SHAKA - new album

On the heels of the critically-acclaimed 1970 Something, the band announces the release of SHAKA.  The album showcases a new direction for Matthew Shadley Brauer and his team of skilled musicians as they take a hard lean into progressive rock. 

“Succeeding in both contemplative soundscapes and rousing rockers alike.” - Obscure Sound 5-24-24. 

“What sets this band apart from others is their ability to skillfully transition from dark and heavy sounds to bright and captivating melodies…” - Vox Wave Magazine 5-29-24.

“…an appetizing mix of experimental and classic rock that fits into the current summer vibe.” - Music Mecca 6-1-24.

“Matthew Shadley Band continues to prove they have a strong vision for the music they wish to create. They are able to take a single idea and really build it out to an impressive scale. It is always exciting to see what is next for the group.” - Music and Fashion 6-3-24. 


Matthew Shadley Band

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"Shaka presents a riveting sound that spans from prog-rock excitement to atmospheric ambience." Obscure Sound, 5-24-24.

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Obscure Sound - May 24, 2024

Review by Mike Mineo

An album out today from the Matthew Shadley Band, Shaka presents a riveting sound that spans from prog-rock excitement to atmospheric ambience. Led by multi-instrumentalist Matt Brauer, the band first caught our attention last year with their impressive album 1970 Something. Now, they continue to showcase strong songwriting and climactic production on Shaka.

“Morpheus Rising” kicks off the album with sweltering intrigue, moving from moody vocals into a bluesy guitar emphasis that continuously expands. The 8-minute epic is a showcase of the band’s eclectic range, traversing a variety of shifts in key, tempo, and tonal intensity. The textured guitar work is especially impressive, particularly as the expressive lead combines with a ghostly, lush backing approaching the three-minute mark. The track’s thematic aim is fitting, representing a journey through dreams with Morpheus, the Greco-Roman god of dreams, who guides listeners across a series of diverse dreamscapes.

The intensity of “Morpheus Rising” is followed in comforting form, by covering a rock classic. The band’s interpretation of Bowie’s “Heroes” stays true to the original’s heartfelt essence while embracing a more free-flowing guitar style, resulting in a lovely rendition. “Slipping Away” brings us back into the project’s unpredictable enjoyments, weaving plucky guitars and serene mellotron for an enchanting introduction. The swell into an anthemic rock spirit proves satisfying, particularly upon the “I can feel it” catharsis into the “tell me when it’s done” organ-touched ardency.

The album’s mid-point enchants with the instrumental track “Stargazing,” whose glimmering synth additions intertwine with a roaring guitar culmination for an atmospheric success, conjuring a sense of prog-rock nostalgia. “The Dawn Patrol” maintains that prog-rock appeal, with bouncy electric piano and jangling guitars moving seamlessly into a harmonious vocal presence. “One for you, and one for me,” they exude during a fantastic, replay-inducing hook. Brauer explains, “The song is written from the point of view of a surfer getting up early with the intent of joining the ‘dawn patrol’ where ‘chasing dreams and riding waves are free.'”

Another instrumental success comes in the form of “Journey of the Whales,” echoing a soaring psych-rock vibe reminiscent of Pink Floyd, as lap steel guitars combine beautifully with tastefully ambient keyboard additions. The closing one-two punch is a fantastic summation of the band’s songwriting prowess. “The Thundering Herd” struts a brisk prog-rock infectiousness, and the finale “Northern Lights” further showcases their instrumental atmospheric prowess. An eerie engrossment develops into a calming array of keyboards and mellow guitar additions. Succeeding in both contemplative soundscapes and rousing rockers alike, Shaka is another thorough success from the Matthew Shadley Band.

