4/20/17 – Mathew Lee Cothran “Judas Hung Himself in America” (2017)

Mathew Lee Cothran is a Singer-Songwriter from North Carolina that is in a number of other projects, most notably Elvis Depressedly and Coma Cinema. I really liked Coma Cinema’s 2011 release Blue Suicide, so I was happy to see that he released some more music on his own. He mixes Indie-Folk, Lo-Fi Pop, and Emo to create an interesting DIY aesthetic. The vocals on this album are pitch shifted and auto tuned, some more than others. I think that was the only hurdle I had to jump over before I started to really like this album.

America Forever starts the album with an Indie/Emo piece about what he feels is the doomed fate of America. The album never gets too overtly political, and far from partisan. Let Me Know (Wild Life) utilizes the pitch shifted vocals with lots of loops, that gives it a big James Blake feel. I’m really not a fan of that most of the time but this song grew on me hard, and it soon became my favorite on the album. The lyrics are just heartbreaking:
“some people have found a way out
but i have only found a way down
oh god i don’t want to die
drag me out of this wild life”

Not Mend has an upbeat beat with some muddy but light synthesizers, but the lyrics don’t match, especially the chorus “my spirit broke and it will not mend”. This is a very tender and sad album, and the instrumentation/samples don’t always match the lyrics. Most everything from the synths to the drums are clouded with a haze that give it a good lo-fi feeling without it sounding just like a terrible recording. Farrah Abraham is another favorite with the great chorus “If I could end the world, I would end the world”. The production on this song is notably louder and more intense on this song than the others, but Mathew’s singing never gets too passionate. Who Did Pull the Pin of the People? is the last gem on this album, featuring the acoustic guitar much more prominently with ghostly moans and sighs flying around in the background. Everything builds slowly more and more louder and intense to the final verse:
“you could move a mountain
but you got to be sure
can you move a mountain
without getting hurt?
the answer is no”

I’m glad I found this album, but really it’s not exactly my style of music. The quality is there but I just can’t sink my teeth into it that much. I think if my tastes start to change I’d listen to this a lot more. Despite saying all that, the tunes are catchy and memorable, I hadn’t listened to this in months but felt every song coming on. I think fans of Lo-Fi Emo Pop should really love this.