On March 2, Matador is releasing the hotly anticipated 2nd album from Richmond, VA’s Lucy Dacus, ‘Historian’, the followup to her unanimously hailed 2016 debut, ‘No Burden’ that established her as one of modern music’s top new voices & songwriters. The album’s first single, “Night Shift”, can be heard above.
‘Historian’ is a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent that finds Dacus unafraid to take on the big questions — the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It’s a record full of bracing realizations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos.
Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with ‘No Burden’ producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving ‘Historian’ the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers, on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace.
The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens — touching on everything from systemic racism to creative burnout to the death of her grandmother. “It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”
As mentioned earlier this week, Spoon’s omnipresence in the commercial and public broadcast realms continues tomorrow with an appearance on “CBS This Morning” (7am eastern), followed by a broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion”, live from NYC’s Town Hall at 6pm eastern.
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile have teamed with Spotify for an intercontinental mixtape exchange in the spirit of their new album Lotta Sea Lice. Listeners can make a new musical friend by submitting a playlist, sending it into the world as a digital postcard and immediately receiving a playlist postcard in exchange.
Harkening back to their 1997 release of three consecutive EPs (‘Dog On Wheels’, ‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’, and ‘3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light’), Belle and Sebastian will release three new EPs under the umbrella title ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’, with the first EP coming out on December 8th, the second on January 19th, and the third on February 16th (vinyl and digital only). The EP trilogy will culminate with a compilation CD and a limited vinyl box set containing all three EPs, with the option of a box just for EP3 for those who have already purchased 1 and 2.
Belle and Sebastian has revealed a new song titled “I’ll Be Your Pilot”, which can be found on EP2. The single takes as its subject Stuart Murdoch’s young son: “Having your first kid is a huge event, so I wrapped a lot of things I felt about Denny into the song. Being a dad made me feel a little like the pilot in The Little Prince, hence all the references to the Sahara!”
Just as those three early EPs are a crucial part of the Belle and Sebastian canon, these three new releases aren’t merely a detour between albums, but as definitive releases in their own right. ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’ is both an era of its own, and part of a long, rich history. ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’ is, if you like, Belle and Sebastian Redux.
When Belle and Sebastian felt new music percolating, they decided to break from the working methods of the recent years and instead stay at home, record the tracks as and when, often producing themselves, working with friends and collaborators to see what emerged. Working in Glasgow gave them the freedom to work without the constraints that making an album can impose: they could take their time honing and experimenting.
One thing that has defined Belle and Sebastian has been their relationship with fans, and that’s apparent in the new EPs. For the three sleeves, the group issued a call to fans to come to be photographed by Murdoch at a studio in Belsize Park in North London. Fifty were selected, and all those photographed were also recorded answering the question: “How do you solve your human problems?”
The 3×12″ boxset is available with two different purchase options. You can buy the set as a subscription which will ship an EP to your door each month, starting with the first EP on December 8th, the second EP on January 19th and the third EP and box + poster on Febraury 16th.
OR you can buy the 3×12″ boxset as a complete set, which will ship to arrive on February 16th, 2018.
Alternatively, you may purchase a CD compilation of the 3 EPs, which will also ship to arrive on February 16th, 2018.
The 3 EPs are also available individually, without the boxset and poster, on each of the dates listed above. You can buy EP 1 HERE, EP 2 HERE and EP 3 HERE.
Brooklyn-via-Baltimore singer /songwriter/guitar prodigy Lindsey Jordan aka Snail Mailis the latest addition to the Matador Records roster. Snail Mail will release a full-length album in 2018, following Sister Polygon’s 2017 12″ reissue of the of the introductory cassette, ‘Habit’. Snail Mail’s NPR Tiny Desk concert premiered this morning, and might provide a hint or several why press, musical peers (including but not limited to Waxahatchee, Priests and Girlpool), and yeah, record labels have taken so much interest in a short spell..
