The Matinee ’22 v. 119 is another globe-trotting musical adventure, featuring some of indie’s most outstanding artists and bands spanning several genres. Expect the unexpected from this excellent group of nine.
Marlon Williams – “Don’t Go Back” (Lyttleton, New Zealand)
RIYL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Diane Coffee, present-day Arctic Monkeys
There is no limit to Marlon Williams‘ talent. He first turned heads with his classic, soft-rock approach, leading to comparisons to Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. Over time, however, he’s shown that he’s more than just a crooner. His forthcoming album, My Boy – which drops tomorrow and includes already-released singles “Thinking of Nina”, “River Rival”, and “Easy Does It” – reveals Williams incorporating Māori language and culture into his music while also occasionally delving into synth-pop. To give fans one more taste of what is to come, the New Zealander shares one more song.
“Don’t Go Back” captures Williams’ career in a single track, bridging his original foundations with his new, forward-looking approach. Soft-rock textures are intelligently married with sweltering psych-pop and R&B. The combination yields a soundscape that could be right out of the late-’70s or even present-day with its seductive, groovy, and mesmerizing effect. Williams’ smooth vocal and vivid storytelling, meanwhile, remain, as he tells the tale of a down-on-their-luck person who is about to make one more mistake.
“One in a million and a long way from home
I can hear your poor heart beating on the dark end of the phone
I get scared of that
Tērā te tangi a te ruru!
You’re holding on to a feeling long forgotten by the people all around you
It hurts to fall on frozen ground
I know you
And that day is gonna come when you’ll be losing, mmm losing”
The Big Moon – “Trouble” (London, England)
RIYL: early Warpaint, Goat Girl, Beaches
We delighted in The Big Moon‘s return last month when they released the anthemic “Wide Eyes”. Juliette Jackson, Fern Ford, Celia Archer, and Soph Nathann, after all, are one of the best indie-rock bands around. In our minds, they belong in the same conversation as Wolf Alice as among the UK’s most influential outfits of the past decade. One of the reasons is that they consistently are able to see beyond the turmoil and find optimism. The quartet are the glimmering beacon in the darkness that guides us to our safety. They once again shine the light our way with “Trouble”.
The London-based band’s latest number is another chest-swelling anthem. While it does not explode with the intensity of “Wide Eyes”, it still is a full-on energizer. Gradually, the track progresses from its bass-driven, slow groove to a rapturous dream-rocker. Throughout, Jackson delivers lines of encouragement and empowerment. She and her mates refuse to be settle for comfort and the ordinary. They desire to be heard, felt, and known – just like the rest of us.
“I don’t need your praise, I need your presence
Compliments don’t lift you off the floor
This will come, this will go
I know that as well as I know
The shape of my face when I’m holding my head in my hands”
Weird Nightmare – “I Think You Know” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: The Kinks, The Strokes, Night Shop
By now, most people know who Alex Edkins is. If not, think noise-rockers METZ, for whom he’s the guitarist and front-man. Outside this project, Edkins likes his rock ‘n roll like our parents – old-school and fun. As Weird Nightmare, he gets to dabble in nostalgia, showing a different and even tenderer side. This might seem a bit strange at first since we’re accustomed to seeing Edkins prance around on stage, occasionally crowd surf, and absolutely tear into his microphone. However, Edkins the classic rocker works because he is simply an outstanding musician and can craft catchy guitar riffs like he does on “I Think You Know”.
Spin this track anywhere and watch people of all ages shake their hips, noodle their heads, and even dance. Better yet, smiles will emerge on everyone’s faces with people thinking they know this song. Of course, it’s brand new, which essentially describes what Edkins has crafted – a tune that could have been and still can be considered a classic. Rock on Mr. Edkins!
A.O. Gerber – “For” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Faye Webster, Madeline Kenney, Maple Glider
In 2020, A.O. Gerber released her fantastic debut record, Another Place To Need. It was an exciting record to get us acquainted with Gerber’s sound and left us wanting more. Thankfully, Gerber is gearing up for her sophomore record, Meet Me At The Gloaming, which was produced by another up and coming songwriter, Madeline Kenney. Gerber has already has shared the hauntingly introspective, “Hunger”, and has just released the equally impactful “For”.
Starting out with just some muted guitar chords, “For” slowly grows into something incredible. Gerber’s voice is joined by harmonies and some droning synth before some heavy-handed drumming starts, sending the song into an even more uncontrolled spin. The vocals fade as more of the instruments take over, but there’s a beauty in the chaos. It captures what Gerber is trying to say with “For”: a song about a complex moment in a friendship. One with the desire to help, but also a hopeless inability to do so. The calm moments of reflection and the louder moments of doubt and that dialog drowned out by the noise. When the noise finally releases its grip, it’s just Gerber and those muted chords, singing:
“Tell you I’d come if I could
But I’m doing my hair
With an ear full of metal
So who am I trying to save?
Is it you from yourself
Or is it me from the heartache?”
Dot Never – “Wrong Again” (London, England)
RIYL: Moderat, Son Lux, Jon Hopkins
One of the most exciting bands to arrive over the past 20 months in our minds is Dot Never. The London-based group have caused our minds to be transported to distant places with their alluring brand of trip-hop, downtempo, and indietronica. As such, Calum Duncan, Avi Barath, Jonny Coote, and Joss Brightwell were one of our Artists to Watch in 2022. Earlier this year, they shared the hauntingly beautiful “Landfill”. They delve further into these dark, enchanting places with “Wrong Again”.
