Peter Matthew Bauer
So your famed indie-rock band, a staple of the 2000s, is breaking up.
Your influence is such that your own son plays your most famous song just to piss you off. What’s your response?
Well for Peter Matthew Bauer it was to hunker down in hotel rooms across Europe, demo like crazy, awash himself in his own mystic upbringing and craft Liberation! Though it might feel like a cheeky poke at The Walkmen to title your first solo record as such, Bauer looks for a deeper, more welcoming freedom. And that rings out across the sheer warmth of Liberation! He visits places of worship and finds kindness and dirty jokes in equal amounts, each new spire, chapel or slice of nature as friendly as the last. It’s an album about spirituality, quitters and the nexus between. So listen to our interview with Bauer, read our thoughts on Liberation! and see why it’s the best of the 10s.
Peter Matthew Bauer, patron saint of dirtbags, weekend astrologist and spiritual citizen of Philadelphia has got some stories, let me tell you. Freely rambling from a wake to the divest of dive bars, Bauer is a genial guide through worlds both alcohol-laden and spiritual (or both!) And he never sounds stately or torrid during the entire affair. The ramshackle, early rock of The Rolling Stones flows through him, delivering off-kilter sermons like a man preforming his own exorcism. Elsewhere, he cocoons the album in radiant gratefulness through the gentle sanctuary of “Istanbul Field Recordings” or the boozy sway of “Shiva the Destroyer.”
But where Bauer really excels is in grabbing us by the lapels and shouting through a slightly disconcerting grin that we’ve gotta “leave it behind.” Liberation! is a record of freedom from all the pains here on this muddy planet, while admitting enlightenment is likely a goal that can never be reached. But what a journey we’ll have on the way there.