Imaginary Scoop Matt & Kim Showbox at the Market

Win tickets to see Matt & Kim at the Showbox

You know those friends who can cheer you up no matter what mood you’re in? The ones who’s genuine love of you and everyone and everything is infectious and helps set everything right with the chemicals in your brain?

For me those ‘friends’ are not so much a couple on my holiday card list (it’d be a bit too stalker to add them to it, right?), but rather Matt & Kim, my favorite happy hip-electro-keys-punk-pop-indie-rad duo. The only thing that is helping me get through until the release of their third full-length album, Sidewalks, on November 2, 2010 (hear the brilliant new single) is counting down to their next visit to Seattle on September 28 at the Showbox.

If you want to go restore your faith in humanity with me, we’ve got a pair of tickets to giveaway to the show! To enter, email tig @ with your name and the subject line MattAndKimAndAllOurFriends by Sunday, September 26 at noon. We’ll notify the winner soon thereafter.

To confirm that they are as great as you (and I) think they are, here’s a video of a recent show:


Imaginary Scoop Los Campesinos! Matt & Kim Mull Historical Society

Bon Voyage to our friends head to Austin to SXSW it up in the most imaginary of ways


It’s that time of year again… SXSW is upon us! I wasn’t able to gather the necessary resources to head down there myself, so I’m looking forward to spending the next four days living vicariously through all of you headed Austin-ways.  I know that your hands (and days) will likely be full of free stuff (beer) and running into your band heros, but keep the twitters and flickr feeds full with your adventures!

I must admit, to protect myself from getting too depressed about missing this year’s fest, I haven’t kept extremely close tabs on who is playing where and when and what gift bags will be circulating. But, I have found two things that I’m particularly sad to miss this year.  If anyone hits these events, definitely report back (heck, whatever you see, feel free to report in!):

  • 1. The world premiere screening of the film Strange Powers – Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields
  • 2. The undeniable indie-pop fest going on at Waterloo Bicycles (so many bands I’ve wanted to see in one place!)
  • 3. The special guest duets that sneak up on you… one in particular I’ve heard a rumor about is the teaming up of a Fratelli and Colin of Mull Historial Society. Billy Bragg is there this year and I *know* he’s going to join someone on stage. I just know it!

May the YouTube powers be with everyone down there!

Needless to say, you SXSW-ers are going to have a great time. I guess I’ll make up for all that I’ll miss by looking back and trying to relive some of my favorite adventures of SXSWs past:

  • 1. Matt & Kim interview, with legos and a dorky interviewer
  • 2. Los Campesinos! interview, in a hot tub with an interviewer who shouldn’t have worn a hoodie
  • 3. Chasing down Running into Owen Wilson
  • 4. The time Dana chased down ran into Amy Winehouse
  • 5. Everything else I’ve seen / done at SXSW, especially the hootenanny

What are your favorite SXSW memories?

We’re all at SXSW in our hearts!


ballboy BOAT Bright Eyes Carissa's Wierd Clinic David and the Citizens Desaparecidos Fishboy Galactic Heroes Girl Talk Hefner Her Space Holiday Imaginary Scoop Los Campesinos! Los Halos Math and Physics Club Matt & Kim mclusky Nana Grizol Okkervil River She and Him Starlight Mints The Arcade Fire The Eames Era The Lucksmiths The Mountain Goats The Postal Service The Thermals The White Stripes Tullycraft Visqueen Wilco

imaginary liz’s favorite albums of the last decade

The Thermals by Bobby McHugh

Yesterday I divulged my favorite albums of the year. Today I am ready to let go of my latest obsession: My album recap of how I spent my 00’s.

The below listage rant is my own little time capsule to remind myself why 2000-2009 musically ruled. As with my other list posts, I’m certain I totally forgot to add something really important to my end-all-be-all-recap. It’s up to you to remind me by posting your favs of the 00’s below.

