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May 18, 2009 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

The Battle of the Matt and Kim Reviews

Matt & Kim, Holiday with Friends & Little Pictures played at Mighty Mighty. Two of our reviewers were there. They both reviewed it. We like both of their reviews. Which can only mean one thing. REVIEW WAR.

The Mighty Mighty is like a box of chocolates—do I need to say how? What I got, when I went to see Matt & Kim with supporting acts, was a framed painting of a horse propped up on the stage, and a DJ fading in and out of nameless indie tunes. Who knows what quirky delights will await me next time I’m there: all I can hope for is that it will be as good a gig as this one was.

Synthpop duo Little Pictures was reminiscent of I Was a Cub Scout and Psapp, but with less edge. This frequently threatened to take them into twee territory (first offence: the clarinet; second: the bubbles), but their restless energy and amusingly incongruous sampling of ‘Hey Ya!’ and ‘Promiscuous Girl’ managed to assuage the syrup seeping from their synths. That said, ‘This House Can Fit Us All’ was endearingly clunky: Johanna Freeman’s ethereal voice complements Mark Turner’s earnest indie tones well. I’d like to see Little Pictures take the Little Boots/La Roux route and produce something with more balls (two at least, please!), but their kitsch pop hit the spot for the crowd.

I wanted ballsier, and I got it with Holiday With Friends, who compensated for their lack of musicianship with attitude—think Be Your Own Pet or (to quote my friend), the time special ed “banged drums joyously for four minutes” in assembly. Said friend added that he meant that “in a good way”, and indeed, the audience appeared to love them: their self-deprecating humour (“This is why we’re breaking up”, after several false starts), and obvious pleasure to be performing made them hard to dislike. And who can hate on a melodica? Holiday With Friends—a diamond in the rough, maybe, but a diamond nonetheless.

For the main course: Matt & Kim’s anthemic indie power-pop/dance-punk. Their energy equalled The Kills’, but pleasingly, I felt able to approach the stage without fear of VV turning me into one of the living dead. ‘Cutdown’ and ‘Yea Yeah’ were highlights, but the duo kept their audience entertained even between songs. Matt was an air-punching powerhouse hunched at the synth, while Kim’s manic grin was infectious, and her upper arm muscles incredible: it was worth the $15 entry for the gun show alone. In fact, the concert was worth double that, not only due to the stellar acts but also the crowd, who were genuinely enjoying themselves. My tip: next time Matt & Kim play here, make sure you’re front and centre.

This was my first experience seeing Little Pictures, a duo devoted to cuteness. Particularly enjoyable was Mark’s stage presence—he resembled a giant, blonde baby stamping happily around the stage. I was also impressed by three lycra-clad girls in the front, who somehow managed to skank dance to Lil’ Pics. Bubbles and twee have never really encouraged me to show off my bootylicious moves to camera-wielding friends, but then maybe I’m showing my age (as in: no longer underage).

Holiday with Friends then performed their last show ever, for the fourth time. Their fun brand of Wellington indie pop was just dandy, barring a couple of sloppy spots and song restarts; light-hearted yelling among members made for colourful between-song banter.

Mighty already had a large, enthusiastic crowd for the opening acts, but when Matt and Kim came on, swarms of people appeared from the ether; like moths to a flame, like mice to cheese, like Elvis to peanut butter and bacon-filled loaves of bread. You get the picture. Matt and Kim are a two-piece hailing from Brooklyn, New York—he on synths, she drumming, both doing vocals. Simple. The kind of simplicity that can be monotonous over speakers, but translates well to a live show.

Matt and Kim came to the stage all smiles, as though we were honoured friends for whom they were delighted to play. By this point the crowd had jammed towards the stage and began hopping about manically in—or out—of time with Kim’s rapid-fire drumming. Particular audience excitement was felt during ‘Yea Yeah’ and ‘Daylight’, the most familiar of Matt and Kim’s songs and rightfully so: catchy choruses worthy of sing/shouting along to, even on first listen.

There was something about their set that felt organic, raw, makeshift even. A charm that belied the band’s longevity: they seem more in their first year than fifth. This charm was somewhere among Matt’s off-key, yet endearing, singing. Or maybe it was in the delight the pair clearly felt in the attention they received. Wellington was the last stop on their tour, but the performance felt fresh, as though we were the first. There was something colloquial about the evening; Mighty Mighty could have been someone’s living room, and Matt and Kim some friends of friends who you’ve seen about the place. And maybe it was this loose vibe that was the reason the crowd really got going, the sort of frenetic energy that got people’s fists pumping the air and feet off the ground.


About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

Comments (28)

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  1. Kim Wheatley says:


    P.S. I was amused (albeit unsurprised) to find that bubbles and twee were mentioned in both reviews.

  2. Anna Grahame says:

    Elle’s pwns.

  3. Kele says:

    Elle, hands down.

  4. Little John says:

    Unsure; they both made me want to stab myself.

  5. matthew says:

    “I was amused (albeit unsurprised) to find that bubbles and twee were mentioned in both reviews.”

  6. Felix says:

    Elle wins, easily

  7. James Beavis says:

    I probably would have voted Elle, but she compared HWF to Be Your Own Pet (was that irony or something?!!?!), which confused me so badly that I accidentally voted for Maggie.
    Oh hey Maggie!!!

