Matthew Azrieli
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Matthew Azrieli

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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Matthew Azrieli @ Acadia Cafe

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Matthew Azrieli @ The Frequency

Madison, WI

Madison, WI

Matthew Azrieli @ Uncommon Ground

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

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This band has not uploaded any videos



Matthew Azrieli packs an awful lot of into his recent six-song EP, “Chloe.” In some ways, it’s a relatively straightforward story of a fractured relationship, but within that narrative the Montreal- and Boston-based singer-songwriter finds depths of emotional intensity and complexity. These are not simple love songs, and the characters within them are driven by ineffable ghosts. They’re haunted, but in that haunting they are undeniably human.

The album begins on a happy note with “Condoms and Razorblades,” a wistful recollection of a happy moment: “You surprised me once at my place/So we bought condoms and razorblades to shave my face/One of those items went to waste/Which one I haven’t the heart to say.” But even here, there’s a specter in the relationship: “Later, I dreamt that I saw you bare,/Chasing the ghosts that just weren’t there.”

It’s within this framework that Azrieli — who is performing at 8:30 p.m. July 21 at Nick’s Bar and Restaurant, 124 Millbury St., Worcester — examines the relationship, and its disintegration. Particularly, Azrieli points to a profound unhappiness that the titular Chloe wrestles with, particularly in the album’s second song, “Mockingbird.” Here, the song — a riff on the popular lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby” — has the persona wrestling with the woman leaving him: “Traded your diamond ring for some hand-me-downs/Said it wouldn’t really shine like you wanted it to … Now you’re going to find a man who’ll better suit you.”

But even here there’s more going on than is immediately apparent, a wrinkle that gets unveiled during the bridge: “You’re depressed but you won’t admit it/All your friends seem to have trouble with/The thought of you being so sick.”

And here we get to the crux of Azrieli’s portrait: That his couple’s relationship does not live in a vacuum, and that they’re motivated by things and wrestle with demons that really have nothing to do with one another. The fractures are underscored by Azrieli’s rough and emotive voice, and his ability to affect a sort of faux cheeriness at times that belies the pain inherent in the lyrics.

“Chloe, I love you, you know I do,” he sings in the album’s title song, “It’s just so hard to find you there./All dressed in white; trapped in the snow again./But, Chloe, I’m going to find you there.”

The depression that comes between the pair is palpable, and it becomes increasingly clear that most of the people around her are oblivious to it: “Everybody asks to please you,” he sings, “But they won’t please you, no they won’t.” The observation alienates the song’s persona, underscoring that he’s ill-prepared to deal with her troubles alone. It’s that feeling that permeates the otherwise straightforward slow rockabilly-influenced “Baby It’s Hard.”

In isolation, it’s just a good song — jangly and soulful, with a good spirit. In context, however, the pain underneath it is palpable, and that heartbreak only becomes deeper and more explicit in the album’s penultimate song, “Pass Us By,” where he sings, “I met her in winter, when snow covered the ground./She came to me, said she knew me from around. And when sat at my table, I sighed./Then I let the winter pass us by.” The song — the most exquisitely crafted on the album — cycles through the seasons, creating a picture of love found and opportunities lost, until, as he sings, “Soon autumn will end and winter will arrive.”

And it does, and it’s the repercussions of winter’s return that bring the album to its conclusion with the gorgeous and soulful, “Where Are You Tonight?” The last song echoes the album’s opening, with an unexpected visit, but the circumstances couldn’t be more different. In the end, Azrieli leaves the listener with ashes and aftermath, a sorrow that bristles and burns and, ultimately, a modicum of something that very well may be hope. - Worcester Telegraph & Gazette

An EP (extended play) sits in the realm between a single and an album; anything from 2 to 6 songs qualifies. Matthew Azrieli’s “Chloe” is at the outer limit. Six indie folk rock love songs in a row, so it has an album feel to it anyway. Now, I will confess a strong dislike of love songs that do not have a tinge of sadness or pain in the lyrics. Fortunately for us, these songs are not kitten fluffy, and the words are backed up with musical skill and complexity. Oh baby, that trumpet was layered in just right. My first impression of the vocals not having enough range was wrong, especially when I got to the last track, Where Are You Tonight. The only track that fell flat for me was the shortest one, Baby It’s Hard (Not To Love You). It was an abrupt departure stylistically from the rest of the EP; an add-on. It did not seem as genuine as the other 5 tracks and should have been left out. Nonetheless, Matthew Azrieli and his crew are putting together some fine work. Relax your ear and tune it in.

– by David Anton Savage - KZSC Santa Cruz 88.1 FM

Condoms & Razorblades has a tremendous instrumental arrangement that acts as the palette on which Azrieli’s vocals can shine. The vocals on this introductory track do more than please; there is a complex dynamic between Matthew’s voice and the instruments contributing to the track. What is on the surface a very innocuous sort of track is much deeper and varied of a portrayal. Subsequent listens will be necessary to hear every twist and turn that Matthew Azrieli has inserted into the EP’a six-song salvo.

Mockingbird ties together the more epic elements of Condoms & Razorblades to the greater emotional depth captured by the remainder of the disc to follow. The bold introduction to Chloe is enough to have listeners paying attention, while tracks like Chloe, Baby It’s Hard, and Pass Us By are able to fill in some of the blanks that fans will still have when understanding Azieli’s biography. The EP’s titular track will tug on listeners’ heartstrings as the guitars and vocals unite to create something special; this track would have an easy time making it onto rock, pop, or AC charts.

Baby It’s Hard is a track that refreshes the fifties doo-wop style, tosses it with hints of reggae, and ties up the effort’s loose ends with the bravado exerted by Azrieli during this outing. The momentum that Matthew possesses coming into Where Are You Tonight? is impressive. Where Are You Tonight? is brought into the limelight with a Chuck Mangione set of horns tired through the instrumentation. Make sure to add Azrieli on Youtube or Facebook for the latest information about the Chloe EP and where listeners will be able to listen to samples from the disc.

Top Tracks: Condoms & Razorblades, Where Are You Tonight?

Rating: 8.4/10 - NeuFutur Magazine

At first listen in Matthew Azrieli’s “Condoms and Razoblades” track from the EP Chloe, this listener surmised comparisons to Bob Dylan and even Eliot Smith. The dreary guitar in a slow dance with the crippled piano; a winding path of lyrics ending in a story are present. After a few more listens, there seemed to be a brightness, a dramatic pulse in the songs bridge and in Azrieli’s voice. It’s ever so subtle, but Azrieli’s pace and comforting orchestration tears at the heart.

In “Mockingbird” and the title track, Azrieli (a Berklee College of Music student) shines with brass-polished orchestrations and structured form. However, as a listener, his genuine apathy makes for a freeing, loose-fitting comfort. He’s so likeable and these songs fall into a more pop than folk/Americana base.

In “Pass Us By” the mesmerizing guitar work is embellished alongside the rust-sounding vocals. Azrieli’s voice is much like Dylan, as if he’s aged the words coming out like fine Whiskey and a cigar a day. Maybe two. Still, that growl, that copper-flavored voice is wise and mysterious. He makes you want to hear more.

Overall, Chloe is a fantastic result. Other tracks include “Baby It’s Hard” and the enjoyable “Where Are You Tonight?”. Azrieli’s unique voice and point-of-view are only a few of the weapons in his arsenal. Fans of acoustic music and strong lyricists will find something they like on this A+ offering. - Hot Indie News

"Throughout the album Azrieli displays his serious talent for songwriting. His authentic lyrics are well beyond his time as he conveys love from every point of view possible. Azrieli looks to help people in similar love complications with his music, stating, 'if you can make somebody feel better, that’s awesome.'" - IX Daily

"[F]ull of songwriting and musical talent [...] This 15 year old [Matthew Azrieli] is mature beyond his years in both performance and how he relates to his audience [...] his lyrics defy imagination and poetry." - L'Express d'Outremont & de Mont-Royal


Sweet Dreams EP - Self Released (2011)
Baby Bird (Released with Mr. Grizzly & The Big Nothing) - Self Released (2013)



Matthew Azrieli is a singer/songwriter from Montreal. With songs about ashes and aftermath, his grizzly and emotive voice is supported by a web of intricate guitar playing. Inspired by the likes of Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, and Leonard Cohen, Azrieli has never shied away from the personal, but often lets music speak where words cannot. 


"Azrieli leaves the listener with ashes and aftermath, a sorrow that bristles and burns and, ultimately, a modicum of something that very well may be hope." -Worcester Telegram & Gazette

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