Matablog

Archive for December, 2006

In Honor Of Nils Bernstein’s Birthday…

By Gerard on Thursday, December 28th, 2006

….I henceforth declare Matador's offices closed until January 2. 

I realize this is a somewhat bold move, but Nils has done so much for all us, and this special day deserves to be recognized publicly.  Once upon a time, Arizona had a problem with Martin Luther King's birthday, and who knows how many U2 concerts they missed out on. 

The Hardest Working Man In Heaven

By Gerard on Monday, December 25th, 2006

  

James Brown, 1933-2006 

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"Christmas In Heaven" (mp3, link taken from Loudersoft)

Santa Claus Goes Modern : Xmas & Music, A Lethal Combo

By Gerard on Thursday, December 21st, 2006

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This has been some kinda week for learning and yearning. Not only did I find out the excruciating Trans-Siberian Orchestra were led by dudes from Mike Piazza's 4th or 5th fave band, Savatage (above), but Leftsetz has the scoop on the TSO's unlikely genesis (link courtesy Vinyl Mine).

So Jason’s all coked up. And not being able to look at the four walls, knowing he’s going to be up all night, he goes miles to a friend’s house, to do more blow, to get him to the sunshine, until he has to show up at Atlantic for work.

And this guy, he keeps pitching Jason this AWFUL band. Heavy metal noise. Every night, while they’re doing coke, this drug buddy says you’ve got to sign SAVATAGE! Finally, to get the guy off his back, Jason offers him a deal, under one condition, the guy doesn’t harangue him about the act ANY MORE!

And it’s not like Savatage is doing well. After a couple of albums, the deal is the band delivers a record, that THEY pay for, and Atlantic puts it out. The relationship has run its course. But then Jason gets a call saying Scott Shannon is ALL OVER THE RECORD!

Jason protests that this is impossible, that Savatage is a horrible heavy metal band, their record is NEVER gonna appear on Top Forty radio. But then the report comes in that Scott Shannon is TALKING ABOUT THE RECORD, how fucking GREAT IT IS!

Turns out, at the end of the last album, there’s a Christmas track, and THAT’S garnering all the action. So Jason gets Savatage’s producer, Paul O’Neill, on the phone, and tells him to make a whole ALBUM of Christmas music, to come up with a new name, that they’ve got a GOLD MINE! Soon Paul calls back and says he’s got it, "Trans-Siberian Orchestra", what does Jason think?

Jason says he’s clueless, after all he’s a Jew, but it seems fine to him.

But what breaks the record big, after it’s finally recorded, is the appearance on Rosie O’Donnell. Jason calls Bob Daly, who at the time oversees both music and TV, and the TV division produces Rosie’s show. Jason leans on him. And Bob goes around the bookers and gets TSO on the show.

And then all hell breaks loose. A platinum album. Then another.

So some things that start poorly end well. Jason was in rehab when Savatage recorded their debut, he was not heavily invested. He stayed with the band as long as possible, until it no longer made financial sense. And then, when confronted with a moment, a seeming accident of fate, he CAPITALIZED ON IT!

Oh, at first it was difficult. Not working the Savatage album with the Christmas track, there were no PROMOS! Atlantic had to ship sales copies, of which there were very few. But the true genius was in recognizing that this was not an anomaly, that there was a nugget here that was representative of an entire GOLD MINE!

So every Christmas since, for ten years now, Trans-Siberian Orchestra sells hundreds of thousands of albums. And goes on tour, to the point where there are now TWO touring companies, playing ARENAS! Cash is thrown off, people get rich, THIS is why you’re sitting there and Jason’s up in Aspen.</em>

Ahem. If you're hankering for an Xmas musical experience of an entirely different sort, WPRB's Jon Solomon will be doing his annual holiday 24 hour marathon this Sunday.

