Archive for the 'recommended reading' Category

Funny Thing Is, Our Corporate Anthem Sounds Almost Exactly Like This

By Gerard on Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Boing (sorry – I just took down the embedded clip due to a BMW ad) explores the rich world of corporate anthems. As opposed to, y’know, fight songs.  I don’t know what the guy from Jesus Jones is up to at the moment, but surely there’s a bank /health care provider / state lottery that needs his help writing a song?

Corrections For The Corrections

By Kimberly on Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Here are some extracts from Jonathan Franzen’s book ‘The Corrections” I dug out from my own copy;

Her musical tastes ran to John Prine and Etta James, and so Brian played Prine and James at home and saved his Bartok and Defunkt and Flaming Lips and Mission of Burma for blasting on his boom box at High Temp.p.347

While Denise and Rob Zito were making hardware and lighting decisions at the Generator, Brian joined Schwartz and Ribisi et al. on location at soulful ruins in Nicetown, and swapped CDs with Schwartz from identical zippered CD carrying cases, and ate dinner at Pastis in New York with Schwartz and Greil Marcus or Stephen Malkmus.’ p.406

Mission Of Burma love from Jonathan Franzen

By Kimberly on Monday, March 31st, 2008

The mention of Mission of Burma reoccurs, albeit subtly but significantly, in Jonathan Franzen’sThe Corrections’. Unfortunately due to copyright issues I could not reference specific passages here. However I hope it will encourage more people to read this fantastic book.

Mexico : A Place Where “Emo Must Die” Is No Mere Figure Of Speech

By Gerard on Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Exclaim’s Brock Thiessan reports “in recent weeks, a wave of emo bashings has swept across Mexico”.  To which I can only add, Matador Records Is Very Opposed To Hate Crimes, but if you must commit a hate crime…can’t you target Widespread Panic fans, instead?

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According to Daniel Hernandez, who’s been covering the anti-emo riots on his blog Intersections, the violence began March 7, when an estimated 800 young people poured into the Mexican city of Queretaro’s main plaza “hunting” for emo kids to pummel. Then the following weekend similar violence occurred in Mexico City at the Glorieta de Insurgents, a central gathering space for emos. Hernandez also reports that several anti-emo riots have now also spread to various other Mexican cities. Via the Austin American Statesmen, several postings on Mexican social-networking sites, primarily organising spot for these “emo hunts,” have been dug up and translated. One states: “I HATE EMOS!!! They are not even people, they are so stupid, they cry over meaningless things… My school is infested with them, I want to kill them all!”

Another says: “We’ve never seen all the urban tribes unite against one single tribe before… Emos, their way of thinking is for crap, if you are so depressed please do us all a favour and kill yourselves!”

More recent reports state that the emos have begun to fight back against the other “urban tribes” and organised marches in Guadalajara and Mexico City, escalating the violence and leading to increased police presence. Also, some Mexican newspapers, such as El Porvenir, have called for government intervention to protect the emos, writing, “It’s the responsibility of the authorities to make sure the threats aren’t carried out and the aggressions are punished.”

God Of Thunder Enters The Competitive Eating Ranks

By Gerard on Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Since the Matablog’s inception in the summer of 2006, there have been no shortage of items directly or indirectly related to Kiss.

Some of these entries were on the trivial side of things. And others were just downright retarded.

Every single one, however, was more interesting and dignified than this news report from New Zealand.

On the other hand, if Punky Meadows would like to challenge Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi at Coney Island next July, I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching.

A Kentucky Mom Does The Impossible…

By Gerard on Monday, March 17th, 2008

…she’s made us feel pangs of deep sympathy for one of the nation’s least likable big box retailers.

DeRogatis : G.I. Joe Sucks Even Worse Than “Juno”

By Gerard on Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Despite the snazzy Thurston Moore design, I’ve neglected to pick up my SXSW goody bag. No offense to the organizers or their lovely sponsors, but I’ve got enough stacks of CD’s I’m never gonna listen in my house already, thanks. But enough about my weekly care packages from 304 Hudson St. (hey, JUST KIDDING), the Chicago Sun-Times’ Diablo Cody-baiting Jim DeRogatis (who kindly, though incorrectly ID’d me as the guy who signed Naked Raygun — please, some long overdue credit for Sam Berger) reveals a rather peculiar inclusion in the 2008 bag o’ swag :

The most notable thing about this year’s bag, in addition to its skimpiness, is a green plastic toy soldier of the classic “kids’ army guys” variety, except this one is holding a guitar instead of a rifle, and he’s twisty-tied to a color card that identifies him as “Sgt. Solo,” brave representative of Armed Forces Entertainment. (Why they didn’t just go with “Sgt. Rock,” I’ll never know; maybe there were copyright issues.)

The blurb at the bottom of the card reads: “Plug in your weapon, turn up the power and fire away. Your limo is a Humvee and your ride is a Blackhawk. For over 50 years, America’s stars have earned their stripes by performing for our country’s greatest audience. Find out if you have what it takes to tour the world entertaining the troops with Armed Forces Entertainment.”

