WIN ONELINDRAWING TICKETS

For all dates beginning with July 2 through August 2, Jade Tree will be giving away one free pair of tickets to each ONELINEDRAWING show. To enter, send an email to [EMAIL]contests@jadetree.com[/EMAIL] with “OLD” as the subject and in 25 words or less answer the question “Why Jonah makes you Smile?” Be sure to include the location of the show that you wish to attend should you win. The best answers will receive the tickets. All winners will be notified via email. To be eligible, all contest entries must be received by June 18. All dates listed below subject to change. Please consult the Jade Tree for updates.

5/28-6/7 w/ The Weakerthans, 6/12-17 w/ Acceptance

June
5: Providence, RI @ The Met Cafe (130 Union St) w/ Motion City Soundtrack
6: Buffalo, NY @ Flickinger Athletic Center (21 Oak St) w/ Dashboard Confessional, Motion City Soundtrack
7: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre (410 Sherburne) w/ Motion City Soundtrack
8: Montreal, QC @ Salle L’x (182 St. Catherines East) w/ One Candle Power
9: Barrie, ON @ Off Duty (220 Bayview Dr) w/ One Candle Power
10: St. Catherines, ON @ The Hideaway (496 Grantham Ave) w/ One Candle Power
12: Minneapolis, MN @ The Quest-Ascot Room (110 N Fifth St)
13: Kansas City, MO @ El Torreon (3105 Gillham)
14: Denver, CO @ Climax Lounge (2475 Welton St)
15: SLC, UT @ Kilby Court (741 South 330 West)
17: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction (1652 W Lincoln Ave) w/ Amanda Rogers,
27: Los Gatos, CA @ Los Gatos Outhouse (4 New York Ave) w/ Limbeck, Fighting Jacks

July- All Dates w/ Acceptance, Breaking Pangaea 7/2-18, Bleu 7/2-9 (except 7/5), 7/10-17 w/ Damone, 7/19-26 w/ The Start, Me Without You

2: Chicago, IL @ Fireside Bowl (2546 W Fullerton)
3: Detroit, MI @ The Shelter (431 E Congress)
5: Syracuse, NY @ NY State Fairgrounds (581 State Fair Blvd) Hellfest
6: Farmingdale, NY @ The Downtown (190 Main St)
7: Boston, MA @ Axis (13 Lansdowne Rd)
8: Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell’s (1039 Washington)
9: New York, NY @ Knitting Factory Tap Bar (74 Leonard St)
10: Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar (2549 N Howard St)
11: Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar (2639 Poplar)
12: Richmond, VA @ Alley Katz (10 Walnut Alley)
15: Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall (400 W Tremont Ave)
16: Atlanta, GA @ Echo Lounge (551 Flat Shoals Ave)
17: Nashville, TN @ The Muse (835 4th Ave S) w/ Me Without You
18: Little Rock, AR @ Vino’s (923 W 7th St) w/ Me Without You
19: Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s – Downstairs (2706 White Oak Dr)
20: Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room (2548 Elm St)
21: Austin, TX @ Stubb’s BBQ (801 Red River)
24: Phoenix, AZ @ Modified (407 E Roosevelt)
25: San Diego, CA @ The Scene (7514 Claremont Mesa Blvd)
26: Las Vegas, NV @ Huntridge Theatre-Lobby (1208 E Charleston)
27: Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour (9081 Santa Monica Blvd) w/ Kevin Seconds, Lessick
29: Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk (9426 Greenback Lane) w/ Kevin Seconds, Lessick
30: San Francisco, CA @ The Pound SF (Pier 96) w/ Kevin Seconds, Lessick

August
1: Seattle, WA @ Graceland (109 Eastlake Ave E) w/ Red Tape, Lessick, Acceptance
2: Portland, OR @ Meow Meow (527 SE Pine St) w/ Red Tape, Crosstide, Acceptance, Lessick

Booking info: tim@radiotakeover.com

<a href=’http://www.onelinedrawing.com/’ onfocus=’this.blur();’ target=’_blank’>Official onelinedrawing Site</a>

ROCK REVIEW; For Sentimental Punkers, Agitation Takes a Back Seat to Romance

ASBURY PARK, N.J., April 25 — Early in his performance Jonah Matranga looked into the crowd and gave his opinion of the concert. ”It’s nice to be at a rock show and not to have a bunch of rock stars around,” he said.

Maybe that sounds like faint praise, but Mr. Matranga meant it as a high compliment. His band, Onelinedrawing, was one of three dozen that came here today for the first day of the third annual Skate and Surf Festival. The bands, on three stages, played for 5,000 fans in the grand, dilapidated Asbury Park Convention Hall, which sits on what remains of this city’s boardwalk.

It was an odd site for one of the best music festivals in the region, but no one seemed to mind. When one lead singer after another shouted, ”We’ve been waiting for this all year,” you started to believe them.

As punk rock gets older, its adherents are still searching for a believable motivation. Political punk bands stave off irrelevance with a snarl, insisting that righteous agitation never goes out of style. Pop-punk bands greet irrelevance with a grin, insisting only that their sentimental songs are lots of fun.

Today’s concert was exciting because it suggested that a different punk-rock attitude was gaining momentum. Most of the best bands mixed sweet sentimentality with anguished agitation, singing love songs that sounded like anthems of protest.

This isn’t a new sensibility of course: punk bands have been waxing introspective for years. This sensibility even has a name, emo, even if no one can quite agree what it means. (Upstairs at the Convention Hall, you could buy a button advertising www.thisisnotemo.com, an emo Web site that acknowledges this confusion.) What’s new, though, is the possibility that introspection is becoming punk’s dominant mode. The Used, one of the night’s headliners, summed up this style on a sweatshirt that said ”Heartcore.”

