The Matinee ’23 v. 045 is the first of two features today (April 19th), and the eight tracks range from the honest and intimate to startling Gothic to catchy and raging rockers. As usual, these songs also include great songwriting.

Part 2 of the April 19th twinbill is available here. It, too, has 8 songs. Take a listen to The Songs of March and April 2023 playlist on Spotify and SoundCloud, as it includes all of today’s featured tracks plus several dozen more.

Click on the track in the list below in order to go directly to it.

Nat Vazer – “Born” (Melbourne, Australia)

RIYL: early Cloves, Molly Payton, Fenne Lily

While we patiently wait for Nat Vazer to officially announce her sophomore album (she did write on social media that one is coming), we will have to settle with new songs from the Melbourne-based singer-songwriter. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially after she released the beautiful and confessional “Addicted to Misery” last month and now the endearing “Born”.

While these two singles are more serene and melancholic than most of the songs that filled her debut LP, Is This Offensive and Loud?, the approach allows her delicate, endearing, and stunning voice to shine. While a guitar lightly strums in the background alongside feathery percussion, she calmly delivers a message to her younger self, encouraging her to take in all the moments around her while also be willing to do the unexpected. We only live once after all.

“That you’re just a child,
You’re just a child born to paint the world
And when the burning in your heart starts to
Feel bigger than the sun
You know you’ve got it
They know you’ve got something that they all want”

Just another stunner from one of Australia’s finest. Supporting Vazer to create these eye-opening tunes are Sean Newell (drums), Andy Campbell (guitar), and Benjamin Joel (bass).

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Néomí – “Oh My Darling” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

RIYL: Ghostly Kisses, HAUX, Daughter

Speaking of artists who have perfected the art of breathtaking, néomí is a master of this craft. Her new EP, After, which was released last week on PIAS, is filled with stunning songs, including “red balloon”, “skipping stone”, and “I Could Never Leave”. As beautiful as those songs are, “Oh My Darling” might be the crème de la crème.

The arrangement is simple, as a finger-plucked guitar, light keys, and ethereal ambience slowly swell together to create a soundscape that not even Justin Vernon could have imagined. It is gorgeous. Neomi Speelman’s voice, however, is the star. It is hushed and unhurried, and each word she sings is delivered sincerely and emotionally. She recalls how she once loved a man with every inch of her body, but now that bond has weakened. Can it, however, be restrengthened?

“Naked as we come is how we go
My body once was your holy home
Maybe we have changed love
But don’t you see I’m holding on, holding on, holding on
To your love, my love”

Beautiful. Of course.

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Bee Bee Sea – “Time & Time” (Castel Goffredo, Italy)

RIYL: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, The Limiñanas

Seven years ago, three blokes from a little town in the Lombardy region of Italy blew our minds with the psychedelic garage-rocker “D.I Why Why Why”. From that day, Wilson Wilson, Giacomo Parisio, and Andrea Onofrio have delivered one awesome rocker after another and a couple of terrific albums in Sonic Boomerang and Day Ripper. Three years have passed since Bee Bee Sea have been heard from, but they’re back with a bang.

“Time & Time” is a buzzing, neo-psychedelic tune that echoes of the genre’s great era, which is the mid- to late 2000s. It doesn’t explode or ignite, but rather it grooves and causes hips to shake. It also energizes with the chugging guitar and the stomping rhythms. Wilson’s falsetto, meanwhile, has an air of The Growlers’ Brooks Nielsen in its delivery, but his lyrics are more in the wheelhouse of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s Stu Mackenzie. He describes how people are consistently chasing after something, like they’re a cat chasing its tail. In the end, time runs out and we’re left with nothing. In short, go after what you want but don’t chase it endlessly.

This tune is part of Bee Bee Sea’s forthcoming split single, which includes “Memories of Another Life”, that will be released May 12th. It can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp

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Lutalo – “Familiar Face” (Vermont via St. Paul, MN USA)

RIYL: Yves Tumor, JayWood, Thom Yorke / Atoms for Peace

We have no shortage of moments where we’ve asked ourselves, “Where have we been?”, as we discover a not-so-new artist. Lutalo, the project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Lutalo Jones, is one of them. How have we gone so long to not have covered them, particularly when they create music that we seek – innovative yet immersive songs that are more like experiences than they are for casual listening. Their music is made more for galleries and theaters than they are for the radio, but that still has not stopped similar artists like Frank Ocean and Yves Tumor from performing on the biggest stages. Hopefully this will be Jones’ fate one day, so that the faces of the audience can be left in a frozen state of awe when listening to songs like “Familiar Face”.

Lutalo’s newest single was released last week alongside the announcement that their debut EP, Once Now, Then Again, will be reissued on vinyl June 23rd via Winspear. The track offers a gateway into Jones’ mind and imagination. Somber percussion and electronics patter as a lightly-strummed guitar mourns below. The Minnesota-raised, Vermont-based artist’s voice is similarly solemn. It is full of introspection, as Jones sings about the paths one must follow to discover inner truth. 

