The great music continues on The Matinee ’23 v. 020, which delves into the ethereal and intimate as well as the cathartic and propulsive. This second half of our The Matinee doubleheader is filled with long-time favorites and a couple that will become that very quickly.

To spend more time discovering great music, head to Part 1 of our The Matinee doubleheader. Heck, make it an extended triple header by visiting the Songs of January & February 2023 playlist on Spotify and SoundCloud.


Fenne Lily – “Dawncolored Horse” (Brooklyn, USA via Bristol, England)

RIYL: Big Thief, Indigo Sparke, Faye Webster

After first introducing the world to her music nearly seven years ago, Fenne Lily has become a songwriting powerhouse, creating music that’s inviting and gorgeous. Her debut LP, 2018’s On Hold, left an impact on anyone who came across it, from its vulnerability to its cathartic moments. 2020’s BREACH, meanwhile, turned darker and painful moments into events to remember.

In the past year, Lily moved from London to New York in order to work on her third album, Big Picture. In January, she released the jangly “Lights Light Up”, which retained Lily’s lush qualities yet displayed a new side – a touch of pop. Fenne Lily, however, is at her best when her stunning voice  and impeccable songwriting take center stage, which they do on “Dawncolored Horse”.

The title is taken from The Horse That Had A Flat Tire, a poem by Richard Brautigan. When talking about the track, Lily shares that it is her interpretation of the poem. She writes, “When you know someone so well it feels like youʼre almost living inside them. That can be claustrophobic… but before itʼs too much, itʼs incredible.” The song captures those feelings brilliantly, from Lily’s honest lyricism to the big, warm sound of the pristine guitar and banjo pulsing throughout the track. Lightly brushed drum work adds even more to the intimate feeling. But again, Lily’s words are the showstopper.

“So it’s all right if you don’t want a shoulder
If you don’t wanna get over it all
And it’s alright if you don’t wanna remember
That nothing’s forever after all”

Big Picture is out April 14th on Dead Oceans. Pre-orders available at these links and on Bandcamp

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Orions Belte – “Silhouettes” (Oslo, Norway)

RIYL: Tame Impala + Burt Bacharach + Can

We have mentioned many times that we are in the midst of a golden era in indie music, and there is no indication that this movement will slow down. On the contrary, it could last for years if not decades. As evidence of this great period, the influential Kevin Parker recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Tame Impala’s Lonerism LP, which is considered one of the records to kick off this current run of musical greatness and helped reinvigorate psychedelic-pop and -rock. Now in 2023, thousands of artists and bands are doing their part to keep music fresh and inventive, and one of them is Orions Belte.

The Norwegian psych veterans are very much like the aforementioned Parker in that they are innovators. Øyvind Blomstrøm (guitar), Chris Holm (bass), and Kim Åge Furuhaug (drums) may not be household names nor gushed over by the likes of Pitchfork, but the lack of notoriety should not discount their brilliance. Instead, allow your ears be the judge and unwind with the trippy and blustery vibes of “Sometimes”.

Orions Belte’s newest number is a cacophony of not just sound but destinations and time periods. A touch of Laurel Canyon can be felt in the more serene and lush moments, but then we’re transported to Hawaii in the ’60s when the track takes on a beachy, pastel tone. In an instant when the flute and strings emerge, we’re ushered to 1930s New York City to watch a Vaudeville-like show. Then the band deliver us to 2012 Perth, Australia, as the guitar growls and the tune gets trippy. The track is simply a brilliant whirlwind of adventure, which seems perfect for a story about being caught within the vortex of another person’s presence even when they are not around.

“I’ve been drinking all night long
Your silhouette is all I can see
In my dreams I move with you
All the others I just see through”

This most excellent single is out on Jansen Records

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koleżanka – “City Summer Sweat” (Brooklyn via Phoenix, USA)

RIYL: Cate Le Bon, Aldous Harding, Steady Holiday

We’ve said it in the past about her, but Kristina Moore is a musical shapeshifter. Her project koleżanka continues to create fresh, ever expanding sounds, and it’s been obvious listening to her progression from her 2021 record Place Is, to the singles released from koleżanka’s upcoming record, Alone with the Sound the Mind Makes. The upcoming LP includes the jarringly upbeat recollection of a life-changing moment on “Canals of Our City” and the dreamy service worker anthem “Slapstick”.

koleżanka creates a surreal world on “City Summer Sweat”. The track starts out with an omnichord and its built-in drum machine. The omnichord is a surprisingly versatile instrument, and koleżanka takes full advantage. The track didn’t originally have this instrument. But when Moore was revisiting the track, it felt like something was missing, and then “City Summer Sweat” “was entirely an accident”. The omnichord adds a haunting quality to the whole track, and Moore builds on it with guitar and a great drumbeat. The tune then transitions into something that sounds like something out of a Disney movie to wrap things up. It’s a fun, weird, but utterly thrilling ride from an artist who keeps pushing herself into new territory.

Alone with the Sound the Mind Makes is out now on Bar/None Records. Get it on Bandcamp and these links.

