Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates
Gare Du Nord Records
26th May 2017
Stream ‘Lazy’ here
“Luxuriates in loss and the paradoxical beauty and romance of age, distance and decay” – The Quietus
“Blessed with understated charm, originality and pure lambent beauty” – Shindig!
“The wordplay recalls Kevin Ayers; all wry wit and melancholy” – Uncut
“Edwards’ love-broken lyrics suggest a lost Graham Greene novel about seedy Brits shipwrecked in Caesars Palace rather than Port-au-Prince. Immaculate” – Word
Sonically both English bed-sits and American big skies are audible on ‘Folklore’ by Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates – accompanied by wry melancholia, literate lyrics, avant-garde flourishes and a general air of louche European sophistication. ‘Pop noir’ indeed.
Although hard to pin down, ‘Folklore’ can loosely be described as ambitious, beautifully-crafted baroque indie rock, where cellos, theremin, harpsichord, farfisa and clanging guitar all find their space. Reminiscent of Robyn Hitchcock, The Go-Betweens and Nick Cave, the album is sophisticated and educated, but also not ashamed to flash a little angry muscle.
“After 20 years living in California I returned to Birmingham and ‘Folklore’ is the chronicle of that return”, explains Matthew. The band are based in Birmingham UK and San Francisco, and the album was recorded in Leamington Spa in England by John A. Rivers (Felt, Dead Can Dance, Denim, Buzzcocks) and in San Francisco by Robert Taylor.
As with the band’s critically-acclaimed first album ‘The Fates’, the Unfortunates are again joined by a top-rank supporting cast, this time consisting of Dagmar Krause on vocals (Slapp Happy, Henry Cow, Kevin Coyne), Fred Frith on guitar (Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, John Zorn) and keyboards from Eric Drew Feldman (PJ Harvey, Captain Beefheart, Pixies, Sparklehorse). All songs were written by Matthew Edwards except ‘Song of Songs’, on which Matthew was aided by drummer Derick Simmonds.
Either solo or with the Unfortunates, Matthew has opened for Joanna Newsom, St Etienne, Joe Henry, Michael Chapman, Camera Obscura, Devendra Banhart and Robert Forster. His songs have been featured as a Rolling Stone download, premiered on Filipino music TV, in Yvonne Prinz’ novel/CD ‘The Vinyl Princess’, and within comedienne Margaret Cho’s movie ‘Silverlake Dream’.
Matthew was born in a council house in Birmingham, England. Being a ‘bright’ lad, he managed to go to University to study English Literature. On leaving, he secured employment as a park keeper. This job gave him enough free time to motor around middle and south England on his decrepit BSA playing wherever and whenever he could. Sensing his contemporaries’ affiliations tending towards the criminal, he decamped to California, where he worked as a compere at San Francisco’s premier ‘variety’ evening at The Mad Dog.
In 2003, Matthew formed The Music Lovers for whom he was the singer and songwriter. The band released three albums plus an EP, and were signed to Le Grand Magistery of Detroit — labelled “the best boutique label in America’” by Spin — and run by the eccentric Mr. Jacobson, a close associate of Jack White.
All the records were blessed by great critical responses and sold out their (albeit modest) runs. After the release of the album ‘Masculine/Feminine’, Matthew dissolved The Music Lovers and spent time in the Mojave and Mexico with his wife. On his return to San Francisco, he formed the first incarnation of Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates (named after the B.S. Johnson novel). This was followed by the group’s 45 ‘Minotaur/Bad Blood’, and debut album ‘The Fates’, which was released on Metal Postcard Records of Hong Kong.
In addition to a transatlantic move back to England and masterminding ‘Folklore’, Matthew also has co-writing credit on the upcoming record by Judy Dyble, of Fairport Convention fame.
Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates play the following live dates, with more to be announced:
- Sunday 14th May @ Come Down & Meet the Folks, The Apple Tree, Clerkenwell
- Saturday 3rd June @ Centrala, Digbeth, Birmingham
- Friday 1st September @ Moseley Folk Festival
US dates in Autumn 2017 & UK festival dates to be announced