The future of music is in good hands as demonstrated with the 8 artists and bands that occupy The Matinee ’22 v. 149. The mini-playlist features one legendary band and a host of artists whose talents should be celebrated now and for years to come. If you’re searching for more future stars, they can be found on The Songs of November playlist, which also includes all the tracks shared below. Find it on Spotify or SoundCloud.
Ellur – “Now I’m Alone” (Leeds, England)
RIYL: Holly Humberstone, Lana Del Rey, Adele
Ella McNamara is full of surprises. Known by her stage name, Ellur, she first turned heads with her vintage ’80s Madonna and Cyndi Lauper pop approach on “Migraine”. She then unveiled a euphoric rocker with “Close To You” and the yearning yet dazzling alt-pop number, “Best Face On”. These three songs displayed the Leeds-based massive potential, and why we are bullish on her becoming a star. This hopefully will happen one day very soon, and it just might happen today with “Now I’m Alone”.
McNamara strips everything back on her newest single. Just her sitting at a piano and recorded live and in one take, Ellur sounds like the solitary singer standing in the center of a smokey jazz bar with all eyes fixated on her. Not another sound can be heard – not a ruffle of a dress, a sip from a glass, nor even a breath. Instead, the patrons are left paralyzed listening to one of the great, young voices to emerge in the past 18 months. She emotively sings about losing her way and trying to find her path again. While this is her story, we can relate with the uncertainty and loneliness which fill her mind.
“What do I do now I’m alone?
Feeling small and inconsolable
What do I do without a home?
Losing parts of me and it’s out of my control”
Ellur is going to be a star, and we’ll say it over and over again until it happens. McNamara has the support of Dance To The Radio, who will build the path for her to reach this grand destination.
T. G. Shand – “WAWO” (Christchurch, New Zealand)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, Chapterhouse, Womb
Quietly, Annemarie Duff has amassed quite the little discography as T. G. Shand. Her debut single, “Girls”, was a heavenly, dreamgaze number. Since then, she’s continue to traverse the landscapes that My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, and Lush have perfected. But unlike these legends, she’s done it alone and largely out of the confines of her home. And yet, she can craft dazzling songs like “Lemony”, “Little Sieve”, and now “WAWO”.
The song’s title is an acronym that stands for “we are way off”, and Duff creates this sensation on her newest track. By this, we mean she has once again taken us beyond the stratosphere and into the weightlessness of space. Gorgeous, gauzy guitars split through the tapering rhythms and, later, the light dabbles of keys. Duff’s soft voice is drenched in reverb, giving it a celestial quality. She is like an unseen entity that guides us through places for which no maps exist. During this journey, she reads our mind, knowing that we are here because we are seeking to escape the known.
“Taste is nothing to force for once, can’t stand the understanding type
We’ve got something to fold for once
A trick for the record so that they stop stirring
Can’t stand the ask it’s out of touch”
Our fingers are crossed that Duff will tour with fellow shoegazers / dreamgazers Womb next year.
elison – “Fruit Flies” (Des Moines, IA USA)
RIYL: Sjowgren, Broken Social Scene, Belle Mare
With each passing year, we increasingly become blown away by all the talent that exists across the globe. And with each passing year, we increasingly become dumbfounded on how so many artists and bands get overlooked. This mini-playlist is just a microcosm of the excellence that brims below the surface. Now to be fair, some of the groups only started in the last 12 to 15 months, so the word is only starting to spread about their music, and this includes elison.
Since popping on the indie radar last June, Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura have released a handful of tracks, including “Little Lies” and “Covered Me”. These two songs had us quickly hitting repeat with their mid-’00s vibes. The duo had us again scrambling to find the repeat button with “Fruit Flies”.
