Matt Curreri | How to Play the Songs of Matt Curreri

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United States - California

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Folk: Folk Pop Pop: Beatles-pop Moods: Mood: Quirky
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How to Play the Songs of Matt Curreri

by Matt Curreri

"Matt Curreri [is] a clever and unkempt songwriter whose catchy rock-and-roll chanteys capture the warm joys and cold sweats of one's twenties." The New Yorker
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Priorities
2:11 $0.99
2. Sweet Matthew
2:10 $0.99
3. The 20s are Hard
1:55 $0.99
4. Think it Thru
1:29 $0.99
5. Black Cat
1:05 $0.99
6. Incorp.
1:10 $0.99
7. I Need to Control Just One Damn Thing
2:34 $0.99
8. Why He's So Blue
2:54 $0.99
9. Josephine
2:15 $0.99
10. Wife
3:40 $0.99
11. Waiting
1:56 $0.99
12. Willow Tree
4:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"How to play the songs of matt curreri:
autre songwriting, folk plutôt lo-fi, bricolé dans la cuisine , rien qu'avec des potes et quelques canettes de biere. On s'inviterait bien chez Curreri, le petit frère ( parce qu'il y a aussi le grand frère Paul, autre talent ) histoire de passer un bon moment. (25/01/2005)"

Translated by

"How to play the songs of matt curreri:
other songwriting, folk rather lo-fi, arranged in the kitchen, only with pals and some quills of beer. One would invite oneself well at Curreri, the little brother (because there is also the big Paul brother, another talent) history to spend a good moment. (25/01/2005)"


"New York transplant Matt Curreri seemingly fell out of the sky and landed in the [San Diego] public eye earlier this year. His debut album, How to Play the Songs of Matt Curreri, garnered the singer-songwriter more media coverage (comparisons to The Beatles and Bright Eyes were common) in a few short months than some veterans will ever receive.
But behind every good man, or at least this one, is a kick-ass multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter named Joanie Mendenhall."
---San Diego CityBeat
:::::Keith Morris wrote in Charlottesville's C-Ville Weekly:::::

Matt Curreri is an insidiously clever artist. Although the persona he presents in his songs is typically that of a naif - a complete goober, actually - Curreri, the artist, is far from that. And while he leaves the listener reveling in melodies as succinct and captivating as songs from The Beatles, with lyrics as quirky, giddy and wide-open as Daniel Johnston's manic early recordings, his songs are busy digging their way into your consciousness. Indeed, it's been many months since I started listening to this disc, and not a day has gone by without at least one of these earworms crawling gloriously through my skull.
On first listen, Songs of Matt Curreri sounds like some amateur project recorded in a basement somewhere (which it was) with lyrics made up on the spot. But continued exposure reveals that Curreri knows exactly what he's doing, namely, examining the post-college blues. Or, as he says, "Oh The 20s are hard." The music's rough edges and antiprofessionalism, then, are the perfect backdrop for the subject matter, as we watch our shell-shocked hero wander tragi-comically through the adult world.
In fact, the honest roughness of the recordings makes the disc's many moments of transcendence all the more breathtaking. Joanie Mendenhall's vocal verse at the end of "Sweet Matthew" is such a moment: Reminiscent of Broadway in its theatricality, she interrupts Curreri's woe-is-me soliloquy with an oh-so-sassy declaration of female independence. Exploding into the song like a Roman candle, she sings, "Five bucks says I can make you mine/ But I'm not trying to waste my time/ So go home and paint your pictures/ I've got so much stuff/ On my mind."
An absolutely adorable disc.
::::::Adam Gnade, Editor of the too cool San Diego Fahrenheit was our first fan, he said::::::
"It's all we've been listening to...the best record I've heard in a long time, no shit."
:::::Or maybe you'll believe Troy Johnson, Editor of San Diego CityBeat, Host/Producer FoxRox:::::
"His voice is off-kilter, imperfect and totally endearing. Absolutely one of the musicians to watch closely in the next year."
:::::Or maybe you'll trust the Tribune:::::
"Conor Oberst comparisons are inevitable, but HOW TO PLAY is no Bright Eyes rip-off. Jangly tunes like 'Why He's So Blue' have a bright, late-Beatles vibe, while others...have a pared-down country-blues feel, a la Will Oldham...Curreri's raw talent is undeniable. Keep an eye on this guy."--San Diego Union Tribune
:::::Would you, could you trust an Online 'zine?:::::
"Clean, stripped down songs that carry seasons of emotions...The pop flair of the band is best compared to The Beach Boys and The Beatles"--SD Music Matters
Official label press release

How To Play The Songs of Matt Curreri is the new record by California-based rocker Matt Curreri, and offers a steady stew of folk, rock, electronica, punk and poetry. "The music is absolutely and inspiringly pure," says songwriter and label-mate Paul Curreri, Matt's older brother. "It's a lonely and disgustingly-honest production about craving. To me, this work is brilliant."

"I want to be a singer/but I don't want to leave my home," sings Curreri in the album's opening track, Priorities. "But I don't really have a home/so I might as well go roam/All I want is to know my own priorities." The steadily rolling, country-infused number hands off to a somber piano and electric guitar ballad, Sweet Matthew, presenting Joanie on piano and backing vocals. In I Need To Control Just One Damn Thing, Curreri accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, singing the mantra-like lyric title repeatedly, bringing his vocals from a warm croon to a tight, high scream, sometime in a single phrase.

Throughout the record Curreri boasts a magnificent emotional range with his voice. "Great singing is more than just singing well by the books," he explains. "Fortunately, I'm rarely faking through my lyrics, and that helps me when it comes to singing my songs."

Originally from Richmond, VA, Curreri moved to San Diego, CA after spells in Cambridge, MA and New York City's Chinatown, where he moved with college buddies and fellow musicians. "We played a weekly music show on the Lower East Side," says Matt. "When our friend Joanie Mendenhall got to town, she started opening for us." Before long, Joanie, a keyboard player, and Matt began performing together, with Matt playing electric guitar and handling lead vocals while keeping time with a bass drum. "I like performing with Joanie," says Matt. "She helps make the songs louder and more fun."

"This record is an exciting release," says artist and City Salvage Records founder Andy Friedman. "Matt is an artist who is taking chances." Paul agrees. "He's sitting on top of a fantastic collection of work. Not just in the songs, but in the production and the performance."



to write a review


My new favorite record.
Matt Curreri rocks more than . . . than . . . He rocks more than 10,000 rocking chairs.
Buy this album!!!!

Masashi Niwano

It's Really, Really Good!
This album is one of the best albums I've heard this year. I hadn't heard of Matt Curreri prior to listening to this album, but now I talk about him WAY TOO MUCH. My friends are like, "Okay, shut up already!" So please listen to this album and I promise you, these songs will never leave your brain! Play track 3,4,5 and 9!


honest and beautiful rendering of an original voice in the mall-midst!
i love this album for its honesty,beauty and originality.many different music styles and sounds are thrown in and you hear a voice, not a recording a&r team.

Jackson L.

Elements of Jackson Browne mixed w/ elements of Elvis Costello mixed with elements of the Sex Pistols.
Jackson's harmonic complexity, Elvis's hips toward the audience and I'm-gonna-live-as-long-as-you-let-me, and the Sex Pistols' manic beauty and purity. This record calmly sings everything I've ever wanted to. As a songwriter, I quit. As a human, I'm having a party this evening to showcase this record. The word on the street is that Matt's in love in California, kicking butt w/ his rocking band. If I only lived there. As it is, this record is absolutely saintly.


Honest as hell
From what I've heard online here, I'm really taken back. Matt Curreri has stumbled on whatever causes the big spark that lights the fire! I'll be purchasing this record when I get my next paycheck. This seems to walk all over anything dishonest.

Grover Morrison

perfect for a Saturday
HOLY COW! What a wicked group of songs. Every one on the disc really hits home. Matt's writing is sensational. I'm so happy to read on this site that other people have enjoyed this record as much as I have - and for similar reasons. It really is beautiful, heartful, pure, and perfect. Thanks, Matt! Hope to see you play next time you're on the east coast.


so weird and good..i love it!
i bought this completely out of the blue--just browsing around on cdbaby and it's one of my favorite CDs in a long time. a really original sound but he's also got a good ear for traditional songwriting. reminds me of pet sounds and early beatles. the melodies are fun for singing along. the lyrics are funny and sad, profound and simple all at the same time. can't think of a time i've heard lyrics better than "Holy shit, i was about to jump ship, next thing I know you're my wife...what a life, what a life, what a life!" you have to hear this CD.

Peter Clark

Really, really, really fantastic
"How to Play the Songs" is remarkable. It's deeper and more human than any night out, which it constantly reminds me of. There's not a hint of pretension, not a line of dishonest self-deprecation. The songs seem to come from the cosmos as Matt sings them, like they're coming to him on the spot. "I’m not saying it’s a good song, I’m not saying it's a gas. I'm not saying that I love you, but I'm having a blast." In a universe of premeditation and frankly, horseshit, it's almost difficult to describe how something so fascinatingly honest feels when you hear it. Calling this effort 'good' is ridiculous. It's so good it's true.


Will warm your heart in unexpected ways
This is one of the most endearing and charming records I've heard in a long time. It makes you feel like Matt has invited you into his living room for coffee and warm, friendly conversation. I love this record.


Unbelievable record
Let's say there was a fistfight in a bar and Matt Curreri was the only one that could help you. I'm telling you, from the looks of his grrr and heartache, he'd drop his rock and rolling guitar and dash and bash the hell out of whoever was the problem. This umph is sincere in his gorgeous writing. His songs really do echo a time when melody mattered, but don't abandon a period where the most important thing was rocking until your vocal chords gave way while kissing a beautiful girly's sweet nothings. These songs are the songs that no one else has the balls to write. Buy buy buy!
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