Another delectable doubleheader is on tap for April 26th with The Matinee ’23 v. 049 kicking off with songs from artists we have not heard from in a while (or in the case of one artist for the first) and finishing off with names that have filled these spaces over the past three months. 

Part 2 of today’s new music marathon can be found here. All fourteen (14) songs are, as always, included on The Songs of March and April 2023 playlist. It’s available on Spotify and SoundCloud.

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

Julie Byrne – “Summer Glass” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Weyes Blood, Heather Woods Broderick, Hand Habits

Six years have passed since Julie Byrne released Not Even Happiness, which was a chilling yet vulnerable album and one of 2017’s finest. That’s a long time between albums, but for a songwriter like Byrne, there’s a process. The NYC-based artist started work on The Greater Wings three years ago with her frequent collaborator, Eric Littmann, who also has supported Vagabon, Yohuna, Tasha, and Emily Yacina (who wrote “D.B. Cooper” about him). In the process of working on the album, Littmann passed away in 2021. That loss gave Byrne the perspective on grief, life, and death, all of which can be heard on “Summer Glass”.

“Summer Glass” is immediately striking. Lush synth layers lay the groundwork for Byrne’s voice. The song builds gorgeously, adding harp and some reverb guitar. The sound is otherworldly and made even more so when a section of strings comes in to break up the dense wall of sound. That section goes into the the most powerful moment on “Summer Glass”, where Byrne’s unwavering voice comes in crystal clear over just some ambient layers. The track is indeed a reminder of how important it is to appreciate this life and the people in it, like our “Chosen family”. 

“One day the skin that holds me will be dust
And I’ll be ready to travel again
For now I want to go further in
Into moment, into vision, into you”

Pre-order The Greater Wings at these links and Bandcamp ahead of its July 7th release date. Ghostly International has the honors.

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Viola Travels – “Blonde Redhead” (Ludvika via Stockholm, Sweden)

RIYL: Nelson Can, Pat Benatar, Kate Bush

Not many people leave the bustling and vibrant confines of Stockholm for a small village, but Camilla Karlsson has done this. The answers are unknown to us, but we can hazard a few guesses. One being that the quiet, seclusion, and clean air spur her imagination and, thus, to create. The serenity allows her to unveil her new project, Viola Travels, and her debut solo single, “Blonde Redhead”

Karlsson is not a stranger to the Swedish music, as she’s fronted for years post-punk outfit It’s For Us. The dark, Gothic tones reverberate across “Blonde Redhead”, particularly in the trembling bass line and the synths that chime through the starkness. However, this is not a post-punk number. On the contrary, it’s Gothic-pop made cathartic and euphoric with Karlsson channeling her inner Pat Benatar and Kate Bush. The song is equally made for dancing under the full moon or cowering under the blankets as the clock strikes midnight. Karlsson, however, does not wish us to fear her. She instead encourages us to come out of the safety of our homes and join her. To join her to change history and create a future where we will be remembered, like what Karlsson is attempting to do.

Viola Travels’ debut EP, Bloodline, will released later this year via Novoton.

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Palehound – “The Clutch” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Big Thief, Soccer Mommy, Bully

The early days of the pandemic was a stressful time for many. For touring musicians, the uncertainty on whether they’d be able to make a living going into the future was a reality. Palehound‘s El Kempner was mid-tour when their world was turned upside down. It was a scene Kempner described as an “apocalypse road trip”. Returning from the trip, Kempner wrote “The Clutch”, the first song they wrote for Eye on the Bat, Palehound’s upcoming record.

“The Clutch” has the unrestrained power expected from Palehound. Kempner’s lyrics paint such a vivid picture right out of the gate. Their voice booms over heavy drums and some punky guitar chords. Kempner also lays down a killer guitar solo before it all cuts out and leaves just their voice and drums. As the song reaches its end, it kicks into high gear, everything gets heavier as Kempner repeats the track’s final lyrics. 

“I didn’t mean to hurt you
You didn’t mean to show me how
Sudden wind drags the goal up throws it far out the bounds and
I’m glad that you know better now
And I’m glad that you found yourself
But you didn’t need my help”

Eye on the Bat takes flight on July 14th via Polyvinyl Records. Pre-orders available at these links and on Bandcamp

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The Beaches – “Everything Is Broken” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: Black Honey, Dead Pony, Alex Lahey

We’re a bit tardy on this one, but better late than never right? While Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Leandra Earl, and Eliza Enman-McDaniel’s next single is coming out on May 5th (that’s next Friday), we wanted to squeeze in The Beaches’ anthem for the impassioned and passionate.

