Chan(el)

In an event that edged on the surreal but certainly was a hugely successful piece of grand theatre Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues rocked the highest echelons of the fashion world on Tuesday providing the music for Chanel's haute coutre cat walk show. Housed in the magnificant and recently restored Grand Palais in Paris the performance took place in a specially constructed arena with the stage high above the models entrance. Proceedings kicked off with Judah, Greg, Eric, Jim and Chan swaggering into a version of "Naked If I Want To". Six men rolled out a huge grey and white carpet  centered with a giant Chanel logo. The models strutted their stuff wearing what to these unschooled eyes looked like opulent and sophisticated yet very pleasing creations. The DDB kicked into a muscular version of "Could We" proving what they bring to the mix (though it doesn't detract from the the album or the Memphis Rhythm Band versions)  creates their own sinuous take on the song. As "Satisfaction" continued the momentum did I notice a flicker of amusement across the concentrated face of Marianne Faithfull watching the models intently from row two? Certainly the woman next to Sean Lennon started taking photos of Cat Power and not the models. The band seamlessly stepped into a gorgeous version of "Tracks of My Tears" which built to a crescendo with Chan singing "you can tell by the look on my face" as the final model commanded the floor in a stunning white coat and gown. The curtains opened and Karl Lagerfeld sat there amongst his team as if they too were an audience watching the show.

So I missed clocking Sigourney Weaver, Madame Chirac, Catherine Deneuve, the French Minister of Culture  oh and Kate Moss but we did see Sofia Coppola and get to take same great photos of Chan with Marianne Faithfull and Karl Lagerfeld.

 

Award for Lifetime Achievement In Photoshop Masking Goes To…

….the Pitchfork photo editor.  Trust us.  No one knows better than the record label how hard it must be to book a Cat Power / Yoko Ono photoshoot.    First of all, you have all the Versace fittings for that little award show in a couple of weeks.  As for Yoko, even if you lock it down, finding a reliable ride to the shoot gets harder and harder with each blackmail letter.  So, it's with a deep level of empathy that we heap praise on Pitchfork for hiring The Daily Show's photoshop mask experts to make the impossible come true.   

 

yoko-catpower
 
  

Pitchfork's New Pitchcast: Indie Publicists Rejoice As Need For Screen Shot Software To Prove Exclusive MP3 WAS On Home Page Goes Bye-Bye.

Cat Power vs The Divas

That's right, peoples. Cat Power has been nominated for a BRIT Award in the Best International Female category. For our US readers, the BRIT awards are kinda like the UK version of the Grammys. Traditionally the domain of millions-selling pop stars, Cat Power has manged to get onto the nomination list by…..well, we're not sure. We're not in the habit of assuming that artists deserving awards might actually get them. We're dumbfounded, in fact, given her competition.

She's up against: Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Pink and Nelly Furtado. 

Surely it can't be that industry bigwigs have finally realised that they should give awards to, y'know, really great artists? I mean, what are the chances of that? The only explanation I can think of is voodoo. Practised by members of the Cat Power bulletin board. We salute you, harbringers of dark magick. Well played. 

How Can I Tell You…

…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.

[youtube]4HIEEMNzbIc[/youtube]

Cat Power, In Concerto On NPR

 catpower.jpg

(Chan at Bonaroo, pic taken from Myself Myself)

From the good people of NPR.org:

November 15, 2006 · Cat Power is the music of Chan Marshall, a Southern-born singer-songwriter with a soulful, heart-wrenching voice. In a decade-long career, her music has evolved from spare, angst-ridden rock to lush, warm soul, while always intimate and mesmerizing. Hear Cat Power live online in a full concert, webcast on NPR.org from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club Monday, Nov. 20. Hear the entire show beginning at approximately 7 p.m. ET.

Check out the full details, and, more importantly, find the link to listen HERE

Cat Power in Paris Nov 5

Le Grand Rex in Paris is a glorious example of the extravagant art deco picture palaces that were built in the thirties to impress the general public with the magic of the moving picture and the fantasy of exotic places. Worlds away from production line, snack dispensing, surround sound cinemas we have now. The Rex, like others of the era, takes the term picture palace literally and the three tiered auditorium is themed around an Alhambra styled Moorish castle. All the public areas outside the have beautifully preserved wood panelling and chrome detailing. This is not a regular rock circuit venue and only the lucky properly feted musicians get to grace its stage. Cat Power is such.

The set starts very much as the recent London show. The Memphis Rhythm Band ably warm up the audience and the sound engineers with their sinuous funk. Chan kicks off with the Greatest which has now cemented its place as her theme tune. Having pulled rank for a photo pass for the first three songs in a vain attempt to get something adequate to illustrate this dispatch, the first section of the show passes in a flash (not photographic however as these are barred).

Chan is on top form. She later claims to suffering nerves. Perhaps it is playing in Paris or the venue size but her nerves are not apparent in her vocal performance or her playful onstage manner. One of my favourite moments is her miming swimming strokes and surfing a board in the introduction to "Islands". The slightly fractured grain of Chan's voice in "Where Is My Love" is immensely powerful and simultaneously very sensitive. In a slightly self mocking move Chan holds her lighter aloft to symbolise an ironic power ballad nature of the song.

The solo section features "House of the Rising Sun" and beneath the glorious deco arch and purple curtains Chan is bathed in blue and green lights making her seem to be underwater. "Wild As The Wind" has an exquisite beauty and as "I Don't Blame You" is sung the stage lighting evokes the light of a shimmering green forest. The audience listen in rapt silence.

"Nude As The News" was a minor hit in France and its opening is very warmly welcomed. The version is a little fast for me but builds into a compelling crescendo and then blends into a rocking full band version of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction". If you watch closely you can catch Chan  flapping her hands behind her bottom a la vintage Jagger.

After a surprising yet highly entertaining version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" Chan starts throwing white roses into the audience. Has she gone all Morrissey on us? To dispel the image she launches into a long story about her childhood and it eventually evolves as an explanation about her life long love of Paris. And Paris loved her back.

The beginning of the end (of the year)

Not to toot our own horn too much but it’s been a bit of a bumper crop for Matador press in the music magazines this month.  First and foremost we’d like to congratulate CHAN MARSHALL on being ‘WOMAN OF THE YEAR’ in Uncut.  That’s right, she beat off stiff competition from Girls Aloud and the Sugarbabes to achieve what is, quite frankly, the highest accolade to be bestowed on a woman since Cilla Black was awarded an OBE.  It’s also no mean feat that her counterpart as ‘Man Of The Year’ is her favourite man, Bob Dylan and the legendary Neil Young is ‘Hero of the Year’, she’s in good company!

Accompanied by a 3 page feature with some spectacular photos by Pieter Van Hattem (some of which you can see here) CAT POWER’s “The Greatest” also ranks at number 14 in the end of year polls, which coming out at least a month before everyone elses, shows Uncut as a forerunner of good taste.  The list features no fewer than three Matador artists in the top 30.   Yo La Tengo are number 27 with their masterpiece “I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass”and the magazine calls Ira Kaplan “a truly innovative guitarist”. High praise indeed but not quite as great as To Hell With fanzine’s Bush Hall show review a few months back where they describe Ira as being “the best guitarist I’ve ever seen in the flesh. That might be a bold claim, but one I’d stay firm on, such is the power, spontaneity and energy of his guitar playing. It’s a dazzling sight.” And that’s from a new convert to the band’s awesomeness, long may they bring new followers into the fold!

For the full Uncut list you can try various blogs etc but this is one of my favourites (by Beggars’ own Annette Lee!).

Not forgetting one of the other great UK publications, Mojo features Dead Meadow in the Buried Treasure section. Ok, it’s not technically a Matador release as it’s a reissue of their first album originally on Tolotta and now available again through Xemu, but we’re not picky.  We *heart* Dead Meadow. The article is written enthusiastically by number one Dead Meadow fan Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals and it is a WHOLE PAGE, which in these days of cutting space and copious advertising, is excellent coverage.