  8. Hannah says:

    If you are going to attempt to be any authority at all on music at least try and get the influences right Elle. I was in Holiday With Friends for 2 years and I can quite safely say that they would rather slap themselves in the face than be told they are anything like BYOP. Anyone with any knowledge in music would quite easily see that HWF is basically ‘The Modern Covers’ (i.e. they quote the Modern Lovers very much)(thanks James).

    Also, don’t you think that Matt and Kim had lack of musicianship too? While HWF had less charisma, overall I would say that they are better musicians – even though they were sloppy. Kim had inconsistent timing and bounced around like a Chihuahua on speed. Their songs were also irritatingly repetitive. At least HWF had diversity in their songwriting.

    I’m not going to judge the articles because that would be unfair. Maggie is a sexy bitch.

  9. James Beavis says:

    Exactly, never! My heart is yours Maggie. Plus I think this contest is more a contest of number of friends than writing style/content

  10. James Beavis says:

    Exactly, never! My heart is yours Maggie. Plus I think this contest is more a contest of number of friends than writing style/content.
    Plus I know for a FACT that Felix and Elle are the same person

  11. Elle Hunt says:

    Lol – you’ve got me there, James.

    Seems like only I saw elements of BYOP in Holiday With Friends; that’s cool, it’s just my opinion. I intended for my approximation of HWF to be positive, and I believe that’s what comes across, but take from it what you will.

    Incidentally, Hannah, are you their erstwhile drummer who joined them on stage for a song or two at the end?

    Maggie, I really like your review. Let’s call off the silly war.

  12. Hannah says:

    Yes I am the erstwhile drummer. I wasn’t meaning to be combative. It came out that way. I guess I’m like a proud mother who let her ducklings swim on their own for the first time. And you’re right, it was overall positive, I just didn’t like the critique of the musicianship.

  13. Elle Hunt says:

    I can see where you’re coming from. It’s a shame Salient didn’t publish the full review (100+ words over the limit), because I mentioned your song with the HWF as being the most charming of their set!

  14. Raymond Romano says:

    – music reviewer power points for use of the word “assuage”, + points for a negative review of little pictures. Am getting genuinely disgusted with teeth-rottingly sweet indie bands, especially ones that barefacedly steal hip hop riffs. Could be something to do with me being a loveless dropout though.

  15. James Beavis says:


  16. Little John says:

    Apart from the intelligent but highly subjective comments of Hannah, this is the most incestuous crap I’ve ever read… all of it. Shame on you.

  17. Christopher Gilbert says:


    if it’s so horribly obvious that ‘not many people like’ LP that you feel you need to express yourself in obnoxious capital letters, then where the hell has this wisdom and insight been for the last two years of their career?

    I do not think it is your place to sheriff and lecture contributors to the website threads for commenting on something you deem as a cliche topic, just because the bashing of LP seems to (finally) be commonplace these days… unlike the frustrating whirlpool of mindless praise they seemed to receive in 07 and 08.

    Even if it is cliche, I prefer honest criticism to brain-dead praise.

  18. Your Name says:

    Maggie, youre review belongs in the humour section of the New Yorker.

  19. Your Name says:

    I mean you’re as in you are review.

  20. Your Name says:

    Also, Elle, a Forest Gump reference, tres bien!

  21. James Beavis says:

    Hey Chris,
    a) I thought people heard you more clearly in capitals??
    b) Thanks for Sheriffing my sheriffing, I’m clearly getting egomaniacal on this shit
    c)I’m more concerned with the comment ripping. If there’s one thing worse than brain-dead praise (can you provide ANY examples of this on Lil Pix by the way?), it’s brain dead ‘YEAH FUCK LIL PIX’ in a comment thread.
    Your Faithfully (Hope you know where I live),

  22. James Beavis says:

    Upon reflection:
    Someone decapitate this heinous beast of a thread. SOZ

  23. matthew says:

    oh mean, chris gilbert, i remember this guy.
    chris – i really like how you seem to have devised this fantastic formula for determining brain function, i.e. positive attitude towards little pictures=BRAIN DEAD AS; negative attitude towards little pictures=oh thank god finally someone’s talking sense around here.
    criticising them based on their use of hip hop samples is pretty hilarious too. especially because they’re, like, not at all hiding it. YOU REALLY GOT THEM THERE, GUY.

  24. Felix says:

    I for one (it seems) really enjoyed Little Pictures…

  25. Live wire says:

    Lick your wounds elsewhere Mattatat.

  26. matthew says:

    i’ll lick my wounds wherever the fuck i like. and also, i don’t get it?

  27. Kelvin says:

    cant believe i missed all this!!! feel like my oppinion is ten times more valid than anyone elses.

    holiday with friends were the best band in the world cause we wrote pop songs and matt buck is real good looking. end of story right????

    also chris gilbert: im going to struggle to take your oppinion even the slightest bit serious after last years article. not what you said about my own and my friends bands…but who you suggested as the bands who “rip apart” the ones you were talking about….New Friend???? Death In Gaza???? hahaha yeah man, choice, here are two bands that are doing FUCK loads for local music and are really pushing musical boundaries…. (i like the guys in new friend, sorry matt heart you heaps!!!)

    both articles are good. maggie wins though cause i know who she is, sorry elle, i mean nothing by it!!!


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