Free yourself from the burdens of everyday life with the ten songs that make up The Matinee ’23 v. 034. It features several young artists and bands that are on an upward trajectory, veteran outfits making their returns, and one superstar that is on the road to recovery.

Find all these tunes on The Songs of March and April 2023 playlist, which can be spun on Spotify and SoundCloud

The descriptions are a bit shorter at times, and our weekend post on Instagram explains everything.

To go directly to a song, click on the track in the list below:

Laveda – “Troy Creeps” (Albany, NY, USA)

RIYL: Slow Pulp, HAIM, Aces

Don’t be surprised if Laveda are one of the most talked-about bands to emerge from SXSW. We’re obviously bullish about the upstate New York band’s potential, having named them Artists to Watch and A Place You Grew Up In as one of our Most Anticipated Albums of 2023. Ali Genevich (vocals) and Jake Brooks (guitar) along with Dan Carr (bass) and Joe Taruone (drums) are on the verge of stardom with their urgent dream-pop and thoughtful songwriting. They are mature well beyond their early 20s, which they demonstrated on the reflective brittleness of “Clean” and now “Troy Creeps”.

Laveda’s newest single is an anthemic and emotional dream-rocker. Its jittery opening surges into a cathartic and desperate climax, where the wall of spiraling noise completely envelops the listener. We also spiral inside Genevich’s mind, as she analyzes all the conversations heard in her neighborhood while living in Troy, New York. In the days of lockdowns and isolation, these discussions between people were often her connection to the life beyond the walls.

“Stayed up past the sun
Wednesdays all right
And you know I try and make this hard
But I know it’s all right

She got away
Nothing’s gonna hurt you when you shake
Tell yourself that I’m the one to blame
And you’re gonna be the one I hate”

A Place You Grew Up In can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp prior to its April 14th release. PaperCup Music has the honors.

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Veps – “No. 2” (Oslo, Norway)

RIYL: HINDS, Momma, Veruca Salt

A year ago, Norwegian teenagers Veps released a killer debut LP, Oslo Park (via Kanine Records). The album confirmed what we had believed when hearing them for the first time – they’re a modern-day The Runaways. While Laura Dodson (vocal, guitar), June K. Urholt (bass), Maja B. Berge (drums), and Helena Olasveengen (keys) won’t make it to SXSW this year (they’re still attending classes), they remain busy, sharing a new tune to remind us that few bands are resurrecting melodic grunge rock of the ’90s like they do.

“No. 2” is shot out of the canons of 1993 when bands like Veruca Salt and Elastica ushered in grunge’s second wave. Between Dodson’s lush bellows of “Hey hey eh hey / Me and You” lies a young generation’s angst, as heard in the gritty guitar and plodding rhythms. Olasveegen’s keys, however, keep the track from descending too far down the raging, rock path, allowing us to focus on Dodson’s plea to another to open up. For the other to communicate because the unspoken word easily can be misinterpreted and lead to problems down the line.

Veps may still be completing high school, but they’re one of the best new bands around because they transcend their age. Oslo Park will be released on vinyl on July 7th. Pre-orders can be made on Bandcamp.

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Tame Impala – “Wings of Time” (Perth, Australia)

RIYL: Tame Impala adds a touch of country-western

Most people would have seen Kevin Parker’s recent Instagram post, where he shared that he had tried running a half-marathon with an undiagnosed stress fracture in his hip. Needless to say, the injury worsened, and he needed surgery. He still plans to do his run of shows in Mexico and South America, although he will be limited what he can do on stage. People, however, don’t attend Tame Impala shows to watch Parker dance around – they come to dance to his psych-pop and psych-disco music. They also come with the hope that he’ll drop a new track or two, which he will since on Friday he unveiled“Wings of Time”.

Written for the upcoming film, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount Pictures / eOne), Parker heads to America’s southwest, adding a dusty, desert vibe to his trademark blustery and euphoric neo-psychedelia. The approach is fitting given the movie’s storyline – a classic Western tale of bad guys turned good but told through a fantasy prism. They’ve come to save the day, just like Parker is doing for his fans in the southern hemisphere. And he’ll have them dancing to this tune and thinking they “are going home to the old horizon / To love, live, fall, survive.”

The movie hits theaters on March 31st. Meanwhile, the single is out via Fiction Records.

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Callum Pitt – “Fraction of a Second” (Newcastle, England)

RIYL: Sam Evian, Tiny Ruins, Chris Cohen

From a young age, Callum Pitt has been a great storyteller. In his early teens, he was using music to communicate the stories he sketched in his bedroom. As he approaches 30, his songwriting has only improved, which means he’s one of the very best. On the melancholic dazzler, “I Feel a God and Devil in This Room”, for instance, he discussed how imposter syndrome affects even the best of us. His newest single, meanwhile, tackles with the fear of instantaneously losing someone dear.

Bellowing horns and sweeping strings flood the cinematic chamber-pop of “Fraction of a Second”, and the soundscape is jaw-dropping. And so is Pitt’s songwriting, as he describes the emotions that rushed through him when he heard his father was in a near-tragic accident. Someone that night, however, was watching over him, and he walked away virtually unscathed. With Pitt’s stellar songwriting, we vividly can picture the scene even though we were not there. This is the mark of a great storyteller.

“I remember the debris, and your faces lit like a rave,
Patterns of glass reflecting in the crescent moon,
A fine rain dripping down like a wound

And I don’t know what I’d do, if that truck had taken all of you,
I think the moon may disappear
But a fraction of a second kept you here”

Pitt’s debut album, In The Balance, is out June 2nd. Pre-order the vinyl here

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Moonwalks – “Heavy Tears” (Detroit via Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: The Black Angels, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elephant Stone

Not many bands leave the music mecca that is Brooklyn, but psych-rock trio Moonwalks did. They packed up their gear and headed to the Motor City, which has an underrated music scene. Just ask THE Jack White. While they have yet to work with the rock legend, the day is likely to come because their brand of psychedelic rock is right up White’s alley. Not that Kerrigan Pearce (drums), Jacob Dean (vocals, guitar), and Kate Gutwald (bass) need any pointers because they can deliver rippers or spellbinding rockers, such as “Heavy Tears”.

The lead single from the band’s forthcoming new album, Western Mystery Tradition, is made for sundown over the Chihuahuan Desert. It possesses the hazy and groovy trippiness that has defined The Black Angels’ music combined with the mystic of Ravi Shankar’s re-imagination of the genre. This combination yields a melodic fare that is perfect for a slow trot through the thirsty plains that occupy New Mexico, Arizona, California, and west Texas. Dean’s lyrics, too, describe such a scene, where a lonely wanderer slowly makes his way across this arid wasteland. Racing through his mind are desires to see the next day’s light and to return home once again – assuming he can survive the night.

Pre-orders for Western Mystery Tradition ahead of its May 26th release date are available here and on Bandcamp. Fuzz Club Records will distribute it.

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CROCODILES – “Love Beyond the Grave” (San Diego, USA)

RIYL: Wavves, Twin Peaks, Japandroids

Get the air guitar poses ready and put on your best shoes for boogieing and bouncing because CROCODILES‘ second single since breaking their four-year hiatus will get you jumping out of your seat and moving. “Love Beyond the Grave” is 193 seconds of high-adrenaline rock ‘n roll. And it’s awesome. 

The approach is classic, but there’s no refuting the addictive qualities of the rummaging guitar riffs and the hyper-active drumming. There also is no refuting the energy that sparks from the track, which aims to give us a wake-up call. Brandon Welchez’s vocal booms over the Happy Days-worthy fare, telling us to stop living in the past and fretting over what was. He knows from experience about what the “poison in my brain” can have on a person, where one wallows in what was instead of focusing on what is to come. This band might be retro in their approach, but they’re forward-thinking when it comes to their messages.

CROCODILES are Brandon Welchez (vocals, guitar), Charles Rowell (guitar), Atef Aouadhi (bass), and Diego Dal Bon (drums). The quartet’s new album, Upside Down In Heaven, will rise on April 7th via Lolipop Records.

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INSIDEAWAVE – “Start” (Dublin, Ireland)

RIYL: Gayngs, Here We Go Magic, Volcano Choir

One of our favorite discoveries of this decade are INSIDEAWAVE. Their music is genre-less, much like the band they idolize: Radiohead. Unlike other groups that have looked up to the Oxford legends, they’re not trying to replicate what Radiohead have created. They instead are carving out their own niche and maybe, one day, genre. Their potential is enormous, and they showcase why they’re one of the most exciting, new-ish bands around with “Start”.