That Whole Silly Decemberists / Colbert Beef

By Adam F on Thursday, December 21st, 2006

While the newsworthiness of the beef between Stephen Colbert and The Decemberists makes Lindsey v Paris look like a Darfur report in the Economist, I do know that if those wacky Decemberists would have brought in this dude, victory would have been close at hand.

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(ps:  you are looking at Guitar One Magazine's fastest guitar shredder in the world. i can't wait for Early Mike to shred this post in the comments)

The Final Matador News Update of 2006 / Artists & Staff Pick Their Faves

By Gerard on Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

There's some major announcements to behold in the last Matador news update of '06, along with a sprawling list of the well-connected & their pals' Favorite Records/Books/Films/Whatever from the year about to conclude.  The second portion of which, if you're too lazy to click on the above link, can be found right here : (more…)

Catch A Piece Of The Matador Holiday Sale

By Nick on Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

To celebrate us bringing the Matador store back in house, we’ve been running a holiday sale featuring 11 different Mata-riffic bundles at deep Mata-riffic discounts. Check it out at the Matador Store homepage. Discounted albums include work from Pavement, Cat Power, Brightblack Morning Light, Cornelius, Belle & Sebastian, Guided By Voices, and more.

There's only two days left for your order to be shipped before Christmas, so stop with the procrastination already!

To put it plainly: any order received after noon on Friday, December 22 will NOT be shipped until Monday, January 2.

I’m selling the shirt off of my back. No, seriously.

By Early Mike on Wednesday, December 20th, 2006
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I always knew it would come to this. But I needed to take drastic measures, so…my favorite shirt is up for grabs.

 

BTW – If this sort of retarded shit is your cup of tea, I'm just getting started. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. You can subscribe via:

Early Mike - The Early Mike Show

Jennifer O’Connor – 2007 Solo Dates

By Gerard on Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

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(from The Wrong Way's Flikr page, photo used without permission)

Jennifer O'Connor's
3rd album proper, 'Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars' remains one of '06's finest, most criminally overlooked works.  Because Jennifer isn't the type to hold a grudge (not like some people), she'll be giving you yet another chance to catch the boat you're in danger of missing with her following shows in support of Kevin Devine.

January
24-Middletown, Connecticut @  Wesleyan University
25-Buffalo, NY @ Mowhawk Place
26-Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
27-Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop2
9-Toronto, ONT @ Lee's Palace
30-Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
31-Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection

February
1-Bloomington, IN @ WIUX Indiana University
2-Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
3-Madison, WI @ The Annex
4-Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
6-Ames, IA @ Iowa State University
7-Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
8-Columbia, MO @ Mojo's
9-St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
10-Urbana, IL @ Canopy Club
11-Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley
13-Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
14-Athens, GA @ 40 Watt
15-Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
16-Washington DC @ The Rock and Roll Hotel
17-New York, NY @ The Knitting Factory
21-Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian
22-Boston, MA @ Great Scott
23-Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
24-Hamden, CT @ The Space

In addition, you can catch Jennifer, sans Mr. Devine, on the following dates :

December 29 – New World Brewery, Tampa, FL
January 5 – Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
January 10 – The Living Room, NYC, NY (with Anders Parker)

When Bloggin’ Happens To Hard Workin’ Folk

By Adam F on Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

web sheriff mouse padWe think Eric Marathonpacks might have a problem.  Over the course of the past week, he's managed to write what, in the blogging world, might be considered a "tome" on 19 of his favorite 2006 albums (honors to Belle), as well as to crank out 4 (count 'em – FOUR) 70 minute mix mp3s.  In doing so, the only problem he might actually have is the post- year- end- bandwidth- blues as the Web Sheriff seems a little too pre-occupied sending out mouse pads rather than C&Ds this holiday season.   

Marathonpacks:  I Just Didn't Have 20

Marathonpacks:  Packin' It Into 70 Minutes (x) Four 

More Proof that New York Is Getting Soft

By Joel on Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Our good friends at the New York Post are reporting this morning that Limelight, the once-infamous nightclub, will be resurrected as a mini-mall:

December 19, 2006 — The former Episcopal church that once housed the sacrilegious Limelight nightclub will be born again – as a retail mini-mall.

