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Archive for April, 2008

The New Pornographers In Festival Mode

By Gerard on Monday, April 21st, 2008

(poster art culled from John Mavroudis)

While we wish Neko Case a very speedy recovery from her recent ankle injury, we’re pleased just the same to announce the following list of huge, outdoorsy events The New Pornographers will be appearing at this summer :

5/24 – Sasquatch Music Fest @ The Gorge (George, WA)
5/25 – Summer Camp Music Fest @ Three Sisters Park (Chillicothe, IL)
6/21 – Rock the Garden Music Fest @ Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN) (with Andrew Bird)
6/22 – V Fest, Calgary
7/18 – Benicassim, Valencia, Spain
8/08 – All Points West Music and Arts Fest @ Liberty State Park (Jersey City, NJ)

Fucked Up at SUNY Purchase last night

By Patrick on Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Fucked Up came down to NYC to play the Culture Shock festival at SUNY Purchase this Saturday, so I rented a car, grabbed Dean Bein, and drove on up. Purchase is about 25 minutes north of the city, right on the border with Connecticut.

This was a really weird event. Turns out it was restricted to SUNY students. Security was over the top. Huge, huge luxurious campus in really wealthy area, and state troopers with flashing lights parked at the entrance where you drive in. Everyone was pulled over by troopers, and drive and all passengers had to show IDs. Since we weren’t students or visiting one, they wanted to turn us away, but I said I was acqainted with one of the bands… “Who…” “Umm, well, they’re actually called Fucked Up.” Guy looks pissed for a sec then says, “Man, that’s fucked up!” Very funny. Takes my ID and Dean’s and fortunately I had an old biz card, had me pull over to the right for like 10 minutes, made various phone calls, and then admitted us.

So we drive through this huge campus and the “festival” is just at end of parking lot…. pretty big stage, maybe, what, 300-400 people, max? All college students, SUPER hippie jamband bummer vibe, frisbees, some SERIOUS hackysack, tons of vegan food, Mr. Easy (some horrible pop/dub/reggae vibe) onstage, people dancing solo under the trees, at least it was sunny. Huge hookah at one corner and kids were smoking apple-scented tobacco. FU were there hanging out in their van, like, “how the fuck did we end up driving down from Toronto for this shit!?!”

Police and campus security are EVERYWHERE… it was such a joke, these lame-ass unthreatening college kids (I found out that Purchase is SUNY’s art/creative campus, never realized that), not a hint or threat of trouble, but blue wooden police sawhorse barricades all around the stage. Saw my friend Babyleg with Gang Gang Dance, who were going on after Mr. Easy at 7 PM, then FU at 8 PM…

Only alcohol was $2 buds in a massive tent and you had to consume it in the tent… more ID checking, more state troopers in crisp Mountie hats, buy ticket, get beer, drink it next to these bozo shirtless frat guys with awful tank-top sunburns.

So far so good, I grab a beer, sun’s just gone down, beautiful evening, hear the mighty triple guitar roar, come back to the front, the audience has now been infiltrated with some FU fans, the vibe at least in front has definitely improved, and the pit gets going – and I mean SERIOUSLY going, before the band has played a note. Just whirling, mid-’90s East Coast hardcore dancing, you know, like the “Battling with invisible ninjas” style?

So the band launches into “Baiting The Public,” and it’s total mayhem. Not quite the contained little-kid style circle-jerk style I saw when the band played outside in Austin las month, a bit more chaotic than that, bunch of the kids are def. fucked up or stoned or just high on a piece of actual excitement at this shitty two-bit “festival”. Damian is shirtless of course, pants falling down, cops are on stage and in front of the stage, and Damian wants to interact with the crowd, so he comes down for the second song which is, of course, “Police”, and the cops do NOT want the barrier breached. It was those blue wooden sawhorses, like big deal, and the pit, while totally wild, is not out of control and doesn’t contain that many people either.

So Damian knocks down the wooden barricades so that he’s not separated from the audience, and the band plays “Manqueller Man.” I notice suddenly that the sound is thinner, not as mighty, the guitars esp, even though it still looks and sounds amazing… and then I realize the PA’s been turned off, and we’re only hearing live sound from the amp. Seconds later all power is cut, Damain shrugs and smiles to the audience, what can we do? and they’re walking offstage… crowd is chanting “BULL-SHIT BULL SHIT BULL SHIT” over and over, I go to the side of the stage and find out that the cops demanded that the sound guy cut the PA and then pulled the plug.

