The Matinee ’22 v. 092 is Part 1 of a doubleheader of new music with each edition featuring eight songs. On the first half, the songs focus on cutting through the noise around and within us in order to find our own paths. This may be with or without others, but we will find our way.

For Part 2, click on this link. Afterwards, head over to Spotify or SoundCloud to spin the Songs of July 2022 playlist.


Ian Sweet – “Die a Million Times” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Samia, Donna Missal, Grace Ives

Every time Ian Sweet releases a new song, record, or EP, it seems like we can add another genre to the list of ways we can describe Jillian Medford’s music. From the rough and untamed early days to the heavy hitters of Crush Crusher and the short film that accompanied Show Me How You Disappear, the music and art of Ian Sweet is ever changing. With their latest EP, Star Stuff, they’ve once again expanded their sound, as heard on their earlier single “Fight” and “Die a Million Times”.

“Die a Million Times” is as poppy as Ian Sweet has ever gotten. Infections drum machine and pop synth lay the groundwork for a great bass groove. Medford’s voice is surprisingly perfect for a track like this. At one time known for yelping and screeching, she channels all that power into a vocal part that’s an absolute stunner. In the choruses, things kick up a bit, and the sound gets much bigger, including some fantastic harmonizing. There are times where Medford’s voice is hit with some distortion and clipping. That adds so much to the song’s vibes, while reminding us the power that’s hiding behind the pop production. Star Stuff is yet another example that Jillian Medford is still a shapeshifter.

“I can’t even hide it
baby the thought of you
feels like I’m dying
I can’t even hide it
you just see right through

I can’t even hide it
baby the thought of you
feels like I’m dying
And I’d die a million times
to keep you on my mind
to keep you”

Pick up Star Stuff at these links and on Bandcamp. It’s out on Polyvinyl Record Co.

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Jupiter Flynn – “misunderstanding” (Berlin, Germany via Amsterdam, Netherlands)

RIYL: Pip Blom, Katy J Pearson, Molly Payton

Across the pond, a young woman is making a name for herself with catchy pop-rock tunes and honest songwriting. She goes by Jupiter Flynn, which, if you ask us, is a name made for rock stardom. It’s right out of the ’60s and ’70s, yet it still has a futuristic vibe. The same could be said for “misunderstanding”.

Whammy, psych-infused keyboards and a blustery rhythm section open the track, giving it the feeling of an outer-space voyage right out of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Once Flynn’s voice arrives, it acts as the song’s anchor, and the track settles into a sweet groove. While musically “misunderstanding” is akin to a midnight, interstellar cruise, her words tell a whole different story. She recounts how she was gaslighted – abandoned without an explanation. Now, Flynn thinks she’s the cause of whatever undefined issue exists, and she’s left with endless doubt.

“And why the fuck
won’t you reply
You really make me wanna die
I’m such a self-destructive idiot

Who would’ve thought I was so wrong
Thought you were falling in love, too
And yet I’m still holding on
To every chance to be with you
Who would’ve thought I was so wrong
Thought you were falling in love too
Now look at that
Look what you made me do”

Expect to see Flynn’s name on many festival posters next summer and beyond. She could be a star.

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Imperial April – “9:30” (Christchurch, New Zealand)

RIYL: Alex Lahey, Handsome Furs, Stars

Those familiar with the New Zealand scene know that Victoria and Andy Knopp perform as The Response, and often the latter provides lead vocals. Victoria, meanwhile, has her “own project” – or at least one that she’s clearly the front-person. It is cleverly titled Imperial April, which offers all sorts of images. You might picture an Admiral leading an armada into a battle, a revolutionary leader, or a person ready to take on the world. All these images depict a confident individual who understands it’s her responsibility to take control of her life to effect change. This is what Victoria does on “9:30”.

This catchy guitar-pop tune is the perfect wake-up call, as it immediately gets the blood flowing and the synapses firing. As Andy’s guitar rings in the background and the rhythms bust a groove like a great Handsome Furs’ anthem, Victoria’s bubbly voice shines through. Her lyrics at first are full of doubt, as she openly admits she does not know what to do and is stuck in neutral. Eventually, she finds her footing with the help of a sympathetic ear. Isn’t that something or someone we all wish we had in our lives?

Imperial April are: Victoria Knopp (vocals, bass), Andy Knopp (guitar, keys, vocals), Emma Cameron / Matt Phimmavahn (guitar, vocals), and Katie Thompson / Paul Tatterson (drums).

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Human Barbie – “no worries” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Ducktails, Real Estate, DIIV

From a warehouse in Baltimore to the sunny beaches of Los Angeles, Christopher Leopold lived two different lives during the pandemic with much of the time isolated on the East Coast. These last 2.5 years have allowed him to reevaluate his life, his career, and Human Barbie‘s direction. In the band’s early years, Leopold (vocals, bass, guitar), Matt Brundrett (drums), and Xuan Nguyen (vocals) mastered the art of slowcore, using melancholy to crushing effect. Today, however, they are in the midst of the second phase of their life cycle, channeling the great shoegaze bands of the ’90s and the dreamgaze outfits of the 2010s. This transformation has allowed their stories to penetrate more deeply. It also should allow them to reach a broader audience, who will be swept away by “no worries”.

Human Barbie’s newest single is stunning shoegaze, akin to the patiently-delivered gauziness that bands like Ducktails, DIIV, and Real Estate crafted more than a decade ago. Like those masters, “no worries” is paralyzing in its effect, where times seems to pause with each delayed guitar riff, shallow echo of the bass, and light patter of the drums. Leopold’s soft voice is endearing, as he shares how time can divide us. It can also see us losing the people we love.