(prior praise for ‘Habit’)
“There’s no grandstanding here, no attempts at hiding how truly confusing it is to be young and feel like the world is simultaneously infinite and hopeless. Perhaps that is why Snail Mail sound so alive despite much tangible optimism: there’s no person behind a curtain, the ugly resides in reality.” – Quinn Moreland, Pitchfork
“Jordan has a voice that only comes along every now and then … she is able to fit a universe of emotion into a single turn of phrase without any vocal affectation … whether she’s muttering or shouting, you feel the heartbreak, the frustration, the joy that came with writing these lyrics” -Stereogum
“a minimalist swirl of drowsy tempos, unassumingly meticulous guitar parts, and the sort of entry-level existentialism that’s too pure to be pretentious.” – Patrick D. McDermott, The Fader
Julien Baker will release her highly anticipated second album,’Turn Out The Lights’ on October 27th, 2017. An early preview can now be heard in the first single “Appointments”, a viscerally moving track that culminates in a swell of Baker’s voice, guitar, and piano. ‘Turn Out The Lights’ will arrive nearly two years to the day after her debut LP, ‘Sprained Ankle’ (originally released by 6131) and is now available for pre-order HERE.
Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Baker’s hometown of Memphis, TN, ‘Turn Out The Lights’ expands upon the sound and vision of Sprained Ankle while retaining the haunting, confessional songwriting style for which she has become known. Throughout the album, she reflects on experiences of her own and those closest to her, exploring the internal conflicts that wrestle inside us all: how we deal and cope with our struggles, and how it all impacts both ourselves and our relationships of all kinds. The result is a deeply empathetic album that embraces the grays and complex truths of humanity and mental health. Turn Out The Lights was written and produced by Baker, and mixed by Craig Silvey (The National, Arcade Fire, Florence & the Machine).
3. Turn Out the Lights
5. Sour Breath
7. Everything That Helps You Sleep
8. Happy to Be Here
9. Hurt Less
11. Claws In Your Back
10/12 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade +
10/13 – Saxapahaw, NC – Haw River Ballroom +
10/14 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle +
10/15 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater +
10/17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club +
10/18 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre +
10/20 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre +
10/25 – Montreal, QC – Theatre Fairmount +
10/27 – New York, NY – Town Hall +
10/28 – Somerville, MA – Somerville Theatre +
10/29 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer +
11/03 – The Hague, NL – Crossing Border Festival
11/04 – Utrecht, NL – Ekko
11/06 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern
11/07 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
11/08 – Glasgow, UK – CCA
11/09 – Dublin, IE – Whelans
11/10 – London, UK – Union Chapel *SOLD OUT*
11/12 – Brussels, BE – Autumn Falls
11/14 – Berlin, DE – Heimathafen Neukolln
11/15 – Hamburg, DE – Uebel & Gefahrlich
11/16 – Düsseldorf, DE – New Fall Festival
11/17 – Madrid, ES – El Sol
11/18 – Braga, PT – Theatro Circo
11/19 – Barcelona, ES – La De Apolo
11/29 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
11/30 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
12/01 – Memphis, TN – 1884 Lounge
12/02 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall +
12/04 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre +
12/07 – Spokane, WA – The Bartlett +
12/08 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre +
12/09 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre +
12/10 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater +
12/12 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore +
12/14 – Los Angeles, CA – Palace Theatre +
12/15 – San Diego, CA – The Irenic +
12/16 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom +
12/18 – Austin, TX – Emo’s +
12/19 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theater +
12/20 – Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theater +
* supporting Belle & Sebastian
# supporting Ben Folds
+ Half Waif supports
Julien Baker online:
“A collection of songs that articulates that fury and despair with such authority, it deserves to become the soundtrack for whatever future documentary montage captures the mess of 2017. It’s galvanizing, uncompromising, and uplifting, and it should speak to everyone who still has some fight left in them.” – Sean O’Neal, The A/V Club
Today marks the long-awaited release date for Algiers’ incendiary 2nd album, the critically-acclaimed ‘The Underside Of Power’, available on digital, CD and LP formats at the url below. The first song from the Adrian Utley and Ali Chant-produced masterpiece, “Walk Like A Panther” (featuring a sample culled from a speech by Chicago Black Panther Fred Hampton), can be heard above in lyric video form.
