The New Amsterdams

Growing up a punk rocker, and eventually finding EMO, I was always a huge Get Up Kids fan. When the New Amsterdams first showed up in the mix, I was very intrigued. Matt Pryor's voice and lyrics have a certain sincerity that bodes well to a more sparse, acoustic country-ish feel.

For those of you who haven't experienced the New Ams yet, picture the Americana, small town feel of Campfire Kansas off of the GUK's Bird on Wire release. Matt makes the bold claim that just because you play acoustic guitar, doesn't mean that you have to sing over lost love in an emotional outpouring on every song (so let's stop comparing this band to Dashboard Confessional). These songs focus on finding home again. Sure it's a simple message, but who isn't looking for that?

With the Get up Kids being the bread winner, the New Amsterdam's were a side project, and Matt could only write and tour when TGUK weren't. Which is too bad, because I honestly think the material he wrote for the side project was stronger than the material he wrote for his main band. Each New Ams release was stronger than the previous release, with stronger lyrical content and more instrumentation.

Well, fast forward to 2005, and the Get Up Kids break up after a decade of great music and now the New Ams are Matt's sole focus. He teased fans with a solid Internet only EP (Kill or Cured) that focused on what he was going through as the GUK started to fall apart (the emotional Drinking in the Afternoon is especially poignant).

FInally, the band has completed a full length album, Story Like a Scar on Vagrant (released date - Mar. 21st). In another act of good will, Matt and the boys are giving up demo versions of EVERY song on the album, including a new version of Heaven Sent, complete with drums.. That's right, 10 free songs to get you excited for the new album. I'm biased, I love these guys. Hover Near Fame is one of my all-time favorite songs, but this album (when mixed and completed) has the potential to be the best collection of songs Matt has ever put out.

You can download the whole kit and kaboodle for free, but here are two of my favs to get you started:

Too Many of a Good Thing :: This track mirrors the structure of the best songs from Worse For Wear. A nice bouncy piano riff, some punchy drums and a nice sing along chorus.

Girl, Why'd You Run Away :: This stripped down acoustic track reminds me of a nice album closer to a GUKs album. Simple and catchy. You shouldn't need anything else.

Check them out at:
Saturday, April 29, 2006 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Indio, CA

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