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Now known as the Avalon nightclub, the legendary 12,000-square-foot venue on Sixth Avenue at West 20th Street will shutter its doors in early 2007.

"The landlord has decided that he doesn't want to go forward with another nightclub," said broker Frank Terzulli, of Winnick Realty Group.

"He's going to cut it up for retail tenants and a restaurant with patio seating."

Terzulli added, "The area is becoming more upscale with high-priced condos and stores, and that will make it more difficult to get permits from the community board" for a nightclub…

Sources say international discount-clothing retailer H&M is the likely main tenant for the space, which features triple-height ceilings and mezzanine levels.

A representative for Winnick would not confirm any specific names, since no leases have yet been signed.

Limelight, founded in the deconsecrated church in 1983, hosted some of clubland's wildest parties in the '80s and early '90s under now-deported club king Peter Gatien (above).

In 1996, federal agents charged that Limelight was a "drug supermarket" and shut it down.

Gatien was acquitted of racketeering and drug charges but convicted of tax evasion. He spent time in jail and was eventually deported to his native Canada.

That same year, one of the club's flamboyant promoters, Michael Alig, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing Angel Melendez, a club regular and reputed drug dealer over a money dispute. He's still in jail.

Limelight reopened under new management but was shuttered again in 2002.

It came back to life in November of that year as the short-lived Estate. Avalon followed a few months later.

My only memory of the place is seeing Mogwai play there last year, but I'm sure other Mata-folks would be happy to share anything they might possibly remember (as long as the statute of limitations are up).

How Can I Tell You…

By Gerard on Monday, December 18th, 2006

…that the customer is always wrong?

Unless you've been living under a diamond rock, you've probably seen the "buy a diamond,  your partner-will-forget-you-can't-get-it-up" spots featuring the immensely talented Chan Marshall covering Cat Stevens' "How Can I Tell You?"

For the past several weeks, our esteemed General Manager has been besieged with daily email from persons desperate to purchase some version of this recording.  Some of these pleas are perfectly reasonable. Others fall under the category of dangerously delusional, self-styled "experts" who somehow believe your 2nd or 3rd Favorite Independent Label has something against making money (or perhaps has a vested interest in making Cat Power fans unhappy). One by one, these persons are politely informed by Patrick that all that exists from this recording session is a 30 second snippet of the former Mr. Stevens' composition. Much as we'd love to oblige, we cannot possibly release a 30 second selection and pass it off as a bona fide commercial release.  Not without getting our heads handed to us by the same individuals who are writing to us, anyway.

And still, the messages continue to pour in. So with that in mind, I'm only going to say this one last time : "How Can I Tell You" is not available to purchase because Chan only recorded 30 seconds of music

I swear to god, the next person that interrupts Patrick's busy day asking about this commercial  is gonna rue the moment they ever turned on the TV set, because I am going to show up in their living room and deliver my own extra special rendition of "How Can I Tell You", followed by such classics as "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald", "In The Year 2525", "Losing My Religion", "Needle Up My Cock" and of course, "MacArthur Park".

I'm not kidding around. Don't make me drop the Gordon Lightfoot bomb.

In the meantime, just to show you we're not all heartless fucks at Matador Records & Filmworks, Miwa has tipped us off to the following bit of footage from Cat Power (featuring the crazy skills of Judah Bauer and Jim White), live from the Transmusicales Festival, December 7.

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Thank You To Insound!

By Nick on Monday, December 18th, 2006

After however long it has been, Matador Records is happy to announce that the Matador Store is now being fulfilled in house. 

Insound has been amazing to work with, they’ve done a great job as a fulfillment partner, and we have nothing but respect and gratitude towards them.  They're one of our favorite online record stores, and we'll still be buying records from them. 

But given the increasing complexity of things like our Buy Early Get Now campaigns, and different online sales we want to run (the first of which will be announced as soon as I’m done writing this), it only makes sense for us to take over all operations and allow ourselves the greatest flexibility possible.