  1. Bright EyesFevers and Mirrors
  2. The ThermalsMore Parts Per Million
  3. TullycraftDisenchanted Hearts Unite
  4. Nana GrizolLove It Love It
  5. Los CampesinosHold On Now, Youngster
  6. Matt & KimGrand
  7. Her Space HolidayThe Young Machines
  8. ballboyClub Anthems
  9. The LucksmithsWhy That Doesn’t Surprise Me
  10. David & the CitizensUntil the Sadness is Gone
  11. Okkervil RiverDon’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See
  12. DesaparecidosRead Music/Speak Spanish
  13. WilcoYankee Hotel Foxtrot
  14. The White StripesWhite Blood Cells
  15. BOATSongs That You Might Not Like
  16. ClinicInternal Wrangler
  17. VisqueenMessage to Garcia
  18. Los HalosLeaving Va.
  19. Math and Physics ClubMath and Physics Club
  20. She and HimVolume 1
  21. The Galactic HeroesEvery Sidewalk
  22. FishboyAlbatross: How We Failed To Save The Lone Star State With The Power Of Rock And Roll
  23. HefnerDead Media
  24. The Mountain GoatsThe Coroner’s Gambit
  25. Carissa’s WierdSongs About Leaving
  26. The Postal ServiceGive Up
  27. Arcade FireFuneral
  28. The Eames EraDouble Dutch
  29. mcluskyMclusky Do Dallas
  30. Starlight MintsThe Dream That Stuff Was Made Of


#31-#50 (in alphabetical order)

  • – Bright EyesI’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
  • – Bright EyesLifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
  • – The CatchGet Cool
  • – The FratellisCostello Music
  • – The Go! TeamThunder, Lightning, Strike
  • – Girl TalkFeed the Animals
  • – GrandaddyThe Sophtware Slump
  • – The HivesVeni Vidi Vicious
  • – Hot Hot HeatMake Up the Breakdown
  • – The Long WintersWhen I Pretend to Fall
  • – Los Campesinos!We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
  • – Matt & KimMatt & Kim
  • – Stéphane PompougnacHotel Costes (Vol 3)
  • – The Saturday KnightsMingle
  • – The ShinsOh, Inverted World
  • – The StrokesIs This It
  • – Suburban Kids with Biblical Names#3
  • – Tegan & SarahSo Jealous
  • – The ThermalsFuckin A
  • – TullycraftBeat Surf Fun


#51-#75 (in alphabetical order)

  • – Lily AllenAlright, Still
  • – Belle & SebastianFold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant
  • – Cars Can Be BlueAll the Stuff We Do
  • – CineramaDisco Volante
  • – ClearlakeCedars
  • – The Dandy WarholsThirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia
  • – The FeaturesExhibit A
  • – GorillazGorillaz
  • – The GossipStanding in the Way of Control
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack
  • – Jarvis CockerJarvis
  • – The Long WintersThe Worst You Can Do Is Harm
  • – Miniature TigersTell It To The Volcano
  • – Noah and the WhalePeaceful, The World Lays Me Down
  • – The Pains of Being Pure at HeartThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • – The PharmacyChoose Yr Own Adventure
  • – QuasiThe Sword of God
  • – The RaptureOut of the Races & Onto the Tracks
  • – The Scotland Yard Gospel ChoirThe Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
  • – Snow PatrolWhen It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up
  • – TelekinesisTelekinesis!
  • – The ThermalsThe Body The Blood The Machine
  • – The TrucksThe Trucks
  • – The White StripesElephant
  • – VisqueenKing Me
Tomorrow the plan is to list out my favorite locals of the decade… I wonder who will top the list?
{Photo by Bobby McHugh}

BOAT Iji Imaginary Scoop Lacrosse Matt & Kim Monsters of Folk No-Fi Soul Rebellion Pains of Being Pure at Heart Skeletons with Flesh on Them Telekinesis! The Lonely Forest The Thermals Throw Me the Statue Tiny Masters of Today Visqueen

imaginary liz's favorite albums of 2009

Still Flyin photo by Steve Louie

For some reason as stressful as it is sometimes to do, I found myself compiling a bunch of year end and decade end lists over the holiday weekend. So many so, I decided to spread out all my lists throughout the week. Today we’ll start with the meat of the list — my favorite releases of 2009.

As long as I’ve been making lists, it’s always been apparent that I’m partial to Pacific Northwest bands… and this year it’s especially so. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something that I love beyond belief.. but here is the list as of *right now*. What are your favorite local and non-local releases of 2009?

imaginary liz’s 2009 favorites
1. VisqueenMessage to Garcia
2. Matt and KimGrand
3. The ThermalsNow We Can See
4. BOATSetting the Paces
5. Pains of Being Pure at HeartPains of Being Pure at Heart
6. TelekinesisTelekinesis!
7. ijiIn Celebration
8. No-Fi Soul RebellionOh Please Please Please
9. Monsters of FolkMonsters of Folk
10. The Lonely ForestWe Sing The Body Electric
11. Throw Me The StatueCreaturesque
12. LacrosseBandages For The Heart
13. Brown RecluseSoft Skin
14. Skeletons With Flesh On ThemAll The Other Animals

Favorite song of 2009
Still Flyin – “The Hott Chord Is Struck” off the album Never Gonna Touch The Ground. You can hear it on our May, 2009 podcast!

