Many emotions occupy The Matinee ’22 v. 140 – where there is pain, desperation, sorrow, and sadness, there exists dreams, hope, determination, and perseverance. The talent showcased today is exceptional, as the spotlight shines on young artists emerging on the indie radar and established stars traversing new territory.

More outstanding talent is included on The Songs of October playlist. Save and play it on Spotify and SoundCloud.

 

Siv Jakobsen – “Tangerine” (Oslo, Norway)

RIYL: Babehoven, Maple Glider, Rosie Carney

It’s undeniable that Siv Jakobsen has completely cemented her spot as one of Norway’s great songwriters. Jakobsen has already released the first half of Gardeningher upcoming record. With singles like “Most of the Time”, “Birthday”, and “Romain’s Place”, the complete record is shaping up to be an ethereal and utterly captivating masterpiece. 

The latest single Jakobsen has shared from the unreleased portion of Gardening is the gorgeous “Tangerine”. Lightly-strummed acoustic guitar creates an intimate vibe early on. When Jakobsen’s voice comes in, it only adds to the atmosphere, especially when paired with her lyrics. The song slowly builds with some saxophone, hushed harmonies, and some fantastic percussion, but no single element becomes overdone. Jakobsen’s tale at this point becomes crystalized, as she writes from the perspective of someone suffering in silence, and wanting to ask for help but unable to do so. 

“Here I am, naked in the front room
The neighbours are staring
And I’m looking back at them
Darling, please, come in
And let me free from this hell I’m in”

Jakobsen’s new album, Gardening, blooms on January 20th, 2023 via her own label, The Nordic Mellow.

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Tanukichan – “Make Believe” (Oakland, USA)

RIYL: No Joy + Fazerdaze + Blush

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything new from Tanukichan. Hannah van Loon’s last release was her stellar, fuzzed out, and haunting debut, Sundays. Four years is a long time in music, but some of the best music is worth waiting for, and van Loon nails it on her latest single, “Make Believe”.

Created with main collaborator, Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bear, ” Tanukichan eases listeners in with some quite dreamy qualities. Her voice is drenched in reverb and is barely more than a whisper. Heavy-handed drumming adds an edge to everything while some muted guitar chords crawl underneath a striking guitar lead that adds even more to the song’s haunting qualities. The track slowly becomes a whirlwind, briefly breaking only for the fuzzed-out bass line and van Loon’s voice. While the tune has those dreamy qualities, Tanukichan grounds the lyrics in reality, saying “This song’s sentiment is ‘fuck religion, fuck belief, fuck believing in the future,” in an interview.

“Don’t believe in make believe
Don’t believe in mysteries

Tell you what I want to see
Baby, don’t believe in nothing.”

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Trophy Wife – “Linoleum” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, IAN SWEET

An artist who blew our minds last year was McKenzie Iazzetta and her project Trophy Wife. An intense, raw emotion paired with Iazzetta’s remarkable songwriting made her sophomore EP, Bruiser, an eye-opener. Bruiser was reminiscent of early works of some of today’s great songwriters, like Angel Olsen, Lucy Dacus, and Snail Mail. A sound unrestrained by experience or overbearing production, each lyric and note struck right at the soul. 

On her first single since Bruiser, “Linoleum”, Trophy Wife’s sound is even bolder. Kicking off with an explosion of guitar and drums, it’s shortly subdued by Iazzetta’s voice. The quieter moments on “Linoleum” are stunning, but there’s a constant reminder that at any moment the wall of guitar and drums can break through at any moment. Guitar gets just a bit louder, but then Iazzetta’s voice overpowers the distortion for a bit, before it joins in on the noise, with some simple “oh, ohs!” turning into a near-scream as the song comes to a close. 

Someone please sign this young artist!

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STONE – “Money (Hope Ain’t Gone)” (Liverpool, England)

RIYL: Queens of the Stone Age + Oasis + Editors

After listening to “Waste” and “Radio Ready”, STONE convinced us that they were ready to perform in the biggest stadiums in the world. Our opinion was not solely based on their massive, anthemic rock sound. The messages also must be heard by tens of thousands of people, where the audience can unite and rally behind Fin Power (vocals, guitar), Sarah Surrage (bass), Elliot Gill (lead guitar), and Alex Smith’s (drums) battle cry. In the case of “Money (Hope Ain’t Gone), it is to rally together around the common belief that we don’t need riches to live our lives to the fullest.

And for more than four minutes, the Liverpudlians make us believe this is possible, where all we need are great friends and outstanding music. On the latter, we need songs that raise the adrenaline with feverish guitars and hammering rhythms. We need songs that make us feel real, in the moment, and have us racing after what truly means the world to us. And “Money (Hope Ain’t Gone)” does all this and then some, like scream at the top of our lungs as Power sings:

“Wake up everyday, instant emotion
Isolated away, mind in the ocean
Days can be quite dark, sometimes I just survive
We crave emotional care, touch from a loved one
It’s okay to be scared, the urge to wonder
What the future holds in heavyweight times

A change, we want it
I feel it, it’s coming
The riches, the flaunting
No money, don’t got it
It’s so dramatic
The trauma, the panic”

The song is taken from STONE’s debut EP, Punkadonk, which is out next month via Polydor Records.

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Genesis Owusu – “Get Inspired” (Canberra, Australia via Ghana)

RIYL: Bloc Party, Kele, Burial

When a young indie artist suddenly achieves fame, s/he may deviate towards the mean and release radio-friendly tunes (***cough*** The Weeknd***cough). This concern, however, does not apply to Genesis Owusu, who last year cleaned up at the ARIAs, including winning Album of the Year with the awesome Smiling With No Teeth. The 23-year old Kofi Owusu-Ansah is a musical genius, melding numerous genres into an ear-popping, eye-drawing kaleidoscope. More ARIA awards and possibly Grammys await the Ghana-born artist, especially if he continues to make minds boggle like he does on “Get Inspired”.

Owusu-Ansah fuses together trap, synthwave, art-rock, krautrock, and post-punk on this infectious and dizzying number. At times, it sounds like Bloc Party at their peak and other moments the groovy, bouncing electronics of Burial pop up. As great as the music is, Owusu’s lyrics are hard-hitting, as he addresses the struggles of the working class and the treatment of new immigrants entering Australia. So while Genesis has achieved success, he has not lost sight from where he came. This mentality should see him succeed on his own terms.

“Cliche if it’s not dollars baby it’s not making sense,
How you picky with your art when you can’t even pay your rent?
Chipped for years and years and years but seems you haven’t made a dent,
All that dreaming shit you chasing showed its face then came and went,

Feels like I’m out here scuba diving with an anchor,
While my people fighting demons and the cancers,
Tryna fix it singing ballads, singing anthems,
How I’m so clueless with last name Ansah”

The single is out on Ourness and The Orchard.

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Play Dead – “Away from Here” (London, England)

RIYL: IDLES, Eagulls, TV Priest

Play Dead may consist of three blokes who are not even old enough to vote nor legally order a drink, but they have something that many of their peers and elders do not: a record label contract. Joe Blair-Oliphant, Ollie Clarke, and Louis Englefield have accomplished this not because they resemble Justin Bieber or Ed Sheeran. Nope, they got this far in the same way that Nirvana signed with Sub Pop over three decades ago, specifically creating music that channels the angst of a young generation. While the London-based trio do this through the prism of post-punk, they still annihilate the air we breathe as they demonstrate on “Away From Here”.

Only a single listen is required to comprehend the talent the 17-year old Londoners possess, as they sound like a band that has been performing for a decade or more. At first, the track commences with a gritty, suspenseful tone, as if it was made for Halloween. Oliphant’s trembling baritone enters the frame, and he recites an incident that could be interpreted as David vs. Goliath or something more sinister. “You set them up / I knock them down”, he murmurs at different points on the song. As he describes the event, the song gradually builds with a grimy, searing guitar striking fear in the atmosphere while propulsive rhythms explode in the background. The finale is brutally awesome.

Play Dead’s new EP, Mug Cake, is out now via Blitzcat Records. Stream and/or purchase links can be found here or head directly to Bandcamp.

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Erika Wester – “fifteen” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Hope Sandoval, Mazzy Star, Florist

Four decades ago, Los Angeles was home to one of the great musical renaissances, and it all happened in Laurel Canyon. Most music fans know about the famed neighborhood’s legacy, and its impact will be heard for generations thanks to young artists like Erika Wester.

Currently calling LA home, the singer-songwriter is a throwback, opting for simplicity and her words to strike a chord with listeners. For instance, “Novelty” was a gorgeous piece of intimate dream-pop while “Wanted To Be Like You” was made for quiet moments while the sun faded over the horizon. On her latest single, “fifteen”, Wester opens up her journal and shares an account from her past, and she does it with subtlety, grace, and honesty.

A light, fluttering guitar and feathery percussion accompany Wester’s soothing and sublime vocal. She sounds like the voice in the distant, calmly calling us to take another step into the light. Her words, too, indicate this, as she stretches out her hand to a friend and tries to lift them up. And she attempts to lift us up.

“I remember when you cried
Laying in my bed that night
I remember everything you say
What about the scars that can’t be seen
and everything in between

I can’t fix the problems in your mind
God knows I barely tackle mine, but
I’ll hold your hand in the dark
if you want me to”

Look out America, you just might have a future star in your mist.

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Low Island – “Robin” (Oxford, England)

RIYL: Toro y Moi, Boards of Canada, Tycho

As Low Island have shown in their six years of existence, electronic music can still be a genre that features great stories. It does not have to be a continuous cycle of repetitive lyrics. Music, after all, is a means to communicate as much as it is to entertain and help us escape reality. The Oxford quartet do all three of these things on “Robin”.

This 4.5-minute number is a sweltering and immersive slice of electronica, bubbling with the dreamy waves heard on Toro y Moi’s most engaging tracks and the dance-floor hypnosis that Boards of Canada, Tycho, and Glass Animals have perfected over the years. While the pulsing beats, the jammy guitar, and breezy synths induce us to dance, front-man Carlos Posada reveals his heart. He sings about a person he loved, but they now are apart. Despite their separation, Posada still loves Robin because she made him who he is today. He is forever grateful for their time, and now she is immortalized in song.

Low Islands are: Carlos Posada, Jamie Jay, Jacob Lively, and Felix Higginbottom. Their new album, Life in Minature, is out November 4th. Pre-orders and pre-saves available at these links and on Bandcamp. It will be released on their own label, Emotional Interference.

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Kimbra – “Save Me” (New York, USA via Hamilton, New Zealand)

RIYL: Lykke Li, Son Lux, Poliça

Rightfully or not, Kimbra Lee Johnson forever will be linked to “Somebody That I Used to Know”, which she performed with Gotye. The New Zealander, however, is a creative talent. Whether it is pop, R&B, or electro-pop, Kimba has shined. As she has gotten older, she has leaned more towards the artistic than the mainstream. This progression comes to the fore on “Save Me”.

Hollow pianos and trickling ambient electronics surround Kimbra’s soft and immersive vocal. At the same time, other emotions drip from each spoken word – mournfulness, defiance, resilience, and sadness can be heard. We can feel her emotional pain and how brittle she has become without the presence of another. The track, however, is not merely about love nor yearning for someone else. It also is about the fear one lives with when confronted with the realization that the home now only has one occupant. This is Kimbra at her best – when she is able to elicit multiple emotion while sharing a song with multiple messages.

“I’m the accident waiting to happen, it’s just a matter of time
Back of the car again wondering why I got so determined to say

‘I lack the courage to take care of myself’
Well ain’t that a turn on babe?
Turn this car around I need somebody
To hold me when the morning comes”

Kimbra’s new album, A Reckoning, is expected January 2023. Inertia Music and PIAS will distribute it.

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