Rejoice, for there is new music by Matthew Houck and Phosphorescent. It has been five years from Muchacho, one of the best albums of the last 20 years. The first track, New Birth In New England, is everything you’re looking for in a Phosphorescent tune. Get very excited for this one, as I sure am. C’est La Vie will see the light of day on 10/5 via the fine folks at Dead Oceans. Here’s a little more from the PR machine.

Houck’s first new Phosphorescent release in five years chronicles a life-altering period which saw him fall in love, start a family, leave New York for Nashville, and build a studio from the ground up. With a focus on translating these profound experiences to music as intuitively as he could, Houck pushes the boundaries of what a Phosphorescent record can sound like, balancing the earthy and the incandescent, the troubled and the serene, creating his own musical cosmos in the process.

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Phosphorescent is here


Live albums used to be a big deal when I was growing up. Like Kozelek, I watched The Song Remains The Same along with listening to Exit…Stage Left, Live At Leeds, The Last Waltz, etc., etc. They seem to have gone somewhat out of vogue recently. Well either this is coincidence or they are making a comeback as some HearYa faves are releasing some live albums in the early part of 2015.

Dr. Dog – Live At A Flamingo Hotel will be out on 1/13/15. “That’s always what we’ve wanted to do,” says bassist/vocalist Toby Leaman. “We’re one thing on a record and a different thing live. Somebody goes to a DR. DOG show and they come back again and they bring more people with them. Our live show is vital to how we view ourselves as a band.” Agreed, Dr. Dog shows are outrageously good. Songs take on a whole new life.

Ty Segall Band – ‘Live in San Francisco’ Series LP Out Jan. 26. I am typically hit or miss with Ty. Some stuff I love, including his last album Manipulator. Some stuff doesn’t connect. But no denying, the man is prolific and talented.

Phosphorescent – Live At The Music Hall on 2/17. Their shows are fucking epic. Matthew Houck has been keeping with the same band for the last few tours and the results have been fantastic. The version of Los Angeles below is outrageously good. “Playing those four shows, it was clear something special was going on,” says Houck. “After eight months of touring, we’d gotten to a really good point where we weren’t quite exhausted yet with the material, but we’d had enough time to really grow with the songs. So we were in that sweet spot where we were pulling something great out of the songs every night.”

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Dr. Dog is here Phosphorescent is here Ty Segall is here


Heaven’s Jail – Mother Mary Madonna

by Woody on June 20, 2014


Heaven’s Jail are a power trio fronted by Francesco Ferorelli based out of Brooklyn. So you’re thinking, Woody why did you open up their email? Great question and the answer is that it said, “Phosphorescent produced debut LP.” I love me all things Phosphorescent and Matthew Houck so I was intrigued. Houck had this to say, “Francesco is my favorite kind of songwriter: sensitive but not sappy, smart but not precious. He has the ability to casually sneak complex imagery and metaphor into a deceptively simple package. It’s just great songwriting. Simple as that.”

So with that glowing recommendation, I checked it out liked it. Now I want more but I will have to wait until August 26th when their debut, Ace Called Zero is released. The lead single Mother Mary Madonna is down below. Ferorelli has this to say on the lead track.

Sometimes you get lucky with lyrics and a whole tune writes itself in 20 min. Came up with the idea for tambourine while driving around alone and I feel like it kinda makes the song. Heaven’s Jail appropriates religious language/iconography for our own (occasionally sinister) ends but are definitely not a religious band. Of all the tunes on Ace Called Zero the fact that we grew up in the 90’s is most apparent on this one. It’s also sonically a bit reminiscent of Warren Zevon’s “splendid isolation.”

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Heaven’s Jail are here


Phosphorescent – Muchacho [album review]

by Woody on March 19, 2013


A few years back when the slam dunk contest still mattered, Vince Carter threw down a thunderous dunk and declared the contest over to the cameras. If such a contest existed for music, Matthew Houck could mimic Carter as I just don’t see a better album coming out this year. With Muchacho, Houck has taken elements of his prior catalog, blended them together and mixed in hints of synths that heighten the music.

