Local Wire

Matt Hopper and The Roman Candles @ Yucca Tap Room

At some point in the early 2000s, I downloaded a track by Alaskan singer/songwriter Matt Hopper called "This Is the Sound (Of My Heart Breaking)." It was a slight thing, just an acoustic guitar, a lone electric lead, and some harmonies, something Hopper wrote for some sort of 365-songs-in-365-days deal, but I played that MP3 'til my computer crashed and it became lost to me forever. I met Hopper years later at Modified Arts and asked him about it. I don't think he remembered it. That hasn't stopped him from writing wry, subtly funny pop records in the meantime. His latest record, Jersey Finger, was recorded with pop wizard Richard Swift at his studio in Cottage Grove, Oregon. The songs have the same magic as that orphaned ditty: "In It for the Music" grooves on a tilting fuzzed out bass-line, "Animal Instincts" features Steely Dan horns and erudite, coke-nose funk, and "Ace" is a classic bummer jam. Hopper's backing band, The Roman Candles, borrows a moniker from a Jack Kerouac line, and it's fitting, as the only thing that keeps Hopper from the road is recording tunes. Too many, it seems, to keep track of all the great ones.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.

Latest Stories