If super-group Gayngs were to ever return, this is the song we imagine they would release. It simply is spectacular, feeling like either a quick sail across the English Channel or gliding through the jet stream at 25,000 feet and watching the world pass by underneath us. It is intended to have us confront and overcome our fears and, in the process, race into the future. We do just that under Eoghan McGuinness, Matt Winston, Mark Geraghty, Seán O’Brien, and Nicholas Fitzgerald’s direction with their words as our guide.

“At once you fall to the laughter,
When the present becomes first and foremost,
A song to keep
Tapping to,
Every day.

Welcome all and accept the feeling.
And when I do I move to changing,
I don’t want to stop,
Push it out onto the stage”

A great band that everyone should know.

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MIIA – “Skin of a Fool” (feat. Vaarin) (Oslo, Norway)

RIYL: BANKS, Verité, early Sam Smith

The name may not be known by all but most probably have heard the voice. The year was 2016 when MIIA delivered a viral hit in “Dynasty”, which has to this day over 120 million streams on Spotify (it hit over 1 million spins in just 23 days). Not bad for an independent artist from Norway, eh? She might have her next global blockbuster with “Skin of a Fool”.

With fellow Norwegian Vaarin in support, MIIA, which is the project of Mia Virik Brubakken, unleashes a Gothic-pop number that was made to fill the Oslo Konserthus as well as London’s Royal Albert Hall. It is haunting at times and splendidly theatrical in its other moments. Such a combination might lead one to think that the tale Brubakken sings about is straight out of The Phantom of the Opera, but the opposite is true. She instead sings about finding “her inner voice” and peeling off the costume she has long worn. She seeks to find and reveal her true self within a society that celebrates the masked singer.

“No one understanding my head
I don’t talk to myself like a friend
No one understanding my pain
I’m the skin of a fool and my head says I’m cruel
Where’s the truth?”

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Birds Are Better – “Super Highway” (Oslo via Lyngdal, Norway )

RIYL: Radical Face, Sea Wolf, Local Natives

We were introduced to Stian Fjelldal’s fantasy realm six months ago when he released “Marigold” under the pseudonym Birds Are Better. His music does not so much cross genres but time periods, spanning 50 years of music. When listening to “Super Highway”, one might thing they are traveling inside THE TARDIS and reliving all the decades of Eurovision.

Fjelldal’s newest track is a Euro-pop delight. Besides pop, elements of folk, disco, alt-pop, synth-pop, and a touch of the theater can be heard. We can imagine this tune being performed on the Eurovision stage and online commentators shouting out comparisons like ABBA, Peter Bjorn and John, Two Door Cinema Club, or Belle & Sebastian on a bender. We can imagine people dancing, clapping, and singing along, absorbing the positive energy and words. Singing about how “the wind will carry me home” and carry us into the arms of a brand new day. This is due to an artist whose imagination sits high in the clouds and offers something familiar yet fresh. 

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7ebra – “Lighter Better” (Malmö, Sweden)

RIYL: Palehound, Girlpool, Diet Cig

Just as anticipated, twin sisters Inez and Ella will release their debut album, Bird Hour, as 7ebra this spring. What had us eagerly awaiting this news was that the siblings channel a time when music was raw, gritty, and real. When they released “I Have A Lot to Say”, their stripped-back approach took us back to the mid-’80s and early-’90s when the likes of Liz Phair and Thurston Moore would show up at a café and awaken the patrons with their reverb guitar and introspective lyrics. 7ebra’s music, too, may not blow out the speakers, but it surely captures the mind.

Their latest single, “Lighter Better”, again recalls the minimalist indie-rock days of 35 to 40 years ago. There are no bells or whistles, no roaring guitar solos nor bone-crushing drum lines, and no massive aria. All that exist is unbridled grit. While the sisters’ harmonies are delicate and even lush, their instruments quietly snarl and pound. Their words are as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel. “Looked for a safety / You said that was dumb / Where are my reasons / I never feel done,” they share at the very start. In the end, though, they just want to feel relieved of the people and thoughts that weigh them done. They just want to be whole.

We’ll get to find out on May 5th on the band’s journey. This is when Bird Hour will be unveiled via PNKSLM Recordings. Pre-order it at the label’s online store or Bandcamp.

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