Music News

The New Amsterdams

Side projects often have a way of turning around and influencing the bigger bands that spawned them. The New Amsterdams is a prime example: Singer/guitarist Matt Pryor formed the group in 2000 as a vehicle for his more folky, delicate compositions, ones that didn't quite fit into the emo-pop framework of his day gig, the Get Up Kids. But when the Kids released Guilt Show last year, the disc seemed to take a hint from the Amsterdams' sound: a pensive, softly strummed lament to lost loves and bulldozed innocence that's as acerbic as it is sappy. The New Amsterdams' third and most recent disc, Worse for the Wear, sees Pryor fleshing out the palette with piano, banjo, lap steel and a helping of inspiration from Wilco and the Replacements -- all bracketed by a hushed, maudlin instrumental so intimate, you can hear fingertips tapping on the pump organ. The Get Up Kids may be on big tours and late-night TV, but it's clear the New Amsterdams is where Pryor keeps his pulse.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller