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Coffee Mate: “Radio Flyer” by The Suitcase Junket

Sometimes, I wonder when the last time Matt Lorenz bought a shirt was, or if he buys clothes at all. Does he find them? Does he make them?

It’s fair questions when you see Lorenz—better known as the Suitcase Junket—sitting at the center of a ramshackle spaceship constructed of entirely found, salvaged, and hand-made instruments. As he told Beehive Productions, he’s “always been attracted to garbage,” being allowed to take home one item from his local dump to as a kid, which he would take apart and investigate. Now, in his one-man-band, he builds upon that interest, giving “new life to old things” in the name of music, quite literally creating a sound of discarded items: there’s a washboard, old pots and pans, and a drawer full of silverware, sitting in place of a symbol, jangling like a high-hat. He has a foot pedal made of a baby’s shoe, sits on the titular suitcase, which doubles as a bass drum, and plays a guitar that he once pulled out of a dumpster, refurbishing its cracks and breaks in his own hand-to-mouth way. He’s added electrics—ancient amps, crackling microphones—and throws sound around a room that ranges from Dylan-meets-Shakey-Graves to a gritty, modern, delta blues that pops under the perpetual motion of Lorenz’s wall of sound.

On “Radio Flyer,” Lorenz commands a slide across the weathered neck of his found musical weapon, spitting distant bullet mic vocals, and mimicking some version of a mouth-harp between verses. He gives his feet a drum solo, plays with reckless abandon, and sounds a studio-version-come-to-life, a one-man-band Black Keys.

He wears a wiry mustache, a polka-dot tie, a red striped button down, and a pair of leather, doo-wop era shoes fit for a bowling alley, which are likely older than he is. But the Suitcase Junket wastes not—on fashion, on instruments, on sound. Matt Lorenz gets the most of what’s around, and sees potential in what others miss, which is a lesson we could all stand to learn.




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