The start of a new year always brings great new music. So if you thought the first Matinee was great, The Matinee ’23 v. 002 will blow you away. Many of the tracks below also are from our Most Anticipated Albums of the year.
Daughter – “Be On Your Way” (London, England)
RIYL: Daughter, The National
With the release of their debut album If You Leave, a decade ago, Daughter rocketed to indie stardom almost overnight. Elena Tonra’s pristine voice projects human emotion like few singers could ever achieve. She accompanied by Igor Haefeli’s similarly striking guitar and Remi Aguilella’s precision drumming. The trio packed the punch of bands much larger while their songs are deeply rooted in an intimate, human connection. It’s a combination that came to set the tone for the next decade for indie songwriters, such as Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. Daughter followed up their debut with another fantastic heart-wrencher, Not to Disappear, in 2016. Then suddenly, they mostly went silent aside from a video game soundtrack and some solo work for Tonra as Ex:Re.
Seven years is a long time between records, but just a few days shy of their most recent LP’s 7th anniversary, Daughter have announced their return with Stereo Mind Game. With the record comes the lead single “Be On Your Way”. The single is definitively Daughter. As Haefeli’s distinctive, reverbed guitar rings through Aguilella’s brushed drums, Tonra’s voice paints an emotionally charged picture of forgotten memories and unfulfilled wishes.
“And if I make it back to this blue and pink ceiling
Will I have ever seen such beautiful midsummers?
I will try and find you
Maybe we could reconstruct the scene?
I have a feeling that we’ll repeat this evening”
Young Fathers – “Rice” (Edinburgh, Scotland)
RIYL: SAULT + Imarhan + Michael Franti
As Young Fathers‘ third album, Heavy Heavy, nears its release date, the record’s focus is becoming clearer. Thematically, it continues Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and Graham Hastings’ run of making music that focuses on telling the stories of the collective and raising the spirits of all. Musically, it is an exploration as well as a celebration of the diversity that exists across the globe. The powerful “Geronimo” merged hip hop beats with dreamy choral-pop and soaring alt-pop, while “I Saw” was the brilliant fusion of alt-electronica, synth-pop, and African rhythms. “Tell Somebody”, meanwhile, was an extraordinary post-rock opus. The threesome return to the firm grounds of Earth, again finding inspiration in different corners of the globe on “Rice”.
This joyous and uplifting number see the longtime Edinburgh friends traverse the warm waters of the Caribbean and the arid landscapes of Africa to create a unique and wondrous sound. Steel drums and rumbling percussion drive the track alongside the trio’s euphoric singing. As is always Young Fathers’ fashion, they deliver a message about learning to coexist with our planet and lead a simple life, much like our ancestors did not so long ago. And there is power to this belief where we understand that excess is not an objective nor a lifestyle.
“I need to bide my time until I’m home again
Fill these boots to feel my soul and say
Buy more drugs to feel that love again
Kill them slow, they reap, I sow, amen”
Lowly – “Seasons” (Aarhus, Denmark)
RIYL: Warpaint, Kindsight, Sleep Party People
A few months ago, we asked whether Lowly are the best Danish band in music after they released the vulnerably gorgeous “Keep Up the Good Work”. The song was just a microcosm of Nanna Schannong (vocals, guitar), Soffie Viemose (vocals), Kasper Staub (synthesisers), Thomas Lund (bass, synth), and Steffen Lundtoft’s (percussion) varied artistry, as for over eight years they have been challenging conceptions of what is accessible. They are like Deerhunter, Deerhoof, Grizzly Bear, and other art-rock / alt-pop outfits, who constantly are pursuing invention at the expense of generic pop-rock popularity. And after people listen to “Seasons”, comparisons to Warpaint and maybe even a bigger, more influential band – i.e., Radiohead – may be mentioned.
Like these bands, there is a controlled frenetic nature to the song. Jittery tom toms open the track and continue even after the emergence of the percussion, the dripping bass line, the mournful keys, and Schannong’s always compelling vocal. For nearly four minutes, the quintet take listeners on a surreal ride that borders between mysterious, fantasy, and lavishing. And we cannot peel away from its brilliance. Schannong’s lyrics, too, are Guillermo del Toro-esque, as she straddles between reality and an idyllic life.