Early in the evening Thrice, from California, roughed up its tight, clean songs with snarling guitar lines. Many audience members wailed and shouted along with Dustin Kensrue, whose lyrics tend toward the impressionistic: ”I hear the waves crash far below/The rocks are leaping for the sky/They’re starving for the air.” By contrast, Mr. Matranga, of Onelinedrawing, sang tuneful, epigrammatic songs like ”14-41,” an unhappy-birthday lament: ”14 to 41, start out blind, end up dumb/You’re 16, you’re 23, you’re 32, you’re 41.” He also had the smallest band of the night: during parts of his set his rhythm section was an iPod.

Some of the most memorable performances came from New Jersey bands. Armor for Sleep used slower tempos and melancholy melodies to great effect. My Chemical Romance began with a stylish, noisy miniepic called ”Honey, This Mirror Isn’t Big Enough for the Two of Us,” with Gerard Way twitching and twisting his way through a petulant kiss-off: ”We’re not working out/And you can’t touch my brother/And you can’t keep my friends/And we’re not working out.” (Saturday’s headliner, an excellent band called Thursday, is also from New Jersey.)

No band does all this better than the Used, from Utah, which juxtaposes stirring choruses with wild, retching tantrums. The lead singer, Bert McCracken, claimed that he was having as much fun onstage as he’d ever had, and he sometimes held his microphone far enough from his mouth so the crowd’s singing would be just as loud as his.

No offense to Mr. Matranga, but there was one rock star present: Andrew W. K., the good-natured, long-haired, grubby-T-shirted singer whose songs (”We Want Fun,” ”Party Hard”) are so simple they’re not much more than concepts. Although he wasn’t unwelcome, he did seem a bit out of place. He seemed to be searching for what most of the other lead singers had already found: something to sing about.

Published: 04 – 29 – 2003 , Late Edition – Final , Section E , Column 2 , Page 3

A Man and His Machine / onelinedrawing’s Jonah Matranga doesn’t need batteries, but his assistant does …

Following his own musical muse for 10 years now, Matranga says he “feels validated” that it’s worked out.

It’s safe to assume that the future of Jonah Matranga’s “band,” onelinedrawing, is secure. There’s no chance there’ll be some tumultuous split, fueled on by the inflated egos of the rest of the group’s members.Matranga’s a one-man act. See, that’s one of the perks that come with being a solo artist — the music stops when you do.

Of course, his melodious sidekick, “Are Too,” who’s credited as onelinedrawing’s percussionist on Matranga’s most recent offering, Visitor, could malfunction. But onelinedrawing fans need not fret — Matranga’s prepared should such a mechanical breakdown come to pass.

“The one I’ve got now is the third, I think,” says Sacramento native Matranga, of the portable, discontinued, diminutive R2D2 replica he records with and brings on the road to shows; Are Too’s a Star Wars relic of the 1980s, bearing a finite database crammed with different prerecorded drum beats, bass tracks, computerized squeals and sound effects. “The original one I lost in San Francisco,” Matranga says.

He’d left the 1-foot-tall robot on top of his car and drove off, he says. In the days that followed, Matranga feared he had lost Are Too for good. But then, little more than a week later, a call came from a friend with a connection.

“This guy who worked at Toys R Us, who was there when I bought it, calls me, and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a few of those things on clearance, just $8,’” Matranga explains. “So I bought those. I’ve got a couple in storage just in case.

So I sort of feel like the universe will provide me Are Toos for as long as I’m supposed to play with a robot onstage.”

While the notion of a man with his robot crisscrossing the United States serenading the nation’s music lovers one venue at a time might seem eccentric, it sort of speaks to Matranga’s musical serendipity. With onelinedrawing, Matranga’s not attempting to augment his savings account; the man’s track record proves that. In fact, he’s not even sure why he does what he does, or where he fits in, as far as the whole grand musical spectrum’s concerned.”All I know is I’ve got to keep on singing,” he says. “I don’t know where I fit in. I don’t know what a scene is. I don’t understand it. Never have, never will. The songs are the rule for me. They’re what I follow around. It’s all about the songs. I realized a long time ago that I don’t have a real focus as far as what I’m doing or want to do. I just want to do stuff that excites me, so it sort of leads me around in a lot of different ways.

“Ten years in, of avoiding day jobs, I feel pretty validated that I’ve sort of followed this weird muse of mine and it’s worked out,” Matranga continues. “I’m not rich and don’t care much if I ever am. But I’m supporting myself, I’m supporting my kid, and I get to meet all of these great people. It’s a beautiful life.”

Matranga’s something of a veteran. From the mid- to late-1990s, he fronted the once-celebrated, now-disbanded Sacramento hardcore foursome Far, a band that mixed heavy, grinding riffs with Matranga’s eloquent yet powerful vocals. Far were responsible for one of 1998′s best records, Water and Solutions.Far split in 1999, because Matranga says he’d written “some songs the rest of the band wasn’t into,” he says; those songs would eventually become Visitor. Although Far’s career was short-lived, it left behind a truly fervent and loyal fan base — most of them, now onelinedrawing fans.

The songs Matranga had written that ultimately led to Far’s demise were too personal to be recorded as a group effort — songs about heartbreak and sweaty sex. So, in Far’s wake, Matranga formed a new band, the now-defunct emo troupe New End Original, and released a series of split singles and EPs. Last spring, Jade Tree Records put out Visitor — a mix of 11 serene, painful, pensive songs he’d written over the past dozen years.

The tracks range from the Nick Drake-like opening weeper, “Um,” which glumly chronicles his divorce, to the emo-by-numbers, heart-on-sleeve diary entry “Candle Song.” Ironically, the “almost stereotypically emo” ballad is the oldest song on the collection, from a time well before the genre was fodder for Time magazine profiles.

