Like a great Friday night, The Matinee ’22 v. 099 is filled with songs that will encourage you to dance, run after a dream, and send chills down your spine. Kind of like a great movie.
Patchwork Guilt – “Dance Class” (Bristol, England)
RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Aldous Harding, Lucy Dacus
Whether Phoenix Mundy is using her own name or going by her moniker Patchwork Guilt, she consistently releases inspiring and intelligent music. The Bristolian fully embodies the term singer-songwriter. Mundy, however, does not stay confined to a single genre. Sometimes her songs are a little folky, hauntingly engrossing, or beautifully dreamy. In the case of “Dance Class”, she enters the world of alt-pop and, as expected, delivers another gem.
This lithe number’s opening chords are Andrew Bird-esque with a violin or possibly a mandolin being delicately plucked. It then enters Julia Jacklin and Aldous Harding territory with its breezy, blissful charm that is occasionally interrupted by the grizzled guitar. Mundy’s smokey voice, however, never changes in tone nor intensity. Instead, she nonchalantly sings about wanting to be free and “not give a damn about anything”. All she wants is to dance “and not give a damn whose watching me”. We can relate with those feelings and say to hell with the bullies, critics, and people who spend their days trolling others.
Plains – “Problem With It” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, Jess Williamson, The Highwomen
Besides those closest to Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson, who saw this dream collaboration coming? We certainly did not, but that’s the great thing about music – you just never know what might transpire. The beauty of the two great singer-songwriters’ new project, Plains, is that it is not a one-song effort. Instead, Crutchfield and Williamson have written and recorded an album full of songs. I Walked With You A Ways will be released October 14th on the extremely lucky ANTI Records, and the LP could be an instant classic if the lead single is any indication of what is to come.
A dusty, alt-country twang immediately emerges “Problem With It”, providing the person song for a mid-summer evening. This is accentuated by the lightly-plucked banjo that peeks through the electric guitar and the steady drum line. The stars of the track, however, are Crutchfield and Williamson, who exchange lead vocals and tell a tale of independence, empowerment, and perseverance. It’s a love song in many ways but focused on oneself.
“I drive fast on high alert
Pass the Jet Pep and the Baptist Church
On the county line I’ll be a songbird softly heard
My loose change falling out
Got a heartbreak burn, take the quickest route
On this 4 lane highway I’ll trace it in the clouds“
Connie Constance – “Till the World’s Awake” (London, England)
RIYL: Nilüfer Yanya, Millie Turner, Foals
From the first time we heard a Connie Constance song (back in 2015 with “Euphoric”), we thought the world was the then 20-year old’s oyster. She had the traits to be a star – intelligent and relatable songwriting, the ability to take something familiar and make it extravagant, and a fantastic voice. Over the past seven years, her fan base has incrementally grown while the accolades have increased with each song. Maybe 2022 will be the year that she explodes, and she has a potential hit on her hands with “Till the World’s Awake”.
Constance’s newest single is made for Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a dynamic, multi-genre number that incorporates soulful grooves, electronic beats, and Foals-like dance-rock energy (the bass line is superb). And this track will make you want to dance, run, and exult. But more importantly, it will move your mind and soul, as she sings about the perseverance that exists within us and when we are together.
“Cold nights feel like a distant reminder
We had to trek through the dark to get higher
Wild horses on the run from the cage
How did fate switching lanes turn a spark to a fire?
The sun kissing your face
A tropic holiday
I know that we’ve got enough love to give away
And they cannot replace all the moves we’ve made
And all the nights we stayed up till the world’s awake”
This song is just one example of Constance’s brilliance. More will be revealed on November 4th, which is when her sophomore album, Miss Power, will be released via Play It Again Sam. Pre-order it at these links.
Mines Falls – “Tremors (Etna)” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Son Lux, Mt. Wolf, Wild Beasts, Vilde
Like many people, we are late adopters of Mines Falls, the project started by Carson (vocal) and Erik Lund (production) and includes support from Lauren Brown (backing vocals), Christopher Dwyer (drums), and others. We probably should have given more attention to the LA-based band because their previous three records, Once I Was You, Mines Fall, and Nepenthe, feature some terrific songs. Like so many things, however, they have gotten better with age, adding a dark, cinematic quality. The result is music that is not merely breathtaking but startling, as “Right Angle” was and “Tremors (Etna)” is.
A somber piano opens the track, creating an immediate foreboding mood. But when Carson’s gripping baritone arrives, the tension heightens. He calmly sings about the day the sun was blacked out. A volcano, in this case Mt. Etna, has erupted. After this introduction, a wave of instruments arrive – glockenspiel, drums, bass, and a trembling guitar – and the song turns into incredible dramatic cinema. It is stunning.
As the tune rises and falls, Carson’s tale likewise intensifies. His attention no longer resides in the ash floating in the skies or the lava pouring down the mountain. He instead focuses on how people react and the thoughts that begin to fill their mind. This has become a competition of survival of the fittest and the shrewdest, which we see every day. The volcanic eruption, as such, is merely a representation of the chaos that surrounds us.
“Now you call when I wasn’t expecting
All this talk and speculation
Leave it alone
Always safe and unaffected
Still you talk to a ghost from centuries ago
You ain’t as interesting
Darling as you once were
Trailed by a specter
Lost in the ether
You’re out in the open
Blistering cold wind
Waiting for the rapture
Some shining hereafter”
The band’s third album, Piano Caldera, is expected later this year.
Milly – “Ring True” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Swervedriver, early Death Cab for Cutie, Chapterhouse
For all the Gen X’ers, Xennials, and Gen Y’ers, set aside 4.5 minutes and prepare to be transported back to your youth. Be prepared to think it is 1992, 1995, or 1998, and the soundtracks to movies like Singles, Empire Records, and Rushmore were on heavy rotation. Maybe more importantly, believe that music can still overwhelm our emotions and make us nostalgic, which is the magic that Milly have created with “Ring True”.
Like the great, dreamy blend of shoegaze and sadcore of the ’90s, the LA-based band’s second single from their forthcoming, debut album, Eternal Ring, is an emotional ride. The gauzy, Swervedriver-esque guitar and front-man and founder Brendan Dyer’s vulnerable voice immediately set the tone, offering a sobering, almost remorseful scene. “Take me off your list of tricks / I don’t wanna feel like this”, Dyer pleads at the start. The track then opens up, as the tempo accelerates by a fraction and the rhythm section appears. This shift transforms the number, taking it into Something About Airplanes-era Death Cab for Cutie territory but with a bit more fire. Dyer’s songwriting, too, is Ben Gibbard-like.
“Think about who’s wrong
to see the colors rage your mind
I think in red white blue all the time
your pain is all I know”
Now it’s time to spin one of the aforementioned films and get really nostalgic.
Milly are: principal songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Brendan Dyer; bassist Yarden Erez; guitarist Spencer Light; and drummer Zach Capitti Fenton. Their debut album, Eternal Ring, drops September 30th on Dangerbird Records. Pre-orders available on Bandcamp and at these links.
CLAMM – “Something New” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: METZ, Girlband, Annihilation Time
Not long ago, Melbourne was known as the jangle-pop capital of the music world. More recently, the state capital of Victoria cultivated dolewave, which is a term to describe the city’s DIY spirit and jangly roots. A new wave of artists, however, is slowly taking over, similar to what happened to NYC in the late ’70s with the emergence of punk and rock ‘n roll. In Melbourne’s case, bands like Amyl and The Sniffers and Cable Ties have added bite and ferocity to its bars, clubs, and radio stations. And alongside these two great bands is CLAMM.
Jack Summers (guitar, vocal), Maisie Everett (bass, vocal), and Mile Harding (drums), however, are more than just a punk band. They also dabble in noise rock, which allows them to be even more explosive and pummeling. This is saying quite a lot since “Bit Much” and “Monday” were wildly frenetic punk outputs, but “Something New” is just as, if not even more, propulsive and wall-shaking than its predecessors.
Summers’ guttural vocal booms over his overdriven guitar at the start. Although the approach seems simple, it is intense. Then the fury arrives in Harding’s manic drumming and Everett’s throbbing bass line. Summers’ voice, too, rises, reaching nearly screaming levels, while Everett provides a piercing quality in support. Together, they sing about restarting their lives and moving on from the painful memories of the past. They run towards the future, realizing that they are running out of time. This tune, too, will get everyone who hears it running as the adrenaline quickly courses through our veins.
Sam Himself – “Never Let Me Go” (Brooklyn, USA via Basel, Switzerland)
RIYL: Future Islands, Alex Cameron, Matt Berninger
In his more than half-decade career as Sam Himself, Swiss-born Samuel Koechlin has lived three different lives. His early beginnings were founded in folk and Americana. He then turned into an indie-rock crooner, where his Matt Berninger-like baritone streamed through classic- and indie-rock. More recently, he’s entered the realm of synth-pop, adding a smokiness to music more associated with daydreams and levitating moments. On “Never Let Me Go”, Koechlin once again does what he does best: sweep us off our feet.
This dazzling track recalls Future Islands at their most engaging. Light synths flood the track, spinning around the humble guitar line and the pulsating rhythms. We, too, wish to whirl in a continuous circle, basking under the warmth of the blissful melody and Koechlin’s unforgettable vocal. His songwriting, as usual, is stellar. This song is more than about love. It also is an ode to the people who create the sanctuary we call home and who welcome us back as we pursue our dreams.
“Home’s a strange and distant place
Where bones the wind can’t blow away
Pile up to a giant empty sky
Lone shadows in the shade we met
Won’t allow the sun to set
On the day we learned to say goodbye
Leave my flowers out to freeze
If my fever leaves you cold
Lock me out, tell me to beat it
Never let me go”
The single is out on Sony Music, who thankfully have allowed Koechlin do continue to do what he does bset.
Girl Time – “Slowpass” (San Diego, USA)
RIYL: Porridge Radio meets Slow Pulp, The Cure, and Red House Painters
Sooner or later – and hopefully it is the former – siblings Michaela and Ian Vachuska’s project, Girl Time, will have a label behind them (we can think of a few that would be a perfect home for the Californians). Sure the duo only have a handful of songs to their credit, but their output includes three outstanding tracks in “Pretend”, “Remember”, and “Yours”. Each one possessed a brittle intimacy to them and, thus, have the effect equivalent to desperation. We can also add the term, “consuming”, which is the impact of “Slowpass”.
Very few bands can create melancholy sound so devastating as Girl Time do on their newest single. Gothic tones emerge from the diligently plucked electric guitar while a fragile dreaminess is added from the soft synths that sparkle in the background. The languid pace, meanwhile, adds to the the pair’s introspective and emotive songwriting. With the poignancy of Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin, Michaela attempts to ease a friend’s pain, but she understands the road ahead is dark, perilous, and long.
“Is it liminal it won’t pass
A long night awake you can’t match it
I’m trying, make it last
On those empty roads and sunglasses
It feels radical to hold back
And you keep thinking I’ll lose track
Cause it’s liminal, a slow pass
A slow pass”
Someone sign this band.
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