Any questions, concerns, or death threats concerning the Matador Store should now be addressed to store@matadorrecords.com, and a FAQ will be up on the store site shortly, if it isn’t already.

Chavez, Circa 2006

By Gerard on Monday, December 18th, 2006
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Warsaw, Brooklyn, 12/16/06, video link swiped from Sings Like Buildings (thanks to Blake for the tip)

Ahmet Ertegun, RIP

By Gerard on Friday, December 15th, 2006

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The late founder of Atlantic Records was eulogized today as a man who "exerted a sweeping influence on postwar US popular music," (The Times), "a marvellous man, very witty, a great raconteur," (Mick Jagger) and "a passionate connoisseur of music who was beloved by many of his artists and peers for his personal panache and his encyclopedic knowledge of music, especially jazz and rhythm and blues." (Geoff Bocher and Randy Lewis, LA Times).

Our good friend at Where Is The Hotel shall recall Ertegun as the man responsible for The Melvins' 'Houdini'.

Though I do not think this is technically correct, we stand in awe of Ertegun's cultural contributions just the same.

Abuse Your Delusion

By Gerard on Friday, December 15th, 2006

File this under "no fucking way." From Billboard.com's Jonathan Cohen :

Axl Rose has taken to Guns N' Roses' official Web site to announce a "tentative" March 6 release date for the band's eternally delayed new album, "Chinese Democracy." In the posting, Rose also revealed he has split with longtime manager Merck Mercuriadis due to disagreements over the set up for the album release.

Rose lashed out at management for comments suggesting "Chinese Democracy" would "just appear" in record stores on a random Tuesday before the end of the year.

"It takes approximately eight weeks for an album to hit the shelves once it has been turned in to the record company," he said. "For whatever reasons, it appears that it may have been mistakenly inferred by management that this time period could be condensed to three weeks. With that being said, this is not a promise, a lie or a guarantee, but we do wish to announce a tentative release date of March 6. This is the first time we have done this publicly for this album."

Axl, if things don't work out with Guns'n'Roses, you've got a future in the beverage distribution industry independent label product management.

Further Yo La Tengo U.S. Dates Confirmed

By Gerard on Friday, December 15th, 2006

Pt. I

Pt. II

(illustration by Eric Reynolds)

drum roll…pt. III
1/31 – Studio A, Miami, FL
2/1 – State Theater, Tampa, FL

A Quick Note About Someone You Might Care About

By Gerard on Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Chances are, some portion of the persons reading this message are friends or fans of J. Robbins. Perhaps from his days playing with Goverment Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines and (most recently) Channels, or maybe you know him from his production work for Jets To Brazil, Pilot To Gunnar or Jawbreaker, amongst others. 

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, J. and his partner Janet Morgan have an 11 month old son, Callum, who's been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Medical expenses are likely to be stratospheric, and as such, J and Janet's colleagues at DeSoto Records are accepting donations on their behalf.  DeSoto's got more details.

 

McGee’s War On Q

By Gerard on Thursday, December 14th, 2006

While certain US fake independent rawwwk execs waste their time with perfectly legitimate gratuitious swipes at Paste Magazine, Alan McGee's got much bigger fish to fry, as evidenced by the following entry to the Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog.

Q magazine is out of date, a true retirement home for music writers that never made it. It's the absolute lap dog of the major record companies – a music magazine for accountants and estate agents. Q is corporate. Gormless. Gutless. Always six months behind everything and full of lists, lists, lists. Well here's how others see Q magazine: a Q top 20 I'm sure they would be proud of.

