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Matt Costa
w/ Carly Ritter and the blank tapes



May 3, 2013

$15 NON REFUNDABLE / GENERAL ADMISSION Tickets available at ticketweb by clicking the link below:

or at P&H 760 365 5956

doors 7:00

blank tapes 8:00

Carly Ritter 8:45

Matt Costa 10:00

When Matt Costa first started writing for his fourth full-length

album, he envisioned the end result as a stripped-down selection of

rootsy folk songs. But once he plunged into the songwriting process

something much more grandiose and sonically adventurous began to emerge.

Soon Costa found himself in the midst of a highly unanticipated yet

deeply expansive evolution of artistry as a singer, songwriter and

multi-instrumentalist. “The songs started morphing and twisting and

taking on a more mystic sound,” says Costa, “and at the same time I

began opening up my sense of what’s possible with melody.” Thanks to his

resculpting those songs with elaborate yet naturalistic instrumentation

and some boldly inventive merging of disparate musical styles—as well

as decamping to Glasgow to record with longtime Belle&

Sebastian/Mogwai cohort Tony Doogan and an illustrious ensemble of

Scottish musicians—the new self-titled release proves to be Costa’s most

ambitious and magnetic album to date.

The follow-up to 2010’s Mobile Chateau (hailed as a “gorgeously

garage-sounding album with organic percussion instruments, crackling

tube-driven amps, and jangly guitars cascading in every direction” by

AllMusic), The new record again reveals Costa’s penchant for blending

sun-soaked pop with sweetly ethereal, British-folk-influenced rock. But

in a marked developmental departure, Costa builds on that pairing with

lush arrangements and sprawling melodies that elevate his sound to a

stunning new level. Produced by Doogan (also known for his work with

Teenage Fanclub, Mojave 3, and Super Furry Animals) and recorded at

Castle of Doom (the Glasgow recording studio created by Doogan and

Mogwai), the ferociously creative self titled LP also features a

prestigious lineup of supporting musicians, including Costa’s friend and

guitarist Danny Garcia, Belle&Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson

and bassist Bobby Kildea, and former Isobel Campbell collaborators Chris

Geddes (organ) and Dave McGowan (pedal steel, piano, double bass).

For Costa—who taught himself to play guitar at age 12 by strumming

along to Nirvana records—the musical evolution evinced on Matt Costa

came from some careful studying of orchestral approaches to composing

songs. “Once I got really into writing I knew I was going to add strings

to the songs, so I listened to a lot of symphonies and a lot of Mozart,

then played around with figuring that all out on guitar,” says Costa.

“It was a huge help in terms of giving me the inspiration to work with

more interesting chords and these bigger, grander themes.” Costa also

focused on constructing songs that could accommodate horn arrangements, a

throwback to his childhood days of playing the trumpet (an instrument

he ended up pawning at age 17 to get the cash to purchase a Rolling

Stones songbook).

Throughout Matt Costa, the artist shakes up those sophisticated

arrangements with infectious melodies, artful touches of whimsy, and

elegant lyrics rendered in lilting yet powerful vocals. On the lead

single “Good Times,” for instance, he offers up a cabaret-worthy,

piano-driven stomper with a clever twist at its chorus (“Good times are

coming/To an end”). Another deceptively breezy number, “Loving You”

finds Costa

channeling T. Rex’s glammy romanticism and freewheeling pop spirit as he

reminisces about the carefree early days of a longtime love. On

“Shotgun,” meanwhile, he brightens up a melancholy meditation on his

fascination with tragic figures (“All the winners I know were just born

to lose”) by weaving in shimmering guitars, falsetto harmonies, and a

pounding, handclap-backed beat.

Even in its quieter moments, the intricately textured soundscape and

storytelling give the album a hypnotic intensity. With its warm strings

and sorrowful horns, “Clipped Wings” perfectly captures the nostalgia

for the boldness that comes with youth (“Once we were young and lived

dangerous/But the rains poured down/They started to change us/We both

grew so ancient”), while the dreamy and fluttering “Early November”

makes for a more than worthy response to Sandy Denny’s 1971 reverie

“Late November.” Inspired by a classic track from another one of Costa’s

musical heroes (the Neil Young-penned “Expecting to Fly” from Buffalo

Springfield), “Golden Cathedrals” enchants and entrances with its gauzy

orchestration and angelic harmonies. And while the mournful “Silver Sea”

comes on like a gutsy revival of a traditional folk song, its subtly

haunting message feels strikingly of-the-moment.

For Costa, creating the new album away from his homeland was

essential to building the bittersweet mood that permeates the new album.

“Before I went to Glasgow, I thought I was going to end up with all

these rainy songs that would sort of reflect my idea of what Scotland

was like, as someone who comes from Southern California,” says Costa,

who grew up in Huntington Beach. “But then once I got there, I realized I

was neglecting my more upbeat side, so I started to work that into the

album as well.”

Indeed, Costa’s Southern California roots have long played a key role

in guiding his musical career. A former skateboarder once on the verge

of going pro, Costa suffered a broken leg at age 19 and shifted his

attention to music. “I got my first electric guitar when I was a kid,

but ended up trading it to a friend for some skate shoes and a board,”

he recalls. “Then when I was 18, I bought an acoustic and learned how to

finger-pick like Donovan and started teaching myself Bob Dylan songs.”

Costa next tried his hand at songwriting, as well as recording his own

demos with the help of a four-track. In 2003 he released his debut EP

(the simply titled Matt Costa EP, produced by No Doubt guitarist Tom

Dumont) and, in 2005, put out his first full-length album (Songs We

Sing, which was re-released the following year by Brushfire Records).

Costa then devoted the next few years to touring extensively both in the

U.S. and abroad, supporting everyone from Modest Mouse to Oasis and

playing all of the major U.S. festivals (including Coachella,

Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Sasquatch and Bonnaroo). In 2008 he

recorded his sophomore release Unfamiliar Faces (featuring the tune “Mr.

Pitiful,” which was selected for the I Love You, Man soundtrack), and

in 2010 self-produced Mobile Chateau.

Now, with the new self titled album, Costa’s ceaseless exploring of

vast musical territory has yielded a selection of songs that carefully

mine his influences while conjuring up an uncommonly fresh and visionary

new sound. “I was thinking about the Basement Tapes [a collection of

tracks that Bob Dylan recorded with The Band in 1967] and how I always

loved the way those songs made me feel, and also how they were all

recorded so simply,” he says. “With this album, part of what I wanted to

do was work with all these big, over-the-top arrangements that burst

open and take off into a whole new dimension—but still ultimately create

that same kind of cool, pure feeling.”

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