The Matches Biography

Review The Artist (12)

The Matches-photo
Shawn Harris - Vox, Guitar
Matt Whalen - Drums
Justin San Souci - Vox, Bass
Jon Devoto, Guitar, Vox

Straight outta Oakland, the Matches set the California music scene on fire last year thanks to twelve explosive, hook-injected songs recorded on the cheap in their basements and living rooms. Coupled with an unstoppable work ethic that included the band's very own "Commotion Promotion" tactics, buzz on the quartet's self-released debut E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals and the live shows that supported it spread like a virus to music enthusiasts up and down the Golden State and, as they toured small venues relentlessly, across the country.

Despite the ensuing hype that landed the interest of numerous label A&R execs, the truth is that the Matches wouldn't be shit without contagious anthems like "The Jack Slap Cheer" or "The Restless." It's these songs, sounding like they were written for the bored and lonely kids loitering in bowling alleys and backyards across the fruited plain, that have sparked so much attention.

Formed as The Locals in 1997, when vocalist/guitarist Shawn Harris, drummer Matt Whalen and bassist Justin San Souci were early in their respective tenures at Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High, the group grew frustrated by the turn of the millennium at the lack of under-21 venues in the Bay Area. Commandeering a webcasting warehouse called iMusicast in their home city, they launched a show called L3: Live, Loud and Local. In an effort to promote these L3 shows, the band - now with guitarist Jon Devoto in the fold - initiated "Commo Promo," accosting potential fans exiting concerts and clubs, student unions, dorms, high schools, malls and fast food joints, welcome or not. By performing these brief acoustic attack sets in the days prior to L3 gigs, word soon spread and the shows started selling out - without advertising or publicity.

Changing monikers in time to self-finance and release their February 2003 debut, the Matches mothballed their educational pursuits to focus on music. Veering from headlining West Coast All-Ages venues to touring opportunities with Reel Big Fish, Lit, and Zebrahead, the latter even asked Shawn, Matt, Justin and Jon to join them for a ten-day trek to Japan late in the year. Around that time a new tune, "December is for Cynics" appeared alongside Blink 182, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and New Found Glory, on the Immortal Records benefit compilation, A Santa Cause.

The group also aligned with Epitaph, walking away from the lure of those wide- open major label checkbooks. And now the energy and innovation of E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals is yours to behold, you lucky bastards.

If the Matches sound like they could be the next big thing in a way that nearly every other band only wishes they could, perhaps it's the musical and lyrical ingenuity that steers "Eryn Smith," an exuberant, irresistible song about falling in love with a punk rock girl. With the throbbing bass-line that launches "Dog-Eared Page" and the wry, quirky rocker "Chain Me Free," the Matches have more hooks than your Grandpa’s tackle box. When they do tap their influences, such as the blend of Elvis Costello and the Faint in "Audio Blood," it's done tastefully, damn-near out of respect. And with tunes about dying for a new zipcode ("Borderline Creep") or dying in slow motion at our own careless hand ("Sick Little Suicide"), these concise, communicable bursts tap a common nerve. Whether your memories of sneaking out a window to catch your ride to that not-to-be-missed show are from last summer's Warped Tour or from the days when Green Day first exploded, the Matches take you back to those moments in an instant. Now that's red-tipped Rock & Roll. Light 'em up.

Thanks to Ariane @ for submitting the biography.

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Amazing Band! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/25/2007

I saw The Matches at WARPED Tour, they were amazing live.
But I was actually looking for a review on this band. Not just some people saying they're hot or that they think they are an amazing band. So if someone could post an actual review, that would be nice.

The hottness of there 4 men | Reviewer: Nicole | 7/7/2007

Let me just tell you that I would love them even if their music sucked, because they are so damn hott.

WOW! | Reviewer: rachael | 6/1/2007

the matches are the best band ever and shawn kicks ass. they rule
they really need to come to maine though. I <3 THE MATCHES!!!

my favorite band in the entire world | Reviewer: lauren | 5/21/2007

yeah honestly i just started listening to them abuot 8 months ago.. i also heard them on fuse.. i heard papercut skin..well i heard chain me free, but never really paid much attention. But after that i memorized every song from both cd's and songs that werent on cd's . i love them. ive seen them twice and im seeing them at the warped tour this summer. i think every one should listen to the matches =]

Best band | Reviewer: Foolish | 12/26/2006

this band is really talented.
Each song is different from another, so its not like listening to the same song over and over again. I love every song by them , and the message behind their songs. I can't wait till they boom into popularity.

I FUCKING LOVE THEM | Reviewer: Sara Allen | 12/7/2006

I just found about The Matches last summer. I heard them on Fuse. They were on an interview on Steve's Untitled Rock Show. I heard their song "Chain Me Free" and fell in love. Not only with the lead singer Shawn but with the band. I checked them out a couple of times on myspace but never really took interest. Then a couple of weeks ago I heard their new song on Fuse "Papcut Skin". Then I fell in love that I knew would be an obsession. I got their CD "E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals" and listened to it nonstop until I got enoguh money to get their new CD "Decomposer". I listened to the first song "Salty Eyes" and thought they were crazy with the violin and stuff. Then I REALLY listened to it and kept repeating it until I eventually fell asleep. Not that they are bad but it was at 3 o'clock in the morning. I have been listening to both of their CDs nonstop for about the past 2 weeks. I don't think this will stop. I am hoping to go to their concert in February. But I don't think I can wait. If you like any music at all you will love them. They are a little bit of everything. And is it just me or does Shawn look sort of like Johnny Depp?

i<3 the matches | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/6/2005

these boys know how to rock! saw them 2 years ago at a yellowcard concert and ever since, i havent stopped listening to them. theyrocked at warped this summer too! if you dont have their album, get it now!!!!!!

HELL YES... THE MATHCES, BIOTCH! | Reviewer: lyssa | 8/30/2005

omg... like last january was tha first tyme i heard of the matches and it was on FUSE... omg, i fell in love... lmao... like even tho back then, the only song i knew (("chain me free")) wasnt their best... i had to kno more.... i went and bought their c.d. and their music is like my life... im serious... THE MATCHES ARE ONE OF THE GREATEST PUNK RAWK BANDS OUT THERE... buy the c.d. invest in them... you WILL NOT be sorry... at all...

This band rocks the socks right off me. | Reviewer: Heather Morgan | 8/27/2005

When I first saw The Matches at Warped Tour 2004, I had only heard one of their songs and I figured they were worth checking out. That show practically changed my life. I've been hooked ever since. I've seen them 6 times now and I love them more each time. They have a high energy, kick ass show with great antics, and Shawn has an amazing voice. He sounds just like his cd. This band is beyond worth checking so, so do it!

kicked ass at warped tour! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/4/2005

Usually bands suck ass live but not the matches! They totally kicked ass shawn can really sing and doesn't need all that shit to improve sound or whatever. Also I met all of the band members and besides being able to completely rock out they are nice guys! word of advice if they come to your town go see them because it aint a waste of time or money! They truly kick ass!

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