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In a music scene where faux nostalgia seems to be the order of the day, Matt and Kim are the real retro deal. While their upbeat dancepop is modern, their ethic is straight outta the early ’80s. They tour constantly, eschew clubs for warehouses and basements, and even encourage crowd surfing. While every unsigned MySpace band seems to have their own publicist now, Matt and Kim are busy booking their own fucking lives.
The duo (respective last names: Johnson and Schifino) met at Pratt in 2004, fell in love, and started a band. “We really had no idea what we wanted to sound like,” Matt says. “We were just tinkering around, because neither of us had ever played our instruments before.” Despite not having a defined sound, the pair did have one very clear goal: “I’m a total road warrior, and I was dying to get in a van,” Kim says. Since then, the pair have crisscrossed the country multiple times, charming everyone from French Kicks fans who caught them as an opening act to a five-year-old who spent a recent show jumping up and down in front of the stage.
The tracks on their full-length, self-titled debut CD certainly lend themselves to manic pogoing while prone to literalism and simplicity—the chorus of lead single “Yea Yeah” consists solely of the title’s exuberant expression. Kim’s drums and Matt’s keyboards fill up far more space than you’d expect, recalling Mates of State or the Thermals.
While the album is solid, upbeat, and a hell of a lot of fun, Matt and Kim’s live show is where the magic really happens. When they played Roosevelt Island last summer, Kim subbed a cardboard box for drums, and Matt rocked the same Casio keyboard you learned to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on in grade school. Despite the low-tech environs, they were the loudest act of the day, and Kim’s smile was so huge her face was about to break in two. “We’re all about trying different venues,” she says. “I’d die of boredom if I had to play a club every night.”
Matt and Kim aren’t particularly groundbreaking; undaunted, they’re having fun and schlepping around in “a pimped-out Astro Van,” bringing joy to little girls and boys. They’re not revolutionary, but they’re cute as buttons and happy as clams, and sometimes that’s enough.
Matt and Kim play their CD release party Friday night at 3rd Ward,