Archive for March, 2008
In today’s Austin Chronicle, music industry vet Danny Goldberg (who once partnered with Matador at two major labels) channels The Wire’s Thomas Klebanow. Danny remarks about the music business, “We have to do more with less” — precisely the mantra of the bland, cost-cutting editor of the Baltimore Sun. To be fair to the Danster, he does go on to recommend that the industry be more open to experiment. But we’d hope that he doesn’t think laying off talented creative types and pursuing flash in the pan stories is the wave of the future. Really, this was a tone-deaf moment for the former Led Zep publicist.
(photo by Sam Comen)
AOL filmed Cat Power playing in their studios in LA on February 27, and the session is now live:
Despite the snazzy Thurston Moore design, I’ve neglected to pick up my SXSW goody bag. No offense to the organizers or their lovely sponsors, but I’ve got enough stacks of CD’s I’m never gonna listen in my house already, thanks. But enough about my weekly care packages from 304 Hudson St. (hey, JUST KIDDING), the Chicago Sun-Times’ Diablo Cody-baiting Jim DeRogatis (who kindly, though incorrectly ID’d me as the guy who signed Naked Raygun — please, some long overdue credit for Sam Berger) reveals a rather peculiar inclusion in the 2008 bag o’ swag :
The most notable thing about this year’s bag, in addition to its skimpiness, is a green plastic toy soldier of the classic “kids’ army guys” variety, except this one is holding a guitar instead of a rifle, and he’s twisty-tied to a color card that identifies him as “Sgt. Solo,” brave representative of Armed Forces Entertainment. (Why they didn’t just go with “Sgt. Rock,” I’ll never know; maybe there were copyright issues.)
The blurb at the bottom of the card reads: “Plug in your weapon, turn up the power and fire away. Your limo is a Humvee and your ride is a Blackhawk. For over 50 years, America’s stars have earned their stripes by performing for our country’s greatest audience. Find out if you have what it takes to tour the world entertaining the troops with Armed Forces Entertainment.”
Yes, you read right: These are your tax dollars hard at work in a promotional effort to recruit rock bands to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain our troops. Mind you, if anyone deserves free entertainment, it’s the brave men and women making incredible sacrifices for their country overseas. But really, wouldn’t they be better served by the government spending that money on better benefits and health care, more useful gifts for a theater of war (like adequate armor on those Humvees) or, heaven knows, upping the diplomatic efforts to end these conflicts?
These are things worth mulling while visiting the group’s Web site, which features an even more bizarre piece of promotional artwork via the illustration of a doctored Sherman tank — the kind that won the “good war” of WWII — with an acoustic guitar replacing the turret and gun barrel and a swirl of paisleys beneath the treads, all under the banner “SXSW Music.”
(Curb, right, relieved that Blender has left him off the hook)
Blender’s just issued their “20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time” list, and while I’m grateful Matador escaped their wrath (amazingly, no mention of Johan Kugelberg’s departure or “Whitechocolatespaceegg”), I’m still not entirely satisfied with the selections on offer.
Sure, it’s hard to argue with a few of ‘em (ie. Berry Gordy selling Motown for a collection of blankets and beads, Geffen suing Neil Young for making records that stiffed) and there’s undoubtedly others that should’ve made the cut (Mike Curb dropping the Velvets, the Mothers Of Invention and Solger on the same day). But I’m pretty sure there’s no way you can make a list of historic rock biz fuck ups without mentioning there was once a bidding war for a band called Spade Ghetto Destruction.
1) Someone named “Mitch Michaels” calls Courtney Love’s blogs “impossible to decipher”. Heck, you should see some of the Matablog entries before I get my hands on ‘em.
2) Courtney is s being roundly mocked for claiming someone bought a house in New Jersey using Kurt Cobain’s social security number. I totally believe her ; I almost bought a house next door to someone named Lee Ving 4 years ago, and there’s no way you can tell me that was the former Fear vocalist’s residence. He’s at least as dead as Kurt.
3) It’s not she’d make a stink for no reason whatsoever. Someone’s been using Falling James’ identity to buy stuff (newspapers, correcto-type) for ages and please note NO WILD PRESS CONFERENCE was called.
So lay off, already. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to blow through tens of millions of dollars probably hasn’t tried it.
Extremely simple to make and explosively delicious. This is a Su-Mei Yu recipe. The ingredients can vary. I used one cucumber, some mint leaves, a minced birdseye chile, and a minced scallion. The dressing is made of fish sauce cooked down with sea salt, white sugar and palm sugar, then mixed with lime juice. Dried shrimp are put on top, and the whole thing sits for 10 minutes before eating.
The New Pornographers recorded a live concert at the Apple Store in Soho, NYC last December – it is out on iTunes today. Click the link to order it:
Meanwhile, don’t forget that the Executive Edition box set version of ‘Challengers’ is complete and ready for downloading and burning all discs. For those who never got it, you can still order it from the Matador Store while supplies last – either as an upgrade to the regular edition if you already own it, or as a complete box set ready to download and burn.
