Matthew Squires & The Learning Disorders is a band centered around the songs of singer-songwriter Matthew Squires. They are based in Austin, Texas, and will be releasing a new EP, titled The Electric River, on October 21, after a three-year hiatus.
Since 2012, the ever-evolving band has released eight critically-acclaimed albums which have received praise from a variety of online outlets. With his distinctive vocal style and penetrating lyrics, Squires occupies a unique niche within the realm of indie pop, creating an idiosyncratic sound that led a prominent Austin music site to dub him “the best successor to Austin’s late great Daniel Johnston.”
The Electric River was written throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. At the time, Squires was processing the breakup of a long-term relationship while simultaneously juggling the feelings of surreal isolation and existential uncertainty common to many peoples’ experiences during the pandemic. The songs on the EP are a document of that personal turbulence, as well as the failed attempts of our crumbling societal and media landscapes to make sense of a fragmenting world.
“The Life of Trees” is the second single from Matthew Squires & the Learning Disorders’ new EP. “The Ballad of Norm Macdonald” was released last month.
Squires says, “Like with any song, it’s hard to say exactly what it means, I think it captures a feeling more than a concrete thought. I think it, much like the whole album in a way, is concerned with my attempt to find love or meaning within the apocalyptic landscape of COVID-19.
“Also, more broadly just the general theme of growing up which you can’t understand till you actually grow up, which I wasn’t able to do for a variety of reasons until the global crisis we all went through together, and the way it coincided with a certain personal crisis I was going through simultaneously,” he adds. “I think this song is probably one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever written, and I’m really impressed by and proud of my bandmates for their arrangements, it all really just fits with the feel and imagery of the lyrics.”