On Part 2 of our doubleheader of new music, The Matinee ’22 v. 117 traverses the globe to deliver yet another kaleidoscope of new music. Most of the 8 songs are a trip – whether sending you down rabbit holes, unseen destinations, or deep into your own psyche.
Vieux Farka Touré et Khruangbin – “Tongo Barra” (Mali & Houston, USA)
RIYL: Ali Farka Touré, Vieux Farka Touré, Khruangbin
One of the great musical experiences one can have in our opinion is to see a concert in Africa. We’re not saying seeing a massive international star in Nairobi or Cape Town but rather a gig headlined by a local artist or band. This where one can truly experience the dynamic musical heritage and culture of the city and country. Although not everyone can get to Africa, the next best thing is to immerse oneself in the music of Bonobo, Fela Kuti, or Ali Farka Touré, the latter is known as a pioneer of African desert blues. Understanding that people need a starting point, Vieux Farka Touré, the son of Ali, and Khruangbin provide just that with “Tongo Barra”.
“Tongo Barra” is a trippy and dreamy epic that is ideal for this late-summer heatwave. Khruangbin’s trademark psychedelic grooves are crystal clear, but they play a supporting role to Touré’s dangling guitar and his ever-present vocal. Singing in the Malian Songhai dialect, Touré reflects on his upbringing and the places and people, including his father, that inspired him. It is an example of how closely connected music is to many African cultures and their environments.
Titus Andronicus – “An Anomaly” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Steppenwolf + Black Mountain + Silver Jews
As Titus Andronicus prepare for the release of The Will to Live, Patrick Stickles, Liam Betson, R.J. Gordon, and Chris Wilson shared two songs – “(I’m) Screwed” and “Give Me Grief” – that were surprisingly more laid-back and classic rock in its approach. They were, however, still awesome, highlighted by Stickles’ extraordinary songwriting. A tiger, however, does not entirely lose its stripes, and the band dial up the intensity and deliver a roaring epic with “An Anomaly”.
Still classic rock in its approach, Titus Andronicus channel the rock and prog-rock bands known for rousing guitar solos like Steppenwolf, Silver Jews, and ZZ Top. They, however, add more darkness a la Black Mountain, which is perfect for this tune filled with Biblical references. Or more like it is a thesis that challenges the lessons told in Sunday school and during sermons and, thus, offering a different perspective on who is ultimately responsible for our plight.
“It was God that made our bodies
But the Devil made our brains
We revel in our autonomy as we drive ourselves insane
They say God could make no error
So it must have been His plan
To create a world of terror by the instruments of man
In our eyes there lies a secret that the Father had denied
Then he died trying to keep it on the Island of the Wild
And it was God (it was God)
That made the Devil
It was God (it was God)
That made the Beast”
Knifeplay – “Promise” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine + Red House Painters + Deafheaven
There are a lot of exciting bands currently in the Philadelphia scene, but the most intriguing of the bunch may be Knifeplay. It is a fitting name, as their songs have a sharp, piercing quality to them. Their sound is a heavy brand of shoegaze, which is as intense as it is invigorating.
On their latest single, “Promise”, Knifeplay present a finer polish on their existing, intense sound. The opening moments are distinctively gauzy, as bright guitar chords chime through as haunting, reverbed vocals join the mix. Tom heavy drums drive things forward before the song breaks into a sound that feels uplifting from its slide guitar and synth. The second time around, an intense guitar solo pierces through all of that, eventually relinquishing its grip but the song is never the same after that. After a false ending, the track explodes into an even bigger moment than the one that preceded it. The intensity and heaviness are echoed through the lyrics, which paint a bleak picture of society. “You’re born into this shit” the song repeats, a simple reminder that we are thrown into this world. And maybe more importantly, “You are what you are“.
Knifeplay are: TJ Strohmer (vocals, guitar, songwriting), Alex Stackhouse (bass), John Sciortino (percussion), Max Black (piano, synth, string composition), and Johnny Klein (lead guitar). Their sophomore album, Animal Drowning, will be released October 19th on Topshelf Records. Pre-orders available here and on Bandcamp.
Milly – “Marcy” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Pavement, Swervedriver, Chapterhouse
They may been just crawling in the ’90s but LA-based Milly sound like they emerged at the time when grungegaze erupted. With “Ring True”, they brilliantly blended the shoegaze and sadcore of that decade, creating a song that could have been on any coming-of-age soundtrack. If we could turn back time and send Milly to that era, they likely would be legends today with bands trying to intimate their art. And they may still become the standard by which future grungegazers are measured. One of the songs that future outfits will have to match could be “Marcy”.