With onelinedrawing, Matranga has crafted a Fugazi-like, low-key indie aesthetic that encompasses everything from playing the odd living-room gig between club shows to offering a sliding-scale payment system for the merchandise on his website. Because of the approach he’s taken to his musical career, most critics have called him “a one-man emo band.” It’s no surprise Matranga doesn’t think of himself as emo.

“Emo has been a really big push by some demographic, street-marketing gurus to sell kids Pepsi,” he says. “I really don’t think it’s been a cultural movement. There’s a vaguely confessional, Oprah, Jenny Jones thing going on, where there’s this sort of compulsive outpouring of emotion. But, I don’t even think it’s emotion. The marketing of intimacy and sincerity? That shit is scary. That I can say with clarity.”

Matranga’s says that he has started recording new music “with an old friend” — songs he hopes he’ll be able to release within the year.”The new band, if it’s ever a band, would be called Gratitude,” he explains. “We’re still in the very, very infantile stages at this point. And, I’m a little self conscious about these songs. I mean I love the music, but I grew up on Boston and Journey. It’s not like that, in some senses. It’s like the Pretenders meets Boston, maybe. It’s post-punk music in a way, but it’s really poppy, and it’s going to be really big-sounding. I’ll be singing my ass off, with big harmonies. It’ll probably end up on a major label, which is weird for me because I’m so in love with my rental-car, onelinedrawing life. But these songs, if they make it into the world, need to be brought into the world in a very shiny way. It might confuse some people more. It’s all confusing to me. I’m just trying to figure out the best idea for the moment.”

ANOTHER DAMN ONELINDRAWING TOUR UPDATE

ONELINEDRAWING is STILL on tour. Can you believe it? Sure, Jonah takes some breaks, but it appears that he just can’t stay at home for longer than two weeks at a time. In the year since Visitor‘s LP/CD (JT1076) release, Jonah has stayed on the road for months and months at a time. See what all of the hype is about! All dates listed below. Please consult the for updates.

ONELINEDRAWING 2003
5/28-6/5 w/ The Weakerthans

April
23: State College, PA @ Crowbar (420 E College Ave) w/ Thursday, Every Time I Die, Cardia
24: New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place (300 York St) w/ Thursday, Hot Cross, Cardia
25: Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Park Convention Hall-Skate N Surf (1300 Ocean Ave) w/ Goldfinger, The Used, The Starting Line, Andrew WK, Coheed and Cambria, Yellowcard
28: Harrisonburg, VA @ Court Square Theatre (61 Graham St) w/ Aidan Coughlan

May
4: Albany, NY @ Parkfest at The Altamont Fairgrounds (Rt 143) w/ Hatebreed, Taking Back Sunday, Midtown, Coheed and Cambria, 50 Cent
5: Lackawana, NY @ The Cruise Inn (1648 Abbott Rd) w/ Fairweather, The Start
6: Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club (223 North Water St) w/ Fairweather, The Start
7: Poughkeepsie, NY @ Club Crannell (6 Crannell St) w/ Fairweather
8: Worchester, MA @ The Palladium Upstairs (261 Main St) w/ Fairweather, The Start
9: Clinton, NY @ The Annex at Hamilton College (198 College Hill Rd)
28: Ann Harbor, MI @ Blind Pig (208 South First St) 19+

June
1: Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar (2549 N Howard St) w/ Motion City Soundtrack
3: Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwells (1039 Washington) w/ Motion City Soundtrack
4: Brooklyn, NY @ Southpaw (125 5th Ave) 18+
5: Providence, RI @ The Met Cafe (130 Union St) w/ Motion City Soundtrack

Booking info: tim@radiotakeover.com

ONELINEDRAWING ON TOUR WITH THE MOVIELIFE, NEW JADE TREE T-SHIRT ALSO NOW AVAILABLE

ONELINEDRAWING is just off the well-received Coheed & Cambria tour and is already back out on the road supporting the Movielife on all dates beginning March 13 and continuing through April. This tour will also find a different version of ONELINEDRAWING hitting the road, as Jonah will have a full backing band with him for the first time. Jonah has been a non-stop touring machine for his latest offering Visitor LP/CD (JT1076), and the addition of a band will surely present something new and unique to each the albums songs, as well as each night’s show.

There is also a brand new ONELINEDRAWING T-Shirt available at the E-Store, the Nameplate (JTTS78) design. Check it out and buy one now!

MP3:

ONELINEDRAWING Spring 2003

All Dates w/ The Movielife and A Static Lullabye, Senses Fail (3/13-3/26) Vendetta Red (3/27-4/7)

March

13: Old Bridge, NJ @ Birch Hill (Rt 9 South)

14: Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero (1003 Arch St)

15: Norfolk, VA @ Norva Theatre (317 Monticello Ave)

16: Washington, DC @ Black Cat (1811 14th St NW)

18: Boston, MA @ Axis (13 Lansdowne St)

19: Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance (6 Crannell St)

20: Syracuse, NY @ The Bridge Street Music Hall (6815 Manlius Center Rd)

21: Cleveland, OH @ Agora Ballroom (500 Euclid Ave)

22: Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Laga (3609 Forbes Ave)

23: Chicago, IL @ House of Blues (328 N Dearborn St)

24: Detroit, MI @ Shelter (431 E Congress)

26: St. Louis, MO @ Galaxy (1227 Washington St)

27: Kansas City, MO @ El Torreon (3105 Gillham)

28: Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre (3317 E Colfax)

29: SLC, UT @ X-Scape Basement (115 S West Temple)

31: Portland, OR @ Nocturnal (1800 E Burnside)

April

1: Seattle, WA @ Graceland (109 Eastlake Ave East) w/ A Static Lullabye

3: San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s (333 11th Ave) w/ Damone

4: Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour (9081 Santa Monica Blvd) w/ Damone

5: Las Vegas, NV @ Rebelpalooza at South Intermural Field (4505 Maryland Pkwy) w/ Damone, Face To Face, Eighteen Visions, Atreyu

