Published Oct 24, 2010Streaking in Times Square gets most daredevils a hefty fine and a night in jail. But the stunt depicted in last year's "Lessons Learned" video nabbed Matt and Kim an MTV VMA, universal recognition and the respect of Erykah Badu (who did get busted by the cops when she got naked). The Brooklyn, NY duo have turned their third album around quickly to capitalize on their newfound success and establish a "genre-less sound." They're definitely close to reaching their goal with Sidewalks. While it's still primarily Matt's keys and Kim's drums that comprise the greater part of the songs, they've decelerated the "punk pop" blitzkrieg that commanded their first two albums for something more swinging and mid-tempo. Bringing in producer Ben Allen (Deerhunter, Animal Collective) has also helped them realize that their music actually sounds better in high fidelity, especially when throwing in secondary sounds like those magnificent strings that bolster "Good For Great" and "Where You're Coming From," and the percussive melange on "Cameras." This all might sound like too much of a change for some fans, but take note: Matt and Kim's evolution hasn't killed the buzz; the songs are all still oscillating, rhythm-heavy earworms. It's just now they sound like they're supposed to be blaring out of your woofers and tweeters.
Sidewalks is such an optimistic record. Is playing in a band with your significant other the secret to living a happy life?
Matt Johnson: I think it works out awesomely for Kim and I, but if I could think of any other situation where I spent 25 hours a day, eight days a week with another significant other that I've had we would have killed each other long ago.
How was it different recording in a studio compared to your childhood bedroom?
It changed things in the sense that we were able to have people work with us who knew how to record things technically so we could concentrate more on writing the songs and less time on the technical aspects, like asking each other, "How the hell do you mic melodica?"
"Good For Great" and "Cameras" sound like they could be used for free-styling. Do you see some kind of hip-hop element creeping into your music?
For sure. We've heard a few mash-ups online of our music, like Slim Thug's "Like A Boss" or Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" overtop of "Cameras," which mix perfectly. But "Good Ol' Fashioned Nightmare" and "Daylight" from Grand, which sounded more lo-fi, also had beats that came from a strong hip-hop influence. (Fader)