Music News

The New Amsterdams

There's always plenty of drama swirling around Matthew Pryor of the New Amsterdams. The singer/guitarist first came to the fore as one of the most prominent members of the Get Up Kids, an act that did the emo thang for all it was worth. The band apparently didn't offer Pryor quite enough opportunities for venting, however, so he formed the Amsterdams as a side project. He released three full-lengths under this umbrella between 2000 and 2003 and completed a fourth, to be titled Killed or Cured. But in the end, Pryor chose to set Killed aside and start over, and the result, Story Like a Scar, on the Vagrant imprint, is affectingly melancholy. "The Death of Us" opens the EP-length recording in an appropriately downbeat way ("Fear my wrath," Pryor intones with casual cruelty), while "Beautiful Mistake" juxtaposes an ultra-catchy melody with a prediction that "long days full of bad notes" will serve as his legacy. He's wrong about that, of course, but his glass-half-empty dourness is wholly typical. What a drama king.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts