Nine songs, all straight from the heart, occupy The Matinee ’22 v. 128 edition. The mini-playlist is dominated by artists and bands on the rise with one heavyweight star anchoring today’s musical selection.
Hannah Jadagu – “Say It Now” (New York via Mesquite, TX USA)
RIYL: Fazerdaze, Faye Webster, No Vacation
From the suburbs of Dallas to the bright lights of the Big Apple, Hannah Jadagu was born to be a star. But like every celestial being, her path to her eventuality is a slow, meticulous process. At the same time, Jadagu is just 19 years old, so she has time on her side. She also has one of the great indie labels supporting her in Sub Pop, who know not to rush a talent like Jadagu. When a young artist can release a fantastic and life-affirming single in “All My Time is Wasted”, patience is a virtue. Patience also has yielded another memorable number in “Say It Now”.
A mournful guitar opens the track, but the melancholic feel quickly dissipates as a numbing bass and a tapering drum line emerge alongside Jadagu’s saccharine vocal. Gradually, the song builds with the guitar turning gauzy, filling the soundscape with a dizzying electricity. All the while, the Texan’s voice grows in desperation, as she battles a person who wants to knock her down and keep her floored. Jadagu, however, stands her ground.
“If I finally chose what’s mine
Would you push back ’til I’m ’round and back and crying?
But I’m at fault, make me feel small
Fighting the tricks up your sleeve, what’s one more after three?
Could you tell me why it’s a war when I try
To feel like you’re listening?”
We’ll say it again, Jadagu is going to be a star, and it’ll happen in 2023, which is when her debut album is expected to be released.
MorMor – “Chasing Ghosts” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Blood Orange, JayWood, Yves Tumor
If you thought Dev Hynes had a monopoly on creating groovy, infectious, R&B-inflicted alt-pop, Seth Nyquist and his project, MorMor, will have you think again. The Toronto-based resident already has released two stellar tracks from his forthcoming album, Semblance: the sensual “Far Apart” and the dream-pop gem, “Seasons Change”. The third single from the LP, however, might be the best of the bunch.
Loosen up the neck muscles because “Chasing Ghosts” will induce involuntary head bouncing thanks to its sultry groove. The shallow, guttural throbs of the bass lead the charge. Enveloping it is a tapping drum machine and the slight tinge of a shimmering guitar, that eventually turns into a sizzling lightning strike a la Prince. Nyguist’s fluctuating voice skips across the swirling arrangement.
MorMor, however, is not just all about great melodies and bopping rhythms. He’s an underrated songwriting, who tells other people’s stories and the struggles they experience. In this case, he shares his observations of a sibling or a friend who ran towards the sun like Icarus and faced similar consequences.
“You’re chasing ghost
And you keep running
You say you know
That the world’s
You take all the love
All the love that’s given
You say you know
That the world’s
Pre-orders for Semblance can be made at these links. It drops November 4th via Don’t Guess.
Palm – “On the Sly” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Battles, Deerhunter, Rubblebucket
One word will never be used to describe the music of Palm, and that is boring. The Philadelphia-based quartet are as unpredictable and entertaining as Rubblebucket, Deerhoof, and Deerhunter. They can roll out a blistering rocker with the best guitar bands out there, they can surprise with a trippy rocker or they can turn math-rock into something exotic. It is the latter where we find the outfit on “On The Sly”.
We highly advise not to be operating any heavy equipment or be in a situation where you could bump into people because Palm’s newest single is a delirious, mind-warping experience. Jangly, dangling guitars intersect with stuttering percussion, creating the sensation that we are inside an illusion. Everything seems 3D in this track, and the heavily layered, dreamy vocals of Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt accentuate this feeling. Their lyrics, too, are far out, as they describe society’s chaos with Gary Larson-like wit.
“Imitate your brother or the copper
Violence as an active thought
Intonate the rocker you’re the drop-off
I could never scatter far
Abdicate your coffers for the others
Implicate the ravenous
Animate your troubles till they’re puzzled
Taken by the calendar”
Palm are: Eve Alpert and Kasra Kurt (lyrics, guitars, vocals), Gerasimos Livitanos (bass), and Hugo Stanley (drums). Their new album, Nicks and Graves, will be released October 14th via Saddle Creek. Pre-orders available here and directly on Bandcamp.
Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Norfolk Hotel” (Paris via Aix-en-Provence, France)
RIYL: Still Corners, La Luz, Helena Deland
After releasing her self-titled debut album as Melody’s Echo Chamber, Melody Prochet quickly went to work on her sophomore LP. Producing the record was none other than Kevin Parker of Tame Impala fame. While on paper, it sounds like a dream pairing, sometimes things just don’t work out and the project was shelved. A decade later, the once-abandoned record is getting a second life as it emerges at the week. Prochet gave a hint with the fantastic “Unfold”, and she whets our appetite with another stunner, “Norfolk Hotel”.
“Norfolk Hotel” has so many of the qualities that made Melody’s Echo Chamber such a spellbinding record. Psychedelic sounds define the single, from the guitar and keyboard tones to the shifts in tempo and time signatures. The trippy vibe continues as the song reaches its somewhat chaotic conclusion with strange sounds and modulated voices, crashing drums, and what may be a bird. Those shifts all make for a fun ride, and when paired up with Prochet’s voice, it’s an overall fantastic track.
Melby – “Hammers” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: The Orielles, Horsegirl, Nadine Shah
For as long as we have covered Melby, the Swedish band have constantly dazzled us with their fresh take on dream- and alt-pop, which we like to call Scandi-pop. Like Amason and Dungen, Matilda Wiezell (vocals, keys), Are Engen Steinsholm (back-up vocals, guitar), David Jehrlander (bass), and Teo Jernkvist (drums) refuse to play it safe. They instead prefer to provoke, as they did last month when they shared “Music Should Feel”. The quartet further push the limits with their newest tune, “Hammers”.
