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Archive for the 'recommended reading' Category

Thoroughbred Racing’s (Temporary) Loss Is The Rock World’s Gain

By Gerard on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

We don’t make a habit of linking to each piece of media coverage our bands receive because much of it is press-release-regurgitation-city. Every now and then however, there’s something special that we just have to share, and when the Des Moines Register headlines an article, “Prairie Meadows race worker goes back to his life as rock star”, it’s a sure bet (sorry) we’re talking about an all-too rare profile of Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich.

Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham participating in “Keep Toronto Reading Festival” and “Do The Math”

By Robby on Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Fucked Up‘s frontman, Pink Eyes/Damian Abraham is taking advantage of a brief break from tour to participate in two community-based events.

Tonight (April 8), at the Toronto Reference Library, as part of Keep Toronto Reading Festival 2010: Book Exchange. Damian will speak on a panel with Pasha Malla author of The Withdrawal Method and Zoe Wittall author of Holding Still for as Long as Possible , wherein each panelist will bring his or her favorite books to discuss and exchange with audience members in an effort to promote literacy as well as what’s bound to be some pretty great reading.

April 8,

Doors at 6:00; event ends around 8:30
Appel Salon, 2nd floor
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St, Toronto
MORE INFORMATION

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Meanwhile, Damian is involved in a program called Do The Math, run by a food program called The Stop — an initiative seeking to demonstrate the limits of social assistance. Damian will be subsisting solely off a standard food hamper provided by a local food bank for as long as possible.

In the program’s words:

On April 6, 2010, ten high-profile Torontonians (and their families, if they’re joining them) will pick up a standard food bank hamper at The Stop. These hampers—which include an array of non-perishable food, as well as a little bit of fresh produce—typically last a person three or four days, though many folks stretch this to a week or ten days. Our participants will live exclusively off the contents of the hamper for as long as they can. They will not eat out or accept free food or drink (though they are encouraged to eat at least two meals at a drop-in). They will be allowed to use up to five standard pantry ingredients—oil, flour, salt, coffee, etc.—but are asked to keep track of the quantity of these items used.

You can follow Damian’s experience and progress and find plenty of detailed information over at Looking For Gold , his twitter and Do The Math’s website.

Right on, Damian!

photo lifted from johnnyriggsisdead‘s flickr

The Decade Can’t End Soon Enough (Unless You’re Having Fun) – Matador Artists, Staff And Associates Remember 2009 (Before It’s Done)

By Gerard on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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(sure, we’re allowed to have an annual holiday party, but who’s supposed to pay for the cleanup?)

Once upon a time — when the bulk of our internet activity was longer than 140 characters — the Matador website feature periodic news updates (almost all of ‘em brutally late in arrival), along with an informal selection of staff and roster listening favorites. Said feature fell by the wayside when we made the fateful transition to the Matablog some 3 1/2 years ago. But fuck it, it’s the holiday season, and what better way to embrace the spirit of sharing than with a ferocious onslaught of grandstanding, oneupmanship and elitist self-fellatio?

But enough about our plans for Matador’s 21st Anniversary celebrations.  Without further Freddy Adu, here’s an impressive array of ’09/decade favorite records, events & things from some of your most beloved Matador artists and the people who enable them. Dig in, after the jump :

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Do They Know It’s Record Store Day? (redux)

By Dean on Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Discos Exitos
Some of you may remember last year’s excursion to the outer reaches of Record Store Day, so this year I decided to give another outer-burrough a shot at Record Store Day. After stopping by Other Music and the Academy Annex , picking up some amazing limited edition records (and failing to find the new Fresh & Onlys LP) I hopped on the subway deep into Queens in search of NYC’s best cumbia, champeta, rebajada and technocumbia shops.

We got off at the Junction Blvd. stop to find that the most-recommended music spot in the neighborhood, Discos Medellin, has been order closed by Police Order! Do the police know it’s Record store Day???

Discos Medellinpoliceorder
Anyhow, after some deeply remedial Spanish conversations, we found a few other great stores right off on Roosevelt- Pancoatl Bulmaro and Domingo records. Pancoatl was up a secret flight of stairs in the back of a barber shop and blasted the latest Mexico-via-Queens Sonidero mixes. The employees were incredibly friendly, and excited to share their favorite new CDs (no vinyl sadly) and talk about their favorite local Sonideros (dj’s).  They got excited about Record Store Day, and talked a little bit about how they felt their stores were crucial hubs for people to feel connected to their home countries. Good vibes! After picking up some new Ecuadorian, Colombian and Mexican music we finished off the day with tacos at Tacos Al Suadero, easily the best Mexican food I’ve had since leaving San Francisco.

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(Pancoatl Bulmaro)
newyork233
(VICTORY!)

