Music

Album Premiere: Matt Harlan's Graceful 'Best Beasts'

Brian T. Atkinson

Houston-based singer-songwriter Matt Harlan surveys the current political climate with empathy on the reflective and graceful Best Beasts (out on July 12 via Austin, Texas based Eight 30 Records).

The 13-track album finds Harlan telling stories of struggle ("Heavy Steel"), self-reflection ("Mountain Pose") and starting over ("Like Lightning (Way Out of Town)").

"Best Beasts became much more political than I imagined," Harlan says in a press release. "Everything I started to write ended up being about current events. The theme throughout the record is me trying to makes sense of our crazy world today." 

Still, Harlan says the starting point is compassion and understanding.

"I still believe that songs can change people, but I feel that some don't want to be beat over the head with politics," Harlan says. "I want to tell people stories without saying, 'You have to believe one way or another.' You can listen to the song and hopefully that will evoke something in you and that's where the change happens. You internalize someone else's story and you don't even know that story is from a person you don't agree with. You just agree with the way that person feels and then go, 'Maybe I should change.' Songs are a safe space to do that."

Listen to Best Beasts below.

Best Beasts features Rich Brotherton, Danny Barnes and Jon Dee Graham. The album is the follow-up to Harlan's 2014 album Raven Hotel.

For more information on Matt Harlan, visit his official website.

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Album Premiere: Matt Harlan's Graceful 'Best Beasts'