“Everything Is Broken” exemplifies what The Beaches do best, which is create energetic and boisterous songs that are full of emotion and meaning. While the track sounds like it was made for a house party or dashing across sandy beaches with your friends, it is much more than that. “Everything Is Broken” is one person’s desire to reconnect with the world around her and not wishing to feel emotionless. At the same time, she wishes to be seen and heard and not mansplained what to do with her life. Given what we’ve experienced since 2016, we easily can empathize with Miller’s lyrics:

“I was thinking about girls supporting other girls
Then I woke up in a meeting with a bunch of random dudes
Telling me what I should do
The notion kills me
It’s like Nothing thrills me
Doctor please just pill me
So I can feel something
Everything is boring”

As mentioned, The Beaches’ next single is out in 9 days. Surely this means that a new album is coming, especially since the quartet are celebrating 10 years as a band. 

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Tiny Ruins – “Out of Phase” (Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), New Zealand)

RIYL: Nadia Reid, early Aldous Harding, Aoife O’Donovan

When “Dorothy Bay” and “Dogs Dreaming” were released, they represented the closest thing Tiny Ruins has to full-out rockers – or “stomping” folk-rockers. They represented a slight change for the Aotearoa favorites, who have long dazzled with intimate indie-folk. That quality was heard at the start of the year when “The Crab / Waterbaby” was shared, and it emerges again in “Out of Phase”.

The fourth single from Tiny Ruins’ upcoming new album, Ceremony, is Tiny Ruins at their most endearing. Acoustic guitar and Hollie Fullbrook’s voice kick things off. Soon after, gently brushed drums and a vocal assist from Cass Basil are added, and they turn the song from stirring to gorgeous. Things turn a bit about halfway, however, as a haunting guitar cuts through and the bass becomes a driving force. The disruption eventually gives way and strings fill the space, guiding the track down to a gentle landing. While the vibrancy of their recent numbers can be felt in waves, it is intertwined with melancholic moments. In that dynamic lies the beauty of “Out of Phase”.

Tiny Ruins are: Hollie Fullbrook (vocals, guitar), Cass Basil (bass), Alexander Freer (drums), and Tom Healy (guitar). Ceremony is out this Friday, April 28th via Milk! Records, Marathon Artists, and Ba Da Bing Records. Pre-order it at these links and on Bandcamp.

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Johanna Samuels – “Holy Mothers” (Los Angeles via New York City, USA)

RIYL: Skullcrusher, Squirrel Flower, Babehoven

Music is at its best when it’s honest, engaging, and inviting, and that’s exactly what Johanna Samuels‘ 2021 album Excelsior! is. In March, Samuels announced its follow-up, Bystander. With that news came the observant and stunning lead single, “Ugly On The Inside”, which dove into friendship dynamics, including the two-faced nature that sometimes exists.

On “Holy Mothers”, Samuels once again takes a look at human interactions. Her lyrics are instantly captivating, as she apologizes to a friend, Madison Cunningham, who provides backing vocals. With a beautiful piano arrangement, the track then shines the light on how masculinity can be destructive to relationships. Samuels searches for an answer internally and asks what kind of love she can provide while preserving her honest self. Her final words, which are delivered over a quiet piano, reveal her internal struggle:

“I want
A real friend inside a lover
Who can love himself enough
I might not ever be a mother
Cause I’ve loved your sons enough”

Pre-order Bystander over here. Jealous Butcher Records will release it on June 23rd.

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Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – “It’s Getting Dark” (Scranton, PA USA)

RIYL: Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen (solo),

As Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Adam McIlwee has covered much of the musical landscape, which evidences his range and versatility. He’s an individual that refuses to settle, but instead he tests himself and his abilities. Take “Moving Without Movement”, for instance, which was a blustery goth-pop number, and it was awesome. For the second single from his self-titled album, he goes in the completely opposite direction.

With just his acoustic guitar, McIlwee strums a lovely a Gothic Americana tune in the mould of Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen. The instrumentation is simple and familiar, but it is also captivating. His words, though, are the highlight and the cause of our silence. We listen intently to his tale of a person seeking direction and a destination. Maybe more importantly, he is seeking to quiet the voices in his mind and the memories that forever haunt his soul. 

“The roads I choose are winding, secret, seldom used
When I get home I’ll light the lights
Shoreline on the beach
It’s out to you I reach
Only to remind myself, move forward
And fall asleep inside the ocean’s roar”

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal will be released June 2nd on Run for Cover Records. Pre-orders available here.

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