KEXP Premiere: Raven Hollywood - IRL

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry

Seattle songwriter Raven Matthews goes by many names, from his birth name to RVN and now Raven Hollywood. With each new moniker, you can feel his progression as an artist. On his latest EP, IRL, the Raven Hollywood name aptly embodies the grand and murky folk noir visions. Following up last year's emotionally transparent GREYNEON, IRL expands on his unique blending of acoustic instrumentation and samples with his enthralling low drawl holding it all together. The dichotomy of making downtrodden music with his glamorous image mirrors Hollywood's vision for the project – reconciling the pristine visages we put of ourselves online versus the anxious feeling actually harboring beneath the surface. The spacious production of opener "Deviant Love" sets the fragile tone of the record, with the clicks of drum samples sounding off distantly underneath a simple and elegant guitar line. On "Saving Grace (Jeff Buckley)" he mixes in Buckley's legendary vocals with his own against psychedelic beats, finding the grittiness in something considered traditionally beautiful. It's some of the most experimental work we've seen from Hollywood so far, continuing his trend to reinvent and explore new musical terrain. Hollywood shares his thoughts on how he conceived the project below:

IRL stands for “In Real Life”. In the age of the internet, the lines of reality are blurred. The veins of the music world are pulsing with algorithms and social media trends.

A constant recycling, nostalgia and irony. IRL comes from all of that, it seeks originality but is also derivative of times past. It’s a sort of soft grunge, lo-fi in tone, a vulnerability in harsh dimensions. Anxiety, depression and pure ecstasy. A 25-year-old’s quarter-life crises.

IRL is streaming in full below. 69/50, a local hip-hop collective of which Hollywood is a part of, will be launching a new residency tomorrow at the Columbia City Theater's Bourbon Bar with a top secret lineup to be announced. You can find out more information about that event here.

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