Your basket is empty

Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

From
CD£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released March 19, 2013 | Dead Oceans

Booklet Distinctions 3F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Under the name Phosphorescent, indie country songwriter Matthew Houck has walked a drunken path, wobbling closer to the indie side on some records and slumping more toward the country side on others, with the best example being his 2009 collection of Willie Nelson covers, To Willie. With sixth album Muchacho, Houck returns to some of the experimental textures that marked his early breakthrough album Pride, weaving ambient tones and feral whoops throughout his sometimes shiny, sometimes grizzled Americana. The album is bookended by tracks "Sun, Arise!" and "Sun's Arising," meditative drones with multi-tracked layers of Houck harmonizing with himself, ushering the listener into and out of the record over arpeggiated synth tones and far-off-sounding instrumentation. There's more implementation of electronic instruments here than on most Phosphorescent's material that came before, with 808 drum patterns and dubby echoes in the forefront on some songs; but at no point does the songwriting surrender the starring role. Whether the tunes are piling on pedal steel and mariachi trumpet in the vein of Dylan's soundtrack work for Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, as on the honky tonk hoedown of "A Charm/A Blade," or finding some dreamy Will Oldham/early Animal Collective hybrid, as with the ghostly "The Quotidian Beasts," Houck's use of simplistic but haunting chord progressions and world-weary melodies always overrides any other sonic surroundings. The songs here are so strong, in fact, they're sometimes cluttered by excessive instrumentation or detail-burying production. While the atmospheric string loops and delay-doused bass plucks of "Song for Zula" help make it one of the best tracks on the album, one can't help but wonder what the effect would be if it were stripped down to Houck's damaged vocals and a simple guitar or piano figure. Throughout the album, lyrics peek through the waves like "I will not open myself up this way again" and "Hey can this kill me? I don't know, but I've sure been finding out," hinting at heartache and the possibility that Muchacho is some drunken-hearted breakup record, but it's never made abundantly clear. What is clear, even through the sometimes heavier-than-necessary arrangements, is that Muchacho has some of Houck's best songwriting since his early days, seemingly tapped into the grainy pain, hard-living tendencies, and wandering muse of his subconscious, with the most listenable results Phosphorescent has produced in years. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
From
CD£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2010 | Dead Oceans

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk
Matthew Houck may operate out of the too-cool-for-school, New York City indie rock community, but the Alabama-born mastermind behind Phosphorescent has a muse that clearly resides in warmer climates. A breezy, classic rock-tinged collection of heartbreak road ballads nursed into existence on a steady diet of the Eagles and the Band, Here's to Taking It Easy, the first Phosphorescent release to rely on musicians other than Houck, plays like a lost piece of vinyl from the early '70s. Houck is a generous, earnest songsmith, and his tales of love on the rocks (“Tell Me Baby [Have You Had Enough]”), love lost (“Heaven, Sittin’ Down”), and love of the South (“It's Hard to Be Humble [When You're From Alabama]”) feel lived in and cared for. Even on autopilot (the slight “I Don’t Care If There’s Cursing” and the hippy-drippy “Hej, Me I’m Light”), his effortless, laid-back version of modern alt-country feels like an old friend, and the weepy, sun-drenched reverb that permeates the whole affair feels authentic rather than coerced out of a Pro Tools plug-in. The only downfall is that Here's to Taking It Easy is so easy to take that at only nine songs, it flies by in no time at all. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
From
HI-RES£10.79
CD£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released October 5, 2018 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res
In 2013 Matthew Houck relied on the earthly charm of country folk to show us his vision of the great feeling of love on his album Muchacho. Since then many things have changed, especially after meeting composer and multi-instrumentalist Jo Schornikow. A wedding and two children later, the family has left New York for the home of the Grand Ole Opry: Nashville. Despite Houck’s growing prominence, he’d started becoming completely exhausted by the end of tours and simply couldn’t endure this frantic pace of life anymore. Following a well-deserved five-year paternity leave, and the creation of his own studio under the name Spirit Sound, he can finally get back to business with his seventh album and get his name, Phosphorescent, back out there. With C’est la vie, Houck stays faithful to the Dead Oceans label but presents himself in a new light. A healthier, more balanced man, who thinks straight and is in tune with his parental responsibilities. This didn’t stop stop Phosphorescent from working on a very solitary and intimate production. With an almost-eighties ballad C'est La Vie No.2, he sounds a touch melancholic, but more than anything, he seems relieved to have all of his old pressures off his shoulders. This new state of mind allows him to perform a style of pop country (New Birth in New England) filled with imagery and metaphors. With a soft and slightly nasal voice that could put a newborn baby to sleep and the atmospheric variations created by the electric sounds of his guitar, Phosphorescent delves into an almost fantastical and illusive style of music. Opened and closed with two complementary instrumental tracks (Black Moon / Silver Waves and Black Waves / Silver Moon), C’est la vie is a album that focuses on the ups and downs of daily life to bring out all of its lyricism. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
From
HI-RES£8.39
CD£5.59

