Hip-hop artist Matt Monday, a native of North Charleston now cutting his teeth in New York City under the tutelage of music mogul Damon Dash, has big plans for 2014. A new album titled Filthy is in the works, along with a new short film titled Remember Mine.
"I took this year to prepare for next year," he says in a phone interview from Harlem, where he's living while working as an intern for Dash. Monday was previously a four-time winner of the Best of Charleston reader poll for Best Local Hip-Hop Artist under his old moniker, Righchus, but he changed the name this spring, saying he'd outgrown it. (The name change also put an end to promoters mistaking him for a Christian rapper.)
First, about the new Matt Monday album: This will be Monday's first record without Charleston producer Max Berry on the soundboard. He says Berry couldn't make his schedule work while finishing his MBA, but he looks forward to working with Berry again on later albums. In Berry's place, Monday brought in Charleston producers Francis Cooper and Ryan Janeiro, and previous collaborator Sam King will make another appearance on a song. Monday says you'll see a lot more of his own fingerprints on the album this time, though, from melodies he wrote to album artwork ideas he came up with to guest singers he invited.
"Everything before was a collaboration, but this one's all me," he says. "Music, visuals, everything's completely my ideas. You're getting the full Matt Monday everything." Monday doesn't have a firm release date for Filthy yet, but he's in the process of mixing and mastering and plans to announce a release date in January.
Righchus was always synonymous with high-concept music videos, and the new film in the works, Remember Mine, continues the tradition. Monday says it's not a music video per se, but the soundtrack will consist of songs from Filthy. The 20-page script, which Monday wrote, follows the lucrative career of a college pill-pusher named Tobias (played by Monday). When Tobias meets a girl who shows him a way out of the drug game, he comes to a crossroads. "He comes to a conflict of choosing between those two, and when he makes a decision, he has to deal with the consequences," Monday says. He tapped Alex West to direct the film and recently spent time in Charleston filming scenes.
Filthy will be released on S.W.I.M. (Southern Wealth In Music), the record label Monday founded this spring, with a possible distribution deal through Dash's own BluRoc Records. S.W.I.M. will also release an album titled Classy by its first signed artist, Charleston rapper Lexa L'Terra.
So, what's it like working for Dash, the Roc-A-Fella co-founder whose infamous falling-out with Jay-Z and subsequent nightclub endeavors have landed him on the gossip page more than a few times? "It wasn't a cakewalk. I had to sit in cars while they go in meetings, take out the trash, do blog updates for their blog. It started out very humble," Monday says. It's not all office-gopher work these days, though.
"The more I'm around him, being around him alone, you learn so much. He gives me a lot of life lessons and business lessons that I most definitely would not learn just walking around the street by myself."
SOUTHERN ROCK | The Higher Choir
w/ James Hall
Fri. Dec. 6
If you’re itching to catch a high-energy show from a band playing a stuffed spliff of folk, rock, psychedelic, country, blues, and soul, then look no further than The Higher Choir from Atlanta, Ga. After The Higher Choir plays the Tin Roof, they plan to wrap up work on their latest collection. “We have a few more South Carolina shows before going back to the studio,” says lead singer Grant Mitchell. “Then we’ll be finishing up our tentatively titled When the Smoke Clears EP that will probably come out next spring.” You won’t have to wait until then to hear the new songs that Mitchell and his THC bandmates have been working on, though. The Higher Choir will be performing new songs as well as tunes from their 2013 release Steeped in Southern Tradition. Want more from THC? Mitchell promises that a lot of secret things are happening behind the scenes and just might come to fruition next year. —Amanda Merritt FRIDAY
EMO NO MO | Jimmy Eat World
Wed. Dec. 11
Out of all the acts to emerge from the early ’90s emo scene, Jimmy Eat World is the last band standing while similarly minded acts Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, and Saves the Day faltered. Unlike those bands, the guys in Jimmy Eat World built an enduring fanbase out of their breakthrough 2001 release Bleed American. For the last few records, they’ve chased different iterations of the same hooky sound, from 2004’s dark Futures to 2007’s radio-ready Chase the Light and 2010’s singer-songwriter-influenced Invented. The band’s latest, Damage, is a polished-but-still-punchy breakup album that strives toward greater maturity. Like the music, the subject matter’s more befitting a legacy artist than a young turk. “It’s important to be honest and look at the world as it is,” says frontman Jim Adkins. “Singing about the discovery of relationships — it’s just not interesting for me anymore, and I don’t think it would be believable.” That honesty and commitment to growth has kept Jimmy Eat World relevant for two decades and counting. —Chris Parker WEDNESDAY
Folk SOUL | Goner
w/ Dulci Ellenberger
Thurs. Dec. 5