RSD 2009 : God Save The Slightly Overweight Boney M Completists

By Gerard on Saturday, April 18th, 2009

About a year ago, I attempted to explain — citing pivotal incidents from my own thrilling personal life — just how important records stores were in my formative years. Were it not for being asked “do you work here?” too frequently at a couple of ‘em, I could very well sign over my paycheck to a couple of these lovely establishments, whom I regularly liken to our nation’s most savvy cultural documentarians (either that or very benevolent drug pushers).

That said, my own homage to record stores in no way measures up to a screed composed by Chicago resident Steve Albini for a Reckless Records advertisement earlier this week (h/t, Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak).
albini

HuffPo : Equally Useful For Plugging TV Projex, Defending The Sucky

By Gerard on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Someone should contact Rolling Stone’s David Wild ASAP ; it seems the Onion’s Jackie Harvey (above) has penned a rather pointless tribute to nature kid Billy Corgan for the Huffington Post and attached Wild’s photo and byline to the article.

Now truth be told, I was not the biggest Pumpkinshead during their initial run — I was more of an aging Nirvana-man, frankly. But over the past decade, I’ve come to really admire Corgan for his talent and his strong commitment to following his own muse rather than simply taking the standard issue rocky path of least resistance. Like Pete Townshend before him, Corgan seems like a man who takes the responsibility of being a rock star profoundly and even painfully seriously, grappling intellectually with the gig rather than just cashing in at every turn. As a result, Corgan may not always make things easy on his fans — or on himself — but he’s always interesting. In an age of premature nostalgia, Corgan clearly wants his music to matter in the present tense. Not that he’s a complete purist, as demonstrated by the recent use of the Pumpkins’ classic “Today” on a Visa commercial.

But I choose to embrace Corgan in all his contradictions. And despite his apparent problems working and playing well with others in a band context, I have to report that I have found him to be incredibly bright, witty and honest on a personal level. To see some of the qualities on display, tune in April 2nd when Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin make what now looks like it will be their last shared TV appearance with the current Pumpkins lineup on the Chris Isaak Hour, a new show on the Bio Channel that I really love even if I am a producer on it.

Career Opportunities Dept. : Join A Band, See The World

By Gerard on Thursday, March 12th, 2009

From Army.mil‘s Tim Hipps :

Army Entertainment Division wants to send a band on the road to entertain deployed troops – as soon as Soldier-musicians are ready to step onto the stage.

As unfathomable as it may sound, a temporary military duty of traveling the world with expenses paid to make music for fellow troops is available through USA Express.

Keyboard players, guitarists and drummers are needed – along with vocalists and an audio technician – to form an All-Army band that can play various genres of music.

USA Express, a revolving door of deployable musical-performance groups, began entertaining Soldiers in 1992. While the faces change and the tours vary, the mission remains the same: to provide “entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier,” the working motto for Army Entertainment Division.

USA Express plans to begin playing gigs again this spring and summer – Soldier-performers permitting. Consider this a “last call” for military musicians to get their garage band out of the garage and onto the world stage, said Army Entertainment Division officials. March 31 is the deadline to apply.

UK Auto Insurance Co. : Unfamiliar With Iggy’s “Personal Life”

By Gerard on Monday, February 23rd, 2009

At least when Geico refuses to insure cavemen, no one can accuse them of hypocrisy. From Monday’s Daily Mail :

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In the Swiftcover TV advertisements, 61-year-old Iggy prances around topless as he boasts: ‘I got it Swiftcovered. I got insurance on my insurance. Do it. Get a life. Get Swiftcovered.’

But musicians who applied for cover were told their occupation made them ineligible. They are now complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Tim Soong, the 30-year-old bass guitarist in Roguetune, found that ‘entertainers’ are excluded from cover.

Mr Soong, of Kennington, phoned the Guildford-based company, which is part of the Axa insurance group, and said: ‘The customer services operator told me that they don’t insure musicians.

‘When I mentioned Iggy Pop, she said his case was different because he is American.

Part-time music producer Felix Wright, 36, of Maidstone, Kent, has also made a complaint after being turned down for cover on his BMW.

He said: ‘When I asked what Iggy Pop did for a living if I was being rejected as a musician, they said they did not know his personal life and he was not one of their policy holders.’

The Mail’s report adds that prior to Iggy’s commercials, Swiftcover used “Death Wish” director Michael Winner in their advertisements, despite refusing to cover film directors.

Matador Alumni Corner : The Wild World Of Kustomized

By Gerard on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Not to be outdone by Merge’s recent Volcano Suns reissues, former Kustomized bassist Bob Moses has done an impressive job tying his old band’s history together with a new, posthumous site.  Perhaps the lesser known of Peter Prescott’s post-Mission Of Burma projects, Kustomized was once described by Rolling Stone’s Matt Diehl as “maintaining an almost savage drive…unafraid to wander into the bizarre areas outside rock convention.”   Though the same could be said of Bob Gamere jogging thru the Fenway, Mr. Diehl hit the nail on the head.  Kustomized were awesome and if you didn’t fully absorb their Matador titles at the time, you are a bad, bad person.

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

By Gerard on Monday, February 16th, 2009

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

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

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