From the intimacy and solitude of morning’s early hours to the loneliness of a Scandinavian hinterland to the uneasy close confines of the underground, the music on The Matinee ’23 v. 037 will take you to many different destinations. The artists and bands featured also come from numerous locales. 

Click on the track in the list below to go directly to it. In addition, find these songs on The Songs of March and April, which is spinning on Spotify and SoundCloud

Blue Lupin – “Sleep On It” (London, England)

RIYL: Weyes Blood, Memoryhouse, Mint Julep

While more than nine months remain in 2023, Joanna Wolfe’s project, Blue Lupin, will more than likely land on our Favorite Discoveries / Hidden Gems of the year. Some of the alumni include Nadia Reid, The Wild Reeds, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Ian Sweet, The Regrettes, Bedouine, Stef Chura, Dry Cleaning, and Scout Gillett to name a few. And Wolfe has the talent to be one of the biggest names in indie, as her debut EP, Satellite People, is an absolute stunner. It includes the mind-blowing “Television” and, arguably the record’s highlight, “Sleep On It”.

Its first half is delicate and intimate dream-pop, as a piano provides the base on which Wolfe’s ethereal vocal sits. Synths, ambient electronic, a steady beat, and a gentle guitar arrive shortly thereafter, adding to the track’s lushness and beauty. Just as you think she’s is about to draw us further into her world, Wolfe surprises. The vulnerability gradually turns into desperation and assertiveness. The London-based artist’s voice also intensifies, and she sounds like a person trying to emerge from the shadow of another as opposed to staying under it.

“We are faces in a crowd
Silence a spark
I don’t know how

Now we’re in my dream
Swimming saw your silhouette
Floating on a stream
Never wanna leave
Oh, everyone is here
Shallow stream of cigarettes
Lights in your machine
Signal let me leave”

With a great record, she indeed has emerged.

Stream or pick up Satellite People at these links or head directly to Bandcamp.

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Kate Lomas – “Say It” (London, England)

RIYL: Phebe Starr, Maude Latour, Dizzy

From 2020 to 2021, Kate Lomas made her name known within the UK indie scene. Her popularity had increased so much that her agent had to encourage her to release “Lemonade”. That would be the last single from the rising star for a couple of years because, like so many young, independent artists, Lomas had a life to lead and bills to pay. It was only a matter of time, however, before she returned, and her first single in two years evidences why she’s a name to watch.

There is bedroom-pop and then there is bedroom-pop that has you feeling like you’re gliding through the jet stream and taking in all the sights below. And “Say It” is the latter, featuring soft keys and a rhythm section whose beats match the pulses of a heart. Lomas’ voice is nearly whispery and ethereal, and it adds to the song’s blissful effect. There also is a hint of desperation in her voice, as she sings out to another person and asks:

“Are you gonna come back?
I’m a little lonely
And I don’t wanna feel like this no more
Are you gonna come back?
Maybe you could hold me up for while”

We don’t know whether the other person returns, but we certainly are grateful that Lomas has.

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Yves Tumor – “Lovely Sewer” (featuring Kidä) (Turin, Italy via Miami, USA)

RIYL: Dev Hynes/Blood Orange + M83 + Serpentwithfeet + Niles Rodgers

We don’t often share an artist’s output twice within 2 or 3 weeks, but we have to mention Yves Tumor‘s newest album, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), which is one of the first quarter’s very best. It reveals the dynamic artist’s multiple sides – a fiery, urgent rocker meshed with the spiraling experimentalism that has defined their career to date. But on Praise A Lord, Tumor smooths out the edgy rigidness to create a more accessible, yet still very much fresh, sound. “Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood” and “God Is a Circle” were the initial demonstrations of Tumor’s unending evolution, and it reaches a different level on “Lovely Sewer”.

A little dreamy, a little cosmic, completely addictive and exhilarating, and utterly brilliant, the album’s second track sounds like Dev Hynes and Anthony Gonzalez (M83) collaborating on a track with Nile Rodgers on guitar. The song is elevated with the contributions of Paris-based artist Kidä, whose alluring vocal offers the perfect contrast to Tumor’s starker tone and adds more weight to this tale concerning the boundaries of friendship.

“Lovely sewer, tragedy free
You cannot start a war
Just for the feeling
What if our friends see?
We stared at our ceilings
The smallest flicker of light, ooh”

Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) is out on Warp Records. It’s available here and on Bandcamp. It truly is a sensational record. 

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Alberta Cross – “Morning Drum” (London, England via Uppsala, Sweden)

RIYL: Manchester Orchestra, Boy & Bear, Strangefolk

In the nearly two decades that Alberta Cross has existed, much of their music possessed the icy mysteriousness of the Swedish hinterland. Dark yet radiant and merciless in its gravity, Petter Ericson Stakee has repeatedly taken listeners on a journey, whether one of self-discovery or walking in the shoes of a lonely wanderer. His new album, Sinking Ships, seems to be setting a similar course, at least that’s the direction hinted in previously-released singles, “Mercy” and “Glow In The Dark”, and now “Moving Drum”

Through the widescreen urgency created by the sweeping keys, steady acoustic guitar, and gradually intensifying rhythms, Stakee’s voice bellows through the chilly yet soaring soundscape that feels like a midwinter’s night in the Norrland. “Can you hear the morning drum / Beating out from the city hum,” he sings in the opening lines, noting how the artificial world has overtaken our natural humanity. He further delves into this issue in his typical, insightful manner:

“Underneath the undertone
Where they build things to intimidate
Cold designers of our common fate

You can’t forget your history
There are scars where there was once divide
Cover up your different states of mind”

Sinking Ships can be pre-ordered or pre-saved on Bandcamp or these links ahead of its March 31st release date. Dark Matter / AMK will release it.

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OK Cool – “nissanweekends” (Chicago, USA)

RIYL: Girlpool & Dehd meet Deafheaven

It’s always a pleasure to see a band live up to their name, although Bridget Stiebris and Haley Blomquist probably were being more “tongue-in-cheek” when calling their project OK Cool. We can see them sitting around the kitchen table and writing down ideas when one of them, while reacting to a suggestion, says, “OK, cool.” Whatever the case may be, they embrace the music, attitude, and mentality of the ’90s alt-rock and emo bands that have inspired them but with the touch of the 2020s. They have, after all, grown up in the digital age and not on MTV, CDs, and Doogie Howser. And these Gen Zers deliver a song that will resonate with teenagers and twentysomethings – as well as older folks.

“Went down a rabbit hole of digital grief / Side track, re-route, re-map, and find something niche,” Blomquist sings near the start of “nissanweekends”, explaining how we’ve become addicted to our phones. As the song sways through a melodic, grungy tone, Blomquist describes the multiple ways how this self-absorption affects our relationships, ability to manage each day, and fulfill our responsibilities, like paying for our car loans. Just as we’re about to become entranced by the song’s melodic nature, a Gwar-like, guttural call emerges, acting like our conscience trying to wake us up from our stupor. To wake us up from:

“Short form attention pays attention to me
Impermanent nature helps make things feel sweet
Tasked with the whole day of long listenings
Makes the clock microdose the seconds”

This clever tune is taken from OK Cool’s new album, fawn, which is out April 28th. Pre-orders and pre-saves available on Bandcamp. It will be released on Take A Hike Records.

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Ritual Howls – “Dark Ceiling” (Detroit, USA)

RIYL: Joy Division + Cold Cave + Lebanon Hanover

There is little doubt in our minds that Paul Bancell, Chris Samuels, and Ben Saginaw were put on this planet to bring us back to the industrial age of the 1970s. As Ritual Howls, they have crafted a lengthy career as cold wave and post-punk revivalists, resurrecting the music that once filled Manchester’s, Berlin’s, and Munich’s underground caverns. The trio, though, ply their trade in the city that gave us Motown and where Jack and Meg While took garage-rock forward. They are living proof, however, that music has no boundaries and the great genres are timeless. So don the black jeans and shades and dive into the cellars with “Dark Ceilings”

With Bancell channeling his inner Ian Curtis and the trio wielding the propulsive nature of Joy Division and Cold Cave, Ritual Howls unleash a stark, trembling, and hypnotic number. This tune was made for dungeons and grand halls as well as enchanted forests and claustrophobic nightclubs. It is made for dark places where flashes of light can breech the blackness and, thus, offer a touch of illumination. The guitar riffs are haunting but the percussion is what drives this track, taking it into uneasy places. This is where Bancell takes us with his lyrics:

“I’m waiting for my breathing—
For the feeling I felt down in Tennessee.
Show me some mercy,
Can’t you see I’m not the fool I used to be?