If you want to see what my year end mix looks like, you can view {and purchase} the tracks here and download the print-ready mix cover art PDF.

{Still Flyin’ photo by Steve Louie}

Fader Label Interview Matt & Kim

Imaginary Interview: Matt and Kim

mini golf austin

Matt and Kim are an adorable dance-rock duo from Brooklyn who weave together banging drum beats and amped up keyboards with chant a long lyrics. I caught up with them at Bumbershoot 2009 shortly before their set to discuss their life on the road, Beyonce, their last album, Grand, and future plans to record.

You guys have been touring for a while now, right?

Kim: It’s sort of like a non-stop life thing. I feel like we’re on the road more than we’re home.

Matt: We’re definitely on the road more than we’re home. But in such a sense that you get home and you’re like, ‘What am I gonna do now?’ It’s confusing. This is sort of a negative way to put it, but I feel like it’s similar to people who have been in jail for 50 years and they get out and they don’t know how to handle the real world because they are used to the schedule. Tour is kind of like that. There’s a sort of uniformity that isn’t like real life.

What’s one of your craziest moments from touring so far?

Kim: We saw Blink 182 last night. That was pretty awesome. They broke up and I thought, ‘I’m never going to get to see them play.’ I hadn’t seen them before.

Matt: They probably ran out of money and so they thought they should tour. It’s crazy, the amount of production and the amount of people— Or like, we went to see Beyonce at Madison Square Garden.

Kim: That was awesome! OK, that was the greatest thing that has happened to us this year.

I saw Beyonce at the Grizzly Bear/Beach House pool party in Williamsburg last week.

Kim: I saw that she was there! I’ll admit, I was sort of like, ‘Damn you, Grizzly Bear!” I want Beyonce to come to my shows! I got to say, her show is absolutely amazing.

Matt: Yeah, we decided that we’ve got to step up our game after that.

Really? Are you going to start choreographing dances?

Matt: Yeah, we’ll get some trapezes and stuff.

Kim: I told Matt that if Beyonce ever came to me and said, ‘Kim, I need you to be my back up dancer,” I would be like, peace out, Matt, I gotta go.

Matt: She’s got moves.

Kim: Well, I will say, at Pitchfork this year, I tried to drop it like Beyonce, but I couldn’t get as low as she does. And I told all of Chicago that when we come back on this tour, it’s gonna happen. So I’ve been practicing.

I too have been thinking about ways I can be more like Beyonce. It’s a long and daunting road. Anyway… What’s one of the largest places you guys have played so far?

Matt: When we started out I could’ve sworn Sirens Fest was huge. But that was like the first time we played in front of a lot of people.

Kim: I almost threw up that day. I was so nervous. But now I’m like, ‘5,000 people, no big deal.’

Matt: As far as the biggest show that was OUR show, we did one on Pier 54 on the West side of Manhattan. We were kind of blown away, the pier was really long.

Kim: After sound check we were walking back and we saw this long line and were wondering what the line was for and then we realized that it was for us.

You guys are clearly blowing up. Do you feel like you are maintaining your DIY attitude despite signing to a bigger label?

Matt: We’re doing what we always did–traveling around and playing shows. It’s nice to have comfort, like all the shows on this tour have sold out so far. Playing a poorly attended show brings your spirit down when you’re a band and your touring around and you’re tired. It’s like having a party and it’s early in the evening and no one’s showing up and you’re wondering, ‘do my friends not like me anymore?” You know, you kind of take it personally.

And you produced Grand, right?

Matt: Yeah we recorded it ourselves. Just kind of figured it out as went along.

A lot of people have commented on how it has a more precise, cleaner sound than your first album.

Matt: Yeah, it’s funny when I read people saying that we obviously used our higher recording budget to produce this album and I’m like, I recorded this in my bedroom, man.

In your childhood bedroom, right?

Matt: Yeah, with no heat, in the middle of the winter. But it was great. It’s the result of having time. As opposed to the first thing we recorded, we had no time. Being able to work on it for a while, you’re just able to finish things off and polish them.

Kim: We also knew how to play our instruments a bit better.

Matt: Our first album we recorded within the first year we started playing our instruments. Most people start playing when they’re like 14, not in their 20’s.

Did you guys have the songs written pretty much before you started recording Grand?

Matt: We had some ideas. It was just funny, we had traveled so much and were doing the band as a full time job but still had the least amount of time to write music. Basically, we set the time aside for writing and recording.

