As most people who read my blog know, a few weeks ago I was down in Las Vegas hanging out near a pool with Matt Good along with a handful of his friends and fans, one of which was Vancouver blogger and now good friend, Rebecca Bollwitt. Matt gave a small acoustic performance that night, mainly consisting of material off his forthcoming album, Hospital Music.
Hospital Music, for those who haven’t been following, is Matthew Good’s 7th full-length album, and was recorded after a rather difficult period in Matt’s life, something that is discussed in detail on his personal website:
Prior to recording Hospital Music I spent a great deal of time confronting the past. In doing so I discovered something interesting, that through it all I viewed myself as beholden to the needs of others, even if it meant that I would endure immense anxiety because of it. I spent a great deal of time wading through past relationships and honestly examining their purpose, and in doing so came to the realization that, for years, I had not been all that honest with myself. That, more than anything else, influenced the material on this record, producing, at times, uncomfortable realizations represented in song. Some might, upon examination, call them bitter. Others might disregard them altogether, searching more for the comfortable familiarity of past work. But the truth is that what was ultimately produced was beyond my control in that, given everything that had transpired, it either had to be honest or I would have to walk away from music altogether. In the end, these fifteen songs combine to represent a remembrance, one that, in no small way, both began and ended on the floor of a shower.
The album has been streaming live from Matt’s website and on iTunes for the entire month, and the feedback on his website and from people who have heard it has been rather amazing.
Music has always been rather important to me. While my day job consists generally of crunching numbers or slaving away in front of a monitor for 12 hours at a time, I have always sought solice in photography, or by the dim glow of a table lamp while listening to music. My first real paycheck after graduating university, I went out and spent most of it on a pair of $1200 speakers and a $1200 receiver so that I could listen to music at home (I had no couch or furniture at the time). While my friends all made fun of me, I opted to spend my money on two high-quality speakers for listening to music instead of blowing the same amount of money on a 5.1 system powerered by mediocre speakers, an act I have never regretted (I have since added a kick ass subwoofer though).
My first exposure to Matthew Good was in my third year of university. I was basically sick and tired of most of the stuff I had been listening to and ended up venting my frustration to my friend Kirsten, who immediately grabbed Underdogs and put it in my computer to listen to. I was immediately hooked, and spent the next few days listening while doing assignments in my little dorm room at UBC.
That weekend, I grabbed my Strat and messed around, ultimately getting stuck on trying to figure out the solo for “My Out of Style is Coming Back.” After listening to me fumble around with it for over an hour, my roommate, who happened to be a music major at UBC (and is consequently the only person I have ever met with perfect pitch), walked into my room, grabbed my pen, and transcribed the whole song, note for note, onto a piece of foolscap for me — he got it right the first time.
For those of you who have been through university, you will know that not only is it an emotionally difficult experience, but also an extremely financially difficult one. In the eight years I spent at UBC, I spent around $60,000 dollars there (even though I had a full scholarship during my undergrad) — around $35,000 of that I financed with student loans, and the other bit mostly through summer jobs. There were times I ran out of money early, one time as soon as February, and had no idea what I was going to do to afford to eat in the coming months.
The point of saying that is even though money was tight, and even though I was in school during the napster era where most people chose to download music instead of buying it, I somehow always found enough money to go out and buy one of Matt’s new CDs when they came out. To this day, I am quite certain he is the only artist in my CD collection (which is probably is on the order of between two or three hundred CDs) where I own the entire artist’s catalogue, and that is saying quite a bit.
I have never really believed in rating music, or art in general for that matter, since art is really a highly personal experience. But at least to me, Hospital Music is truly amazing, and is, in my mind, Matthew Good’s best work.
In only six days, on July 31st, Hospital Music will be released simultaneously in both Canada and the United States (iTunes). For those of you who want to take a listen before it is released, you can head over to Matthew Good’s website and listen to the entire CD streamed there in real-time. In addition, MuchMusic.com recently started previewing the entire album as well.
While Matt may do something on his own website, I encourage every one who is going to buy a CD to take a photo of themselves with the CD and send me the flickr link when you have it — I’ll post the collection after the fact – get your friends to do the same, and if we have enough, we can make a cool collage.
Several of us have already made plans to head down to HMV the night of the 31st after work and pick up our own copies of Hospital Music. Afterwards, we plan to spend the rest of the night hanging out, listening to music, having a few drinks, and sharing a few laughs amongst close friends.