6: San Diego, CA @ The Scene (7514 Claremont Mesa Blvd) w/ Damone

7: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction (1652 W Lincoln Ave) w/ Damone

25: Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Park Convention Hall-Skate N Surf (1300 Ocean Ave) w/ Goldfinger, The Used, The Starting Line, Andrew WK, Coheed and Cambria, Yellowcard

Booking info: [EMAIL]dan@radiotakeover.com[/EMAIL]

ONELINEDRAWING NEVER SLEEPS BUT JONAH CONTINUES TO SMILE

Jonah refuses to sleep as he continues touring on the well received Visitor (JT1076) LP/CD. The onelinedrawing video for "Smile" has had several spins on the MTV2 program, 120 Minutes. Email in your requests for future plays by going to the link below:

Request "Smile"

MORE TOUR

Dates w/ Thursday, From Autumn To Ashes, Planes Mistaken For Stars (*)

November:
1: Latham, NY @ Saratoga Winners ( 1375 New Loudon Rd)*
2: Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Laga (3609 Forbes Ave)*
3: Pontiac, MI @ Clutch Cargos ( 65 E. Huron)*
5: Minneapolis, MN @ 1st Ave (701 1st Ave N)*
6: Chicago, IL@ House of Blues (329 N. Dearborn St)*
7: Milwaukee, WI @ The Eagles Club ( 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave)*
8: Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theatre (5000 Euclid Ave 1st Flr)*
9: Rochester, NY @ The Penny Arcade (4785 Lake Ave)*
10: Providence, RI @ Lupos Heartbreak Hotel (239 Westminster St)*
15: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
16: West @ TBA
17: Sacramento, CA @ Old Ironsides (10th & S)
18: West @ TBA
19: Portland, OR @ Meow Meow (527 SE Pine)
20: Seattle, WA @ Paradox ( 5510 University Way NE)
21: TBA
22: TBA

ONELINEDRAWING ANNOUNCES MORE TOUR DATES

Jonah’s going back out on the road to play the beautiful Visitor (JT1076) LP/CD live and all by himself-Ok, R2D2 will be in tow-but you get the point. It’s vibrant, it’s live, it’s Jonah at his best. All current dates listed below.

Related Releases:
New End Original Lukewarm CDS JT1058
New End Original Thriller LP/CD JT1062

September
28:San Francisco, CA @ Slim’s (11th & Folsom) w/Matt Nathanson, Jump Little Children

All dates w/ Thursday, From Autumn To Ashes, Planes Mistaken For Stars

October
29: NYC, NY @ Irving Plaza (17 Irving Place)

November:
1: Latham, NY @ Saratoga Winners ( 1375 New Loudon Rd)
2: Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Laga (3609 Forbes Ave)
3: Pontiac, MI @ Clutchs Cargo ( 65 E. Huron)
5: Minneapolis, MN @ 1st Ave (701 1st Ave N)
6: Chicago, IL@ House of Blues (329 N. Dearborn St)
7: Milwaukee, WI @ The Eagles Club ( 2401 Wisconsin Ave)
8: Cleveland, OH @ Agora (5001 Euclid Ave)
9: Rochester, NY @ Water St. Music Hall (204 N. Water St)
10: Providence, RI @ Lupos (239 Westminster St)

ONELINEDRAWING JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH

Jonah just can’t stop bringing Visitor (JT1076) LP/CD to the people. He is back out on the road in support of the record after only a few days off here and there. Sounds like the road must be treating him well! Check him out and spend some time chatting with him after the show too. Jonah will also be heading to Europe to do dates with New End Original in August and opening as onelinedrawing.

Just Visiting 2002

July

14: Cleveland, OH @ Cleveland Fest
15: Wilkinsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project (722 Wood St)
17: Syracuse, NY @ Old Parachial League ( 314 S. Franklin St)
18: Montreal, QC @ Casa de Popolo(4873 St. Laurent)
19: Ottawa, ON @ Club SAW (67 Nicholas St)
20: Toronto, ON @ TBA
21: St. Catharines, ON @ The NAC (2 Bond St)

August

3: Goleta, CA @ The Living Room (430 South Fairview Ave)
4: W. Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour (9081 Santa Monica Blvd)
5: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction (1652 West Lincoln)
6: San Diego, CA @ TBA
7: Phoenix, AZ @ Modified (407 East Roosevelt)

sing@onelinedrawing

European Tour w/ New End Original

August 14 Berlin, Germany Columbiahalle
August 15 Koln, Germany Boze Ehrenfeld (Popkomm)
August 17 Bielefeld, Germany Forum
August 19 Hamburg, Germany Logo
August 20 Bremen, Germany Tower
August 21 Rotterdam, Netherlands Rotown

onelinedrawing [I]Visitor[/I] Review

Ever since I saw Jonah perform as ONELINEDRAWING nearly two years ago at St. Andrew’s Church in College Park, Maryland, I’ve been into his work and getting acquainted with both his older and current projects. I dug the NEW END ORIGINAL release, but unfortunately, that super-group seems to have disbanded. Anyway, less than a year thereafter of NEO’s full-length, Jonah’s back with "Visitor," and it’s nothing but an enthralling trip through one person’s thoughts and observations set to a serene, if not haunting background. Rotating between soley acoustic tracks, powered mostly by Jonah’s fantastic (and terrifically recorded) vocals, and more pronounced songs with various players filling up the sound, "Visitor" doesn’t blink once from stuttering off the track. Much like the rawness of DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, it doesn’t take a lot of time for one to become familiar with someone else’s problems as if they were our own.

