08 June 2007

And I didn't know all the words, but I sure as shit did sing along.

Armed with naught but an alarmingly large belt buckle and a boombox, Matthew Ryan faces a world determined to bring him down.

Alone in his basement, Ryan pleads and screams furiously acoustic little numbers into his boombox. With a voice that brings immediately to mind a young Connor Oberst, and lyrics that echo the highly literate words of John Darnielle (of the Mountain Goats), his songs can be described as nothing if not powerful.

The intensity in Ryan's voice is almost too much for the boombox to handle, and the reverb that results, that distortion that is almost painful, truly in this lies the key to what it is exactly that makes lo-fi music so compelling.

There are no slick production here. No smoothing of rough edges, no easing of awkward moments. This is real, immediate, grab you by the hair and yank kind of music. And I love it.

'You're gonna leave me,' screams Ryan, 'Goddamnit! I'm gonna be ok.'

God help anyone who doubts him.

Download: Car Rides

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