Belgium says I’m an extraordinary boy: album reviews & interview
Album review by The Viking in The Wilderness above – archived here, as it’s on facebook and therefore subject to be buried in the newsfeed.
Elsewhere in Europe, I’m “scandalously ignored” – Music in Belgium says so. (And who am I to argue?) A very nice review of the album in French.
Whisperin & Hollerin reckons “he keeps on churning ‘em out, and amazingly, without any dip in quality” – yes, well… when I have my next nervous breakdown that’ll be why. There are worse ways to spend a life, of course.
V13 kindly asked me to write about the 8 albums that changed my life – see me speak my brains here.
More words to follow, hopefully.
Hectic Night review
As previously mentioned, Hectic Night (out now on Bandcamp) is a free download live LP we recorded in January, live in the studio. I was saving it for a rainy day, and this has to be the rainiest year…
Plugged in Brighton have given it a track-by-track review, link here – “a troubled troubadour running in and out of dark alleyways being chased by god knows what seeking who knows what.”
Read and see if the music matches the words… I reckon so, but then I’m biased.
Feb gig review / visuals
“Matt played his guitar with menace tonight”
The gig went really well – thanks to Leisure Tank and headliners Skinny Milk. We got reviewed, too, courtesy Plugged In Brighton – link here. A brief video:
And a few pix (thanks to Mik Hanscomb. The out-of-focus shots of the other bands are mine – I’m a musician, not a photojournalist… clearly):
…Onward to the next one.
gig & EP review, Dec ’19
MF, Barney, Stephen, 11 Dec
On the whole, I’ve really enjoyed putting on some DIY gigs this year – it’s been stressful at times (for purely organisational reasons – all the other bands have been lovely)… but very much worth it. This last one went very well, and here’s a review from Plugged in Brighton to testify:
“…high-grade alt-rock. Matt’s guitar playing was muscular and twisted whilst the rhythm section kept pace and added to a heavy sound that was tough without being obvious.”
So thanks to them – and to Idle Bones and Adam & Elvis for being fucking superb.
On the subject of reviews, here’s one of the EP from Whisperin and Hollerin:
“…And so it is that over the course of 4 songs and 20 minutes, Matt Finucane demonstrates that he’s a singular artistic voice in a sea of sameness, and if 2019 has seen him establish himself, 2020 looks like being the year he takes it to the next level.”
Well, hope so. This year’s not over yet, of course – couple more gigs to come – and in January we’re back in the studio. So who knows? If nothing else, be interesting to see what happens next.
“The Seizure” – 1st review & interview
A first look at The Seizure from The Ring Master Review: “one of the most unique and honest artists around” – wow, I’ll take it!
The band gets singled out too, which is cool – “The bass of Stephen Parker again proves a dark invitation to get hooked up on; it’s tempting as brooding as it is catchy against the rhythmic swing of drummer Barney Guy”…
And here’s the conclusion: “In our experience every outing with Matt Finucane has proven an absorbing and rousing adventure in some rich level of degree but The Seizure might just be his finest proposition yet; in fact no question, it is.”
…The write-up goes into more detail about each track, but I think it’s safe to say it went over well, which is always a good feeling. Check it out, see if it tingles yr fancy.
EDITED TO ADD:
There’s also an interview: embracing the discord, here – which goes into more detail about the band, what’s behind the EP, and what happens next. As I say, you have to meet me halfway… but it’s always good when someone takes the time to listen and engage; and for what it’s worth, this is the clearest account yet.
interview / LP review / August gig news
“We all choose our suffering. There is ugly suffering and there is beautiful suffering. You, I think, are somewhere in between”
That’s a quote from an interview I did with The Sound Lab, here. (One of the more… interesting audience responses I’ve had in a while, that was.)
There’s also a review of Vanishing Island in print and online in Devolution Magazine – a good one, check it out here.
…Another full-throat shout-out for the August gig:
GREENNESS (full band) onstage 10pm
“Hypnotic electro acoustic tunes creating a relaxed atmosphere with a whiff of Massive Attack / The Sugarcubes” – Breaking Glass Magazine
MATT FINUCANE + band onstage 9.15
“The troubadour of disharmony, back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way” – The Ring Master Review
LUCY FELIZ onstage 8.30
“A unique brand of melancholy folk that’s unforgettable in its intensity” – Line Of Best Fit
Wed 7 Aug, The Prince Albert
MUSIC from 8.30 sharp
…After that, I’ve got stuff booked up till December, solo & electric band (and one acoustic duo gig). More on that to follow.
Thanks very much for kind words on the Vanishing Island album, from Brighton Source: “a prolific songwriter with an array of excellent self-produced independent releases. He’s influenced by the darker side of indie rock, but puts his own stamp on things […] strong and well-structured, with a memorable and distinctive sound”.
