The Matinee ’22 v. 139 is action-packed with off-kilter and groovy tunes, poignant euphoria, rocking and raging numbers, and the mesmerizing and enchanting. The mini-playlist also features several tracks that are worthy of being considered for Song of the Year.
As always, all nine singles are included on The Songs of October playlist, which is available on Spotify and SoundCloud. Oh, in case you did not know, we organize the songs according to how we would place them on a playlist or a compilation album. The organization is not based on what we think is the best of the bunch – that’s for you to decide.
Dawn Riding – “Hold On” (New Orleans via Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Dana Falconberry, Cross Record, Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys
Sarah Rose Janko had our attention from the first moment we heard the music of her project, Dawn Riding. She’s not one to shy away from wearing her influences proudly on her sleeve, drawing inspiration from legends like Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch on “9 Lives”. Janko, however, enters a whole other realm on her latest single, which is modern-day masterpiece.
“Hold On” starts with a harsh roar of a guitar that gives way to some stunning finger-picked guitar. The roaring, prolonged guitar notes ring out, occasionally cutting through the otherwise calm sounds of the song. There’s a stillness in the track, but with it comes a bit of an edge, waiting for that stillness to break but it never truly does. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the setting and moments where the song came to be, with Janko in isolation atop a hill in Big Sur.
“I walked through darkened canyons
My skin shining like a mirror
My sweat dropped into the sand until
The sand was made a river
‘Cause I wanted you
So I could not be soothed
In sleep the world is lovely
As you hold me spinning rocking
I awake into the longing
And I want to sleep a century”
Janko’s new album, You’re Still Here, is out on November 11th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.
LANNDS – “K Town” (Los Angeles via Jacksonville, USA)
RIYL: HÆLOS, Dahlia Speaks, London Grammar
It’s taken some time for one of our Artists to Watch to release new material (notwithstanding an extended cut of their debut EP, lotus deluxe), but the wait for a new LANNDS‘ single was worth it as well as understandable. Less than a year ago, vocalist-guitarist Rania Woodard and multi-instrumentalist Brian Squillace packed up their van and made their way across the country, leaving behind the homely and humid confines of Jacksonville for the rainless days of Los Angeles. Hopefully, the move will lead to massive exposure for the duo who make intoxicating trip-hop and electro-pop. A place to get started would be a placement on a TV series or even advertisement, where the song steals the scene or the product being sold. This is what “K Town” would do if such an opportunity presented itself.
LANNDS’ newest single exemplifies what separates them from other electronic outfits in America. Instead of appealing to the EDM festival scene, they delve into sultry and cinematic spheres. Like the great trip-hop bands of the UK (see London Grammar, Portishead), the duo masterfully encircle the bubbling beats and percussion with layers of synths and keys and an unexpected, groovy guitar riff. A whirlpool of sound eventuates, from which we cannot pull away. Why would we when the song takes us away to another time and place? Woodard, too, seems to wish to escape the confrontation before her. She straightforwardly reveals how she and another have come apart, where they no longer recognize each another.
“You say I’m a liar
We grew apart so fast
Shipped sailed last summer
You were holding back
Cut the cord you were tripping
Felt lost you were dead wrong
It was time either way
I think we knew we were changing
You’re just another stranger now”
The single is out on Run for Cover Records. Expect an EP or even debut album next year and, hopefully, great success for this talented duo.
Young Fathers – “I Saw” (Edinburgh, Scotland)
RIYL: Danger Mouse + K-Os + Genesis Owusu
Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and Graham Hastings might be better known as Young Fathers, but they are also three of the most inspiring and best artists of the century. Everything they’ve released in their career has been gold. If you don’t believe us, ask those who decide who gets awarded the Scottish Album of Year, as the trio have won it twice and they’re the only ones to do that.
After their third album, Cocoa Sugar, won in 2018, Young Fathers went relatively quiet, breaking their silence earlier this year when they released the rapturous and powerful “Geronimo”. For their legion of fans, including ourselves, the hope was that the track would represent the tip of the iceberg. It took five months, but the Scottish outfit finally have revealed the second tune of many to come. On February 3rd, 2023, their long-awaited fourth album, Heavy Heavy will be shared with the world. The next single from the new LP is what we expect from Massaquoi, Bankole, and Hastings – and then some.
