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Kick Off Your Weekend with Matthew E. White at Rough Trade NYC

August 4th, 2015

Make no mistake: Matthew E. White is a musician. He’s a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger, and he even formed his own label, Spacebomb Records, which uses a house band—led by White on guitar, Cameron Ralston on bass, Pinson Chanselle on drums and Trey Pollard on guitar—for all of its work. “White has built a potential powerhouse the likes of which haven’t been seen since the late ’50s and ’60s, since the heyday of Motown and Stax Records,” according to New Republic. “A studio that produces records with a house band and a rotating stable of musicians, taking advantage of local creativity and regional flavor.” Growing up in Virginia Beach and the Philippines, White listened to the likes of the Band, Curtis Mayfield, Brian Wilson, and ’60s and ’70s R&B, and he’s worked with Justin Vernon, Megafaun, Natalie Prass, the Mountain Goats and Sharon Van Etten, in addition to leading the avant-garde jazz big band Fight the Big Bull. In theory, that should really be enough for just one guy. But for Matthew E. White, it wasn’t. So Spacebomb Records put out his acclaimed debut full-length, Big Inner (stream it below), in 2013, reminding many of Randy Newman’s early work, thanks to White’s unique take on things. And he followed that with this year’s exceptional Fresh Blood (stream it below), which the Guardian labeled “a delicious second helping,” and about which, NPR Music opined, “The high quality of performance and arranging, the generous spirit of its narrator, the ear-candy moments of instant comfort that permeate Fresh Blood—all that is how Matt White and his crew salute their inspirations.” And as good as his albums are, White and Co. (above, doing “Rock & Roll Is Cold” for KEXP FM) are even better live. So don’t miss him on Friday night at Rough Trade NYC.