Matt Duncan – “Beacon” – Soul Step Records REVIEW

For me, the name Matt Duncan is synonymous with Soul Step Records. I’ve been listening to Duncan’s music for quite a few years now and was introduced to him through his many releases at that label. While not burning up the Billboard or headlining the major festivals, Duncan is sort of like indie’s best-kept secret. In a perfect world, he would be taking the main stage at Pitchfork Music Festival or producing records alongside Jeff Tweedy or something. But as it stands at the moment, we still have Soul Step making Duncan’s music readily available for our turntables. Such as the case with the brand new repress of Beacon.

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Originally released on CD through Hop Hop Records in 2010 and on vinyl through Soul Step in 2014, Beacon is one of Duncan’s most popular albums. Sitting at little over 10 million streams, it’s not just popular for indie, it might just be Duncan’s crowning achievement! Can you name another artist with that many streams under their belt? And there’s a good reason for it too!

Despite covering many of his releases, I’ve always had a difficult time trying to pinpoint just what kind of music Matt Duncan falls under. There are definitely singer/songwriter elements, but his wit is just a little too sharp to be folk. The beats are snappy, but he’s just a little too cool for pop. If anything, Duncan is a buffet of influences and flavors from Billy Joel to Rufus Wainwright. For every wink and finger gun, there’s a heartfelt antidote and comforting embrace. It’s kind of remarkable when you think about it. An artist who defies genre with genuine authenticity.

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Tracking down a physical copy of Beacon is pretty tough though. Thankfully this is where Soul Step Records comes in and decides to bring this record to vinyl. If you’ve followed the label’s journey throughout the years, you already know Beacon has gotten the royal treatment! Back with new lacquer cuts, Beacon sounds better than ever finally back on the format it was always intended for. Bass is thick, melodies are rich, and every single note aims straight for your heart. Matt Duncan is a treasure and Soul Step Records knows it. If you’ve never experienced the greatness of this artist or label, Beacon just might be a good place to start.

There’s no doubt in my mind I will be back here talking about this record’s inevitable 3rd pressing someday, but until then, pick up this copy today!

Beacon is now available exclusively through Soul Step Records.

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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