Love You Moon

Waxwane

[4/5]

It’s a minor miracle that Rx Bandits CEO Matt Embree had time to work on a proper solo project, what between his busy touring schedule with the Bandits and the gaggle of side projects he already moonlights with (the Sound Of Animals Fighting, Apotheke and PebaLuna, among others). But make time he has: Love You Moon and his debut, Waxwane, represent the culmination of five years of built-up, acoustic-driven picking and prose. The album features 10 songs that span a variety of styles and paces, ranging from Embree’s patented upbeat socio-political diatribes (“Screams In A Vacuum” and “The Last Words Of Nicholas Berg”), to more unexpected Billy Joel-esque jams (“David’s Birthday”) and Elliott Smith-inspired poetry (“Brown Shingle Berkeley”). Embree’s more topical-leaning material, though musically literate and catchy as hell (see “Why Pop Stars Sell Silicon”), doesn’t quite reach the personal depth or show off the more vulnerable side Embree reaches on tracks like “Late May’s Gaze” do. The latter, sung as a duet with PebaLuna’s Lauren Coleman, finds Embree exorcising the loss of the girl he thought was the love of his life. He intones, half-whispering, “The thought that this much effort will ever be attempted again/I can’t share.” (SARGENT HOUSE/MDB) Casey Lynch

ROCKS LIKE:

Eef Barzelay’s Bitter Honey

Dustin Kensrue’s Please Come Home

Tim Barry’s Rivanna Junction

IN-STORE SESSION WITH MATT EMBREE

So why a solo project now?

Part of the reason for doing this record is I have so many songs in my brain. My way of releasing them is to record them. I have, like, three albums worth, so [Waxwane] is the first one.

What happens if you don’t let them go?

I need to get them out of my brain, or I won’t get any new songs. If you don’t drain the brain, nothing new happens. I mean, stuff will come no matter what, but I get uncomfortable. I need to let them be what they were meant to be.

You produced, wrote and played all the instruments on the record yourself. Was that the plan going into the recording?

That was pretty much the idea. I was originally going to get other people to play, but sometimes it’s easier to do it alone. I did have [Rx Bandits’] Chris Tsagakis play drums on three songs, and my friend Lauren [Coleman] did some back-ups, but that’s it.

What do the names Love You Moon and Waxwane mean?

LYM is kind of personal for me, people can just guess what they want to guess, but that’s mine. Waxwane just refers to the movements of a moon, the constant changes that all life is subject to. [Author] Tom Robbins said he believes that water invented people as a means to transport itself.

Did that quote inspire the name of the album?

No, I just thought of it while I was talking to you. I hate naming songs and albums; I feel like they’re meaningless. That’s my least favorite part of making records.

You’ve been raving about celebrities selling silicon and “beautiful” for some time now. Where does that all stem from?

Society in general. ["Why Pop Stars Sell Silicon”] was written in 2001, so it was a year before I wrote [R[Rx Bandits’]i>The Resignation. If you’re going to sing about something, you might as well sing about something that affects you strongly, about something intrusive. It’s something that bothers me a lot, beauty being standardized. The idea that to be beautiful a person has to look one way, it causes so much insecurity and self-deprecation. People should appreciate their differences. What is our society teaching children about their bodies, their looks and how they feel? It makes me sad that kids grow up thinking that certain parts of them aren’t okay, that they should cut it out or make it bigger.

What compelled you to write a song about Nick Berg [a[an American businessman that was kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq in 2004]

I heard on the radio that there was supposed to be a video of a beheading. I was 22 at the time; he was 26. To me, it was the ultimate example of the atrocity of war. It almost brought me to tears; it made me sick to my stomach. When are we going to stop killing each other? [C[CL]b>