By JOSHUA PICKARD - Published on September 2, 2016

The music of Los Angeles singer-songwriter Matthew Szlachetka draws your gaze back to a simpler time, a time when music was less about stylized production and more about its experiential nature. That's not to say that the production on Szlachetka's songs are lacking in any measure—the exact opposite is true, in fact, and each one reveals itself slowly and deliberately. The production is always crisp but never distracting. He's able to combine alt country tendencies with a more pop-oriented approach to create something that borrows liberally from both genres while carving out its own density and appearance.

On his new single, "Heart of My Hometown," Szlachetka raises up his Americana influences and forges a new direction for this noise, one that owes an unimaginable debt to the past but still sees the future as capable of such wonder. The guitars glisten and glide along on the back of his rebounding melodies—it's all covered in a shimmering pop blanket that sparkles in the morning air. But this track is still rooted in the rustic narratives that folk and country music all but invented. The way that he shapes this song reveals that he has a deeper understanding of what makes these rhythms really connect on an emotional level, more so than most of his peers who only see and respond to the superficial personality that lives within these sounds.

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