Wishing Ourselves A Happy Anniversary

This week is the 10th anniversary of the commencement of Matador Records Limited. Ten years of fine music unleashed on unsuspecting Europeans (although they were of course getting it before the UK company was set up).

Just think back – one of the first releases for the newly set up company was Cat Power’s “What Would The Community Think”. The UK was very slow to pick up Cat Power. We struggled to ship over 200 copies. We struggled to get interviews from all those fine UK music    publications (RIP mostly). But the only way was up. Cat Power may not yet have conquered the UK totally but she has a large loving audience here now.

Our French friends were much more on the ball in 1996. They knew what they had. Chan was soon on the cover of France’s premier music magazine Les Inrockuptibles playing big sister to Fiona Apple. She immediately became Matador’s most successful artist in France – no mean feat against Exile in Guyville’s previous success there.

There have been so many great records and so many great moments in the last ten years. Most of those moments have been just shit hot live shows. Thrilling shows from Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Sleater Kinney, Matmos and too many others. It is unfair to mention any specifically as I would be leaving so many out. However I can’t resist reminising about a few magical nights like…

– the Garage show by Yo La Tengo around the time of I Can Hear The Heart Beating that was so uplifting it was like a beautiful drug experience
– a Guided By Voices show at the height of summer at the Garage, again, that brought new meaning to the word sauna but was genius (Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell line up)
– a moment of epiphany as GBV played “Motor Away” at Kings College (the Chavez guys going apeshit down the front)
– those joyous Superchunk London shows
– M. Ward at the Hammersmith Lyric – a night of perfection
– Interpol slaying Brixton Academy two nights in a row (actually the wired, fast set played at the ICA has to be my favorite)
– Burma being Burma at the Garage and ICA
– Cat Power (those special magical nights like Cafe de la Dance in Paris, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Union Chapel, Barbican in London)
– highs and lows of Pizzicato Five at the Roskilde Festival
– first time seeing Guitar Wolf play London probably at the Dublin Castle if memory serves me right.
– Arsonists do their thing on stage
– Zeitgiest riding with Fantsma and the first UK show by Cornelius and Solex at the tiny Eve Club with the speaker threatening to crush half the audience
– the Cornelius show at the Royal Festival Hall…… and so on

The music and people are so intertwined – such as drinking endless coffees with and listening to Monoman prior to a stunning Lyres show at the Dirty Water Club. Visiting Peel Acres with Solex, Cat Power and Wisdom Of Harry and the hospitality, wine and conversation post broadcasts. Being able to give Interpol their justly deserved gold and silver discs. None of us having a heart attack during or after three days and 15 bands playing the tenth anniversary in London.

I honour those who have served their time and now have been released into the community Rob, Shane, Helen, Sarah, Alan, Janis.

Thanks to Lucy and Rauiri, everybody on Matador NYC, to our friends at Beggars all over the world but most thanks Gerard, Chris and Patrick.

We hope to be staging a celebratory screening soon of the Almodovar film “Matador” in London to mark the decades passing. Those in the know know why.

Bring it on.

Jennifer O’Connor – Daytrotter Session

While we’re still reeling from the recent pile of crazy press for Jennifer O’Connor’s ‘Over The Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars’ (eg. “Sister”, being hailed today by Pitchfork’s Stephen Deusner as “one of the most genuinely affecting pop songs you’ll hear all year”), we’re even happier to share the following : 4 of the album’s gems, recorded in stripped-down form for The Daytrotter Sessions.

the following live dates were just confirmed :

September 7 – Barrymore Theatre, Madison, WI
September 8 – The Canopy, Urbana, IL
September 9 – House Of Blues, Cleveland, OH
September 10 – Mr. Small’s Theatre, Millvale, PA
September 12 – Drake Hotel, Toronto, Ontario
September 14 – The Space, Portland, ME
September 15 – Pearl Street, Northampton, MA
September 16 – Avalon Ballroom, Boston, MA
September 19 – Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC
September 21 – Freebird Cafe, Jacksonville, FL
September 22 – Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale, FL
September 23 – Common Grounds, Gainsville, FL
September 24 – The State Theatre, St. Petersberg, FL
September 28 – Walter’s On Washington, Houston, TX
September 29 – Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas, TX
September 30 – Stubbs BBQ, Austin, TX

(above dates supporting Mason Jennings)

October 11 – North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
October 13 – Mercury Lounge, NYC, NY
October 14 – Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ
October 15 – Bar Night Club, New Haven, CT

(above dates supporting Portastatic)

JO’C ACTION

Today I ask the question, “Is it uncool to post about your own record on the Matablog?” And I respond to myself, “Coolest thing ever!”

