The Matinee ’23 v. 026 is an expression of love, whether for others or ourselves and even when it is unrequited and not reciprocated. 

These tunes kick off the Songs of March and April 2023. Yeah, we know, these tunes were technically released in February, but we get to enjoy them a little longer by putting them at the start of the next playlist. Find the playlist on Spotify and SoundCloud

By the way, if you’re wondering why we refer Bandcamp and SoundCloud links, the reason is to get the tunes on HypeM

To go directly to the song of your choice, click on the link below.

Heather Woods Broderick – “Admiration” (Portland, USA)

RIYL: songs made for hushed moments

Anticipation can often lead to disappointment. We don’t think, however, that Heather Woods Broderick will disappoint when Labyrinth arrives on Easter long weekend. With the beyond-breathtaking “Blood Run Through Me” and “Crashing Against The Sun”, she has only heightened our anticipation and has us counting the days until April 7th (37 days from the time of this post). With “Admiration”, we’re now counting the hours and minutes to Broderick’s fifth album’s arrival. 

The song is just gorgeous. Even with its stripped-back, minimalist approach, Broderick is able to beautifully capture vulnerability. Light beats flicker over a mournful, elongated synth, on which the Oregon-based singer-songwriter’s delicate and angelic voice floats. Broderick shares her fears and memories that consume her. “Luck seems to be unraveling as the winds pick up, fires inch their way to us,” she  describes the wildfires that affected across much of the US’s west coast in 2020.

The track then shifts into Unknown Mortal Orchestra territory, as dangling guitars enter and the synths slightly intensify. At this point, Broderick sings that the forests are not the only things burning, but the world as we know it is. There is one constant in her life – her husband, to whom she expresses her admiration and love during those uncertain times. We do likewise, except our admiration is for HWB. 

Labyrinth will be released April 7th via Western Vinyl. Pre-order it at these links and on Bandcamp

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Lanterns on the Lake – “The Likes of Us” (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England)

RIYL: songs that you leave you gasping in the end

YYYEEESSS!!! That was what we were yelling on Monday upon learning that Lanterns on the Lake have returned. Three years have passed since the English quintet released Spook the Herd, which was one of our favorite albums of 2020. They did release a one-off single later that year in “The Realist” in order to express their exasperation with how internet conspiracies became the “truth” for some people, including politicians. Hazel Wilde (vocals, piano, guitar), Paul Gregory (guitar), Bob Allan (bass), and Angela Chan’s (viola) refusal to shy away from challenging issues is why they are not just one of the best outfits of the 21st Century but also one of the most important.

We’re not the only ones who believe this because some of the biggest and most influential names in music share this respect. One of them is Radiohead’s Philip Selway, who takes over from drummer Ol Ketteringham and performs on Lanterns’ forthcoming, new album, Versions of Us. The LP’s lead single is what one would expect when six great musical minds come together – a mind-blowing, cinematic masterpiece in “The Likes of Us”.

Wilde’s captivating vocal is front and center right from the start. Behind her is Chan’s weeping strings and Selway’s terrific, trembling percussion. As the song builds, Gregory’s guitar sears while a sweeping key arrangement arrives, elevating the familiar dreamy urgency that has defined much of Lanterns’ music. Another defining Lantern’s trait is Wilde’s fantastic songwriting. One of the most underrated songwriters, Wilde directly faces those who have doubted her, the band, and every underdog and tells them they will succeed. 

“Just do what you have to do
Me, oh don’t worry, no I’ll be fine
Take all you’re needing to
I’ve said it before but I mean it this time
And am I a wreck? You bet
I learned from the best, you should know that
Just let me have this
It’s all that I’m asking”

Pre-order Versions of Us here or on Bandcamp ahead of its June 2nd release date on Bella Union. We cannot wait for the day to arrive. 

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Daughter – “Swim Back” (London, England)

RIYL: songs that feel like a triple shot of euphoria

With a sneaking suspicion that an album may be on its way, Daughter easily made our Most Anticipated Albums of 2023 list. Just days into the new year, Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli, and Remi Aguilella let us know we did not have to wait long when they released “Be On Your Way” and announced that their third record, Stereo Mind Game will be released on April 7th. They followed that up with the powerful “Party”. For a band that truly takes their time between releases, almost seven years since their last, the release schedule of the singles ahead of their new record feels like it’s happening at a rapid pace. 

“Swim Back” builds on everything that makes Daughter an important band. The track’s opening drumbeat and roaring bass line feels a lot more post-rock than anything the trio have done previously. Little inflections from a haunting combination of synth and strings pulse throughout the song, creating something that feels like it’s out of a dream. Tonra’s voice continues to be perfect at what it does: ease and soothe listeners in as she tells stories of heartbreak and despair. Each word is honest, defines our being, and, as such, carries quite the weight.

“I have you in the pictures
I’ve held you in the plan
I’d just need to erase distance
Find a hole in the ocean
Swim backwards”

Stereo Mind Game is out April 7th via 4AD and Glassnote. Pre-orders available here.

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Slow Pulp – “Cramps” (Chicago via Madison, WI, USA)

RIYL: songs that will kick you in the rear-end and get you (rocking and) rolling

Another song from another of our favorite albums of 2020 from a band on the rise means another “YYYEEESSS!” We obviously are speaking about Slow Pulp, whose debut LP, Moveys, should be considered a modern indie-rock classic. If the record came out in 1993, the music world would be celebrating its 30th anniversary and talking about how iconic and influential it was. In these quarters, we still talk about how diverse and expansive it was. And the fine folks at Anti Records must be doing the same, as they have signed Emily Massey (vocals, guitar), Alexander Leeds (bass), Theodore Mathews (drums), and Henry Stoehr (guitar). To celebrate the occasion, the Chicago-via-Madison, Wisconsin quartet unleash a ripper of a track.

“Cramps” is, as is Slow Pulp’s MO, shot right out of the ’90s. Gritty, reverb-drenched guitars, pummeling drums, and a pounding bass line recall the days when Veruca Salt and Garbage blew ear drums and minds. For nearly three minutes, we’re left in a state of delirium, rocking as hard as we can with the band. We feel energized, and we want to be exactly what Emily Massey desire to be – that is to be the best version of ourselves.

“Out of a routine the only one I’ve ever seen
I wanna be a foolproof machine
There’s nothing better wanna be like Heather

I’ll take anything
That you wanna give
But I want everything”

Here’s hoping album number two will be announced next month. Surely, it’s coming.

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Lontalius – “I Want I Want I Want” (Wellington, New Zealand)

RIYL: songs that get you simultaneously reminiscing and dancing

In his seven years as Lontalius, Eddie Johnston mostly has built his own fan base and reputation on his own. He is a DIY success story, which is extremely impressive considering he comes from a country whose population is half of New York City’s. Great talent, however, will shine, be seen, and be heard. Besides making catchy yet dynamic electro-pop, he is unafraid to display his emotions. And on “I Want I Want I Want”, Johnston goes further and reveals his deepest wishes.

This glitchy electro-pop number is mesmerizing. The spinning synths, the low bellows of the fantastic bass line, and the tumbling electric drums drive the tune, and they reflect both Johnston’s desires and his urgency. As the song swells, Lontalius’ emotions become intensified, as he shares how he longs to be with another. The song, in other words, is an expression of queer love and love in all its forms, and how this most powerful emotion can occupy every second of our conscious. 

“Oh, we’ve come a long way about it
Just to meet somebody
Long way every time we meet somebody
Got a cold ache thinking I could be somebody
Late night thinking that I need somebody
Got a cold ache thinking I could lose somebody
But boy I dance with you”

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Softcult – “Love Song” (Kitchener, ON Canada)

RIYL: shoegaze that sounds like a fairy tale

It’s probably time to anoint Softcult as the next great shoegaze band. What twin sisters Mercedes (vocals, guitar) and Phoenix Arn-Hor (vocals, drums) have achieved in roughly two years is pretty remarkable – they’re a blend of Lush, Pinkshinyultrablast, and Cocteau Twins. But unlike those legendary outfits, Softcult is just the two of them. Their talents shine on everything they’ve released – from their unforgettable EP, Year of the Snake to singles “Someone2Me”, “Drain”, and anthemic and boisterous “Dress”. A few days ago, they showed their softer, more romantic sides on “Love Song”, but their talents still shine.

This tune isn’t your typical love song. Through the glistening guitar and the heart-pounding percussion that creates the incredibly dreamy atmosphere, they share how a person, no matter their age, can feel intense love for another. Instead of suppressing these feelings, the Arn-Hors encourage us to give in to it. They tell us to live in the moment and hold on to it for as long as we can. 

“A slow dance in your living room
It’s the moments that I hold on to,
Something to remember when I’m too delusional
And I get so carried away
Oh, inevitably ”

This single is out on Easy Life Records.

