New Tune: Matthew Ryan’s The Wilderness

Care to be haunted and moved and blown away by a great song? Then listen to the brand new tune from Matthew Ryan: “The Wilderness”.

Matt’s been making appearances on Ickmusic since I first fired this bad boy blog up back in 2004.  He never disappoints, and this tune definitely has me looking forward to the new record, Dear Lover, due out in late October.

Keep up with Matt on his Web Site, and be sure to follow him on Twitter. One of the most down to earth guys out there…

Me & My Lover

The monsoons are rollin’ in. Lightning is flashing, thunder is rumbling. And this song is the perfect accompaniment. Slow, calm, primal, building up to a ferocity.

Matthew RyanMe & My Lover (mp3)

Buy East Autumn Grin

Love is the Silencer

from a late night high rise

I mentioned in an earlier Matthew Ryan post that I’d remind you to pick up his new album, From a Late Night High Rise, when it was available. Well, it’s been out for 12 days, and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. The standout tracks for me personally are “Everybody Always Leaves” and the tune below.

I read an album review on Blog The reviewer wrote: “”Love Is the Silencer” will leave you wishing for some silence.” Different strokes for different folks I guess. I love it. The song is alive, it pulsates, it’s urgent, it’s retro, it’s futuristic. And “Love is the Silencer” is a damn cool song title too.

What do you all think. Whose side are you on?

Matthew Ryan: Love is the Silencer (mp3)

Buy From a Late Night High Rise on 00:02:59 (the label) or on iTunes.

New Matthew Ryan: From a Late Night High Rise

Many who check in here from time to time most likely share a lot of my tastes in music. A time or two, I’ve passed along a few of my favorites from Matthew Ryan, both as a solo artist, and as a member of the short lived but very impressive Strays Don’t Sleep.

I’ve devoured everything Matthew has released like that Japanese guy at the Nathan’s 4th of July hot dog eating contest at Coney Island (yeah, I need to work on my analogies). You know who I’m talking about, right?

His name is Takeru Kobayashi. I looked it up. The fella knows how to eat hot dogs.

Shifting gears…

Matt is poised to release his next album on December 5th, the introspective From a Late Night High Rise.

There’s a cool timeline page on Matt’s web site, where he takes you through his career, year by year. His 2006 entry says this about the album:

In early 2006 I completed a new record of solo songs called From A Late Night High-Rise. It’s a collection of songs inspired by the death of a dear friend and the sentencing of my brother to 30 years in prison. Between 2004 and 2006 there were a lot of “life in the teeth” things happening. I felt like I had to make From A Late Night High-Rise so I could find some peace with everything. Trouble and sorrow are not unique experiences. But when we’re in their weather, we can feel isolated, burdened, alone. From A Late Night High-Rise is the most beautiful collection of songs I’ve made yet. It looks and sounds like traffic from 52 floors above- ambient, warm and human.

Yes, the man has a way with words, and putting them to music. Take a listen to the great first single off the album. Then mark December 5th on your calendars and pick up a copy of From a Late Night High Rise (don’t worry, I’ll remind you). If you’re in the eastern half of the U.S., check out the tour dates below, and go check him out live. If you’re in the western half, don’t lose hope, because dates out west are being booked as we speak for early next year, including right here in Phoenix. I’ll finally get to see ol’ Matt live.

Matthew Ryan: Never Look Back (mp3) – from the forthcoming release, From a Late Night High Rise, out December 5th.
Available @ i-Tunes on December 5th, 2006

Other MR Albums you should check out:
May Day
East Autumn Grin
Regret Over the Wires
Strays Don’t Sleep

Fall Tour Dates

11/01/06 Atlanta, GA The Melting Point
11/02/06 Charlotte, NC Evening Muse
11/03/06 Decatur, GA Eddies Attic
11/04/06 Knoxville, TN Corner Lounge
11/05/06 Raleigh, NC The Pour House
11/06/06 Arlington, VA Iota Club and Cafe
11/07/06 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe
11/10/06 New York, NY The Living Room
11/11/06 New York, NY The Living Room
11/12/06 Boston, MA Paradise Lounge
11/13/06 Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall
11/14/06 Syracuse, NY Mezzanotte Cafe
11/15/06 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
11/16/06 Lexington, KY The Dame
11/17/06 Chicago, IL Schubas
11/18/06 Springfield, IL Underground City Tavern

Watch Matt perform “Return to Me”…

New Strays Don’t Sleep in U.S.


It took a while, but Strays Don’t Sleep‘s debut album will finally see its U.S. release next week (June 13th). Being a fan of Matthew Ryan’s work, I eagerly bought the UK import late last year and wasn’t disappointed. There’s something very fulfilling about Ryan’s music & lyrics. His solo work is full of quiet acoustic moments building up to blinding, power-chord crescendoes. Everything seems to fit into the right place. He knows just what note to hit, and just the lyric to plug in. Add the raw power of his singing voice, and I’m a happy listener.

Matthew Ryan

My favorite song of his is probably “Chrome”. It’s heartache, desperation, and hope. But it’s all of those emotions being released, and by the end of the song, you’ve gone from tense to feeling like a load’s been lifted. Like Springsteen, it’s so easy to step right into Matthew’s songs and feel like he’s singing about your own life, your own experiences.