In addition to the previously announced European stadium dates supporting Depeche Mode and this summer’s headlining club shows in North America, Algiers have more US dates happening in September supporting !!! (see below).
(directed, produced and edited by Henry Busby and Marcus Tortorici)
Hot on the heels of NPR premiering the album’s title track earlier this morning, we’re very proud to announce the release of Algiers‘ long-awaited 2nd album, ‘The Underside Of Power’ (June 23). LP preorders (starting today) will include the limited edition “Walk Like A Panther” 7″ and 16 page ‘zine created by Algiers.
Produced by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ali Chant, mixed by Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))), with post-production by Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Hubble), ‘The Underside Of Power’ zooms across a musical landscape including but not limited to Southern rap to British grime to horror movie soundtracks to late-70s English industrial to Northern Soul. In the wake of our current political climate, Algiers cast a withering gaze on subject matter ranging from oppression, whiteness, police brutality, dystopia, and hegemonic power structures.
Now a four-piece, with the addition of Bloc Party’s Matt Tong on drums, the Atlanta-London-NYC band will bring their intense live show to major East and West Coast markets this summer, following an previously announced arena & stadium tour with Depeche Mode in Europe.
1. Walk Like A Panther
2. Cry Of The Martyrs
3. The Underside Of Power
4. Death March
5. A Murmur. A Sign.
6. Mme Rieux
9. Plague Years
10. A Hymn For An Average Man
11. Bury Me Standing
12. The Cycle/The Spiral: Time to Go Down Slowly
This is the musical response that dark times demand, one that not only shakes its fist but deploys it. Locally-informed global citizens, Algiers refuse to sit idly by while most contemporary artists appear perfectly content to sit out the revolution. Not only do Algiers harbor a purposeful sense of obligation in what they do on their latest resistance record The Underside Of Power, but they recognize the roots and thorns of precedent in said resistance.
“This album was recorded in a political environment that collapses the late 70s economic crisis and the looming onslaught of arch-conservative neoliberalism, via Thatcher and Reagan, into the late 1930s, a world riven by fascist nationalism and white power fantasies in the US and abroad,” says bassist Ryan Mahan. Their shared experiences and collective understanding of this rising tide of sinister politics compels them to make music together, to combat the potentially crippling waves of frustration and despair to let out a soulful roar, a call-to-action set to an eclectic, positively electric beat.
The inclination to do otherwise is one worth fighting. Take Algiers frontman Franklin James Fisher, for example. Writing incendiary and even beauteous lyrics from inside a Manhattan nightclub’s coat check room, enduring the same damn songs thumping away nightly in the next room for the pleasures of a predominantly white audience, he tends to see the bigger picture as well as its pointillistic details.
“This nightclub is every nightclub in the world, basically. Whatever is being played there, whatever is happening there is happening everywhere else in the world,” he says. “It’s as if the entire history of music is boiled down to these fifteen artists–and I use the term loosely,” he says with an exasperated, dismissive sneer. With the world burning outside, a generation’s obliviously privileged dances to a carbon copied soundtrack.
It speaks volumes that a black man in America with an expensive Master’s degree–and all its overwhelming personal debt–finds himself picking up shifts at such a place that literally manifests the culture industry’s exploitation and commodification of black experience. An aptly unjust fate, Fisher is confined to an enclosed space while others move their feet freely mere steps away from him. “You have to find ways of getting through it without completely losing your mind. Luckily I’m able to escape inside my own head.”
