Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Houck’


Since the album Muchacho, Matthew Houck fell in love, got married, moved from New York City to Nashville, became a father, nearly died in a bout with meningitis and built his own studio, by hand, from the ground up. That’s a lot of major life events to pack into a half-decade, so it’s no surprise that he sounds like a different man on his new album C’est La Vie. His fine-grit tenor is still perfectly raspy, and his songs still hang effortlessly near the border between barstool country and warm-glow pop, with Houck’s experimental streak interloping into both territories. This is still Phosphorescent. It’s just that the man behind the wheel is older and a little bit wiser these days. “There From Here” wraps the revelation of clarity in a gentle sway of burbling organs. “Around the Horn” is hazy and hopeful, and it stands out thanks to its fuzzy motorik groove and sumptuous coda. “My Beautiful Boy” is a sweet love song for Houck’s son, streaked with pedal steel guitar and textured with hand percussion. And on “New Birth in New England,” Houck’s band, which includes wife Jo Schornikow, showcases its gospel-pop-rock chops as its leader takes a few minutes to unwind with some lines about the miracles of beer and childbirth. Houck sounds bemused but happy, like a man still learning to navigate and appreciate a whole new existence. No doubt, his beautiful and affecting music will grow with him—and help guide him.

‘New Birth in New England’ from Phosphorescent’s new album ‘C’est La Vie’, out October 5th on Dead Oceans Records.

C’est La Vie

Five years after the release of his best-selling and highly praised album “Muchacho”, Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck is returning with “C’est La Vie“, which he produced at his own Spirit Sounds Studio in Nashville, Tenn. Like Muchacho’s starchild single “Song For Zula,” the happy-go-lucky “New Birth in New England,” the first single from “C’est La Vie”, is an overwhelming display of color and genre. Backed by a gospel choir and cheerful acoustics, Houck expertly layers stellar slide guitar and distinctly soulful twang and keys work with hula-like sways of what can only be described as island rock—curious, considering New England is about as far away from the tropics as you can get. Houck’s crackly vocals are reminiscent of Jim James’ or M.C. Taylor’s (Hiss Golden Messenger), but his voice cannot be easily categorized as southern or Americana. On C’est La Vie, Houck doesn’t lean wholly into one sound or style; rather, he capitalizes on a wealth of them.

Houck has crafted an electrifying collection of songs that blend a dreamy, psychedelic americana aesthetic with solid pop foundations that never fail to engage.

After a nearly five-year hiatus, Phosphorescent, the musical project of Matthew Houck, is returning this October with a new album called C’est La Vie.

You can hear the project’s lead single,” New Birth In A New England,” below.

The album was recorded in Nashville, in a studio Houck built by hand after relocating to Music City with his family after a long stint in New York. C’est La Vie, which enters the world on October 5th via Dead Oceans, was mixed by Houck and Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, Arctic Monkeys).

‘New Birth in New England’ from Phosphorescent’s new album ‘C’est La Vie’, out October 5th on Dead Oceans.

phosphorliveat themusichall

In December of 2013, Phosphorescent played a four-night run of sold-out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, finishing out a leg of tour dates in support of his excellent latest full-length Muchacho. Matthew Houck, the man behind the project that can range from a solo setup to a six-piece band, played for over ten hours, all of which was recorded and ultimately whittled down to 19 tracks for “Live at the Music Hall”, a three-album set to be released via Dead Oceans on Feb. 17. Houck talked to Paste about playing with his band, the concept of a live album and the way ceremony played into these live performances


Recorded over three nights at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, this triple LP is a veritable best-of from a band at the height of their performative powers. Featuring scorching renditions of the best-loved songs of the Phosphorescent catalog, from “Los Angeles” to “Song for Zula”, Phosphorescent delivers a live album for all-time.