ALBUM REVIEW - 1970 Something

Music & Fashion

July 17, 2023

Katie Power

Letting the 1970s take the lead on their latest project, The Matthew Shadley Band has released their newest record 1970 Something. It took the band less than a year to complete as it follows the 2022 release Emerald, which was their comeback album after a fourteen-year hiatus.

The 1970s are a significant decade of music for Matthew Shadley Brauer, with him sharing, “My earliest musical memories occurred in the 1970s and have informed every musical direction I’ve ever taken. This album has a harder edge to it, but I think it’s consistent with most of my previous endeavors.”

The album’s bookends dive into more of a progressive rock sound. Purely instrumental tracks that paint the world at the start and allow the listener to sit back and think at the end. The record’s opener “Panorama” has an epic and slow build, before launching into a unique mix of flute and drum. The two help lean into more of a psychedelic and trippy sound, which is perfect to open up this story. Brauer also plays many of the instruments on the record, so the variety of instruments he chose is both impressive and shows off his talents. “Intrigue at the Disco” has a name that describes the track to a tee. The sound has an overall investigative feel throughout with the synths and guitar really contributing to the vibe.

Two tracks on the album are covers of classic 70s songs like “In The Street” by Big Star and “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” by Steely Dan. The two tracks blend nicely with the original songs and Brauer does an excellent job with matching these songs to his harder rock sound. If a listener is unfamiliar with these songs, they may just assume Brauer wrote them himself. They were excellent choices for the record and proves again Brauer has an expert ear for the sound he is in.

The two standouts on the project were “I’m Alright” and “Heavy Traffic.” “I’m Alright” captures that carefree feeling of never wanting to grow up and falling in love in a way that keeps you from being a “clown” or “fool.” The use of cowbell and drums adds fun movement to the song. It is definitely one that would be fun at live shows to dance your cares away. Brauer’s voice and writing make the song feel real and transport you to a basement in the 70s (even if you’ve never been to one!)

“Heavy Traffic” accepts living where you are. Singing “Need a better foothold to see the light,” acknowledging where you are but arguing why the fight is worth it. Lyrically, this is Brauer’s strongest and contemplates what life is in an upbeat way. The guitars roar next to Brauer’s uncertain voice – as he only wishes to dream and not face reality. The moody guitar solo adds the necessary grit to match the underlying tone. Brauer captures something very special in just 4 minutes, making this a personal standout.

Overall, the album is very relatable and fun. The Matthew Shadley Band is astonishing and Brauer’s playing and writing will make listeners want to return to this album again and again. It combines all the best qualities of 70s music, from trippy instrumentals, personal inspirations, and well thought out lyrics. Go listen to 1970 Something from front to back!

ALBUM REVIEW - 1970 Something

Pitch Perfect

September 15, 2023

Dan Weston

4.0 out of 5

About a year ago, we took a look at the Matthew Shadley Band and their album Emerald. Now, they're back with 1970 Something, an album that takes a different path from their previous sound, but one that plays to their strengths. The journey begins with "Panorama," a guitar-centric soundscape that gains momentum with the arrival of drums, featuring a subtle lead from what sounds like a wooden flute tucked into the background. 

Up next is "Believe," a harder-hitting track that falls somewhere between the styles of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and The Spin Doctors. It exudes a lively energy that begs to be experienced live, especially during those moments when Shadley unleashes his vocal prowess with "I Can't Get Home." 

"I'm Alright" brings a mid-level energy to the mix, steeped in Americana with a touch of country influence. The song shines with its syncopated rhythmic pattern, adding depth to the listening experience. "In The Street," originally performed by Big Star, receives a solid cover treatment, while "Heavy Traffic" introduces a touch of psychedelia and a calming vibe, providing a welcomed change of pace. "Don't Need a Reason" delivers a solid performance, but "Long Ride" emerges as a standout. 

​Their rendition of Steely Dan's "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" is a true highlight, showcasing their musical prowess. "Hashtag World" provides a well-executed commentary on social media, while they close the album with the funky and driving instrumental track, "Intrigue At The Disco."

​To state the obvious, 1970 Something is an album that will strike a chord with those who have an appreciation for ‘70s music, especially classic rock. It's a nostalgic homage, but it also boasts a collection of well-crafted original songs that hold their own.

ALBUM REVIEW - 1970 Something

Plastic Magazine (U.K.)

