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Kingdom Underground

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 23, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Anyone who caught singer-songwriter Matt Duke at his early shows in the Philadelphia area or on Manhattan s Lower East Side a few years back would have discovered an artist whose musical vocabulary was nothing short of astonishing. His tee-shirt/jeans/baseball cap attire may have seemed reassuringly familiar, but Duke s performances immediately took listeners into uncharted territory. A self-taught guitarist, Duke s acoustic playing was often full of abrupt stops and starts, unexpected changes of direction, complex rhythms that came off more like jazz than folk or rock, challenging the limits of his acoustic instrument. His voice could be quietly confessional at first, then escalate to an impassioned wail, as startlingly intense by the end of a song as it was gently intimate at the start. In a world of heart-on-their-sleeve singer-songwriters, Duke pushed past the conventions of the genre, combining elements of jazz, folk and pop, even grunge and progressive rock, with unbridled emotion to create a sound very much his own.

Kingdom Underground, Duke s Rykodisc debut, is just as daring as those buzz-generating gigs. Duke is an ambitious songwriter, fashioning dramatic sagas about troubled souls who struggle with romance, life, death and, perhaps most of all, with themselves. His words can be intriguingly ambiguous: the house-bound couple on Opossum, for example, might be dealing with agoraphobia or maybe even the end of the world. He can also be exhilaratingly forthright, as on Walk It Off, a no-minced-words rocker about a bruising lover s spat. The unlisted title track, hidden on the disc, lends a cinematically foreboding tone to the proceedings, with a dark, electronic feel to it that recalls Trent Reznor at his most brooding. Not all of Duke s material is of a life-or-death nature, however. Rabbit is a tender, spare ballad at the heart of the album. Sex and Reruns takes a sardonic look, with a surprisingly easy-going pop feel, at the self-medicating properties of the internet and TV, whether you happen to be bored, lonely or having difficulties composing your next song.

Addressing the complicated, philosophical/spiritual subject matter he gravitated towards on Kingdom Underground, Duke jokingly decides it must be his Irish Catholic background. But then he says, Love songs I put those aside. I hear them on the radio so often. Writing about love and breakups is almost tired. The whole idea of your spiritual unrest, what you believe in and what you don t, what you re struggling with now and what you will struggle with for the rest of your life, were, for some reason, the things that were the easiest to write about. It s very rare that I d write about relationships; it s mostly how everyday, trivial, petty problems could be associated with a greater issue. That s what I get the most inspiration from. And I don t think I ll ever get tired writing about that stuff.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Father, The Son and the Harlot's Ghost
  2. Sex and Reruns
  3. 30 Some Days
  4. I've Got Atrophy on the Brain
  5. Rabbit
  6. Opossum
  7. A Happy Hooligan
  8. Rose
  9. Walk It Off
  10. Spilt Milk


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B001DGSGLU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,448 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I only started to listening to Matt Duke a few days ago when I found his myspace. After catching a few tracks, I immediately went out and bought both his CDs, though my favorite is definitely this one. Rarely will you listen to a CD and enjoy every song, but every single song on this album is great. Tons of hooks, too. I'm still surprised by how quickly I took to the music.

I also met Matt tonight at one of his shows and he was incredibly nice and took the time out to talk to me. Great guy. I can only hope he gets the success he deserves.
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Format: Audio CD
Matt Duke is a very awesome and unique musician! This is his second release and I can't stop listening to it (so buy his first album "Winter Child")! The songs are very very catchy (especially Oppossum and Sex and Reruns). His soft vocal ability could really be heard on 30 Some Days and Spilt Milk. These aren't typical lyrics about just love. He has a very active imagination. The hidden title track (Kingodm Underground) is track zero (get to track one, then keep rewinding). It's a very creative work of art and it is constantly on repeat in my car and on my Zune. I had the pleasure of meeting him after his concert last month and he autographed my copy of the CD. I downloaded the album back in September when it was released. I bought this hard copy so that he could sign it for me :). Definitely, Definitely get this album, you won't regret it, you'll be hooked! After buying this, look out for the acoustic version of this album to be released on June 30th!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Matt Duke's new album is great, as expected. Some tracks are a little more upbeat than his earlier stuff, but it works. Some tracks are classic Matt Duke. The album is definitely more heavily orchestrated than Winter Child, which had a much more acoustic sound overall.
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Format: Audio CD
Matt Duke's latest CD, "Kingdom Underground", is an outstanding example of Matt's talent as song writer and singer. Listen to it then buy it. Your going to enjoy it. Hope there are others in the pipeline.
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