Santa Rosa Fangs is a stirring, stunning, and cinematic look and listen into the sometimes autobiographical, sometimes fictional journey of the venerable California musician Matt Costa through the tangled groves and grapevines of his home state.
Throughout the album’s twelve songs, Costa illuminates what he has learned and how he has grown in the past 15 years of his career. His music has taken him around the world, allowing him to work with diverse, respected artists and to connect with people everywhere—from his albums released on Brushfire Records to recording with Belle and Sebastian in Glasgow, to penning film scores and releasing a variety of genre-bending EP’s, and to finally coming home to Los Angeles’s Dangerbird Records for his first new proper full-length release in nearly five years. A rebirth in a sense, through his keen pop sensibility, studious songwriting, technical mastery, and a modern-meets-vintage sound bursting with bite, Costa has recorded the album of his career, one sure to reach new shores and sailors alike.
“In the past 15 years of my career, I feel I’ve continually been breaking through, speaking out, and reaching different people,” Costa says. “If one of my songs connects now to someone who didn’t connect before, then we have a dialogue together. That’s the point of music, to have that dialogue and tell a story, and to entertain with a sound that has depth.”
He began the recording of Santa Rosa Fangs over a year and a half ago, though some songs here predate that mark. Over the past few years, Costa had challenged himself to explore new terrain, from the acoustic-fingerpicking/lo-fi garage/experimental sounds of 2015’s EP’s to the acid- washed and reverb-laden soundtrack to the film Orange Sunshine to another complete album that never saw the light of day. Realizing he sought a collection of dyed-in-the-wool songs rather than sonic experiments, in July of 2017 he and producers Peter Matthew Bauer (The Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf (French Kicks) entered a studio to begin work.
“There’s a difference when I sit down to write sonic textures and when I sit with a guitar or piano and write a song,” he says. “These new songs went back to a traditional sense, and when stripped back to their purest form, they still work. They tell a story, the melodies aren’t leaning on anything, and they make instrumentation around them come to life in a new way, but their core is strong. My goal for the EP’s was to develop conceptual ideas, making each one in a short period and with their own concepts; Orange Sunshine was a bigger exercise in that. Now, this record is all of those things I was exercising come into their own. It’s more of a visualized record that takes you into the world of the Santa Rosa fangs.”
Glide is proud to premiere the hazy folk-pop diamond “Lovely Saturday” (below) a self-described “journey down Route 405 on a mystic day.” Costa combines the brooding openheartedness of Beck along with the righteous indie folk of a tasteful Yo La Tengo track.