Matt Heller Has Something to Say. And You Should Listen

It seems all things are political these days and while that fact may make some groan in protest, young people are paying attention to the world around them for the first time in decades. It isn’t a coincidence the Best Picture contenders at the Oscars this year were almost exclusively political in nature. But music often leads the way during times of social upheaval and, except for a few indie artists, the airwaves are mostly void of protest songs.

Enter Matt Heller, an angry young man with something to say. And you should listen. His new album, Invitation, is hard hitting and gritty, covering some diverse territory lyrically.

Roaring out of Portland, Oregon  this singer-songwriter grounds his message in a solid alt rock/folk style but that message isn’t lost in his expertly crafted grungy yet melodic tunes. No, they scream to be heard, whether he’s singing about drug addition (Another Dose) or the timely and controversial topic of remote warfare in the aptly titled Drone Strike. There is a nihilistic undertone in the bluesy-folk piece Man’s Prayer and ‘coming of age’ themes are solidly represented in Father’s Son and Howdy from Hades.

The album has a live feel to it, as if Heller set up a few microphones and a tape recorder in his garage and wailed away with his band. This isn’t a criticism. Sometimes a break from the slickly produced and pitch-perfect offerings from the big record labels is refreshing. That isn’t to say Invitation doesn’t have any mainstream radio-friendly rock tucked away in it’s angst-filled social commentaries. It does and comparisons to established artists would be easy to make – Billy Corgin perhaps or even echos of Lindsey Buckingham’s Fleetwood Mac songs in Mercy.

But Heller is his own artist. There’s an old story about Elvis Presley’s first visit to Sun Records. The secretary asked him who he sounded like and the future Kind of Rock-n-Roll said, “I don’t sound like nobody.” That might be Heller’s calling card as well.

Visit his page here. A free download for you is below.