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February 1, 2011 / Ryan Cohick

New music that I’m really digging: Matt & Kim

Matt & Kim

Source: Matt & Kim's flickr photostream

The other day, I was watching yet another rerun of “Last Call with Carson Daly,” and the musical guest was a group called Matt & Kim. I was initially under the impression that I had never heard of them before, which meant I would listen but probably wouldn’t be all that interested (music takes a long time to sink in for me sometimes). But then, going into commercial, a clip from one of their songs was played and I instantly recognized it. If you listen to WXPN or Y-Rock at all, you’re bound to have heard a nice little ditty called “Daylight.”

Upon further investigation, “Daylight” is definitely not the only good song by Matt & Kim. It turns out the Brooklyn-based dance-punk duo has three albums full of some awesome music.

While I was watching “Last Call,” I was blown away by how energetic and fun Matt & Kim’s live performance was. And that’s saying a lot considering how much is often lost in translation when showing a band’s live act on TV. Moments into the clip, Matt explains to the audience that the song they’re about to perform is dedicated “to anyone who has ever seen us in the city before.” Between his exchange and the audience’s reaction throughout the song, the energy just flowed out of my television at 2:05 a.m.

Once the segment on “Last Call” ended, I pointed my browser to Amazon mp3 to purchase the album I knew the most songs on, titled “Grand.” This sophomore album by the duo instantly impressed me. The energy evident on stage is just as prevalent in their studio recordings, thanks in part to the punk-influenced bass lines and dance-worthy beats per minute. In addition to “Daylight,” which opens the album, listeners might also recognize “Lessons Learned” from XPN. This track takes the upright piano sound from “Daylight” and replaces it with catchy vocals. Other tracks that stick out to me include “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” and “Turn This Boat Around.”

Since I finished “Grand” knowing it would surely be played constantly on iTunes  and in my car for a while, I decided to immediately purchase Matt & Kim’s newer “Sidewalks.” Upon pressing play, I immediately knew that I’d like this album even more than “Grand.” The sound produced by the duo has seemed to mature between albums. The catchy beats are now accompanied by a tighter sound and more confident vocals from Matt.

Other than “Cameras,” which has already become the most-played Matt & Kim song in my iTunes library, I can’t decide what other tracks to point out from “Sidewalks.” This isn’t because they’re bad, it’s because they’re all so good. So I recommend you give the album a spin and tell me which tracks are your favorite.

Finally, I have a confession to make: I’ve spent most of this post trying to figure out who I could compare Matt & Kim to in order to give you all a frame of reference, but I’m afraid I’m not able to provide much for fear of giving you the wrong impression. So, I’m going to give this one stab and then leave it up to you to draw your own lines of comparison: The duo instantly reminds me of Discovery with the thumping bass lines, but soars a lot like Phoenix and Passion Pit with their electronic sound. Mature the pop sound of Owl City and Mika by 50 years and throw in the depth, presence and energy of Arcade Fire for good measure and you should have a close estimation on the sound of Matt & Kim.



Leave a Comment
  1. mjoshua / Mar 1 2011 12:42 pm

    I’m gonna add Matt & Kim to my grooveshark. I’ll leave this tab open in my browser. Ill let you know what I think once I listen to an album or two.

  2. mjoshua / Mar 1 2011 1:30 pm

    I’m having a little bit of a hard time getting into it. I wanna like them so I could say that we have some musical taste in common. But all I hear is low-fi electronica with yelly vocals. I’m not sure if I’m missing a hidden layer of lyricism or songwriting that I paid more attention to the lyrics.

    Okay, hey. Maybe I could link you to one of my post sof a band that you might hate, too? Similar genre, but also very “love-it-or-hate-it:”

    My Ben + Vesper post:

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