Chrome (music & lyrics by Matthew Ryan)

It’s not the things that I can’t change, that bother me
It’s not the things that I don’t know, that undermine me
It’s not the thing that I can’t hold or the balancing wire that broke, that throws me
It’s not the fact that you walked out, that bewilders me
It’s not the sleep that I can’t steal, that wires me
It’s not the coffee or the pills it’s not this space that I can’t fill that kills me

Well in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been bent ’til it was twisted
And in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been burned, but it’s still willing to try
And shine

It’s not the drunks and their devices, that provoke me
It’s not the politics of love and distance, and all that that shit evokes in me
I’ts not the Sunday morning fights or this soul on ice, that numbs me
It’s not the passing of another Indian summer, that saddens me
It’s no the shutter in the undertow, that bears down on me
It’s not everything ending as it begins or the loneliness that grins that destroys me

Well in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been bent ’til it was twisted
And in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been burned, but it’s still willing to try and shine

I came across this live recording recently of Matthew and his band performing their last show on the European leg of their 1998 tour. It’s a great recording, thanks to a very quiet German crowd (sounds like a very small club show) at the Kultufabrik Krefeld (I assume that’s the name of the club? I can’t tell for sure from their web site. A little help, German readers?). Give these a listen, and see if you don’t understand a little of what I’m talking about.

Matthew Ryan – Live
June 28th, 1998
Kulturfabrik Krefeld, Germany

Watch Your Step
The Dead Girl
Beautiful Fool
Me & My Lover

Strays Don’t Sleep is basically a collaboration between Ryan and Neilson Hubbard, who is an accomplished artist in his own right.

Neilson Hubbard

Hubbard is a Jackson, Miss. native who teamed up with Ryan in Nashville. I like what I hear from what’s available on his web site, and also judging from earlier comments on a previous Strays post, I need to get around to listening to his albums.
Here’s a couple that I like, available from his site:

Neilson Hubbard: Just a Guy (mp3) | The Girl That Killed September (mp3)

What they’ve come up with is a sound that is subdued and fresh. It’s nice stuff. One of the songs, “For Blue Skies”, made its mark last year when it was featured on the TV show ‘One Tree Hill’.

So here comes the U.S. release. Here’s the tracks, with one preview:

Strays Don’t Sleep
Track listing:
Love Don’t Owe You Anything
Pretty Girl
Martin Luther Ave.
Night Is Still
For Blue Skies
Spirit Fingers
April’s Smiling At Me
Cars And History (mp3)
Falling Asleep With You

You Belong To Me

The package also includes a DVD with 9 short films inspired by the music. Strays kicks off their tour schedule this weekend with a record release show at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. Check out their site for the dates. Unfortunately, they don’t go further west than Minneapolis.

June 16 UPDATE: Not so great news from Matthew Ryan’s blog regarding the upcoming tour:

Friday, June 16, 2006

Shows Cancelled

Hello Everyone

First bit of bad news in a long time. Strays needed to take a break from eachother for a minute. Neilson and I are at each other’s throats. I’m sure a couple weeks off will go a long way. I’ll keep you posted as things settle down.

Apologies to anyone that was looking forward to these shows. I’m hoping that we can pull it together for Conan O’Brien.


Strays Don’t Sleep

UPDATE – 12/7/2005 “For Blue Skies” was on “One Tree Hill” tonight. Mp3 below…. For all you people who like that sound, that’s Matthew Ryan on vocals. Check out his stuff (some links below).

I’ve blogged about Matthew Ryan a couple times before. I just found out about his latest project, a band called Strays Don’t Sleep, which consists of Ryan (vox, guitars, keys), Neilson Hubbard (vox, guitars, synth), Brian Bequette (guitar, loops and keys), Billy Mercer (bass guitar) and Steve Latanation (drums).

I just eat up the atmosphere Ryan evokes in his music. Quiet, stark, and desparate with a tinge of hope. These songs from Strays Don’t Sleep fit that mold. The CD is apparently only available in the UK right now through Bjork’s label, One Little Indian. But looks like it should be released in the US soon. They have a cool My Space site you can check out, as does Matthew Ryan, both of which are streaming tunes. Also, if only for aesthetic quality, check out their official web site. You can get lost staring at some of those cool videos / images running throughout their site (I recommend clicking into the Pictures section and watching that beautiful specimen sit down on the bed over and over).

Strays Don’t Sleep: For Blue Skies (mp3) – – the song is also available on iTunes. Support the band, go buy this great song!

Matt’s Chrome Heart

I absolutely have to throw a little more Matthew Ryan out there for those fans of the gravelly voiced genre. This song’ll rip you apart, brother (or sister). Matt’s gotta heart made of chrome, and he ain’t about to rest until you damn sure know it:

Well in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been bent ’til it was twisted
And in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been burned, but it’s still willing to try
And shine – – full lyrics here

Matthew Ryan: Chrome (mp3)

Buy May Day

This Holy Mess

“It’s hardly morning
It’s early January
There’s always something
That’s coming or gone

Out in the dark light
I go walking
Into the quiet
Of this holy mess”

So I’m a sucker for the gritty raw singer songwriter types. Springsteen, Earle, Prine, Tweedy, and this fella, Matthew Ryan. My favorite of his CD’s, ‘May Day’, was left in a rental car at the Burbank Airport, along with about 30 others. I hope the rental car agent or car washer is at least listening to some of the CD’s. Yep, another one of my shining moments. DOH! There goes a case of CD’s! See ya!

Anyhow, take a listen to “Me & My Lover”. What I love about ol’ Matt is when he kicks it up a notch into the next octave at the 2:21 mark in the song. It’s effortless and so powerful. And the chord changes are great. This tune starts mellow, kicks into gear, and goes back down the hill toward the end. It’s a nice sweet ride with a hint of bitterness: “cause most things are meaningless, the more you get to know them”.

For those who like the artists I mention above, you’ll like Matthew Ryan. ‘May Day’ is a great introduction…

Matthew Ryan – Me and My Lover
(mp3) – 2000, ‘East Autumn Grin’ – {Amazon}