Kim: But it wasn’t enough time. We thought it would take two months but then we had to go touring again. It was useful. We got a break and when we came back to what we thought was good we were like, ‘what were we thinking?’ It ended up taking us nine months.

And all the recording took place in Vermont?

Matt: No, we ended up going back to our apartment in New York.

Kim: Annoying the shit out of our neighbors.

Matt: Plastered right up against our neighbors in our little eight-foot wide apartment, screaming at the top of my lungs.

Do you have big plans for the future?

Kim: We tour till December and then get Christmas off. Then we’ll take a break to write and record.

Matt: Yeah, it’s weird to start again. Grand came out in January and it has been hitting its peak just recently. We didn’t expect to get that kind of attention and it’s strange to start writing again when a lot of people are just finding out about it now. But we don’t want to burn out. We do this because we enjoy it. The second we stop enjoying it, then it’s over.

Imaginary Scoop Matt & Kim

Bumbershoot preview: Matt and Kim

Hailed as the quintessential party band, Matt and Kim, a Brooklyn-based duo comprised of drums and keyboards, set ‘em up and knock ’em down with their straightforward yet powerful pop songs formed around a new wave backbone. Their synth sound is layered with Matt’s nasal-tinged vocals and a pounding of cymbals that makes every chorus a sing-a-long.

Their newest album, Grand, stomps and rushes forward in fits and starts that have garnered the attention of much mainstream media, including a Bacardi commercial where you’ve probably heard their song “Daylight.” Or perhaps you’ve seen them bare all in Times Square for their “Lessons Learned” video. Their barely-there melodies are secondary to the chanting spunk of their songs that seem the perfect formula to get listeners amped while still suffusing their songs with an arty dynamic that delivers a whole lotta fun.

If you haven’t seen this pair in next-to-nothing during a New York City winter, here’s the video. Catch them playing the Broad Street stage on Saturday at 6pm during Bumbershoot.


Cage the Elephant Iji Imaginary Scoop Lacrosse Matt & Kim No-Fi Soul Rebellion One for the Team Stuart Murdoch Telekinesis! The Nightgowns The Thermals Throw Me the Statue Tiny Masters of Today

Best of 2009 {so far}

thermals @ chop suey

I don’t know how it happened, but half the year officially is over! Which means that we’re half way to end-of-the-year-list time! I know that for a bunch of us, there are few things we love more than lists and mix tapes (I usually make a mix for friends of my year-end list favorites) — so it makes sense we should do a mid-year check in and see what’s topping our Best of 2009 list.

Here’s my off-the-cuff list of what albums would vying for Top 10 of 2009 in my book:

  • The Thermals – Now We Can See
  • Matt & Kim – Grand
  • iji – In Celebration
  • Lacrosse – Bandages For The Heart
  • Stuart Murdoch – God Help The Girl
  • No-Fi Soul Rebellion – Oh Please Please Please
  • Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant
  • Tiny Masters Of Today – Skeletons
  • Telekinesis – Telekinesis!
  • One for the Team – Build A Garden EP
  • Throw Me The Statue – Creaturesque

Locally speaking (and to prep for our Readers Best Northwest Releases of 2009 poll) – these folks have also put out stellar releases I’ve listened to on repeat:

  • Coulter – Sent to Coventry
  • The Nightgowns – Sing Something
  • Skeletons With Flesh on Them – All The Other Animals
  • The Femurs – Ride Together EP
  • The Lonely Forest – We Sing The Body Electric!

And rumor has it that these folks will be releasing stuff later this year — and I bet the albums will be so good they might just knock some of the above off the top 10:

  • The Long Winters
  • Los Campesinos!
  • Northern Portrait
  • Pharmacy
  • Nana Grizol
  • Brown Recluse Sings

Oh yes, it’s going to be a very good year – and a brilliant end of year mix tape! And for the record, Stay Flyin’s song “The Hottchord is Struck” is my song of the year (download the MP3 here. Listen. Get hooked).

What’s on your Best of 2009 {so far} list?

{Thanks for the Hutch photo, Laura Musselman!}

Common Market De La Soul Dead Confederate DJ Spooky Eleni Mandell Hey Marseilles Imaginary Scoop Katy Perry Lenka Matt & Kim Modest Mouse MSTRKRFT Natalie Portman's Shaved Head No Age Sera Cahoone Sheryl Crow The Cave Singers The Long Winters

First acts confirmed for Bumbershoot

I doubt this is an April Fool’s joke so I’ll put it out there, Bumbershoot announced the first list of acts to play this year. There are certainly some that I’m really excited to see (some again) and others I’ll pass on.

