We start October with a doubleheader, beginning with The Matinee ’22 v. 130. Part 1 has nine songs that are as enchanting as they are mysterious, hip-shaking as they are whimsical, and thoughtful as they are provocative.
Womb – “Oceans” (Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Slowdive + Chapterhouse + Red House Painters
Living in another part of the world has its benefits, such as being introduced to artists and bands that would fly under the radar elsewhere. Such is the case with Womb, the Pōneke-based trio that astounded us the first time we heard them, when we saw them live recently at Meow, and when they released one of 2021’s best EPs in Holding a Flame. Their music is the engrossing dreaminess of Slowdive paired with the intense vulnerability of Red House Painters. Every song is an experience into the brilliant darkness, and the journey continues with “Oceans”.
Some songs steal your breath away, but the transcendent ones leave you paralyzed. This is what Cello Forrester (vocals, guitar), Haz Forrester (synths, keys), and Georgette Brown (drums) accomplish on this gorgeous number, which feels like a late-night sail across the Cook Strait. Each note that emanates from Cello’s gauzy guitar, Haz’s spine-tingling keys, and Brown’s feathery percussion lingers a half-beat longer and, as such, wraps itself around our entire being. We are left in haze and under Womb’s spell. We feel the power of Cello’s words, which recount the emotions that come with being in the presence of another. That feeling is paralyzing, too.
“How come I feel, so far from you?
I like I’m standing outside
How come I feel, so far from you?
I just want to bring you
I need oceans”
The song’s video, which is available on YouTube, is incredibly beautiful and captivating as well.
LCD Soundsystem – “new body rhumba” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: David Byrne + Go! Team + Beck
Leave it to filmmaker Noah Baumbach to convince James Murphy and pals, or LCD Soundsystem, to end their hiatus. Sure, the full-time restauranteur and DJ along with Nancy Whang, Pat Mahoney, Tyler Pope, Al Doyle, and Korey Richey have performed a few shows over the past year, but they have not released any new material since 2017’s American Dream. Credit to the sextet, though, for returning with an absolute ripper in “new body rhumba”.
This nearly 7.5-minute epic is a hip-shaking, groovy blast of a good time. It reflects what the indie legends do best – melding numerous genres into one infectious and exhilarating concoction of noise. In this case, art-rock, disco-punk, alt-electronic, alt-pop, and even twee converge. At times, the song gets wacky in a Go! Team-style twee-like fashion, but then it falls into a steady, funky groove. Of course, the track transitions several times, shifting gears plus ascending and descending to mimic the difficult choices one man must make in the face of catastrophe. Leave it LCD Soundsystem to turn devastation into one helluva good time.
“new body rhumba” is written for Baumbach’s Netflix adaptation of Don DeLillo’s White Noise. The film will be released on the streaming service on December 30th.
Beverly Kills – “New Berlin” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Just Mustard, Desperate Journalist, Agent blå
The day finally has come. Last Friday, Beverly Kills, a band who have long tantalized us with their Gothic approach, released their long-awaited debut album, Kaleido. For lovers of late-’70s and early-’80s post-punk and cold wave, this album is for you. If you’re the type that needs samples to be convinced to spin the record, then start off with standout tracks “Getaway” and “Fantasia” and continue on to “New Berlin”, which is the LP’s opening track.
Tantalizingly foreboding and gripping, the song turns Gothic darkness into an cathartic experience. It is music made for the cavernous dungeons of 1982 Berlin, Munich, London, and Budapest. As the steely synths glisten behind the urgently-delivered rhythm section and despondent guitar, Alma Westerlund’s ghostly vocal rises above the starkness. Her story is right out of the Cold War era, where a solitary figure seeks to find her voice in a place that silences all. It’s a great tune and tale, which includes a reference to Joy Division’s “Shadowplay”, that also reflects the present, which likewise sees the few attempt to suppress the many.
