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The Matches

Who? Oakland, CA’s the Matches — Shawn Harris (vocals/guitar), Matt Whalen (drums), Justin San Souci (vocals/ bass), and Jon Devoto (guitars/vocals) — released their sophomore album, Decomposer, on punk-rock powerhouse Epitaph Records. The album spans myriad genres thanks to a bevy of producers, including blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, 311’s Nick Hexum, and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong.

What’s the Deal? Like a seasoned boxer, the Matches know how to stick and move, as the band show they’re capable of maneuvering from one sound to the next. The album begins with the subtle strings of the “Salty Eyes” only to morph into the electronic thump of “Drive,” which could pass as a modern day take on Gary Numan’s “Cars.” Lyrically, the band alternate between entertaining cynical and light thoughts — lead single “Papercut Skin” finds Harris turning introspective as he muses, “I’m a mark for their marketing plan / I’m Ameri-cancer / A MySpace Romancer.”

Fun Fact: The Matches invented their own guerilla marketing technique they dubbed “Commotion Promotion.” During their early tours, the band generated buzz by sparking up impromptu acoustic sets for unsuspecting audience members leaving concerts, clubs, malls, dormitories, and other random venues. Their sneak-attack concerts helped them land shows with bands such Lit, Zebrahead, and Reel Big Fish. Now, the band play plugged-in sets where they “collectively lose three gallons of sweat each night,” Harris told SPIN.com. ELI SCHWIMMER

Now Hear This: The Matches – “Papercut Skin” (Download MP3)

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On the Web: thematches.com

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