Many friends and foes alike are popping into Austin this week and out of the shear goodness of my aching heart, I’d like to pass along the following nutritional tip :
Though you have many wonderful options for breakfast, dinner or lunch in this fantastic city, if you’re a busy person, you’ll never have time for all of them.
(above, below : The Democrat, Green Chili Pork)
To put this as simply as possible, if you’re gonna be in Austin for 4 days, that could well mean 12 visits to Torchy’s Tacos. You might think I’m exaggerating about this establishment’s otherwordliness, but go to Torchy’s once you arrive and then try eating elsewhere. At that point you can lecture me about overrating.
And if that means you’re standing in a long line for an excellent taco while I’m watching these guys, well, it’s a win-win for both of us.
The above advertisement, currently appearing on Technorati, links to a Toyota website. I realize ’80′s nostalgia is pretty infectious, but I never imagined an ad agency would seek to reference the PMRC in the year 2008.
Then again, if there’s an audience for a Mentors tribute band these days, perhaps Toyota are savvier than I thought.
I stumbled on this Wesley Willis number off a comp called ‘Songs In The Key Of Z; The Curious Universe Of Outsider Music’ that some friends and I used to jam to at the end of a hard day working in a small record store back in England. It’s still funny after the millionth time of hearing it! To see the full comp click here.
Unless there’s a new James Toback film waiting in the wings, we might not read a piece of film criticism this year as scathing as the review handed out to “10,000 B.C.” by the Baltimore Sun’s Michael Scragow :
10,000 B.C. may take place in the moviemakers’ fanciful vision of life 10,000 years before Christ, but after you see it, the “B.C.” seems to stand for “Before Cinema.” It’s as if all the digital tools of new millennial filmmaking fell into the hands of men who had less storytelling sense than a campfire bard or a cave painter.
The director, Roland Emmerich, has made such pop hits as Independence Day, but he co-wrote this one with the film’s composer, Harald Kloser, instead of his usual partners, and from beginning to end it’s a succession of bad notes. It follows the rise of a prehistoric hero, named D’Leh (sounds like “delay”), who grows up in a tribe of woolly mammoth hunters, and is stigmatized because his master-hunter father appeared to have abandoned his people in hard times.
The new holder of the White Spear, Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), tries to squelch that tale, but can’t stop teen bullies from sneering at D’Leh as the son of a coward. I don’t think there’s ever been an epic with more unfortunate names for its heroes. Unless you’re enthralled by the sight of mammoth herds and fearsome prehistoric emus and a spear-toothed tiger that responds to human kindness, all given that real yet unreal CGI glow, you hear the clock Tic’Ticing in your head and pray for a conclusion without delay or D’Leh.
Ahh… Even As We Speak. Hand-fingerpainted sleeve, I haven’t listened to it in years, and can’t listen to it now (neighbors are nightmares). Australian or GB? Who knows. Weird association with Scapa Flow in mind. In any event, there it is. What is useful about this series is showing up the incredible banality of any collection, even ones the owner proudly thinks of as “edited.”
The following is from the Niagra Gazzette’s Rick Pfeiffer. Not to diss a Love Canal answer to the Springfield Shopper too harshly, but how can a story like this not be accompanied by a photograph?
Sorry I failed to make it to Falls City Court on Friday morning for the appearance of two legendary rockers.
Well, actually, I think it was the appearance of a conflicted man who isn’t exactly sure who he wants to be.
I’m referring to Sammy J. Van Halen West. It seems he can’t quite decide between the persona of one time Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar or the leader of the band, Eddie Van Halen.
Where the “West” comes from is not clear.
Reliable sources say he announced his arrival to face trespassing charges by entering the Court Clerk’s office and uttering, “Van Halen in the house.” Understand he also took pains to point out to the judge that Van Halen is his legal name.
Now, as to that trespassing charge, seems the 45-year-old Van Halen West was kicked out, for good, of the McDonald’s on Niagara Falls Boulevard. He was barred because a McDonald’s manager told police, “Sammy keeps coming in and hitting on all the girls.”
His final transgression was apparently telling a young girl at the fast food joint that, and I’m paraphrasing here, large chests mean large trouble.
To see more of your favorite album covers literally in all their fleshy glory go here.
Gerard came on strong with the Frantix single… though as I remember it, their previous 7″ with the B&W sleeve was actually better musically (not as intense visually or conceptualy, obviously – they nailed that).
However my choices are ACTUALLY random…… hence the incredible lameness of the last one. OK, let’s see what it’s going to be tonight – I actually have not done the random pick yet. Here goes. [break]
All right. Just look at that. No points for guessing what the B-side is called. See, you kids today, you have no variety in your lives (9000, I hope you’re reading this). The kind of TANGIBLE randomness that today’s choice represents is completely unavailable to you. And if you think just because I’m showing a pic of a single that doesn’t mean there’s an MP3 link. Music is NOT the point. Thank you very much.
We’ve got all widgetastic here at Matador Records and Filmworks, and we’d be very grateful if you added the above item to your blog, MySpace profile, etc. We’re not too proud to beg!