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PACKS – “Brown Eyes” (Toronto via Ottawa, Canada)

RIYL: punchy, grungy, and crunchy songs

Madeline Link and her project PACKS have become fast favorites in these part. Just hearing her music is evidence enough, whether it’s the recently shared shared crunchy duo of “Abalone” and “4th of July” from her aptly titled new album, Crispy Crunchy Nothing, or anything from her 2021 record, Take The Cake. Our fandom was solidified by learning that Link and her sister played together in a band called Triples. Afterwards, she became a commercial set dresser, spending time in Mexico to create art.

Back in Canada, Link shares “Brown Eyes”, which continues the trend of the two lead singles. It has that perfect balance between slacker energy and crunchy indie rock that Link never fails to deliver. Her voice is a perfect complement to the dynamic and chaotic undertones of the song, holding steady throughout. It’s a short number at 90 seconds, but it perfectly encapsulates what Link set out to do with “Brown Eyes”, to create a “simple rock song about falling in love disorientatingly hard and fast”. 

PACKS’ new album, Crispy Crunchy Nothing, will be released March 31st on Royal Mountain Records and Fire Talk Records. Pre-order / pre-save it on Bandcamp or at the label’s stores (RMR / FTR).

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Pine Barons – “Frantic Francis” (Philadelphia, USA)

RIYL: songs that will lift the fog from your mind

Experimentation often leads to something exciting, whether it’s a new discovery, an innovation, or an idea. Without Alexander Graham Bell, there would be no telephone. Without Marie Curie, we wouldn’t have x-rays. Imagine a world where Dylan did not go electric and how folk music may never have evolved. Or where Kraftwerk didn’t exist to give us electronic music.

As teenagers and college students, the members of Pine Barons took to heart the idea of experimentation, testing the boundaries of their instruments and determining how they can create something fresh yet accessible. Six years since they officially formed, they continue to think outside the box, which explains why the quintet can create a multi-sensory experience like “Frantic Francis”.

Neo-psychedelia, art-rock, and a touch of dream-pop are fused together on this whirling number. Percolating beats, dabbling keys, and a stuttering drum line kick off the track, and they create the sensation of flying inside a wormhole. The experience is both fantasy and cosmic. As the guitars kick in to add to the track’s intensifying drama, the wormhole becomes a rabbit hole, taking us to some surreal place. In this location resides the protagonist, and front-man Keith C. Abrams assumes his identity. Francis is finally awakening for his prolonged sleep, and he’s trying to understand where he is. In some ways, his story is one many know, where the world has suddenly changed and we no longer recognize our surroundings. Nor even what we are hearing.

“Drifted out in the fog
I could cry out to the moon,
but it won’t listen
And I’ve been asleep for so long
with all these voices in the room
what am I missing?”

Pine Barons are: Keith C. Abrams (vocals, guitar, keys, bass, samples), Bradford Pulley (guitar, bass), Alexander Beebe (keys), James Tierney (bass), and Alex Held (drums). The single is out on Grind Select.

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Youth Lagoon – “Idaho Alien” (Idaho, USA)

RIYL: melancholic trippiness 

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Trevor Powers’ project Youth Lagoon. Powers shelved Youth Lagoon in 2016, first voluntarily and then involuntarily as he lost his voice after suffering a reaction to an over-the-counter prescription. Last November, however, in an Instagram post, he plainly stated, “New Youth Lagoon album coming.”

Powers has released two records in the form of Capricorn and Mulberry Violence under his own name. His return to the moniker, though, feels significant, and with that comes the feeling that the upcoming record Heaven is a Junkyard is going to be something quite powerful. The way Powers describes the record is “about all of us.” Powers aims to tell the hard stories that so many people experience in their everyday lives.

One of those stories Powers tells is one of a drug-addicted father on “Idaho Alien”. Despite the undeniable darkness of that story, there’s almost a playful quality to the music. Bouncy piano and some smooth keys mixed, a chill bass line, and some relaxed drumming create such a powerful contrast to the lyrics. Powers’ unique voice also rounds out the sound and makes the whole thing feel otherworldly. There are some fantastic harmonies, places where the track dies down to just a distant hum of radio static, stuck between stations. But that’s where these stories live, often unheard and unseen, and maybe having Youth Lagoon tell these stories will make us feel a little less alone.

“I don’t remember how it happened.
Blood filled up the clawfoot bath and
I will fear no frontier.
I don’t remember how it happened.
Blood filled up the clawfoot bath and
I will fear no frontier.”

Watch the wandering video on YouTube. Afterwards, pre-order Heaven Is A Junkyard here or on Bandcamp prior to its June 9th release. Fat Possum has the honors.

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