I know there’ll be a lot of people bitching about Katy Perry but remember that booking her sells tickets that pay for other acts and you can choose to do something else while she plays.

Here’s the roster so far:

Sheryl Crow / Modest Mouse / Katy Perry / Michael Franti & Spearhead / De La Soul / Raphael Saadiq / Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan / The Long Winters / Sly & Robbie & the Taxi Gang / World Party / MSTRKRFT / Roy Ayers / Common Market / UH HUH HER / Dave Alvin and The Guilty Women / Eric Hutchinson / No Age / Matt & Kim / Dead Confederate / The Cave Singers / Swollen Members / Vieux Farka Touré / Lenka / Gang Gang Dance / Todd Snider / Holy F**k / DJ Spooky / Iglu & Hartly / Low vs Diamond / Sera Cahoone / Eleni Mandell / Carrie Rodriguez / The Honey Brothers / Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head / Extra Golden / Cordero / Forgive Durden / Hey Marseilles / Adrian Xavier, and much, much more to be announced.

So, to appease reader “maddog” who always asks about local bands, there’s Hey Marseilles, Sera Cahoone, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head (who I’m going to see in San Diego in about 90 minutes from the time I’m writing this), Modest Mouse, The Cave Singers, The Long Winters and probably a few more I’m missing. There’s also Dyno Jamz, who won the EMP’s Sound Off! competition.

I think it’s a pretty solid lineup, actually. What do you think?

Chop Suey Imaginary Scoop Matt & Kim

There is little else that will make you happier than going to see Matt & Kim this Thursday

Although I don't do it very often, I love whole-heartedly recommending things — like my favorite restaurants (the Elysian, Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon, Bimbo's), my favorite vacation hot spots (Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian)… and going to Matt and Kim shows. They all fill me with absolute glee.

That said, you must join me at the Matt & Kim show this Thursday at Chop Suey. You'd think after seeing them countless number of times I'd have grown immune to their infectious giddiness– with each other, the crowd, life in general. But, alas, I grow even more smitten with the duo.

And their songs! As imaginary staffer Cory Banks attested in his review of their latest album Grand, they're really good at what they do.

Champagne Champagne are starting off the Thursday night show and the evening is an all ages event (a show for everyone in your posse)!

Want a little taste of what the evening will be like? Behold, here's video of them at SXSW last year – they were the last show of the fest, and this was the last song. I tear up rewatching it — it's so ruling:

Fader Label Matt & Kim Record Review


Matt & Kim are the two happiest rockers ever. It's scientific fact, proven by mixing multicolored test tubes while listening to their specific brand of Brooklyn dance pop. If you want to run this experiment yourself, witness their glee at a live show and try not to grin from ear to ear. Happiness will instantly overtake your uptight indie cred. Just relax, that's supposed to happen.

The band's schtick, intended or no, is to replace the pretension found in so much independent music with unbridled enthusiasm. Their stripped down sound just doesn't have space for anything else – Kim Schifino plays a basic drum kit with the manic energy of a five-year-old banging on pots and pans, while Matt Johnson pounds glorious sawtoothed synths out of a bare keyboard and . While their self-titled debut is ten tracks fueled by raw excitement and their live show is unfiltered energy, their new album, Grand, shows the band writing better, more complex songs.

Don't freak, Matt & Kim aren't going Prog. Grand expands the duo's sound while keeping everything uber-happy. "Daylight" is the easiest example. Little synth string flourishes and busy drum scratches give the track a deeper sound… it'd be cliche to say "Daylight" sounds more mature than previous cuts, but it's indicative of the deeper roots throughout the entire album. "Lessons Learned" provides another example, with Kim's wistful backing vocals displaying more intricate songwriting than the bouncy grin-rock the group are known for.

Not that those are gone, either. Songs like "Don't Slow Down" and the manic "Cinders" are as straightforward as they come, sticking with the band's tested formula of happy-dance music. "Cinders" in particular is the high energy mark for Grand. If it doesn't make you want to jump up and down with a sappy smile on your face, you're way too uptight for life. These straight up pop-punk songs somehow fit right in with the more reflective tracks, and that's what makes Grand a success. Everything fits.

The only thing missing from Grand is the elation and pure joy found in their live show, something every emo sadpants and uptight hipster should experience. Instead, Grand stands on its own as an album, all grown up. Listen to this during the everyday moments of your life, then go see Matt & Kim live when you're ready to get really happy.