1. Chris Martin and Robbie Williams
2. Anybody in U2
3. Annie Lennox
4. Anybody in Radiohead – or failing that, Coldplay again
5. Anybody in Keane
6. Anybody in a band who went to Oxford or Cambridge when any of us lot did
7. Pink Floyd (post-Syd era only)
8. Midge Ure
9. James Blunt
10. Damien Rice
11. Corinne Bailey Rae
12. Tasmin Archer
13. Dire Straits
14. The Police (both the Met and the mob Sting was in)
15. Every copycat Coldplay band we've shoved for EMI in recent years
16. INXS
17. Simple Minds
18. An Emotional Fish (the comeback)
19. Spice Girls
20. Dave Stewart

Fucking-a.  I was all set to drop the (Emotional) Fish-meet-Barrel comment, but McGee deserves some special prize for pulling Midge Ure's name out of a hat. There's a grumpy reply below Alan's screed, "You seemed to have missed Oasis off the list, they seem to have a place on the cover regardless of what they've done in a strict rotation policy along with U2, Coldplay and Radiohead," but c'mon, give the man credit where due.   Shitting on Midge Ure in late 2006 is beyond awesome.

Girls Aloud get political

By Ruairi on Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Girls Aloud interview for The New Statesman 

link via Popjustice 

My beloved Girls Aloud get their Noam Chomsky on:

Nadine: "You know that basically Labour is the working class and the Conservatives are the really, kind of, upper class, and then everything else is . . . I have no idea."

Foolhardy Nadine later has an awesome rant about footballer's wives, momentarily forgetting that her bandmate Cheryl is one. 

Their Greatest Hits album, out now, is disappointingly low on Billy Bragg covers.  

Matador Movie Club: Take 2

By Ruairi on Thursday, December 14th, 2006

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(struggling with the chords to "I Could See The Dude", but he'll get there eventually)

After the inaugural meeting of the Matador Movie Club to see Mission Of Burma's 'This Is Not A Photograph' a couple of months ago, we reconvened to check out our beloved Britt Daniel's contributions to the soundtrack of 'Stranger Than Fiction'. The Spoon mainman was working with Brian Reitzell on the score, who also worked on Sofia Coppola's 'Virgin Suicides' and 'Lost In Translation' with Air and Kevin Shields. That man is so hip and trendy, even knowing who he is makes you feel like you're Piers Martin. Aside from instrumental snippets of 'My Mathematical Mind' and 'I Turn My Camera On', the new Britt pieces are unobtrusive in the same way as Kevin Shields' were in 'Lost In Translation', and just as lovely. It should be noted that a flattering comparison to the quality of Kevin Shields' music is just about the highest praise I can offer. 

As for the film itself, the Matador Movie Club give 'Stranger Than Fiction' a cautious thumbs-up. Mike and Lucy had problems with the film's ending, and we were all a bit perplexed at how Maggie Gyllenhaal would ever find Will Ferrell attractive (but, having said that, who is good enough for Maggie Gyllenhaal? She's awesome). The Kaufman-esque plot of a man discovering that he is actually a character in a book that is being written that will end with his tragic death isn't really exploited for all the brain-warping potential that idea has; in fact certain ideas that are central to the plot at some points (the narration, the fact that Crick cannot control his own fate) are bandonned at others. But maybe we're being too critical of what is actually a very much above-average comedy – it does have Maggie Gyllenhaal in it, after all, and it's nice to see Emma Thompson in a dramatic role again. Dustin Hoffman was…Dustin Hoffman, and Buster from Arrested Development was in it as well, proving conclusively to me that no matter what role he takes from now on, he will always be Buster from Arrested Development (I mean that affectionately). Marc Foster's direction seems shaky, to be honest, there's no massive tonal shifts or anything, but there are certain points where the film forgets that it's a comedy – but maybe that's meta and intentional. But despite our misgivings, 'Stranger Than Fiction' is a sweet little film that you'd have to try very hard to dislike. With a wicked soundtrack, natch.

The Matador Movie Club's third outing will actually be an office screening of R Kelly's opus magnus 'Trapped In The Closet'. My critical faculties generally leave me around the point in part one where R Kelly sings 'I quickly tried to put on viiiiibrraaaaaatttte'. Slays me every time.