Matt Jaffe
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Matt Jaffe

Minkler, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Minkler, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Rock Alternative




"MJD Expand Their LA Audience July 10, 2014"

By Patrick O’Heffernan, Host, Music FridayLive!

Matt Jaffe brought his high energy rock band The Distractions to North Hollywood’s Federal last night, energizing a respectable audience and demonstrating that he can play in larger venues in Los Angeles, the nation’s music capital. This was a return trip for the young new wave band, having previously opened for bands at The Central in Santa Monica and the venerable, if smaller, The Mint.

The young (he just finished his first year at Yale) northern California-raised guitarist and his band mates drummer Alex Coltharp and bassist Sammie Fischer have mastered the high-spirited sound that he shifted to when he exchanged the acoustic music of his high school days for an electric guitar. With songwriting that shimmers with the best of the hard rock groups in the Southland clubs these days, Matt led his bandmates in nine new songs that showed how he has moved far beyond the slick blend-into-the-background pop music that surrounds us. And his lyrics always give us something to think about.

I suspect the audience would have been much larger if the Federal had been an all-ages club – no one Matt’s age was allowed in, although some tried. The set was more geared to a young audience, almost exclusively featuring high energy new wave rock and rambunctious stage dancing, leaving out some of the group’s more complex songs and the exquisite guitar solos that Matt is capable of.

However, the major appeal of The Distractions may be Matt himself: “He’s so cute!” exclaimed a barely 21-year old tattooed Latina sitting with her head-bobbing friends in a booth as the group rocked through “Overboard”. But his charm is far more than cute; his voice is distinctive – there is nothing like it in the hard rock world. And his guitar-playing is superb – grounded in years of classical training that makes the instrument an extension of his body and his mind. That was evident to ex-Talking Head member Jerry Harrison who was so impressed with Jaffe’s guitar playing and overall talent at a local open mic evening that he offered to produce Matt’s music.

Matt’s set list at The Federal was a wise choice – new songs. While regular fans may have missed his standards “Backs of our Eyelids”, “Armistice Day” and “New Continent”, he chose to play his latest works. He was likely testing them before going into the studio in Berkeley next week with Jerry Harrison who has drafted Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty) on drums and Nathan East on bass to produce Matt’s first full album. Although new, each song was tight, from the kick off songs like “Write and Song “ and “Summer” to the wrap up tunes “No Hesitation” and “Chore”. Each was structured around Matt’s penetrating song-writing and the impressive choreography of the band – never missing a beat either in the music or in their stage presence.

While the family home is in Marin country, north of the Golden Gate, and Matt is currently based at Yale University where he juggles studies and music – with music being his self-proclaimed first priority. He is wise to build an audience in Southern California where clubs proliferate and opportunities to grow abound. This will serve him well when he releases his debut album – as yet untitled. What else will serve his well is the large inventory of songs he has built up in the few short years he has been playing rock. Last night we heard nine new songs – enough for an album if he wanted to stop there. But he won’t. In addition to the songs in his inventory like “Stoned on Easter”, “England Prevails”, “My Avalanche” and of course “Backs of Our Eyelids”, which have helped build his career, Matt Jaffe has an arsenal of tunes to choose from for the album and the strategic smarts to carefully ration out the best so we will want more. And we will.

Patrick O’Heffernan, Host, Music FridayLive! - Music Junkie Press

"The 'wonderful serendipity' of Marin's Matt Jaffe"

"He's a great talent, and many people will hear of him in the future."
Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, Modern Lovers) - Marin Independent Journal

"Music Connection 2014"

Music Connection January 2014
Matt Jaffe

The literate, articulate Jaffe and his band manage to be at once alternative and wholesome. And his unusual voice is instantly distinctive. Set to an African/world beat, his "New Continent" shows he's a dreamer/explorer with a gift for meandering syllables and a craftiness that includes a strong pre-chorus. Most memorable for us is "I Wanna Be Cruel." With a chord structure that echoes early Beatles ballads, this clever, introspective tune has a disarming clarity that grabbed us. Jaffe is a talent, an old soul in an 18-year-old's body. -


Still working on that hot first release.



Matt Jaffe is a 22 year old rock & roll singer/songwriter from San Francisco. Cutting his teeth on countless open mics around the Bay Area, Matt started taking music (a little bit) more seriously when Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads offered to produce his first record. Since then, Matt has continued to churn out more songs than he can remember the words to, oversaturate the market with gigs (opening and/or touring with the likes of Mavis Staples, Wilco, Jackie Greene, Melissa Etheridge, and Blues Traveler), and collaborate with Chuck Prophet and Tom Higgenson of the Plain White T's. Fresh off the release of his first LP, California's Burning, Matt Jaffe & The Distractions are street-teaming with the best of them to bring rock & roll back to the masses.

Band Members