Posts Tagged ‘Matt Valentine’

Matt Valentine

It’s been a bang-up year for Matt Valentine, with his searing second album from Wet Tuna landing last month and now the arrival of his 8-years baking solo LP, Preserves headed down the dock from Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The latest takes every incarnation that Valentine has inhabited over his years and throws ‘em in the blender, but don’t go thinking this is a hodge-podge, unfocused affair. MV grinds those sounds down smooth and viscous – melding psychedelic folk, with electronic swamp gas and lighting it on fire with the frantic freak foam of brain-bending guitar. This is Matt as his most potent, burning from the core and set to singe. The album blends midnight séance shivers with alien radio ripples, sounding like the FM waves have been hijacked and are picking up some sorely needed psychotropic solace from across the cosmos. Songs blend into one another without seams. It’s all one big batch of Preserves, steeped and sweetened for your pre-dawn consumption, gelled together into 40-odd minutes of melt.

The record calls up every acquaintance Valentine’s brushed against over the better part of the decade with longtime compatriots like Erika Elder, Pat Gubler, Willie Lane, J. Mascis, and Samar Lubelski making their way into the psychic seep of this one. The guests siphon and out Valentine’s sonic stew, giving the record a communal careen, but at the core is simply MV communing with the quasars one more time for good measure. It’s quite possible this might be the perfect companion piece to this years’ Water Weird — a moonburned coda on that album’s smoke-soaked blues. The two fit together into an extended fever dream hunkered down in sauna surroundings, sweating out the evil ether for all the transcendental sinners out there. Don’t just take my word though, the whole album’s streaming below and you’re welcome to get a taste of it yourself.


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Wet Tuna

When Wet Tuna first unspooled their debut last year, they tapped into a primitive blues soup dipped strait from the swamp. It’s a humid, boiled record that folds one song into another with barely time to swipe the sweat before each groove subsumes the next. The band was built on the stage and they brought the deep zone groove nexus into the studio with surprising success. On the follow-up they still keep the cosmic tapestry intact, but they’ve begun to thread a few new strands into the tattered tap as well. The record is still living on midnight fuel, formed from their own admitted tendency to let the substances settle for a few hours until the balance is right and the clock slips past the uprights into the pre-dawn hours.

They channel this time-slip pseudo-seance onto a two-inch proof of purchase – a haunted haven of dank grooves to get lost in and vaporized boogie that cures the soul. Matt and Pat have boundless roots in the psychedelic pantheon, but collectively this is probably one of their most pure and primal discs. Water Weird is the cosmos captured, the burnt mind made good and projected through three layers of psychic meniscus into the ever after. Water Weird is the night made manifest and given flight over the horizon of infinite ink. There’s something ineffable, intangible, and alchemical about Wet Tuna and it all comes to a head with Water Weird. If this isn’t sitting atop your year end, then I’ve got some serious questions about priorities to discuss with you.

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Wet Tuna – “Cowpath 40”

The steam off of this upcoming Wet Tuna record continues to rise and the band gives another inviting glimpse into the world of Water Weird. “Cowpath 40” slinks forward from the depths, slow and silken, yet covered in an algae slick that gives it a dank, earthen smell. There’s more than a little of the Midnight Tripper in the veins here, the bones of Louisiana sprung to life hundreds of miles north, swamped and sodden, but never soggy. Valentine and Gubler are skulking through a permanent 3AM tilt and it feels like the only right time to be out when Tuna’s on the speakers. New record lands October 11th, and the band is hitting Hudson for a stacked bill at The Half Moon. I’d highly suggest getting some Wet Tuna in your life.



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Matt Valentine – “Light Speed>”

Well this one’s been on rotation for me for a while, so good to see that the rest of the world is getting a listen. Matt Valentine’s already got a heady burner on the dock with Wet Tuna, but this solo LP wraps up 8 years of pre-dawn jams into one handy collection to cook yer noodle. The opener, “Light Speed>” lays down the operating parameters for the rest of the platter – thoroughly cone-fried psych shot through the outer rim, bounced from quasar to quasar and back through the low-band AM ripples of your transistor soul. The album’s full of mind mel(t/d) mercurial moments and they all start here like a slow-motion explosion triggered by battery acid and sweat. Get into it! The record is out November 8th, from Beyond Beyond is Beyond.