& also Plugged in Brighton:
…Not bad, not bad at all.
[EDIT: PiB now has a website – links added, but check it out here]
Album: more reviews
Vanishing Island seems to be doing good. Got a tremendous write-up from The Ringmaster Review – “his finest incitement yet… has something extra which truly set it apart… delicious pop cacophony”. O yes.
House of Prog went easy on me this time, citing “a somewhat odd and eerie production, with a touch of kraut to the psychedelia”… Thanks, I’ll take it.
Further, Full Circle calls it “ten adventurous songs with inventive arrangements […] Very enjoyable and well made album throughout by an individual and fascinating artist.”
Anyway, pretty soon you’ll be able to decide for yourself – album’s out 3rd May.
LP/single: 1st reviews
Stencil issue 54
Stencil Magazine reviews Vanishing Island here (p. 153) …”for those looking for something that’s outside of the box and scratches many levels of atmosphere”. Ambivalent but interested – my favourite kind of review, quite often (as it implies a genuine effort to engage).
Plugged in Brighton gave the single, Perilous Seat, its first write-up in their 13th issue: “pop through a prism […] It’s almost a waltz, not quite a sea shanty but certainly quality, adult pop”. Wonder what they’ll make of the album? (That’s by far the most accessible, song-shaped track on there, as you’d expect. Even scored some airplay on Kerrang Radio.) We’ll find out…
Otherwise, doing another free improv Safehouse gig as part of the Wildcard Quartet, on 24 April at The Verdict. Comfort zone? I have none.
More band gigs coming up too – news on them as & when.
EDIT: Another review came in just after this post, from Whisperin & Hollerin. It’s very generous indeed – “tidy hooks and imaginatively-crafted moments of atmosphere and even pangs of emotional depth“, among other things. Always cool when someone sees what I was aiming at. Read it here.
gather round, for I must cry my wares
I fucking hate January (and February, but that’s another story). Only remedy’s work – been rehearsing with the band for an upcoming gig and some recording next month, and finalising my next release… due out early May, probably.
Meanwhile, the Disquiet EP’s bagged some more good ink: a very nice one in French from Music In Belgium, and two from Whisperin’ and Hollerin’ (extract above) and Sonic Shocks.
More news on the gig and other doings – it occurs to me there’s not a lot of stuff online with the band, which we’ll have to do something about – as and when, as ever.
video interview & EP review, Oct ’18
Here’s a stranger to daylight, staring back at a camera and talking to Mass Movement about his 10 favourite LPs. I now understand why vloggers do that thing of having loads of apparently pointless fast cuts even if it’s just them talking (to edit out all the times they blew their lines or dried up. Try giving a semi-improvised speech for a quarter hour without deviation, hesitation, repetition or several annoying facial tics… even the most glibly confident would struggle. Still, interesting to try – although I don’t think I could make a “career” out of it). These aren’t the definitive 10 – more the ones that seemed significant that day – but I hope this small addition to the huge reef of pop cult lists is entertaining, anyway. And it’s nice to be asked.
From abundance to rarity – here’s a review of Disquiet from Issue 8 of Plugged In Brighton:
…Reproduced here because it’s bootleg as fuck – a paper zine with minimal web presence, and if you don’t live in Brighton you’re unlikely to see a copy. Both ends of the magnet!
[EDIT: as of July ’19, PiB now has a website – check here]
Back soon with gig news…
3(!) interviews & 1 EP review, Oct ’18
So the new EP’s bagged me several more interviews, following on from Big Issue North and AltCorner… with, if I say it myself, very little repetition and zero rambling.
There’s also a review, courtesy The RingMaster: “a mix of challenge and seduction but most of all a fascination leaning towards needing more”… Hey, I’ll take it.
Here are the links:
Sonic Shocks interview “my feet were floating a couple of inches above the floor and everything was blue round the edges”
Whisperin and Hollerin interview “I got a lot of abuse growing up in England with an Irish surname, so it feels good to parade it now”
Riff Media interview “I’d be seduced by power […] my hands coated with blood and my soul shrunken to a burnt piece of popcorn, then end my days in front of a firing squad”
…There’s stuff about songwriting, inspirations and the dodgy reality of being an independent artist in 2018. Also, the EP’s being streamed by Puregrain Audio, here. So yeah, you can listen and/or read as the mood takes you – with more to come yet.
gig review, Real Music Club (July ’18)
Because reviews of my live performances are few and far between, here’s something from the Real Music Club‘s July Newsletter that’s worth quoting in full:
Fri 22 Jun, Real Music Club @ The Brunswick (Brighton) – w/ Nick Pynn & The Boy In The Cupboard
With thanks to David Page and Joe Bridge.