It’s weird I know
I thought it was a thing you really wanted
thought you would fight for
in here alone

I had a little space to see the truth
yeah thinking it over
and call your phone
I guess there isn’t anybody home”

The single is out on Poor Man Records, who release Human Barbie’s newest EP later this year.

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Bodega – “The Art of Advertising” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, The Mountain Goats, Parquet Courts

Earlier this year, Bodega released Broken Equipment, which was like ’90s college-radio indie-rock brought to 2022. It was awesome! Evidently, Ben Hozie (vocals, guitar), Nikki Belfiglio (vocals), Adam See (bass), Tai Lee (percussion), and Dan Ryan (guitar) have much more to say and share because last Friday they released the album’s compendium, Xtra Equipment, which features seven new tunes and one cover. It’s basically another LP. From it comes not just the record’s centerpiece but one of the year’s most intelligent and clever songs.

“The Art of Advertising” is a microcosm of the quintet’s genius. The song is largely retro at its core with the jangle-rock foundation heard right from the start. It is more than just a ’90s revival number, however, as layers of post-punk and grizzled shoegaze bubble beneath the surface to give the track a contemporary freshness. Hozie’s lyrics, too, very much reside in the present. Check that, Hozie has written a mini, sociology thesis about how advertising is everywhere and how algorithms are influencing our choices. His words are relatable but brilliant.

“What a strange coincidence
(That’s the way they get you to pay)
Can’t think straight. Can’t make sense.
(I obey what you display)
What I first want is just what I get
(That’s the way they get you to pay)
What I first wanted was programmed by this apparatus”

Stream or purchase Xtra Equipment directly on Bandcamp. What’s Your Rupture? Records has released it.

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Geowulf – “Whirlwind” (London, England via Noosa, QLD, Australia)

RIYL: Widowspeak, Freedom Fry, Pearl Charles

Star Kendrick and Toma Banjanin have been impressing us with their music as Geowulf for years. Their 2018 record, Great Big Blue, was an instant classic in our minds. They took a successful dream-pop formula and added so much depth to it, creating a unique and immersive sound. They followed that up with the equally stellar, My Resignation, a year later. After some years of quiet, the duo dropped their latest EP, Whirlwind, that showcased a laid-back sound rooted in classic Americana.

The perfect example of this approach is the EP’s title track, “Whirlwind”. Introduced by gorgeous guitar and keyboards over some nostalgic sounding drums, the tone is set early. Kendrick’s voice comes in and fits the part perfectly, with just a little bit of reverb on it. The song is a break-up track, but one that’s coming to terms with the temporary nature of some things. Using some vivid imagery, it’s easy to picture the scene Kendrick paints with her voice:

“I liked you most when you were cooking for your father
I liked you even in your sweatpants for days
For a clever girl, I’ve not always been so smart
‘Cause some things are forever, some things aren’t”

Geowulf’s new EP, Whirlwind, is out now. Check it out here.

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Nikki Lane – “Black Widow” (Nashville, USA)

RIYL: Margo Price, Caitlin Rose, The Highwomen

While some country artists choose to dabble in radio-friendly, pop-drenched ballads, there are still many who create gritty, edgy numbers with fantastic stories and powerful messages. Margo Price, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson are three such stars, and why they are considered among the genre’s best songwriters over the past two decades. They’re popular, but they’ve done it without compromising their art. Nikki Lane, similarly, has walked her own path to indie stardom, focusing on making classics sound fresh while drawing inspiration in all the small and big moments of our lives. Or in the case of “Black Widow”, a little but dangerous spider got the creative juices flowing.

Lane’s newest single is an engaging and energetic romp made for dancing in finest country music bars and inciting a good time at CMA Fest. A popping bass opens the track, leading the way for Lane’s trademark gritty and smokey vocal and the tailing, sizzling guitar. As the song progresses, it momentarily turns into a hand-raising, gospel event at the bridge before settling back into the twangy arrangement. Lane, who is a great storyteller, narrates how one woman has a grip on not just a single person but an entire country. She holds a power over people, who want to earn her trust yet fear her.

She’ll seduce the nation
Set their hearts on fire
Push your limitations
Make you walk the mile
If you’re prone to temptation
You better not stare

She’ll spin you up
And spit you out

She’ll leave you running scared
She’s a black, black widow”

Awesome! This adjective likely will be used to describe Lane’s new album, Denim & Diamonds. It will be released September 23rd via New West Records. Pre-order it at these links and on Bandcamp.

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High Vis – “Blending” (London, England)

RIYL: U2, Ride, Wolf Alice

From Fugazi to Echo And The Bunnymen, Stone Roses to TURNSTILE, High Vis have been compared to some of the great rock bands to grace the shores of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Success has been predicted for them since their arrival five years ago since they can unleash furious post-punk or delve into the golden era of Brit-pop, as they do on “Blending”.

The quintet’s newest number is a stadium-sized rocker. “Blending” booms with the reinvigorated energy of U2 during their early-2000s revival, the soaring shoegaze of Ride as heard in the wonderfully brimming guitars, and the boisterous, indie urgency of Wolf Alice. Its cathartic approach will have all those who listen feel alive. Feel like they can step outside the door and take on all challenges, which is what front-man Graham Sayle shares. His first words – “I’ve created my reality / And I’m sticking to it / I’m blending in / Blending” – reveal a person who will not be assimilated. On the contrary, he will blend in by being himself and have people accept his individuality because he’s learned his fair share of lessons.

“So very easily pleased
Never satisfied
A sum of parts
Never whole
Blending in

Look out world for High Vis, who one day soon will be filling up arenas and stadiums. The band’s new album, Blending, is out September 9th via DAIS Records. Pre-orders available here and on Bandcamp.

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