Phosphorescent‘s performance proved that power doesn’t have to equal volume. He walked nonchalantly out onto World Cafe Live’s downstairs stage, just a man and his acoustic guitar — and a colorful hat prompting compliments from the crowd.
Opening with “C’est La Vie No. 2” off his latest album C’est La Vie, Matthew Houck’s vocals were gruff yet beautiful. His delicate strumming paired perfectly with his soft lyrics, even though he self-admittedly had not played the acoustic guitar on stage in nearly two decades. I certainly wouldn’t have noticed. Continue reading →
Merriam Webster dictionary defines phosphorescence as “luminescence that is caused by the absorption of radiations (such as light or electrons) and continues for a noticeable time after these radiations have stopped.” Minus the more science-y parts of that, one can only assume that Phosphorescent is going for a similar vibe with their music. Though the hazy glow that envelops the band during their live set is technically thanks to the lighting crew, their soft and airy songs are lush and drawn-out, winding on and on in a way that breathes life into their mouthful of a name. Continue reading →
Singer and songwriter Matthew Houck has been somewhat off the grid for the past four or so years, ever since the release and extensive touring of his musical project Phosphorescent‘s sixth LP Muchacho. That silence ends today with “New Birth In New England,” a song reflective of what’s been going on in his life during that time period — finding love, having children, and leaving New York City.
The sunny, upbeat tune with a bit of an Afropop flare is the lead single from Phosphorescent’s seventh LP, C’est La Vie, due out on October 5th via Dead Oceans Records. Continue reading →
A highly anticipated collection of covers of Grateful Dead songs, Day Of The Dead, is being released on May 20th. Curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, the all-star collection features 59 songs, with contributions by The Lone Bellow, Jim James, Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Mumford and Sons, Kurt Vile, Lucius, Lucinda Williams, Bela Fleck and many others. Continue reading →
The 3rd annual Firefly Music Festival is taking place this weekend at Dover, Delaware and we are there to capture all four days of live music. Last night, the festival opened with performances from Amos Lee, Local Natives, Courtney Barnett, Phosphorescent, Parade of Lights and more.
It’s quite the contrast when, on a grey, snowy Sunday evening, a golden man with a golden guitar and a golden voice takes the stage (outfitted with touches of gold, of course) to play some of his sunny musical gold.
This man, no wonder, is Mathew Houck, or Phosphorescent (dictionary definition: emitting light without appreciable heat), as you may know him. Despite having broken his guitar just before the show, Houck radiated his way onstage, “Sun, Arise! (An Invocation, An Introduction)” slithering its way between the numerous candles scattered about before anyone picked up any actual instruments. “I’m going for a balance between Buddy Holly and Green Day;” joked Houck, “It’s the first thing they teach you in guitar school.” It seemed to me that Phosphorescent is less the intersection of a rock and roll pioneer and punk rock poster boys, but bare bones alt-country music cloaked in water color ambiance and candle smoke warmth.
The evening prominently featured tracks from Phosphorescent’s 2013 release, Muchacho, including a distilled “The Quotidien Beasts” and an earnest solo rendition of “Muchacho’s Tune.” (Note: the lyrics “I’ve been fucked up, and I’ve been a fool” rather ironically harkened back to an earlier remark, “I’m a broken man with a broken guitar”, regarding his instrument mishap, a nice emotional touch to make the night just that much warmer). Of course, the back-to-back double threat that is “Song for Zula” followed by “Ride On / Right On” were surefire crowd pleasers.
As the wicks of those candles burned on, Houck’s band left the stage, allowing him to show off some of those denuded folk/country songs that lay at the heart of his music. I’m a sucker for “Can I Sleep In Your Arms”, Houck’s cover of Willie Nelson’s cover of Hank Cochran’s country classic, but his extended vocal loop pedal version of “Wolves” was, at the very least, unique, and rocked the crowd into a fluorescent trance.
Joining Phosphorescent were New York alt-rockers Caveman, who took a little while to get the crowd engaged, but once their music finally percolated, fans seemed invested in their percussive, syncopated style. Frontman Matthew Iwanusa did a good job of keeping a shivering audience attentive, though I’ll admit that some of his ventures into more comedic banter were less than amazing.
Muchacho is much more than a very critically venerated record by a guy who writes great songs; Houck and company have clearly mastered the substantiation of their latest album, and Phosphorescent’s live music has a lot more dimension than you get with, say, candles and incense (though candles and incense certainly had their role).
It’s music that shimmers with a golden gleam and wraps you in so much warmth that you practically forget just how cold it is outside.
WXPN welcomes folk / Americana luminaries Phosphorescent at Union Transfer tonight. Rescheduled from a snowed-out show last month, the show will feature singer-songwriter Matthew Houck and his bandmates showcasing material from last year’s critical favorite Muchacho, as well as the band’s extensive back-catalog. Tickets for tonight’s all-ages show are $18 and can be purchased here.
Phosphorescent (aka singer-songwriter Matthew Houck) will play Union Transfer tonight. The indie-rock singer-songwriter released his sixth album Muchacho via Dead Oceans last year which, as he told Pitchfork, was inspired by his experiences on tour. Paste Magazine named the record its #1 Album of 2013. Watch the video for “Ride On / Right On” below and get tickets here.
You can’t deny that it’s been a banner year for Phosphorescent. The project of existential Americana singer-songwriter Matthew Houck kicked off 2013 with the majestic new album, Muchacho, and its enchanting single “Song for Zula.” Some road bumps were encountered when the band’s new lineup played an uneven show on the first night of tour at Johnny Brenda’s, but the growth it experienced since then has been remarkable.
By the time Phosphorescent rolled through the area again at this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival, it was a well-oiled machine that delivered arguably the best set of the weekend (see a recap here). The band was tight and together, but in a way where the players could build their songs into cathartic, unrestrained moments and still come safely back from the edge.
So one can only imagine how much further growth the six-piece has experienced, and how epic their recently-announced Union Transfer show will (maybe, hopefully, probably) sound. The band headlines on Tuesday, January 21st; tickets are on sale now. Below, listen to Phosphorescent’s recent World Cafe interview with David Dye, and watch a video of an XPoNential performance that not a lot of people saw – jamming with My Morning Jacket on “Oh, Sweet Nuthin'” while the rain poured down outside the SBC.
Phosphorescent, the moniker of singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, played the Marina Stage at the XPoNential Music Festival today. Although the set started slow, perhaps because it was Houck’s birthday the night before, he and his band powered through, giving it their all during their forty-five minute set. Even as rain poured down on the audience a few songs in, the band and the audience seemed not to notice, staying through the rain to hear this incredible performance.
Most of the songs played were from Phosphorescent’s most recent album, Muchacho, released March of 2013. The gorgeous “Song for Zula” was played half way through the set to enthusiastic cheers from the crowd. Other highlights included the dark Americana jam, “The Quotidian Beat” (which featured some crazy keyboard solos), as well as the “Nothing was Stolen” and the closing “Los Angeles,” both from 2010’s Here’s to Taking it Easy. See photos of the performance in the gallery below and read the set list after the jump.