The song brims with the sweltering, indie pop-rock of Broken Social Scene circa 2005-2010 and long-time cult favorites, Sjowgren. On the one hand, it is a breezy and stunning with with the dangling guitar and Kephart’s serene and delicate voice. On the other hand, an urgent undercurrent flows beneath, largely resulting from the throbbing bass and swaying drum line. These conflicting feelings also are etched into Kephart’s words, as she tries to make sense of life’s endless dichotomies and ironies.
“This day’s filled with happy endings
And everybody’s holding funerals
For the people that they were yesterday
While I’m stuck here running circles
Get drunk on the memories
Spin out of control”
Ladytron – “Misery Remember” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Air, Kate Bush, Goldfrapp
While a strong case can be made to consider Ladytron legends for their ability to create widescreen soundscapes with their unique blend of krautrock, electro-pop, new wave, and dreamgaze, they are underdogs in today’s music world. While so much of today’s popular music is based on predictable pop formulas, the English veterans have stayed on the path they started way back in 1999 and introducing a new generation of music fans to the days when synth-driven music was like a great drama. On their first original single since 2019’s comeback LP, Ladytron, Helen Marnie (lead vocals, synthesizers), Mira Aroyo (vocals, synthesizers), Daniel Hunt (synthesizers, guitar, vocals), and Reuben Wu (synthesizers) delivered the equivalent of a 2050 mind warp with “City of Angels”. They continue to look into the future by channeling the past with “Misery Remember”.
A quiet tension consumes Ladytron’s newest track. It is heard in the swirling, steely composition and the yearning from Marnie’s affected vocal. As wave after wave of synths, rhythms, and gauzy guitar encircle her, Marnie immediately reveals that: “There’s a light I can feel it / And I am not myself, I’m gone”. That light is her way out, but she cannot approach it because that is not her fate. That is not her reality, but instead the light is merely a dream and a glimmer of hope. It is the one thing that keeps her from descending into a perpetual state of misery. What a terrific story in this day and age when reality seems to increasingly imitate fiction.
Anna Mieke – “Seraphim” (Wicklow, Ireland)
RIYL: Aldous Harding, Juana Molina, José González
Only this year were we introduced to Irish singer-songwriter Anna Mieke, who in nearly a half-decade has positioned herself as a national treasure. She is Éire’s equivalent to Aldous Harding and Jenny Hval – an artist who brilliantly incorporates folklore, fantasy, and mysticism into music. Her 2022 singles, for instance, have varied between the magical (“For a Time”) to the beautifully surreal (“Mannequin”). This time on “Seraphim”, Mieke conjures up another spellbinding number.
Once more, Mieke refuses to be stationary and stick to the predictable. She instead infuses a Latin guitar into her mythical brand of alt-folk, creating a sound that could have been taken from Juana Molina’s or José González’s discography. However, the song possesses a more surreal quality due to the addition of a fluttering clarinet and the soft bellow of a sax. Her words, too, are both mystical and reverent, as she addresses a number of issues – life, death, humanity, and a person’s, particularly a woman’s, place in today’s world.
“So we stand
Drinking up the last of the light
Common ground watch it disappear
Holes in the sky where the night slips in
To be seen not heard is a worrying thing
Dancing in the way you did
Whisper low, god forbid they hеar our woe
Holes in the ground and we’re bound to fall in
To be seen not heard is a worrying thing
To be seen not heard is a worrying thing”
Jet City Sports Club – “Feeling It All” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Geowulf, Dizzy, Beach Bunny
When Jet City Sports Club released “Spinning Me Out” back in February 2021, we stated that the “future of music is in good hands” with their nostalgic, dreamy, guitar-pop. Since that time, they’ve delivered rambunctious buzz saws reminiscent of The Beths and fellow Aussies Spacey Jane. The quartet, however, are using each song to test their capabilities and imaginations, akin to many of the best indie bands today (see Wolf Alice, Warpaint). Last week, they displayed they also can create a song full of mystery and desperation yet is still equally fascinating.
