From bone-chilling tunes to honest and intelligent songwriters to out-of-this-world trippers, The Matinee ’22 v. 133 has nine songs that offer a bit of escapism while also spurring us to think about today and tomorrow. 

Further contemplative music can be found on The Songs of October playlist. Save it, play it, and share it on Spotify and SoundCloud.

 

H.C. McEntire – “Soft Crook” (Durham, NC, USA)

RIYL: a great Americana storyteller whose stories focus on humanity’s frailty

What makes H.C. McEntire one of the most underrated yet best songwriters is her humanity. She doesn’t hide behind fantasies, facades, or false pretenses, choosing instead to tell stories about our most fragile states. Her songs are complex yet honest. They are real. Given her talent, McEntire should be celebrated in every corner of the world, but for now she hovers under the radar. A talent this good, though, cannot be hidden forever, and with the support of Merge Records the word will get out. And with songs like “Soft Crook”, more people will listen.

McEntire’s newest single is classic, gritty Americana that holds nothing back. As her guitar grinds alongside the pensive rhythms, her voice is steeped with desperation and urgency. A fire lingers in each word, as if she is on the verge of exploding. McEntire, however, never reaches that point, as she reins everything in and a lush calm emerges in the end. The rise and fall represents one woman’s battle with depression and anxiety that came with the unknown and isolation of a pandemic. While McEntire narrates this individual’s story, it is also her own. This is why we adore the North Carolina resident – her stories are ours.

If you live in the US southeast, make the trip to catch McEntire on tour.

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Alvvays – “After the Earthquake” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: Alvvays on a groovy, trippy bender

To drum up excitement for a new album, most artists and bands would release two, maybe three songs. The most confident may share four. So what is Alvvays, who shared five singles in advance of prior to today’s unveiling of Blue Rev? The first four tunes revealed how Molly Rankin (vocals, guitar), Alec O’Hanley (guitar), Kerri MacLellan (keys), Abbey Blackwell (bass), and Sheridan Riley (drums) have evolved and matured since 2017’s Antisocialites“Pharmacist” and “Easy On Your Own” were dreamy, gauzy goodness; while “Belinda Says” and “Very Online Guy” were respectively lush and deliciously full of distortion. For the single number five, they enter some new territory.

“After the Earthquake” sees Alvvays set aside their dream-pop in favor of high-speed guitar-pop. There is no slow build to this one, as the guitars rapidly fire with a jangly tone while the rhythms blister over top the heat. The Toronto quintet, however, do provide a prologue, but this time it comes in the middle of the song. At this point, the track comes to a near complete pause before picking up speed and turning into groovy, trippy bender. Rankin’s delivery and lyrics mimic the song’s urgency and energy, as she recounts two people’s getaway from an earthquake, but aftershocks follow them in the form of the cracks in their relationship.

“The pulse of the brake light is the colour of burning embers
If you wake up, will you remember
The awful things I said at the edge of the bed?
Thrashing like a great white
(I feel the northern tide crashing on the pines)
As they rolled you up on a stretcher
And the faint words of Jessica Fletcher”

If you’re too young to know who Jessica Fletcher is, go to IMDB and type in Murder, She Wrote.

Blue Rev, which is released on Polyvinyl Records, can be streamed or purchased at these links or Bandcamp.

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Iron Lung” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: The Gizz do a space-funk jam

Is there a band as predictably unpredictable as King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard? There might be a handful of bands and artists (or more like two or three) that can match the malleability of Stu Mackenzie, Joe Walker, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Lucas Skinner, Cook Craig, and Michael Cavanagh. The seven Melbs are best known for fiery, frenetic, and far-out psychedelic rock, but they’ve also done prog-rock, funk, classic rock, shoegaze, dream-pop, grunge, and other genres we’ve likely left out. The Gizz have released more than 20 albums in their 12 years of existence, so it’s easy to lose track. Oh, they have three more albums coming out starting today! Each one promises to be different from the other, which is mind-boggling.

From the trilogy, they shared the trippy, groovy seduction that is “Ice V”. It was a multi-genre enterprise that continues on “Iron Lung”.

The song is like a Shakespearean play condensed into just nine minutes, as it features at least three acts. Its beginning is super smooth, combining jazz, funk, and a touch of psych-rock. During this part, Mackenzie breaks out his flute while a sax also enters the fray for a super-awesome jam. Then the track slowly transitions into a psych-infused, proggy rocker. The finale, though, returns to the smoothness of Act 1, although Mackenzie delivers his lyrics with hip-hop rapidity. We should note that the lyrics are completely warped, but that’s The Gizz. Their imaginations have no boundaries.

