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Matt and Kim - Grand (Cover Artwork)

Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim: GrandGrand (2009)
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Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: anomalyoneanomalyone
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I wonder what it was like for music critics and connoisseurs when the electric guitar first hit mainstream music. I'd imagine many wrote it off as noise, a plaything, not an instrument at all. Despite the conservative conventions, though, the electric guitar managed to break new ground and become a .
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I wonder what it was like for music critics and connoisseurs when the electric guitar first hit mainstream music. I'd imagine many wrote it off as noise, a plaything, not an instrument at all. Despite the conservative conventions, though, the electric guitar managed to break new ground and become a symbol of modern rock music with it was finally put into the right hands.

Modern indie music is facing a similar dilemma. Until recently, hipsters liked their indie stripped down and mellow. Now, with the newfound popularity of bands like MGMT, M83, and Peter, Bjorn, and John, indie music has seemingly embraced electronic elements and largely left behind the acoustic guitar and drum set duos of last week.

One of the groups to embrace the wonders of the synthesizer is Matt & Kim, a two-piece from New York City. Kim creates the "beats," for lack of a better word, and Matt uses his awkward-yet-it-works-wonderfully voice to deliver the lyrics. Together it's a great, original sounding combination that had me hooked from the first track to the last.

Matt & Kim have decided to ditch the mellow, slow beeps and bloops of their contemporaries in favor of a more spastic, dance-pop approach with distinct indie undertones with their newest effort, Grand. The good news is, it all comes together remarkably well. Songs like the opening track, "Daylight," and "Don't Slow Down," are incredibly catchy pieces of songwriting. The best track by far on the album is "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare," an extremely layered and intricate piece with sampled hand-clapping, piano and violin all coming together to create a catchy wall of electronic sound that you'll be more than happy to run into every time you get to track three.

Not all of the songs on this LP hit the mark, though. While most are catchy, there are a few throwaway tracks mixed in. On a full-length that only clocks in at 11 tracks and 29 minutes (with 10 originals and one remix at the end), there isn't much room for filler. Too bad no one told Matt or Kim that. Also, when I listen to some of the songs, I feel like I'm listening to an interlude from another band's record. The songs that are under two minutes long tend to fall prey to this (with the exception of the excellent "Spare Change"), and I attribute that to their lack of depth. While songs like "Good Ol' Nightmare" sound rich and robust, some just sound empty and uninspired.

You can blame Bright Eyes. Conor Oberst's use of electronic instruments on Digital Ash in a Digital Urn undoubtedly helped popularize the idea in the genre due to his rampant success among females and the males who date them. You can blame the Postal Service -- the Death Cab for Cutie singer's side project produced the biggest seller for independent label Sub Pop with Give Up. Regardless of how it started or where it's going to end, this is the popular sound this season with the Urban Outfitters crowd, and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. Do yourself a favor and choose Matt & Kim as one of the bands you devote your money (or hard drive space) and listening time to. It's a refreshingly upbeat album when put up against the competition, and should provide a solid song or two for your newest road trip playlist.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jacknife737 (September 15, 2009)

Solid record.

salsashark (September 14, 2009)

I adore "Daylight." Score is for that song.

Babrook (September 13, 2009)

One of my favorites of this year, it's just such a fun album and I can't help but smile when I listen to it.

telegraphrocks (September 13, 2009)

I hear Toby Jeg is a HUGE fan of these two.

Red Scare should sign 'em.

almostpunkenough (September 12, 2009)

wait, i have a question: how come this garbage is not only acceptable, but actually viewed as groundbreaking and innovative while crap like Breathe Carolina is just "scene bullshit' that gets written off and verbally destroyed? what the shit is the difference?

almostpunkenough (September 12, 2009)

reason #38 to hate Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

colin (September 11, 2009)

fans of brooklynvegan are stoked

CBSrocksteady (September 11, 2009)

they album all around id kind of boring. there are a few stand outs. Good Ol Fashion Nightmare is one of my favorite songs of the year.

hubitcherkokov (September 11, 2009)

This shit sucks. Brooklyn hipsters acting all happy and singing children's music. Don't buy into it.

That made me laugh. It's a pop record - you'll listen to it a lot for a few weeks and then forget about it.

thatguyfromthatband (September 11, 2009)

this is a solid album. it flows nice.

Irish_Punk_Is_Gimmickry (September 11, 2009)

This shit sucks. Brooklyn hipsters acting all happy and singing children's music. Don't buy into it.

genebuonaccorsi (September 11, 2009)

top 5 albums of the year.
daylight is perfect.
ill take us home is great.
lessons learned is amazing.
band rules live.

HeresLookinAtYou (September 11, 2009)

"Great live band, but I thought think this album is boring. It's not awful but it's not exciting."

Agreed as well. Saw them live, they blew me away, but this album is just eh.

theautumnpeople (September 11, 2009)

red_eye is totally right. Great live show, but it doesn't translate well on CD.

I'll tell you though, I'd like to spend a little adult-time with Kim.

the_other_scott (September 11, 2009)

I'd say hipsters starting liking this type of music sometime around 2002 or 2003 with The Faint, !!!, The Moving Units and stuff like that.

also. these guys are so much fun live, so much fun. also pretty rad that they named this album after the street/subway stop that I've been living at for the past 3.5 years.

red_eye_inc (September 11, 2009)

Great live band, but I thought think this album is boring. It's not awful but it's not exciting.

sexualsunshine (September 11, 2009)

Will give this a chance, I always thought they were acoustic ha. They sold out their 930 club show comming up... these two are huge.

Rastid (September 11, 2009)

the review's description isn't too bad--some great, catchy songs, some ok songs, too much filler. but that makes this into a disappointingly average album.

fattony (September 11, 2009)

Definitely one of my favorites for the year. Not quite as good as their last album, but still catchy as hell and a ton of fun.

pitchforkwriter (September 11, 2009)

Love this album.

Makes me want to drink Bacardi Mojitos all day.

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