“What we were
Oh light blues
Confront the allies
Into the comfort of
My sisters’ arms
All the involved
Are safe and warm”
Everything But The Girl – “Nothing Left To Lose” (Hull, England)
RIYL: Everything But The Girl
Nearly a quarter of a century has passed since Everything But The Girl released Temperamental. When Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt released the album, people were using Napster to get MP3s. Meanwhile, YouTube, Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and other music streaming and downloading sites were, at most, an idea. While much time has passed, EBT’s blend of trip-hop, house, garage, and glitch remains modern, which makes their first single since 1999 timeless.
Dim the lights, create a bit of space wherever you may be, and twirl under the spell of “Nothing Left To Lose”. Like it’s 1993 all over again, the duo serve up seduction and sultriness within a 224-second hypnosis. Watt’s elaborate orchestration establishes the dark and mysterious atmosphere, in which Thorn sets her story of one person waiting for another to arrive. Her tale is one of desire and desperation, where the hour grows late and darkness is about to permanently descend. So “what do you have to lose?”, she asks to the person in the other room. Or is it the person she sees every day in the mirror?
M83 – “Oceans Niagara” (Los Angeles, USA via Antibes, France)
RIYL: M83 goes ’80s new wave
In the wake of releasing M83‘s first single in four years, Anthony Gonzalez told NME that he wants to “shun success” with his new album. Given his influence and popularity, this objective will be all but impossible to achieve. Gonzalez could probably release a record solely featuring tweeting birds, and it would achieve platinum status. And when he shares a song that is straight out of the ’80s and could be featured on Stranger Things, success is inevitable.
“Oceans Niagara” is Gonzalez’s interpretation of the time when music went truly electronic. It buzzes with the bubbling energy of the decade that gave us big hair, acid-washed jeans, and keytars. It tingles with the blissful ignorance seen in films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles. The song, however, still has Gonzalez’s cosmic touch, as its second half takes off for the skies and beyond. M83’s music, after all, is, as is said throughout the track, an adventure.
Shame – “Six-Pack” (London, England)
RIYL: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard + CAN + Black Midi
When Shame shared “Fingers of Steel” in November, the first single from the band’s upcoming new album, Food for Worms, signaled that the quintet were entering a new chapter in their careers. The question is where? “Fingers of Steel” was more art-punk than the fiery post-punk of Charlie Steen, Eddie Green, Charlie Forbes, Josh Finerty, and Sean Coyle-Smith’s early years. Now would they tread towards Brit-pop and Brit-pop like some of their contemporaries? The answer to this question will be known in a month’s time, but “Six-Pack” is definitely not anywhere near that destination.
Instead, Shame unfurl a frenetic rocker that at first blazes with the psych-garage battiness of King Gizard & The Lizard Wizard and CAN. For a little over two minutes, we’re left in a dizzying state. Then the unexpected happens – the song pauses and slows to a crawl and all that is heard is a bit of guitar and Steen’s slowed vocal. Within the totality of the track, the bridge is brilliant since it represents the moment where the protagonist realizes his life is not what it seems. Kind of like what Shame is – a band that is more than what they seem.
“Everything within this room was made just for you,
Chattels of deception are only good when they’re in use.
The outside world is large and it’s filled with empty beds.
Resort to your delusions and live within your head,
Within this room.
Within this room.
That brand new type of religion that you feared too much to try,
Will hold you tight
Through the night,
In this room.”
Kraków Loves Adana – “Hiding in My Room” (feat. Ruth Radelet & Adam Miller) (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Kate Bush, Chromatics, Hunter As A Horse
This year, Deniz Cicek and Robert Heitmann will celebrate 17 years as Kraków Loves Adana. At this point, the couple’s project is not a career but a labor of love. Despite having a dedicated cult following (and we’re a part of it), broader success and worldwide popularity have eluded them, yet they continue to churn out great music. Few bands can meld darkwave, Goth-rock, post-punk, and krautrock like the pair, who met at a nightclub in 2006. In less than a week, their seventh album will hit airwaves, and Cicek and Heitmann have shared from it the stunning “When the Storm Comes”, “Sorrows in the Sun”, and now “Hiding In My Room”.
The single possesses the qualities that first drew us into Kraków Loves Adana’s music – patiently dramatic, Gothic but illuminating, and a dazzler in the end. It does not feature many elements – a couple of synths, a protruding bass, and a drum machine – yet each element brilliantly converges together to create the startling soundscape. Cicek’s vocal, meanwhile, changes octaves, commencing with a deep, guttural tone before transforming into a near angelic aura. Her tale concerns her self-imposed prison, which was once a temple dedicated to a single person.
“I know I’ve got a habit to obsess
A whole garden built on what I regret
I am so tired
I’ve been it a while
A brown eyed girl
With no more tears to cry”
The duo’s new album, Oceanflower, is out next Monday, January 16th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp. Go get and support this fantastic band.
Kate Davis – “Monster Mash” (New York, USA)
RIYL: Marika Hackman, Sjowgren, Beach Bunny
Kate Davis is a fascinating artist. Her early days as a musician came from playing jazz, which eventually led to her playing at the Kennedy Center. She also co-wrote one of Sharon Van Etten’s greatest tracks (“Seventeen”) and covered Daniel Johnston’s Retired Boxer in its entirety when she released Strange Boy. In 2019, Davis made her own debut as a songwriter with the brilliant, Trophy. All these things indicate that it’s hard to predict what’s next for Davis. However, Davis left us some bread crumbs when she released “Consequences” in November.
Since then, Davis has announced her next record, Fish Bowl, will be out on March 24th. With that, came Davis’ latest single, “Monster Mash”. Not a cover of the overplayed 1960’s Halloween staple, Davis’ track has vibes from decades later. “Monster Mash” has a ’90s aesthetic, from its fuzzy bass paired with some heavy-handed acoustic guitar to the Windows 95 desktop that’s at the center of the music video. The song tells the story of a character changing their life. “Monster Mash” is those initial moments, the realization things need to change even if it’s scary.
“All of the soft boys
lie in your room
look at the ceiling
I’m coming for you
turn on the night light
keep the closet door closed
escaped the restraints
I’ll be knocking at your door”
Tennis – “Let’s Make a Mistake Tonight” (Denver, USA)
RIYL: La Sera, TOPS, Christina & the Queens
Few bands continually capture musical magic like the duo of Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. Maybe Tennis are magicians, with Moore’s spellbinding voice. Maybe their tricks include time-travel, like the picture-perfect, ’70s-tinged “One Night with the Valet” from their upcoming record Pollen. More likely, it’s their years of experience crafting some of the most immersive and inviting throwback pop music.
Once again, Tennis has us under their spell with their latest single, “Let’s Make a Mistake Tonight”. Everything about the song is booming with confidence. Its heavy electronic drums drive things forward with some ’80s synth and guitar playing intermediary to Moore’s lofty voice. After a short interlude of just synth, the track kicks back into gear with a more disco style, especially in its final moments. The lyrics echo the confidence in the sound: the one to embrace the unknown, the mistakes to be made, and the mystique of what lies ahead.
“Let’s make a mistake tonight
Concrete in the headlights
Drive west till there’s nothing left
We’re gonna find something better
Whatever’s crowding my vision
I will it out of existence
I don’t know what I expected
But now you see what I’m left with
If I see nothing then nothing’s there
I close my eyes tight but I can’t remember”
Why Bonnie – “Apple Tree” (Brooklyn & Austin, USA)
RIYL: Middle Kids, Lomelda, early Big Thief
One of 2022’s most underrated albums was Why Bonnie‘s 90 in November. It was cosy dream-rock meant for listening on the veranda or around the campfire, where the wistful tones stirred memories of more innocent times. If folks did not listen to the LP, it’s not too late to do so. But before spinning it, Blair Howerton (vocals, guitar) along with Kendall Powell (keys), Josh Malett (drums), Sam Houdek (guitar), and Chance Williams (bass) offer another sample of their sway-inducing music with “Apple Tree”.
Taken from the 90 in November sessions, Why Bonnie’s newest tune is the antidote to the doldrums of these dark, chilly, wintry nights. Softly-touched piano, tickling percussion, and a bumbling guitar line recreate a late-summer evening, where everything seems to move in slow motion. And all we do is smile and think about those warm nights that we wished did not end. For Howerton, she retells a moment of bliss and love, as two people let down their guard and make a beautiful memory. And Why Bonnie once again make musical magic.
“Apple Tree” and 90 in November are out on Keeled Scales.
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