Mark Matos
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Mark Matos

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Avant-garde




"Mark Matos and Os Beaches Words of the Knife"

“…simply infectious. Although every song is noteworthy, the ten-minute-long psych folk gem “Warrior and the Thief” is the sonic high point of the album. New subtleties of instrumentation and rhythmic composition come to the forefront with every listen of Words of the Knife.” - Exclaim Magazine

"Mark Matos & Os Beaches: Words of the Knife [Album Review]"

“An opus of relentless power and obscurity.” - Fensepost

"Review: Mark Matos and Os Beaches"

“There are no two instruments, when used properly in a rock and roll band, that captivate the ear more dramatically than the organ and the lap steel. Words of the Knife somehow has managed to coalesce both sounds into a sun-drenched tone all its own, wrapping itself loosely around shadowy notions, moments of epiphany, and confessions of self-deprecation… a fine example of how eclectic and original one can be while trespassing on familiar musical landscapes…. Matos embraces every ounce of the lap steel’s Hawaiian origins to create a new chapter in the Americana workbook.

There are easy comparisons between Matos’ un-affected vocal style and lyricism to that of Conor Oberst, but while Bright Eyes’ front man has a proclivity for fervor, Matos’ tendencies lean towards ennui. He often throws off lines being careful not to give away any more than the content itself. It’s not to say Matos is morose, but rather, matter of fact…. Much like Howe Gelb’s work with Giant Sand, there is a coherence and unity in the backdrop that is right in time with the leader’s step. Words of the Knife is a unique and compelling record that feels familiar, but not tired.” - Present Magazine

"Mark Matos & Os Beaches - Words of the Knife"

“Southwest smoke meets Bay Area sunshine folk-rock… some Hawaiian inflections, Portuguese tropicalia, and solid Americana round out this cool offering.” - WESU FM

"Mark Matos & Os Beaches – Words of the Knife"

“Psych-pop with sunny brilliant melodies, sandy harmonies, and murky ‘70s funky rock chords.” - Smother Magazine

"Lights in Your Throat"

“A fine purveyor of neo-Tropicalia… Matos’ voice breaks in all the right places… unique and passionate.” - The Rumpus

"Mark Matos & Os Beaches – Words of the Knife"

“… sometimes conjures the thought of a dustier American Music Club crossed with Gram Parsons, or a more southwestern tuned Jason Collett. Melancholy, sun-baked melodies, smart, complimentary pieces, and whisper backing harmonies are the key pillars for this record’s construction. It’s an album that should find easy favor with fans of melancholy, southwestern-tinged indie Americana, and one that merits a listen from music fans in general.” - Striker Bill

"Review: Words of the Knife"

“It’s a bit strange to say it, and Mark Matos (Trans Van Santos) might not want to be burdened with the comparison, but there’s something about Words of the Knife which suggests an alternate future for Beck sometime after 1998 or so… there’s something about the easygoing and open embrace of frazzled classic rock, downbeat country twang, flecks of tropicalia… vocally Matos occupies a space familiar to fans of Kurt Wagner and Mark Knopfler more than anything else… world-weary, contemplative, winsome, yearning, something that aims for storytelling and a full-bodied sigh, with occasional organ flourishes (as on “Warrior and the Thief”) that feels like Dylan-and-the-Band inspirationalism more than once…nicely done.” - All Music Guide

"Episode 104: Campo Bravo"

"... mix of psychedelic sounds and traditional folk and Americana music results in songs that twist, turn and delight, all with a reverence for classic folk-rock." - The Bay Bridged

"Music Review - Mark Matos & Os Beaches: Words of the Knife"

"Offbeat mysticism, psychedelic meanderings, and earthy country soul, guided by the steady hand of a gifted and charismatic songwriter." - KQED Arts


Mark Matos & Os Beaches - Coyote & The Crosser
(Family Folk Explosion, due Feb. 2012)

Mark Matos & Os Beaches - Words Of The Knife
(Porto Franco Records, 2009)

Campo Bravo - Denver Lights & Eagle Rock Dreamer
(100 Copy Special Edition, 2007 O.O.P.)

Campo Bravo - Goodbye, Oklahoma
(Keep Recordings, 2006)

Campo Bravo - Songs For Messy Lovers
(Soild Gold Records, 2005 O.O.P)

Campo Bravo - Electric Jumping Horses
(F/8 Records, 2003 O.O.P.)

Campo Bravo - What Cheer EP
(Tour Only/Self Released, 2002 O.O.P.)

Mark Matos - Mariposa
(F/8 Records, 2001 O.O.P.)



Mark Matos was born to Portuguese immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974. He is the first American branch on his family tree, and the son of one of California's most popular Portuguese language radio DJ's. As a teen, Matos briefly trained for a life as a Portuguese bullfighter before thinking better of it and hitchhiking out of California and spending a decade with his back to the wind, working odd jobs in the strangest of places: in Alaska way up at the Arctic Circle, on the Big Island of Hawaii circling Terence McKenna's compound, a brief spell as a music journalist in Port Townsend, WA and many a Golden Couch across the living rooms of this new, weird America.

Matos settled in Tucson, AZ in the early part of the century where he began performing under the banner of Campo Bravo with a rotating collective of musicians that included future members of Dr. Dog, Golden Boots, Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter, and a bit of cross pollination with Howe Gelb's Giant Sand congregation. After a couple of self released efforts, Campo Bravo released Goodbye, Oklahoma on KEEP Recordings in 2006, an album Matos considered rushed and disappointing but that nonetheless received some favorable national attention. Matos disbanded Campo Bravo and relocated to San Francisco shortly thereafter, forming Mark Matos & Os Beaches, signing to San Francisco's Porto Franco Records in 2008 and released Words Of The Knife in 2009, a record that featured Dave Mihaly (Jolie Holland), Tom Heyman (Court & Spark, Girls), Ben Reisdorph, Aaron Keirbal (Rupa & The April Fishes), Matt Adams (The Blank Tapes), and Charith Premawrdhana (ex-Magic Magic Orchestra), among others, and signaled the beginning of a new chapter in Matos' story.

The anticipated follow up would take longer than expected and come at a cost. Joe Lewis, a Mission District mainstay who had spent time manning bass duties with both Thao Nguyen and Adam Stephens (Two Gallants), was brought in along with Joe Miller (the enigmatic drummer of SF's premier Syd Barrett tribute band, Syd's Last Trip) to form Os Beaches' semi permanent rhythm section. A time of heavy touring and heavy living followed. Matos parted ways with long time guitarist Ben Reisdorph and severed ties with producer Eric Moffat, taking the production helm of Coyote & The Crosser (the direction of which had become a point of contention) and instilling the help of gonzo recording engineer Charles Gonzalez, Iggy & The Stooges' sax man Steve Mackay, Matt Adams (Blank Tapes), Nathan Sabatino (Dr. Dog producer/engineer), and New, Improved Studio's Eli Crews (Beulah) to complete the record.

The album's journey took Matos from San Francisco to Tucson to LA and back to Oakland and in between he was hospitalized with a head injury after being assaulted by a group of Skinheads inside of a venerable San Francisco music venue, an event that persuaded Matos to venture alone into the Sonoran Desert on a vision quest, and eventually to Nathan Sabatino's desert getaway (Loveland Studio) where Matos and Sabatino mixed the record in a nearly complete darkness, using the experimental process of sight deprivation to combat the Protools era problem of what Matos calls "mixing with your eyes".

After a support gig with Akron/Family and a one off as a member of Howe Gelb's Melted Wires (with Grandaddy's Jason Lytle, PJ Harvey's John Parrish, members of Calexico and Victoria Williams) Matos returned to Porto Franco Records' San Francisco headquarters and presented them with the completed record, only to be informed that PFR had decided to change their business model and would be releasing him from his contract. So he's putting it out on his own Family Folk Explosion imprint, where you can download it and pay whatever you want for it or whatever you can afford given the particulars of your situation. He calls his music Americalia, a tip of the hat to Brazil's late 1960's Tropicalia movement and to the dust bit Americana lineage of which he is just a spoke in the wheel.