“It’s a different kind of cuttlefish
Swing and a miss
Dancing with my eyes and lips
Can’t move my hips
Keep my mind distracted from the swish-swish
Staying sane and positive
Can’t crumble like a biscuit”

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s new album, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, is out today. It’s the first of three with Laminated Denim out on Tuesday, October 12th, and Changes unveiled on October 28th.

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Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – “Mercy” (Glasgow via East Kilbride, Scotland)

RIYL: Temples, The Vryll Society, ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’-era U2

Watching Declan Welsh & The Decadent West evolve from afar has been a treat. They’ve moved from Arctic Monkeys-like art-rock to fiery, stark post-punk, and now they enter the realms of hyper-energized, psych-infused stadium-rock. We’re not exactly sure why Declan Welsh (vocals), Duncan McBride (guitar), Ben Corlett (bass), and Murray Noble (drums) refuse to be stationary, but we’re not complaining whatsoever. A band that has us anticipating what is next will always have room in this space, especially when they can get us bouncing on our toes and flailing our arms in the air as the quartet do with “Mercy”.

Seriously, this song is made for all the stadiums and arenas in the world. Whether it’s Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Garden, the Tokyo Dome or the Melbourne Cricket Ground, “Mercy” will have all the pillars shaking thanks to the tens of thousands of fans dancing, jumping, and screaming. They’re only doing this because of the wailing, electrifying guitars, the hammering rhythms, and Welsh’s soaring vocal. To experience such an atmosphere, there’s only one thing for you to do – turn up the volume.

The single is out on Frictionless Music, who will release the band’s sophomore album in the coming months.

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Fever Ray – “What They Call Us” (Gothenberg, Sweden)

RIYL: a bone-chilling, biting personal critique from one of music’s unheralded influencers

Five years have passed since Karin Dreijer has released anything as Fever Ray. This should not be too surprising since nine years separated their self-titled debut (2008) and sophomore album, Plunge (2017). Plus, Dreijer is part of The Knife, and they and their brother have spent time DJ’ing, doing remixes, and producing records. So when Dreijer shares a new song under their solo project, the music world literally stops. Do a search of Fever Ray and  “What They Call Us”, and you’ll find numerous tastemakers and curators writing about the Swedish great’s newest single. And rightfully so. 

While Dreijer is known for creating widescreen, trembling, and powerful music, they go minimalist on “What They Call Us”. Keys, steely electronic beats, and a bass drum are all that are used. The low-key approach is harrowing yet mesmerizing, providing the perfect foundation for Dreijer’s slightly scowling vocal. They sing with a desperate tone, seeking to apologize as well as to tear down the walls that divide people. This is where the power lies – in the gripping words of Fever Ray.

“Can I just hold you for a minute
Some things just ain’t easy to repair
The person who came here was broken
Can you fix it, can you care?

Did you hear what they call us?
Did you hear what they said?
I’ve got a plan that’s flexible
Just don’t stop anywhere”

The single is out on Rabid Records. If you have a few minutes, we highly recommend watching the cinematic and powerful video.

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Sharon Van Etten – “Never Gonna Change” (Los Angeles via Brooklyn & New Jersey, USA)

RIYL: epic, empowering indie-rock bands from one of music’s most important songwriters of the past decade

Over the years, Sharon Van Etten has proved to be an ever-evolving artist, whether it’s her early solo recordings or albums that evoke multiple influences, her music is always full of emotion. Her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, felt like a massive shift  with the added experience of motherhood and a more stable personal life than the one that spurred those early records. With that new perspective, it only amplified the heartfelt and personal nature of her music.

In November, Van Etten will release a deluxe edition of We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, and one of the new tracks on that record is “Never Gonna Change”. On this bonus number, Van Etten shares her wisdom that there are things within us that will never change: anxieties, fears, dreams, all things that have been established long before adulthood. It’s a realization that’s not one of defeat or even defiance, but one that eventually embraces those embedded emotions.

Van Etten also sings about her son, watching him grow and change and the anxieties that come with him approaching adulthood. Those powerful lyrics are paired with a truly stunning instrumental track, building from a simple acoustic guitar part reminiscent of “One Day”. However, it builds into something much, much more. On “Never Gonna Change”, Van Etten may say there are certain things that she will never change, but her growth as an artist is something that is undeniable.