Mamalarky – “Frog 2” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Rubblebucket, Deerhoof, Pom Poko
Another great album released on Friday came from the off-kilter wunderkinds, Mamalarky. The LA-based quartet released several songs in advance of Pocket Fantasy and every single one – “You Know I Know” and “Mythical Bonds”, “It Hurts”, and “Shining Armor” – is oddly brilliant. For us, that’s a compliment because the words describe how inventive and creative the tunes are. What is the best song from the album? That’s hard to say, but front-person Livvy Bennett’s favorite track is “Frog 2”, and who are we to argue?
The track is, well, off-kilter, weird, and oddly brilliant. A light-hearted, melody emerges off the bat, and it sounds like the combination of a trippy carnival and the music that is played while winding up a jack-in-a-box. Bennett’s voice also is playful, almost child-like. Her words, too, have a child-like optimism, but her message is serious and meaningful.
“This one’s for anyone who’s
Lost their stride
Far and wide
Feeling happier outside
You’ll find it all living in you
Just smile you’ll see what it can do
Black Lilys – “New Era” (Lyon, France)
RIYL: HÆLOS, Portishead, Mogli
Music is littered with great sibling groups. The Everly Brothers, The Jackson Five, The Isley Brothers, The Osmonds, Bee Gees, HAIM, The Kinks, The Andrews Sisters, CCR, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and on and on. Could Camille and Robin Faure and their project, Black Lilys, join this notable list? Time obviously will give us the answer, but the brother-sister duo are headed down that path on the strength of three stellar songs in “Störm”, “Woman Wolf”, and “Party”. These numbers form a third of the duo’s forthcoming new album, New Era. Before its October 14th release date, the Faures share one more extraordinary single.
The LP’s title track reveals the band going in a more dramatic and cinematic direction. The rumbling bass drum fuels this dark, mysterious number, which would be right at home on the soundtrack to a series or film based around Nordic mythology. A chilling effect is provided by the stellar, quick-fingered guitar work and Camille’s ethereal vocal. She sounds like a dormant hero that is about to rise again and usher in a “New Era”. Camille’s words, too, are those of a savior.
“Every moves written in my cells
My story’s older than myself
As the birds announce the spring
My crystal eyes are watering (for Everyone)”
Puma Blue – “Hounds” (London, England)
RIYL: Sade + Massive Attack + Perfume Genius
What is the best kind of mystery? Is it the tale that revolves around numerous people tracking down an individual or is it the unknown that exists within one’s mind? For us, it is the latter because the plot can go in many directions. When this story is paired with music that was born in the wee hours of the morning, the entire work of art approaches masterful levels. What Jacob Allen, who is better known as Puma Blue, has achieved with “Hounds”, however, is what is referred to as a masterpiece.
This multifaceted number is pure, gripping drama. It possesses the dark, seductive tones of Sade, the pulsating trip-hop of Massive Attack, and the widescreen nature of Perfume Genius’ most recent work. As the strings and a mournful saxophone slice through the brilliantly pensive throbs of the bass and the shallow echos of the electric guitar, Allen’s whispery yet powerful vocal is full of introspection. He tip-toes his way through the sparseness, which is the labyrinth through which he must maneuver. Through which he must find himself.
“Awake in this hell space
I can barely hold my tongue
Try for my life to be someone
Who can never come undone
Feels like no angels
Follow where I tread
Made to make a home but it
Burns to the ground instead”
Absolutely a brilliant song and one that will be remembered at the end of the year.
The single is out on Blue Flowers.
La femme – “Y tu te vas” (Paris, France)
RIYL: Chicano Batman + L’Impératrice + El Ritual
La femme are known for putting cinema into music. However, they have mostly done this through the prism of upbeat fare, whether communicated through psych-pop, disco-punk, or disco-pop. Their songs, in other words, have mostly been parties encapsulated between three to five minutes. But as they have shown throughout their decade-plus existence, they continue to evolve. The French outfit understand they cannot stay stationary or they’ll run the risk of becoming stale. They also will miss out on opportunities. Last week, they shared a tune that was inspired by the numerous times they’ve performed in Mexico and, in turn, has led the collective down a new path.
