From the first to the very last song, The Matinee ’23 v. 039 is littered with greatness – greatness in the music, the stories, and the bands and artists who tell them. If you ask us, this mini-playlist is a great way to end the week and begin the weekend, plus it offers a microcosm of all the great indie music around us. 

More terrific tunes can be heard on The Songs of March and April playlist on Spotify and SoundCloud

As usual, click on the track in the list below to go directly to it, but we always suggest hearing all of them. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on all the greatness. 

Deathsport – “ME PERSON” (Munich, Germany)

RIYL: Nation of Language, Black Marble, New Order

If you needed any more proof that the synth-pop revival extends beyond Brooklyn and London, then the first track on today’s The Matinee should be the final piece of evidence. Deathsport, which is the project of brothers Tom and Mike Zitzelsberger, are doing what Nation of Language has done for the genre – bringing it into the 21st Century. And like the great Brooklyn band, the Munich-based duo are starting off small, self-releasing music in the hopes that their sparkling and euphoric brand of synth-pop will win over fans, ezines, blogs, and eventually a record label. We cannot speak for everyone else, but with “ME PERSON” count us among the few that have hopped on their bandwagon.

The siblings’ newest single is 1985 reborn. A bubbling, addictive bass line and accelerated electric drums drive the tune at the start before the percolating synths and a crystalline guitar emerge. When they swell together, they create music perfect to dance to while serving school detention on a Saturday morning. The song also is perfect for helping us rediscover who we are, understanding that no one can define us. Only we can. 

Expect to see the Zitzelsbergers on our Favorite Discoveries list at the end of the year. 



Tapeworms – “IRL” (Lille, France)

RIYL: Danz CM, Chai, Sobs

Just as we were beginning to delve into Tapeworms‘ music two years ago, they took an unexpected break. School, work, and general life, not to mention a pandemic, caused Margot Magnières and brothers Théo and Elliot Poyer to temporarily pause their project. The French electro-pop trio, however, used the time to study the Japanese music scene, and how bands like Chai and Sobs have integrated anime, video games, and purikura (Japanese photo booths) into their songs. Their tunes tend to be multi-sensory experiences and not simply just something that touches the ears. With “IRL”, Tapeworms have brilliantly done the same.

With the little beeps, bops, laser beams, and flashing synths shooting in various directions, the band take us inside a video game. You might feel like Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario navigating through various obstacles in order to reach the end. Magnières is similarly maneuvering through many obstacles, but her game is the one we call life. Inspired by a novella from Japanese writer Haruhi Suzumiya, Magnières is determining what is real and what is a “plastic fantasy” since so much information that is available is untrue or unrealistic. Her task is to grab hold of that one thing that is tangible and true “In Real Life”, which is what “IRL” stands for. And here’s hoping the band finds success in this real world.

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The Japanese House – “Boyhood” (Buckinghamshire, England)

RIYL: Maggie Rogers, Hatchie, Gordi

Amber Bain’s project, The Japanese House, was on track to superstardom. Not just indie stardom but broader, wider, global stardom. After five EPs released between 2015 and 2019, she worked with Justin Vernon on her widely acclaimed, 2020 EP, Chewing Cotton Wool, which received massive airplay on BBC Radio and abroad. Then she took a break after working non-stop for nearly eight years.

Now, Bain is a star in every sense of the world, as evidenced by her huge following. She, however, could reach levels that exceed the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rogers because, like these two great artists, her music is personal. The English singer-songwriter kicks off the next chapter in her career with a song that reminds us why tens of thousands of people gravitated to her nearly a decade ago.

“Boyhood” is a beauty. Light beats, delicate guitar riffs, and that unforgettable voice are immediately heard, and we’re taken aback by the track’s warmth and intimacy. We’re left in awe by what Bain has created and what she has to share. She opens up about her past, and how she and her best friend, Katie, were in love. “We dreamed of riding off into the distance on her horse Bam Bam, away from all the problems that came from being gay and in love back then,” Bain shared in a statement for the song. The lyrics tell this story – of the two riding into the distance on the horse they both loved.