Anyway, I was just ordered to matablog this email I sent out to my email list, so here goes people: (oh and if you’d like to sign up for my mailing list, just shoot me an email at jennifer@jenniferoconnor.net and I will send you these things on a regular basis.)

Dear Friends-

This is a big week for me. As big weeks in my life thus far go, this might just be the biggest.

My Matador Records debut, “Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars”, hit record stores across the country yesterday.

So, please go buy a few for yourself and your loved ones. It’s most probably available at your local indie shop (which is where I recommend you buy it ifits an option). If not, it’s in every single Borders Music & Books across the country. Whatever your local shop is, if they don’t have it, they should be able to order it with my name, album title and tell them it’s on Matador. And if you’d rather do the online thing hit up amazon.com or insound.com…there’s a bunch of others too.

New Yorkers: the record release party is tomorrow night at Joe’s Pub at 9:30. There are still some tix left so come down and celebrate with us. We will be dressed all fancy and playing the whole record.

Finally, check out some of this ink we’ve been getting:

“Whatever it is, this is one of the best albums of the year.” Ken Swizter, VILLAGE VOICE

“Nowadays, ‘must-hear’ albums are supposed to stylistically diverge from the pack. That is, it’s rare for a critic to say that an album is better than the rest solely because of the strength of the songwriting, because the songs capture true-life feelings more completely than those of their peers, and within melodies that are impossible to forgot. But that’s the case here.” — (8.0 of 10), Dave Heaton, POPMATTERS

‘Indie-pop lady says it exactly like she means it : Like Liz Phair at her best, this New York-based singer/songwriter attacks relationship troubles with jangly thriftshop guitars and lyrics that cut away the psychological doublespeak that prevents most coffeehouse crooners from actually saying anything. The highlight of O’Connor’s third album is the excellently titled ‘Bullshit Maze,’ a little marvel of straightforwardness. ‘You’re always asking if it ever gets to be too much for me, ‘ she sings over a beer-buzzed Nashville shuffle. ‘Well, yes, it does.'” – Spin Magazine

OH, and please feel free to forward this email to ALL your friends!

LOVE,
JO’C

PS. The new website will be up in the next few days and you will be able to stream the whole album there. Until then, you can stream the whole album here:

www.jenniferoconnor.net
www.myspace.com/jenniferoconnor

New Burma MP3; discographies updated

We’ve posted a second MP3 from the astonishing new Mission Of Burma album ‘The Obliterati.’ Entitled “Donna Sumeria,” it’s in many ways a departure from any work they’ve done before (and most of the other songs on the album). It was not included in the ‘Punctuate’ 12″ series and therefore was not streamed on htttp://www.obliterati.net either.

Check it out on the Burma music page and let us know what you think (or better yet, just go buy the album – you’ll thank yourself):

http://www.matadorrecords.com/mission_of_burma/music.html

On another site update note, Nick has posted ultra-complete discographies for most of our active artists. Check the Matador Bulletin Board for the notices of which ones he’s gotten to so far, and post there to let us know what releases we’ve missed (or post here). Or just surf around the site to check active artists’ discography pages. Nick’s done great work, but this is something you can definitely help us on, especially when it comes to non-Matador releases. Thanks in advance.

Season Pass, Beat Your Ass, Give Us Your Cash, Etc.

The Beat Your Ass Season Pass

(photograph by Michael Lavine)
Matador is providing exclusive bonus material along with pre-orders of Yo La Tengo’s upcoming ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’ (ole-692).

When you pre-order the album from a participating retailer’s web site, you’ll receive a follow up email with directions for accessing the Season Pass web site via a unique coupon code. Every few weeks, the site will be updated with exclusive bonus material including:

– A player streaming the full album
– A digital booklet with album artwork, photos, liner notes and YLT
discography
– Exclusive mp3s available only to Season Pass members
– Advance notice on all ticket sales for the fall tour.
The full scoop can be found here.

In an unrelated story, Yo La Tengo’s upcoming Asbury Park show at the Stone Pony (9/25)…is no longer upcoming. I cannot stress strongly enough that this cancellation has nothing to do with the alleged feud between James McNew and Southside Johnny, much of which was blown way out of proportion by the irresponsible rock press. The whole thing is water under the bridge, and we’re hopeful that someday, someway, Johnny will invite Yo La Tengo to appear on his IFC chat show. I’ve not actually seen the program, but friends at the label have nothing but good things to say about it.

Jennifer O’Connor Record Release Party & Album Presale

This New York-based singer/songwriter attacks relationship troubles with jangly thriftshop guitars and lyrics that cut away the psychological doublespeak that prevents most coffeehouse crooners from actually saying anything. The highlight of O’Connor’s third album is the excellently titled “Bullshit Maze,” a little marvel of straightforwardness. “You’re always asking if it ever gets to be too much for me, ” she sings over a beer-buzzed Nashville shuffle. “Well, yes, it does.”Spin

Jennifer O’Connor, her band & special invited guests will be playing at Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. NYC, Thursday, August 24. Advance tickets are available now, now, now.

