Noise Annoys 

Matos gets lonely; Parker shows ‘Fangs’

Michael Matos

Michael Matos

Ever since the epochal '60s run of Bob Dylan, whose groundbreaking literate expressionism was one of the foremost and, to this day, almost unparalleled artistic achievements in the era of recorded music, the archetype of the singer/songwriter has remained in the forefront of western pop music. Because the crafting of the composition is the singer/songwriter's essential vehicle, the vocal can go far into idiosyncratic territory and the musical accompaniment typical of the genre is usually based in skeletal and spare instrumentation. Behind the focus of the song and its mostly intimate, confessional lyrics, there's a tense dichotomy of unhinged emotion and conservative, structured tradition.

In the first two months of 2017, Tucson has seen more than its fair share of local performers working within and beyond the limits of the singer/songwriter. Hank Topless' current album is a brilliant summation of American roots music while Louise Le Hir is mining similar, but more expansive sounds. Casey Golden, whose self-titled debut was reviewed recently in this column, has created what plays as a sort of anthology of variations of the style, and Gabriel Sullivan—returning to a project first explored in 2014—is writing, recording and releasing a song everyday of the year.

This week brings two more distinctive spins on the art of songcraft by two vet Tucson artists, Mark Matos and Bryan Thomas Parker.

Matos usually records with a gaggle of merry pranksters under the name Trans Van Santos and brings down the volume and the mood on his new solo album, California. The record has a tossed off, unrehearsed feel that adds weight to his unusually raw songs, most of which carry the spectral gloom of a dream from which you just woke up from. Tracks like "Fire to Glass" and "Little Wind" are little more than a guitar chord or two and some whispers, but the unadorned and overbearing sense of longing.

Bryan Thomas - Parker
  • Bryan Thomas Parker

Conversely, Parker takes a less desolate, lighter and far more life-affirming stance on his new single, "First World Problems" b/w "Fangs." The very primitive recording fidelity is evident from the first note of "First World Problems" but the uptempo, bouncy rhythm and melodic instrumental flourishes prop up an already strong vocal melody; Thomas is working with explicit pop forms, unlike Matos' slightly inaccessible morbid grandeur. This sensibility becomes more implicit with the reflective, meditative "Fangs," the release's superior song, where Thomas' fuzzy vocal rides atop a swamp of organ drones and guitar flotsam into an evocative and rewarding tribute to the lo-fi indie folk of the '90s.

Mark Matos' release show for California happens Sunday, March 5 on the patio at Che's Lounge, 350 N. 4th Ave. 5 p.m. Free.

More by Joshua Levine


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Court and Spark

    This Tucson singer-songwriter, who moonlights as a jailhouse psychotherapist, overcame career-killing circumstances
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • People Who Died: Leonard Cohen by Howe Gelb

    Leonard had a voice with the authority to soothe the journey of a treacherous landscape we insist on traversing, says Giant Sand's Howe Gelb.
    • Dec 29, 2016

The Range

The Weekly List: 23 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

Two Dozen Ways To Have Fun This Weekend!

The Weekly List: 25 Things To Do In Tucson This Week

More »

Latest in Music Feature

  • Man Behind the Designs

    As the go-to artist for Tucson’s hip hop scene, Marcoso has it covered
    • Feb 22, 2018
  • Getting Schooled

    UA Professor to Speak at Tucson Hip Hop Fest
    • Feb 22, 2018
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Know Your Product

    Stars Pick Their Top Five Six! This Week: Sweethearts of the Rodeo
    • Feb 8, 2018
  • Essential Elements

    Tucson Hip Hop Festival
    • Feb 22, 2018
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2018 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation