You’ve probably heard the name Matthew E. White a bit lately, either about his horn arrangements on the new Mountain Goats record — including the fantastic first single, “Cry for Judas” — or about his upcoming solo debut, Big Inner.
There’s no big budget behind the record (he’s releasing Big Inner on his own Spacebomb Records with help from Hometapes) and his former bands, Great White Jenkins and Fight the Big Bull, were local secrets. So the real reason everyone’s been talking about him, even before the record comes out, is the music is that good.
His first track, “One of These Days,” incorporates the Delta sounds of Bobby Charles into Lambchop-style indie rock. He ties everything together with strings and beautiful horn arrangements that sing as sweetly as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”
“Big Love” starts with a wailing free jazz saxophone straight out of Sun Ra. It squeals out a few fuzzy notes, before a sweeping drum beat kicks in, followed by Dixie piano, strings and a gospel choir. White packs massive layers of sound together, but the real feat is its cohesion. There’s so much going on in “Big Love,” but he keeps it brilliantly precise.