July 13, 2023

Rob Pringle

Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, the Matthew Shadley Band has returned with their eagerly anticipated fifth full-length record titled 1970 Something. Led by singer-songwriter Matthew Shadley Brauer, the band’s sound effortlessly combines elements of classic rock, power pop and subtle psychedelic vibes, resulting in a timeless rock n’ roll experience that transports you right back to the heyday of the genre.

With a rich musical history that spans over two decades, The Matthew Shadley Band has developed their sound and earned a reputation as live show specialists. After a hiatus in 2008, Brauer resurrected the band during the lockdowns of 2020, resulting in a burst of creative energy that led to the release of their critically acclaimed album Emerald in the last year.

Now, with 1970 Something, the band showcases their musical evolution with the next chapter of their sonic story. Recorded in Brauer’s studio on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the album exudes a distinct 70s vibe, reminiscent of the golden era of rock music. Brauer takes on the role of multi-instrumentalist, playing the majority of the instruments while receiving support from renowned studio musicians such as Kenny Aronoff, Mauricio Herrera and Norman Garschke.

The album’s tracks seamlessly transition between different sonic landscapes, offering a variety of experiences for the listener. From the psychedelic and prog rock-inflected instrumentals of “Panorama” and “Intrigue at the Disco” to the energetic power pop of “Believe,” “I’m Alright” and “Don’t Need a Reason Why,” each song showcases the band’s versatility and ability to capture the essence of classic rock. The album also features two cover songs, including an exceptional rendition of Big Star’s “In The Street” and a captivating interpretation of Steely Dan’s “Any Major Dude Will Tell You,” demonstrating the band’s ability to pay homage to their musical influences while infusing their own unique sound.

Throughout 1970 Something, the band’s passion for classic rock in its purest form shines through. The use of tube amplifiers, iconic guitar solos, vintage keyboards and layered harmony vocals creates a nostalgic atmosphere that delights listeners. The intricate instrumentation, infectious songwriting and slick lead guitar licks captivate the listener’s attention, showcasing the band’s undeniable talent and dedication to their craft.

Opened by the eerie whistling wind and soft instrumentation of “Panorama”, the album kicks off with a dreamy instrumental track that slowly builds to a full band arrangement with the main lead lines coming from the bass guitar which intertwines beautifully with the twang of the guitar to set the scene for the wild rock journey that lies ahead. “Believe” picks up the energy launching straight into a riff-driven rock sound packed full of commanding vocal leads and wah-drenched guitars to craft an energetic rock jam. “In The Street”, a cover of the classic song by Big Star, serves up a superb classic rock sound driven by punching drums, bright guitar work and compelling vocals carrying instantly memorable melodic leads.

“Don’t Need a Reason Why” is an anthemic rock instrumental outing of infectious songwriting and fantastic lead guitar work. The cover of Steely Dan’s “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” captures a laid back groove and piquant arrangement of warm electric piano tones and sensational musicianship as Brauer’s smooth vocals spin the leads to craft a superb rendition of a classic song. “Hashtag World” showcases the outfit’s originality and the depth of their creativity with a swaggering classic rock outing full of gentle rhythm and subtle prog rock undercurrents, tinged with psychedelic vibes. The album closes with “Intrigue at the Disco”, an epic and grandiose instrumental outro that features Brauer’s alluring lead guitar talent to conclude the record with an enchanting slice of raw rock music.

1970 Something is a brilliant showcase of The Matthew Shadley Band’s artistic talent, creativity and passionate dedication to rock n’ roll. Brauer and his talented group of musicians have crafted an album that pays tribute to the past while firmly establishing their own unique sound. With its timeless appeal and infectious melodies, 1970 Something is a must-listen for fans of classic rock and those seeking an authentic rock experience that transports them to another era.

ALBUM REVIEW - 1970 Something

Obscure Sound

July 17, 2023

Mike Mineo

1970 Something is a rousing rock album with throwback appeal from Matthew Shadley Band. The Cincinnati-formed band got their start in 2003, and last year released Emerald, their first album in 14 years. 1970 Something continues their stellar return, with a ’70s rock nostalgia spanning across 8 new songs and two covers (Steely Dan’s “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” and Big Star’s “In the Street”).

“My earliest musical memories occurred in the 1970s and have informed every musical direction I’ve ever taken,” says songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Shadley Brauer, who helmed the album at his recording studio on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. “This album has a harder edge to it, but I think it’s consistent with most of my previous endeavors.”

