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The Mattoid

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Ville Kiviniemi is the Mattoid, a bald, poncho-wearing enigma from Finland who moved to Nashville to take over the scene with his unique blend of lounge-flavored Velvet Underground rock & roll, Scandinavian throat singing, and signature rhythmic guitar technique known simply as "sango." He formed the Poppy Fields Band in 2001 with an Israeli chanteuse of the same name, eventually splitting in 2003 to strike out on his own. The result was Hello, a 12-track collection of grooves, ballads, and outright rockers that showcased his gruff, operatic vocals and simplistic -- yet oddly inspiring -- lyrics. Backed by a group that consists of some of Nashville's finest, including members of the Lone Official, Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals, Lambchop, and Poppy Fields herself, the Mattoid toured the states, taking his punk/lounge act to basement pubs and house parties, occasionally throwing in a heart-wrenching cover of "Hello" by Lionel Richie. In 2005, he released Eternifinity, a six-track EP of new material, including a reworking of Hello's "Happiness," followed by the full-length Gloy Holy in 2008. ~ James Christopher Monger