While no track particulary marks itself as not up to part with the rest of the songs, "Your Letter" however, makes no one guess as to which the standout track is. After reading the lyrics over and over again, I’m not sure anyone could convey the same kind of conviction as Jonah in regards to receiving a serious "break-up" letter. Ouch. In less words, but no less quality, the song "Visitor" croons, "I am like a $20 bill, changing hands when food is bought or tanks are filled / Move through others’ lives so easily / I am like a $20 bill." Finally, the artwork, and super-slim, paper sleeve add great depth to the feelings expressed on here. Even without the "plugged in" sound, ONELINEDRAWING shares a heaviness that encompasses like few others.

onelinedrawing [I]Visitor[/I] Review

The new trend of solo singer-songwriters being known by a seductively heartfelt and seemingly larger band name (props to Dashboard Confessional and Pedro the Lion) applies to Onelinedrawing, though the music is way more fulfilling. Jonah Matranga, also of New End Original, delicately bears his isolation through naked voice and soft instrumentation. Be forewarned, don’t listen to Visitor hoping to hear more gut-wrenching and heartbroken lyrics. In fact, it’s hard to tell if Onelinedrawing speaks even once at all about a girl. Drum machine bass beats, contorted vocals and intricate guitar work create songs very different from each other all on one album which is very refreshing considering – though unfortunate – Matranga will definitely be compared to either Billy Corgan or the evil, evil Dashboard. With this in mind, I expected all the songs to sound the same if not resembling the same songwriting structure. This is totally not the case as Matranga’s lyrics cry honestly without being superfluous. This is an amazing album and should be seen as an entity in its own multi-layered beauty and poignancy. Now, if only Jewel would have caught on to this new indie rock trend maybe her music (and poetry) wouldn’t suck so badly.

onelinedrawing Singer Tours Living Rooms, Jams With R2D2

He records his albums at home on a Macintosh computer and has a penchant for spilling his guts on his Web site. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is a little disgusted by people who treat music as a commodity.

Moby, right?

No, actually, Jonah Matranga. Maybe you know him as Onelinedrawing. Maybe not.

He’s a one-man emo band — and former lead singer of Far — who is, literally, crisscrossing the country and winning over fans one at a time with his intimate, home-recorded songs about heartbreak and sweaty sex. Unlike the arena-rocking Moby, though, Matranga is meeting those fans in clubs, living rooms, on boats, in basements and under piers.

"The whole community aspect is slowly becoming the thing," said Matranga, 32, about the intimate vibe he’s established with his fans during his "any-venue-any time" shows. After a series of split singles and EPs, his first full-length recording as Onelinedrawing, Visitor, was released last month. For Matranga, the highly personal music is not only his catharsis, but, more importantly, a way to start conversations with his fans.

"The music helps me through stuff, but it’s really about finding people who have similar values and want to talk about them," he said. To that end, former major-label artist Matranga has crafted a Fugazi-like low-key indie aesthetic that encompasses everything from playing the odd living-room gig between club shows to offering a sliding-scale payment system for the merchandise on his Web site. And, instead of trying to find a big-name director to shoot a glossy video, Matranga persuaded his label to get him a video camera and some editing software so he could shoot a clip himself for the album’s first single, "Smile."

"I had that weird moment in high school where I was sitting in my room alone listening to Pink Floyd while it was raining outside and I got that sense that I liked music more than people," said Matranga, who grew up in Boston and moved to Northern California following Far’s demise. "I felt weird for a moment, but then I realized I really enjoy what happens when people let go of their junk for a second and make something that really connects. That’s what good art is for me. That’s what I hope my music does for people."

Visitor is a mix of 11 songs Matranga wrote over the past dozen years, making it something of a closet-cleaning project for the singer. The tracks range from the Nick Drake-like opening weeper, "Um … ," which glumly chronicles his divorce, to the emo-by-numbers, heart-on-sleeve diary entry "Candle Song." Ironically, the "almost stereotypically emo" ballad, written 12 years ago, is the oldest song on the collection, from a time well before the genre was fodder for Time magazine profiles.

"I like songs that make people a little uncomfortable because the subject matter is maybe too personal," Matranga said, admitting to being a bit of a drama king. "I am dramatic and very serious. One of my favorite phrases is, ‘Be serious enough to have fun.’ But fun is not forgetting about stuff, but digging in and figuring it out without it being tortuous. ‘Um …’ is about me being a mess. It’s not about trying to make you sad, but me trying to figure out the truth."

Matranga’s friend, Dashboard Confessional singer Chris Carrabba, said that honesty is why the songs on Visitor blew him away the first time he heard them. "He’s one of the most amazing songwriters I’ve ever heard," Carrabba said.

That uncomfortable digging Matranga likes mostly takes the form of confessional acoustic ballads, but he said he wasn’t afraid of rocking out from time to time, either. The swinging, new wave "Bitte Ein Kuss" (pidgin German for "Please a Kiss") is a fluffy slice of pop about "in-the-bed disco" that lasts a bit longer than the relationship that inspired it. Matranga briefly considered dropping the song — which wasn’t even completed before the relationship ended — because he was afraid it broke up the album’s otherwise perfectly melancholy mood.

And, if that song doesn’t give you time to dry your eyes, surely "Smile" will. The Smithereens-meets-Replacements rocker features a solo from one of the summer’s biggest movie stars, R2D2. Like the living-room shows and sliding-scale merch, incorporating the computerized squeals of an $8 R2 toy into his recordings and live shows was another example of Matranga’s musical serendipity.

"It’s just a silly idea that took off," Matranga said. "If I wanted to make a master plan to sell millions of records I could do a lot better than using a toy. It’s another way to give people that moment where they go, ‘Huh? What’s that?’ and they have to listen closer." Matranga sampled the toy’s noises and, although he’s afraid it’s already jumped the shark, he still enjoys performing with his childhood buddy as a type of interspecies ventriloquist act.

