And this continues in 2012 with a brand new solo release - again under his own name - called May Day. Like Confidence Man the new album was once more recorded at Pryor's home studio, jammed in during the rare off time during what ended up being a busy 2011 for The Get Up Kids. Pryor had a number of song ideas rolling around in some form for a while, but it all coalesced in the month of May - hence the title. A concept album? In execution maybe, though not thematically. But indeed, Pryor finished writing, then recorded and mixed the album, during May of 2011. In addition, the financing for the record - garnered via fan-centric site Kickstarter - was also launched, and funded before June had arrived!
There is no disputing Kickstarter was a logical partner for the album, for if there is one thing Pryor has been known for over the years, along with his musical exploits, has been his dedication to, and interaction with, his avid fanbase - always eager to step behind the merch table, sign records, take photos and shake the hands of his supporters. To say the campaign was successful is an understatement, as it reached the intended goal in a matter of days, and ended up with contributions almost two and a half times the target! And Pryor has made May Day a truly fan-centric project, tapping into the community to both fund the record, and be involved in part of the creative process, including having the Kickstarter contributors help choose the album's artwork.
Inspired by the experience with The Get Up Kids most recent release, Pryor chose to start his own label - Nightshoes Syndicate - for the release. And for sure this DIY ethic, and the fan community focus of the whole project, should be amplified even further with Pryor planning to initially eschew the traditional touring options, heading out to do a series of house shows to launch the album.
In some ways May Day can be seen as Pryor's most basic and direct album yet. The recording, with the strict time frame imposed by the May deadline, was a case of "hit record and capture the moment". Perfect! No time to dwell on things or over-think. That's maybe personified by opener, Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down, with a spartan acoustic guitar and Pryor's almost disembodied vocals. Or Unhappy is the Only Happy That You'll Ever Be, built around a simple banjo. But the acoustic-based setting is an environment Pryor thrives on, personified by his live excursions on the Where's The Band? tours, where he and a bunch of like-minded friends (including Dustin Kensrue from Thrice, and Chris Conley from Saves the Day), have headed out, leaving both their respective bands, and their electric guitars, behind, each playing acoustic renditions of fan favorites. Because sometimes it's plain fun, with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone.
But that is not to say May Day is all austere and bare. Subtle embellishments are peppered throughout the record, helping it become multi-layered and fully formed. There's the driving kick drum on The Lies Are Keeping Me Here, the dynamic piano on Your New Favorite and the haunting electric guitar in I Was a Witness. And there are more than a couple of upbeat tunes, including Where Do We Go From Here with its magical tinkling piano touches, and the joyous As If I Could Fall in Love With You Again replete with its almost Dylan-esque harmonica.
Don't forget the glue that holds it all together into a cohesive whole, and makes it once again identifiably a Matt Pryor album, the lyrics, a roadmap personifying Pryor's unique take on the world around him.
And so, made in the month of May, released in the month of January, a new album from Matt Pryor. May Day. Twelve new songs, brought to the world by, and for, the fans.
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Matt Pryor news
Free 2012 sampler 6th December 2012 This year we've had the pleasure of working with 12 incredible bands on their new music, marking the most successful year so far for our little label. As a thank you to all who've supported us through this, we've put a free sampler online featuring a song from each. Click for more information.
Matt Pryor album out now. Stream in full 24th January 2012 The brilliant new album from Matt Pryor is out now! Pick it up on CD or red/gold 12" vinyl (see how nice it looks) from our webstore, along with an exclusive t-shirt, or digitally via Bandcamp or iTunes, with two bonus tracks!
New Matt Pryor track 5th January 2012 Happy new year! We have loads of awesome new bands, releases and content coming your way over the next 12 months and what better way to start than with a new track from the forthcoming Matt Pryor solo album?
Welcome Matt Pryor 28th November 2011 We're delighted to welcome the wonderful Matt Pryor to the family! Matt, who's best known as the front man of The Get Up Kids, has been responsible for a host of incredible records over the past decade (15 full-lengths in total!) through his work with TGUK, The New Amsterdams... Click to read on..