Opening track “Panorama” is named aptly, showcasing the project’s songwriting strengths with patiently unfolding enticement. This instrumental rocker excels in mood; ethereal woodwind tones compel into gorgeously hypnotic interplay between psych-friendly guitar and warming bass. A riveting mid-point rise sees the guitars assuming a backing textural envelopment, consuming in tonally eclectic form from this escalation to the beginning’s lush contemplation.

As a whole, compared to the sprawling prog-rock sensation of “Panorama,” the album achieves an infectious fusing of power-pop and enthusiastic rock. The opener is a riveting table-setting with patience and intrigue, setting the stage for the frenzied rock songwriting that follows. “I don’t need a reason why,” the vocals conclude on the track of the same name, capturing a no-frills, confident ethos that echoes throughout the album’s riveting rock sound.

The vigor-filled rock sound of “Believe” meshes reassuring lyrical confidence amidst heavy guitar pulses and brassy adornments. “I can’t get home,” the vocals groan with stellar effect amidst brass/guitar interplay, swelling into a seductive guitar solo that builds with delectably climactic appeal. The confident vocals, brassy embrace, and hard-rocking guitar work results in a charismatic and replay-inducing success with “Believe.”

The tendency for exciting, soaring guitar solos amidst lyrical reassurances doesn’t end there. “I’m Alright” laments “no need to worry about me, because I’m gonna be alright,” into a guitar emphasis past the two-minute turn, strutting shades of southern-rock nostalgia. The ensuing harmonica adds further to the sweet throwback yearning. The title-touting hook and jovial instrumentation reminds stirringly of Tom Petty.

“In the Street” is a satiating cover of the Big Star classic, providing a pleasant dose of familiarity with its anthemic appeal. It’s an effective build-in to the subsequent “Heavy Traffic,” which blends personal introspection with psych-friendly guitar effects in feeling “lost within the twilight zone, with a vision that is not my own.” The track’s finale enthralls with its tender guitar work and ensuing excitement. 1970 Something is abundant in quality, to-the-heart rock songwriting and production.


 

ALBUM REVIEW - 1970 Something

The Pentatonic (U.K.)

July 27, 2023

Stuart Daley

Matthew Shadley Band’s latest offering, “1970 Something“, proves to be a remarkable follow-up to their first album in 14 years, “Emerald“. Released on 10 July 2023, the album boasts eight original songs penned by the band’s primary content creator, Matthew Shadley Brauer, along with two thoughtfully selected cover songs originally by Big Star and Steely Dan.

Originating in Cincinnati, Ohio, back in 2003, Matthew Shadley Band quickly garnered recognition as “Cincinnati’s live show specialists.” Although they went on hiatus in 2008, the band experienced a resurrection during the challenging COVID lockdowns of 2020, thanks to Brauer’s vision and musical fervour.

From his recording studio on the scenic Outer Banks of North Carolina, Brauer showcases his multi-instrumentalist talents on “1970 Something“. The album artfully captures the essence of the 1970s, transporting listeners on a nostalgic journey through the era’s diverse musical landscape. Much like its predecessor “Emerald,” Brauer takes the reins on the majority of the instruments, complemented by the expertise of acclaimed studio musicians such as Kenny Aronoff, Mauricio Herrera, Norman Garschke, Darby Todd, Mat Hector, and Rikard Ford.

1970 Something” delivers an eclectic mix of sonic experiences that traverse various genres with ease. From the psychedelic, borderline prog-rock instrumentals of “Panorama” and “Intrigue at the Disco” to the hard-rocking power pop anthems “Believe,” “I’m Alright,” and “Don’t Need a Reason Why,” the album showcases the band’s versatility and musical prowess. A standout track, “Hashtag World,” defies easy categorization, further exemplifying the band’s willingness to explore innovative soundscapes.

Brauer’s deep-rooted love for the music of the 1970s is evident throughout the album. The tracks pay homage to classic rock’s timeless elements, featuring the warm embrace of tube amplifiers, iconic guitar solos that ignite the soul, infectious funky rhythms, and the rich tapestry of vintage keyboards. Layered harmony vocals complete the package, delivering a sense of nostalgia that is both comforting and invigorating.

“My earliest musical memories occurred in the 1970s and have informed every musical direction I’ve ever taken,” explains Brauer. “This album has a harder edge to it, but I think it’s consistent with most of my previous endeavours.” Indeed, “1970 Something” seamlessly blends the nostalgia of the past with a contemporary edge, making it a compelling and engaging listen.