“Feeling It All” is the deep dive into one’s psyche, including the minds and talents of Lilla Obradovic, Jack O’Connor, Sebastian de Haas, and Dominic Maher. The track is the superb amalgamation of dark-pop, shoegaze, and dream-pop. Beneath the surface lies a mournful mellotron arrangement of just three notes, but it is has the hypnotic effect of a swaying pocket watch. With our attention now firmly held in the foursome’s hands, the single opens slightly with an urgent, electric display, highlighted by the gauzy guitar that rings in the distant.
Obradovic’s voice, meanwhile, is simultaneously lush yet filled with uncertainty. She describes how her head “is spinning, but I’m ok”, as she learns to cope with losing someone she loved. “When I’m with you, I’m a flame in an empty room,” she further recounts and longs to relive. It’s a great line where one’s guiding light exists within.
The future of music is indeed in great hands.
Adam Hopper – “Beauty in Sadness” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Sam Fender, J.W. Francis, Weird Milk
There are two ways to welcome Monday. We could pout and wish the weekend would never end, or we can embrace it and think of it as another day filled with opportunity. If we were the betting types, we would guess that Adam Hopper is very much the latter. This is because the debut single of the former front-man of the now-defunct punk band, Blanketman, is like the bright sunshine that follows the rain.
“I am a rainy day man / I am a ‘What did you say man’,” Hopper sings on the delightful “Beauty in Sadness”. The beachy vibes that emanate from the rhythm guitar, the light patters of the drums, and the cascading key chimes are enough to put a smile on your face. Then Hopper’s voice emerges, and it, too, is infectious. While the track may lift your spirits – which is its intention – Hopper reveals how he, too, has been down in the dumps, as he describes how he’s been wallowing in despair. But instead of staying in this place, he tells himself to keep his chin up and understand that life is full of great things, like the sunshine following the rain.
Heck, even in the downpour, we “stop and can appreciate the beauty in rain” and watch “the raindrops dance through the gleam of a streetlights’ upbeam.” We’ll just have to do this the next time a storms rolls in.
Mark Stoney x The Denizen Hum – “Half Made” (Sheffield, England)
RIYL: Shearwater + Other Lives + Radical Face + Jesse Marchant
Today’s mini-playlist comes to an end with a song from an artist who for far too long has hovered below the radar. For two decades years, Mark Stoney has been creating music. Starting his career in the indie mecca of Austin, Texas, he released his debut LP, The Scene & The Unseen, in 2007, and followed that up with The Soar Before EP in 2011. Both were The Verve / Richard Ashcroft in their quality. Stoney then turned his attention to Bobby Jealousy, an indie pop-rock outfit that developed a cult following. However, the band would end in 2013 (they reformed in 2015 with new members), allowing Stoney to fully invest his time in his solo project.
Upon moving to England, he completed his sophomore album, the poetic and introspective More Than Animals, in 2014. Although the record received many positive reviews, Stoney would put his musical career on hold to focus on other projects.
He re-emerged in 2021 with the fable-like, “Swarm”, which must have inspired him to give music another shot. Fortunately for us, Stoney has returned and hopefully permanently. His first (and likely only) single for 2022 is beautifully haunting and mind-blowing. It is outstanding.
“Half Made” is a mélange of sound, textures, and emotions. Its first half possesses the quiet, sweeping cinema of present-day Shearwater, but it bleeds with the introspection heard in Jesse Marchant’s songs. As the track builds, it intensifies into a dream-like, Western rocker à la Other Lives. At the same time, it is full of mystery, uneasiness, and even fantasy, which is a combination that Radical Face has mastered. Stoney, though, is not just a great composer but a terrific songwriter. He bends this fantasy into his reality, telling a tale of trying to live another day without the one person that gave him life.
“It’s been a few long years now
Living just to survive
And I don’t wanna wait no more
I don’t wanna wait no more
It’s been a few long years now
keeping your ghost alive
And I don’t wanna wait no more
I don’t know what I’m waiting for”
Welcome back Mr. Stoney.
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