“I Saw” is remarkable. It is the threesome at their most euphoric, as the song bursts with an urgent intensity at the start before rising to jubilant levels in the closing 30 seconds. The orchestration is tremendous with its layers of African-inspired rhythms overlapping with waves of synths, keys, and ambient electronics. Do not mistaken this track, however, as happy or even optimistic. On the contrary, Young Fathers as always get political. Bankole’s assertive vocals strikes a protesting tone, hollering at the start:
“I want your shield
I want your weapon
Gimme that bulletproof vest
And don’t forget I’m not susceptible to your nonsense
I’m a winner (when people forget you)
No falling for your charms
No crash into your arms
Handful of coins
And a balled-up fist
Hastings and Massaquoi then take their turns singing, countering Bankole’s delivery with a calmer, more introspective approach. Their words, too, still hit hard, as they confront the anti-immigration sentiment rising in Europe. “Brush your teeth / Wash you face / Run away”, the trio chant at the very end. This is not a rallying cry, but the words are intended to make us envision how newcomers to a strange land are immediately forgotten.
Another brilliantly sensational song from undoubtedly one of the great bands in history.
Oh, the three usually release great videos for their songs, and the one for “I Saw” is no different. Watch it on YouTube.
Night Shop – “Universal City” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Kevin Morby, Steve Gunn, Marlon Williams
Earlier this year, Justin Sullivan – a.k.a. Night Shop – released the perfect road trip album in Forever Night, which captured the greatness and the darkness of America. It came from a unique perspective, as Sullivan has traveled the country playing drums for Kevin Morby as well as Flat Worms and The Babies. The LP, in other words, was Sullivan sharing his observations of the “in-between” places within the places he visited.
Night Shop’s next release is a double-single, the first of which is “Universal City”. Sullivan’s newest tune recaptures the spirit of Forever Night. Its story is one of introspection and reflection – a realization that there’s plenty out there to enjoy, to be inspired, and to live for. Driven by some great guitar work and heavy-handed drumming, the instrumental section keeps Sullivan’s vocals afloat while bringing the message in clear focus:
“Because I’ve grown tired in this business of living, even though I know I only am what I’m giving.
So I’m gonna give, I’ll give it a try.
Called my friends who I had forgotten.
They said, ‘Yeah, you treated us rotten. But you can come back. We’ve been waiting for you.’
Putting on my leather, that’s what I’m gonna do.
And even if I spend the whole night, thinking about you….”
The single is out on Dangerbird Records. Its B-side “Harness” is coming soon.
néomí – “red balloon” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Fenne Lily, Cloves, deryk
Before pressing play to this next number, we recommend sitting down because it will leave you absolutely floored. It comes from a young singer-songwriter who made waves first in 2020 and released her debut EP, Before, earlier this year. Her name is Neomi Speelman or just néomí, who completely captivates with “red balloon”.
Not since being introduced to Fenne Lily have we been floored by a voice. The Surinamese-Dutch artist’s voice has a smokey but elegant quality that immediately puts one’s mind in a state of calm. It is breathtaking in its effect. Speelman’s talents, however, extend well beyond her sonic aura. She has the ability to create embracing and warm melodies. “red balloon” commences with the intimacy of a dimly-lit bedroom before her acoustic guitar breaks the tension and adds a fluttering, soothing tone. Her words match the mood, where she reaches out her hand to a sibling, a friend, a parent, or a companion who has fallen. She lets them know that she will be the shoulder they can cry on, the crutch that will keep them up, and the person who will simply listen. Like a great friend, she will feel the pain with us.
“This will be over soon
My heart rips open like a red balloon”
The single is out on PIAS. Get to know this rising star.
Madeline Finn – “On the Line” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: early Phoebe Bridgers, Better Oblivion Community Center, Lizzy McAlpine
Pop culture’s loss is indie music’s gain. So while Madeline Finn did not make the final cut for American Idol (she did finish in the top-70), she has shown that an artist does not need to win a made-for-TV contest to succeed. And maybe not advancing further is a blessing in disguise because Finn can write, record, and release songs that are more emotive, have more meaning, and, thus, pack a bigger punch. She showcased all these traits on her debut album, Trial By Fire, and follow-up singles, “Whippoorwill”, “Ohio”, and “Asleep In The Driveway”. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter again impresses – actually astounds – on her newest track, “On the Line”.
Like her previous outputs, a somber yet pristine Americana sound welcomes listeners. Finn lightly strums on her acoustic guitar while a pedal steel and feathery percussion lightly weep in the background. “I said sorry I’m in existential crisis all the time”, she reveals at the start, setting the tone for this story of two people trying to find their way back to each other.
For a minute, Finn stays in this suspended state of paralysis, but then, with a flick of a switch, the track opens up so slightly. The guitars and rhythms brighten, reflecting the emotion in Finn’s lyrics. This is only temporary, as the melody returns to its original, melancholic state. For a little while, Finn reveals her deepest thoughts, but the best way to share them is through catharsis. “On the Line”, as such, rises again, reaching a jaw-dropping, riveting climax that is reminiscent of Frightened Rabbit. This occurrence is one of those “Wow!” moments.
One day, and hopefully very soon, Finn will be the talk of the town. She will be the artist to which younger, aspiring musician aspire to be.
The C.I.A. – “Impersonator” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Handsome Furs, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ty Segall
Super-group alert! And super-cool song alert!
Unless you’re a hardcore Ty Segall fan, most music fans probably are not aware that he has a side project (yes, another project) that involves his partner, Denée, and Emmett Kelly. Together, the three are The C.I.A. Their music is exactly what the spy service does to unsuspecting people: get you doing things you normally would not do. As such, prepare to jerk around, dance like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld, or re-enact a ’60s episode of The Avengers or Get Smart with “Impersonator”.
This awesome song merges the lo-fi, gritty rock of the ’80s with ’70s krautrock and early 2000s art-rock. Despite this mélange of genres, the track is surprisingly restrained, driven by an awesome back beat, a pulsing electric drum-kit, and an overdriven bass. The song’s star, however, is Denée, who sings with a sultry, seductive tone. She’s like an undercover agent trying to lure in the prey and get him to reveal his true self. She knows this guy is all smoke and mirrors, trying to fit in to places that he does not belong. Denée cleverly sings:
“Maybe I seem abrupt
But I’d rather be blunt
Than wear a disguise
While you’re shaking hands
I’m on the fly
And I don’t need a reason
Simply stunning, awfully cunning
You’re an impersonator
A fickle mind
And all the chumps they love it
Same old story, different sequel
Thanks for coming, nice to meet you
You’re better than that (impersonator)”
The C.I.A., again, are Denée Segall (vocal), Ty Segall (guitar, bass, percussion, backing vocal), and Emmett Kelly (bass, synth, backing vocal). Their new album, Surgery Channel, is out January 20th, 2023 via In The Red Records. Pre-orders are available here.
Breanna Barbara – “Weaning” (Queens, NY USA)
RIYL: She Keeps Bees, Emily Jane White, Sharon Van Etten
Breanna Barbara released her debut record, Mirage Dreams, in 2016. It was a stellar record. A few years of silence followed, and it seemed unlikely a sophomore record would ever be realized. Six years later, however, Barbara had us running and bedazzled with “Landslide” and “Diamond Light”, and full of excitement and anticipation with the announcement of her new record, Nothin’ but Time.
This time around, she grinds, rocks, and roars on “Weaning”. There’s an undeniable power that pulses through the speakers or headphones of whoever presses play on Barbara’s third single of 2022. Opening with an explosion of drums, guitar, and organ, the arrangement gives way to Barbara’s powerful voice. Her voice is unrestrained, reaching some incredible peaks and even softer, haunting moments. There’s an emotional quality to each line Barbara delivers that strikes right at the heart. That unpredictable quality is mirrored by the guitar that occasionally battles for listeners’ attention, and this duality makes “Weaning” a hell of a ride.
Womb – “The Dove” (Wellington, New Zealand)
RIYL: Many Voices Speak, Highasakite, Lykke Li
Although Womb may not be a household name around the global, they are one of Wellington’s most celebrated and beloved bands. This is because everything that Cello Forrester (vocals, guitar), Haz Forrester (synths, keys), and Georgette Brown (drums) create is ethereal magic. Their dreamgaze can be bold and interstellar or peacefully aquatic, as they showed with “Oceans”. Their music also can be immensely delicate and fragile, replicating the sensation of sitting on thin ice. This is where we find the trio on “The Dove”.
Take a long, deep breath before spinning this number because you may neither inhale nor exhale for 210 seconds. Every element is immensely restrained, and, thus, the mournful synths and keys linger well beyond each stroke. Cello’s vocal, meanwhile, is laced in autotune, but its application is light to give an added degree of yearning and desperation to each lyric. Despite the effects, Cello’s voice remains stunning. As a result, we become engulfed in her message, which is directed to those who have passed into another life or started anew elsewhere.
“Maybe you’re up there in the sky
Maybe you’re up there in the rain
Hope you come find her again
Promise you I’ll keep her safe
This world let you down
You don’t know why your tears fall
Maybe you’re up there looking down
Maybe you’re up there looking down”
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