Matthew and the Atlas / Boy Bjorn
Matthew and the Atlas, the project led by British songwriter Matt Hegarty, has traversed a range of musical territories from classic acoustic folk to dramatic, synth-laden electronica to urgent, guitar-led alt-rock. The common thread across Hegarty's three LPs (Other Rivers, Temple, and Morning Dancer) and four stripped-back EPs has been a songwriting style that marries a subtle melodic sensibility with lyrics full of natural imagery and emotional heft. In the process, Hegarty has quietly built a major cult following in Europe and the U.S., which led to Q Magazine dubbing him the "British Bon Iver."
As part of the Communion Records family (Matthew and the Atlas’s debut EP was the label’s first-ever release), Hegarty toured his early releases extensively with the likes of Mumford and Sons, Bear’s Den, Civil Wars, and others around Europe and the U.S. That early touring and a passionate word-of-mouth fan base has taken Hegarty’s music around the world and close to 100 million streams across all his releases.
Matthew and the Atlas's new LP, Morning Dancer, sees Hegarty recording for the first time with his full five-piece touring band and Bristol, England–based producer Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Youth Lagoon, Gruff Rhys). Recorded and mixed in an intensive six-week stint, the record has familiar elements: the energy and intensity of the live show, stripped and delicate confessional moments, and touches of the synth-heavy drama that characterized his debut.
Boy Bjorn (a new solo project from Brian Holl, formerly of Foreign Fields) makes music that expresses the pains of his younger self.
At SXSW in 2015, 25-year-old Brian Holl was hit by a panic attack that acted as the catalyst for one of the most difficult periods of his young life. He had already achieved a great deal as half of the electronic/folk duo Foreign Fields—national tours, festival appearances, a critically acclaimed debut album—but anxiety fueled by self-doubt and counting trophies had reached a tipping point. What happened next was bravely and honestly exposed in Foreign Fields’ sophomore record Take Cover.
Two years later, Holl continues the story with Mistaken Animals, his first solo release under Boy Bjorn. The music jumps between two worlds, at times bewildering and washy with multiple drum samples stacked on synth layers.