The military-style percussion that opens the track immediately reveals Melby going in a different direction. It eventually gives way to a shallow key arrangement, and the band officially enter the realm of unsettling dark-pop. A dreamy tone remains due to Wiezell’s soothing vocal and the drifting melody, but the song occasionally seizes, as the instruments tighten and grow stark. Wiezell’s words, too, are uneasy. She shares Steinsholm’s memories of his childhood in a small, remote village in Norway, that is idyllic at times but also harsh in its climate and its people. “And I have see them in the dark / They are so good at predicting where it hurts”, she brilliantly captures the environment. We wouldn’t expect anything less from this underrated but outstanding band.
Gemma Laurence – “Watchdog” (Brooklyn via Brunswick, Maine USA)
RIYL: Anaïs Mitchell, Courtney Marie Andrews, Bonny Light Horseman
In August, Gemma Laurence made us stop, listen, and contemplate with the heartfelt “Lavender”. What struck us about the single is Laurence’s ability to capture feelings so precisely and eloquently. Whether it’s a heartfelt song about celebrating her friend coming out as transgender or something silly about cake, Laurence’s music is undeniably captivating.
Laurence has released yet another spellbinding number, “Watchdog”. The song is about the anxiety that comes with a blossoming relationship and the guarded nature of those early moments. Laurence likens those moments to her dog, who is always alert and aware of any movement. It’s built on a folky foundation of acoustic guitar as well as some electric chime and pedal steel. Laurence’s voice fits the scene perfectly as well. The song’s ending is fantastic, exploding into something huge with drums kicking in and Laurence’s voice at its most powerful. The moment is brief but undoubtedly memorable.
Laurence’s new album, Lavender, will be released November 4th on Better Company Records.
Helen Ganya – “young girls never die” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Kate Bush + Dog in the Snow + Perfume Genius
Often when an artist changes their name, the music also is altered. Sometimes this is for the better or for the worse. In Helen Ganya‘s situation, moving away from her Dog in the Snow moniker to her real name has been accompanied by a more ambitious approach and a sound that belongs on the big screen. For instance, she blew us away with the cinematic masterpiece, “afterparty”. Now she unveils a song that could be placed in the Upside-Down world of Stranger Things.
“young girls never die” sounds like the sequel to Kate Bush’s (reborn) classic, “Running Up That Hill”, musically and lyrically. Shallow, percussive beats descend on wailing synths, creating a stark, trembling yet completely mesmerizing and sweeping atmosphere. It is like being enclosed in darkness except for a single beacon of light penetrating the blackness. This feeling reverberates in Ganya’s lyrics, particularly when she repeats during the chorus, “young girls never die / we just rot inside”. Her words are forceful, describing the determination and perseverance of women, who seldom reveal the pain and turmoil that eats away at them. That is true strength and courage.
Mewn – “Swell” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Arcade Fire, The Uglysuit, Spoon
While Mewn have been perfecting their art for a couple of years, we only discovered them this year. The Manchester-based band left lasting impressions with two of the best songs we’ve heard in the past 9-plus months – the art-rock epic “Two Days” and the sobering opus in “There Is No Substitute”. These tracks featured everything we seek in music: outstanding orchestration and insightful, meaningful songwriting. While shying away from top-40 approaches may not yield superstardom, bands such as The National, Arcade Fire, and Spoon have shown that success and acclaim can be still be achieved if one stays true to their art. Hopefully, Daniel Bluer (guitar, vocals), Rachel Bell (guitar, backing vocals), Matthew Protz (keys), Daniel Cowman (drums), and Tom Allen (bass) will have a similar experience, and, thus, the world can hear and be moved by songs like “Swell”.
Reminiscent of Black Mirror-era Arcade Fire, Mewn’s third single of 2022 is the equivalent of a dark lullaby. Its foundational elements are soft and even lush, yet the mournful guitar and the downtrodden vocals add a foreboding even desperate tone. Bluer’s voice, in particular, is drenched in uncertainty. He shares his observations of the world, and how people have been apathetic in the face of political and social upheaval. And even in the face of love.
“Abilities won’t pass me by
I have one last trick to show
You know I would bring it all
Throw my lot in with yours
Rely on a simple twist of fate
It’s only way too low
You said it was touching to see me try
But there is no shame, no shame”
Mewn’s sophomore EP, Such As This, will be released October 7th via Simonie Records. It should be a great one.
Samia – “Kill Her Freak Out” (New York, USA)
RIYL: Phoebe Bridgers, Indigo De Souza, Girlpool
Samia released one of the best pop records in recent years with 2020’s The Baby. Pop doesn’t really begin to describe the diverse sounds Samia Finnerty achieved on the record, as she dabbled in rock, indie, and even some country. It was a near breakout for Samia that resulted in a “re-imagined” version with covers and appearances from artists such as Palehound, Anjimile, and Christian Lee Hutson. To anyone who’s heard The Baby in any form, it’s almost obvious that Samia has an undeniable potential to be the next big thing. Yesterday, Samia announced her second album, Honey, will be coming out early next year, and she released a new single from the record, “Kill Her Freak Out”.
“Kill Her Freak Out” is a fantastic example of what makes the New York-based artist’s music so special. Simple on the surface with just a haunting electronic organ and Finnerty’s voice are heard in the first half of the song. Samia’s smart and engrossing lyricism is on full display throughout the entire song. In a statement, Samia stated “I wrote ‘Kill Her Freak Out’ at my loneliest and most delusional.” It’s something that can be felt as the song progresses, as the lyrics get angrier, the organ gets deeper, and Samia’s voice turns into a haunting wordless howl. Pure brilliance.
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