The songs on The Matinee ’23 v. 015 all share a common theme – to avoid the entrapments that lead us into unsavory situations. These nine tunes, however, are our salvation.

the Songs of January & February 2023 playlist, which is available on Spotify or SoundCloud.


Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Layla” (Portland, USA and Auckland, New Zealand)

RIYL: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Since releasing Sex & Food in 2018, Ruban Nielson, Jacob Portrait, and Kody Nielson have been relatively quiet. They’ve released a few singles since then, ranging from the 40+-minute jam session that is “SB-10” to the tender acoustic number, “I Killed Captain Cook”. It was a matter of time, however, that a new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album was coming. Originally expected in 2022, V arrives on St. Patrick’s Day, and exactly what the LP will be like is largely unknown. What it will provide is the musical equivalent of a pot of gold, and the first single, “Layla”, is a treasure.

The track is UMO at their late-spring finest. A jangly guitar line gives way to a smooth, psych-pop melody, and we suddenly feel like we are at the beach and sitting next to a fire. And for over four minutes, we feel the New Zealand-American trio’s warmth, particularly the words that come from Nielson’s cool falsetto. His story is one of escaping “this broken place” in search of new beginnings. His words are a reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel no matter where we are. 

“You’ve only got
One bag so it’s time to pack it
My old man’s gun
Still in the glove compartment

How many dollars you wanna earn?
How many times ’til you’re gonna learn?
See where one tank of gas
Gets us in this lonely world”

Once again, V will be released March 17th on Jagjaguwar. Pre-orders available on Bandcamp and these links

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Dream Wife – “Hot (Don’t Date a Musician)” (London, England & Reykjavik, Iceland)

RIYL: Bikini Kill + Yeah Yeah Yeahs + L7

Another one of our New Year’s wishes has come true with Dream Wife announcing their new album, Social Lubrication, will be released later this year. We had an inkling that this announcement was coming after the trio released the poignant and titanic “Leech”. Sure enough, Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals) confirmed yesterday that their third album will be unveiled mid-year. To get fans ready for June 9th, the trio unleash another torrential track in “Hot (Don’t Date a Musician)”.

Whereas “Leech” was a powerful, socially-charged number, “Hot” sees Dream Wife make fun of the artists and bands, including themselves. They do this with their trademark fast, furious, and sweat-inducing intensity, which will explode the roof of every venue they end up playing (including three “intimate” shows). Meanwhile, we holler along with the group as they sing about how shallow musicians and those working in the industry can be, and how they sometimes have too much time on their hands. 

“Think I’ll be celibate for a few months or days
Then a damn guitar pick flicks my way
We’ll prob talk about music ‘til the early dawn
Of how a note can never truly go wrong
What’s your favourite Yeah Yeah Yeahs song?

Why watch the TV when there’s nothing on?
I see a bed frame is missing,
a recipe for intense kissing
Let me send you my demo,
I wrote it after we first met but I’m not gonna tell you that yet
Wait, fuck, no, we spoke about this…”

Pre-orders ahead of Social Lubrication‘s June 9th release can be made on Bandcamp and these links. Lucky Number has the honors.

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No Vacation – “I Will Always” (The Cranberries cover) (San Francisco, USA)

RIYL: The Cranberries + Cocteau Twins + Slowdive

A year ago, shoegaze greats No Vacation released a gorgeous cover of The Cranberries’ “Waltzing Back”, which gave the original an even dreamier quality. Covering the songs from The Cranberries’ debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, isn’t anything new for Sabrina Mai (vocals, guitar), Marisa Saunders (bass), Nat Lee (synths), and Harrison Spencer (guitar) because in 2019 they released an entire record dedicated to that iconic LP. Since that project did extremely well, they’ve gone back to reinvent what they reinvented.

On their interpretation of the breezy “I Will Always”, No Vacation have crafted a number that takes The Cranberries’ dream-pop aesthetics and churns it through the prism of full-blown shoegaze. Rapturous gauzy guitars, nimble rhythms, and Mai’s floating vocal are all dream-like. We are left in a state of temporary hypnosis, swaying side to side to the intoxicating dreamscape while absorbing every word that the late Dolores O’Riordan wrote. We learn to let go of those we love, understanding that our bonds are forever no matter the distance between us and them. That even when things change, their core remains the same.

The single is out on Topshelf Records. Here’s hoping that No Vacation releases an LP filled with new material.

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bdrmm – “It’s Just A Bit of Blood” (Hull & Leeds, England)

RIYL: Radiohead + My Bloody Valentine + Mogwai + Surf Rock Is Dead

Some bands have that “it” factor, where pretty much everything they touch is gold. And British collective, bdrmm, have “it”. Back in October 2021, they released “port”, which was one of the best songs we heard that year. Ryan Smith (vocals, guitar), Jordan Smith (bass), Joe Vickers (guitar), and Conor Murray’s (drums) first single of 2023 proves once again that they are indeed a band on the verge of greatness.

“It’s Just A Bit Of Blood” is one of the early year’s best songs. It ceases to be stationary, commencing with a foreboding guitar line that could have been concocted by the great Jonny Greenwood. The track then explodes, touching the borders of Mogwai’s blistering post-rock. After roughly twenty seconds have passed, the song plummets back to Earth and the spaces that Radiohead once occupied during their Kid A years. Smith’s falsetto even has a touch of Thom Yorke, as he describes his state of mind. His state of emaciation. 

He awakens just as the song, too, opens up, entering the shoegaze realm of Surf Rock Is Dead. Like Smith, we feel reinvigorated and able to take on anything, whether it is the return to the brooding, Radiohead scene or the My Bloody Valentine-esque cataclysm heard in the track’s final moments. What a ride “It’s Just a Bit Of Blood” is. What a song it is. 

bdrmm’s new album, I Don’t Know, is out June 30th via Mogwai’s Rock Action. Pre-orders are available at these links and Bandcamp.

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Thavoron – “Struck” (Seattle, USA)

RIYL: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Joy Oladokun

Last spring, Cambodian-American songwriter Thavoron bowled us over with “18”. It was a striking single where Thavoron told the story of young love fading away. He then followed it up with the reflective “Twin Sized Bed” in November. His music is built on telling the stories of queer relationships and trying to give people like him art they can relate to. Those stories plus the immersive sound make his music incredibly powerful.

Thavoron’s latest single, “Struck”, takes listeners to new places. Part of that is the sound. The track starts with an inviting and fairly simple guitar part; however, it becomes so much more as it progresses. There’s a vulnerability in both what Thavoron says and how he says it. More layers join in, from jangly guitar to strings. The first half of the track is simply beautiful, and then it turns in its second half. A deep synth highlights the second half, and slicing through it are electric guitar cuts and pounding drums. This transition perfectly captures the core message in “Struck” – that the changes and “callousness”, as he puts it, can come from past relationships.

The single is out on Trailing Twelve Records.

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Miss Grit – “Nothing’s Wrong” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Mitski, Half Waif, Porches

Margaret Sohn is undeniably an innovator in many different ways. Their unrestrained creativity can be heard on “Like You”, “Follow the Cyborg”, and “Lain (Phone Clone)”, which all are on the upcoming Miss Grit LP, Follow The Cyborg. The record is described as a concept album that “follow(s) the path of a non-human machine as it moves from its helpless origin to awareness and liberation.” Bringing a story like that to life is not an easy task, but with each release so far, Miss Grit channels their own experiences as an outsider, slowly awakening to the reality of themselves and the world around them.

 The latest single from Follow The Cyborg, “Nothing’s Wrong”, is a side we haven’t quite heard from Sohn. Sure, there are slower moments nestled within some of their songs, and they give “Nothing’s Wrong” the space it needs breathe. However, there are no ripping guitar solo nor wild electronic bends. Instead, the track is all Sohn standing before an atmospheric background of lush instrumentation. Sohn’s voice is the star here, sharing how everything is all right even in the face of devastation. 

“If nothing’s wrong
Nothing’s wrong
And so I can’t feel, can’t hear, can’t figure out how to make things right
I miss that song
The one that hurts like something’s wrong
Cause even when I’m feeling fine
It’s always nice just to remind”

Sohn’s new album, Follow the Cyborg, is out February 24, 2023 via Mute. Pre-order it at these links and on Bandcamp.