Jennifer’s fantastic new album, ‘Over The Mountain, Across The Valley And Back To The Stars’ (OLE 686-1,2) will be in shows on August 22, but you can preorder it today. The 150 gram vinyl version comes with a coupon for an MP3 download of the entire album.

Readers learning in Western Massachusetts can catch Jennifer supporting Rogue Wave at Northmapton, MA’s lovely Iron Horse on August 18.

“Today” (mp3)
“Exeter, Rhode Island” (mp3)

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

Mojo Critic Nails It..

…and now I need to get my head bandaged after falling off my chair. If writers are going to insist on actually listening to the CD’s we send them rather than merely paraphrasing the press release (or looking to see what someone else said) we might have to re-think our plans to blow up 625 Broadway for the insurance loot.

Calling Yo La Tengo’s forthcoming ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’, “a return to the giddy, sticky-fingered eclecticism of 1997’s ‘I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One’, Mojo’s Steve Chick calls the album,

A wonderful, intimate love letter to pop (and its many subterranean offshoots), bookended by two hefty space-rock jams, the album ricochets from atmospheric piano vignette to gonzo garage fuzz to murky new wave disco to xylophone-scored waltz , the riot of styles bound together by warmth and wit, halcyon vocals and harmolodic guitar explosions. (4 stars)

So what if he misspelled the name of the album’s final song? We’ve done worse. And we’ll do so again!

“Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind” (mp3)

Damage Control Is Our Business (And Business Is Very Good)

From this morning’s New York Times.

Matador Records’ Gerard Cosloy (above) said Tuesday he harbors no hatred towards wearers of straw hats and he apologized to ”everyone in the indie rock community for the vitriolic and harmful words” he used in a infrequently visited, rarely updated weblog.

”Hatred of any kind goes against my faith,” he said in a statement released through publicist Nils Bernstein

”I’m not just asking for forgiveness,” Cosloy said. ”I would like to take it one step further, and meet with the Pitchfork staff, with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.”

Cosloy said he’s ”in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that Fuze energy drink inspired display” and hopes members of the Chicago community, ”whom I have personally offended,” will help him in his recovery efforts.

”There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-straw hat remark,” Cosloy said.

”But please know from my heart that I am not against people who wear straw hats or flip-flops in public. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.”

Cosloy acknowledged ”there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that door is not forever closed.”

He said he must take responsibility for making anti-straw hat remarks because as a public person, ”when I say something, either articulated, typed, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. Not very much weight, but enough to impact future party invitations.”

Chicago – Lovely City Of Boat-Missers

And the cruise they skipped (most of ’em, anyway) was the voyage of the S.S. Jennifer O’Connor, previewing selections from her forthcoming ‘Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars’ CD/LP at the Beat Kitchen. Were the town’s tastemakers and face chasers still overwhelmed from the Silver Jews and Futureheads sets in Union Park? Dwyane Wade’s All-Star Jam at the United Center? Or perhaps it was the mere fact that said gig wasn’t listed in the paper or on the venue’s website?

Regardless of the circumstances, Ms. O’Connor’s tuneful meditations on love, loss and other everyday topics were delivered with equal measures of humor and intensity. We’ve worked with a litany of talented lady-human singer/songsters at Matador Records & Filmworks in the past (Chan M., Liz P., Mary Timony, Barbara Manning, Thalia Zedek, Jean Smith, Sue Garner to name just a few) and I’m not just hyping-you-to-death when I say that Jennifer’s achingly beautiful songs are the equal of any of the above.

OK, I am hyping-you-to-death. But I’m telling the truth, too, and you don’t have to take my word for it. ‘Over The Mountains’ is out August 22.

“Today” (mp3)
“Exeter, Rhode Island” (mp3)

upcoming dates :

August 8 – Philadelphia, PA – The Khyber
August 16 – Raleigh, NC – North Carolina Museum Of Art (with Jeff Tweedy)
August 24 – NYC, NY – Joe’s Pub
August 26 – Brooklyn, NY – North Six
September 23 – Boston, MA – Great Scott (with Choo Choo LaRouge)

Hanging On The Telephone

From MobHappy.com

Geriatric rockers The Rolling Stones have hopped on board the mobile music train — sort of. Through a service called Listen Live Now!, fans will be able to listen live to their concert today in Paris via their mobile phones. And when I say via their mobile phones, I don’t mean some sort of streaming audiocast — they call in and get a feed from the mixing board piped across a standard phone connection to their handset. Sounds brilliant. But it gets better.

