Matthew Logan Vasquez

Matthew Logan Vasquez is feeling optimistic. That’s not necessarily apparent the first time you spin his new full-length solo album. Each track on Matthew Logan Does What He Wants feels urgent and intense. Impatient landlords, financial woes and other frustrations fan the agitation embedded in the opening track, ͞Same.͟ Isolation darkens the brooding images of ͞From Behind The Glass.͟ Death takes a bow on ͞The Fighter.͟ Vasquez can’t help but juxtapose the celebration of ͞Fatherhood͟ with a lament that ͞we ain’t got the money to pay the hospital.͟The music enhances this impression. As fans of his work with Delta Spirit and Middle Brother know well, Vasquez knows how to fuse passion and poetry in his writing and then ignite this volatile mix with extraordinarily expressive singing. In this sense he stands as a peer and a worthy successor to those who influenced him as an up-and-coming artist — Neil Young, Kurt Cobain, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and others often mentioned, none of them known for their upbeat, sunny lyrics. ͞My point is that life is a struggle,͟ Vasquez continues. ͞But how can you have optimism and hope if you don’t have something negative? Context is what makes it meaningful.͟For Vasquez, context involves drawing from dramatically different settings. Growing up in Austin Texas and along the California coast, hunkering down for years in Brooklyn as he finessed his music in a more pressurized urban context and then heading back to Austin to put all the pieces together, he took note of the differences and similarities these places offered. During much of that time he channeled his experiences into Delta Spirit, whose albums inspired critics to laud the band as͞restless and defiant͟ (Paste), its music infused by ͞waves of measured ferocity͟ (Uncut) and ͞significant depth͟(Austin Chronicle).To keep his path clear and work on his own terms, Vasquez built a studio in his home for this past year — a trailer parked about an hour west of Austin. Here, in Texas Hill Country, surrounded by evergreen oak trees, he wrote and recorded basic tracks and then brought in singer Kam Franklin from The Suffers, Shakey Graves drummer Christopher Booshada and Jud Johnson of A. Sinclair to add parts as needed. For backup vocals and string parts, he worked long-distance via sound files with the Parkington Sisters, who he performed with during a Middle Brother set at last year’s Newport Folk Festival. ͞They performed a miracle, giving me a 3-D depth that makes the tracks they appear on jump out of the speakers,͟ he insists. In final form, Does What He Wants is like a hall of mirrors, each capturing a different image of one self-aware and restlessly creative individual. This music is diverse yet unified, which of course was a priority for its author.
And, in the end, it turns out to feel pretty optimistic after all — a perfect statement for these times and possibly for some time to come.

Frances Cone is a Nashville based soulful indie band. For someone with deep familial roots in opera and classical music, founder Christina Cone seems preternaturally capable of writing songs focused on capturing the insane, unthinking fireworks of the human heart. Anxiety. Heartbreak. Transcendent love. The secrets of a diary so sacred and precious it only exists internally, every word an eyes-shut-tight whisper. To create music like that, such as on their forthcoming album ‘Late Riser’, takes actual, emotional bravery. It takes a level of empathy and love that stays locked and unavailable in most people. Luckily, Christina and her multi-instrumentalist musical and life partner Andrew Doherty found each other in Brooklyn NY a few years ago and all the locks failed. They started creating what would become half of ‘Late Riser’. Between them there was just enough courage to hold hands and jump.

They landed in Nashville, TN and immediately found a home in the city’s thriving alternative scene. There were challenges and successes and lots of hard work but all along the songs kept coming. Music lovers at Noisey, Billboard, Stereogum, and Brooklyn Vegan among others began to take notice. NPR invited the band to perform at their Tiny Desk concert series and they garnered more than 12 million streams on Spotify. The seed of a musical identity first hinted at on Cone’s 2013 release ‘Come Back’ blossomed into something unignorable and meaningful. After years of patience and perseverance, ‘Late Riser’ was finally finished. The record is a testament to what modern pop music is capable of when imbued with honesty and emotion so palpable you can taste it in your mouth. It’s not opera, and it’s not the result of any calculation or outside influence. It is pure feeling: watching a fireworks display through happy tears.

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