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Fourth of July / Matt Suggs

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After recently releasing its long-awaited debut LP, Lawrence's Fourth of July has gotten some national love, notably in the form of KEXP airplay and No. 113 on the CMJ charts. The locally produced album (Mixtape Studios) showcases lead songwriter Brendan Hangauer's witty late-night lyricisms and the sharp musicianship of his six-piece band featuring harmony vocals from Adrianne Verhoeven (formerly of The Anniversary). Ranging from tuneful indie folk to jubilant lo-fi-in-hi-fi pop, "Fourth of July on the Plains" has the makeup of a breakout album for one of Lawrence's best bands.Opener Matt Suggs has cut his own swathe across the rock landscape as a songwriter of considerable gifts and talent, following his time with the celebrated pop band Butterglory. Rich in texture and emotion, Suggs' "solo" work (he typically plays with some of the best musicians in town) conjures images of dusty backwater towns where no matter how serene and normal the surfaces may appear, something slightly off-kilter or wicked is most likely hiding just below. He paints his characters with abstract brushstrokes, and sets scenes that are reminiscent of film noir or spaghetti westerns.

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