There is nothing better than artist that delivers a surprise and Matt Nathanson did just that. On Wednesday of last week, he made an announcement that he was dropping a live album and you could pre-order it on vinyl or many bundles on Thursday at Noon EST. So, I set a reminder on my calendar and when 12:00pm hit, I was on the site and the album was ordered. And to make it even better, you were sent an email and able to download the album immediately in a digital version. And to make it even better than better, you got a deluxe edition with another 36 tracks. That was over 3 hours of music…hell yeah!!! And the album would drop to the general public on Friday so I got to hear it day before everyone else (except those other fans that ordered).
The main standard album is mostly an actual show that was recorded on his 2019 tour called the “Song Wheel” Extravaganza Tour at the legendary Paradise Rock Club in his hometown of Boston, MASS. What was really cool about this tour is that it was an acoustic show with just Matt and his friend Aaron. And another really cool aspect is the tour included a big wheel called the Song Wheel. There were a ton of songs around the wheel and he would spin it several times during the show and let the wheel decide what song would be played next. This is exciting because basically each show he played would be different than the show prior. That is almost unheard of in today’s technical and choreographed lighting shows where every bit of the show is timed out to the precise moment leaving no room for improv which Matt is an utter master at doing.
Happy Friday everyone. It is another day for releases and hopefully something you’ve been wanting. There isn’t a whole lot here this week, some solid metal, pop, country, r&b, comedy and two surprises that only popped up as being released this week. And those two are the only ones I am interested in which is good as vacation is coming and some much needed time off. Those two are in Blue. Let me know what you are digging this week and what I have missed. If there is nothing for you, what is something new lately that you find to be pretty dang great? Let me know! Have a great weekend everyone!
Taylor Swift – Folklore – (Republic Records): Surprise, Surprise!! Taylor announced yesterday that she is dropping a new album at midnight…right when this post posts! Written and inspired during the Covid-19 stay at home orders…I’m actually interested in what this will sound like. I know, I’m surprised by that as well.
Matt Nathanson – Live in Paradise: Boston: The announcement came on Wednesday, Pre-Orders were Thursday and the Digital is came immediately so technically this came out yesterday, but I don’t care!!!…This is so exciting for me as nothing this man puts out is bad and now a Live album…Hell Yeah!!! There are no videos, but someone posted one from the show last year that is supposed to from so close enough.
First off, December is a little light compared to the last two months of purchases December was a more normal month of purchases mainly because it is the month for Christmas and my Birthday. For that reason, I have to leave things for people to buy for me as gifts.
The month started out actually on Black Friday and yes, I know that is November. The problem is I couldn’t get these purchases into last months post due to timing issues and Thanksgiving and all. I am sure you won’t mind.
Record Store Black Friday was on November 29th and I got up bright and early to pick up are few things and I got exactly what I was going for and nothing more…I stuck to the plan for once.
First up is the RSD Exclusive Release of Pearl Jam’s MTV Unplugged and you saw that one already at THIS POST!!!!
As you know if you follow this site at all, I am a Matt Nathanson fan. I think he is a fantastic songwriter/singer and an all around marvelous person. I have seen him live only three times and each time he keeps getting better. His live shows are something you have to see as his banter with the crowd is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!! He is witty, funny and damn, the man can sing. Matt is also a lyrical painter. He pays so much attention to the lyrical phrasing that it paints such a vivid picture or touches you in ways that only music can do.
Matt Nathanson, the studio musician, is broken down in two categories for me. The 90’s Matt is is an indie rocker that is still trying to find his voice both lyrically and vocally. But the shades of what is to come is in dimly shining in there. Then there is the Matt of 2000’s that has seen his songwriting and singing grow by leaps and bound. He has a confidence that shows in his music and definitely shows when he is on stage. There are those that find his early stuff more raw and pure and it is that, but as you will see with the list, I find his 2000’s self to be the better half.
So, you now have my overall reasoning behind my picks and with that, we need to dive in and rank Matt Nathanson’s albums from The Worst to the one I think is First! And sorry I don’t have all his albums in the Header photo as the site I use only offers 8 frames otherwise I would have had all 10 included.
THE WORST – PLEASE (1993):
Now here is the good news, there really isn’t a bad choice among all the albums, this is all about preference. I have this as the Worst mainly because it is an album with a rough production and Matt’s vocals aren’t quite what they become. And yes I do know that these are mostly demos thus the explaining the quality. The cool thing about it is that the songs were all written while he was in high school or during his freshman year at Pitzer College in California. There are hints of the Matt I grew to love, but it is the one album I go to the least.
I realized I have been making a lot of purchases and yet not everything makes its way on to the site. I figured I would do a wrap up each month of all my purchasing I have made even if they made it on the site during the month or even might make it on to the site down the road.
And this month started out with a bang! A brand new record store opened up in Charlotte, NC called Noble Records. They opened on October 5th which was a Saturday and because of that I got their bright and early. Not grand opening 10am early, but I got there before 11am. I had to take my daughter to her tutoring class at 10 and family comes first…then vinyl…sorry then God, then vinyl!! Okay, maybe more order is skewed, but you get it.
I found two album I have been wanting and I had to grab them as I don’t seem them that often and one was a first pressing (not the RAGE album).
I then found two more albums one I for some reason didn’t have in my collection as it is one of the most popular albums of the 70’s and the other is a 12″ Single from Stryper just in time for Christmas.
