Matt Haeck, Western States

I wish I had more info on this guy; all I can find is that he’s out of Nashville and he released an EP this year that doesn’t suck.

I really like Western States, though I find I can’t remember any of the melodies after I’m done listening to it. This is a phenomena I’ve noticed over the years and it may well be one of the great unanswered scientific questions; how can a song be very enjoyable yet, simultaneously, unmemorable?  Musicians constantly bemoan that catchy, bad songs are more commercially viable than more complex (and presumably better) pieces. This essential knowledge, that quality and “memorability” are not linked, is a point that informs many music critics’ deep distrust of any music with even a modicum of popularity or commercial success… which is unfair.

There has to be a better way, an elaborate formula to mathematically explain why some melodies, sounds, beats, etc. fasten to the mind more than others, and why I can’t get that fucking Duran Duran song out of my head. Simply step up to the console, plug in the particular emotion you wish to convey (the more mundane the better) and out pops an insanely catchy beat replete with DJ scratches and hand claps. You don’t even need to think; all you need to do is say “I’m sad” and out pops a Dashboard Confessional song.

I am being facetious, of course, but there are many people in positions of great power who take this idea very seriously.  It is they who are largely responsible for foisting the Swedish-produced Britney Spears tracks on the rest of us who were innocently minding our own business.  To paraphrase the late, great Frank Zappa, “that’s it! Turn in up!  Gimme’ a beat at 120 beats per minute.  Don’t gimme’ none of that 119 bullshit.  And turn up those fucking handclaps!”

The following is from Matt’s Myspace page.

Matt Haeck keeps an ear studiously and respectfully trained on those men and women, both living and long dead, who give us our rich heritage of American music. Matt has lived in every major region of America, but he and his music have made their way to Nashville. He comfortably assimilates northern soul, west coast harmonies, east coast pop and Midwest rock into his brand of southern Americana. The stories these places tell combine with influences from Wilco and Stephen Foster to Cormac McCarthy and the Old Testament to form the substance of Matt’s songs.

In January of this year Matt released a new EP, Western States. The seven songs on the album explore thoughts of running, loving, losing, and longing. “The EP’s lyrical content and musical fluidity make it timeless and make Matt Haeck one of the finest up-and-comers making music these days.” (thisismodern.net)

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