The Matinee ’22 v. 145 is a reflection of the past and present, as it features one of the greatest indie-music influencers in history to several emerging artists and bands about to lay their own claim as the next great indie band. Fittingly, these tracks kick off The Songs of November playlist, which is available on Spotify and SoundCloud.
Yo La Tengo – “Fallout” (New Jersey, USA)
RIYL: Yo La Tengo
Before it was hip to be considered an indiehead, Yo La Tengo were paving the way for much of the music so many of us adore. Georgia Hubley (vocals, drums, piano), Ira Kaplan (vocals, guitar, piano), and James McNew (bass, vocals) deserve much of the credit for why we stayed up late listening to college radio in the ’90s; eagerly checked our mailboxes each day for the monthly edition of CMJ to arrive; or dial in to NPR, Triple J, and BBC Radio 1. They are the pioneers, the influencers of so much of what we hear.
While YLT are closer to applying for social security than to the minimal voting age, the New Jersey legends still can rip a catchy riff and deliver insightful lyrics. Yo La Tengo may be older, but they still are a band for all ages. Take a single listen to “Fallout” and you’ll be convinced that their sound is timeless.
The first song from their new album, This Stupid World, also is effortlessly Yo La Tengo. Swimmingly breezy guitars, titillating rhythms, and Kaplan’s smooth, graceful voice create that familiar indie-pop sound we have loved for nearly four decades. If you’re like us, you cannot help but smile throughout the 4.5-minute duration and re-play it over and over again. But like every YLT tune, we pay attention to what the band has to say. Kaplan shares how a short time can cause two people to change and, thus, go their separate ways.
“Makes me sick
What’s in my mind
It’s so hard to react in kind
I want to fall out of time”
Buffalo Nichols – “Meet Me in the Bottom” & “Friends” (Milwaukee via Houston, USA)
RIYL: Gary Clark, Jr.; Michael Kiwanuka;
Buffalo Nichols‘ fantastic self-titled debut album was a music lesson encapsulated in just eight songs. Classic blues, swampy blues-rock, folk-rock, and a bit of soul and folk were all featured. It was like listening to B.B. King, Gary Clark, Jr., Sam Cooke, and Bob Dylan record a compilation record. Making the LP, however, was a lifetime endeavor that saw Nichols take an extremely roundabout way to get from Houston to Milwaukee, where he detoured all the way to Europe and crisscrossed America before finding a home. Carl “Buffalo” Nichols’ road was literally one less traveled. At the end, though, he’s one of the brightest, young stars in music, where famed producers are calling to work with him. This includes TV on The Radio’s Kyp Malone, who produces “Meet Me in the Bottom” and “Friends”.
The former is a gritty, mysterious, yet scorching blues-rocker that sounds like a Gary Clark, Jr. and Michael Kiwanuka collaboration. Whereas some artists may use most of the running time to build the drama, Nichols only lets 37 seconds to pass before the chest-pounding intensity kicks in. Lightning guitar strikes, crushing rhythms, and an awesome organ straight out of the Wild West cascade around Nichols’ calm vocal. He recounts a tale of a man on the run, trying to avoid the demons that exist all around and within him.
On “Friends”, Nichols adopts a much different approach. Warm swells of strings and a finger-plucked banjo welcome us into this immensely intimate space of chamber pop. The warmth in his voice and words are reminiscent of the outreached hands heard in the music of Joe Cocker and Damien Rice, delivering a message to a friend who is in need of a pick-me-up. Delivering a message to all of us, sharing that there is kindness in this world and it exists in the people we love.
Miss Grit – “Follow the Cyborg” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Mitski, Half Waif, Rubblebucket
There’s an undeniable amount of originality and creativity behind each Miss Grit release. Margaret Sohn (they/them) is a master sound manipulator, whether its their recordings on their records or their time constructing guitar pedals. They released one of last year’s best EPs, Impostor, about the impostor syndrome Sohn experienced after the praise their debut EP, Talk Talk, garnered as well as growing up half-Korean in suburban Michigan. At the end of September, Sohn teased us with “Like You”, which felt like a piece of a big puzzle.
