Song of the day: Matt Stevens – "8.19"

June 8, 2010

I’m afraid that I may have created a bit of a monster when I started highlighting hotshot instrumentalists every Tuesday on this blog, because a chap emailed me a couple of weeks ago about a recent post I had of King Crimson‘s decidedly non-power-pop track “Frame By Frame”. He said something to the effect of “Love that King Crimson track. I’ve got some music I’ve recorded that you might be interested in.”


O Tuesdays, What Hath Ye Wrought!

I’ll tell you what they’ve wrought: they’ve led me to mislead a British prog-instrumentalist (is that a genre?) by the name of Matt Stevens into contacting a power pop blogger in the hope that I’d help spread the word about his music.

Now, I’m all for promoting artists, but I didn’t quite know how to react to the prospect of attempting to persuade power pop lovers to listen to some new music that’s not even remotely power pop.

(I know there was that awkwardness a while ago involving Spanish band Megaphone Ou La Mort where a few of you decried “That’s not power pop, you idiot!”, but the band told me that their music had elements of power pop, and I’m a trusting kind of guy, so…)

I replied to Matt and told him that this was a power pop blog and his music may not go down well here. He answered by saying that he likes power pop, too – especially Jason Falkner. I thought “OK, I can live with that” which prompted me to make an effort to promote a non-power pop guitarist on the blog.

Most hotshot guitarists are noodly and can play very fast and all over the neck and behind their backs and with their teeth and in brightly coloured pants etc. But not Matt, he’s the opposite. Matt plays slow.

I’m mentioning all of this as a way of letting you know what you’re in for if you press the “play” button. However, before you press “play” – and I’ll understand completely if you don’t want to, because this ain’t power pop at all (it’s not even pop) – here’s my three-word summation of the Musical Stylings Of Matt Stevens™: moody and spare.

So, if you’re game for something Moody and Spare©

Matt Stevens – “8.19” (2010)


I don’t know why it’s called “8.19”, because it only goes 5:28.

Despite any numerical discrepancies, “8.19” appears on Matt’s latest album, Ghost, which you can grab over at Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis. (That sounds reasonable.)

It only took me two listens* to Matt’s album before I got into the zone, so to speak, but once I was there I was carried along by its unhurriedness and how there was nothing over-the-top by way of guitar histrionics. However, I will say that I wasn’t totally taken over by the moodiness of it all because there were occasions where the guitar was slightly out of tune (track one is the main offender). But I’m not going to knock a musician or his music just because his guitar’s slightly out of tune.

Anyway, if you liked “8.19” (you may have), here’s another Moody and Spare© track from Ghost:

Matt Stevens – “Burnt Out Car” (2010)


Official website
Matt Stevens blog
Matt Stevens on MySpace
Matt Stevens on Facebook
Matt Stevens on Bandcamp
(He’s everywhere!)

(*I still listened to it my regulation minimum three times, and it wasn’t painful. I was pleased that I didn’t spend most of my time moaning “Oh, when is this going to end?”)