Alternative & Indie - Released June 11, 2021 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res
From
CD£10.79

Alternative & Indie - Released October 29, 2013 | Dead Oceans

Booklet
From
CD£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released October 23, 2007 | Dead Oceans

Booklet
On his latest album under the Phosphorescent guise, Mathew Houck continues his work with reflective folk music given a somewhat ethereal bent. If not as gone as some of the performers in the field in recent years who seem to balance between stability and the lack thereof, Houck beats the heck out of so many who seem to only want to become the new Dan Fogelberg (sometimes with Tim Weisberg and sometimes without). Pride's eight songs are an almost fully solo effort, aside from some backing harmonies on a couple of tracks; as a one-man band, Houck shows he can re-create the as-if-it-was-a-live-jam feeling well; if by necessity songs like "A Picture of Our Torn Up Praise" can sometimes sound almost too perfect, their edges are sometimes just frayed enough. Tambourines stretch out towards the end of one song, while intercutting wordless harmonies, and soft yelps flesh out the arrangements further (a combination used to excellent effect to close out the title track and album as a whole). His fondness for his own harmony overdubs partially explains why he's received mentions from the Animal Collective fan base in its various incarnations, but Houck has his own spin on a deeper and more reflective approach that sometimes suggests early Spiritualized circa "Feel So Sad." His arrangements at their lushest are beautifully ragged, a mélange of psych/Americana that don't suggest one era or group of performers as much as a careful mishmash of them all, as is readily heard on the downbeat epic of "Wolves," the album's clear standout, and the rich blend of acoustic and electric elements on "My Dove, My Lamb," one of the more interesting uses of Christian imagery in a seemingly non-Christian vein currently out there. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
From
CD£10.79

Alternative & Indie - Released February 17, 2015 | Dead Oceans

From
CD£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2009 | Dead Oceans

Saying Phosphorescent's tribute album to Willie Nelson is redolent of history is an understatement -- besides the subject of the album itself, the title acts as a specific reference to Nelson's own 1975 tribute to Lefty Frizzell, To Lefty from Willie. There's a danger of well-meaning overkill and clinging associations at work as a result, which the album has to struggle through. Still, it's also an interesting sign of just how much certain goal posts in the world of indie rock have changed over time -- the fascination with older, more "real" country has been present since the days of X and the Blasters, to name two bands out of many, and Nelson's own well-established outsider/outlaw image is a perfect one to hang one's hat on. Mathew Houck aka Phosphorescent and a crew of backing musicians aim to do just that on To Willie and if by default it can't fully capture the killer resonance of Nelson's immediately recognizable vocals and twang, Houck's singing is far more hushed in comparison, though to his credit he doesn't specifically aim to sound like Nelson in terms of out-and-out mimicry -- the whole is still a game enough effort, if nothing else showing Houck's excellent taste in song choices. (A collection of the Nelson performances of each track would make one heck of a mix disc.) Kicking off with a double-tip of the hat -- "Reasons to Quit," written by Merle Haggard rather than by Nelson but a standard for both men -- To Willie generally maintains a steady, softly woozy late-night singalong feeling throughout its length, with some performances giving Houck and his band a real chance to shine instrumentally. "Walkin'" features the most musicians on a track -- seven total, with some lovely pedal steel work by Ricky Ray Jackson -- while Hank Cochran's "Can I Sleep in Your Arms" is a full one-man-band effort. Another winner is "It's Not Supposed to Be That Way," with Houck and Angel Deradoorian sharing vocals over music that uses a spartan yet lovely guitar/bass arrangement. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
From
CD£0.95

Alternative & Indie - Released January 15, 2013 | Dead Oceans

From
CD£7.19

Alternative & Indie - Released November 29, 2010 | Dead Oceans

From
HI-RES£1.59
CD£0.99

Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2021 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res
From
HI-RES£1.59
CD£0.99

Alternative & Indie - Released September 7, 2018 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res
From
CD£9.99

Folk - Released January 28, 2019 | Calldown Music

From
HI-RES£1.59
CD£0.99

Alternative & Indie - Released July 31, 2018 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res
From
CD£0.99

Alternative & Indie - Released November 25, 2014 | Yep Roc Records

From
HI-RES£1.59
CD£0.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 1, 2018 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res