Matt Sheehy
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Matt Sheehy

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review of Lunatics"

"The way Matt Sheehy... starts this track with sparse, cold and slightly distorted drum beats under his sweet, straightforward vocals reminds me an awful lot of something John Vanderslice would do. And I love me some John Vanderslice. But the way “Lunatics” (presented here as a rough version from Sheehy’s upcoming debut, Tigerphobia, due fall 2007) then builds on that simplistic intro, adding more percussive layers, guitar, piano and sweeping vioin, is nothing to balk at, either.

It might be the way Sheehy takes this semi-experimental track and makes it climax with supreme catchiness at its chorus that’s most impressive, though. Sheehy’s rich voice strikes me as a somewhat less affected version of Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and when he belts out the refrain “Stand up/ Stand in” midway through the song, it hits your ears with earnest emotion. Sheehy also adds subdued, kinda Rob Crowe-ish (Pinback) backing vocals after said lines–an undoubtedly cool, seemingly minor touch. The thing that surprises most every time I listen to this track, though, is the bass-led ending. Just when you think “Lunatics” is gonna capsize with indie-folk orchestration, it falls back to basics, taking you out with the sort of bass line that makes you arch your back and purse your lips. Nice!" - Willamette Week

"Live show review excerpt"

“Thick strumming and dewy, double-tracked guitar loops create deep rhythmic instrumental breaks between verses, between songs, too, as Matthew's Eastern leanings and rock-star wah-wah fill up the rest of the spaces.... The effect is compelling – the hair on my arms stands up not a few times....”
Kurt Dahlke - NW Drizzle

"Live show review"

"Intelligent, impassioned and energetic.... Sheehy’s voice mournfully resonates upon a sad song- like a modern update of the Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin.”... he delivers his vocals with passion and conviction.... the music is always thought provoking and jaw-droppingly well executed."
SP Clarke - Two Louies Magazine

"Excerpt from show preview"

“Honest and real.... filled with emotion and longing and sweet draining vocals.”
- Portland Mercury

"Review of Sputnik: Travelling Companion"

"...takes listeners on an epic journey through time, space and imagination... it's tension-building ballads or head-bobbing almost pop; complexly-layred instrumentals and poly-rhythmic rock."

- Bozeman Daily Chronicle

"Anchorage Press"

“laden with Michael Hedges-style timings and progressions and plenty of shimmering, shiny guitar....”

- Excerpt from Sputnik review

"Translation from Italian review of Sputnik"

"Entirely space age, the new album Sputnik:Travelling Companion reveals a work of songwriting more intense and mature than their previous. In a sound which mixes the sidereal purity of a track like “Sink Full of Rust” and the earthy abrasiveness of “Object Designed to Conserve Space,” singer and guitarist Matt Sheehy puts into orbit constant musical loops through which wind the soloist excursions of his guitar.

Thanks to a Line Six loop sampler which is used both for studio recording and for live shows, Matt is able to simultaneously construct diverse, interactive sound strata which carry the through lines of each track. "

- La Stampa


Tigerphobia, 2008 - (Self Released US) / American Typwriter (Vinyl)
Go Missing EP, 2008 -
Sputnik: Travelling Companion (Gravity and Henry), 2004 - Revolve Records (USA)/ Mechanism Records (Europe)
Pisces (Gravity and Henry), 1999 - Revolve Records (USA)/ Mechanism Records (Europe)



Although he hails from the wilds of Alaska and has a grizzly-felling father (who’s also been known to bowl 299), Matt Sheehy considers his 1999 arrival in Portland to be his true artistic genesis. He entered the 48 contiguous with childhood friend Jarhid Brown and promptly formed the band Gravity & Henry. Their first album, Pisces (2000), garnered high praise from local and national critics, and their follow-up, Sputnik: Travelling Companion (2003), was even more favorably met. Together they created a rich, layered complexity few duos could hope to replicate. As one critic said at the time, “No band with only two members should sound this good.”

Matt and Jarhid traveled the U.S. in support of their sophomore effort, playing scores of shows with the likes of Michael Franti, Pretty Girls Make Graves, and Menomena. They made their way across the country in a novel touring “bus,” which consisted of a small truck hitching the detached bed of a second truck, which would serve as their sleeping quarters under the stars at countless stops along their route. The band enjoyed great local success until, facing an uncertain future and increased expectations following a contract offer from LA’s Eenie Meanie records, Gravity & Henry disbanded. Although the two friends continue to collaborate and remain close, Matt shifted focus to his solo project.

For most of us, 2005 was a difficult year. King George II had re-stolen the throne, Gladiator was named best picture in the land, and the life of the artist looked particularly bleak. Matt’s friends found him in the Northwest Industrial area of Portland living out the delusion that he was to star in the newest Gus Van Sant film. During that time he dropped out of the music scene, avoided shows, looked upon his instruments with mistrust, and even started living with jazz musicians. It seemed he’d been so involved in his music during the previous four years he lost track of other aspects of his life.

In the winter of 2005 Matt moved to a small cabin on the Oregon coast to rediscover what he wanted out of music. Some of his finest compositions were written in solitude there. “Go Missing,” a highlight of new album Tigerphobia, was first recorded in Oceanside with a single microphone and a house full of furniture as percussion. When he left the coast and returned to Portland, he had a head full of new music and a stash of lo-fi seed tracks (demos).

When 2006 arrived, Matt had the opportunity to join Kaki King on her Italian tour, so he left his unfinished demos in the U.S. and decided to hit the road again. They played 12 sold-out shows to consistently rabid fans. As it turned out, Kaki, unbeknownst to her or her manager, had been played extensively on Italian MTV, so when they showed up to play, they arrived as unaware celebrities. Their reception was so overwhelming that Matt returned stateside more excited than ever to complete his album. He got back to work on the unfinished business of Tigerphobia right away.
He learned how to produce his own record through a process of recording, discarding, and recording again.

On the album he is joined by collaborators Drew Shoals and Andy Parker on drums, Tom Dietzel on bass, and a host of Portland’s finest musicians. Brent Knopf of Menomena plays vibes on several tracks, and was active in the album’s production. His re-mix of “Lunatics” will appear on an EP later in 2008. The entire album will be available in May of this year. When he’s not recording, Matt works in forest service, helping to determine the health and best preservation methods for local forestland. His home studio, where much of Tigerphobia was recorded and mixed, also features an inversion wall for deep meditation, his sister’s ungodly expensive keyboard, boots as tall as a healthy child, and a wayward cat called Mr. Hobbes or Malcolm, depending on whom you ask.

His music has been influenced by Peter Gabriel, The National, Beck, Horsefeathers, Miles Davis circa In a Silent Way, and Justin Timberlake. Yes, JT.

Matt’s current live show in support of Tigerphobia combines elegant compositions with a host of technological wizardry. He’s joined on stage by French Horn virtuoso Jen Harrison and Drew Shoals on the drums. Matt builds the foundation of their live pieces by looping and layering guitar lines on top of each other and laying down bass lines with his pedals while the band brings the composition to fruition. The result is a performance that highlights the simple beauty of songs that expand in front of the audience’s eyes.