Cat Power at the Roundhouse

I tells you what, if theres one thing you can count on in one of my Matablog posts, it's the consistency of my photography. They're either rubbish or not there at all, and today it's the latter (the above was taken by Carlos – thank you Carlos).  But believe me, the Roundhouse is a lovely venue. It's only recently reopened, and it feels like one of those all-purpose venues, equally adaptable to band shows or yr more esoteric fare. Another nice thing about the Roundhouse is, being newly reopened, theres no stigma in regards to what sort of venue it is. Cat Power's June show at the Barbican was going to be a seated, serious, classy affair cause that's what you get at the Barbican. It became apparent fairly early on that this show would be pretty different – the standing audience rapturously getting into the Memphis Rhythm Band's pre-Chan soul workout set the tone for the evening. Everything seemed a little more pronounced to me, as if Chan and The MRB didn't think they had the crowd in the palm of their hands, and were playing harder than ever to win us over. I've heard all the amateur psychobabbble from journalists over the last few months over how audiences now feel 'proud' of Chan etc etc, but I did get a wee bit emotional when they played a taut, muscular version of 'Cross Bones Style' (with added 'Nude As The News' lyrics) – for some reason, I thought I'd never see her perform that song live. Elsewhere, it's business as usual: 'Where Is My Love?' is still arrestingly beautiful, and 'Love & Communication' is as rousing a finale as you could hope for. It seems like every show is different, and happily they're getting better and better.

Cat Power – Tickets For Taping of PBS’ “Austin City Limits”

(poster art from an LA show that was rescheduled, designed by Francesca Montanari)

Cat Power and The Memphis Rhythm Band are hitting my adopted hometown of Austin, TX for this weekend’s sprawling Austin City Limits Festival (Cat Power on Friday, The New Pornographers on Sunday. Not appearing : Color Me Badd) with an addition show at Stubbs’ Barbecue Sunday evening.

And like they say during the daily casualty briefings, “but wait, there’s more.” Chan and the Memphis Rhythm Band will be taping a studio performance for PBS’ “Austin City Limits” this coming Monday (September 18) at 8pm.   A limited number of tickets are being made available to the public this Friday at noon at the studios of KLRU.

KLRU is located on the University of Texas campus at the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. There is a limit of two tickets per person. Please note that Austin City Limits cannot guarantee admission, even if you hold a ticket, probably because they’re smart and would like to avoid liability.

Cat Power – New iTunes Exclusive, Plus The Latest On The Greatest

Dear Friends,

On September 12, Matador is re-releasing the most recent Cat Power album, ‘The Greatest’. The reissued version of the album, which you might’ve already learned via our print advertisements, feature 3 different slipcase covers. The album also carries a reduced list price of $9.98.

We’d like to stress the following points :

a) there are no additional songs on this version of the album
b) though we will not try to stop you from purchasing the new slipcase edition if you already own ‘The Greatest’, this endeavor is really directed at persons who’ve not checked out the album yet.
c) said scheme and accompanying fancy art were prepared with the full cooperation of Chan Marshall.

If you’re of the opinion that dropping the list price on ‘The Greatest’ is a curious way to reward the serious Cat Power fans that bought the album the day it came out, well, you’re right. Except we did acknowledge that portion of the audience with a bonus track on release. And they got to hear this terrific album for months and months, which isn’t a bad deal, either.

Anyhow, we know this is a sensitive subject. We’re not intent on gouging Cat Power fans, but we are trying to be creative and competitive in a marketplace where it is becoming increasing hard to maintain the shelf life of a title for more than a couple of months. We really believe in Chan and are of the opinion that ‘The Greatest’ is one of those life affirming records that we have to get into the hands and heads of as many people as possible.

For those of you already down with the program, thank you. Seriously. We hope you’ll be as excited as we are by the contents of the new Cat Power Live Session, an iTunes Music Store exclusive, available today.

track listing :

1. Love and Communication (Acoustic Version)
2. House Of The Rising Sun
3. Wild Is The Wind
4. Who Knows Where The Time Goes

Cat Power – forthcoming solo dates

Ahem. Though the forthcoming Cat Power & The Memphis Rhythm Band dates are undoubtedly a big deal, Chan Marshall is still a musical magician all by her lonesome.

August
25 Malibu Performing Arts Center, Malibu, CA – 2 Shows
26 Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR – 2 Shows
27 Richards on Richards, Vancouver, BC – 2 Shows
28 Neumos, Seattle, WA – 2 Shows
29 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA – 2 Shows
31 Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA – 2 Shows

September
1 Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO (1 show only)
2 Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN – 2 Shows
4 Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ONT – 2 Shows
5 Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA – 2 Shows

Cat Power September Dates

Cat Power is heading out again this September with the world’s most dangerous band – The Memphis Rhythm Band.

September
10 Irving Plaza New York, NY – 2 Evening Shows
12 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA
13 Vic Theatre Chicago, IL
15 Austin City Limits Festival Zilker Park Austin, TX Cingular Stage
16 Gypsy Ballroom Dallas, TX
17 Stubb’s BBQ (Outside) Austin, TX