Just like Negative FX opening for Burma’s last show… aside from the weird lame environment. Total deja vu, late ’70s early ’80s hardcore versus the authorities. “This fucking city’s… run by pigs… they take the rights away… from all the kids…. we’re just fighting, fighting a war, we can’t win, NO WAY.” Except NFX would probably have been happy if there’d actually been chance of people getting hurt, which there definitely was not in this case.

So I head to the bathroom, I see Damian is talking to a state police officer, I hear him say, “I don’t mean to disrespect your job sir,” being all reasonable and Canadian as he is in real life… when I get back to the bathroom, the band is packing up. Damian tells me the guy is a sergeant in the state police, and told the band to get off the campus immediately or they would be arrested for incitement to riot. According to the cops, the other big mistake on Damian’s part was to turn over those wooden sawhorses… he told the police that he thought they were there to protect *him* from the audience, not the other way around, so that it would be OK to remove them. The cop replied (and I am not making this up) that when Damian tipped them over, “you could have squished some kids to death” – that’s the actual phrase he used.

Paradoxically, the police were simultaneously blaming the band for inciting the kids to riot and for attempting to injure them… are the authorities scared of the kids or overprotective of them? Typical conflicted societal attitude toward youth these days.

So at 9:30 PM the band were hastily packing up, they were all heading straight back to TO (maybe overnighting in Albany maybe not)… I told Mike I was sorry this had happened in our state and that they had driven all the way down from Toronto for this. So I ended up driving with friends back down to the city, and that was it… Fucking peculiar all the way through…

other bands on the Culture Shock festival included Cassidy, Jadakiss, Deerhoof, JD from Le Tigre and others of greater or lesser stature

What Record Store Day Means To Me – A Personal Journey

By Gerard on Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Much has been written about Record Store Day, and while I’m loathe to get all gushy in public, even for a significant cause such as this, it might be an appropriate time to add a very personal note.

Every now and then, Chris and myself are asked by young persons or hungry-4-facts journalists just how we got our respective starts in the music industry. Chris, as you all know, was the first helmsman to be banned from the America’s Cup for using performance enhancing drugs. His subsequent tell-all, ‘Juiced : On A Boat’, while critically panned, was a huge best-seller in 1989. Along with receiving rightful credit for the widesweeping changes-to-come in competitive sailing, Chris used the book’s profits to finance Matador’s earliest recordings.

My own roots are a tad less spectacular. For one crazy summer, I worked in my hometown record store. It wasn’t as big or as successful as Music Town, but it really had a terrific vibe. My boss, Joe Reeves (above, right), was a really inspiring kind of guy. I hear he’s moved on to things other than music, but I’ll always remember the way he kept the store alive, much the way I’ll always remember all the great music I was turned onto by the rest of the staff. Toad The Wet Sprocket. Better Than Ezra….ok, actually, I can’t remember any others. But surely that’s enough.

It was an awesome work environment and I’ve done everything possible to try and recall the ethos of that cool indie shop and try to apply it to the important work we do every day at Matador Records and Filmworks. I even wanted to borrow the store’s old slogan, “We’re Selling Music, But We’re Not Selling Out”, but Patrick argued it was kind of a dumb cliche. I dunno. I guess you had to be there. That’s the difference between me and him. I still remember what it was like to hear Toad The Wet Sprocket for the first time.

Anyhow, enjoy Record Store Day. And if you know of any cities or states where this occasion isn’t being marked, please let us know and we’ll make sure U2 never play there again.

Go visit a record store today

By Patrick on Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Record stores are what Matador has always been about, and there are still 2400 of them across the US. Today is Record Store Day, and hundreds of stores, big and small, are celebrating with discounts, freebies, limited-edition specials, and live performances, DJ gigs and counter-manning stints by bands and artists.

As I’ve argued in another post on this blog, a lot of us buy records because we love records, not just music. And we love the experience of spending money and accumulating stuff. Screw all this “community of the store” shit — my idea of a good time is being down on my knees, covered in dust, and going through box after box of LPs that nobody has looked at (or re-priced in years). It’s all still out there, and you can have that experience too. Get off your ass and do it!

