The Matinee ’22 v. 114 is part 1 of 2 on this Tuesday, August 30th. Eight songs are featured on this edition, and they are tied together by one theme – for us to wake up and realize the struggle before us.
Phoebe Go – “Hey” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Skullcrusher, Maple Glider, Ada Lea
Phoebe Lou’s project Phoebe Go has impressed us since the first time it graced our ears. Not only has she become one of the most exciting songwriters from a town that’s now synonymous with great songwriters, Lou has become someone everyone should be keeping an ear out for. It’s a fact that’s obvious to anyone who’s heard her recent singles, the gorgeous “We Don’t Talk” and the jaw-dropping “The Kid”
On her latest single, “Hey”, Phoebe Go strips things back, and the result is perhaps her most stunning release yet. The song is mostly just Lou’s voice over intricately finger-picked guitar, occasionally joined by a faint echo of harmonies and piano. That puts Lou’s powerful songwriting on full display. “Hey” was written after the passing of her cousin, and listeners can feel the powerful emotions Lou feels as she works through the grief. There’s also a soothing quality to both music and reflection, and songs like “Hey” do indeed bring comfort to those who need it most.
“I get mad about what I can’t have
And I hate it that I’m like that
Stopped looking for the last escape
When I realised there were no gates
Cause at twenty-two he got his way
Down from the stairs we used to play
A little too much pain than he could afford
And a little help from an extension cord”
Lou’s debut EP, Player, will be released October 28th.
Helen Ganya – “afterparty” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Dog in the Snow, Christine and the Queens, Florence + the Machine
At first glance, Helen Ganya‘s name may not jump off the page, but after some thought and hearing her voice something clicks. Indieheads will better know her as Dog in the Snow, but this year and likely many more to come she’s performing under her own name. The change also comes with a fuller, more widescreen approach, which is heard on “afterparty”.
Like the marriage of Christine and the Queen’s orchestral pop with the soaring escapades of Florence + the Machine, the Scottish-Thai singer-songwriter has unleashed a cinematic masterpiece. Like great theater, the song commences softly, allowing Ganya’s voice to grab hold. Gradually, the drama builds, as the mini-symphony intensifies and Ganya’s vocal becomes more emotive. Although the sound is different, the assertive songwriting that characterized Dog in the Snow’s songs remain. In this case, the Brighton-based artist looks at her companions and colleagues directly in the eyes and asks, “How long will it take for you to change?” Her question is a challenge for the other individuals to not just transform but to start respecting her. To respect her for her talent and art because she is an individual and not some object to be moulded.
Given Ganya’s progression and her past, her new album, Polish the Machine, which is out November 18th via Bella Union, will be highly anticipated in these parts. Pre-orders for the LP are available at these links and Bandcamp.
Sleep Party People – “Tide” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Trent Reznor, HEALTH, Deafheaven
Brian Batz’s project Sleep Party People is unique. Like Radiohead, he can push limits and create new worlds while still ensuring the music is accessible. He can make songs that sound like they belong in the most elite clubs, forming an atmosphere of suspense and seduction. Last week as he announced his new album, Heap of Ashes, he’s commencing a new chapter in his career, and it is completely unexpected.
With “Tide”, Batz enters a realm whose residents are filled with torment, pain, anger, and disbelief. Its opening couple of minutes are Radiohead-esque with blips and beeps and Batz’s shallow vocals. His words, however, are foreboding yet real, as he takes aim at the people who choose to destroy the world so they can succeed. His voice is at first calm, but then just before the three-minute mark the song opens up. Or more like the ground opens up and swallows us, as Batz’s voice becomes a piercing, savage-like scream. Is his scream directed at us, the citizen, who allow the selfish few to succeed or at the manipulators? You be the judge.
“Your shattered dreams make you embrace the silence
And the illusion that all is well
You’re the epitome of ignorance
You’re wallowing in self-pity
And I’m staggered by your obstinacy
How come you don’t let us in?”
ALASKALASKA – “TV Dinners” (London, England)
RIYL: Poliça, Pedestrian, Son Lux
In their early days, ALASKALASKA were lighting up venues across the UK with their multi-genre, musical attack. Jazz, disco, pop, art-rock, and even a bit of ska were integrated into their songs. They were essentially the Rubblebucket across the pond. But with a pandemic interrupting and changing lives, the sextet has now become a duet, involving Lucinda Duarte-Holman and Fraser Rieley. The reduction in numbers also has led to the London outfit to adopt a new approach, which is as remarkable and eye-opening as their past – just in a different way. Instead of preparing for a parade or full-throttle onslaught, close your eyes and allow the pair to consume you with “TV Dinners”.
The song is a terrific example of how darkwave can be enrapturing. It is brilliantly pensive and patient, as quick, light beats flow underneath a shallow, bass grumble. Duarte-Holman’s voice is both lush and robotic, sounding like a person who is caught between reality and fantasy. A person who is trying to decipher what is the truth and the figment of someone’s imagination. Simply sensation not to mention timely.
I’m still alive shadows and light
Are in the bedroom
Dancing in the afternoon
I see the neighbourhood
and the trees
The view from my window is good”
Miya Folick – “Bad Thing” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Stevie Nicks + Sharon Van Etten + Julia Jacklin
Truly one of music’s most outstanding independent artists is Miya Folick. Not only does she possess an incredible voice and is a fantastic songwriter, she’s immensely versatile as she revealed on “Oh God”, “Ordinary”, and “Nothing to See”. The LA-based artist showcases her range with “Bad Thing”.
Lush synth opens the track, and they are joined quickly by Folick’s voice, which is perfect for this song’s vibe. Where “Bad Thing” could have easily fallen into the hole of another ’80s-inspired nostalgia track, the LA-based artist adds so much more – from the fantastic guitar right under the surface, a great drum line, and a chorus that wouldn’t feel out of place among some of the best modern indie-pop tracks. The song’s bridge is also undeniably infectious, repeating “I don’t ever, ever, ever wanna go to sleep“.
This sentiment is echoed throughout the track, which concerns holding on the nights that we never want to end in the moment that often come with consequences. The song was written after one of those nights with Folick admitting she “woke up with a first-class, absolutely soul-crushing hangover”. Luckily, she had Mitski and Andrew Wells to help her transform that moment into an incredibly catchy tune.
“Wake up hand upon my forehead
Can’t believe this is the way I live
Even now. Still somehow
Told my mom it was the last time
Told myself maybe it’s ok
One more time. One more time”
Lowertown – “Bucktooth” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: Big Thief + Girlpool + Charly Bliss
Olivia Osby and Avsha Weinberg have been making music that defies classification ever since they started recording music together as Lowertown. Sometimes poppy, sometimes folky, sometimes they just rock, but the one constant is that they keep things exciting. With that, it’s probably not a shock to learn they’ve signed with Dirty Hit, whose roster includes Rina Sawayama, Beabadoobee, and The Japanese House.
Their latest single, “Bucktooth”, was inspired by the genre the track’s name would suggest. While the song doesn’t have a sound that immediately evokes country music, its lyrics absolutely do. Osby cites Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison as an inspiration for the song, admiring Cash’s ability to tell a story. The lyrics eventually take a turn and become more of a statement against right wing extremism and a call for gun control. The instrumentals feel very indie rock with some great, weighty guitar chords, a stumbling drumbeat, and some fantastic vocals and lyrics from Osby.
“They’re extremists I don’t like it
I just wanted to have a good time
They’re playing with the law
I don’t want to
be on the run
They’re enemies of ‘the federation’
I cant handle any more (x3)
I can’t handle any more guns”
The Aquadolls – “Beachy” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Pom Pom Squad, The Dum Dum Girls, Alvvays
A few years ago, The Aquadolls were primarily Melissa Brooks’ (vocals, guitar) project. But like most things in life, having some like-minded friends share in the experience makes every event, moment, and song better. As such, The Aquadolls now include drummer Jacqueline Proctor and bassist Keilah Nina. It is fitting that the band is a trio because they now can channel the bubblegum, doo-wop, and psych-pop of the ’60s and ’70s, which is what they do with “Beachy”.
At first, the track sounds like the perfect late-summer tune. The jangly guitar riffs, the bouncy rhythms, and Brooks’ sugary voice along with the catchy chorus are made for these final hot days. One cannot help but smile and dance to the tune. Brooks’ lyrics, however, are the opposite of fun and warm. On the contrary, she recounts how the spark in a relationship quickly fades and how loneliness exists even when the person is in the same room. There is only one way out of this situation – and that is to truly go it alone. But this time around, Brooks has two great mates to help her start a new chapter.
“Our romance was at loss
You’re a nutshell with nothing inside
Feels like talking to a wall
You’re beautiful but you bore me to death
And I already want to die
That was before the lockdown
I never got to say goodbye”
The Aquadolls are once again Melissa Brooks (vocals, guitar), Jacqueline Proctor (drums), and Keilah Nina (bass). Their new album, Charmed, will be released on Enci Records.
Catch The Breeze – “Rise” (Copenhagen/Aarhus, Denmark)
RIYL: Ringo Deathstarr, My Bloody Valentine, present-day Deafheaven
We obviously our huge fans of shoegaze. It’s the genre that just won’t die after all and for good reason – it is the one true genre that can take us to the stars, the heavens, or somewhere deep inside our own dreams. One band doing its part to keep shoegaze front-and-center are Catch The Breeze, who include Aage Hedensted (vocals, guitar), Lars Madsen (bass), and Andreas Bundgaard (drums). Their newest album, Into the wide, which is out now and can be picked up here, includes plenty of songs that displays shoegaze’s greatness, like “Rise”.
The track is an amalgamation of some of shoegaze’s greats. It features the blistering gauziness of My Bloody Valentine, the cosmic layers of Ringo Deathstarr, and the dreamy adrenaline that Deafheaven captured in Infinite Granite. As a result, “Rise” will have fans doing their best air guitars, bass poses, and invisible drumming. It is 3.5 minutes of intoxicating energy, which also is heard in Hedensted’s lyrics. He encourages us to look ahead and not behind, so that we can realize the best days are before us. And they certainly will be with Catch The Breeze guiding us.
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