An Open Letter To The Matador Street Team

(FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY : Gerard, do NOT PUT THIS ON THE BLOG)

Dear Team,

Strong first day numbers for Yo La Tengo’s ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’, as expected, what with that fucking whirly-bird contest and all the good press we paid for. But before you dislocate your shoulders patting yourselvess on the fucking back, keep in mind that we’re still fighting a losing battle at the big boxes, where this album is still pretty hard to find.

I’m expecting a progress report no later than 3pm today about what sort of mischief our regional kids have been up to in the past 24 hours. I thought we’d made the point that hiding the new John Mayer, Black Keys and Mars Volta CD’s wasn’t merely some kind of rock biz sabotage mission, but could in fact, be framed as an “us vs. them” schism. Indie vs. major. Indie vs. other indie. Me vs. you. You vs. not having a fucking job. Please don’t make me spell this out for you any further.

I’m also told there is no stock at the Borders on Church Street. Enough with the excuses, already, it’s been five fucking years.

OK. I’m off to lift weights. You can reach me on the Fuckberry. I want digital pix of those Black Keys and Mars Volta discs hidden in the country section, I’m not kidding around.

You should be very afraid of me and I will kick your ass.

That was a joke, by the way. You’d better fucking laugh.

Tony Matador

Admissions On Our Emissions

In the history of rock ‘n roll, one has to look no further than Stevie Ray Vaughn and Bill Graham to know that helicopters and rock concerts make dubious bed fellows. Thusly, when we conceived this audacious contest on Stereogum we thought the flack we’d take would be centered upon subjecting innocent, fun-loving Yo La Tengo fans to the perils of propellers and physics.

But, we were quite mistaken. Some folks have pointed out that this contest is potentially harmful to the environment – something that both us and the band are particularly sensitive too. We have done some research and in fact, this flight will emit about 26 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.

In light of this, we have worked with Adam Stein and his good people at Terrapass to secure a $9.99 Puddle Jumper pass which is good for 2,500 lbs of CO2 emissions – leaving us enough room to get Yo La Tengo’s tour bus from here to Chicago. Proof of purchase is below. Thank you for keeping us on our toes!
Terra Pass Invoice

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

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.