Archive for February, 2009

Suddenly, Tony Victory Seems Like An A-OK Label Dude

By Gerard on Monday, February 16th, 2009

From last Wednesday’s Guardian, here’s a SFW excerpt from Alex Hoban’s profile of Japanese boy band factory Johnny’s Jimusho, and the company’s scary founder, “the 77-year-old Don Of Dubiousness, Johnny Kitagawa.”

If graduating from a Junior Johnny to a mere Johnny sounds about as glamorous as pulling slippery condoms on to cucumbers in biology class, then it’s fitting, as being a Johnny’s protégé is hardly a ticket to artistic maturity or even financial security. Most of Johnny’s recording artists are paid a base salary for their efforts, receive no royalties and have no rights to any of their music, their image or even the group’s name. After a few years in the spotlight, many Johnny’s bands are dropped without fanfare, and their members swiftly descend into obscurity and, most probably, depression.

So far, so cut-throat, but there is an even darker element to this whole grim business. Kitagawa claimed he works only with boy bands because they are “easier to handle”, which would be fine if he didn’t mean it literally. Rumours had always been rife of him engaging with unsavoury activities with the boys under his care, and in 1988 Kita Koji, one of the original members of the Four Seasons, published an exposé that accued Kitagawa of sexual harassment and rape. Opening the flood gates, similar accusations from other ex-members came to light, with fresh exposés being published right up to this decade.

Times New Viking (heart) the Velvets

By Gabe on Monday, February 16th, 2009

This past Saturday at the Wexner Center for the Arts, on the campus of THE Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, Times New Viking offered a Valentine to rock and roll and modern art, closing out the museum’s six-month-running Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms exhibition with a set of cover songs by the incomparable Velvet Underground.

Joined by Ohio rock legend Mike “Rep” Hummel (guitar/voice) and noise/avant man-about-many-towns C. Spencer Yeh (violin), TNV led an enthusiatic crowd through early Velvets classics including “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, “Sunday Morning”, “Venus in Furs” and a show-stopping “Heroin”, with Rep on lead vocals. Set-list courtesy of Beth TNV:

The show actually concluded with an acoustic “After Hours” singalong, featuring members of opener Psychedelic Horseshit as well as a vocal contribution from the one and only Ron House.

On a Valentine’s Day in Central Ohio, Times New Viking channeled the deposed spirit of rock and roll’s greatest band, and moved the crowd, melding their own distinctive blast-first-second-and-third rock mentality to classic jams never far from anyone’s heart.

Why I Love…. Fucked Up

By Judge on Monday, February 16th, 2009

Skip to about 4.30 mins in.

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Find the full explanation here.

ShredYrFace2 – Fucked Up Back in Blighty

By Judge on Friday, February 13th, 2009

The now legendary ShredYrFace tour is back in the UK at the end of this month with its second installment.  This time featuring Rolo Tomassi, The Bronx and Matador’s own Fucked Up.

26 – LEEDS Cockpit
27 – GLASGOW Garage
28 – MANCHESTER Club Academy
01 – LIVERPOOL Korova (Fucked up headline show, not part of SYF.)
02 – CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
03 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
04 – LONDON Electric Ballroom
05 – BRIGHTON Concorde
06 – BIRMINGHAM Academy

I asked Jonah ‘Mr Jo’ Falco to give me a few thoughts on what he was expecting on the tour.

5 Things Likely to happen to Fucked Up in Old Blighty on the Shred Yr Face Tour:
The Sad Truth:

1 – “Connection” (Rolling Stones) aka The internet struggles to keep up with 6 members of Fucked Up all slobbering over gmail at once on one pithy, homemade, pirated network in some parking lot north of Lancashire. Meanwhile, Lord Fontleroy or whoever the poor guy whose signal was pirated weeps as his house is foreclosed upon due to high bandwidth bills.

2 -  “Soundcheck” aka That’s the Point: 1/10 will happen without pouting. 10/10 result in the following: Guitar stack 1: check. Guitar stack 2: check. Guitar stack 3: check. Silence, then judgement: “Turn down the guitars, they are pretty loud in the mix.”

3 – “The Golden Wrapper” aka 10,000 Marbles (aka 10kM aka 1,000,000 Meatballs) eats a chocolate bar. Everyone has their executive stress ball in their office and since M is a non drinker, mostly watches balls on television and doesn’t have a desk, this is his out. Despite his old rep in the band as “Organic Bok Choi,” he has completely renounced his past self and now claims that eating exclusively candy and sweets is simply “the most delicious lifestyle possible.”

4 – “Fooled by Fried Bread” aka Pinkeyes eats an inappropriately humungous meal right before a set and leaves the stage during a song to 1) poo or 2) throw up. This happens about once a tour. You can usually tell ‘tonight is the night’ if he asks for an extra long mic cable, because the King can still sing from the throne. Beware, be impressed, be regular.

5 – “The Encore.” Usually our finest hour. Like a group of toddlers on a museum tour, tethered by some brightly coloured plastic leash: One wants to see the exhibit one more time while the rest have to pee and just want to go home and watch cartoons (see #1 to complete this metaphor). Coax as little as you want, it only takes one of you to birth “The Encore.” PS we haven’t learned any new covers.

Coming June 9 : Sonic Youth’s ‘The Eternal’

By The Management on Thursday, February 12th, 2009

(album artwork features a painting by John Fahey)

Sonic Youth‘s 16th album, ‘The Eternal’, will be released on double vinyl, compact disc, and digital album by Matador Records on June 9.   Produced by John Agnello and the band, ‘The Eternal’ not only marks Sonic Youth’s return to the independent label sphere (titles on their own SYR label excepted) after a long association with Geffen, but more importantly, ranks as one of their more inspired efforts in a 28 year career.

(photograph by Andrew Kesin)

Recorded through November and December of last year at the band’s Echo Canyon West studio in Hoboken, NJ, ‘The Eternal’ features many firsts for a Sonic Youth album, including a number of shared vocals between Kim, Thurston, and Lee, and the studio debut of former Pavement/Dustdevils bassist Mark Ibold, a member of Sonic Youth’s touring band for the past few years.

The band’s current extracurricular activities are as always, quite varied.  The Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf, Germany is now hosting the touring museum exhibition SONIC YOUTH ETC.:  SENSATIONAL FIX, which focuses on the band’s multidisciplinary work since the band’s formation in 1981, including their collaborations with visual artists, filmmakers, designers and musicians. Kim Gordon launches a clothing line, Mirror/Dash, at Urban Outfitters on February 16, and is showing at The Armory Show in NYC March 5-8.   Lee Ranaldo, with co-conspirator Leah Singer, just opened installations at the Konsthall in Stockholm and the CNEAI in Paris, and he has a piece in the  travelling exhibition “Bad Moon Rising 3″, currently at Boots Contemporary Art Space in St. Louis.   A Beck/Sonic Youth split 7″ is being released by Matador on April 18 for Record Store Day.  And the band recently collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (along with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and mixed-media sound composer Takehisa Kosugi) on a work celebrating, and being performed for, Cunningham’s 90th birthday on April 16 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Upcoming SY shows include April gigs in Austria and Germany (including the closing of SENSATIONAL FIX in Dusseldorf) and May 16 at the No Fun Festival in Brooklyn.  They will be touring throughout the summer in support of ‘The Eternal’.

More information on these and the many, many other activities since the 2006 release of their last album, ‘Rather Ripped’, can be found here.

Of ‘The Eternal’, Matador’s Gerard Cosloy says, “We’ve not had a record in our recent history that’s been the subject of nearly as much speculation and anticipation.  Suffice to say we’re pretty amazed at the way the band delivered something this neoteric while still sounding like, well, themselves.  Less of a reinvention and perhaps more to do with a particularly awesome dozen songs.”

Matador will shortly announce a Buy Early Get Now scheme for the album with some very interesting bonus material.

Sonic Youth are:
Steve Shelley
Lee Ranaldo
Kim Gordon
Thurston Moore
Mark Ibold

Track listing:

1. Sacred Trickster
2. Anti-Orgasm
3. Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)
4. Antenna
5. What We Know
6. Calming The Snake
7. Poison Arrow
8. Malibu Gas Station
9. Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
10. No Way
11. Walkin Blue
12. Massage The History

Southeastern Connecticut, So Much To Answer For

By Gerard on Thursday, February 12th, 2009
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Condo Fucks – “What’cha Gonna Do About It” from the forthcoming LP/CD ‘Fuckbook‘.  Little known fact : The J. Geils Band’s Magic Dick is also a resident of New London, CT.

Cat Power Vinyl Back in Stock

By Dean on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Just a quick note that after a little bit of a delay at the pressing plant, we now have Moon Pix, The Greatest, and You Are Free back in stock on wonderful, black vinyl. Now you can complete a couple of pieces you were missing from your collection, or maybe just discover a couple extra gems. Jukebox is still available as well.

On the subject of vinyl, now might be a good time to pick up one of our Matador Record Bags. Buy a Cat Power (or any other record), a record bag, and get free domestic shipping. Just write “lovevinyl” in the promotion bar during checkout.

The Recession Hits Elevator Music Muzak

By Gerard on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Muzak, the legendary suppliers of smooth sounds for the workplace and former place of employ for Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. From the Charlotte Observer’s Adam Bell (link courtesy Mark Ohe)

The company had $105 million in secured bank debt that was due today, part of $440 million worth of debt due between February and March. Last month, Muzak said it had received a 22-day extension on the $105 million debt. The company said today that it and Muzak’s major creditor constituencies are committed to completing restructuring negotiations.

“Muzak is a solid business with an outstanding customer base, but we are burdened with substantial debt obligations established over a decade ago,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Villa said in a statement. “We intend to move through this process as quickly as possible and we firmly believe that this course of action will better position Muzak for long-term success.”

Muzak has 1,250 employees, including 550 in Fort Mill. It designs and installs professional sound systems for businesses, and provides other services, such as promotional music for corporate branding.

Times New Viking – “Call & Respond” on Pitchfork TV

By Gerard on Monday, February 9th, 2009

Beth, Adam and Jared performing “Call & Respond” off the new 7″/digital EP ‘Stay Awake’, as provided by Pitchfork’s A>D>D.

New Yo La Tengo, New Pornographers and Stuart Murdoch songs…

By Patrick on Monday, February 9th, 2009


… on the Dark Was The Night compilation, coming out on 4AD. All are unavailable elsewhere. The Yo La Tengo song is a Snapper cover, the New Pornographers song is a Destroyer song (cover?), and the Stuart Murdoch song is a traditional Scottish number. (Other members of Belle and Sebastian perform on the track.) All three can be checked out in the above widget.

There is also an unreleased Cat Power song on the record – a cover of “Amazing Grace.”

This is the new Red Hot compilation, and proceeds will go to benefit AIDS charities.

In stores a week from tomorrow. Preorder it here and receive a free 7″ while supplies last.