A milestone is achieved today with The Matinee ’22 v. 100, featuring eight artists and bands who should and hopefully one day will be global sensations.
These tracks kick off the Songs of August 2022 playlist, which can be found Spotify or SoundCloud. Follow the playlist this month because we’ll be taking a month-long vacation in 10 days time but still sharing music on it. The Matinee, meanwhile, will be done intermittently.
Telenova – “Scarlet” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Sade, Connie Constance, Slum Sociable
It’s not a matter of if but when Telenova emerges as another great Australian music export. Not even 18 months since their formation, this “super-group” of Aussie indie influencers already has garnered a sizable following on both sides of the Tasman thanks to songs like “Why Do I Keep You”. Next stop for Angeline Armstrong, Edward Quinn of Slum Sociable, and Joshua Moriarty from Miami Horror is world domination – or maybe first some prime spots at festivals like Glastonbury, Pitchfork, Osheaga, and Primavera Sound. This could happen as early as next year since their new EP, Stained Glass Love, will be released on August 19th on Pointer Recordings. Telenova share one more track from the record, and it evidences why we’re bullish on the trio’s potential.
“Scarlet” is a sultry number that sounds like Sade brought to the 2020s. The superb rhythm section gives the track both a mysterious and sensual feel, mimicking the sensation we feel when entering an unfamiliar, dark expanse. A dreaminess, however, emerges with the glistening guitar and the jazz club-esque piano. What gives the track its intimacy, however, is Armstrong’s immaculate vocal. It is paralyzing in its effect. Meanwhile, she applies her film and screenwriting backgrounds, telling a vivid story of a single individual’s struggles to discover purpose, place, and identity.
“Dress me up in scarlet
And carry me away beyond horizons
I wanna lose the quiet hours
And drive until the skyline turns to dusk
I know that all the lights are on
But no one’s home where I come from
And I could lose my every hurt
And be the girl who rules the world”
Rat Tally – “Prettier” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Tomberlin
Even when listening to the music of Rat Tally for the first time, it’s easy to picture Addy Harris as the next big thing. The qualities heard on the recent Rat Tally tracks only solidify that sentiment. “Spinning Wheel” and “Longshot” took a formula that’s worked for many of today’s most notable sad-pop indie songwriters, but with the assist of Harris’ refreshing lyricism.
That’s a trend that continues on the latest Rat Tally single, “Prettier”. Gorgeous finger-picked guitar underlays Harris’ voice as she vividly sets the heart-wrenching scene. Slowly, more instruments join, which includes a gorgeous swell of strings and some ambient synth.
On its surface, “Prettier” wouldn’t sound out of place on Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher. As we’ve seen in the past with Rat Tally, however, Harris is able to make herself stand out amongst the best. Before the song comes to an end, it takes an abrupt pause, making the song’s final lines hit even harder.
“I could’ve died right there in the bed sheets
Cause I’m holding on to something rotten
I always do
Think I’m prettier when I’m unhappy
And so do you
Wrestle with myself into kindly stopping
Before I cut through
When I drop I plummet
Right into the stomach”
The Death of Pop – “For a Minute” (London, England)
RIYL: Stereolab, Ulrika Spacek, Jagwar Ma
We admire veteran bands that, despite the lack of global fanfare, continue to make music for the love it. The Death of Pop are one such band, who for nine years have created cinematic, shoegaze-touched, new wave-inspired music. What may be even more impressive is that the outfit is largely a family affair, as brothers Angus and Oliver James started the project in 2013 and later added sibling Thom. Completing the quartet is Amy Hurford, who might be the peacemaker and the glue that holds the group together. While we do not know what exactly is keeping The Death of Pop together and moving forward, we hope they continue to do what they’re doing so that we can be blessed with great tracks like “For a Minute”.
The amalgamation of gauzy guitars, the trembling percussion, and awesome Peter Hook-like bass line create a soundscape made for a Sunday glide through the cosmos. But if you cannot travel among the stars, it also is ideal for spinning in your car during the wee hours of the morning or even for your morning commute to work. Guiding us on this journey are Angus and Oliver, whose vocals effortlessly float through the glistening delirium. And delirium is what they sing about, where the world around us and the thoughts that occupy our mind are surreal. Everything is going out of control, so what can we do? There’s only thing – try to make it through another day.
The Death of Pop again are: Angus James (vocals, guitar, keys), Oliver James (vocals, guitar), Thom James (drums), and Amy Hurford (bass). Their new EP, For a Minute, will be released September 23rd via Hidden Bay Records and Discos DeKirlian. Pre-orders available on Bandcamp. Go and support this underrated English musical gem.
Kid Kapichi – “5 Days On (2 Days Off)” (Hastings, England)
RIYL: IDLES, The Clockworks, TV Priest
What makes post-punk arguably the best genre today? Besides the propulsive energy that explodes from nearly every song, the observant songwriting supplied by many bands is outstanding. Honestly, some of the best songwriters are fronting outfits like Iceage (Elias Bender Rønnenfelt), Fontaines D.C. (Grian Chatten), IDLES (Joe Talbot), and TV Priest (Charlie Drinkwater). Kid Kapichi are no different with front-man Ben Beetham rivaling his peers as both a lyrical poet and sociologist. Along with his mates Eddie Lewis, George Macdonald, and Jack Wilson assisting with the sonic fireworks, the Hastings quartet have delivered great tune after another, including the recently-released “Rob the Supermarket”. They light up the sky again with another cracker of single.
“5 Days On (2 Days Off)” is just a microcosm of the band’s brilliance. Musically, it is an intense, scorching number that will rally the masses and awaken us from our Monday stupor. At the same time, it might incite a revolution. And no, it’s not solely the awesome, tapping cowbell that will get the proletariat in a frenzy nor even the flaming guitars or the punishing rhythms. They do their part in getting folks ready to encounter whatever obstacles stand in our way, but Beetham’s critique of the 9-to-5 work week is what gets us motivated. He sings about how absurd it is that the many work their butts off for minimum wage while the bosses make the big bucks as they lounge in their offices.
“You must think I’m crazy
Not much of a brainiac
But don’t you dare call me lazy
I got a plan of attack
To enact so that I won’t come back
They got you five days on and two days off
Counting down the days until your heart just stops
Five days on and two days off
Round and round and it never stops”
Another great tune from a great band.
Kid Kapichi are: Ben Beetham (guitars, vocals), Eddie Lewis (bass), George Macdonald (drums), and Jack Wilson (vocals, guitars) The band’s new album, Here’s What You Have Won, is out September 23rd. Pre-orders available at these links while vinyl packages are available on their website (see below for link).
Kill Electric – “Situations” (London, England and Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: The Ninth Wave, The Cure, Bloc Party
It wasn’t long ago that Scottish outfit The Ninth Wave announced they were pursuing new projects. Whether the break is a hiatus or permanent, the answer will eventually come clear in the coming years. Fortunately, a new band from London emerges to take their place while channeling some of the best Goth-rock / Goth-punk bands of the past 40 years. So if you’re a fan of The Cure, Bloc Party, and a young, primal U2, then make way for Kill Electric and their new single, “Situations”.
Reminiscent of the Goth-punk of the mid-’80s, the song should be heard in the claustrophobic confines of every underground UK establishment. In this environment, the patrons can inhale the wailing, guttural guitar that leads the way while feeling the hammers brandished by the awesome rhythm section. Soaring above are vocalists Tye Rutherford and Jasmin O., who share a tale that reflects not just this cramped place but the world we live in today. Wherever we go, people are watching, and obstacles are laid before us. We are stuck in a “no-win situation”, which Rutherford repeats at the end. But he saves his best lines when he sings:
“Keeping the lights down low
My fears they won’t let go
They’re out to get me
They’re always hounding me
The enemies that you’ve made
It’s your words I can’t believe
There’s nothing that you can say
That’s making me want to stay”
Here’s a band we’ll be watching for a long time.
Kill Electric are: Tye Rutherford (vocals), Tristan McGarrigle (guitar), Jasmin O. (vocals, bass), and Denis (drums). The band’s split single is out now and available on Bandcamp. Their debut EP, meanwhile, is out October 15th.
Elissa Mielke – “Get Well” & “Body Knows” (Los Angeles, USA via Dundas, ON Canada)
RIYL: Nora Jones, Fenne Lily, Courtney Marie Andrews
Those who have read this space over the years know that Elissa Mielke was featured more than seven years ago. Despite the passage of time, Mielke’s music feels ageless. This comment probably would not have been uttered if she stayed with the major label that signed her as a teenager and wanted to make her into another pop singer. Displaying maturity beyond her years at the time, the Canadian singer-songwriter knew what she wanted to be and achieve, and that was to recognized as an artist who could provoke and awe as much as with her beautiful, delicate voice as with her words. Take “Paper Moth Flame”, for instance, which was a gorgeous yet vulnerable number. Mielke returns with not only one but two showstoppers that further demonstrate why she’s an incredible talent.
On “Get Well”, Mielke gets behind the piano and delivers a lovely ballad that is part Nora Jones and Sarah McLachlan. The song starts with a somber tone with Mielke’s layered vocal hovering above the lightly pressed keys. Quietly in the background, a steel guitar hums, and as the song progresses more elements join in and lead to a stunning apex. Mielke’s brittle voice, though, is the center of attention, as she passes the time after overcoming the loss of another person.
“Fall to pieces, fall in line?
Oh no baby not this time
I’ll drive on even on fumes
If I can’t get over you the only way I know is through
But I’m gonna get well land soon
Oh I’m gonna get well”
On “Body Knows”, she exchanges the piano for an acoustic guitar. Alongside it are just Mielke’s soaring vocal and the steel guitar, which somberly weeps in the background. Set your ears, however, to Mielke’s lyrics because she tells a story of a time when her sense of self, her soul, her very being was taken away. Be sure to be seated when listening to this song because it is knee-buckling in its effect.
“Don’t feed me your magic
I won’t take your medicine
I need a break and when I wake up now trouble is
Can’t cure it can’t fight it with you in the room
I need to leave I need to get well soon”
Boys will be boys will be poison white noise in my history
Learned in Dorval, Montreal some time back at a bank machine
So I try to move on, put this shit in a song forget it
That girl sure looks like me frozen in aisle three forget it
Body forget it”
Matilda Mann – “Margaux” (London, England)
RIYL: Ailsa Tully, Billie Marten, The Staves
In February, Matilda Mann released “Four Leaf Dream”, a charming stomper that immediately demanded attention. Four months ago in April, we saw yet another side of Mann when she released the explosive single “Nice”. From what she’s shared so far, the only thing we can expect from her is the unexpected.
On her latest single, “Margaux”, Mann once again introduces us to a new sound for her. Some gently picked acoustic guitar and her voice sooth listeners. While the other songs she’s shared so far feature a full band complement, “Margaux” is just Mann and guitar. It’s a perfect setup for what the English singer-songwriter is trying to convey, saying “I think whenever I’m overwhelmed or stressed, the best thing for me has always been, having some time alone” in a statement about the single. Where the song takes a turn, it’s not from the perspective of someone who needs that alone time. Instead, it’s from the person being shut out and left alone in those moments.
“Countless hours spent outside
To waste her time away
And overbearing, endless staring
Into outer space
I can’t recall the time before
I felt so out of place
Margaux left without a trace”
The single is out on Arista Recordings.
Slightest Clue – “Just Fine” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Dead Pony, Coach Party, Beach Bunny
Over the last year, Slightest Clue are slowly amassing a discography of some really great songs. Last year, they released a pair of singles, including the rocker “Freak Me Out” and the dreamy “Shutterspeed”. Both were raw but real. They followed it up with a bombastic indie rocker “Baby Jade” that featured some killer basswork. The unpredictable joy ride, “Junk Mail”, followed, and it transitioned from some dreamy, surfy soundscapes to something much much bigger. These singles all make it easy to get hooked on the music of Hannah Kruse, Malcolm McLaren, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta.
The quartet deliver another fantastic in “Just Fine”, which features Kruse on vocals and who adds another dynamic to their sound. Fantastic guitar work and a gritty sound to the rhythm section give the song a uniquely dark vibe. Kruse’s vocals have a layer of unnerving harmony on them at times, adding even more to its sinister feeling. When the sound breaks, it’s just those harmonies singing “Every night, I get closer to god, every night I get closer to turning it on again”. When everything comes back in, the song comes back with a vengeance. It feels almost chaotic with bass cutting through in a big way before it’s joined by some heavy drumming and scratchy guitar chords. Somehow it’s all held together by Kruse repeating, “Spend the night infected by the sound, the sound”.
“Just Fine” will be on Slightest Clue’s debut EP, Twin Silver, due out September 16th. Keep an eye out on their socials for more details.
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