Fortunately, the multiracial quartet Algiers provides more than mere distraction, but rather a revelatory creative release and wholesale rejection of the globally normative corporate playlist culture. Poke at the seasoned members’ bruised flesh, and out come wafting touchpoints as disparate and intriguing as Big Black, Wendy Carlos, John Carpenter, Cybotron, The Four Tops, Portishead, Public Image Limited, Steve Reich, and Nina Simone, to name but a few. Deep echoes of Black Lives Matter and its 20th century forbears gather, surge, and subside in their often soulful work, a form of principled, acute dissent more interested in learning from the past than in evoking nostalgia.
And while many artists seem uninterested or even afraid to fully engage with these potent topics in song, Algiers has zero qualms about taking a direct approach. “We’re fortunate enough now where we’re able to openly talk about racist, violent police and murderous state structures,” says Mahan. “When we were growing up in the South, these critiques of class and race oppression were largely and sometimes violently suppressed. It’s why we take inspiration from the Panthers or the Chicano movement, to name two.”
Adding to this Casbah rocking mix of ideas is the relatively recent inclusion of drummer Matt Tong, formerly of Bloc Party. Joining the group for the touring cycle following their prior album, he’d spent time gelling with the original trio as a core component of their simply ferocious live sets to understand and help shape the dynamic. For a band that seems to revel and thrive in flux, Tong’s substantial role in the making of The Underside Of Power worked out well.
Beyond the technical necessities living their respective lives both in and outside of music, Algiers’ continued deviation from a more traditional band approach created a more versatile sound, one that better incorporates a collective and respective panoply of influences and styles.
Some of this is informed by their choice of collaborators in this process, a crew that includes Adrian Utley [Portishead], Ben Greenberg [Uniform, The Men], Randall Dunn [Sunn 0)))], among others. Pick any track off The Underside of Power and the reference points expand exponentially, a dizzying and thrilling Recommended-If-You-Like list that would consume a series of afternoons.
Featuring a fully-sanctioned sample of slain Black Panther Fred Hampton, the revolutionary “Walk Like A Panther” presents an alternate reality where Adrian Sherwood produced Yeezus instead of Rick Rubin, with Fisher bellowing justifiable threats over a storm of formidable sonics. “Death March” fuses post-punk primacy to the Italo-horror tradition, in an effort to mirror a looming and perpetual sense of modern dread. Elsewhere, the raucous “Cleveland” turns into a full-on demonstration, with names of victims of institutionally sanctioned racial violence like Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice invoked over a neck-snapping electro beat.
The dangerously poppy title track finds a glorious midpoint between Suicide and The Temptations, making for the catchiest expression of outrage this side of the ‘70s. A molotov cocktail of a single, that particular song represents a potential paradox for Algiers, the maintaining of a renegade righteousness in the midst of a peppy soul tune. “It’s more important than ever in this particular time, but it’s something we’ve never shied away from,” says Tesche.
The band doesn’t concern themselves with that risk. “No matter what your messaging is, you can’t control what people will or won’t take away from it,” says Mahan. “The only thing you can do is put stuff of substance out there.” – Gary Suarez
Hey, look at us, actually repressing a couple of Kurt Vile EP’s you’ve been trying to acquire for far too long. On May 19, we’re reissuing the 6-song ‘So Outta Reach’ (2011) on blue vinyl and on the same day, 2010’s ‘Square Shells’ on opaque colored vinyl. Activate your preorder skills below :
In addition, Kurt’s playing 3 Eastern datesin June including a free show at Portsmouth, NH’s Prescott Park Arts Festival and a rather intimate show in the town made famous by Howard Stern (and infamous by Homestead Records) Rockville Centre, NY.
Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “doesn’t this sound a bit Peter Lemonmoodring?” and you’d be right. However, we’re sure you’ll find the experience far more rewarding. When you create a Spoon Spotify playlist, the Aura Reader analyzes that playlist, then creates a individualized version of the ‘Hot Thoughts’ album cover with different colors in the artwork’s signature watercolor skull, creating a reflection of each fan’s own… (SAFE FOR WORK) Hot Thoughts.