The lead single, Song For Zula, has a gorgeous synth line that buoys the song as Houck opens his heart to us. As Oz and I took in his set at The San Jose at SXSW, I remarked to him, “there are not too many people who could pull that off and sound genuine.” Houck’s voice continues to be the glue that keeps his music together, no matter what genre he dips his toes into.

The bookends of Muchacho are Sun, Arise! (An Invocation, An Introduction) and Sun’s Arising (A Koan, An Exit). Both tunes are reminiscent of Pride’s freak folk manner. Sun, Arise! welcomes you in and has a bouncy synth line that sounds out of place at first. Sun’s Arising is the perfect closing; like a good glass of port after a great meal. It provides closure on an album that deserves nothing less. On their own, the two songs would be good. As the beginning and end of Muchacho, they take on new meaning.

After Here’s To Taking It Easy and endless touring, Houck disappeared down to a small town in Mexico and considered not making another Phosphorescent album. I’m sure the lazy daily routine began to agree with him after the ups and downs of life on the road. I surmise that was the genesis of The Quotidian Beasts, a seven minute rocker that sunk its teeth into me the first time I listened and hasn’t let go since. The song outlines Houck’s struggles with the daily routine, whether is for him or not. It starts with the following verse:

Well you woke me up early now and you drew me up bad
And you should be coming up this year, got me real glad
Well I start to discover oceans, started to last
And the beast came upon me, I guess it wasn’t so bad

Muchacho’s Tune is a slow twangy number where Houck sings of redemption. The synth giving a layer of rhythm beneath the tune as Houck opens up to the listeners. The chorus is:

Like the shepherd to the lamb
Like the wave onto the sand
I fixed myself up to come and be with you

As someone is who is fanatical about his music, it gives me chills when you see a band or artist reach such a lofty pinnacle; especially one that you have spent so much time with. I wouldn’t bet against Phosphorescent making a better album, but if this turns out to be his defining piece, he should be as proud as could be. I have had it for a month and I can say without question, it is an album that will live with me forever.


Phosphorscent – Song For Zula {mp3}

December 10, 2012

Matthew Houck is the man behind Phosphorescent. Like EELS, you never quite know what his new release will bring. I remember when Oz and I discussed his release of all Willie Nelson covers. I was convinced it was going to be horrible. It was stunning. Followed up by an amazing trip into Americana with Here’s […]

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It’s Hard To Be Humble When You’re From Ohio

August 16, 2010

Just got back from a long trip that went like this: Atlanta, GA to Columbus, OH to Palo Alto, CA to Columbus, OH to Atlanta, GA. The Ohio portions were over two special weekends that had me driving through the cornfields of my old stomping grounds. I found myself in Columbus, Coshocton, Orrville, and my […]

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J. Tillman’s Three Sisters [new mp3]

July 26, 2010

J. Tillman is releasing his seventh full length album entitled Singing Ax on September 14th via Western Vinyl Records. Here’s a fresh track from the album. J. Tillman – Three Sisters Tweet

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Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy

June 30, 2010

During a set at SxSW, our friend Abe from Dead Oceans mentioned that the new Phosphorescent album was going to blow us away. I begged for an advance copy, but much like my female-chasing endeavors in high school, I struck out and was made to wait. The wait was well worth it. Here’s To Taking […]

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Phosphorescent – Mermaid Parade [new mp3]

April 28, 2010

I’m anxiously awaiting Phosphorescent’s upcoming album almost as much as the aforementioned Josh Ritter. Phosphorescent’s Here’s To Taking It Easy is due out on May 11th via Dead Oceans. He’s just released a second mp3 entitled “Mermaid Parade” and it’s incredible. Phosphorescent – Mermaid Parade Phosphorescent – It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re From […]

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Phosphorescent, It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama) [new mp3]

February 27, 2010

Phosphorescent is set to follow up his Willie Nelson tribute album, To Willie, with a fresh batch of original tunes. Here’s To Taking It Easy will be released on May 10th via Dead Oceans. Unlike his last haunting and introspective album of original work, Pride, his latest features a full band on tracks reminiscent of […]

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