Whether it’s art-folk or French nu-disco, dramatic post-punk or blazing noise-rock, defiant grungegaze or soothing classic-rock and indie-folk, the songs on The Matinee ’22 v. 151 tell great stories or share important messages. So while the nine singles will sweep you off your feet or get you dancing, they leave their mark with their words.
Casper Skulls – “Yards” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Big Thief, Sun June, Twain
Casper Skulls has become a fast favorite for us. Their 2021 album, Knows No Kindness, was the equivalent of a thick blanket of a chilly autumn evening – warm, comforting, and exactly what we needed. Beyond the stunning, folk-rock melodies, the album introduced us to one of the great songwriters anywhere. Melanie St-Pierre told great stories, some that were personal to her or her family and others were fictitious yet grounded in reality. It’s a record that still has a little more of a story to tell, and the band has just released a new b-side from it, “Yards”.
On the band’s first single for 2022, St-Pierre’s lyrics once again paint warm, vivid pictures. According to their Facebook page, the song is “about my childhood house burning down on my sister’s 7th birthday when I was 5 years old.” The track’s early moments echo the silence before such a disaster. However, instead of an explosion, the music fades as St-Pierre painstakingly details the event. The big sound eventually does come with St-Pierre’s voice powering over everything before it breaks into a great guitar solo. After the huge moment and the intense storytelling, the tune reaches a beautiful moment of reflection. Simply wonderful.
Casper Skulls are: Neil Bednis (guitar), Melanie St-Pierre (vocal, guitar), Fraser McClean (bass), and Aurora Bangarth (drums).
Black Belt Eagle Scout – “My Blood Runs Through This Land” (Swinomish, WA USA)
RIYL: Kim Gordon + Deafheaven + Emma Ruth Rundle
When Katherine Paul released “Don’t Give Up” four weeks ago, it not only marked the return of Black Belt Eagle Scout but also one of the most important voices to arrive in the past decade. As an Indigenous Swinomish/Iñupiaq woman, she brought the stories, histories, and lessons of her culture to the mainstream. As a queer, indigenous woman that has earned widespread acclaim and indie success, she has become a role model for all, inspiring underdogs to break down walls and shatter glass ceilings. Her music, too, is inspirational, whether it is through lush dreamgaze or the dazzlingly roar of grungegaze. It is the latter where we find Paul on her newest single, “My Blood Runs Through This Land”.
This song is stellar. It is an absolute epic. At first, it possesses the penetrating darkness of Emma Ruth Rundle, where Paul’s stunning voice hums over a gritty, reverb-drenched guitar. She sings defiantly at those who wish to turn forests into concrete jungles and who see nature as a means to profit. Eventually, the track ignites, combining the force of Kim Gordon in her youth and the hurtling fire of Deafheaven. All the while, Paul’s voice remains controlled, telling us that:
“My blood runs through this land I
Wanna know what you hear when
Thunder in the land and sphere
We like to see our futures bright and
I know you speak through me I
Feel it in the sound of water
Touching all the rocks I feel
No one can take this moment away cos
My blood runs through this land I
Find it in the land and sea
I feel it like no other being
My connection to this land
Finally know what you mean when
Finally know who you see when
Waking up is so violent
Wanna see the peaceful light”
The Murder Capital – “Ethel” (Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Fontaines D.C., Iceage, Shame
While many of The Murder Capital‘s contemporaries are dabbling in other genres, James McGovern (vocals), Damien Tuit (guitar), Cathal Roper (guitar), Gabriel Pascal Blake (bass), and Diarmuid Brennan (drums) are taking the opposite approach. Instead of turning to indie-rock, alternative, or Brit-rock so they can tell stories of those in their 20s and 30s, they are bringing those tales to post-punk. On “Only Good Things” and “A Thousand Lives”, for instance, McGovern sang about the life and times of two people who, despite differences, cannot exist without the other. The third installment of this saga is told through the eyes of a desperate man and in a fashion that is very The Murder Capital.
