Scoop one song from Matt (Johnson) & Kim (Schifino) and pour into a fountain glass. Add water, shake, and down yourself eight solid ounces of smiles and sunshine. As it may have been said about ecstasy, I want to scream loudly that if everyone listened to Matt & Kim’s latest album, Grand, there would be no wars… legally and with no after affects, glow sticks, or retards in big hats.
The Brooklyn duo’s first album endeavor started with iheartcomix, thanks to their tenacity, DIY work ethic and the musical savvy of Frankie Chan. Their lighthearted and bouncy melodies catapulted them from art shows and friends of friend’s parties onto the festival circuit, and after the thousands in the crowd got to experience Matt & Kim’s exuberance and glee, it was all over. We were all hooked.
Now on FADER, Grand takes them to their next chapter, portraying a deeper side of their production and songwriting skills while retaining the raw, endearing qualities. After years of practice, touring, and all that comes from creating a musical lifestyle, this power couple has truly become the masters of their domain, both instrumentally and bidniz-wise, scraping by-the-hour L.A. studio time to record Grand for the creative tranquility (so to speak) of Matt’s parent’s house in Vermont.
With an oxymoronic twist, “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare” spotlights Kim’s thundering drums, Matt’s tinkling keyboards and cloud dancing melodies as he sings about smashing out windows and brash, nighttime escapades. “Cutdown” follows with many layers of instrumentation, enough to fill every crevice of the Hollywood Bowl.
You can’t help but groove to the chunky rhythms of “Daylight,” which they recently performed on Jimmy Kimmel (August 26). “Cinders” reels back to the beginning, stripped down sans vocals with only the arms, feet, sticks, fingers and ivories to take the song home. Kim pours honey vocals atop the crackle-pop of “Lessons Learned,” then Matt makes futile wishes of sleeping through the weekend on “I Wanna.” Guessing sleep is a luxury for the couple these days.
Currently on their headlining tour, Matt & Kim are hitting up Kansas City, Bumbershoot in Seattle, Boise, SLC, here in Denver at the Bluebird on September 8 with Amanda Blank, then Omaha, Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Champaign, Detroit, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and a number of other U.S. cities before heading to Amsterdam and what seems like the rest of Europe all the way through December 19. Like I said, not much sleep or home time, a diet of beans and rice, but living quite the grandiose life.
Matt & Kim perform at Monolith Festival, 2007 (photo k.owens)