Now, Miss Grit has just shared “Follow the Cyborg”, and they have announced the release of their debut record of the same name, Follow the Cyborg. The record is described as a concept album,”following the path of a non-human machine as it moves from its helpless origin to awareness and liberation”. It’s a theme heard in the title track from its electronic and droning sounds and the futuristic layers upon Sohn’s voice. There’s some great saxophone that comes in at the perfect moments, and Sohn’s brilliant guitar work sprinkled in throughout. Add in Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa playing drums, the song just sounds incredible. Sohn doesn’t miss a beat with their lyrics, either, perfectly encapsulating the awakening – from task follower to aware being.
“Cause I was born to pose
Oh I was born with clothes
I’m a living girl
A real living girl
Your real living girl
I’m a living boy
A real living boy
Your real living boy
Gillie – “I ti” (Carmarthenshire, Wales)
RIYL: ‘In Rainbows’-era Radiohead + Aldous Harding + Loma
For years, Gillie honed her craft in the venues across London, whether sharing her own music or playing with various bands. Now returning to Wales, she has an opportunity to really make a name for herself, and she’ll have the help of Libertino Records to make this happen. Obviously, it takes more than just a label to turn a person into a star. Talent and creative are still of utmost importance, and the Welsh artist’s newest single is a dazzler.
Correction, “I ti” is sensational and one of the best songs we’ve heard all year. Gillie masterfully marries the urban sounds of the British capital with the lush qualities of the Welsh countryside. The lingering, guitar tremble is reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood’s dramatic patience heard on Radiohead’s “Nude” and “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”. At the same time, it is dreamy and full of mystery, recalling the swirling fantasies of Aldous Harding or the lo-fi cinema of Loma. Like these great artists, the track is mesmerizing. One does not even need to know Welsh to realize the brilliance of the track as well as to understand the anxiety and uncertainty that touches Gillie’s words.
Here’s an artist to watch in 2023.
Sløtface – “Happy” (Stavanger, Norway)
RIYL: No Doubt, Camp Cope, The Beths
Earlier this year, long-time favorites Sløtface announced that the band had disbanded, leaving front-woman Haley Shea as the sole pilot. While her two friends have opted to pursue new projects, the magic of this underdog, Norwegian outfit remained, as heard on “Beta” and “Come Hell Or Whatever”. Helping Shea to conjure new sonic spells are band-mates Tobias Osland, Nils Jørgen Nilsen, Simen Følstad Nilsen, and Marie Moe, and their third song as a collective is a bouncy ripper.
“Happy” is a trip back to the ’90s and the days when No Doubt made grunge-pop hip and mainstream. Underneath the energy that emanates from the jumpy rhythms that drive the track lies the angst and depression of a young woman wanting to be at ease and secure. For the first half of the track, Shea reveals the multitude of emotions, experiences, and questions that have her feeling low.
“Should I go back to school, should I just start again?
Try to be useful, maybe do something with my hands?
I am so scared that things will always feel this way.
I am so afraid”
As she shares these words, the band dial up the intensity and join her in shouting, “Happy! Happy!”, which what she and everyone else wants to feel. And we do feel happy thanks to Sløtface’s energy, honesty, and exuberance.
The single is out on Propeller Recordings.
En Attendant Ana – “Principia” (Paris, France)
RIYL: Melby, Dehd, La Sera
Four years ago, French alt-pop outfit En Attendant Ana opened up a lot of eyes with their dreamy, debut album, Lost and Found, and they followed that up with the equally impressive, Julliet. The two LPs had curators lauding them as France’s answer to Alvvays or a modern-day equivalent to Chapterhouse. No matter the comparison, their music was delectably dreamy. When a band does dream-pop this well, expectations increase, where fans and tastemakers are wondering how can they improve on their successful formula. Margaux Bouchaudon, Camille Fréchou, Maxence Tomasso, Adrien Pollin, and Antoine Vaugelade give a clue with their first single in more than two years.
