A few things about Syd Matters that are worth mentioning that aren't necessarily related to his music per se, but important nonetheless.

A few things about Syd Matters that are worth mentioning that aren't necessarily related to his music per se, but important nonetheless. First, Syd Matters is the moniker 23-year-old Parisian Jason Morali works under, and has been relatively successful in France with two albums to date. "Syd Matters" is a compilation of those two, making this more like a "best of so far" for us. And until May, you'll only be able to get this at Barnes & Noble locations. This might be fine for some established artists, but Matters could use as much exposure as possible, and this might limit his reach this spring.

As for Matters himself, he's a singer/songwriter with a deep voice that yields no hints that he's French. He falls somewhere in between the upbeat moments of Nick Drake and the tender times that slip out of Beck every few years. The subject matter is all too serious, mostly lost loves and coming of age (the hauntingly voyeuristic "Someday Sometimes," the sparse, vibraphone-lined "Lost Bird").

But his youthfulness never shows, and it's actually quite remarkable how genuine and "aged" he sounds throughout. Matters work has potential for a following, but he might have to hope for a word of mouth movement for now. Nevertheless, your favorite James Blunt fan will appreciate the tip. -- Michael D. Ayers

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