Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs
Matt Fishbeck got left behind in some ways. It may not be the way that he'd think about it and it's in no way a healthy way to think about it, but it's hard not to connect the sad circumstances of his musical biography. Here, you have this talented Los Angeles songwriter, living with an playing in a band with Ariel Pink and Christopher Owens, making incredibly ingenious lo-fi pop songs together and then the roommates begin to make their bread and butter with their rapidly popular other projects - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and Girls, respectively - and the third-wheel is left at home to fend for himself. Meanwhile, the Holy Shit material, which used to be the collaborative effort of all three, is still as fantastic and sharp as it ever was, with Fishbeck forging on with it, for what else would he do? The skeptical and thin young man, with a cool flop of hair in the front that he throws back with a sneer when he performs live, writes songs that come out of the ditches that mothers fear their children will end up on lonely dark nights if they're not careful enough or wander off with the wrong person or group of people. They come from the ditches where the skunky weed grows in abundance and they come from a spot in the head that keeps a low profile so as not to be spotted as belonging to someone holding onto unorthodox thoughts about the state of it all, about where he's headed or where the rest of us are headed. Fishbeck, with his mopey, often Cass McCombs-like touch, seems like a man that you'd not want to get into a philosophical discussion with, for he might just bring you down too much and you would have been asking for it. You'd be stuck in a funk for weeks, if not longer, hearing his words ring and believing that he might actually be right about it all. He seems like a guy that has his good days and his bad days - like all of us - but that the bad days might be really bad and the good days barely discernable as good days. It might all be relative. He sings here that he has a feeling that "this madness will one day be over," and there's no knowing if that's something that will happen through living or through the soft release of death. It sounds as if he's willing to wait it out and see what it might be like whenever the finale strikes, singing that he feels better than he did the day he wrote a certain someone, and added, "I got so frightened by all of the talking/But within a few days of my writing/I no longer felt it was the end of the world." It's an improvement and something that likely keeps him afloat.