"In a way I can’t explain, he’s been a great companion," Matranga said bittersweetly. "But I think he’s probably reached the apex of his career and will probably start a solo project soon."

onelinedrawing [I]Visitor[/I] Review

"It’s not a concept album, but maybe it’s a context album." This is how Onelinedrawing (a.k.a. Jonah Rzadzinski Matranga known from another little project called Far) sums up his latest creation. The album opens with a delicate acoustic guitar and keyboards in the background. But it’s the voice, sounding almost naked, that drives the song home in "Um…" The rest of the album is a mixture of joyful tunes that brings to mind what a teenager might do if they had their own studio and songs of abandoned love by a slightly older soul. The album was recorded over a period of three years in various studios as a solo project with various friends rotating in to play keyboards, drums etc. The result is an album that reflects the alienation and camaraderie Jonah must feel at times being a musician.

ONELINEDRAWING ‘VISITOR’ (JT1076) LP/CD RELEASED TODAY

onelinedrawing (aka Jonah Matranga of NEW END ORIGINAL) Visitor (JT1076) LP/CD released today. Realizing the full scope of Jonah’s talents as a songwriter, Visitor is sure to please his legion of rabid fans and make many converts alike.

MP3–Smile
MP3–Um…

Jonah is a non-stop touring machine. He will be out on the road immediately following the release of Visitor. Just look below for more details!

MAY
24: Gainesville, FL @ Market St. (120 SW 1st Ave.)
25: Athens, GA @ Tasty World (312 East Broad St.
26: Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub (1850 Mills Ave.)
27: Tampa, FL @ Respectable Street (518 Clematis St.)

JUNE
7: NYC, NY @ WSOU Boat Show
8: Philadelphia, PA @ La Tazza (108 Chestnut St.)
10: NYC, NY @ Brownies (169 Avenue A)
13: Boston, MA @ 480 Massachusetts Ave.)
22: Grand Rapids, MI @ Pop! CafZ<caron> (1520 Wealthy St. SE)
23: Louisville, KY @ Krazy Fest (129 East River Rd.)
24: St. Louis, MO @ Rocket Bar (2001 Locust)
25: Milwaukee, WI @ Globe East (2028 E. North Ave.)
28: Detroit, MI @ C Pop Gallery (4160 Woodward)

The Distance Between

In March 2000, a promoter in West Palm Beach, Fla., told me I had to come see a show he was putting on at his club. I knew nothing about Jonah’s Onelinedrawing: what kind of music it was or who Jonah Matranga was. I went solely on the recommendation of the promoter, who asked if I’d bring my DAT recorder to tape the show from the soundboard as well. And since he’s a friend, I said sure.
NATN: So was Visitor a home recording like your Eps?

Jonah Matranga: Yes, it was recorded on my laptop in my room but … the Sketchy EPs were actually recorded on a cassette-based multi track. The big difference is that none of that stuff was ever made with the intention of releasing it. They were just these home things. I did that when people wanted to hear what I was doing. The Always New EPs were very much making them every month as a diary. Not like a dark, intimate diary but more of a "Hey, here’s where I am." It wasn’t literal. They are very obtuse, strange songs.

This was a very different project and one that I went into much more seriously, trying to make what I consider a fully realized home record. Not with the excuse that it was made at home. I’ll totally stand by it. I can’t say I worked harder on it per se because it was still the same process, but I sort of challenged myself sonically and ideologically. And to just really kind of go for it.

NATN: This is by far the best sounding record you’ve done even with recording at home.

JM: There’s absolutely no question that was an intention of mine. Not to knock the other stuff. That was exactly it. I really wanted the voice, for instance, to be recorded well. And I wanted to challenge myself to try and make something interesting and expansive and cinematic in my room

NATN: Do you have anything set up for your vocals?

JM: I have a good microphone. Its like a $500 microphone, its not a Neumann or some expensive thing. And I had plans of recording vocals in bathrooms and hallways and stuff , and in the end my room worked out pretty well. And to tell the truth it was a lot easier to stand right by the computer while I was recording so then I could be my own engineer too. There was no vocal booth — there was no nothing. The environment was exactly the same as the other records. The difference is that I really wanted to get a vocal take that I was proud of and to really sing. And I didn’t want to strangle the idiosyncrasy out of it but when you do it in your house you’re not at a loss for idiosyncrasy. It was really just about going "What do I really want this song to sound like," and trying really hard to get there.

NATN: So you did everything on the record?

JM: There were other players on it because I don’t know how to play piano that well. The record was essentially done, with the exception of one drum recording, in one seven square foot space. That was the expanse of everything.

NATN: When Jade Tree says "We want you to do a Onelinedrawing album" don’t they say "we want you to go into a studio?"

JM: It’s funny. When I was talking to Jade Tree about it I assumed they’d want me to go to a studio. Not that they have big budgets or anything, but to actually to go to a studio. I was a little bit hesitant about that. Just because I was excited to keep making home-based music, I just think there’s something cool to that. And [Jade Tree head] Tim [Owen] was just like, "No, we just had Cub Country do a record where we just gave [Jets To Brazil principal] Jeremy [Chatelain] a couple thousand bucks and he bought some stuff and did it at his house basically." So I was like "Good. That’s exactly what I want to do!" I ended up taking the money anyway. I didn’t need to buy anything really, but I bought a few pieces of gear to help the recording.

NATN: This is a pretty somber record for you. Is there any reason for that?

JM: To be perfectly honest, part of it is that more than a few of these songs are songs that for a long time I didn’t sing much at shows. And I certainly didn’t put them on a record. Partly because they were more subtle songs, and for someone who doesn’t like them, more boring and slow. I love them though. And I love their mood. But they are different then the other stuff in general. And they’re a little more personal. They’re not just the break-up tunes. There’s one tune on there, "Softbelly," that is arguably the most autobiographical thing I’ve written. It’s not a super complex song lyrically, but for me it’s just really addressing head-on whether how much I do music, or whatever I do out of compulsion, how much is about passion. Because everyone talks about passion in art. And its sort of a little bit darker take on that.