“Y tu te vas” captures the magic and mystery of the great North American country. Flamenco-influenced guitars and rhythms plus what sounds like an ocarina intertwine with electronic beats and a superb, pulsing bass line. This wonderful combination immediately takes us back in time, specifically the 1930s when Mexico experienced its second art revolution. It was a time of creativity and artistic, sexual, and academic liberation, and one we can only aspire to achieve again in these dark, uncertain times. Guest vocalist and songwriter Tatiana Hazel’s tale, though, is more immediate, as sings about a person leaving her life again. It’s not just about losing someone but also about starting over. About one’s own revolution.
La Femme are: Clémence Quélennec (vocals), Clara Luciani (vocals, singer-songwriter), Marlon Magne (keyboards), Sacha Got (guitar), Sam Lefebvre (bass), Noé Delmas (drums) and Lucas Nunez Ritter. Their new album, Teatro Lucido, releases November 4th on Born Losers Records. Pre-orders and pre-saves available here and on Bandcamp.
Low Hummer – “Panic Calls” (Hull, England)
RIYL: Wet Leg, NewDad, Goat Girl
A year ago, Low Hummer released one of the great debut albums of 2022 with Modern Tricks for Living. The LP was a coming-out party of sorts for the sextet, as it put them firmly on the music radar as evidenced by them playing sellout shows across the UK and performing in festivals across Europe. Bigger and better things, however, await the Hull-formed outfit, as they could reach super-indie stardom. This upward trajectory should accelerate with each epic single, like “Panic Calls”.
Some of the best songs in our opinion are entertaining and vibrant musically but engaging and intelligent lyrically. Low Hummer’s newest number is all this and then some. “Panic Calls” bops with the infectious, off-kilter energy of Wet Leg and Talking Heads, highlighted by an intensifying, growling guitar and an escalating drum line. As such, people will be grooving and gyrating in all directions. Aimee Duncan’s decadent vocal, meanwhile, tells a great tale concerning the endless search for equilibrium. In a world filled with too much information and constant pressure to meet expectations, she explains how we cannot turn off. There just “too much noise” everywhere, which only adds to the feeling that we’re moving without any direction.
For Dan Mawer (guitar, vocal), Aimee Duncan (vocal, guitar), John Copley (guitar), Jack Gallagher (bass), Stephanie Hebdon (keys, guitar, vocal), and Joseph Cox (drummer), however, they’re moving in one direction – upwards and onwards.
The single is out on Dance To The Radio. Could album number two be coming?
Bonny Light Horseman – “Someone to Weep for Me” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Fruit Bats, Tyler Childers, Ruston Kelly
Anaïs Mitchell, Josh Kaufman, and Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson are on the final approach as they gear up to release their second record together as Bonny Light Horseman. The trio’s first record was a combination of original work and also reworked folk songs. On this new record, the trio are composing some fantastic original material, which can be heard on the already released singles, “California”, “Summer Dream”, and “Sweetbread”. With just a week to go before the release of Rolling Golden Holy, Bonny Light Horseman share their latest taste of the record, “Someone to Weep for Me”.
A gorgeous folk affair, “Someone to Weep for Me” is exactly what we expect from this trio. Upbeat, acoustic guitar lays underneath Johnson’s vocal, whose inviting warmth swells into a near yell. Once Mitchell joins in, their voices create something incredibly special. There’s a little guitar solo with Mitchell’s voice soaring above it before it all dies down to Johnson and piano. In that breathtaking and intimate moment, he delivers these lines:
“And I dreamed of Jacob’s ladder
When I laid me down to sleep
And the souls all rising and falling
Through the whole of eternity
I was named after my father
In a long line of nobodies
And all I ever wanted
Was someone to weep for me
Someone to weep for me”
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