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Kate Davis – “Call Home” (New York, USA)

RIYL: Sjowgren, Soccer Mommy, Sorcha Richardson

Whether she’s singing into the microphone or contributing to songs for others (e.g., co-writing Sharon Van Etten’s “Seventeen”), Kate Davis will be a star. For that matter, she is a star, but she’s done it her way and resisting the temptation of the mainstream machine. In March, Davis will showcase why ANTI Records and numerous tastemakers, including ourselves, are bullish about her potential, as she will release her sophomore album, Fish Bowl. By the pair of singles already released, “Consequences” and “Monster Mash”, it’s shaping up to be a potential breakout.

On “Call Home”, Davis removes all doubt that she deserves to be mentioned among the great songwriters of today. The track’s early backdrop is simple: gently played guitar and a synth that barely lets the listener know it’s there. It’s the perfect platform for Davis’s words to shine brightly, as she creates her own sci-fi story that concerns escaping the confinement of a pandemic. The spacey moments abruptly explode when Davis’ voice reaches distorted heights. A wild guitar solo cuts through what was once silence, but now a huge wall of sound emerges. The song then shifts in a huge way, becoming an indie rocker before it all comes to rest gracefully. The approach shines a light Davis’ vivid lyricism.

“Do you need a social commentary
or apocalyptic romance
with what shreds
of freedom remain

Do you think you wanna dance
We see the powers that be
can hear what we say

They can’t know what we’re feeling
Today we’ll shut ourselves off to the world that we knew
and create a new place to call home”

Fish Bowl arrives March 24th via ANTI Records. Pre-order it here or directly on Bandcamp.

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Lip Filler – “Haircut” (London, England)

RIYL: Foals, English Teacher, Klaxons

If you’re like us and compiling a list of the next great UK band, put the name Lip Filler near, if not at, the top. These five twentysomethings that call Shepherd’s Bush home have the potential to be an international sensation like Foals and Editors. We don’t need to tell you what they could be; all you need to do is listen to “Haircut”.

The song’s first half possesses the unique sound of London – a blustery, art-rock vibe that gets the patrons shimmering wherever they may be. We become cloaked within Lip Filler’s groovy yet rousing darkness, which reflects the dead-end “village” in which the band once found themselves. Gradually, the song builds, intensifying into a Foals-eque fury by the end. Front-person George’s lyricism, meanwhile, has the bite and poignancy of Shame’s Charlie Steen. Associating the act of a haircut with one’s identity, he describes how he, unlike Samson, needed a change to his image to become freed of the bonds that tied him down. To find strength in a different way. 

They got me in a headlock
Minesweeper of a schedule
This city kinda sucks

New thoughts come in odd shapes
But I like the ones that stay ‘cause it suits me
Small talk ain’t my forté
But I like the ones that stay ‘cause it suits me”

Lip Filler are George (vocals, keys), Jude (guitar), Verity (guitar), Theo (bass), and Nate (drums). The single is out on Chess Club Records.

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BC CAMPLIGHT – “The Last Rotation of Earth” (Manchester, England via Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL: Father John Misty + John Grant + Grizzly Bear

As BC CAMPLIGHT, Brian Christinzio’s music always has been clever. He often can be witty and charming, as he makes light of his own experiences and the mundane routines that govern our lives. Other times, he can be as serious as an archeologist on the verge of a major discovery. His return after a mini, two-year break sees him land somewhere in between these two, polarizing worlds, introducing us to a new BC CAMPLIGHT.

On “The Last Rotation of Earth”, Christinzio sings about how one person’s life is crashing on him, making him think that the planet is about to end – or more like his world is about to end. His lines are amusing and cunning, and the musical approach is equally brilliant. With keys, cowbell, cymbals, and soulful, backing vocals, the song is a bit theatrical, spiritual, and even euphoric. As such, it would not be out of place within the grandeur of the Sydney Opera House, the open stages of Bonnaroo, nor even the marble confines of St. Paul’s Cathedral. And listening to this song might be best in the latter location, especially if the world is about to end. 

Christinzio’s new album, Last Rotation of Earth, officially reaches orbit on May 12th. Pre-orders for the Bella Union release can be made here and on Bandcamp.

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