Brendan Dyer (vocal, guitar), Yarden Erez (bass), Spencer Light (guitar), and Zach Capitti Fenton’s (drums) is simply terrific. It bellows of the dreamy desperation that filled the song of the mid-’90s, reflecting the unsettling confusion and stress that consumed a younger generation at the time. The brilliant interplay with the gauzy guitar and the over-driven, gritty rhythm guitar accentuates the polarizing feelings, which are further heightened by Dyer’s vocal and honesty lyrics about the world coming to an end for one person.
“Never meant all I said in the back restaurant
Everything doesn’t suck on the phone
When you know, you know
Completely owning everything
Doesn’t even change the sting
Marcy’s got a brand new brain”
Alex Lahey – “Congratulations” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Fazerdaze, Slothrust, No Doubt
Ever since her debut EP, B-Grade University, Alex Lahey has been on a meteoric rise. Propelled by that record and a pair of stellar LPs, Lahey continued to release some great stuff with her trademark wit and style. It slowed down a bit during the pandemic as many things did, but Lahey showed some hints of activity, writing the end credits song for a Netflix film, The Mitchells vs The Machines, “On My Way”, the exuberant “Spike the Punch” last year, and a cover of Faith Hill’s “This Kiss”.
Her first proper single this year is the fantastic “Congratulations”. A heavier sound marks the single, but it’s not a far departure from what could be expected from Lahey. Muted power chords underlay the song. Despite the short runtime, the lead guitar is a shapeshifter throughout. Chiming, sludgy, sharp, all can be used to describe the sound as the song progresses. That unpredictable dynamic is a perfect pairing with what inspired the song: Lahey learning two of her exes getting engaged. The emotions that come with that kind of whiplash can swing one way or another.
So happy for your perfect life
There’s something in my eye
I’m doing just fine without you
There’s no mistaking
That I’m shaken
By your lightning
Change of heart”
The single is out on Liberation Records. We’re guessing an album is in the works.
Forever Honey – “Could I Come Here Alone” and “I’m a Winner, I’m a Loser” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The Sundays, Sun June, Slow Pulp
A time will come – and hopefully soon – when Forever Honey become household names because Liv Price (lead vocals, guitar), Aida Mekonnen (lead guitar, vocals), Steve Vannelli (drums, keys), and Jack McLoughlin (bass) create music that is warm, endearing, and unforgettable. Their songs are perfect for any coming-of-age TV show or film, where when they come on people are rushing to grab their phones to find out who sang that tune. Take, for instance, the quartet’s two newest tunes, which might be some of the most stunning songs written this year.
“Could I Come Here Alone” is a dazzling dream-pop number that is one part The Sundays and another part Big Thief with a touch of The Cure, particularly in McLoughlin’s bass line. Patiently, Forever Honey delve into the mind of a person coping with the slow disintegration of a relationship, where loneliness has become her most loyal companion. Price’s lush voice is drenched with pain and remorse, as she understands that she must move on.
On “I’m a Winner, I’m a Loser”, the band slow the pace to create a vulnerable intimacy. A light, electric-organ hums underneath Price’s vocal before a gauzy guitar rings in the background. Her voice is almost a whisper at first, but it has a touch of defiance in it. As the song builds, her voice also rises slightly while the rumbling percussion intensifies, giving more heft to Price’s words.
“I’m a loser
But I have my degree
Just a sweet tooth
Just an old magazine
I reach for the ones who will never be there to know me
Still, I stammer to say all the things that I need.”
Ruth Lyon – “Trouble” (Newcastle, England)
RIYL: Fiona Apple, Aldous Harding, Regina Spektor
In 2021, Ruth Lyon released her debut EP, Nothing’s Perfect. It wasn’t the first release Lyon worked on, as she’s a founding member of Holy Moly & The Crackers, a great folk-rock band themselves. But there’s always some strength to be found by going your own way and embracing the individual creative freedom that comes with releasing art under a solo banner. Lyon also is an activist for disabled people. She uses a wheelchair herself and is trying to spotlight the accessibility issues that affect the live performance industry.
That activism led to Lyon speaking at a panel at SXSW this year, and the experience led to the creation of her latest single, “Trouble”. The song goes through some fantastic transitions. At times, it’s driven by a groovy bass line, sometimes it’s just Lyon’s voice, then it becomes lush and hypnotic. The lyrics play to the idea of “perfection” or the perception thereof. Lyon knows she will never be seen as “perfect” and more as “trouble” because of her aversion to the futile attempt to achieve “perfection”.
“I woke up wondering when I’m going to die
Window shopping everything feels like a lie
Paint my nails covering up all the bites
Clean the car just to hold back time
And it’s true I’ve never known what I’m doing
It’s all fluke all that I know’s my own doing”
Follow The Revue On...
Share This Article On...