Art-pop rock act the Matches (Shawn Harris-vox/guitar, Matt Whalen-drums, Dylan Rowe-bass, Jon Devoto-guitar) is ending 2008 the same way the band started it: acclaimed.
The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards, which received submissions from indie acts on six continents, has announced Oakland, California natives The Matches as a finalist for two categories: Music Video (“Yankee in a Chip Shop”) and Band Web Site.
Both nominations are the work of Harris and his Australian graphics partner, Emilee Seymour, who create artwork for other artists and labels through their own firm, Oxen.
The Matches’ nominated Web site design for www.thematches.com is based on the photo-illustration hybrid graphic that accompanied the band’s third release, A Band in Hope (Epitaph, March 2008), as a fold-out poster/CD booklet.
The “Yankeeâ€¦” video was conceived, directed, animated, edited and hand-colored by Oxen. Co-written by Harris, Rancid’s Tim Armstrong (who also produced this track), manager Miles Hurwitz and the Matches, the song is based on the Matches’ previous escapades on UK tours. It appears on A Band in Hope.
The live action portion of the video was captured during a return to England, at the tail end of the Matches supported Biffy Clyro tour in November 2007. The crazed one-day shoot throughout the U.K. capital had the band running through traffic filled round-abouts and leaping across public sculptures. Not completely unexpected, the un-amused London Metropolitan Police tried to reign in the chaos by ticketing the band.
But it was well worth the stress.
The video, funded with checks Harris saved up from art jobs because there was no budget in the band’s recording contract, debuted exclusively on Buzznet and was featured for a week on the front page of MySpace.
That wasn’t the only front page headlining these masters of DIY this year. Alternative Press magazine chose the Matches for the cover of its “100 Bands You Need to Know” issue and raved, “The Matches dared to go off the beaten path of contemporary punkâ€¦and it sounds great. Subsequent spins unearth the nuances and detail found in each song, from the anthemic, stage-ready arrangements to stripped down acoustic numbers.”
From that point on, the Matches hit the road for the AP Tour. The band found itself in a whirlwind of fandom–and some of those new fans were the band’s own biggest influences. Mark Hoppus gushes, “They’ve got to be the most creative and innovative guys I’ve recorded. I’m still not convinced that Shawn is from this planet.”
Critics were equally appreciative. The Hofstra Chonicle noted, “What [A Band in Hope] has done is create a precedent that many bands in their tier of music are going to have a tough time topping.” Absolute Punk lauded, “They continue to place themselves in their own category of rock music.”
While the results of the Independent Music Awards are being determined by a distinguished group of artists and industry insiders including Butch Walker, Roger Daltrey, Daryl Palumbo, Peter Gabriel, Mania TV Vice President of Programming Stefan Goldby and MTV Music Supervisor Carrie Hughes, The Matches will hardly be sitting still.
Follow the band’s adventures and ring in the New Year with the holiday cover, “Happy New Year,” at www.myspace.com/thematches .
Run through the streets of London with The Matches during the making of the “Yankeeâ€¦” video:
Learn more about Oxen: oxenoxen.com