The customized ‘Hot Thoughts’ skulls can then be used by as avatars on Twitter, Instagram, and various other social media. Because we’re ALL ABOUT SKULLS .
Perhaps it would be unfair to call this the most poorly kept secret in recent memory, but it’s certainly in the top ten. On March 17, we’ll releasing the 9th and latest album from Spoon, ‘Hot Thoughts’ in all territories.
’Hot Thoughts’’ is the bravest, most sonically inventive work of Spoon’s career. With all due respect to earlier efforts that have made the quintet both critically acclaimed and a commercial contender, preconceptions about this band are about to be obliterated. That’s not to say ‘Hot Thoughts’ doesn’t have a requisite supply of infectious earworms but there’s a lyrical bent that’s as carnal as it’s crafty, and a newfound sense of sonic exploration that results in the genre-smasher Spoon have flirted with in the past but not fully consummated.
Co-produced by Spoon and Dave Fridmann and reunited with Matador (third time’s the charm), with the crackling, incandescent, multi-dimensional backdrop conjured on ‘Hot Thoughts’, the lines between accessible and experimental become non-factors for once and all. It’s pop as high art, delivered with total confidence and focus.
Following a streak of three consecutive Top 10 albums—’Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’ (Merge, 2007), ‘Transference’ (Merge, 2010) and ‘They Want My Soul’ (Loma Vista, 2014)–Hot ‘Thoughts’ is nothing short of a masterwork. Within the space of 10 songs, ‘Hot Thoughts’ creates a musical universe of its own, ranging from the kaleidoscopic opening/title track—available to stream here or as an instant download with all pre-orders –through the gargantuan stomp of “Do I Have To Talk You Into It” and ubiquitous wiry hooks of “Can I Sit Next To You” to the bittersweetness of “I Ain’t The One” and beyond.
Having recently previewed ‘Hot Thoughts’ material in a surprise hometown warm-up, Spoon has also confirmed a three-night release week SXSW residency for which the band will resurrect the original Austin venue Emo’s location, currently referred to as “The Main” on March 14, 15 and 16. Spoon will select a unique line up each night and will stubbornly be referring to the venue as “Eno’s”.
Details on the various vinyl formats can be found below.
1. Hot Thoughts
3. Do I Have To Talk You Into It
4. First Caress
5. Pink Up
6. Can I Sit Next To You
7. I Ain’t The One
8. Tear It Down
Green Vinyl version – Exclusive to Matador and Spoon web store orders only. Two Golden Ticket Green Vinyl versions are hidden within the purple pressing. The lucky recipient will win tickets to the nearest Spoon show upon redemption.
Limited edition Red vinyl, exclusive to all participating independent record stores :
– CD and Digital (mp3/Audiophile)
South By Southwest Residency at The Main a/k/a Eno’s:
Tuesday, March 14
Wednesday, March 15
Thursday, March 16
We’re very thrilled to announce the signing of Memphis, TN-based songwriter Julien Baker. The 21-year-old’s widely–acclaimed 2015 debut album, ‘Sprained Ankle’ (originally released by 6131) is available now digitally, with Matador’s LP and CD reissue available in all territories (save for North America and Australia) on March 17. We’ll be releasing Julien’s next studio album everywhere.
(7″ sleeve photo by Kaitlin Gladney)
As premiered earlier this morning via NPR’s “All Songs Considered”, you can hear the previously unreleased “Funeral Pyre”, the A-side for Baker’s new 7”, out on March 17th on Matador*. Only Baker can make a song with such a darkly macabre title so heartbreakingly gorgeous, with her signature hushed-yet-lofty vocals soaring over a quietly finger-picked melody that crescendos into layered, almost-orchestral beauty. The B-side, “Distant Solar System,” is another unheard song from the ‘Sprained Ankle’ sessions.
(* – said 7″ will be included in the international editions of the ‘Sprained Ankle’ LP ; however, the single will be available for stand-alone purchase in North America).