"From Ocean Depths to Musical Heights: Matthew Shadley Band Presents Shaka- Vox Wave Magazine May 29, 2024

I have always been fascinated by the invisible yet palpable connection between music and cinema. These two forms of art can evoke such deep emotions, the existence of which we may not even be aware of. I first felt this when I heard the album "Shaka" by the Matthew Shadley Band. It awakened incredibly strong feelings in me, reminiscent of scenes from the movie "Point Break". In this film, the talented cast created an unforgettable atmosphere, and the musicians of the Matthew Shadley Band, similarly, crafted a unique and boundless universe of rock music in their new album. Each band member, like an actor, masters their instrument perfectly, creating a captivating and emotional performance that is impossible to tear oneself away from. At first glance, it might seem that a surfing movie and a rock album have nothing in common. However, both "Point Break" and the album "Shaka" are intertwined by a common thread – the pursuit of freedom and the search for adrenaline in art.

What sets this band apart from others is their ability to skillfully transition from dark and heavy sounds to bright and captivating melodies. The Matthew Shadley Band was founded in 2003 by Matthew Shadley Brauer, who joined forces with his colleague guitarist and former college band mate Jason Scherrer. Starting with acoustic performances, they quickly shifted to electric sound, adding a rhythm section and creating melodic alternative rock. Their latest album "1970 Something" received positive reviews, praised for its unique sound and ability to capture the atmosphere of the past. And now, the guys have finished working on the album "Shaka" and presented it.

The album begins with "Morpheus Rising". While listening to it, I felt immersed in complete darkness and a night atmosphere filled with anxious visions. The song consists of several instrumental sections, each reflecting different states of sleep. The initial sounds slowly lead into the dream world; gradually, the music becomes richer and more dynamic, with energetic rhythms creating a sense of action. The concluding part of the song returns to tranquility, leaving a faint echo of impressions behind.

Like a sunbeam breaking through the veil of clouds after rain, new melodies begin to emerge. "Heroes" gently envelops the space with sound and delicate chords, exploring new harmonies between the past and the future. A special feature of this track is the virtuoso drumming, which gives the song energy and movement. The bass guitar also play a key role in creating a rich sound that is both pleasing to the ear and impressive in its technical complexity. The hum of guitars and keyboards is replaced by flowing sounds in "Slipping Away" - in this track, the sweet sound of the flute immerses you in an atmosphere of tranquility, where time stands still, and the full and boundless power of music reigns. The bass and drums create an amazing contrast, filling the track with deep and dense sound.

The transition from one musical mood to another is so subtle that I didn't immediately notice when "The Dawn Patrol" captured my ears. Rhythmic guitar chords, harmonizing with the drums, create a sensation of smoothly gliding over waves, and the melodies intertwine masterfully, reflecting the movement of ocean tides. And if "The Dawn Patrol" kept me on the crest of the wave, then the track "Journey of the Whales" reveals the depths of the ocean. Starting with the soft sounds of ambient keyboards, it gradually builds tension with the sounds of a steel guitar, adding an extra layer of texture to the music. The final chords of "Journey of the Whales" give way to the imposing sound and musical complexity of "The Thundering Herd." Each instrument in this track sounds like a separate voice, yet at the same time fits into the overall musical fabric, creating a harmonious and stunning sound.

"Northern Lights" stands out among the rest as the climax of the album, offering a perfect blend of gentle sounds and flowing melodies that carry you from one wave crest to another. "Northern Lights" is like a reminder that every ascent has its finale. The melodies ebb and flow, creating a smooth rhythm that captures and carries you into the world of musical excitement. "Northern Lights" is the perfect conclusion to the album, emphasizing its integrity and amazing musical energy.

The album "Shaka" by the Matthew Shadley Band is infused with a spirit of exploration and experimentation. Echoing the vibes of surfers catching waves, the band crafts sonic waves that evoke deep introspections and a quest for harmony across vast inner landscapes. The album is available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Deezer, Pandora, and YouTube. The digital version of the album, as well as vinyl records and CDs, will be available on the band's May 29, 2024

“Get To Know: The Matthew Shadley Band Showcases Experimental Rock Prowess On New Album Shaka” - Steph Stone, Music Mecca  June 1, 2024

With an appetizing mix of experimental and classic rock that fits into the current summer vibe, Cincinnati-based rock group the Matthew Shadley Band has released their fifth album, Shaka, on May 24th.

