Photo Credit: Edward Saenz
Matt Jaffe is not your typical 21-year-old. The San Francisco Bay native was first discovered by Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison at an open mic night. Since then, Jaffe has perfected his modern take on new wave, indie-pop, and punk-rock–all the while as he inches closer to his ultimate goal of becoming this generation's Elvis Costello. Jaffe and his band, The Distractions (guitarist Adam Nash, bassist Paul Paldino, and drummer Thomas Yopes), will release their first full-length album, California's Burning, out on March 3.
As a teenager, Jaffe left the California sun for the East Coast to attend college in New England. While on the East Coast, he discovered California singer-songwriters and artists with a more introspective view far away from home. After questioning his departure, Jaffe returned to San Francisco. California's Burning's clever lyricism reflects Jaffe's new gained perspective and creative awakening; it serves as a snapshot of his reflections and the meaning of "home."
The record is a debut collection
of 12 tracks filled with new wave sounds and a power-pop sheen. The opening track, "Love Is Just A Drug," has a catchy pop hook and classic rock feel. In “Fire On The Freeway,” Jaffe unlocks an unexpected look into California's drought, and in "Hellhounds of Alcatraz," he showcases his songwriting inspiration in Guy Clark.
California's Burning is Jaffe's first self-produced album, and it effectively showcases his talents as a vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist. He is currently navigating the tough music scene while staying true to the music he wants to record, regardless of what is "popular" at the time. He expanded,
"Most new music sounds really clean, so we wanted to make something messy. Most new music sounds really measured, so we wanted to make something desperate. Most new music sounds really aerodynamic, so we wanted to make something that is writhing in the mud. The result is California’s Burning, an album about leaving home and coming back to find an inferno."
With that kind of attitude and talent, Jaffe could very well be blasting off to the kind of breakout success he deserves.
While the record is set to be released tomorrow, March 3, you can enjoy your first listen of "California's Burning" below!