After extensive touring in 2015 and 2016, Baker shows no signs of slowing down in 2017. Midwestern US audiences can catch her on a short run of dates this winter, which are followed by a lengthy European tour in the spring. The full list of tour dates can be found below :
01/18 Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater w/ Ben Gibbard
01/19 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Ben Gibbard
01/20 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Ben Gibbard
02/17 Davenport, IA @ GAS Feed & Seed Fest
02/18 Champaign, IL @ The Accord w/ Thunder Dreamer
04/22-04/23 N. Charleston, SC @ High Water Festival w/ Avett Brothers, The Shins, Shovels & Rope, Dawes, Lucius, Charles Bradley
05/24 Jena, DE @ Trafo
05/25 Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
05/28 Hamburg, DE @ Aalhaus
05/29 Munster, DE @ Pension Schmidt
05/30 Heidelberg, DE @ Karlstorbahnhof
05/31 Munich, DE @ Milla
06/05 London, UK @ Bush Hall
06/06 Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
06/09 Porto, PT @ Primavera Sound
06/10 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
As touted in this space previously, a limited edition 3-song 12″ EP from Steve Gunn is available at participating Record Store Day retailers this coming Friday, November 25. In addition to ‘Eyes On The Lines” “Ancient Jules”, the EP includes a pair of previously unreleased tracks, “The Handshake” and “The Soloist”.
After a two decade sabbatical, highly revered U.S. quartet CHAVEZ make their hotly rumored return to the rock frontlines with a new 3 song 12”/digital EP, ‘Cockfighters’, released by Matador on January 13 of the new year. Said EP — recorded in 2015 with longtime associate John Agnello —— represents the band’s first new recordings since their 1996 album, ‘Ride the Fader’. Will this EP result in a future full-length? Will Chavez once again exhibit the sort of live form they flashed at 2010’s Matador 21 celebrations? We don’t think you should bet money on it, but on the other hand, if you have a genuine gambling problem, judgmental scolding isn’t going to help anyone. Let’s enjoy this all-too-brief reminder of the band’s genius while we can.
1. The Singer Lied
2. Blank In The Blaze
3. The Bully Boys
It is both a blessing and a curse to be born with a penis. Freud knew this. So did Candy Darling. And so, mutatis mutandis, do the men of Chavez. They are phallus-wrestlers of the highest order, as evidenced not only by the muscular sensitivity of their music, but also quite literally by the title of their new EP, Cockfighters. Three songs in nine minutes; a new chapter and a willful engagement with the masculine issues—both hidden and overt—of our time.
To those of you who now implore, “Tell me the tale entire of Chavez,” we would caution that history is one big flaccid schlong draped across us all. Its inches are the measure of humankind’s institutionalized lies. So we don’t want to spend too much time on the past. But, for the sake of completion, we’ll blast through the pertinents real quick: Chavez was an integral part of the Matador records 1990s ejaculation of genius. With a bit more arena-rock in their DNA than most of their labelmates, Chavez took the nervous structures and ruminative lyric modes of the Indie Rock Pleistocene but added, deeper and more effectively than their peers, an injection of glistening testosterone-maximized amperage to the mix.
The band is composed of four Renaissance gents, varied and successful in their non ‘Vez pursuits.
Bassist Scott Marshall is a filmmaker who works and surfs in Malibu each and every day. He is lifelong friends with Anson Williams, which is a true fact you can research if you wish.
Drummer The James Lo, who is distinguished as a human in 2016 by the lack of a Wikipedia page that captures and classifies his essence in digital formaldehyde, is ambivalent about this rock music thing. He spends his time designing sound for contemporary dance and creating bits of hardware and software for music and theater.
Guitarist, riff-writer, and purveyor of harmony vocals Clay Tarver is a screenwriter who has worked on all four seasons of the HBO series Silicon Valley. He won a WGA Award in 2015 and subsequently, as he tells it, “nearly shit [his] pants onstage in a Men’s Warehouse rented tux.”