MSB’s new album opens with “Morpheus Rising,” an eight-minute guitar ballad that alternates between cycles of slow, experimental sounds and heavy riffing guitar solos. The song adopts a stream-of-consciousness feel, as if taking the listener through the creative mind of Brauer himself. This sets the tone for an album that is entirely unexpected and unpredictable, but takes the listener by pleasant surprise track after track. 

The opening track is followed by “Heroes,” the band’s rendition of David Bowie’s iconic track. This heavily differs from “Morpheus Rising” in style, adding a classic rock feel to the album, effectively balancing its drastically different stylistic influences. Brauer’s voice interprets Bowie’s original vocals in a unique way, creating a fresh take on the tune. The highlight of this song are the background harmonies, which add a retro and almost camp-like element to a track that may otherwise take itself too seriously. The Matthew Shadley Band is no stranger to covering 70s tunes, as they’ve also covered Big Star’s “In the Street” on their fourth album, 1970 Something.

“Slipping Away,” the album’s third track and lone single, employs a much more easy-flowing and upbeat sound. Using elements like prominent wind instruments, the song is reflective of 70s folk-rock. Its lyrics, such as that of the song’s opening line, “I caught a glimpse of you on a stolen summer breeze,” creates a similar feeling to songs like George Harrison’s “Blow Away” and Chad and Jeremy’s “The Summer Song.” The first three tracks on the album are very distinct from each other, but rather than feeling disjointed, they all compliment each other to showcase the band’s dynamic range and artistic talents. 

Two other standout tracks include “The Dawn Patrol” which comes in at track number five, with “Journey of the Whales” following. The former maintains the theme of mellower vintage classic rock, opening with a retro keys progression and resonating guitar chords that build into the groove. The song is written from the point of view of a surfer getting up early with the intent of joining the “dawn patrol” where “chasing dreams and riding waves are free.”

“Journey of the Whales” opens with a more pensive and lighter groove before a roaring electric guitar greets listeners ears, truly leading them on a journey of changes throughout the song. This and the previous track both have semi-psychedelic energies, with this instrumental track leaning that way a touch more, offering a very Pink Floyd-esque vibe.

The last individual track on the album is “Northern Lights,” which is arranged to sound like a light show with its early 70s disco-techno flow. The track is short, sweet, and completely instrumental, acting as somewhat of a musical coda for the songs before it. It ends the album with an easy and relaxing feeling, perfectly rounding out the atmospheric experience of listening to Shaka

The Matthew Shadley Band has become known for continuing to take risks and push the boundaries of their music, and this album takes that challenge to new heights, displaying the perseverance of Shadley and his relentless desire to make music.


Music and Fashion - June 3, 2024

Review by Katie Power

Taking influence from the early prog rock legends before them, Matthew Shadley Band has released their fifth studio album, Shaka, out everywhere now. The band cites some of their influences as King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and more from that era of sound. Diving headfirst into exploration, the group wanted to experiment with longer tracks and long instrumental solos, really letting that instrumentation shine. The Matthew Shadley band has been making music together since 2003, with Matthew Shadley Brauer writing 7 original songs for their latest project.

The first track transports the listener into a world full of haunting yet peaceful visions. The 8-minute song experiments with tempo changes as well as time signature and key changes.

When talking about what he hoped the listener would take away from the piece, Brauer shared, “I set out to do something dramatic, heavy, and a little dark for the opening song. The baritone guitars and 5-string bass worked nicely to set it up.”

And he accomplished just that, the song achieves a certain ominous sound when it slows down and has this dirty baritone guitars leading the charge.

“Heroes” was a song that actually almost did not make the project. Brauer shared that he was inspired by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno who both collaborated on the David Bowie track. Brauer is able to blend the cover and transform it into a sound that fits perfectly with the band’s sound. Lyrically, it continues to follow that fantasy world that the opening song introduced us too.