In conclusion, Matthew Shadley Band’s “1970 Something” is a testament to Brauer’s musical vision and his ability to capture the spirit of an iconic era. With its diverse sonic palette and expertly crafted compositions, the album stands as a testament to the band’s enduring talent and creativity. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock or an aficionado of inventive soundscapes, “1970 Something” promises an exhilarating and immersive musical experience that will leave you yearning for more.

ALBUM REVIEW

PITCH PERFECT

October 18, 2022

 3.8 out of 5 stars

Matthew Shadley Band

Emerald

By Jay Freeman

The Matthew Shadley Band was formed in 2003 by Matthew Shadley Brauer. An established multi-instrumentalist in several Cincinnati-area bands, Brauer joined fellow guitarist and former college bandmate, Jason Scherrer, with a temporary rhythm section and the makeshift band made its debut in October of the same year, playing an acoustic set at the 5th Annual Harvest Moon Festival held at the historic Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky. Brauer and Scherrer added a more permanent rhythm section and switched to an electric presentation with Brauer on lead guitar and lead vocals. With Chuck Morgan on drums, Jason Peter on keyboards and Tom Legg on bass, the band evolved from folk-rock to a more melodic, electric guitar-driven, alt-rock sound. The band drew comparisons to music as wide-ranging as the Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, the Jayhawks, the Black Crowes, Traffic, the Mother Hips and the Wallflowers. After a long hiatus, Brauer returned to the studio in 2020 during the nationwide COVID-19 quarantine, writing and recording new music as part of the Quarantune Project with other Cincinnati-based musicians. 

In 2021 he released the single "Oh, Karen," (the album’s last track) which was written during those sessions. The work has since continued with the skills of notable session musicians (Kenny Aronoff, Norm Garschke, Luke Oswald, Stefan Olofsson) and former bandmates (Jason Peter, Anthony Rich, Chris Rowell), as well as two of Brauer's daughters (Maggie and Lorelei). Emerald is Brauer’s most ambitious project to date, which features nine original songs and one cover song. It is the artist’s first full-length release since 2008 and was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Brauer's studio on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 

The first track was quite entertaining – “Anime Girl” features lots of crisp, popping bass lines, funky drumbeats and soothing keyboard grooves. Lots of funk all around. Something tells me that this might have been what Warren Zevon could have sounded like if he mixed up different styles more. I don’t know, just a guess. “Remnants” opens up with what I think are subway sounds, and then goes into a jangly, piano/guitar pop style. This one reminded me of the Jayhawks in some ways and it features a great guitar solo, too. Next up is “So Far Behind” which begins with a police siren and then the band transitioning into an acoustic folk style. Also in this tune are some classic, Hammond keyboard sounds, a strong rhythm section and great vocal harmonies. This one is reminiscent of the Black Crowes. The album’s title track “Emerald” starts off low, with piano, acoustic and an early ’70 soft rock/folk sound – somewhere between The Band, Warren Zevon, Harry Chapin and Neil Young. Interesting ending too – something that sounds like a helicopter followed by a crackling fire? “In Between” has a fun groove and lots of cool wah-wah guitar sounds. Very catchy! Lyrically, the words are about getting yourself out of a hole, or more like waiting to – feeling low in the in-between parts of your life – like say, the recent covid quarantine. 

“Garberville Blues” has a jangly, southern folk-rock feel, which I think would have an appealing sound for a lot of listeners. “Me and Magdalena” opens with crashing ocean waves and a lighter rock groove. Great vocal harmonies are accompanied by gorgeous guitar and piano melodies. This was one of my favorites – it made me think about driving out on the open road. Next up is “The Alderpoint (of View)” and this one to me had a socially conscious message about it. Not sure if it was the lyrics (something about Pakistan) or simply just the way the instruments were arranged and played. I think this was one of Shadley’s strongest songs on the album. “Ritornello” features very unique, ethereal sounds of piano, synth effects and loops, spacious guitar hooks and some faint singing in the background. This track was the most original sounding tune on the entire album, which set it way apart from the other songs. It’s also completely instrumental. It would be interesting to see if Brauer would record more of this kind of stuff on his next album. I think this song was done very well. The last track is called “Oh Karen” and this one had a different feel to it, too. Pretty chill – it mostly features keys and piano, alongside light acoustic guitar and softer drumbeats. This is clearly the album’s ballad tune, and its message is a sad one. A love song about wanting someone who is giving you the cold shoulder – at least for the moment. 

​Overall, Emerald has strong songwriting and catchy rock melodies that are great to listen to.