The Matinee ’22 v. 112 features nine artists and bands that are well-positioned to redefine who music is heard and experienced. They are creating songs that not only are enticing on the ears, but they also encourage us to reassess our past, present, and future.
Julia Jacklin – “Be Careful With Yourself” (Blue Mountains / Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Faye Webster, Why Bonnie, Snail Mail
Why We’re Digging This: Julia Jacklin is unquestionably among the very best singer-songwriters around. Her first two albums – Don’t Let the Kids Win and Crushing – are indie classics. Her third album, PRE PLEASURE, similarly is on track to reach such great heights, as evidenced by its first three singles, “Lydia Wears a Cross”, “I Was Neon”, and “Love, Try Not To Let Go”. With the LP’s release just a day away, the Australian shares one more song that showcases her limitless ability.
Jacklin traverses a folk-pop route on “Be Careful With Yourself”. With her voice doused with a touch of autotune, she calmly tells her partner that they, together, will overcome another roadblock. While they struggle to make ends meet, she, like Joni Mitchell before her, focuses on the positive and offers words of encouragement. At the end of the day, they still have each other while we have Jacklin and the lovely music she continues to gift us.
“Please make sure you have got a little savings
We have to try to be prepared for things changing
I’ll keep the car in the drive, if you maintain the house
Let’s keep all our doctors appointments, give voice to our doubts
From now on in you I put all my trust
Now that I know there’s nobody coming to save us”
The Cool Greenhouse – “Hard Rock Potato” (London, England)
RIYL: Parquet Courts, Shopping, Talking Heads
Why We’re Digging It: It’s only a matter of time before The Cool Greenhouse are mentioned alongside IDLES, TV Priest, Dry Cleaning, and Shame as English post-punk royalty. Like their fellow Brits, Tom Greenhouse, Tom O’Driscoll, Tom Mason, Kevin Barthelemy, and Merlin Hayward create music that is catchy and, more importantly, intelligent and creative. Their post-punk is more in the off-kilter category, feeling like a strut down the street as evidenced on “Hard Rock Potato”.
While the arrangement grabs your attention at first – particularly how the sizzling, whirling guitars are offset again methodical rhythms – Greenhouse’s spoken-word approach and witty lyrics leave the lasting marks. Sounding like a man going through the usual 9-to-5 routine, he honestly assesses his life. He wonders if his stock in crytocurrency will impress his wife’s lover, daydreaming if the email from the Nigerian prince will lead to a financial windfall, and questioning if he will ever be satisfied. The track is a little wacky and off-the-cuff, but it is witty and incredibly on point.
The Backseat Lovers – “Growing/Dying” (Salt Lake City, USA)
RIYL: ‘The Bends’-era Radiohead, Pinegrove, The Districts
Why We’re Digging It: Joshua Harmon, Jonas Swanson, KJ Ward, and Juice Welch are riding a massive wave of popularity, which has culminated in them recently signing with Capitol Records. While all sorts of questions are raised when a band joins a major record label, our fingers are crossed that the DIY mentality that was heard on their debut LP, When We Were Friends, remains. If “Growing/Dying” is any indication, our fears will be found to be unnecessary.
The four young artists’ (all in their early 20s) newest single echoes Radiohead in their angsty, youthful days, namely during the Pablo Honey and The Bends sessions. However, the song also clearly contains a 2020s indie-rock vibe with the grizzled guitar that sears at the apex and Harmon’s highly introspective lyrics. With a falsetto that is Thom Yorke-esque, he pleads to himself and anyone listening:
“Searching for a sliver
Just enough to tell the forest from the firе Surely getting closer еvery moment Into the light is drifting by, by”
Look out world as The Backseat Lovers could single-handedly bring back angst-driven rock.
Lean Year – “Legs” (Richmond, VA, USA)
RIYL: Loma, Cross Record, Shearwater
Why We’re Digging It: Emilie Rex and Rick Alverson’s music as Lean Year can be described with two words – vulnerable and brittle. The duo from Virginia are masters of building drama in their songs, which makes their new album, Sides, a highly-anticipated one. It likely will startle, amaze, and enchant, not just the entire LP but the individual songs as well. This includes “Legs”.
The track is the sound of an unexpected retreat at 3AM. The song is methodical in its approach with a kalimba (a South African instrument) patiently dabbling while Rex’s pensive yet chilling vocal sets the scene. She sings about loss and how it consumes one’s body and soul. She and Alverson then reflect on their own existence and how fragile it is. As they do this, a piano tingles in the background alongside a smokey saxophone. The two instruments add a further mystery to this song that is based on real-life events.
As Rex explains: “Rick wrote ‘Legs’ in Erik’s basement studio the evening after our dog, Orca, died. We were there recording a score for our friend’s film and to start working on Sides, but we spent most of the time at emergency vets.”