(Actually, there was one other recent gig review – of the electric band, by Plugged In Brighton, here.)
gig review, Plugged In Brighton 4 (June)
The 11 June Hope & Ruin gig, written up in issue 4 of Plugged In Brighton. Grab a copy round town, unless distance and/or the forces of entropy prevent you (you’ll just have to move to Brighton). Anyway, it was a very nice night, good to see the other acts getting due credit. While we’re here… Can I direct you once more to the zine’s latest Mixcloud, which features an old track of mine? Here it is.
EP review in Monolith Cocktail, May 31
The new EP’s scored a great review in Monolith Cocktail, which describes it as one of my “best releases yet” – and the in-depth write-up concludes I’ve “seldom sounded better and more imaginative”. Have a look, see if you agree (and read all the other stuff too… It’s a great gateway into loads of interesting music).
On a related subject, another shout out for Plugged In Brighton Mixcloud 2 – which features a track from the EP. Here’s the playlist: Frank & Beans – Card Song/ Big Slammu – Chicken Pocks/ Young Francis – Short Hair Girl/ Bitch Theme – Tigerlily/ Rotten Foxes – Mullet/ Matt Finucane – Not Too Far/ Sit Down – Candy Bar/ Ditz – Two/ Negative Measures – Chained/ Red Shores – Cold War/ Clt Drp – Merry Go Round/ King Bee Buzzkut
Interview & front cover, Plugged In Brighton
There I am on the cover of Plugged In Brighton 2… And here, with their kind permission, is the interview from the same issue:
It was lovely to be asked, and they had some kind words about Ugly Scene too:
“the songs are art rock without being limp and inhabit a weird version of our world […] Matt is raging against whatever is there” … among other things.
There’s good info on local bands in there, so pick up a copy if you live in this hipster gulag – or check their facebook page (link above) and mixcloud, if not.
EP review on Subba-Cultcha
A new write-up for the EP here – “This is not your standard Brit-Pop”, featuring “innovation, with sound experimentation, layering and fluctuations within the music’s structure itself, ranging from full-fledged psyched out Pink Floyd-ish granderie at one moment, then over to stripped-down Bob Dylan-like moments of minimalism and pensiveness”.
Good to know it’s doing what it was meant to.
EP review in Monolith Cocktail
According to this great in-depth review, the EP marks “a welcome return to the music scene, and once again defies categorization”
…Which is very good to know. If you read the whole entry (I’m about halfway down it), you’ll find several interesting new artists to hear.
song of the day @ This Is Not A Drill
A feature on the EP from This Is Not A Drill
“…like with any good outsider, the more you listen to the songs, the more natural they become, and soon those quirks become hooks”
A write-up for Threaten Me With Your Love, to go with this one from withguitars.
reviewed in Give It Back Magazine
A nice write-up from an ace magazine… I don’t often get called “seductive in every sense” (more’s the pity). That aside, check it out – lots of cool stuff in there.
Lilith: 1st review (Monolith Cocktail, Oct 9th)
Take a look at this – the other artists are very check-outable, too, loads of stuff to read / listen to – give your mindbrain & earbulbs a treat.
(Just as well I take note of these things, as the review seems to have vanished. I’d think it was my imagination otherwise – MF In The Future)
Unpeeled album review + TOUR NEWS
The 13th August update of Unpeeled has very positive things to say about Glow in the Dark – “once in a blue one, you come across something of genuine interest”, for a start – and I’ve taken the liberty of quoting the entire review somewhere on here. Go to the site, though, it’s all good writing (and they clearly have excellent taste).
Tomorrow sees the first date of MINOTAUR – South Seas Live in Sheffield. Facebook pg for that specific gig here.
Wish me luck – or a gloriously messy death. x
GLOW IN THE DARK out today – reviewed by Whiteboard Project
GLOW IN THE DARK – album #2 – is now available from Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify & the rest. My advice is get it from Bandcamp, where it comes with extras.
It’s been reviewed by Whiteboard Project, here. (Scroll down, it’s the second or third item.) It “will infuriate some and delight others […] Highly recommended”. Amen to that.
On top of this, I’m part of a brief tour from 15th – 19th August.
Brighton Souce & Ringmaster Reviews: Glow in the Dark x2
Two more reviews for Glow in the Dark, first from Stu Huggett in Brighton Source magazine:
…And second from Ringmaster Reviews, here. An ambivalent one, this – “at times not easy to get a handle on”, but “to ignore it would be a mistake”… and “a sinister caress with less than healthy intentions which leaves one rattled but needing to feel its shadows again”(!). Still, it’s in-depth, which is aces with me. And uncertainty isn’t a bad thing… I’ve evoked some colourful images in the writer’s head: my work is done.