“It never goes away, never goes away
See my son begin to change
Never go away.

Deepened in the waves
Sheltered, saw to it don’t waste away
Same old thoughts awake
Shame the voice and try to trace the chains

I’m never gonna change.”

The deluxe edition of We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong will be released November 11th on Jagjaguwar.  Pre-orders and pre-saves are available at these links and directly on Bandcamp.

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Ganser – “What Me Worry?” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: Secret Shame, Bambara, Eagulls

One of the best post-punk band to emerge in the last half-decade are Ganser. There’s little to debate in our humble opinions. Their 2020 album, Just Look At That Sky, was, in a word, awesome, filled with eye-popping, Gothic goodness. The Chicago quartet rode the LP’s momentum with the explosive “People Watching”, which they released back in May. Now nearly five months later, they share their second single of 2022, and it is Ganser at their most sinister and gloomy.

It’s also Ganser at their most seductive. A grimy guitar rings through the stark static of keys and rhythms. This is the sound of a place where no light escapes. It is pure, frightening darkness. One thing breaks through, however, and it is Alicia Gaines’ voice. At first, it has a sultry and seductive tone, but then it turns lucid at points before becoming assertive and menacing. She is on the verge of screaming, as if she wants someone to hear her. “The mystery’s always missing me, Gaines repeats at the end of the track, telling us that she indeed seeks answers. She seeks to not just be heard but found within the darkness.

Ganser are Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals), Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals), Brian Cundiff (drums), and Charlie Landsman (guitar). Their new EP, Nothing You Do Matters, is out everywhere on Felte. Get it at these links and on Bandcamp.

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Lowertown – “No Way” (Atlanta, USA)

RIYL: a duo who are unafraid to tackle sensitive issues, including their own mental health

With each single Lowertown have released from their upcoming record, I Love To Lie, it is clear that there is little Olivia Osby and Avsha Weinberg will shy away from . Take for instance the politically-charged brilliance of “Bucktooth” to the vulnerability of despair heard on “Antibiotics”. Both tracks feel important, especially compared with how different they sound, and that’s a theme with Lowertown. They’re a band that’s willing to work for a sound that helps set the scene for their songs in ways that few bands can.

Their latest single, “No Way”, is a barn burner from the moment it starts. Frenetic drumming and guitar chords, the single vaguely resembles something that could be considered surf rock with maybe a touch of math rock. When the song tells the experiences of a trip to Los Angeles, it all ties together nicely. Lowertown sing of the superficial nature of places like that. Places where people show a glimmering but false exterior, and Osby and Weinberg see right through all that phony, slimy bullshit.

“I paint my nails with the prettiest colors
I’m happy with how it looks
messy and distracting
Blue blue, blue and black
Black black black and blue
I’m starting to look covered in bruises

Screw you and your athleticism
Your false ambitions
Your spastic movements
Pretending to be part of my friends”

Osby and Weinberg’s debut album, I Love to Lie, is out in two weeks – Friday, October 21st to be specific. Dirty Hit will release it. Pre-orders can be made here.

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GIFT – “Share the Present” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Ringo Deathstarr, Pinkshinyultrablast, Surf Rock Is Dead

With two awesomely gauzy singles in “Gumball Garden” and “Feather”, we are prepared to anoint GIFT as the next great shoegaze band. We’re not making this proclamation right now, but we’ll instead wait at least for the band’s debut album, Momentary Presence, which is out next week. The NYC collective, however, make a resounding case for us to draw this conclusion today with their latest track. Buckle in folks because…

“Share the Present” is shoegaze perfection. It is wonderfully cosmic, as it is simultaneously blissful, ethereal, cathartic, and exhilarating. It is what music should be – a full-body experience. The star of the track, however, is not the gauzy guitars. Instead, it’s the sparkling synths that slice across the track like a meteoroid streaking across the skies. Riding that shooting star is front-person TJ Freda, whose voice sounds otherworldly yet at the same time very much present. His interstellar voice is the one that exists in our minds, telling us to live in the moment. To live for today, which is what GIFT is doing right now because soon they could be…

The band consists of TJ Freda, Jessica Gurewitz, Kallan Campbell, Justin Hrabovsky, and Cooper Naess. Momentary Presence will be unveiled in its entirety on October 14th via Dedstrange. Pre-order links are here.

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