Cat Power – 6 Upcoming Shows Postponed

By Gerard on Friday, April 18th, 2008

Sorry for the late notice everyone. As you may have read elsewhere, last night’s Cat Power show in Tempe, AZ did not take place, as Chan’s been diagnosed with with damage to her vocal cords.  She’ll be a-ok in the near future, but we regret Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues will not be making the following appearances. :

Dallas 4/19
Austin 4/20
Houston 4/22
Mexico City 4/23
Colombia 4/25
Vienna 4/30

The U.S. portion of the above route will be rescheduled for October — original tickets can still be used.

Random single from the collection #5

By Patrick on Friday, April 18th, 2008

It’s especially nice that I grabbed this 1985 single on the day before Record Store Day, since Richmond’s Honor Role was helmed by the great Bob Schick, who runs the Plan 9 Records stores in Virginia. Be sure to visit one of them tomorrow.

This 7″ cooks and is a great example of the kind of complexity that hardcore developed into during the mid-’80s. Penn Rollings’ guitar playing is sui generis. Quiz question: what superhip current band’s vocalist sounds quite a bit like Bob?

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare 167 Seconds?

By Gerard on Friday, April 18th, 2008

(Tom Scholz — not bad, but he’s no Lee Mavers)

“Don’t get me wrong, slugger,” scolds The Morning News‘ resident efficiency fetishist Josh Allen.  “I love ‘More Than a Feeling.’ But it’s four minutes and 47 fucking seconds long. I don’t have time for that kind of nonsense.”

My scientists told me that the perfect song length had to be closer to three minutes than two, but definitely shorter than three minutes. Three minutes is where bloat starts to set in. Where the band thinks: Hey, let’s do the chorus seven times. Hey, let’s give the saxophone guy a real moment to shine on this one. Hey, let’s add another bridge.

Just look at what clocks in between two and a half and three minutes: “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “We Got the Beat,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Good Times Bad Times,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “Paranoid,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Debaser,” “God Only Knows,” and “Fall on Me.” These are not only stone-cold classics but they also encapsulate all that is great about the band without wasting your goddamn time.

The scientists then dug up this song by a group that pretty much defines one-hit wonder: the La’s. The song is “There She Goes,” and is so flawless that it instantly made everything else the band did pointless. This ditty is two minutes and 42 seconds, and is all about songwriting economy.

I listened to it and said, in my rich and sonorous timbre, in my typically concise and absolutely-nailing-it fashion: “Here is a song that has everything I need and nothing I don’t.”

The main riff acts as the intro. The verses are the chorus. The solo is 100 percent fat-free and leads right into a tidy bridge. And then we’re back where we started. It’s like some ingenious IKEA futon or Japanese love hotel where every component is doing double-duty. When “There She Goes” is over, I guarantee absolutely no one in the room goes: “Jesus, finally.”

I’d hit upon the perfect song length. I fist-bumped somebody.

Jennifer O’Connor On Record Store Day

By Dean on Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Jennifer O’Connor stopped by our office and gave us a message of love and hope regarding Record Store Day and indie retail. Check out some other Matador artists pitching in for Record Store Day this Saturday the 19th.

YouTube Preview Image

Jay Reatard – 2 Singles Down, 4 To Go

By Gerard on Thursday, April 17th, 2008

The second 7″ in Jay Reatard‘s singles series for Matador Records & Filmworks, “Painted Shut” b/w “An Ugly Death” will be in U.S. stores May 20 (May 19 in the UK). The cover art (above) is by Mike Sniper.

We’ll be announcing the preorder date soon —- keep your eyes glued to this blog and/or the Matador Bulletin Board.

May 19 remains the UK release date for “See/Saw” b/w “Screaming Hand”.

Pasta with shrimp, take two

By Patrick on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up this food blogging thing… I’ve fallen off the “cooking wagon” a bit in the past couple of weeks and succumbed to the Manhattan disease of ordering in. Plus in the nature of things, you start repeating yourself.

What follows is just some photos of the Lidia Bastianich pasta with shrimp recipe I posted about three months ago. The thing that intrigued me originally about the recipe was the ladlefuls of boiling pasta water added to the sauce… which means that the sauce impregnates the pasta much more fully when it’s time to combine. No huge changes this time except that I bought peeled shrimp, which took about a half hour off the preparation time, and used my favorite Cento cherry peppers from Camden NJ as the spice agent (the kind that you get at Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia).

Shrimp cooking (20-30 seconds per side):

Add pasta to saucepan, not the other way around, with a knob of butter:

Final result: