them. At the same time, a part of him wants to return to familiar territory, but only if the jet stream takes him there. “Feels so far yet so close”, he shares early on. While he may have conflicting feelings, we feel his new surroundings will soon feel like home.
The Vacant Lots – “Chase” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Broken Bells, Balthazar, Warhaus
Once upon a time, only a few thousand people knew who Brian Joseph Burton was, and now Danger Mouse is one of the most sought-after and influential producers in music plus is one-half of the super-indie duo Broken Bells. Jared Artaud and Brian MacFadyen are in a similar stage of their careers, where they have worked as producers and touring musicians. For instance, Artaud recently co-curated the Vega Vault, which was a collection of unreleased Suicide/Alan Vega material. This work culminated in Artaud co-producing and mixing 2021’s lost Vega album, Mutator. How cool is that!
The pair’s project, meanwhile, The Vacant Lots, has developed a cult-like following for their mix of coldwave, krautrock, synth-pop, and everything in between and then some. Their music is made for every decade of the past fifty years – whether it’s the underground dance halls of East Berlin, the exclusive clubs of Paris and London of the ’80s and ’90s, or the overcrowded raves of Tokyo during the 2010s. For present-day, they get us out of the warehouses and concrete dungeons and have us bravely sauntering outside with “Chase”.
The song is super cool and, thus, it will make you feel like the alpha in a crowd of strangers. “Chase” brims with the coolness of Broken Bells and the confident swagger heard in Balthazar’s most epic anthems. There is a hint of ’70s disco and ’80s coldwave in the synths, ’90s shoegaze with the glimmering guitar, and the chillwave of the 2010s. The storyline, however, is very 2022. Artaud sings about how love and separation are two sides of the same coin, as a pandemic has made us find new ways to stay connected with people who live thousands of miles away. We live in a new reality, which hopefully will yield major success for one of music’s most underrated duos.
Finnegan Tui – “The Guard” (London, England via New Zealand)
RIYL: Ben Howard, James Blake, Billy Raffoul
Last month, Finnegan Tui released a haunting album in Zephyr. It was cinematic yet immensely intimate, foreboding yet hopeful. Its seven songs were mesmerizing, and they must be heard in quiet solitude. Only then one can truly grasp the magnificence of the record. But if you have only time for one song or want a taste of what it contains, the opening track provides the perfect sample.
“The Guard” encapsulates the LP’s entrancing quality and the New Zealander’s artistic brilliance. Whereas many associate folktronica with Bon Iver and his soaring, sonic acrobats, Tui turns the genre into a mysterious and chilling venture. A mourning, lingering guitar strums underneath Tui’s yearning and powerful vocals. Gradually, near-silent drums, a quiet wail of the violin, and a sobering cello arrive, merging with the now finger-picked guitar. The song has become a fable – something concocted deep from the vaults of the great mythologies the world has known. Tui’s songwriting is even Aesop-like, filled with great imagery and morals for us to learn.
“I’ll meet you there
Where the water’s wine
Where life is long
So long that I won’t live a lie
In fear of the mind
The red in the sky
I’ll let my guard down
It won’t last long
Brijean – “Caldwell’s Way” (Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Blouse, La Sera, Tennis
Digging into the music of Brijean, it’s easy to get lost in the music of percussionist/singer Brijean Murphy and multi-instrumentalist/producer Doug Stuart. Last year they released the delightful Feelings, which was full of addictive beats and wonderful songwriting. Its production makes it such an easy record to play over and over again. The duo are following Feelings up with a new EP, Angelo. From the three songs released so far, all indications are that it will be another stellar release.
“Caldwell’s Way” is the duo’s most gorgeous single yet. Murphy’s vocals are layered among lush harmonies and synth. There’s a nostalgic feel to everything – from the bass to the reverb on the drums, and gorgeous synth break halfway through. The sounds match the song’s lyrics, looking back at the neighborhood they used to call home. It’s an ode to the community and the people that are no longer there. Combined with the incredible groove of “Ooo La La” and the wonderful percussion of “Shy Guy”, Angelo is shaping up to be an EP not to be missed.
Rachel Angel – “I Can’t Win” (New York, USA via Miami)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Big Thief, Waxahatchee
In 2020, Rachel Angel released an understated folk EP, Highway Songs. It was a fitting name for the record with both the sounds and words evoking scenery of the great expanses seen on the open highway. It echoed those moments of reflection and clarity that can be felt on those long drives.
On her latest single, “I Can’t Win”, Angel’s sound grows in huge ways, but stays true to those folk roots. The first indication things have changed is the drum machine that kicks off the track. However, the song kicks into a fantastic, country-fried, folk guitar jam. “I Can’t Win” is incredibly catchy with its repeated lines throughout to Angel’s fantastic vocal delivery. Crunchy folk guitar underlines everything and makes it a true stomper.
“I Can’t Win” will be on Angel’s upcoming debut LP Midnite Heart Attack, due out September 9th. The record was recorded in Philadelphia with Brian McTear and Amy Morrissey at Miner Street Recordings. It also features members of another legendary Philadelphia institution: The War On Drugs. You can check out her Bandcamp here.
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