It’s been nearly half a decade since Matt Costa‘s last proper album, a self-titled effort he recorded with members of Belle And Sebastian, but the lifelong Californian (who usually puts out a new LP every couple years) wasn’t exactly slacking off during that period. He issued a handful of self-produced EPs, did the soundtrack to acclaimed documentary Orange Sunshine and finished an entire album that remains unreleased. Which brings us to Santa Rosa Fangs, co-produced by Peter Matthew Bauer (Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf (French Kicks) and out May 18 on Dangerbird. The dozen-track LP follows the story of a woman named Sharon and her two brothers, with Costa injecting some of his own adventures growing up in the Golden State into this fictional tale of love, loss and the California landscape.
While not the first single from Santa Rosa Fangs (that would be opener “I Remember It Well”), “Sharon,” the second track, is both pivotal to the album’s somewhat-skewed storyline and, musically, the perfect example of Costa’s knack for writing timeless, accessible pop/rock songs with enough of a bent to keep music snobs from getting their torn-and-tattered T.Rex T-shirts in a bunch.
“‘Sharon’ is the imaginary classic-rock-radio single—and lynchpin—to this strange record that feels like both Matt’s own autobiography and also a kind of dreamy made-up nostalgia,” says Bauer.
“‘Sharon’ is an effortless-sounding song that could have come from any time,” says Stumpf. “Costa’s strength is his ability to create these worlds that feel familiar and easy to sink into but also have threads of the dark and sinister. California noir.”
Though the video for “Sharon” exquisitely captures this surreal California-noir vibe, there’s only one minor problem: It was shot in Great Falls, Mont., at the one-of-a-kind Sip ‘N Dip Lounge (the number-one bar on earth worth flying for, according to GQ), which is located at the O’Haire Motor Inn (home to “the kind of western hospitality that you would expect to find in the heart of Montana”).
“It couldn’t have fit the song more perfect,” says Costa of the clip. “My close friend and veteran photographer Pamela Littky directed the video and was able to bring the vision to life with a gilded suit and signature Blue Hawaiians. In the song, Sharon frequents the aquarium bar with her aquarium friends. In the video, I croon the turquoise corners and dive into the same vices as Sharon.”
“The video is exactly as I always think of Matt,” says Bauer.
After watching “Sharon,” the video is exactly as we will always think of Matt, too. We’re proud to premiere it today on magnetmagazine.com. Watch it now, and catch Costa on tour later this month (dates below); no word yet if he’s bringing the mermaids on the road with him.
And as a bonus, check out the teaser trailer for Santa Rosa Fangs:
May 19 — Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia
May 21 — Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
May 22 — Rough Trade, Brooklyn
May 23 — The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
May 25 — Longboat At Great Hall, Toronto
May 26 — The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
May 27 — Schuba’s, Chicago
May 28 — Shank Hall, Milwaukee
May 30 — The Turf Club, St. Paul, MN
June 5 — The Troubadour, Los Angeles
June 7 — Live in the Vines, Carmel, CA
July 7 — Café du Nord, San Francisco
July 9 — Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
July 10 — Tractor Tavern, Seattle
July 11 — Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver
July 12 — Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
August 16 — Bluff Park At Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point, CA