Matablog

Archive for March, 2008

Publicists the world over: Beware!

By Annette on Friday, March 28th, 2008

Max Clifford

Set up by a clearly over-worked and under-appreciated Brit hack, it’s nice to know us PRs can expect helpful and constructive feedback from journalists:

Lost In Showbiz blog

Photo: Max Clifford clearly quaking in his boots.

Goose daube

By Patrick on Friday, March 28th, 2008

I’ve had beef daube (Provençal farmhouse stew) in restaurants, but never goose. I recently read Richard Olney‘s memoirs about cooking and living and France (Reflexions, and the repeated references to daube made me want to try some. Then I remembered that I own the Poultry volume of Time Life’s The Good Cook series, which Olney co-authored, and sure enough, on pages 60-61, there’s a mouth-watering depiction of a goose daube.

(above: the goose pieces ready to be broiled, next to a comforting bottle of Chateau Figeac which we drank during the prepartion)

The ingredients are somewhat daunting. In addition to a fresh goose that has been butchered (the breast cut into 6 pieces), you need several sheets of pork rind and two calves feet, cut in half and then split lengthwise so that they will release their gelatin more easily. The goose pieces are then placed on a rack under the broiler for 20 minutes to reduce the fat – a good 4 cups came off. The pork rinds, calves feet, and goose pieces are then layered with chopped carrots, shallots, onion and a bouquet garni including a piece of scraped, dried bitter orange rind, in a daubière. I didn’t have a daubière (they’re hard to find and quite expensive) so I used a heavy enameled casserole. You fill the pot up with white wine (I used a Faiveley white burgundy), bring to a boil, and then cook over low heat “at the slightest suggestion of a simmer” for 5 hours. This took me to 3 AM, at which point I left it to cool and put it in the fridge.

(above: some of the pork rind)

(above: the layering process)

(above: adding the wine)

The next day I removed it from the fridge, skimmed off another tremendous quantity of fat, and slowly re-heated it – Olney recommends an hour and a half, so that the goose pieces don’t disintegrate. Some of the fat-juice is ladled off for the “inevitable accompaniment to daube” which is macaronade, essentially macaroni with parmesan cheese and a ladelful of daube juices. We also served some freshly shelled English peas.

French food is really made to accompany wine: the actual meal is the combination of the two, not one or the other. Olney’s menus are included in his book, and get more insane as he got older. A typical one from a meal he served Aubert de Villaine (of Romanée-Conti) in 1981 – and I swear I really did open the book at random, included Champagne Krug 1973, Chevalier-Montrachet (Niéllon) 1978, a magnum of Domaine Tempier rouge 1964, the great Rauzan Ségla 1900 (!), and Monbazillac 1874 for dessert.

We settled for a nice Coron 2003 Gevrey-Chambertin followed by a couple bottles of affordable Bordeaux, then a $9 Salice-Salenterno, and a bunch of digestifs. Hmm, going the opposite direction pricewise from Olney. Not to go all tangential, but this is a perennial problem in serving wine: start with the best or the worst? Comments, please.

And the daube: well, the goose meat was falling off the bone, more mildly flavored than I expected. The broth was really brothy and not stewy, and I’m not sure if that was right. Perhaps I needed more vegetables, or maybe I didn’t get the slightest suggestion of a simmer correct. I do have 2 pounds of calves feet in my freezer, and 2 massive pots of goose stock made from all the parts that I didn’t use in the daube, so I suspect I’ll revisit this topic.

Mexico : A Place Where “Emo Must Die” Is No Mere Figure Of Speech

By Gerard on Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Exclaim’s Brock Thiessan reports “in recent weeks, a wave of emo bashings has swept across Mexico”.  To which I can only add, Matador Records Is Very Opposed To Hate Crimes, but if you must commit a hate crime…can’t you target Widespread Panic fans, instead?

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According to Daniel Hernandez, who’s been covering the anti-emo riots on his blog Intersections, the violence began March 7, when an estimated 800 young people poured into the Mexican city of Queretaro’s main plaza “hunting” for emo kids to pummel. Then the following weekend similar violence occurred in Mexico City at the Glorieta de Insurgents, a central gathering space for emos. Hernandez also reports that several anti-emo riots have now also spread to various other Mexican cities. Via the Austin American Statesmen, several postings on Mexican social-networking sites, primarily organising spot for these “emo hunts,” have been dug up and translated. One states: “I HATE EMOS!!! They are not even people, they are so stupid, they cry over meaningless things… My school is infested with them, I want to kill them all!”