The answer is add a touch of ’90s angst as heard on “Principia”. En Attendant Ana’s breezy and jangly nature remains with the chiming, dangling guitar; the light, sauntering drums; and Bouchaudon’s saccharine vocal. There is a nonchalant tone, though, in her delivery, as if she’s daydreaming and completely lost in the cloudy daze created by her band-mates instrumentation. Her lyrics, too, are wandering, as she directs her words to a person who lives far away. It could be a pen pal, a long-distance lover, or a friend or sibling who has moved elsewhere to pursue their dreams. Bouchaudon, meanwhile, just has her daydreams that float in the skies above.
Girl Scout – “All The Time and Everywhere” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, The Beths
May as well as put this down in permanent ink – Girl Scout are one of the great new bands to arrive in 2022. Sure, they’re just two songs into their career, but the Stockholm-based outfit have not just impressed but amazed. They left us awe-struck with the rambunctious dreaminess and outstanding storytelling of “Do You Remember Sally Moore?”. For their second single, they get more introspective without losing the sonic power of their debut single.
“All The Time and Everywhere” is quintessential, ’90s indie pop-rock. The popping drum line and the grizzled guitars, which ache in the background, create the vibrant atmosphere, inducing plenty of heads to shake side to side and toes to tap in time with each rhythmic beat. Underneath the controlled euphoria, however, is the sound of desperation. Front-woman Emma Jansson may sing with a cool and calm delivery, but her words are the opposite. She shares how anxiety has become the equivalent of a stray dog, which follows her and never leaves her side. But this “best friend” is one she wants to shake. “I guess it’s all right to put the shame aside when I look up at the sky and see a meteorite,” she cleverly shares, equating the end of the Earth with the time she’ll finally get rid of this unwanted stranger.
Emma Jansson (guitar, vocals), Evelina Arvidsson Eklind (bass, vocals), Per Lindberg (drums), and Viktor Spasov (guitar), however, always will be welcomed in these parts.
Girl Scout are signed with Made Records, who will release the band’s debut EP in February 2023.
Lina K.O. – “Arrhythmia” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Tomberlin, Phoebe Bridgers
Lina K.O. was one of our Artists to watch in 2021. In 2019, K.O. was a regular face to be seen at shows in New York City before the disruption that followed in 2020. Those intimate live shows, the two-track Starter Apartment Recordings, and occasional hints of what she was working on had us eagerly awaiting new music. But things take time and two years later, Lina KO has finally announced that her debut EP, Earth Apple, will be released early in the new year
With the announcement of the EP comes the release of its first single, “Arrhythmia”. On the track, K.O. is able to capture the stillness that can be found despite living in a bustling place like New York. Reverbed guitar and drums set the scene instantly, as K.O.’s voice comes in. She then paints a vivid picture of personal, intimate moments with the hum of the city ever present. As the song builds, it makes things hit even harder with the addition of K.O.’s gorgeous harmonies and a perfect electronic complement to the song’s percussion.
Earth Apple is a long time coming, but if “Arrhythmia” is any indication, it’ll be well worth the wait on January 13th, 2023.
Bnny – “Breaking Up” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Adrianne Lenker, Julien Baker, Hand Habits
If you want some music to rip your heart out, Bnny has been assembling some of the most beautiful, sad, and absolutely captivating music out there. They scored a spot on our Hidden Gems list last year with Everything, their debut album. In January, the band – featuring twin sisters Jess and Alexa Viscius, Tim Makowski, and Matt Pelkey – released the incredible “I’m Just Fine”, a track that Jess wrote after her partner died from an overdose.
Their first single since November is “Breaking Up”. The song’s title say a lot on its own. Perhaps more accurately, it’s a post-breakup track. Going through a breakup has its stages, which Jess eloquently captures in her lyrics. She tells them through a slow, waltzy drumbeat with gorgeous layers of guitar and piano ranging from the pristine to the distorted. Her vocals are haunting, reflective, and close the number with little more than a whisper.
“I’m looking at photos
Breaking up and making up and
Breaking up again
I’m looking at photos
Dancing in our apartment
So happy and then
And then (x4)“
The single is out on Fire Talk Records.
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