Two Cent Revival, a project created by Brazilian-born, Texas-raised singer-songwriter Matt Jones, is a roots rock band in the tradition of Tom Waits and Nick Cave, that marries vivid and intimate lyrics with blues-tinged guitar and organs, as well as hints at Matt's Latin American background and love of many different types of music, including Balkan. Two Cent Revival has played to packed-houses in many of the great rooms of New York City and Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Bowl, The Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall, and the American Folk Art Museum, and has toured locally, as well as regionally, to New Jersey, Texas, and Arizona.
Two Cent Revival Bio
Between the dusty, desert noir of its verses and its cascading post-rock chorus, Two Cent Revival's single "Crow" transitions suddenly from a Southwestern border feel reminiscent of Calexico or Ennio Morricone to the pulsing, arena-ready art-rock of Radiohead, The National, and Arcade Fire. In that way, "Crow" is a perfect orientation for a listener embarking on Demons, Two Cent Revival's 11-song collection of surprising, narrative folk-rock.
There's a lot going on under the hood of Matt Jones' unlabored Americana songcraft and his baritone delivery. Adopted from Brazil and raised primarily in Houston, Texas by American parents, Jones' perspective as a Latino-American is ever-present in his writing, as is the looming specter of Jones' lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety. Throughout Demons, Jones explores both the nuances of his multicultural identity and his mental health issues, while stylistically maintaining a balance between haunted old-world source material and a contemporary sense of selfhood and style play. The end result is an organic, complex, and unpredictable sound all his own.
The guiding light of Tom Waits hovers over Demons as it does over essentially all progressive roots music of the last 35 years. Jones, however, approaches his subjects with a gravity and formality more in line with the raw narrative finesse of Nick Cave than the carnivalesque surrealism of Waits. Magical realism and mystical imagery pervade these stories of outlaws and obsessions. Dramatic personae and unfiltered confession take turns at the microphone until finally they are indistinguishable. Demons conjures a timeless, insular world of dark folk myth without conceding to the stylized and the retro. Sonically, Jones takes influences ranging from Langhorne Slim and Shovels & Rope to Beirut & The Decemberists, wringing out their most affecting qualities and distilling them into a unique, powerful blend of expressive folk-rock.
The spare and restrained "Candy" rocks in ways moody and raw as it introduces Demons' recurrent themes of obsession and compulsion. With its Biblical parallelism and its aching prettiness, "Happy Hell" advances the thematic dualities that lie at the heart of the record. The stumbling saloon swing of "It Looks Like Blood to Me" (a stylistic sweet spot revisited on "Violin") disguises one of the record's most topical and pointed songs.
Demons is a record of musical and lyrical paradoxes--light and dark, design and chance--embodied in the title of the lavishly produced centerpiece "I'm Being Used," where the meaning of "used" pivots between "exploited" and "put to a higher purpose."
Two simple and elegant love songs provide Demons' purest affirmations--the gentle, spacious brush groove of "Julia" and the soaring, roots-ethereal anthem "Dose of Grace." But it is the brass quintet hidden in the album-closing, Klezmer-inspired title track that epitomizes the paradoxical aesthetic of this collection--unwaveringly solid and thematically focused songcraft shot through with extravagant moments of musical imagination and development.
Balancing earthy simplicity with flights of baroque chamber-folk is much easier said than done, and much credit goes to the team Jones assembled for the sessions. The wizardly keyboard work of Brain Axford provides many of Demons' sheerest moments of musicality. Bassist Tom Welsch and electric guitarist Elijah Tucker play with moody restraint, melodic imagination, and an on-point sense of style and reference throughout, while producer Dan Davine keeps things grounded on drums. It's a strange world where a guy you meet on the street in Kingston just happens to have an album like this in the can, a work of startling maturity, depth, and acute musical imagination. It is indeed a strange world.
Two Cent Revival Press
"Two-Cent Revival is helmed by one Matt Jones, a Texas-bred, New York City-residing singer-songwriter. His trump card is a miles-deep baritone that immediately calls Mark Lanegan to mind, albeit a friendlier, less blatantly homicidal version. The title track off his band's recent EP is pretty standard variation on the textbook, woe-is-me drinking story common to his chosen genre, but it's exceedingly well constructed, with a deft key change signaling a chorus that will lodge in your head for days. Jones' backing band revels in warm production values that place a premium on instrument separation, and the result is a classic-sounding, non-cloying country song among the most pleasant I've heard this year."
David Goldstein, cokemachineglow.com
"The Brooklyn-based down home country folk act brings a rock edge to this brand new EP of smartly crafted tunes."
"The songs on The Devil's In This Whiskey are well crafted Americana/ country hybrids, but it is the personal story-telling style and pure charisma of Matt Jones that gives Two Cent Revival its wings...Two Cent Revival is going to make a lot of new fans with songs like these."
"Two Cent Revival provides a soundscape that's immediately more gripping than earlier efforts...deep, memorable, emotional, and most of all mature songs that evoke the best and sturdiest of classic rock."
Jimmy M, Audiocred.com
"Calling all Johnny Cash fans! He's been somewhat reincarnated in the form of Two Cent Revival, who will release his debut EP The Devil's In This Whiskey on June 15th. TCR has an amazing baritone voice -- think a young, hip Johnny Cash -- and he just dropped his debut single of the same name. I took a listen and yeah, he definitely has the same stylings as the legendary Johnny Cash."
Amy Sciarretto, ArtistDirect.com
"Two Cent Revival perform with an energy that is seldom witnessed with an acoustic guitar as the lead instrument. The primary catalyst is Jones himself, whose rich, deep voice projects every note, ensuring all within ear shot receive a proper introduction to his lovingly crafted songs. Don't miss his live show!"
Dan D'Ippolito, Jezebelmusic.com
"Matt Jones is a singer-songwriter with a lot going for him: his stage presence, his interesting, original songs, and especially his phrasing. He is a great storyteller."
Jimmy Norman, co-writer of "Time is on my side"
Broadjam Top Ten Lists
"Junkie" in Top Ten New York (#10), October 23, 2012
"Crow" in Top Ten New York (#8), October 20th, 2012
"Crow" in Top Ten Rock - Indie/Lo Fi (#4), October 20th, 2012