While “Heroes” was a surprise add, it was a long time coming for the band’s track “Slipping Away.” The song has been in the band’s repertoire for 20 years but never managed to fit into an album. Matthew Shadley Band has had band members join and leave but one of the original members Jason Scherrer came back and recorded backing vocals for the track, similar to how he would when the group used to play it live. The song has a unique flute-like hook that stands out against a lot of modern rock music. The guitars are rich and bright, breaking up the wall of sound that builds up on the track.

Overall, Matthew Shadley Band continues to prove they have a strong vision for the music they wish to create. They are able to take a single idea and really build it out to an impressive scale. It is always exciting to see what is next for the group.



Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect: Can you talk about your musical history? What got you interested in music?

MSB: I started playing guitar when I was ten years old. My parents had a vinyl collection that mainly consisted of ‘60s and ‘70s classic rock and I would spend a great deal of time trying to learn the songs by ear. I always enjoyed the dynamics of playing in bands and became more dedicated to songwriting after college. The Matthew Shadley Band was formed as an outlet for original music that didn't fit into the other bands I played in. We played a lot of shows, went through some lineup changes and eventually, I was drawn more toward studio engineering and production. 

Pitch Perfect: What are some differences between 1970 Something and your previous release Emerald? Did you approach the making of the album in a different way? the recording, etc?

MSB: I think that my approach was more focused on 1970 Something. Emerald was my first major musical effort in 12 years and it required a massive investment in my studio. During the pandemic lockdowns I had the time to sit down and avail myself of the technological changes in digital recording. It was like being a kid in a candy store (VSTs, MIDI, plug-ins and the ability to collaborate with other musicians all over the country). There was a pretty steep learning curve and I didn't have the typical backlog of material I had on previous projects. Long story short, it took about two years to complete Emerald and I worked with a lot of different musicians to record the individual tracks. 

1970 Something was intended to be a collection of songs that reflected my nostalgia for 1970s rock and pop culture. The songs were written very methodically and I used more baritone guitar and piano in the writing process. It was more self-contained and I played most of the instruments myself. As a result, I was able to complete the project in a few months. Both albums were mixed and produced using Cubase and mastered with iZotope. 

Pitch Perfect:  What are some topics and themes you explore with your music?

MSB: Most of the songs are kind of introspective. "I'm Alright" is about accepting your life as it is and holding on to a youthful idealism. "Long Ride,""Don't Need a Reason" and "Heavy Traffic" deal with the complexity of human relationships. The usage of social media and the herd-like mentality it fosters has always fascinated me, so there is some amount of social commentary in "Hashtag World" and also on some of the songs from Emerald ("Oh, Karen" and "Anime Girl"). Sometimes I like to focus on dynamic instrumental soundscapes ("Panorama" and "Intrigue at the Disco") or simple straight-up classic hard rock ("Believe," and "In the Street"). 

Pitch Perfect: How do you approach songwriting? 

MSB: I usually start with a chord progression and/or a melody, then I work on the structure of the song. I like to have a complete instrumental demo before I work on lyrics. I have a fairly acute sense of synesthesia in that I perceive very distinct images and colors when I listen to instrumental music. I don't know how common that is, but I think that's why this writing method works for me. 

Pitch Perfect: What else should we know about your music? 

MSB: The music can be found on every streaming platform (Spotify, Apple, iTunes, YouTube, Deezer, Pandora, etc...). If you prefer to have something physical (as I do), you can purchase a CD or Vinyl LP on the website and through various retail outlets. You can go to the website at for videos, news, unreleased music and reviews. 

​I am currently working on a blues project with my daughter Alex (who plays one of the guitars on "Don't Need a Reason Why"), as well as a prog-rock project with my daughter Maggie (who is a classically trained cellist and one hell of a bass player). The blues project is being mixed and produced by one of my old bandmates with whom I've collaborated off and on over the years and will likely be released as an EP before the end of the year. The prog-rock album will likely be released in 2024. 

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