I obviously opened myself up in a huge way, and I like doing that. Not in a compulsory Jenny Jones way, but I think its cool to be intimate in art. But these songs definitely pushed that boundary into songs I sort of wrote that just felt like they were for me. Then I decided "No, I want to have these songs be in the world." And also I’ve just been really committed lately to getting the stuff that’s written and that I think is worth anyone hearing to getting it out there whether it’s through New End or through Onelinedrawing. Because I had a massive backlog of songs, which is great, but I felt that I was sort of leaving some behind.

It was a very hard album to sequence. And I’m still pretty insecure about the content of the tunes emotionally. I’m not sure if they’ll mean as much to anyone else as they do to me. The lyrics seem pretty obtuse to me. I had a really hard time because in between these pretty mellow tunes there’s "Smile" and "Bitt Ein Kuss," which are arguably the most upbeat songs I’ve ever had on a record.

NATN: But even on "Bitt Ein Kuss" your voice still sounds sad.

JM: That’s what’s weird about that one. I’m really happy to hear you say that. The hard thing about that song is that lyrically and everything else it’s a very celebratory song. "Bitt Ein Kuss" means "Please A Kiss," and I had this German girlfriend, and she moved here and it was great. And so I wrote basically 60% of this really happy, sexy love song for us. Then the relationship fell apart. So I was left with this song that I loved. It wasn’t even a break up song where you can sing after a relationship ends, it was like a love song. A love song about a very particular point in a relationship when I feel things are really innocent and exciting and crazy. And a lot of lyrics kind of changed shape for me when I finally looked at the song again, but it seemed a little prophetic. I really have fun singing it and the more I sing it for people the more I can get it out of my own little personal schism and more into "hey, this is a pop song that I love."

My friend Josh taught me kind of a cool thing. He was telling me something once about this one U2 song "You’re So Cruel" from Achtung Baby. And he was saying me he put it on a couple of different mix tapes for two different women. I was like "Doesn’t that feel weird? To have a song go from one relationship to the next?"

NATN: Yeah, I can’t do that.

JM: Yeah, I have a hard time with that personally. But he was like, "You know what? This is my song." And that helped me a bit. Obviously her name is in it. It’s addressed to her. And I would never take that away from her. But at the same time maybe songs are just supposed to be heard. I still get really happy singing it. But I love a lot of the images in it. I figured the best way to disconnect from it was just to put it out. And maybe someone will be in love and will hear that and will get to have it for them.

But in the end it is a very somber record. There was a time when I wasn’t even going to put "Bit Ein Kuss" or "Smile" on the record. I was just going to try to figure out two softer songs and just go ahead and make a really mellow record.

NATN: But that’s not what Onelinedrawing is about, really.

JM: Exactly. The whole point of the name, and pretty much anything I do, I’m a real heart on the sleeve sonically and emotionally kind of guy. So to try to make things that are cohesive or streamlined is not me. And I realize especially with the title Visitor and with everything the album was about for me, I would be doing the songs and myself a disservice by trying to make it a certain thing

NATN: Did it ever enter your mind that more people would hear this record than anything you’ve done in the past?

JM: It definitely entered my mind. Just the fact that it’s on Jade Tree and the other ones are totally out of my house, and it’s a full length and a lot things. No, it really occurred to me. It’s not lost on me that this is less accessible then either of the EPs. I’m very self conscious about this record. And I don’t mean I’m really embarrassed by it. I’m very proud of it, but I’m very conscious of myself and people hearing it.

NATN: It must be very different being out there on your own after being in bands.

JM: I’d always done solo stuff. And I always liked the feeling. Its sort of this thing I call "the problem with democracy." Democracy is great for community and I’m all for it obviously. But there is a watering down of ideals that goes on and that’s healthy, because everyone has to learn to give a little to make the whole collective work. Which I’m great with. However, a lot of my favorite artists, whether its Miles Davis or Prince or David Bowie or Rickie Lee Jones, these are people who had a vision. The difference is I’m not that comfortable bossing people around. I don’t know what that personality might look like but I don’t think its mine.

NATN: Actually it’s all the people you just mentioned.

JM: It is. I know and that’s what they do exactly. I love the clarity of vision in their body of work. It’s incredible. So for me I’m getting a little more comfortable working with people. It’s a nice relationship when you can have someone that’s very proud of what they’re contributing and understand the value of what they’re contributing but doesn’t get that confused with being a leader. And that’s very tough water to walk on … or tough ground to walk on. That’s a funny slip. So I’m happier in some ways just doing it myself. Instead of thinking, "I don’t want to bug you with my ideas that you might or might not like." I like keeping things small. I very quickly get overwhelmed with too much money or too many people. To me a band is a band. You have to go in and be together in it. And that’s beautiful too. And this [Onelinedrawing] isn’t that.

NATN: So, how much did the departure of your rhythm section from New End Original contribute to this feeling? You really can’t control what happens to other people or what other people feel or think.

JM: I definitely felt that way before those guys left but it definitely validated or galvanized … I can’t even think of the perfect word for it. But no, it definitely reminded me of that. If I were coming out of a little shell being in New End, that definitely pushed me back in. Me and [guitarist] Norman [Arenas] are really excited about music. I’m sure enough with you at least to say we have found a new drummer, which I’m really excited about because I love rock and I love playing with other people. And you’re exactly right. People are going to do what they’re going to do. And you can be the guy that hires or fires. But I can’t be that guy. I’m not very good at it.

NATN: It sounds like New End Original will come back at a point where you’re happy with it.

