From a young age, Matt Jaffe has been doing remarkable things within his artistry – and his newest project is no exception.
The Bay Area-based artist began playing around the region in his adolescence, hitting open mics wherever possible when he was discovered by none other than Talking Heads’ legend Jerry Harrison. Together, they created Jaffe’s first album, Blast Off; released when he was just 16, the record was a turning point and the start of something special. After starting an official band, Jaffe realized his true passion was music, and the rest is history.
Although Jaffe has had a successful career so far, there have also been hurdles – since 2015, he has suffered from seizures, one of which led to a broken guitar and a reconstruction of his skull. It was throughout this time that he began writing his new music, reflecting on destruction and rebirth – and in this, Jaffe found the name of his album: Kintsugi.
The similarities between the reconstruction of Jaffe’s guitar and his craniotomy to the Japanese art of “mending cracks and seams with gold” created a theme for the album that encompasses the metaphor of Kintsugi, which is embracing flaws and imperfections.
Jaffe’s seven-song record has everything from ballads, to love songs, to alt-rock anthems all in one. Releasing tomorrow, August 27th, it blends his signature snarling guitar riffs with vintage-sounding synthesizers, putting a new spin on his established sound, making Kintsugi an exciting listen for long-time followers and new fans alike.
Singles like “Voodoo Doll” and “Weekend Lover” set the tone for the album – classic rock, 80s ballads, and funky guitar grooves come together in these pieces, highlighting Jaffe’s ability to make anything danceable and fun, but still dwell on topics like unrequited love. An animated music video accompanied the release of “Voodoo Doll”, which allows listeners to visualize Jaffe’s story as it’s told (in the most lighthearted way possible).
“Weekend Lover,” has more of a rock groove over a bluesy chord progression; the harmonies in the chorus build on the interest in the melody, putting Jaffe’s signature twist on a cool and familiar sound. Similarly, the second most recent single, “Shape of Fear” takes on a Black Keys sort of vibe; brooding and moody, the modern electronic-rock vibe beautifully ties together all of the instrumental elements on the album.
My personal favorite off Kintsugi is the opening track “Cut Me Down the Middle”. With a fun chorus and 80s rock sound, it grabs your attention immediately and keeps you sucked in through the whole of the album. Overall, Kintsugi has a sound reminiscent of bands like The Killers and Arctic Monkeys (in their prime). The familiar modern rock vibe that I grew up with reels me in still, and Jaffe’s performance does not disappoint.
Throughout the rest of 2021, Jaffe is touring around California and throughout the rest of the United States. With dates everywhere from Massachusetts to Nebraska, there’s a solid chance Jaffe will be taking Kintsugi to a city near you. He is certainly one to keep on your radar.
Photo by Edward Saenz