thread for matthew e. white

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can we talk about this guy for a couple minutes? although i'm wary of self-conscious retro exercises this guy seems like a bit more of a chameleon than i initially thought. but beyond the songwriting and some of the stylistic choices it's one of the best-arranged and best-sounding records i've heard in ages, really nice spacious mix with a great feel for horns and strings.

an eagle named "small government" (call all destroyer), Thursday, 3 January 2013 16:50 (eight years ago) link

I think his record is pretty good. I need to give it a few more listens, as it kinda got lost in the shuffle this year, but he's definitely a solid songwriter and a great arranger (see also the new Mountain Goats record). I saw his old band, The Great White Jenkins, play a show in Scranton many years ago and picked up their Mussel Souls cd, which is completely different from his solo album but also very good, more of a post-Crazy Horse, Magnolia Electric Co.-ish rock and roll vibe iirc. I'd recommend tracking that down.

xanthanguar (cwkiii), Thursday, 3 January 2013 16:55 (eight years ago) link

solid album. I'm into it. and yeah the horns are great.

dmr, Thursday, 3 January 2013 16:57 (eight years ago) link

"Big Love" is the best track I think

dmr, Thursday, 3 January 2013 16:57 (eight years ago) link

I'm not a big fan of the record; his chameleon-like aptitude stops it from cohering for me, though I agree it sounds fantastic. Live, they were all over the place. I really disliked the breathy slow stuff which sounded like second-rate Iron & Wine doing bad Bill Withers covers. However, the rave up stuff really, really worked for me; when the band built and vamped in "Brazos" it was rapturous. The horns, the two percussionists, Matthew himself going all Jerry Garcia meets Sly Stone; all wonderful.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 3 January 2013 17:02 (eight years ago) link

Somehow misread that as "Iron & Wine's dad doing Bill Withers covers".

xanthanguar (cwkiii), Thursday, 3 January 2013 17:03 (eight years ago) link

Sam's dad Jim.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 3 January 2013 17:04 (eight years ago) link

thx for the great white jenkins tip, cwkiii! and also for connecting the dots that this was the guy who did the horns on the mtn goats record.

all of the playing on the record is so admirably restrained that i wish they would cut loose just once; even at the end of the build on brazos (which is great) i was like cmon you know you want to double-time that shit.

an eagle named "small government" (call all destroyer), Thursday, 3 January 2013 18:19 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

This is only just coming out in the UK and got a five-star review in the Guardian. I'm enjoying this record quite a lot but his voice is the weak link for me, when you consider how great almost everything else sounds. It's not even technical ability, he just sounds a bit anonymous and dwarfed by the arrangements. I suppose the thing it most reminds of is Nixon by Lambchop, but even though Kurt Wagner isn't anywhere near what you'd call a great singer he always has a great line in him and a lot of vocal presence that I don't get here.

I like the album though, quite a lot, the arrangements are gorgeous, although I'm usually a sucker for this sound.

Matt DC, Thursday, 17 January 2013 22:44 (eight years ago) link

i think there's a really pleasing dryness to his voice - it lends the music an interesting detachment, like a Bill Callahan type of thing. i'd still rate kurt w higher, at this point, but i'm really interested where he'll go next, and his London show this week was really joyful and wonderful.

I had such a fontasy (stevie), Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:08 (eight years ago) link

five months pass...

I just got back from taking my pops to see this guy at the Birmingham Glee Club as a belated father's day gift. He looks rather like Peter Jackson might look if he shut himself away for 6 months and just ate delivery Dominos and played Settlers of Catan online, but looks aside, I kinda enjoyed it. I'm not sure I'll bother going after his album, but its been so long since I went to a gig that I just enjoyed watching them all doing their thing really. It was all a bit Hawaiian, I suppose. Psychedelic Jack Johnson or some shit. There were definitely a number of pleasant songs, but his cover of 'Sail Away' totally sucked. Odd crowd there too, quite a few kids it seemed like, but otherwise primarily populated by balding middle-aged guys in jeans and blazers. Of which my dad was one.

I preferred the support tbh, a guy named Tom Hickox. And you only need to google this guy to see how poor a recommendation that is

Third Rate Zoo Keepers With Tenth Rate Minds (Windsor Davies), Tuesday, 2 July 2013 22:12 (eight years ago) link

I really like the record, but I watched some Other Voices stream of his set and it seemed so flat without the horns/strings/choral overdubs. Kinda umming and ahhing over seeing him at Shepherds Bush in September?

CAD upthread otm, I wish the record just broke loose, mind.

random access maladies (hypehat), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 00:34 (eight years ago) link

yeah i watched a couple live vids and they're pretty rough. 70% of the record's charm is in the arrangements. i don't mind his voice but no way can it carry a stripped-down band.

but man did i listen to the hell out of this record. don't know how many times it took to catch the "WOO!" in the brazos backing vocal--that was a life-changing moment.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 00:49 (eight years ago) link

also the lyrics to "one of these days" are v. lovely and touching

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 00:51 (eight years ago) link

have you seen this?

Wish I knew I was going to see this rather than a shaky version of the same...

random access maladies (hypehat), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 01:17 (eight years ago) link

It's not like if you see someone like Spiritualized, when you know that while they aren't bringing an huge orchestra, choir, and bells and whistles they are still going to kick out a similar grand experience with guitars, keys, bass and drums. Maybe I should book the ticket and hope they deliver on some level.

random access maladies (hypehat), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 01:22 (eight years ago) link

i saw them play the lexington in january and i thought it was excellent. they miss the strings and so on, but the band develops an excellent, muted funk that builds and builds and is no chimera. i reckon you should definitely see him at shepherds bush.

my eventual wife (stevie), Wednesday, 3 July 2013 06:32 (eight years ago) link

I like this album a lot, Lambchop is the the most obvious comparison but is anyone else reminded of The Beta Band at times? Something about his delivery that brings them to mind.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 07:28 (eight years ago) link

have you seen this?

no and thanks for posting, that totally ruled

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 19:41 (eight years ago) link

someone give this guy a touring budget for 40 ppl

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 19:42 (eight years ago) link

Saw him at Glastonbury on Sunday lunchtime, which was kind of the perfect time for that music. Enjoyed it, like I enjoy the album, but it reinforced my feeling that he just lacks presence in some weird way.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 3 July 2013 20:00 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

New album on First Listen:

Benjamin-, Monday, 2 March 2015 06:27 (six years ago) link

four weeks pass...

Really enjoying the new album. First time he's come across my radar - assume the first LP is worth checking out too?

groovypanda, Monday, 30 March 2015 13:20 (six years ago) link

i like the first one much more

call all destroyer, Monday, 30 March 2015 13:37 (six years ago) link

The songs are much stronger on the first one, I listened to this a couple of times but have wanted to go back to the Natalie Prass record much more.

Matt DC, Monday, 30 March 2015 14:20 (six years ago) link

the new one is a lot more...baroque. the best thing about the first one was that the songs themselves were pretty straightforward and had a dual lineage of 70s soul and 70s singer/songwriter pop that worked well together and allowed the arrangements to shine. i hear a lot more 60s AM pop in the new one and both the songs and arrangements have gotten very fussy.

call all destroyer, Monday, 30 March 2015 14:25 (six years ago) link

six years pass...

new one out

just sayin, Monday, 13 September 2021 08:46 (five days ago) link

I've long been meaning to check this guy out, reading about a lot of funk influence with this one and I like the little map of influences on his website. Is this a decent place to start?

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 13 September 2021 15:12 (five days ago) link

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