Users will be charged $1.99 for 7 minutes, and there doesn’t appear to be a way to simply buy the whole thing at once — so users who actually want to shell out the $40 or so to hear the whole thing will have to do it $1.99 and 7 minutes at a time. The Stones’ manager says the move will help deter bootlegging — seriously — and that “It’s passive income, and they’re helping fans enjoy the experience without affecting ticket sales.”

Once again, much like our terrific ideas for the “Brain Candy” ad campaign (ripped off by Paramount’s initiative for “World Trade Center”), Matador has been fucked over by The Man. Our own mobile phone-cast is ready to roll at this weekend’s Pitchfork Festival in Chicago, and we’ve been usurpred by the Rolling Stones.

(be patient — I might be getting a beer)

Anyhow, if you send me $20 via paypal (gcosloy@earthlink.net) along with your phone number, I’ll be quite willing to ring you back during Mission Of Burma or Yo La Tengo’s sets on Sunday. I can’t guarantee this scheme will work — for one thing, I might be on a more important telephone call at the time. But it is your chance to take part in portable music history, and a great way to show the Rolling Stones that we’re sick to death of being pushed around.

The Return Of Chavez

Well, not really.  But we are putting out a CD + DVD set, ‘Better Days Will Haunt You’ on October 10. There’s only one unreleased track, but if you sing over the top of the rest of ’em, it will almost be like a whole new Chavez discography.

If you’re just too cool for that kind of thing, well, I pity you.

Disc One

01 Repeat the Ending
02 Hack the Sides Away
03 Nailed to the Blank Spot
04 Break up Your Band
05 Laugh Track
06 The Ghost by the Sea
07 Pentagram Ring
08 Peeled out Too Late
09 The Flaming Gong
10 Wakeman’s Air
11 Relaxed Fit
12 The Nerve
13 You Faded
14 Little 12 Toes

Disc Two

01 Top Pocket Man
02 The Guard Attacks
03 Unreal Is Here
04 New Room
05 Tight Around the Jaws
06 Lions
07 Our Boys Will Shine Tonight
08 Memorize This Face
09 Cold Joys
10 Flight ’96
11 Ever Overpysched
12 You Must Be Stopped
13 Theme From ‘For Russ’
14 White Jeans

DVD

01 Break up Your Band
02 Unreal Is Here
03 Boys Making Music . . . Music Making Men (documentary)

Mann’s Ruin : ‘Vice Is Nice (If You Ignore Colin Farrell)

I was begining to feel a little guilty about the totally gratuitious jibes aimed at thespian/cretin Colin Farrell in the latest edition of the Matador News Update. I mean, for one thing, we should be totally grateful that the producers of “Miami Vice” have chosen to showcase one of our fledgling artists (in this case, Mogwai) on a major label soundtrack album (one that features the former vocalist of the Vatican Commandos, too!). But no, I had to fuck things up for everyone by focusing on something completely besides the point — How Much Colin Farrell Sucks.

Well, I’m not the only one. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, while hailing Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice” as “an action picture for people who dig experimental art films, and vice versa,” also choose to single out one of the film’s stars for special praise. Colin Farrell isn’t one of them.

Mr. Farrell, however, is a movie star only in the sense that Richard Gephardt is president of the United States. He’s always looked good on paper, and he’s picked up some endorsements along the way — from Oliver Stone, Joel Schumacher and Terrence Malick, among others — but somehow it has never quite happened. Here he squints and twitches to suggest emotion and slackens his lower lip to suggest lust, concern or deep contemplation, but despite his good looks he lacks that mysterious quality we call presence.

Mr. Mann’s script has its share of silly, overwrought lines, but they only really sound that way in Mr. Farrell’s mouth. (Did he really say, “I’m a fiend for mojitos”? ¡Dios mío!) When he’s not on screen, you don’t miss him, and when he is, you find yourself, before long, looking at someone or something else. Gong Li. A boat. A lightning bolt illuminating the humid summer sky.

Greetings

According to New York Magazine (our personal style bible), this blog thing is really taking off. As you know, the management of Matador Records cannot resist any scheme that might either a) make us money or b) result in our selling half of the company again, so voila, it’s THE MATABLOG.

In the days and weeks ahead, you’ll be graced with intense, personal observations, screeds and propositions from a star-studded cavalcade of innovative artists and music business veterans. Probably more of the latter. But we’re not above composing something and putting Ricky Luanda’s name on it, especially if things are slow.

We’ll do our best to cover a range of cultural issues, but hopefully not sports. No one wants to read about that shit, trust me.

sincerely,

Gerard Cosloy
your editor