One great thing about Matt Nathanson (there are a lot) is that he has been releasing E.P.s in between albums to keep his fans happy. Last year we got the absolutely incredible Def Leppard covers E.P. called ‘Pyromattia’which was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Now he brings us another covers E.P. titled ‘Postcards (from Chicago)’.
Matt took some time while in Chicago to put together another covers release. There are 6 songs from quite a diverse group of artists which makes it a very interesting release. Here is the track list…
Same Drugs (feat. Patrick Stump) – original by Chance the Rapper
Perfect World – original by Liz Phair
Hum Hallelujah – original by Fall Out Boy
Surrender (feat. Richard Marx) – original by Cheap Trick
Hold On to the Nights – original by Richard Marx
Whiskey Bottle – original by Uncle Tupelo
The album is out now on digital and I had to wait for 3 months on the vinyl. It is sweet. It has an autographed postcard of Chicago and it is on a really cool looking Orange Vinyl and here it finally is after the long wait…
July is almost over, but it isn’t going out before giving us one more week of new releases and there a quite a few, but only a few that I am really eager to hear and those that I will listen to when I have time. My choices will be marked in Blue. Tell me what you are looking forward to hearing or what I might have missed as it is known to happen. I hope there is something for your listening pleasure. Thanks and have a great weekend!
Matt Nathanson – Postcards (from Chicago) E.P. – (Acrobat Records): Well if you follow this site, then you know this is a no-brainer for me. I have already ordered the 10″ Orange vinyl and not sure when I will get it, but the digital download was ready for me first thing this morning. Matt, and at times friends, are doing a 6 song E.P. of cover songs and the list is quite diverse from Chance the Rapper to Richard Marx to Cheap Trick. Last year or so he did another that was a complete Def Leppard covers E.P. which was Fan’freaking’tastic. So high hopes for this one.
Soundgarden – Live at the Artists Den – (UMe): Soundgarden is releasing a live show from their 2013 Tour and it will be a full 29 song set and will remind us how great Chris Cornell was as a singer and a frontman. It will be available on Blue Ray, CD, LP and digital. Get the deluxe set to have it all.
For the regulars of my site, they already know I am a huge Matt Nathanson fan. For those non-regulars, I will let you know I am a huge Matt Nathanson fan. I have been re-exploring his earlier catalog lately and I want to point out a great live set he has available called ‘At the Point’.
‘At the Point’ was recorded, well, at The Point. The Point is an intimate club in Philadelphia, PA. It was recorded in the Summer of 2005 and released in 2006. It is only Matt and his acoustic guitar. Nothing or no one else.
What I love about this album is it is a lot of his old songs from before my discovery of Matt which was around 2007 or so. The album showcases his live performance, his ability to own a crowd, his comedic stylings (he is one funny SOB), his voice and most importantly his songwriting and musicianship.
From such classics as “Church Clothes”, “Answering Machine”, “Curve of the Earth” and “I Saw” to his cover of Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet” and Drivin’ N Cryin’s “Straight to Hell”, you get lost in his performances as they are delivered so flawlessly and seem so personal. You get laughs as he tells stories that will have you laughing your ass off and you just get an hour and seven minutes of pure enjoyment. This is what a live album should be. Something you can feel and connect with.
It is time for the Top 20 Songs of 2018. My previous post, if you missed it, was the Top 20 Rock Songs of 2018. Go check it out by clicking on the link. These 20 songs are all genres other than rock. Some were popular and chart toppers and others were not. They are my favorites, that touched me in some way so don’t expect any indie bands or anything trendy. If you want that go to one of the cool sites out there, this ain’t it.
#20 – “Space Cowboy” – Kacey Musgrave off the album ‘Golden Hour’: I am not huge into today’s country music, but Kacey is different. She is doing things her way, pushing boundaries and sounds. I love her voice and her songs are always interesting and worth diving into lyrically. This one is no different. It is more pop than country, but still good.
#19 – “Say Hello” – Rhett Walker Band off the ‘Rhett Walker Band E.P.’: Rhett’s a Christian rock band and this song comes off with the power of Church Revival and gets you up out of you chair, hands in the air and give it your all. If you want to get moving, this will do it.
The year is almost over so it is time to look back at what was awesome in music during the year. I have already looked back at the Top Rock Albums of 2018 (click to read). This list will cover all other genres that I listened to over the year including Pop, Country, Christian and whatever other genre you want classify these albums. Rock is my favorite genre and that is why it gets it’s own list, but that doesn’t take away from any of these choices as I think they are great on their own.
Note: These albums were my favorites and not necessarily the most played on the radio (which I hate the radio) or even the biggest sellers. There aren’t the trendy indie bands on everyone else’s top albums list. These are just what I came across during the year and connected with me in some way. So, we might as well get started…
The #1 Album of 2018
Matt Nathanson – Sings His Sad Heart: Man, what can I say about this guy. He is my favorite singer/songwriter out their right now and has been for sometime. Within just a couple listens to this album I felt like I knew all the words and I was singing right along like I had grown up with these songs. And how do you know an album is great, you keep singing it when you aren’t even listening to it. Yes, I was and I am still singing. The songs “Mine”, “Way Way Back”, “Used To Be” “Long Distant Runner” and “Best Drugs” are some of my favorites but there is not a bad song. Perfect!!