Mesmerizing is the quartet’s newest single. It first seems serene with the lingering guitar plucking over top a pulsing, rhythmic beat. However, a mysterious uncertainty lingers underneath, which is further revealed with Duncan utters the words, “I thought that I was but I am not / And it’s eating me up, eating me up.” Slowly the song grows more urgent and intense, as the tempo slightly accelerates and the arrangement builds. Like Moderat and Jon Hopkins, Dot Never turn the track into a hypnotic experience. We cannot take our eyes nor ears away from the drama that builds in the gripping arrangement and Duncan’s story of heartbreak, despair, and grief.
Roller Derby – “Only You” (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Alvvays, Makthaverskan, Wallice
When we listed Roller Derby as one of our Favorite Hidden Gems of 2021, we cited their bubbly dream-pop sound as a big reason. That sound was also drenched in a cinematic and nostalgic feeling that made each of their songs incredibly inviting. Their first single of 2022, “Starry-Eyed”, saw the band head to more gauzy soundscapes. Less dream-pop, but with a more dynamic sound that would still hit right in the spot for someone looking for a modern take on a throwback sound.
The dream-pop sounds return for Roller Derby on their latest single, “Only You”. A classic combo of drums and bass define the song’s brief intro. A charming guitar part mixed with Philine Meyer’s voice add even more to the song’s upbeat vibe. The choruses on the single are stunning as well, kicking things up a notch each time they roll through. It’s impossible to not feel charmed by the sound that Roller Derby have crafted on “Only You”. Just as engrossing as the music itself, the lyrics pull the listener right into the song:
Take me to a place
Where no one else can go
Where I can barely see
The end in front of me
Open up your eyes and
Gaze into blue skies
Fly me to the moon
We will get there soon
Roller Derby are: Philine Meyer (vocals, keys), Manuel Romero Soria (guitar), and Max Nielsen (bass). They are a band to watch for a very long time.
KT Laine – “Dumpster Fire” (Victoria, BC Canada)
RIYL: early Angel Olsen, Julia Jacklin, Lady Lamb
There isn’t much we can tell you about KT Laine. Other than a handful of demos released from sessions years ago, Laine does not have many songs to her credit. But judging from her proper debut single, “Dumpster Fire”, alone, she’s poised to make a huge splash when she eventually releases her debut record.
There are plenty of things that the term “Dumpster Fire” can be used to describe. Heck, the last few years feel like they fit the description quite well. Laine has probably assembled the prettiest “Dumpster Fire” in existence with this single. There’s a vintage feeling in the sound of the song, reminiscent of some of Angel Olsen’s earliest tracks, complete with a truly captivating and unique voice. Combine that with the warm guitar tones and the bright drum production, the track feels like something well beyond a debut single. Harmonies of “oohs” at just the right times, low-key twangy guitar leads, and other small touches transform the song into something incredible.
What was the question
That’s burning us out
Answer for me
I see no reason
No pain on the window
This time there’s another
And I’m a terrible liar
This time I’m my own lover
And there’s no chance of a
There’s no news yet about a date or details of Laine’s debut record. But after “Dumpster Fire”, it’ll be wise to keep an eye out on her socials in case anything pops up.
MisterWives – “Wrongside” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: BROODS, Grouplove, Lawrence
We often have stated that the best way to stand out from the pack is to write a great story or message, especially since the scope of creating something sonically fresh and inventive is increasingly becoming narrower. This is particularly the case in pop music. Many artists and bands will opt to play it safe, crafting a tune that is not only familiar musically but also lyrically (with the over-repetition included). Thankfully for us, Misterwives exist. Not only do Mandy Lee (vocals), Etienne Bowler (percussion), William Hehir (bass), Marc Campbell (guitar), and Mike Murphy (saxophone, keys, synth) create infectious pop, but they also use their platform to deliver uplifting messages. They did this with “Easy” and “Wrongside”.
Misterwives’ latest single is a delightful ear-worm that is perfect for these late-summer days. The tickling guitar that lingers beneath the toe-tapping rhythms provides a light, breezy quality. Lee’s saccharine voice, meanwhile, gives the song a dreamy intimacy. She sounds like she is sitting next to us, sharing her deepest thoughts and fears. Her words are real and honest, yet they offer us a bit of comfort knowing that another person feels the way we do.
“I’m getting older but the fears don’t change It’s all the same except my age I want to know if I can live a day
Without the shame of my mistakes
Hold them close to my chestReplay every mistake But I’m doing my best Downward spiral again”
The single is out on Photo Finish Records. A new album surely must be coming.
Surf Rock is Dead – “back and forth” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: DIIV, Daywave, Beach Fossil
For the better part of eight years, Kevin Pariso and Joel Witenberg have created some of the best surf-rock and shoegaze of the 21st Century as Surf Rock Is Dead. They’ve been overlooked, however, as tastemakers have gushed over the likes of DIIV and Wild Nothing (and rightfully so). The Brooklyn-based duo, though, will hopefully get their day, so that fans around the world can be immersed in their shimmering sound and songs, such as “back and forth”.
The track is 21st Century shoegaze personified, where the gauziness is both dazzling and intimate. The escapism that results, as such, is not that of the cosmic variety but rather within oneself. As the guitar chimes and the percussion pulsates, Pariso does exactly this – look introspectively at his life and the relationships he’s created. In his honest examination, he realizes that change is inevitable, which includes saying goodbye to friends.
“Well it seems our friendship’s over
A pattern weaves its way up in my life again
Can we salvage what’s leftover?
Does it show?”
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