Seattle-based singer and songwriter Matt Batey, who previously worked with Rocky Votolato and who still tours as part of Cataldo, now debuts his own work under the Ruler moniker. For years he'd been writing songs that didn't quite fit in with the bands he was working with, but he kept them (more than 120 at one point) and waited for a time when they could find a suitable release. And when the idea for Ruler began to germinate, he knew that he'd found the right place and time to go back and explore these sounds.
His work eventually came to the attention of Seattle label Barsuk Records, who will release his new record as Ruler, "Winning Star Champion," on May 25.
On his recent single, "Unhindered Pace," he embraces the pop side of his indie rock tendencies, crafting an ebullient ramble that never releases you from its comfortable tangles. The guitars shine and shimmer while his voice reaches up into those lofty rafters -- it's a swirling cosmic pop experience that's as welcome as it is familiar. And for the accompanying video, he teams up with director Ben Park to confront his own agoraphobia, using the Aurora Bridge in Seattle to tackle this encompassing fear. As he runs along its length, you can sense both the exhilaration and tension radiating from him, but he never stops, keeping his feet and the music moving toward the horizon.