The Asheville-based band Goner is a little like the Avett Brothers getting their Bon Iver on, thanks in part to the trio’s earnest, anguished, and haunting sound and singer/guitarist Andrew Costantino’s rich tenor-baritone croon. Formed a year ago, the three-piece outfit recently released its three-song debut Every White Water Moon, a promising effort that lands in the center of the rustic folk-soul fairway at a moment when that course is particularly hot. They guys in Goner are canny musicians with a woodsy swing that’d feel at home alongside Edward Sharpe or Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. Which sort of begs the question: How do smart people poach the name of an extant band that’s been around since 2001 and with four albums under their belt? Not only that, but how can you swipe the name of a band that’s based 250 miles away — Raleigh-based Goner — and which regularly plays the region’s biggest festival, Hopscotch in the Triangle. It’s an almost unpardonable rock sin. Hopefully, next time we see Asheville’s promising new singer-songwriter Andrew Constantino, he’ll have adopted another moniker. —Chris Parker THURSDAY
OUTLAW COUNTRY | Matt Woods
Thurs. Dec. 5
Knoxville, Tenn.-based country boy Matt Woods is currently finishing up work on his latest album. And while the LP won’t hit the streets until the spring, Woods has released a three-track 7-inch vinyl and digital single, “Deadman’s Blues,” which offers a little bit of insight into what’s to come. Unlike 2011’s The Matt Woods Manifesto, the new record features fewer players and more open arrangements. “I think the result has been a pretty intimate feeling album,” Woods says. Expect to hear some of his new tracks at the Home Team show, including one of his personal favorites, the prison tune “With Love from Brushy Mountain.” Though Woods describes his sound as “outlaw country” and “Southern roots,” he doesn’t care much for labels. “Mostly, I’ve come to realize that we are all just folks on different blocks of the same street, songwriters hoping to have one of our tunes matter to someone,” he says. In the future, Woods expects to continue his journey as guitar-strumming, day-drinking pinball wizard. He laughs, “I will be wherever life takes me — somewhere with a guitar strapped to me playing songs for folks.” —Kalyn Oyer THURSDAY
It's been two West Coast tours ago and a year of recording since we've heard any new music from Old You, but that'll change next week when Young-Mi Feldsott and company release their new collection of dark-edged psychedelic jazz, Whale Sounds. The new disc marks the band's first professional recording and follow-up to 2012's So Steady EP.
"This album is really a token of gratitude for our fans, friends, and family," explains Old You singer Young-Mi Feldsott. "We couldn't have imagined this two years ago when we were practicing in my garage."
Once Whale Sounds is out, Feldsott and her Old You bandmates — John Pope (drums), Paul San Luis (bass), and Caleb Bodtorf (guitar) — will be hitting the road to promote their new LP. "The cool thing is that no matter where we go or who we play to, there's something for everyone," says Feldsott. "If we've done our job right, by the end of the show your hair will stand on its ends."
Old You's album release party will take place Fri. Dec. 13 at the Pour House. Tickets are $8, and the show starts at 9 p.m.
"Dingy," the new video from Charleston-based Elim Bolt (Johnnie Matthews, Jessica Oliver, Jordan Hicks, Christian Chidester), is a harrowing tale about a prison break, a high-speed car chase, police brutality, sexual exploration, and ice cream. It's a mixed-up, mescaline masterpiece.
Singer-guitarist Matthews says, "The video was inspired by what basically the song is about: Meeting a girl in another city, visiting her an awful lot, thinking the city is sort of a drag (although it's full of rad people), and trying to convince her to move to what is dreamworld to me."
He adds, "Also, I really wanted to see Jordan in drag."
The goofy video goes perfectly with the manic energy of "Dingy." And it also gave Matthews an opportunity to slap some lipstick on his lips. "I got my inspiration from Taylor Swift," he says. "I read this article in a magazine at the doctor's office about how Ms. Swift loves red lipstick because it makes her feel confident, and I thought it would do the same for me." Judging by the video, it certainly seems to work.
As for the shooting of the video, Matthews says it was a blast. "It was a lot of fun," he says, "but scheduling that many busy people to all come together at once was hard. I'm glad that I have super-rad friends that were willing to give so much time to it."
Matthews was able to make the video on the cheap thanks to his pals. "All and all, the video cost about $400," he says. "Drew Gardener really did me a solid on this one. He shot and edited it all, and I think, did a killer job." We agree.
American Idol Season 9 winner, Lee DeWyze, will share a bill with Charleston's own Tyler Boone on Thurs. Dec. 5 at The Windjammer. Before winning Idol, DeWyze released two indie records with WuLi Records, and he played all the instruments — drums, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and piano — on his first discs. Singer/songwriter Tyler Boone has opened for some pretty sweet acts including Old Crow Medicine Show, Ben Rector, and the Lowcountry's Danielle Howle. Oh, and this little band called Hootie and the Blowfish. Boone was also nominated for three City Paper Music Awards, and his catchy, acoustic single, "Don't Forget My Name," is currently in rotation on Charleston's 105.5 The Bridge, several radio stations throughout South Carolina, and, get this, 102.1 in San Diego, Calif. Tickets are $10, and since cooler weather means less tourists and traffic, getting to IOP should be a breeze. For more ticket info, visut to the-windjammer.com.