Guitarist, lyricist, and lead singer Matt Sweeney is a knight errant of studio and stage who has played with everyone from Iggy Pop and Neil Diamond to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Adele, and Run The Jewels. When all us humans have finally moved on from this Earth and are grooving as one spiritual mass to the great afterlife band of eternity, we will surely find Sweeney at the lip of the stage.
For now, in the material world, we walk around in our mortal fleshbags looking for good things to listen to—which is where these new Chavez tunes come in handy. Aside from a scattered drippage of shows and some new vocals on a greatest hits set, this here is the first public utterance from Chavez since 1996. But please put away your hot branding iron that says REUNION in the WranglerⓇ font. You will not be able to use it on the exposed flesh of Chavez because, technically, the band never broke up. They just noticed that the less they did, the more people wanted them. So they became a wee bit diffuse in their approach, getting together now and then over the years to proverbially noodle in the proverbial woodshed.
So this is less a Lazarus vibe then it is, say, a flaming and glorious phoenix kind of a trip. Imagine if Charles Willeford—author of the 1962 cult pulp novel (and literary ancestor to this EP) Cockfighter—clawed himself out of the grave and said, through a gargle of dirt and his own decaying bones, “Hey, folks. I’ve been down there writing the whole time and, here you go: got a new book for y’all here.” This Chavez moment we’re witnessing right now is kind of like that. A much-needed and genuinely ripping jolt of new perspective from artists of experience and wisdom. Thanks, men.
Body/Head, the duo of Kim Gordon (CKM, Sonic Youth, Free Kitten, etc.) and Bill Nace (X.O.4, Vampire Belt, Ceylon Mange, etc.) will be releasing their new record, ‘No Waves’, on November 11th. The live record documents a single show (Big Ears Festival in 2014 in Knoxville, TN) from a band renowned for clearing pathways of possibility using great waves of amplification and voice.
Body/Head’s debut release for Matador Records, ‘Coming Apart’, was arguably the heaviest record of 2013 and received with open arms and blown minds across the world. The fact that a record steeped so heavily in non-traditional structures and improvisation could touch so many people was not a surprise to anyone who had seen Body/Head in a live setting. No Waves captures that raw improvisation and harnesses the power into a listening experience of pure, unmediated intensity.
The fire of improvisation is not the fire of the elements. Body/Head deal in electricity, but they exist in the fire of improvisation. As such, they need to play live to sustain themselves. Call it the ontological necessity of a band working heavily with the flow of power (power flowing back and forth between the members of the band, flowing through band and audience, flowing through the mental and material planes, etc). ‘No Waves’, a document of this flow of power, offers a different side of the band they revealed on ‘Coming Apart’. Yes, some of the songs cross over in undefinable ways, but the live foundation of No Waves brings all new energies to the fore. Everything reveals itself in the now.
One of the pleasures of a live record is a chance for the listener to feel the music develop and unfold from a previously known departure point. This experience is magnified with Body/Head due to the improvisatory basis of the band, which encourages new sounds and modes of communication with every show. We hear new vocal melodies developing, new attacks on strings, new clusters of intervals. It is the sound of sound evolving. Listening to No Waves, one can’t help feel that despite the title of their previous record, ‘Coming Apart’, we’re actually hearing Kim and Bill become one. Guitars and vocals flow into each as if played by a single creature. The sound of their evolution causes audiomorphic sensations. Two guitars or eight? Four hands or one? One voice or two?
The live record also plays with orientation via it’s concentration on communication. Which way are you listening to it? Listen once and hear certain forms. Listen to the same part again and you may perceive new forms, like overhearing a game of telephone. With ‘No Waves’, Body/Head adds a document to the library of classic live records that never exhaust themselves no matter how many times they are listened to. Musicians and groups such as Albert Ayler, High Rise, Van Morrison, Rudolph Grey, Bill Evens, Swans, etc. knew the unique possibilities of a live record that invites participation from the listener. It’s the beauty of a path cleared at the moment it was recorded and for every moment to come. It’s Body/Head doing what they do best – making the listener smile as they participate with the band in joyous, creative time. The Élan vital never rocked so hard. – Ben Chasny
PREORDER ‘No Waves’ from Matador and other beloved physical/digital outlets. Orders via Kung Fu feature a t-shirt/LP or CD bundle.