“The path to home is crooked and too far left
Its shape remains the same as all the rest
Though crows now hover laughing at their will
Gently pulls me through a gate a pair of gills”

Again, why did it take so long for us to share their music? 

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Destroy Boys – “Beg for the Torture” (Sacramento, USA)

RIYL: Bikini Kill, Bad Waitress, Screaming Females

Alexia Roditis (vocals, guitar), Violet Mayugba (guitar, vocals), and Narsai Malik (drums) have chosen a perfect name for their band, Destroy Boys. Roditis and Mayugba formed the band in high school in 2015 and have created music that aggressively challenges the sadly, ever-present misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and overall archaic mindsets that still dictate so much of modern life. It’s important to keep fighting for what’s right and it’s easy to feel empowered just by blasting some Destroy Boys.

Their latest single, “Beg for the Torture”, is brief but packs major punches, like many of the tracks in their discography, while the vocals are as in-your-face as anything we’ve heard in a long time. The band stated they wanted the instrumentals to “feel overwhelming” on “Beg for the Torture”, and they absolutely nailed it. Roaring guitar and some killer riffage are paired with hard-hitting drums, adding even more to the tune’s urgency. It also conveys some complex feelings, specifically of confusion in a relationship. It has a dynamic that bounces between emotions in a way that echoes the chaotic nature of the track. 

The single is out on Hopeless Records

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Miya Folick – “So Clear” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Donna Lewis, Alice Phoebe Lou

We’re going to harbor a guess that Miya Folick‘s new album, Roach (May 26th on Nettwerk Music Group), will be the equivalent to a life-spanning compilation. This prediction is not just limited to the stories of growing up in a multiracial and multicultural household but also related to the range of sounds and genres she’s covered in her decade-long career.  This guess, though, is pretty easy to make since Folick has done the unusual: she’s released the majority of the LP’s songs. “Bad Thing”“Nothing to See”“Ordinary”“Oh God”, “Get Out of My House”, and “Mommy” are already out in the public, so why not release one more?

On “So Clear”, Folick unveils an intimate yet quietly euphoric slice of electro-pop. It possesses a breezy, uplifting quality, as synths and light beats converge to create the levitating sensation. While the track represents another new foray for Folick, two things never change – her stupendous voice (which is one of the best vocals in the industry) and honest, poignant songwriting. She reflects on her life to date, the roads she’s followed, and the path that she still has yet to carve. Although there have been obstacles, Folick refuses to regret her decisions. She instead will move forward, which is a powerful statement that anyone can make. 

“I was torn between two bad decisions
Standing on the side of the road
Looking in the eyes of a strange
Who told me I’d be nothing alone
But I said no, no
Just watch me go”

And we’ve had the privilege of watching Folick go and hope her next chapter leads to great success.

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PULSATIONS – “Dopamine Sensitisation” (Copenhagen, Denmark)

RIYL: Joy Division / New Order, The Foreign Resort

A couple of years ago, Hadrian Esteves introduced us to his project PULSATIONS, which can best be described as the bridge that links Joy Division and New Order. The mixture of post-punk, cold- and darkwave, and synth-pop is what we would have imagined Joy Division would have sounded like (and were on track to do) post-1980. Esteves further dives into this gap in music history on “Dopamine Sensitisation”

The opening track from his recently-released new album, Tainted Covenant, is a scintillating piece of Gothic goodness. Esteves’ brooding vocal filters through the buzzing synths, spine-tingling keys, and a harrowing guitar line that would make Bernard Sumner proud. The approach is made equally for dank, underground clubs as they are the wide fields of Glastonbury. The darkness, though, is not limited to the soundscape but also in Esteves’ songwriting, which is terrific. He describes humans as “rats”, who evolve in order to survive the next great disaster. However, these disasters are of our own doing. 

“It is hard for rats to build
An empire with their hands
We will bleed forever
It is so hard for us to embrace
The abrogation of our past
We will bleed forever
Because we signed a tainted pact”

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Far Caspian – “The Last Remaining Light” (Leeds, England)

RIYL: Beach Fossils, Day Wave, Wallows

As predicted when “Arbitrary Task” was released, the next Far Caspian album will be arriving in the summer, Specifically, The Last Remaining Light will fully beam on July 14th via Dance to the Radio. The inventor of “melanjolly”, Joel Johnston’s music walks a fine line between those sad moments and happier sounds. His music is full of emotion and power, it’s engaging from the moment it hits the ears. 

The bright guitar is enough to draw a listener into “The Last Remaining Light”. The guitar work is layered perfectly throughout, plucky moments, a chiming underlayer, and some lush chords all strike at once. Johnston’s voice has a whispery quality to it, but it’s layered in a way that provides a quality that’s both warm and dreamy. On the back half of the track, those layers of guitar get even bigger and get kicked up in an absolute whirlwind along with some fantastic drumming. The dynamic of the music is matched by its lyrics, as Johnston finds appreciation of life while singing of its final moments. It doesn’t get more “melanjolly” than that.

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