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Hello Mary – “Special Treat” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Hole, Veruca Salt, Wet Leg

Some of the very best rock bands have called New York City home. Could Hello Mary join the likes of Blondie, Sonic Youth, The Velvet Underground, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Time obviously will be the ultimate judge, and Helena Straight (guitar, vocal), Mikaela Oppenheimer (bass), and Stella Wave (drums, vocal) have plenty of it on their side given their youth and energy. They also have a solid catalogue of songs under their belt, like the mosh-friendly “Rabbit”. Their portfolio – and the evidence to support the claim they will be the next great rock band from NYC – grows with “Special Treat”.

The trio’s latest number is grimy, it’s melodic, and it is bloody awesome. Straight’s and Wave’s vocals criss-cross at the start while Oppenheimer’s bass methodically strums in the background. They repeat the same words for nearly half-a-minute and sound like a broken record, which is the whole point. The repetition represents how society ingrains specific ideals, morals, and images in our head, coercing us to comply.

The tune then turns into a snarl, as Straight’s steely guitar emerges and Wave delivers one of the great drumming performances of the early year (do not be surprised to hear Wave compared to another Stella – Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa). Through the gritty noise, the vocals return, sharing more ways people, in particular young women, are told to not overindulge because they must maintain a certain image. But as depicted in the song’s video, Hello Mary will do whatever they please. They’ll march to the beat of their own drummer.

Hello Mary’s eponymous, debut album releases March 3rd via Frenchkiss Records. Get it at these links. It’s going to be fantastic.

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Shelf Lives – “BITE” (London, England)

RIYL: Sleigh Bells + Death From Above 1979 + HEALTH

When the word gets out about Shelf Lives or when they get the chance to hit every festival across Europe and North America, they will explode in the same way that Sleigh Bells did more than a decade ago. They perform every song, whether in the studio or live, with tremendous intensity and energy. As such, their music cannot just be listened to; it must be experienced. It is an experience, and “BITE” is one heck of a roller coaster.

Check that, this tune is a high-speed race of noise-rock, post-punk, and electro-punk, which all collide during the track’s multiple peaks. Like every great ride, the ascent is what makes the descent exhilarating. With a rumbling guitar and techno beats sparkling, Sabrina Di Giulio seductively informs us that we have a thing for karma” and “freedom”. Just as the melody is about to hit a pause, the track bursts into a massive wall of furious noise. At that time, Jonny Hillyard assumes lead vocals, and he sounds like a man spiraling out of control. He’s a man that has given into every impulse.

Di Guilio then returns, but this time her voice is fiercer and more assertive. She directs her frustration at the anxiety that eats away at her and her mate. She is the voice of the resilient. 

“I’m so sick to death of bending back
Can’t find the meaning, can’t find the words
Stare at the ceiling biding my time
The fruits of love are sweeter than life”

Watch the video on YouTube. The single is out on the duo’s own Not Sorry Mom Records. 

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Brooke Bentham – “Let Go” (London via Newcastle, England)

RIYL: Julia Jacklin, Squirrel Flower, Gena Rose Bruce

Almost six years to the day, we were introduced to the power and grace of Brooke Bentham, who at the time made us think we were hearing a younger Sharon Van Etten on “Heavy and Ephemeral”. In February 2020, Bentham released an unintentionally timely album with Everyday Nothing. The record was about Bentham’s struggles writing an LP and finding herself lying in bed every day. A month later, it felt like a story that resonated with everyone. In August of the same year, she released a more low-key record in Sunday Self that put her words in focus while being reminiscent of other powerful songwriters like Angel Olsen.

Bentham’s next EP will be Caring. The way Bentham describes the mini-album seems like the songs come from a transitional space, and its second single “Let Go” exemplifies that. “Let Go” originates from a songwriting course with Robin Pecknold and an assignment to revisit an older song. That perspective and ability to rework a track from hindsight enabled Bentham to give it the attention it deserved. Bentham created a song of release, from its acoustic opening to its bigger moments. Throughout the track is Bentham’s undeniable voice. Whether it’s booming over the choruses or the moments when it’s barely a whisper, it’s something that will leave a lasting impact. 

Pre-saves and pre-orders of Caring are available at these links and Bandcamp ahead of its March 17th release.

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H.Hawkline – “Empty Room” (Los Angeles, USA via Cardiff, Wales)

RIYL: Marlon Williams, Andrew Bird, Buck Meek

With each day, we’re getting closer to one of our  Most Anticipated Albums of the year. H. Hawkline has already shared three impeccable tracks from Milk for Flowers in “Milk for Flowers”“Suppression Street”, and “Plastic Man”. A songwriter’s songwriter, Huw Evans crafts songs with a perfection that deserves far more attention than he gets. 

The latest single from the record, “Empty Room” is among H. Hawkline’s greatest outputs. Everything that makes Evans such a notable songwriter is present from the moment the first piano chord strikes. The song’s slow build is done with precision, keeping listeners under its spell. Evans says it’s “a song about the middle, written before and after.” The perspective and vision of Evans are powerful, especially paired with the woodwinds, piano, and pedal steel adding a reflective warmth to each word he sings. It all comes to a head with an absolutely stunning ending built on the backbone of what came before, but feeling like a long journey finally completed. It’s a perfect album closer, and one we can’t wait to hear in its full context next month.

Milk for Flowers is out March 10th via Heavenly Recordings. Pre-orders available at these links and on Bandcamp.

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