JM: We’re definitely going to Europe this summer to do some festivals. The allegiance I feel most is to the record right now. I feel like we didn’t finish the record cycle. And not in a any business way. More in a way where we put this thing into the world and I want to go play these songs to people. And also it’s been one of those life dreams for us to play these festivals. So we’re going to go do that no matter what. Beyond that, playing in the U.S. more and recording new records and stuff that at this point I think I’m 70-80% likely to do that. But we’re both very clear we’re not going to force it. We’re both in agreement that’s the worst thing you can do to music.

NATN: "Hostage" has got to be one of my favorite New End songs, and when you played it with New End Original when you were touring with Hey Mercedes I was blown away by seeing it with a band.

JM: In the practice room when that song came together we knew that it was a special song. That’s one of those songs that I can honestly say whether I wrote it or not I could hear it on a comp or something and be like "shit, that’s a great song." And the hard part about that of course is that Charlie’s drumming on that is absolutely phenomenal. And of all the songs on the record I would say that’s the one he really lent himself to. So for instance playing with a new drummer, it hurts. In a different way its kind of like the "Bit Ein Kuss" thing. Again, I think the best cure for that kind of internalizing is making it external. I just want to go play it for people because they don’t have the personal attachment to that situation that I do. So we had to find a drummer who was not only technically good enough to play that part, but can really imbue it with his own sense of soul. Obviously we’re not like Rush, we’re not precision players. We’re feel players.

NATN: Taking on a more general subject area, how do you feel about the proliferation of solo indie artists out there now?

JM: This is totally a valid question and I have no shortage of thoughts on it, but it’s a really hard question to even start to talk about without sounding like an asshole. Because the inference of course is that, "yeah, there’s a lot of people kind of copying your thing," and its true. I’m not doing anything new running around with a guitar. There is a new thing that I think is great which is taking acoustic performance away from the archetypal folk thing. I don’t think I reinvented any wheels and I guess all I really care about is if someone likes what I’m doing, great. I could give you 10 pages of influences on me. But I feel really strongly that you should know your history and take from the source instead of taking from the fourth generation. And I don’t consider myself source material.

NATN: It was more a question of not others sounding like you, but that you could sell this type of music on an indie level and tour in front of small crowds where punk bands were playing. So now all those punk musicians playing at home on their acoustics have somewhere to go.

JM: That’s a good point, it’s not a sonic thing. But there is an ideology. I know that the guy from Mr. T Experience was doing it for awhile. I know that Kevin Seconds has been doing it for a long time. And he’s a friend, but he inspired me too. The first Oneline tape was on his label.

NATN: When I saw you in 2000 I was surprised about how quiet and respectful everyone was during the show.

JM: That comes back to a relationship with people. That was the first time I think that I had been in that neighborhood without Far. You couldn’t get much different than what I was doing than Far. And I felt like, and this is true of everywhere, but it was definitely showcased at that performance. People were ready to hear what I was doing. And I am super grateful for that. And I’m super proud of it too. Cause I think it kind of pays off if you really stick to your guns. It doesn’t mean you’ll be really famous but anyone who likes it will develop a relationship with it that goes beyond how hard or soft or slow or fast it is. And maybe I’m totally naive about it but it seems to be working out for me: where I can do this pretty different stuff, where they might not love it always but they’ll pay attention. And they’ll give me the benefit of the doubt. And that’s all I ask for.

onelinedrawing LP/CD AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW!

onelinedrawing Visitor LP/CD (JT1076)
onelinedrawing is Jonah Matranga, singer/songwriter of NEW END ORIGINAL and former singer/songwriter of Far. Jonah’s explorations into private music making sounds as if you’re in his bedroom witnessing a personalized performance made from voice, guitar, bass, feedback, and found sounds. Simultaneously full of joy and marked by melancholy, onelinedrawing‘s music is ultimately uplifting.

ONELINEDRAWING SIGN WITH JADE TREE

Jade Tree is proud to announce its newest signing, onelinedrawing. onelinedrawing is Jonah Matranga, former singer/songwriter for FAR and current singer/songwriter for NEW END ORIGINAL.

onelinedrawing has toured performed with bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, The Getup Kids, Rival Schools, John Doe, Ted Leo, Crooked Fingers, Wheat, The Juliana Theory, Further Seems Forever, Hot Rod Circuit and Hot Water Music.

onelinedrawing begins an east coast tour with K (Tiger Style) in April and onelinedrawing‘s first album for Jade Tree, Visitor LP/CD JT1076 will be released on May 14 and will be available for pre-order on March 19.

Tour Dates:

March 7 Seattle, WA Paradox (5510 University Way NE)
March 8 Portland, OR Pink house (3212 SE 112th)
March 9 Chico, CA Catacombs (148 West First Avenue)
March 10 Benicia, CA In The Company Of Wolves (737 First Street)
March 15 Berkeley, CA 924 Gilman St. w/ 90 Day Men
March 20 Pomona, CA Glass House (200 W.2nd 909)
March 22 Hollywood, CA Troubadour (9081 Santa Monica Blvd) w/ Hello Amsterdam
March 23 Santa Barbara, CA The Living Room (430 S. Fairview Ave)
March 24 Phoenix, AZ Modified (407 E. Roosevelt Street)
March 25 San Diego, CA Che Cafe (UCSD Campus, 8pm, www.checafe.com)
March 26 Las Vegas, NV Tremorz (4440 S. Maryland Pkwy)
March 27 San Luis Obisbo Trinity Hall (More info TBA)
April 5, Radford, VA Heth Ballroom (East Norwood St.)
April 6, Harrisonurg, VA MACROCK Court Square Theater (61 Graham St., NW) w/ Songs: Ohia, Miighty Flashlight
April 11, Syracuse, NY Armory High (314 S. Franklin St.) w/ K
April 14, South Amboy, NJ Krome (RT 35 South & Old Spye Rd) w/ K

Official onelinedrawing site: