We’re kicking off September with a twinbill of new music with The Matinee ’22 v. 116 offering eight songs that span multiple genres. Some tunes are nostalgic, others are beyond intoxicating, and a few groove, rock, or rage.
Arctic Monkeys – “There’d Better Be A Mirroball” (Sheffield, England)
RIYL: Burt Bacharach, Destroyer, Spandau Ballet
Late in 2021, signs pointed to a new Arctic Monkeys‘ album, so the question was more of when the LP would arrive rather than if. As such, it was one of our most anticipated albums of 2022, and last week Alex Turner (lead vocals, guitar), Jamie Cook (guitar, keyboards), Nick O’Malley (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Matt Helders (drums, backing vocals) confirmed that The Car will be released before Halloween. With the announcement, the next question was what direction would the band head. Would they return to their frenetic, disco-punk or build on their excellent 2018 LP, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino? While one song does not offer a definitive answer, the record’s lead single signals a band looking forward rather than behind.
“There’d Better Be A Mirrorball” is an instant soft-rock classic. It is straight out of the ’70s with its sultry, smokey, and extremely intimate approach. Turner, meanwhile, sounds like a young Burt Bacharach or Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet. Like a great crooner, he opens his heart for the world to see. He shares how his heart has been broken, and all he can do these days is watch his ex move on while he stays cemented in the past.
“So if you wanna walk me to the car
You oughta know I’ll have a heavy heart
So can we please be absolutely sure that there’s a mirrorball?”
Connie Constance – “Mood Hoover” (London, England)
RIYL: Nilüfer Yanya, Molly Burch, Millie Turner
The UK is overflowing with outstanding, young singer-songwriters, who have a knack for taking experiences that would crush most people and turn them into lessons of empowerment. Connie Constance is one such artist, who like Nilüfer Yanya and Millie Turner will not allow anyone or anything keep her done. She showcased this with the dynamic kaleidoscope of “Till the World’s Awake” and continues the trend with “Mood Hoover”.
With a jangly guitar and a groovy, bouncy rhythm section, Constance’s newest tune is a delicious ear-worm that will induce plenty of smiles. It may also entice many to do a little jig out in public not only due to the catchy melody but also as a result of Constance’s lyrics. She refuses to allow the negativity of another person – whether that is a partner, a parent, a teacher, or a troll – to affect her. As the London-based singer shares with biting flair:
“You’re just a mood hoover
Sucking the life out of my soul again
And I think I’m a professional scuba
Tryna survive underwater
And all I’m saying
You’re not good for the world
But you’re good for me
Na, I’m just playing
We’re fucking awesome
But no one can see”
Plains – “Abilene” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Waxahatchee, Jess Williamson, The Chicks
About a month ago, Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson announced their collaborative project Plains, which for many indieheads is a dream come true. Sometimes two stars coming together can fall short of expectations, but any doubts were silenced when the duo released the perfect mid-summer evening tune with “Problem With It”.
The latest single from the project, “Abilene”, is a perfect example of what two fantastic songwriters can do together. Crutchfield said the song “really solidified the vision of the album for me.” It’s easy to hear why right out of the gate, as the flawless fusion of both artists results in something incredibly special. “Abilene” is a breathtaking country song with piano, acoustic and slide guitar, and Williamson’s powerful voice defining the track’s verses. Both songwriters come together for the tune’s choruses, and there are few voices that fit as well together. That’s a statement that can be applied to both their sound and lyricism.
“I remember the air when I drove out of town
Crying on the highway with my windows down
I’da stayed there forever, till death do us part
Texas in my rearview, Plains in my heart
Couldn’t hold it together when Abilene fell apart”
Sprints – “Literary Mind” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, The Joy Formidable, Hater
Earlier this year, Sprints released an awesome EP in A Modern Job, which showcased the band’s fiery brand of post-punk and noise rock. It also reconfirmed them as one of the most exciting bands to emerge in the past three years – at least in our minds. At some point, they have to slow down, right? Even Wolf Alice and Arctic Monkeys did. Karla Chubb (lead vocals, guitar), Sam McCann (bass, backing vocals), Colm O’Reilly (guitar, backing vocals), and Jack Callan (drums) do ease off the gas pedal on “Literary Mind”, but the ferocity still remains.
The band head into more pop-rock territory with their newest single – at least at the start. Led by the great rhythm section of McCann and O’Reilly, a gravitating urgency bursts immediately. The sizzling guitar adds to the energy and desperation, which are amped up when Chubb’s vocal arrives. She is calm and collected at first, but then it grows and is filled with desperation. As Chubb’s voice reaches piercing levels, McCann joins her, and together they share a lighthearted tale about queer love. More specifically, they describe the person Chubb admires from afar through that person’s literary tendencies.
“She’s got a literary mind and a literary look
She’s got a literary hand and it’s literary shook
From the confines of a page to the vastness of a book
She’s a killer, she’s a thriller
She’s a halfwit and a crook”
This band is going places. We sincerely believe it and have from pretty much day one.
October Drift – “Waltzer” (Taunton, England)
RIYL: Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, The Districts
From the first day we were introduced to October Drift, we thought they could be one of the great English rock bands and eventually emerge as Frightened Rabbit’s heirs. In the six-plus years that have passed, Kiran Roy, Chris Holmes, Alex Bispham, and Daniel Young have only validated this belief with outstanding records and recent singles, including the grungy “Insects” and the anthemic “Webcam Funerals”. On “Waltzer”, however, the quartet just may have reached the same pinnacle as the Scottish legends.
Like what FR perfected, October Drift have created a rocker that will embrace your entire being – from the soaring intro to the explosive climax to Roy’s fantastic lyricism. His poetic songwriting is akin to the late Scott Hutchison, where he simultaneously shares the emotions that fill his soul each day and how he finds strength in others that have similarly fallen into the darkness.
“But I hold on only for you (but I don’t think I’m coming back)
Cancer crawl what can I do (I don’t think I’m coming back)
Poor and I’m sick and I’m falling behind
Limping barefoot through the shards of a shattered mind (and I don’t think I’m coming back)”
Disq – “(With Respect to) Loyal Serfs” (Madison, WI USA)
RIYL: Yo La Tengo, Grandaddy, Geese
In the short time we’ve gotten to know Disq, they have taken us back to the ’80s with the Talking Heads-esque “Cujo Kiddies” and the ’90s with the Gin Blossoms-touched “If Only”. They are musical time machines, which is great for us since those decades gave us some of the finest music in history. For their next single, “(With Respect to) Loyal Serfs”, they stay in the ’90s and unleash a ripping rocker that would make Yo La Tengo, Built To Spill, Grandaddy, and all the legendary indie-rock outfits immensely proud.
With a duration of just 2.5 minutes, Raina Bock (bass, vocals), Isaac deBroux-Slone (guitar, vocals), Shannon Connor (guitar, keys, vocals), Logan Severson (guitar, vocals), and Brendan Manley (drums) fill every second with a blistering intensity. The guitars wail, the percussion rumbles, and the bass booms. Meanwhile, the harmonies are intense and urgent and rightfully so since the track concerns the destruction of our planet at our hands. Like the ’90s, the ending chorus will have all those listening hollering in unison with the band, venting their angst and frustration at all those who think climate change is a hoax.
“Goodnight to planet Earth
Goodnight to all who served
And please don’t be disturbed
We’ll get what we deserve”
Dream, Ivory – “Would It Kill You At All” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: HEALTH, Crystal Castles, Crystal Method
While Southern California brothers Christian and Louie Baello have a cult following as Dream, Ivory, they could potentially emerge as leaders of the next generation of electro-punk / darkwave electronica. They could be, in other words, this generation’s version of HEALTH and maybe Prodigy, particularly if they continue in the direction they have set with “Would It Kill You At All”.
Forget raves or clubs, this tune is meant to be heard in isolation. Sure the pulsing electronics, synths, and percussion would leave the masses in a trance-like state. Sure the rising swell that occurs at the song’s apex could lead to a wave of colliding bodies on the dance floor. However, only in a quiet space can one truly experience the song and understand its meaning. This isn’t a tune for celebrating, but rather it’s for contemplating who we are and what is our value in this overpopulated planet. As Louis shares:
“I wrote this song about suicide (as) I attempted suicide a year ago. That changed the course of my life a lot. I sing, ‘To find hope in tragedy / Is to have it your own way,’ (to communicate) how you deal with things in life, those are your consequences and you should deal with that.”
Look out world, indietronica has its next great band.
Young Jesus – “Rose Eater” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: James Blake + Phoria + Boy Harsher
Just a month ago, John Rossiter via his project Young Jesus released one of the year’s most stunning songs of the year with “Ocean”. It was beyond breathtaking sonically while immensely poignant in its message. It felt like a culmination of Rossiter’s music so far: an undeniable single that tied the beauty and intensity that permeates through the music of Young Jesus.
“Rose Eater” continues to find beauty in spite of the process to get there. Recorded on an internal computer microphone, Rossiter messed with the song’s piano parts until he found something that sounded just right. “I pitched it down and ran it through a million effects until it sounded like Enya or Peter Gabriel strings,” he shares about the single. Paired with Rossiter’s voice, it’s a strange, haunting, and fantastic combination. The surreal early moments peel away into a truly stunning track. The track’s lyrics echo that idea – to find something of worth despite its imperfections.
“I’ve noticed that I’m trying to be right
To ride the largest wave
Still every wave must break
And I am lost in endless waters
I’m left to float with what I am
I’ve run away from disagreements and
Abandoned older friends
I’ve seen the past as pain
I once would rather be forgotten
Than live complexity and grace”
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