08.01.2015 - 08.02.2015
KDHX Welcomes Matthew E White with Thelonius Kryptonite ft. Brothers Lazaroff and Mikey Wehling
KDHX Welcomes Matthew E White with Thelonius Kryptonite ft. Brothers Lazaroff and Mikey Wehling to The Luminary on Saturday, August 1. Tickets $10 adv, $12 dos. Doors at 8:00 pm, show at 9:00 pm. Buy tickets.
Matthew E White
If the first album had been serendipity, every step of his latest is deliberate, from his co-writing sessions with longtime friend and former bandmate Andy Jenkins to his steady arrangement brainstorms with the trusted Spacebomb house bandbassist Cameron Ralston, drummer Pinson Chanselle and guitarist Trey Pollard, who co-produced the subsequent recording sessions with White. There were timelines and deadlines, detailed discussions about who would mix the music (New York staple Patrick Dillett) and the many stories the songs would share. The result is the audacious, confident and masterful Fresh Blood, a record that feels like the brilliant bloom to Big Inner's striking bud.
Fresh Blood is a bracing, beguiling record and a bold advance for White. Opener "Take Care My Baby" is his step-into-the-light moment, a sophisticated but instantly winning soul number where love becomes a panacea for woe. That enthusiasm crosses over for "Fruit Trees," a smiling, seductive number where Whitehis voice traced and teased by horns, strings and harmoniesbegs for a paramour to "let me sleep in your tent tonight."
Sometimes these situations don't go well, though, which White confesses during "Feeling Good is Good Enough." It's a breakup song in ecstatic pursuit of temporary carnal relief. And while it's got nothing to do with love, lust or leaving, the sassy "Rock & Roll is Cold" radiates the aplomb of an artist who has stumbled into success and taken charge of the circumstances. White's having fun, trading lines with backup singers and saxophones alike, teasing components of the gospel, soul and rock form that shape the very backbone of the music he makes. This is White's party, and he's a most welcoming host.
That same spirit presides during the set of more solemn and pointed songs that serve as Fresh Blood's core. For White, one lesson of Big Inner and the tours that followed was that he wanted to be able to believe in his songs every night, to know that the words he sang were more than vehicles for memorable melodies.
"I didn't like singing 'Steady Pace' every night. It was too light. It didn't age well for me," he says. "My peers and I sometimes have a lack of concern and awareness for the world around usculturally, politically, socially. We are in danger of being lulled to sleep by our culture's excess. I'm not writing political songs yet, but I've tried to at least write songs that have to do with the variety and reality of our lives."
And so, at the record's center, White delivers a trilogy of beautiful reflections on the world as he sees it. An agitated but elegant excoriation of sexual abuse in the church, "Holy Moly" rages like a missing midpoint between Neil Young's Harvest and Tonight's the Night. "Tranquility" meditates on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, a consummate artist whose dual force and frailty has long resonated with White.
And in "Circle 'Round The Sun," a look at the suicide of a dear friend's mother, White finds one of the most exquisite moments of balance in his entire career. It is a love song written from the perspective of the recently departed, calmly exploring a tumult of conflicting loyaltiesto Jesus, to family, to life, to death.
"Wading in the water, Lord, keep my son and daughter," White sings, at once gentle and resolved over steady and soft piano and drums. "Put your arms around me, Jesus, tonight."
At the risk of heresy, Fresh Blood feels as comfortable and fraught as those lines and that song. Simultaneously recognizing the trouble and delight that life can bring, these 10 numbers are guides for times of joy, agony and the middle distance where we most often linger. After only two albums, Matthew E. White feels now like an old friend who has seen what we've seen, heard our stories and done his best to make a record that gives them necessary gravity. That way, when we lay awake at night considering our own pain or worry, we've got new anthems to keep us company.
Domino will release Fresh Blood worldwide on CD, LP and digitally March 15, 2015.
Thelonius Kryptonite ft. Brothers Lazaroff
Thelonius Kryptonite is a emcee, songwriter, and producer from the Far Fetched collective. Describing himself as a New Wave-Modern Hip Hop artist, his genre-bending approach draws from a range of styles from soul-pop and post-punk to electronica and dub fusion. Thelonius's 2013 release The Anchor Punch EP established his champion sound while dedicating the musical montage to the inspiring legacy of Muhammad Ali. His sophomore full-length, EKleKTRIP, marked a new wave of creative consciousness that manifested in vibrant rhythms, soulful melodies, and unexpected collaborations.
What began as a home-fi 4 track cassette project by guitarist/vocalist Mikey Wehling has evolved into a full band experience. Wehling is a musical workhorse, inventive sound maker, and all-around gentleman with sweet smoothness and guitar solos.
The Luminary's Concert Series is sponsored in part by Master Pieza, MELT, and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.