saving brooklyn
    • TUESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2009

    • Posted by:

    For any non-believer in the church of NYC hipster culture, a stroll down the 20 or so odd blocks that is Williamsburg Brooklyn's Bedford Ave can be an awfully unpleasant experience. As the home of said culture in all its' tragic glory, the stretch of pavement can sometimes seem like nothing more than a sad, sad catwalk of sorts; an unfortunate place where freaky folks are all too willing to put their fashion faux pas, bizarre behavior, alcohol abuse, and bad attitude on display. Yikes!

    And yet, as easy as it is to stick it to the neighborhood (trust me, it's easy), there's something to be said for two people like Matt and Kim; the overjoyed and over caffeinated couple who currently compose Brooklyn's most bodacious band of choice these days. Because my god...these kids are happy. Like really happy. And I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with drugs. Which makes me happy.

    Formed back in '04 while still students at Pratt, the tenderhearted twosome never let the inconvenient fact that...well, they didn't exactly play any instruments at the time stop them. Instead, Matt and Kim got together anyway, and within two years had a debut album, a massive slate of shows, and an ever growing army of devotees. Says Matt Johnson, "When we started this band, the only reason we were able to continue on is because of what happened in Brooklyn. So many people would ask us to play their parties, at their lofts, and in their gallery spaces. We would play like three times a week."

    But I suppose none of this appeal should come as too much of a surprise. Matt and Kim do represent a never say die kind of neighborhood; one which overflows with thousands of just out of college types still clinging to the demands of their overzealous social responsibilities. The fact that Williamsburg's inhabitants might find a party starting drum/keyboard duo dabbling in a cuddly brand of synthetic spazz pop and ungodly fits of joyous energy appealing is obvious enough.

    What's most impressive about this band, however, is just how unaffected Matt and Kim seem by the support of such a stylized base. In the last couple years, the band have toured their tails off, playing massive, outdoor shows at the Siren Festival, Lollapalooza, and the McCarren Park Pool. They've also witnessed their professional profile shoot to the moon. In the last year, the band has paired themselves with corporate sponsors like Mountain Dew and Converse. Yet, I can only imagine that the Matt and Kim you see today is very much the same Matt and Kim that first met in class that one fateful day so long ago. Their bubbly personalities are no joke. The beaming smiles are no joke. The sense of satisfaction they take away from what they do is no joke. Matt and Kim are an utterly authentic slice of feel good life that somehow spawned itself from a neighborhood that, quite honestly, seems a little challenged in the authenticity department.

    Which is why we're rooting for Matt and Kim, and their new album Grand. It's an adorable collection of course, recorded over nine months in Matt's childhood bedroom. Explains Matt, "For the last album we had a studio for 9 days, which wasn't necessarily the breeding ground of creativity. It was more the breeding ground of Come on. Gotta keep moving. Gotta get it done. So I started thinking about what the most relaxed, laid back, no one's on your ass about doing anything quickly environment? My parent's house in Vermont!."

    The result is an album that dabbles in a bit more piano plunk than that of its' predecessor. Songs like "Daylight", "Good Old Fashion Nightmare" and "Spare Change" show the band moving ever so slightly away from synthetic pop punk tendencies in favor of more natural sounds; something Matt seems psyched about. "While I don't want to discredit our last recording or anything like that it was very much a stamp of what we wanted to make and who we were at the time. I also don't think it ever sounded as complete as I would have liked...We wanted to make something more diverse." Which they have in Grand.

    So are Matt and Kim helping to pull on the tide in Williamsburg? Will their honest to god fun and happiness help lift Brooklyn's most superficial vessels out of the sludge and muck of hipster-dom? Hard to say. But damn can they rally the troops. Damn can they force the funky folks to check their oversized egos at the door!. Damn can they help. And Williamsburg, well...sometimes, it could use all the help it can get. - David Pitz

    Check out the corresponding interview to this article HERE. Also, watch Matt and Kim's entire performance from McCarren Park HERE.

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