Thursday, November 10 – Ottobar, Baltimore MD
On November 25 we’ll be releasing a limited edition 12″ of Steve Gunn’s “Ancient Jules” + two songs that didn’t feature on the recent, ‘Eyes On The Lines’, “The Handshake” and “The Soloist”. You can watch Steve performing “Full Moon Tide”, “Night Wander” and “Ark” via the auspices of NPR, starting tonight.
Matador’s repress of the LP version of Lucy Dacus’ critically acclaimed debut, ‘No Burden’ in available today, September 9 and can be ordered here. Clear vinyl versions with a limited edition signed poster are in stock at our lovely offices right this moment. The CD and digital versions, though less likely to make a pleasant THUD sound when dropped on your doorstep, kitchen counter or pillow, are available from the usual suspects, listed below.
At the risk of being overly dramatic, our national nightmare of moderate length is finally over and the amended LP and CD versions of Car Seat Headrest’s hotly anticipated / universally hailed ‘Teens Of Denial’ are either hitting your local record shop or your mailbox today (and if it’s the latter, I certainly hope you ordered the CD, otherwise there could be some real problems cramming the LP inside). After taking Europe (or what’s left of it) by storm, Car Seat Headrest kick off the next leg of North American touring with a free show tomorrow on Pier 16 of NYC’s South Street Seaport as part of the Village Voice’s 4 Knots Festival. Also appearing are Protomartyr and fledgling young hopefuls Guided By Voices (of whom we’ve heard promising things, apparently the main fella is considered somewhat prolific, you might even say ‘Toledo-esque’) and if you get there early enough, I’ll be conducting a walking tour of the block former Matador receptionist Joe Gaer used to live on. The show is all-ages, though the walking tour not recommended for preteens or the emotionally immature.
Videography by Joseph McCormick and Henry Sho Kellam
(photo by Dustin Condren)
“An uncommonly warm indie rock record. Lead guitar lines pour in like slow columns of sunlight, and Dacus’ voice itself is a comforting blur.” – Brad Nelson, Pitchfork
“Hyper-aware missives from a friend whose mind is always whirling —-disarmingly open indie rock songs, with plainspoken lyrics that hit even harder thanks to her soft, sturdy alto.” – Maura Johnson, Rolling Stone
“Her songs roll over you like waves, the matter-of-fact, plaintive delivery serving as a vessel for examining where things all went wrong and how to make them right again.” – James Rettig, Stereogum
“A brave lyricist whose sensual expression of catharsis will stay with you long after you’ve finished with this record… an amazing breath of fresh air in an otherwise overwrought genre.” – Annalise Domenighini, Noisey
We’re very pleased to announce the signing of Richmond, VA singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus to Matador. Lucy’s debut album, the Collin Pastore produced ‘No Burden’, released earlier this year by Egg Hunt, is now available digitally via Matador and all the download and streaming services you’d expect ; a re-release of ‘No Burden’ on LP and compact disc will be in stores September 9 with preorders available starting today.
Recorded in Nashville last autumn with guitarist/bandmate Jacob Blizard, ‘No Burden’ is as arresting, direct and quick-witted as any debut we’ve stumbled across ; that the 21 year-old Dacus’ poetic chops are more than matched by a killer vocal performance (and later down the line, by a ridiculously locked-in live band) has just a bit to do with why ‘No Burden’ blasted thru it’s first pressing in the blink of an eye. After a ton of US touring in 2016 including dates in support of Houndmouth, Kurt Vile and Julien Baker, Lucy hits the road again this summer and fall, including July dates opening for The Decemberists, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits appearances, a UK debut at the End Of The Road Festival and September shows in support of Car Seat Headrest (see below) :