We’re playing catch up, so the songs on The Matinee ’22 v. 107 were released over the past 7 to 14 days. However, we couldn’t pass them up and had to write about them, and we have more to share hopefully tomorrow. In the meantime, keep tabs on Songs of August 2022 playlist (available on Spotify and SoundCloud) because we’re not sure when we’ll write again since, to repeat, we’re on holidays.
This edition has a heavy indie-rock flavor with some indie-pop, pop-rock, and excellent singer-songwriters sprinkled in.
Kiwi Jr. – “The Sound Of Music” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Dick Diver, Nap Eyes
Why We’re Digging It: The answer is simple: Kiwi Jr. are one of Canada’s great bands who match catchy jangle-pop / jangle-rock with superb songwriting and storytelling. They have proved this throughout their careers, from their first two albums (Football Money and Cooler Returns) to recent singles (“Unspeakable Things”, “Night Vision”, and “The Extra Sees the Film”) on their recently-released third LP, Chopper. Their new record is a blast, as Jeremy Gaudet (vocals, guitar, keys), Brian Murphy (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Walker (bass, keys, backing vocals), and Brohan Moore (drums, backing vocals) prove they are this generation’s Pavement / Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. If you have yet to spin the album, then let “The Sound of Music” be your gateway.
When a song references Julie Andrews, you know it’s going to be an entertaining number. A nonchalant, jangly arrangement spins in the background while Gaudet delivers a gem of tale. No, it does not involve a family singing their way out of of Austria but a down-on-his-luck friend who runs away from his problems only to emerge more than a decade later. It’s amusing yet at the same time frighteningly real.
“When they pulled you out of the harbour, you were holding onto a book
Then you shoved your screenplay into my chest and said, ‘Won’t you at least take a look?’
I’ll never recover from the colour of your tears
When you came home from spring break after thirteen years“
No Age – “Tripped Out Before Scott” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: No Age
Why We’re Digging It: Speaking about great rock bands, No Age, the project of guitarist Randy Randall and drummer and vocalist Dean Allen Spunt, are undoubtedly one of them. Throughout their near two decades, the garage-rock / art-punk pair roared their way through all sorts of venues, keeping alive the DIY mentality and college radio rock. While they may be older, they continue that spirit with “Tripped Out Before Scott”.
Like the title suggests, this number is a lo-fi, trippy experience. Randall’s guitar is filtered with a deadened, reverb tone while Spunt’s drums echo through their militarist approach. It’s a bit post-apocalyptic, and this feeling is only added by Spunt’s near-deadpan delivery and lyrics. His words are introspective, reminiscing about past times, friends, and lost opportunities. Listen closely, this tune could a product of the pandemic, where two guys reflect on everything that could have been. Now, however, is the time to make up for the past, just like what No Age are doing today.
Titus Andronicus – “Give Me Grief” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The Replacements, The Hold Steady, Bruce Springsteen
Why We’re Digging It: We’re really glad Titus Andronicus have returned after a three-year absence. Their shift from the bombastic towards a more laid-back sound was heard on “(I’m) Screwed” and that trend continues with “Give Me Grief”. “Give Me Grief” oozes with folk rock vibes, from its combination of clean and crunchy guitar, sing-along harmonies, and even a horn section. It feels like their upcoming record The Will to Live follows the same trajectory as 2018’s A Productive Cough, and that rules.
Disq – “If Only” (Madison, WI USA)
RIYL: Gin Blossoms, Better than Ezra, Five for Fighting
Why We’re Digging It: The diversity of the two tracks we’ve heard from Disq’s upcoming sophomore album, Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet, has put that record solidly on our radar. Where “Cujo Kiddies” is a danceable, Talking Heads-eque romp, their latest single “If Only” is an Americana-laced folk rocker. Guitar chime, some great leads, and even an intertwining guitar and fiddle solo all come together to give the song a blast-from-the-past feeling. Namely, it sounds like it came out of the mid-’90s and made for the Empire Records soundtrack. Even Isaac deBroux-Slone’s storyline about “what could have been” and vocal, which has a very Robin Wilson-esque (of the Gin Blossoms) tone, are all straight out of this most excellent era.
Album Information: Disq’s new album, Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet, arrives October 7th on Saddle Creek. Pre-order it at these links and Bandcamp. The band includes: Raina Bock (bass, vocals), Isaac deBroux-Slone (guitar, vocals), Shannon Connor (guitar, keys, vocals), Logan Severson (guitar, vocals), and Brendan Manley (drums).
Pixey – “I’m Just High” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Lauran Hibberd, Soccer Mommy, Phoebe Green
Why We’re Digging It: Pixey released one of our favorite EPs last year, Free to Live in Colour. The polymath singer-songwriter from Liverpool is following that up with another mini-record, Dreams, Pains & Paper Planes. Its latest single, “I’m Just High”, retains the same fun and nostalgic, ’70s psych-pop vibes previously heard. Jammy guitar riffs, Lizzie Hillesdon’s dreamy and delirious vocals, and an all-around infectious energy beam through this day-trip of a song. And as Hillesdon always does, she finds a way to lift spirits with her words, telling the world that nothing will keep her down. She instead will always find ways to live her life and enjoy it, even if someone “fuck(s) with my mood”.
High Vis – “Trauma Bonds” (London, England)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins + Shame + Built to Spill
Why We’re Digging It: After blowing us away with the nostalgic late-’80s / early-’90s rocker, “Blending”, Londoners High Vis made it clear that they intend to ensure arena-rock can still be meaningful and engaging. It does not have to sound like the over-produced, run-of-the-mill material clogging up airwaves. It must have purpose, which is what “Trauma Bonds” has in spades.
Graham Sayle (vocals), Martin MacNamara (guitar), Rob Hammeren (guitar), Rob Moss (bass), and Edward ‘Ski’ Harper (drums) not only merge the ’80s and ’90s together, but they also combine ’90s shoegaze with ’80s post-punk. As such, the song brims with great desperation from the gauzy guitars, the pulsating rhythms, and Sayle’s piercing vocal. His voice is that of a generation that has experienced great trauma, and they seek to be heard. They seek to reach out to their fallen friends and in the end “break these trauma bonds”. With a song like this, they just might do it.
TV People – “Circle” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: early Interpol, early Editors, Joy Division
Why We’re Digging It: Two individuals should not be able to capture the bleak, anthemic worlds that Interpol and even Editors created early in their careers nor the crippling devastation that Joy Division once made. Paul Donohoe (vocals, guitar) and Brendan Clarke (drums), however, have been able to achieve this as TV People. While the Dubliners have yet to reach the heights of Fontaines D.C., their time is coming as long as they continue to create songs like “You Were Loved” and “Circle”.
The pair’s newest single is made for the dark, cavernous, underground post-punk bars that litter every large and small European city. In these confines, we can fully experience with lingering strikes of the guitar and the patient roar of the drums as well as become devoured by Donohoe’s deep baritone. We can become consumed by his story of how we have purposely lost our minds, trying to escape the chaos that rains (and reigns) around us. Maybe that’s the only way to keep our sanity.
The single is out on Blowtorch Records.
Ainsley Farrell – “Buffet” (Sydney, Australia via California, USA)
RIYL: Olivia Kaplan, Laura Stevenson, Julia Jacklin
Why We’re Digging It: Right out of the gates, “Buffet” hits hard. Crunchy guitar chords strummed over some heavy-handed drumming lay a perfect groundwork for Ainsley Farrell‘s powerful voice. It’s a voice that hints at its power for the first quarter of the track. Once, however, the song intensifies, Farrell’s vocal is undeniable. It’s a perfect dynamic to convey the song’s message of trying to take power back in a situation that’s all too common. But this number is anything but common; it is sheer brilliance.
“Told you that I’m not
Part of the buffet
Push me round your plate
Go about your day
Trying your luck for free
Moving my body
Feeling your eyes all over me”
Album Information: “Buffet” is the second single from Ainsley’s upcoming record. You can keep tabs on when that will release by keeping an eye on her Bandcamp.
Tempesst – “Prisoner of Desire” (London, England via Sunshine Coast, Australia)
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys + Leonard Cohen + Marlon Williams
Why We’re Digging It: When brothers Toma (vocals, guitars) and Andy Banjanin (drums), Eric Weber (guitars), Kane Reynolds (keys), and Blake Misipeka (bass) kicked off their project Tempesst, they alternated between trippy psych-pop to nostalgic psych-rock of the ’70s. Their music personified escapism. Like everything in this world, the quintet continue to evolve – or in the case “Prisoner of Desire”, they turn the clocks further back and deliver what could be considered an instant classic.
Like a great Leonard Cohen track or when the Arctic Monkeys also turned to the past on Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, Tempesst deliver a tune made for the era of black-and-white cinema. While musically the song combines ’60s rock and psych-rock, there is an air of the twenties in the light horns that bubble beneath. Toma’s tale, in particular, sounds like a Charlie Chaplin screenplay, as he sings about him being a “wandering cowboy” seeking to understand who he is now that he has been captured by the one thing he could not escape – love.
The single is out on Pony Recordings.
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