“Ethel” yearns with despair, as the band put the drama into post-punk. A lonely electric guitar shallowly strums at the start alongside McGovern’s emotive vocal. He wonders out loud where she has gone. “I always wanted it to be like this for us / Strung out on love / Alive in the city,” he reflectively sings. Somewhere on their journey, things go awry. As the rhythms and the second guitar arrive, the plot thickens and McGovern’s voice intensifies. As the song approaches its mind-blowing climax, he hollers, “I always wanted it to be like this for us / Having a first kid / Name her Ethel / And I hold on to her tight, tight, tight…”
All he wanted was the fairy-tale ending, but it is just an unreachable dream. It is now just a false hope.
The entire saga of this couple will be told on January 20th, 2023, which is when Gigi’s Recovery will be released on Human Season Records. Pre-orders available here.
FEWS – “MASSOLIT” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: METZ, FIDLAR, Mazes
FEWS have slowly cultivated an undeniable sound of their own over the last few years. In 2016, they released Means, produced by Dan Carey, a fantastic debut that’s only been followed up by bigger and better sounds. Their most recent release was Dog E.P., a bombastic and gripping sub-13 minute ride that only solidified Frederick Rundqvist (vocals, guitar), Jay Clifton (bass), and Rasmus Andersson (drums) as one of our favorite Scandinavian bands.
It should be no surprise that their latest single, “MASSOLIT”, is absolutely massive. Its driving drums, the roaring guitars, the rumbling bass, they are noise-rock perfection. The song’s mountain-sized peaks die down for Rundqvst’s voice to echo through the space, buried just long enough for tension to build and everything to return in an intense and final eruption of sound. The lyrics mirror the track’s unpredictability, an introspective story that speaks of social and relationship anxieties and the emotions that come with that.
“My body is levitating
I wish she understood
I’d rather not go home
When I feel this good
I’m still trying to cope with my shyness too
I want to read between my lines dont you
Inside their mind I’ll be the fool
Hoping for something
Which I always do
Maybe that I could be someone
Be someone for you instead”
The single is out on the super awesome boutique label Welfare Sounds & Records.
Pearla – “With” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Babehoven, Gena Rose Bruce
Nicole Rodriguez’s music as Pearla has been on our radar since 2017. Even in those early days, there was something special and captivating about her music. Five years later, Rodriguez finally has a release date set for her debut LP, Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming. Sadly, that date isn’t until February; however, Rodriguez has already released four songs – “About Hunger, About Love”, “Effort”, “Ming the Clam”, and “The Place with No Weather” – to tie us over. Each single has convinced us Rodriguez’s first record will be a candidate as one of 2023’s best records.
With all of the breathtaking music Pearla has released, “With” may be her most stunning single. It commences with some heartfelt singing over just acoustic guitar and a faint electric hum, which give way to a throwback vibe complete with guitars drenched in reverb and a fantastic little drum beat. More layers are added, from synth to harmonies to more guitar. The build perfectly captures the song’s message, which is to embrace the chaos and the randomness of life. Rodriguez, however, finds comfort in solitude and the shelter it provides among the unpredictability of the world.
To the immensity
To the randomness
To the blue blue blue blue blue
In my four walls
In my glass case
Where my books
And my puppets
Pearla’s new album, Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming, will be released February 10, 2023. via Spacebomb. Pre-orders and pre-saves can be made at these links and on Bandcamp. We cannot wait to hear it in its entirety.
Tempesst – “Rags of Love” (London, England via Sunshine Coast, Australia)
RIYL: Marlon Williams, Father John Misty, My Morning Jacket
In the five years that we’ve covered Tempesst, they have matured like a fine wine, where their songs get better and better. Like all great vintages, the Aussie-bred band’s music has very distinct characteristics – cinema in its sound, breezy journeys in its effect, and epic storytelling. Brothers Toma (vocals, guitars) and Andy Banjanin (drums), Eric Weber (guitars), Kane Reynolds (keys), and Blake Misipeka (bass) truly are one of the great, under-the-radar bands, and they take us on another extravagant trip with “Prisoner of Desire”.