Alverson further adds: “That night, we received word that my mom, Gina, was unresponsive and hadn’t woken up in 16 hours. We headed to Vermont where she died a few days later. Their passings had eerie similarities that haunted and deepened the song for us — parallel medications, confusions, immobilities, and inertia. It stands, we hope, as a small testament to their strength and vitality in life and the strangeness of loss.”
Magdalena Bay – “All You Do” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Tennis, Natalie Prass, Caroline Rose
Why We’re Digging It: Magdalena Bay dropped one of last year’s best records when they released the intelligent, catchy, and immersive Mercurial World. Earlier this year, the duo of Mica Tenenbaum (songwriting, vocals) and Matthew Lewin (songwriting/vocals/production) announced an expanded edition, featuring remixes as well as new songs. “All You Do” is one of those new, unreleased tracks.
It’s drenched in a similar nostalgic vibe that much of Mercurial World was, but it is rooted more in ’70s folk and pop than the synth-led ’80s sound that dominated the record. It’s a sound that fits Tenenbaum’s voice incredibly well, as it floats over an infectious bass line and some dreamy strings.
Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Unfold” (Paris via Aix-en-Provence, France)
RIYL: Coeur de Pirate, La Luz, Helena Deland
Why We’re Digging It: Melody’s Echo Chamber‘s self-titled debut, Melody’s Echo Chamber, was an attention-grabber. After releasing the LP, Melody Prochet went to work on a follow-up with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker in 2013. As Prochet puts it, “The relationship just didn’t make it through the process”. Almost a decade later, Prochet has revisited tracks from that abandoned record, including the fantastic “Unfold”.
“Unfold” captures the magic of her debut with a psychedelic energy pulsing through the track. From its quirky conjoined guitar and vocal leads, its wordless choruses, and its bouncy rhythm section, the track feels fresh and inviting. It also is a sign of great luck, in that Prochet would go back and revisit a record after so many years, especially after just releasing the stellar Emotional Eternal earlier this year.
Bleach Lab – “Obviously” (London via Buckinghamshire, England)
RIYL: Alvvays, The Sundays, Letters to Cleo
Why We’re Digging It: Yes, we are huge fans of Bleach Lab, who have become mainstays in this space. They are, in our humble opinion, one of the most exciting bands of this decade with their breezy, ’80s- and ’90s-inspired dream-pop. Their songs are often made for coming-of-age films, as they describe the trials and tribulations of a younger generation. If this was the ’90s, for instance, their tunes undoubtedly would be on the soundtracks for Singles and Empire Records. They would be, in other words, at the same level of The Sundays and The Cranberries, which they hopefully will achieve one day. With songs like “Obviously”, they’ll get their sooner than later.
Jenna Kyle (vocals), Josh Longman (bass), Frank Wates (guitar), and Kieran Weston’s (drums) latest song features everything that we adore about the band – a delicate yet immersive arrangement that feels like a warm blanket on a cold day, Kyle’s gorgeous voice, and her cinematic songwriting. On this track, Kyle becomes the narrator instead of the main character, singing about how one person loves another from afar but is too afraid to say anything. The protagonist’s greatest fear is one we all know too well – that of finding out the feelings are not reciprocated. Our love for Bleach Lab, however, knows no bounds.
Melby – “Music Should Feel” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Pearl Charles, Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes, Lily Kershaw
Why We’re Digging It: Speaking about exciting bands, Melby are one of them. In their six-plus years as a band, Matilda Wiezell (vocals), Are Engen Steinsholm (back-up vocals, guitar), David Jehrlander (bass), and Teo Jernkvist (drums) have created off-kilter alt-pop, bubbly indie-pop, and inviting dream-pop. They are, as we previously stated, the present and future of Scandinavian indie pop, and they display why we hold this opinion with “Music Should Feel”.
The song is made for a late summer’s evening with this lithe, dreamy approach. The addition of the saxophone adds to the track’s intimate feeling, where two people stroll through a park and encounter a musician idly playing under some trees. As the bellowing, brass woodwind sounds, they may suddenly do a waltz or simply slow dance, telling one another that this is how music should make them feel. That it could spontaneously entice people to dance, reminisce of past times, and enjoy the company of those around. Melby’s songs and albums have always done this – be the soundtrack for all the little moments of our lives.
Johanna Warren – “Piscean Lover” (Wales via St. Petersburg, FL USA)
RIYL: TORRES, Squirrel Flower, IAN SWEET
Why We’re Digging It: It’s taken about 13 years but it feels like Johanna Warren may finally get the attention she deserves. Earlier this year, Warren released the folky “I’d Be Orange”, which echoed the Laurel Canyon sound. On her latest single, “Piscean Lover”, Warren’s sound gets heavy.
The song feels unnerving from its early moments, a sharp sound pierces silence as heavily-strummed guitar chords with some rimshot heavy drumming help Warren’s voice build up into an explosion. The song gets even more intense when it hits the choruses, and a great guitar solo. It’s an incredible moment and a stark contrast with the previously released single, which is the mark of a great artist – to awe no matter the approach.
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