The dark ceiling shines,
Down from the mountain comes the night.
The dark ceiling shines—
A grand shadow to cast out the light,
The dark will shine.”

Ritual Howls’ new album, Virtue Falters, releases May 12th on Felte. Pre-orders of the LP can be made on Bandcamp or these links.

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Sahara Beck – “Like You” (Brisbane via Darwin, Australia)

RIYL: Lorde + Birdy + Phoria

Anyone with a pulse on the Aussie music scene would know that Sahara Beck was destined for stardom. She burst on the scene at just 15 years old, releasing her debut EP at the time. A little more than a decade later, the Western Australian native is still making heads turn but in different ways. On the recently-released “Mr Breezy”, she delivered a catchy indie-pop gem with an important message of togetherness. She extends her hand once again, but this time on “Like You” she dials back the pop pageantry in favor of a darker and much more intimate approach.

Beck’s first single of 2023 is made for very quiet moments with a loved one. It’s a Gothic hymn that could be sung to our person, a parent, or a friend who saw the beauty within us. On this track, Beck recognizes just how they made us feel whole, alive, and complete. She shares these words, however, under difficult circumstances, as the solemn tone with the hushed yet stark piano and synths and foreboding percussion creates the sensation that we are not witnessing an intimate moment between two people. Rather, it is at that person’s bedside, where we confess everything in these final moments. 

“Sometimes I’m too emotional
But only you can see
And then you say there’s no one else like me
I wished that I had everything
Turns out that I do
Cause anything is everything with you”

Beck’s new album, and first since 2016’s Panacea, is expected later this year.

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Savagery – “Void” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: The Antlers, early Twin Shadow, Vilde

We’re not sure if Thomas Savagery has retired the Vilde moniker, which has delighted us over the years, but his new project as Savagery is equally terrific. His “debut single” under the new pseudonym, “Laughter”, signaled a slightly different direction – that of wavering art-rock. One thing, however, has not changed: Savage continues to perform as a one-man band. Yep, he plays all the instruments and records and mixes his own material. Pretty impressive if you ask us, especially when he can create another stupendous number in “Void”.

A vibrant and urgent rhythm section – a mix of electric drums, bubbly peaks, and a superb, plucky bass line – drives the tune, and its bopping foundation provides the perfect contrast for the UMO-esque guitar that glimmers in the background. Savage’s notable falsetto glides alongside, and he invites us into an empty place where we can shed our worries and disappointments. His words, as always, give us a bit of comfort, knowing we’re not alone in this endgame of life. 

“Void” is taken from Savagery’s debut EP, Come Alive, which is out everywhere.



Everything But The Girl – “Run A Red Light” (Hull, England)

RIYL: Everything But The Girl

It would be an oversimplification to classify Everything But The Girl as an electro-pop duo that had a knack for getting people grooving on the dancefloor. Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt also have a gift for drama, where even their most club-friendly numbers had touches of the golden era of cinema. Their ability to make us believe we were living inside a movie, even if temporarily, explains why so many people were excited to hear the pair were returning. Not only those who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s will get to re-live their youth when Fuse is released next month, but a whole new generation of music fans – many of whom weren’t even born when Temperamental was released in 1999 – will get to experience the hype. Experience the drama as heard in “Run A Red Light”.

The song was made for the solitude of the wee hours of the morning. A sparse piano, a low hum of a synth, and extremely soft percussion are the only things featured besides Thorn’s shallow vocal. “Forget the losers, forget the morning,” as she invites us to sit next to her and pass away the time and the pains of the previous day. At the same time, she reminds us that another day awaits and it’s another day to leave a legacy. 

“It’s 2am, we’re leaving loudly
Wake the neighbours, we won’t come quietly
They’ll all know my name soon
Anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway”

Fuse will be released April 21st via Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly Records and Virgin Music Group. Pre-order it at these links

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