“I could have been somebody who
You wanted to have around to hold
I should have jumped when you told me to
I wanna change but it’s nothing new
And if I grow in gonna get so old
Will you hold me like you always do”

The single is out on Dirty Hit. Surely, Bain’s debut album – or maybe EP number 7 – is coming.

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Wednesday – “TV in the Gas Pump” (Asheville, NC USA)

RIYL: Slow Pulp, Dehd, Ratboys

2023 could be the year of Wednesday, where every single day will be referred to the 24 hours that falls in the middle of the week. The Karly Hartzman-led outfit’s sophomore album, Rat Saw God, is one of the year’s most anticipated, and the five-piece have not disappointed so far. Early singles, “Chosen to Deserve” and “Bath County”, were not just sensational, but they are two of the best songs released this year. They are perfection, which Wednesday achieve once more on “TV in the Gas Pump”.

This melodic rocker drips with angst and urgency. It teeters on the edge of the precipice, where it gradually intensifies with the guitars drowning in reverb and the rhythms pulsing harder. The track, however, never drops off the cliff nor even explodes, and that is its genius. Throughout its crisp 143-second runtime, we are left on the very edge of our seats or on the tips of toes, waiting for that moment where the band just blow us away like they did on “Bath County”. It never comes because this tune reflects the mundane life on the road. That the life of a touring band is not as glamorous or exciting as one would like to think, as it is filled with constant movement and numerous stops at gas stations. And Hartzman brilliantly captures the exhaustion and the quietness while finding something, anything to chronicle.

“Violently came up
in a Dollar General
You took too much
Jake walked into a Starbucks
TV in the gas pump
blares into the dark”

Wednesday includes Karly Hartzman (guitar, vocals), MJ Lenderman (guitar, backing vocals), Xandy Chelmis (lap steel), Margo Schultz (bass), and Alan Miller (drums). Rat Saw God will be released on April 7th via Dead Oceans. Pre-order the LP here or directly on Bandcamp. We cannot wait for it.

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Body Type – “Holding On” (Sydney, Australia)

RIYL: The Beths, Camp Cope, The Big Moon

When Body Type released the high-adrenaline fun of “Miss The World” in February, it was not just merely a young band announcing their return after nearly three years persevering through the pandemic. The song also was a celebration of friendship, community, and life. The time apart from one another and away from the studio gave them a new appreciation of what they had and have, and they further celebrate each other’s existence on “Holding On”.

While their previous song was more in the ceiling-raising punk environs, the quartet delve into electric and anthemic pop-rock and, in the process, they lift our spirits with the contagious energy that bursts from the rollicking guitars and the toe-tapping rhythms. The harmonies and lyrics from Sophie McComish (guitar, vocals), Annabel Blackman (guitar, vocals), Georgia Wilkinson-Derums (bass, vocals), and Cecil Coleman (drums) also are uplifting, as they sing about the paths they have walked and those that soon will traverse. They are ready to take on the future. They are excited about what is to come because Body Type are together again. 

Body Type’s sophomore album, Expired Candy, is out June 2nd on Poison City Records. Pre-orders available at the label’s store and on Bandcamp.

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The Murlocs – “Initiative” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: Futurebirds, Matthew E. White, The Nude Party

It’s easy to name-drop in order to elevate one’s credentials (just ask George Santos), but for members of The Murlocs they’re making a name for themselves based on their own talents. After all, the quintet have been blasting their southern rock, psych-rock, and old-school rock ‘n roll all across Australia and abroad for more than a decade. As such, they don’t need to name-drop when they’re releasing sweltering and clever songs like “Bittersweet Demons”, “Compos Mentis”, and now “Initiative”

Whether you’ve just arrived to board Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Cal Shortal (guitar), Cook Craig (bass), Tim Karmouche (keys), and Matt Blach’s (drums) bandwagon or have a front-row seat, the collective will impress all with the smooth, ’70s psych-country-rock vibes that emanate from the steely guitars; the fabulous, saloon-style keys; and the hand-clapping worthy rhythms. This song is made for the little bars that occupy every small town in America’s southwest and appear out of nowhere in Australia’s Outback. If you happen to be traveling in such places, you likely can relate to Kenny-Smith’s lyrics that describe how indecisive people are and how we’re constantly seeking a purpose. Despite tirelessly working, we still do not know who we are. 

“Burn the candle at both ends to the core
Melt the midnight oil and work like a dog
You’re always the one overthinking
But you just need to breathe and make a decision”

The band’s new album, Calm Ya Farm, is out May 19th on Flightless Records (AUS/NZ) and ATO Records (NA). Pre-order it here and on Bandcamp. Oh, if you didn’t already know, Kenny-Smith and Cook are part of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. 

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Chalk – “Asking” (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

RIYL: Gilla Band + Pre-occupations + Death Grips

Barely a year into their project as Chalk, Ross Cullen, Luke NIblock, and Benedict Goddard have already garnered a reputation as a face-melting band. This is because they are taking post-punk to electrifying and harrowing industrial heights. Their music is explosive, cathartic, and jarring. It also is consuming, where listeners invest every ounce of their being into their songs. We voluntarily give ourselves to the noise that roars around us, like on “Asking”.

The song starts off with a quiet intensity, as the guitar and drums are held back while Cullen’s voice teeters on the edge. He repeats the same five lines, which creates the sense that he and us are trapped in some sort of warped world. And then the track opens up, as the guitar wails and the harrowing rhythms grow more urgent. Cullen’s voice slightly intensifies, but the volume remains muted, which only adds to the sensation of confinement. Of being stuck in the inescapable presence of another. 

“I have been asking for a friend
There is no limit
There is no end
I rest my head on his shoulder
I’ll see you later
When we get older”

We just might have met our new favorite band. 

Chalk’s debut EP, Conditions, is scheduled to be released on May 5th. Pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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Devon Church – “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” (feat. Ada Roth) (Brooklyn, USA via Winnipeg, Canada)

RIYL: Exitmusic + Alex Cameron + Leonard Cohen

We think Devon Church could turn any experience, thought, and idea into a blissful song. He has turned heartbreak, separation, isolation, and meeting strangers into breathtaking moments, such as on “Ephemera” and “Flash of Light in a Clear Blue Sky”. It takes a special and talented individual to be able to turn pain and uneasiness into, as we previously said, moments of surrender. On “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, he brilliantly examines the interaction between religion and reality.

Lord, if I find the way / To your superposition / Promise you’ll whisper to me / The number I’m thinking,” Church croons at the start, setting the scene of a person trying to figure out if a higher being or order exists and whether the stories of Jesus are true. Delicately and calmly, the song prances through a beautiful, orchestral-pop arrangement, and Church continues his existentialist examination. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle, which is where Church eventually lands.

“Surely stranger things have happened
Maybe in another world
Surely stranger things have happened
But if they have I haven’t heard”

We’ll find out where Church lands on April 7th, which is when his new album, Strange Strangers drops. Pre-orders for the Felte-released record are available here and Bandcamp.

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The National – “Eucalyptus” (Brooklyn via Cincinnati, USA)

RIYL: The National by the fireside

By the time The National‘s new album, The First Two Pages of Frankenstein, is released at the end of April, it will come just after the 18th anniversary of Alligator, which was the start of the sad-bastard rockers rise as one of indie’s most influential bands. Over the nearly past two decades, Matt Berninger (vocals), Aaron Dessner (guitar, piano, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar, piano, keyboards), Scott Devendorf (bass), and Bryan Devendorf (drums) have released several outstanding LPs, including Boxer, High Violet, and Trouble Will Find Me. If previously-released singles, “Tropic Morning News” and “New Order T-Shirt”, are any indication, the band’s ninth full-length should stand alongside these records. And “Eucalyptus” is more evidence to believe this will be the case.

The track is The National at their very best – controlled yet dramatic and instilled with an emotional urgency that sweeps through the widescreen orchestration and Berninger’s yearning vocal. The song never erupts nor reaches anthemic levels like some of The National’s biggest numbers, but it does not have to in order to leave a mark. Instead, the band keep us stationary and immersed in this tale of a couple determining how to divide their belongings after calling it quits. “You should take it, I’m not going to take,” Berninger repeats, assuming the identities of both characters. “There’s nobody home / I’m already there / It wouldn’t be fair,” are his last lines, indicating that the end has come. 

Pre-orders for The First Two Pages of Frankenstein are available here and on Bandcamp. It’s out April 28th on 4AD.  . 

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