Another says: “We’ve never seen all the urban tribes unite against one single tribe before… Emos, their way of thinking is for crap, if you are so depressed please do us all a favour and kill yourselves!”

More recent reports state that the emos have begun to fight back against the other “urban tribes” and organised marches in Guadalajara and Mexico City, escalating the violence and leading to increased police presence. Also, some Mexican newspapers, such as El Porvenir, have called for government intervention to protect the emos, writing, “It’s the responsibility of the authorities to make sure the threats aren’t carried out and the aggressions are punished.”

Why do people buy records?

By Patrick on Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I’ve been quizzed a lot recently about the so-called vinyl revival. Sales of indie rock records, of rock records in general, are up on vinyl. I respond with the standard litany of answers: people want to connect with an artifact, something real and physical, and something that doesn’t feel as worthless and disposable as a CD… something that sounds better than an MP3. The inclusion of MP3 download coupons in vinyl LPs also caused a big spike in sales, since people no longer had to choose between CDs and LPs.

But in some ways the whole question misses the point, because it implies that people buy records only because they want to hear the music. The real question could be: why do people still buy CDs? And this gets into the reason why we’re still called Matador Records, not Matador Music or Matador Entertainment. We’re not a music company: we’re a record label.

I think that many people buy records not just to hear the music, and in some cases not to hear the music at all. There’s an employee here who actually pays money to buy secondhand CDs on eBay of his favorite ’80s artists like Annie Lennox. He has all the music already – he just wants to put the CD on a shelf. When I was 12 or 13 and first started haunting used record stores in Boston, I wanted to smell and feel and touch the vinyl, the cardboard jackets, the musty smell of the carpets. This wasn’t just nostalgia: I’ve always been a collector of things – stamps, coins, books. I like to amass stuff and display it. Of course I love to handle, read and listen them too. But owning and listening aren’t unconnected. The whole thing is interconnected and intertwined.

That some people like to pay for, collect and own records (and this includes downloads from iTunes as well as LPs and CDs) is not meant to suggest that the music business isn’t in trouble or that the sales of recorded music are not in decline. But the media have not gotten the whole story here, which is why I’m talking to puzzled journalists at Time, Wired, Rolling Stone and other publications every couple of weeks. It’s just that the focus on vinyl sales is only part of the picture.

I don’t believe that downloading and competition from other formats like games and DVDs are the only cause of the decline in record sales. It’s also simple availability. Tower Records was actually profitable on a store-by-store basis. The chain went under because their bank would no longer finance their revolving line of credit. Of course, Tower shouldn’t have accumulated as much debt as it did, but in other industries, in the economy as it existed 2 years ago, credit was not a problem. The problem was that Wall Street no longer believed that selling records had a future. In other words, Tower didn’t go under because its record sales were down: it went under because the banks, under the influence of the media and popular memes believed that record sales were going to go down.

Of course, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy to some extent. If Towers go under and there are fewer places to buy records, then record sales will go down. Ironically, this is one of the things that killed vinyl in the late ’80s. Everyone said: get vinyl out of there, convert your retail racks to CDs, or you’re going to get stuck with a dead format and dead inventory that you can’t sell. Now this same meme is killing record retail (or at least chain retail, and the indies who aren’t moving with the times).

This same meme affects people on an individual level. People who would go on buying records out of love of owning records, or even just out of habit, stop doing so because they are told that it’s stupid and a waste of money to buy records. And they can no longer do it easily anyway, because their favorite record store is out of business. Only the portion of the record buyers who really care about owning records will still go out there and do it… and of course, a good percentage of those are people who want to buy vinyl, not CDs or digital downloads. But even the latter two types of buyer (and there’s plenty of overlap) buy because they want to buy and own records in whatever format, and they will continue to buck popular perceptions. For a while anyway.

So my challenge to all the media outlets asking me about the vinyl revival is to say: are you really looking at the full complexity of the story? Why do people buy records, and to what extent are you, the media, complicit in making it difficult or uncool for them to do so?

Cat Power & Dirty Delta Blues – US, Columbia & Mexico Shows Updated

By Gerard on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

* – indicates a new addition since the last time we did this. Appaloosa support 4/11-4/22

4/9 Bellingham WA W. Washington Univ.@ Performing Arts Center*
4/10 Vancouver BC Vogue Theatre
4/11 Seattle WA Showbox SoDo
4/12 Eugene OR McDonald Theater
4/13 Portland OR Roseland
4/15 San Francisco CA Warfield Theater
4/16 San Diego CA 4th & B
4/17 Tempe AZ Marquee Theatre
4/19 Dallas TX Palladium Ballroom
4/20 Austin TX Stubb’s
4/22 Houston TX Warehouse
4/23 Mexico City Mexico Lunario
4/25 Bogota, Columbia Teatro *
5/2 Atlanta GA Tabernacle –DUE TO VENUE REPAIRS REQUIRED, THIS SHOW IS POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
5/3 Memphis TN Beale St. Music Festival*
6/14 Manchester TN Bonnaroo Music Festival*
8/10 Jersey City NJ All Points West.Music & Arts Festvial*
9/17 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl * (with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Spiritualized)

Legendary Matador Recording Artists Return To The Stage This Friday

By Gerard on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

The Condo Fucks are supporting the A-Bones this Friday night at Brooklyn’s Magnetic Field.  Doors open at 8pm, there’s an $8 cover and DJ Phast Phreddie will be spinning.  Records, presumably.

Times New Viking lnstore @ Sound Exchange Houston TX 3/16

By Helen Rush on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
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I filmed this at their in-store with Pink Reason and Psychedelic Horseshit, but didn’t have enough memory to film the collaborations, but still it’s ‘Hot Stuff’, kind of like Todd (their PM) I guess.

The Cave Singers – “The Culture Show” (BBC 2)

By Gerard on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
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From Saturday, 3/22/08′s broadcast (thanks to Rich Walker for the YouTube link)

Earles & Jensen / JFAL Update : Nuisance Litigator Wants To Rid Our World Of Laughter

By Gerard on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Believe it or not, we’ve been served by Hawaii attorney Peter Giftopolous. Described by one blogger as a “conosueir of douchery”, Giftopolous finally found someone who claims he’s been defamed by Earles & Jensen’s forthcoming 2XCD, ‘Just Farr A Laugh, Vol. I & II’.


I’d love to tell you what I really think of this creep and his tactics, but on the advice of Matador’s lawyers, I’ve surely written too much already. But I can promise you that nothing else is going to get in the way of our releasing ‘Just Farr A Laugh’. Giftopolous might’ve delayed the street date once, but we’re not gonna let him do it again, no matter the risk to our company’s future.

Sadly, the legal fees we’ve spent on the case thus far have been astronomical. As a result, we’ve had to dramatically reduce our print advertising budget this spring — for instance, we had about 3 full color pages ready to roll in the next issue of Harp, and I shouldn’t have to tell you what happened when cancelled our contract.

That’s right. THE MAGAZINE WENT OUT OF BUSINESS. All because of attorney Peter Giftopolous and his desperate clients. But we’re not going out like that. See you in court, Peter.

Coming April 19 (We Hope) – SM & The Jicks “Cold Son” 10″

By Gerard on Monday, March 24th, 2008

OK, we’re trying to turn this around in time for Record Store Day, but the general plan is we’ll be releasing a new 10″ EP from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks featuring the following selections :

a
“Cold Son” – album version
“Walk Into The Mirror” – RET outtake

b
“Pennywhistle Thunder” -RET outtake
“Carl The Clod” – ‘Face The Truth’ outtake

The 6 1/2 minute “Pennywhistle Thunder” has been described by one interested observer as “the best song from ‘Real Emotional Trash’”, albeit one that mysteriously didn’t make the final cut. Whether the author shares that assessment I cannot tell you for certain, but consider this —- would the Jicks seek to commemorate a major American Holiday like Record Store Day with anything but the finest in unreleased material? We think not.