Country-western tones weave through this instant classic that could be considered the sequel to Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend”. “Will your beauty survive under the open road?,” Toma smoothly sings, as he tells the tale of a woman who has decided to travel a different path than him. As he contemplates what was, is, and could be, the song moves from soft rock to sweltering classic rock, as keys and a light soft sax interchange with the twangy guitar. During this time, Toma reveals more about the changes in this unknown legend.
“The house was cold
As Tiananmen Square
Like a black hole opened and stripped the place bare
Oh the words that escaped could not be unheard
And the jailbreak cost more than the freedom’s worth
Oh and the jailbreak cost more than the freedom’s worth
When the arguments are made
And the case has been tried
Will our bodies draw a new treaty to sign?
In my arms she rests, proud as queen
Oh for the rags of love that I dress her in
The rags of love that I dress her in”
Tempesst’s new album, Prisoner of Desire, will be released on March 3rd, 2023 via Pony Recordings.
7ebra – “I Have a Lot to Say” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Wet Leg, NewDad, Nelson Can
They’re only two songs into their career, but 25-year-old twin sisters Inez and Ella have everything it takes for 7ebra to be the next big breakout band. The duo’s minimalist approach is impressive. So is the knowledge that the duo perform every instrument: Inez plays guitar and sings while Ella plays keyboards and drums. Despite the two doing everything, 7ebra’s sound feels like so much more than the sum of its parts.
The duo’s latest single “I Have a Lot to Say”, is an even more complete package. Both Inez and Ella harmonize seamlessly, as a no-frills guitar track guides the track. Stomping electronic drums keep things going with some charming organ coming in. The guitar eventually morphs into a fuzzy solo that rips pretty hard. Lyrically, the track is a lot of fun, and the twins’ presentation make “I Have a Lot to Say” immensely catchy.
Tanukichan – “Don’t Give Up” (Oakland, USA)
RIYL: Cherry Glazerr, Fazerdaze, Beach Bunny
Last month marked the return of Tanukichan, who unveiled her first single in four years with “Make Believe”. The hiatus not only yielded a new tune, but it also resulted in a brand, new album. Before spring arrives in 2023, GIZMO will bloom. What the LP will sound like in its entirety obviously remains a mystery, but with Chaz Bear (a.k.a. Tori y Moi) as producer the final product should be a diverse and immersive set of songs. So far, this is the case, as “Don’t Give Up” sounds like the flip side to “Make Believe”.
Instead of a fuzzed-out adventure, van Loon delves into darker, more vulnerable places. Her hushed voice is drenched in autotune, and she sounds like the computerized subconscious (or artificial intelligence) of a spaceship hurtling through the cosmos. As a grimy guitar parries with a steely one while thrusting rhythms percolate beneath, she acts like our subconscious, reminding us to:
“Don’t give up now, you know there’s another day,
Just know you’re going to get to a better place”
Those are words to live by, and this song is one that should be on every person’s pick-me-up playlist.
SNEAKPEEK – “Dreams That You Discarded” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Daft Punk + Blondie + Ela Minus
Weekends are made for dancing, are they not? Even the most stoic of individuals likes to shake, shimmy, and groove every once in a while. It also is a great way to end the week and this mini-playlist, where the final single sticks in our head for hours and has us moving non-stop. Sure, people may give us puzzled gazes, but after they hear SNEAKPEEK‘s “Dreams that You Discarded”, they, too, will be lost in a trance.
Dora Hiller and Aric Bohn’s newest single is taken right out the ’80s and ’90s. French nu-disco beats and grooves slice through the scintillating keys. With Hiller’s sensual vocal, the song sounds like the dream collaboration between Daft Punk and Debbie Harry. For over four minutes, we’re completely hypnotized, lost in this sonic extravaganza that could be played in every single dance club on the planet. But like a great hypnotist, the duo leave their mark with their words, particularly when Hiller tells us that we will make mistakes, but those lessons will eventually reap rewards.
For Hiller and Bohn, they might be reaping rewards soon, possibly early in 2023 as more people discover their music. We can foresee them becoming one of the new year’s most talked about “new bands”.
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