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Wet Tuna – “Goin'”

Couldn’t be more excited to have a new Wet Tuna up for grabs this morning. The last one hit hard, or it least it should have if you had the right kinda ears last year. This time the pairing of Matt (MV) Valentine and Pat (P.G. Six) Gubler is back to track your midnight ride into the subconscious, sub-dermal subject matter. The vibes are heady already as “Goin’” wafts into the room — the kind of molasses-milked twilight track that can hit just right when the brain’s in balance and the air is still. This is the core of Tuna — a humid seep of sound, a breath on the air that realigns the vibrations in the ether. “Goin” gets into the pores and never leaves.

Matt gives a little insight into how the track rose to the surface, “WET TUNA is wild & fun place for me. Pat & I have a language that seems to be unique to us…we don’t really talk about it and i reckon in many ways that’s what makes it cool. Anyway, that’s how it went down, via the jam, and how most of our music flows, we turn on the tubes and the tapes roll. I distinctly remember doing 3 “takes” of “goin’” — all with John Moloney on drums — he and i have been preserving it for a long time and the couch is flambeau comfy. He brought a pretty skeletal kit to the session, which was at my “Green Extension Studio B” in Vermont, and we left a lotta space. It’s a tight room. We tracked guitars live with drums and kept everything. Pat used a synth wah effect, I plugged in a Vox repeat percussion and Mutron. we used Gibson & Fender amps, did the vocals together in one or two takes. The lyrics came to me in a semina vision. Pat dubbed mellotron. it was around 4:20 in the afternoon, seriously, but it coulda been round midnight. Sunshine winter warmer…we had some Guinness in cans outside the window in a hanging pot from the night before, code name “water the plant” to grab a round. Pretty sure there were two left and we poured ‘em slow.”

New LP, Water Weird hits the shelves October 11th from the incontrovertible crew at Three Lobed.

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Matt Valentine on Takehisa Kosugi – Catch Wave

I’m steadily working through the great wishlist of artists who have shaped the path of Raven for the Hidden Gems series and this week we land on another. Along with Erica Elder, Matt Valentine’s tenure in MV & EE and its various incarnations was instrumental to the aughts psych-folk wave. In his stewardship of the great Northeast label Child of Microtones he’s given a home to The Tower Recordings, Samara Lubelski, Ash & Herb and Dredd Foole among others. And just this year he’s carved out yet another classic with PG Six as Wet Tuna. So, it came to pass that I asked Matt to pick out a record that had perhaps eluded the grasp of the masses all these years. Coming on the heels of the news that Taj Mahal Travellers’ August 1974 has found its way back to LP, Valentine’s pick from the band’s Takehisa Kosugi – his 1975 album Catch Wave – seems quite fitting. See how this record found its way to his life and what impact it’s had on his own works below.

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Premiere: MV & EE – “i’m still in love with you love > void”

Longstanding psych-folk duo MV & EE were among the first to crop up on RSTB all those many years ago, and its a comfort to know that they’re still spinning the wheel of cosmic folk to this day. The band have a decidedly two sided coin in their approach, the first is a sun-streaked haze that stops just short of the sunshine psych perfected by the marquee members of their Woodsist home, the second is a darker and more discordant version that edges into squalls of psychedelic fallout, paranoia laden fuzz dirges and jammed transmission tape effects. The first taste of their upcoming album, root/void showed off that sunny disposition and the second dives deep into the wooded bunker of the latter style. On the epic album closer, “i’m still in love with you love > void,” the pair pulls into a territory that seems less idyllic forest folk and more in line with the sylvan trappings of a Cormac McCarthy novel, grey-skied and bleak, with a heavy heart and a toasted shell of apocalyptic creep. The track closes out the album on a note of resigned hope – it is a song about love, mind you, but the love seems to have faded from view and become twisted into something long since changed from its original incarnation. root/void is out Oct 7th on Woodsist.

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MV & EE – “Feel Alright”

Word comes down that Matt Valentine and Erika Elder are back in business (they never really stop though right? 60 cd-rs and counting?) and there lies imminent a proper release for Woodsist. The first cut is amiably low key and decidedly running down the gauzier lines of their output. No Golden or Bummer Road in sight here, just the duo relishing in the soft glow of afternoon sun and strumming without worry. The band’s dreamy glow is captured perfectly in a similarly loose clip of the couple wandering the woods around their house with their daughter, directed by Galaxie 500’s Naiomi Yang. Though the band floated in on raft of psych-folk fodder but they’ve tested the time and proven themselves to be an insular unit of good vibes, eking out albums that come packed with the smell of rotting logs, moss and leaves. They’re living the woodland folklore to its core and this one proves it.



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