Sunday Roadhouse presents: The Suitcase Junket

Kyle Branecki 32 views


You haven't experienced true mystical music magic until you see Matt Lorenz, aka The Suitcase Junket, perform live. There really are no words to accurately describe what you witness unfold in front of your eyes as Lorenz creates a tapestry of sound that 10 men could not successfully conjur up.

He is a true force of nature, a feverous ball of positive energy and light. The slightly over-driven guitar, the heartbeat like thumb of the bass (suitcase) drum, and Lorenz's fantastic vocal, harmonious, gorgeous, with just the right amount of grit and honesty that grabs you and never lets go.

This is why Suitcase Junket is such a talent: his ability to master not just one, but a collection of sounds and emotions is uncanny. - Red Line Roots

It's an astonishing thing to watch Matt Lorenz, the architect and sole member of The Suitcase Junket, perform. For just one guy, he stirs up a considerable racket, his raspy voice and jangly guitar enlarged and distorted through two ancient Gibson amplifiers. Perched atop an empty accordion case, which also doubles as a bass drum, he manipulates a host of percussive instruments clustered at his feet. They are empty gas cans and dented cook pots, castaways pilfered from dumpsters and back alleys, any memory of their original purpose erased in the exuberant and frenzied compulsion to make noise.

What's impressive is not merely the complexity of the endeavor-Lorenz sings, strums and plays up to four instruments with his feet at once-but how utterly he is able to transcend the mechanical minutiae. Close your eyes, and you'll hear a garage rock band, complete with a drum set and growling, overdriven guitars. Lorenz writes athletic songs with indelible hooks, and he can bring it down, too, picking out warbling melodies with his fingers. Every once in a while he lets loose a series of piercing notes that sound like the ventings of a souped-up harmonica and hover in the air momentarily before they dissipate.

The overtone singing comes in especially handy in a live setting, because it allows Lorenz to fill in the space where another instrument would take a solo.

His new album "Make Time" was recorded with the aid of engineer Justin Pizzoferrato, whose previous collaborators include Dinosaur Jr., the Pixies and Thurston Moore.

On "Broken," the penultimate track on "Make Time," he mines that sense of freedom to simultaneously glorious and excruciating effect. The song is a crescendoing ballad that would feel at home on piano with surging strings, and the story it tells is a familiar one: a couple breaks up, and everyone feels terrible. The chorus is simple, almost bare; just the word "broken" set to an urgent, syncopated rhythm over ascending chords.

Then the drums kick in and the guitar begins to roar, and Lorenz reaches his punch line. It is an arch-yet-heartfelt acknowledgement of the ordinariness of the song's conceit. "It ain't complicated, it just hurts," he wails, bending his voice up and up, into the cusp of his vocal range, where pain lives, along with release.

Amelia Mason - WBUR/Boston

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