Talking With Hands, 2023

It may surprise you to know, dear reader, that Talking With Hands had the twenty-first release on YK Records back in 2013 with The World and Ourselves. Songwriter and every-instrument-performer Matt Smith blindly reached out to me in 2011 and sent me a record he had recorded with Jeremy Ferguson of Battle Tapes. Smith assumed my affinity for AIR, Jason Falkner and local band Kindercastle would be enough common ground for me to enjoy the record; he was right.

This isn’t a post about The World and Ourselves but the twin releases of Talking with Hands in 2023 are extra special because of that record released a full decade ago.


For 2023, we knew we wanted to release the second full-length album from Talking with Hands – an easy way to acknowledge the prior release and the ten years that had passed. We decided that releasing an EP before that event would serve as a nice way to re-introduce the project to the world and, thus, Pastiche was born.

The five song EP is comprised of all original songs but several of them were written as intentional tributes to the influences that shaped Talking With Hands. “Lucky” is the most clear nod to Smashing Pumpkins and their Siamese Dream era and “Terms and Conditions” serves as a Soundgarden tribute. Every artist is a result of their influences. Every bit of music put out into the world is a personalized filter of some prior inputs. Documentarian Kirby Ferguson put it best with his series Everything is a Remix.

Pastiche is an homage to some great influences and a glimpse into the diversity that Talking With Hands is exploring. “Cleanse” is a meditative ambient track and “Wasn’t Much” is an incredibly sweet acoustic tribute.

Get it on Bandcamp or stream it everywhere. Honestly, do both.

New Public Domain

Released exactly ten years after the debut, the sophomore full-length New Public Domain was unleashed for the world. Having ten years pass between your debut and your follow-up is not entirely surprising given how much time school, jobs and families can (and should) consume.

Fortunately, that ten years was more than ample opportunity for Matt Smith to expand his palette, his songwriting style and his recording prowess. New Public Domain was built entirely off of acoustic demos that Matt brought into his new Hyde Park home studio, Fun House. The resulting tracks are open and air-y but filled with layers and flourishes well worth a re-listen.

I quite like this announcement video we made.

It’s a great reflection of the excellent balance of humor, high art and collaborative DIY* that Talking with Hands is able to achieve. It’s also an effective teaser for a number of the tracks on the album. I’m convinced if someone hears the hook for “Talk Talk Talk” they’ll be undeniably drawn to hear the entire record!

New Public Domain has a few surprises worth taking note of. “World Song” and “Never My Love” are covers from Petula Clark and The Association respectively. While far from unknown tracks, they don’t stand out as completely obvious covers. “Memory’s Guest” and “Axis Aligned” are instrumental tracks, providing segues between portions of the record. Lastly (but not leastly), the title track “New Public Domain” is wildly different from the rest of the album – possibly a premonition of what may come on the next record or simply a means to make you pay extra attention to the thesis statement of the body of work. Whatever the reason, it’s great to hear even more diverse styles from the project.

Pick it up on Bandcamp and stream it all day, every day.

Oh, and the cover art for New Public Domain is a direct tribute to a very particular band. I won’t spell it out for you but I hope you catch it.


The next Talking with Hands records** are already underway and being planned for a 2024 release. There will, hopefully, never be another ten year drought between albums.


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