Yes, you read right: These are your tax dollars hard at work in a promotional effort to recruit rock bands to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain our troops. Mind you, if anyone deserves free entertainment, it’s the brave men and women making incredible sacrifices for their country overseas. But really, wouldn’t they be better served by the government spending that money on better benefits and health care, more useful gifts for a theater of war (like adequate armor on those Humvees) or, heaven knows, upping the diplomatic efforts to end these conflicts?

These are things worth mulling while visiting the group’s Web site, which features an even more bizarre piece of promotional artwork via the illustration of a doctored Sherman tank — the kind that won the “good war” of WWII — with an acoustic guitar replacing the turret and gun barrel and a swirl of paisleys beneath the treads, all under the banner “SXSW Music.”

Not For The First Or Last Time, I’ll Take Issue With Another Goofy Blender List

By Gerard on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

(Curb, right, relieved that Blender has left him off the hook)

Blender’s just issued their “20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Time” list, and while I’m grateful Matador escaped their wrath (amazingly, no mention of Johan Kugelberg’s departure or “Whitechocolatespaceegg”), I’m still not entirely satisfied with the selections on offer.

Sure, it’s hard to argue with a few of ‘em (ie. Berry Gordy selling Motown for a collection of blankets and beads, Geffen suing Neil Young for making records that stiffed) and there’s undoubtedly others that should’ve made the cut (Mike Curb dropping the Velvets, the Mothers Of Invention and Solger on the same day).  But I’m pretty sure there’s no way you can make a list of historic rock biz fuck ups without mentioning there was once a bidding war for a band called Spade Ghetto Destruction.

On The Other Hand, Scott Templeton Says “I Laughed…I Cried”

By Gerard on Monday, March 10th, 2008

Unless there’s a new James Toback film waiting in the wings, we might not read a piece of film criticism this year as scathing as the review handed out to “10,000 B.C.” by the Baltimore Sun’s Michael Scragow :

10,000 B.C. may take place in the moviemakers’ fanciful vision of life 10,000 years before Christ, but after you see it, the “B.C.” seems to stand for “Before Cinema.” It’s as if all the digital tools of new millennial filmmaking fell into the hands of men who had less storytelling sense than a campfire bard or a cave painter.

The director, Roland Emmerich, has made such pop hits as Independence Day, but he co-wrote this one with the film’s composer, Harald Kloser, instead of his usual partners, and from beginning to end it’s a succession of bad notes. It follows the rise of a prehistoric hero, named D’Leh (sounds like “delay”), who grows up in a tribe of woolly mammoth hunters, and is stigmatized because his master-hunter father appeared to have abandoned his people in hard times.

The new holder of the White Spear, Tic’Tic (Cliff Curtis), tries to squelch that tale, but can’t stop teen bullies from sneering at D’Leh as the son of a coward. I don’t think there’s ever been an epic with more unfortunate names for its heroes. Unless you’re enthralled by the sight of mammoth herds and fearsome prehistoric emus and a spear-toothed tiger that responds to human kindness, all given that real yet unreal CGI glow, you hear the clock Tic’Ticing in your head and pray for a conclusion without delay or D’Leh.

SM : I (Heart) Corey Hart

By Gerard on Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Sorry.  He meant the other Corey Hart.

An Early Contender For ‘Police Blotter Story Of 2008′

By Gerard on Sunday, March 9th, 2008

The following is from the Niagra Gazzette’s Rick Pfeiffer.  Not to diss a Love Canal answer to the Springfield Shopper too harshly, but how can a story like this not be accompanied by a photograph?

Sorry I failed to make it to Falls City Court on Friday morning for the appearance of two legendary rockers.

Well, actually, I think it was the appearance of a conflicted man who isn’t exactly sure who he wants to be.

I’m referring to Sammy J. Van Halen West. It seems he can’t quite decide between the persona of one time Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar or the leader of the band, Eddie Van Halen.

Where the “West” comes from is not clear.

Reliable sources say he announced his arrival to face trespassing charges by entering the Court Clerk’s office and uttering, “Van Halen in the house.” Understand he also took pains to point out to the judge that Van Halen is his legal name.

Now, as to that trespassing charge, seems the 45-year-old Van Halen West was kicked out, for good, of the McDonald’s on Niagara Falls Boulevard. He was barred because a McDonald’s manager told police, “Sammy keeps coming in and hitting on all the girls.”

His final transgression was apparently telling a young girl at the fast food joint that, and I’m paraphrasing here, large chests mean large trouble.

(L.A.) Gun(s) Control

By Gerard on Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

(Mother Mercy, above, include no members, original or otherwise, from LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, Odin, D’Molls, Pretty Boy Floyd, Foxx or Reinkus Tide.)

The LA Times’ Neal Shah on the sort of legal wrangling that sounds terribly familiar to anyone who ever purchased a Dead Kennedys ticket and ended up watching Brandon Cruz.

Steve Riley is a survivor. At 51, he still plays the drums for L.A. Guns, a biker-themed hair-metal band famous mostly for once featuring Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose. Riley and first mate Phil Lewis, who sang L.A. Guns’ only Top 40 hit, “The Ballad of Jayne,” toured Australia last fall before joining Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil for a show in St. Paul, Minn.

But Riley and Lewis are finding life on the exurban nightclub scene harder these days. Promoters want them to play for less. That’s because lately there have been not one but two L.A. Guns bands milking the nostalgia circuit — locked in a mutually destructive price war and consequently dueling, like a growing number of their shred-ready brethren, over the band’s name.

Guitarist Tracii Guns, who formed the band in 1982 and was the original “Guns” in Guns N’ Roses, says his crew is the real deal since it includes one of the band’s earliest singers, Paul Black. “Phil and Steve were not even the original members of the band,” Tracii wrote in an online post after declining to be interviewed for this article. “Now they . . . say that I am not the ‘real’ version of L.A. Guns?”

The standoff persists because Guns and Riley each own 50% of the L.A. Guns name. Riley discovered in the mid-’90s that their manager had never secured the rights to “L.A. Guns.” With the other founding members gone, Guns and Riley trademarked the name together.

Taime Downe faced a coup similar to that of L.A. Guns last year, but — unlike his friend Tracii Guns — he prevailed. Downe, who made a name for himself as the leader of late-’80s sleaze-rock group Faster Pussycat, sicced his lawyers on fellow founder Brent Muscat after the guitarist started touring as Faster Pussycat without him.

Without Downe’s knowledge, Muscat had trademarked the name in 2002, after it had lapsed, Downe says. Threatened with a lawsuit, Muscat settled out of court last summer. (He could not be reached for comment.)

Downe, 43, says he rejected an overture from Muscat to share the band’s name. “It’s my company. Someone from Starbucks is not going to go out and form another company called Starbucks.”

For perhaps the first and last time in his career, Downe has made a salient point. Perhaps Muscat should start a band called LA’s Best Guns?

Our First Thought Upon Seeing The Zombie Karaoke Elvis-Bot?

By Gerard on Saturday, January 19th, 2008

How do we get in touch with his lawyer or manager?

The Most Attention A Project Connected With Richard Greico Might Receive This Century

By Gerard on Monday, January 14th, 2008

It doesn’t seem particularly constructive for the maker of the above celluloid masterpiece to try and harass and intimidate a person who has merely opined the film in question sucks.

Then again, depending on the reviews for Times New Viking’s ‘Rip It Off’, we’re not necessarily above doing the same thing.

Drew Daniel’s Throbbing Gristle Tome

By Gerard on Saturday, January 12th, 2008

We’re gonna have a long, thrilling announcement for you very shortly concerning the new Matmos LP/CD, but prior to that, here’s the latest bit of extracurricular news from Drew Daniel :

Pardon my mass missive but I wanted to spread the word that I am now a published author. Thanks to the trusty/crusty crew of the Continuum imprint, I now have my own contribution to their 33 1/3 series of books, complete with an ISBN number and a Library of Congress Data tag and everything. My book is called “Twenty Jazz Funk Greats” and it is about the album of said name by the English band Throbbing Gristle. It weighs in at 176 (teensy) pages. It features original interviews with all four members of Throbbing Gristle, some never-before-published photos and/or drawings from their private notebooks, and lots of interpretive blood sweat and tears from yours truly. Check it out!

Matador’s Final News Update of ’07 + Staff & Artist Top Tens

By Gerard on Thursday, December 20th, 2007

(Matador’s annual Xmas party for Soon-To-Be-Abandoned Kids was once again, a huge hit)

Ok, the climatic update has just been posted and while most of it is most assuredly old-fuckin’-news for regular readers of the Matablog, we have, however, managed to collect year-end Top Top Tens (12′s?  15′s?) from an All-Star cast including Stuart Braithwaite, James McNew, Roger Miller, Jennifer O’Connor, Howard Draper, Luke Horton, Times New Viking and other close pals of The Record Co.   Enjoy…and if you’re not checking your computer again until January 2, the staff, management and ownership of Matador wish you a very, very happy December 21st!

If Anybody Was Wondering…

By Gerard on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

…neither Matador Records nor any of our artists signed off on this particular bit of clumsy attempted co-opting.  But we’re very pleased to see some of our favorite bands getting involved in setting the record straight and hopeful making future advertorial mavens think twice before pulling a similar stunt.

Snoozy Columnist Decries The No Privacy Era

By Gerard on Monday, November 12th, 2007

Always wear a clean pair of undies, folks, ’cause you never know when yours might up in the Daily Mail. Said tabloid’s Tom Rawstrorne is genuinely bummed at Facebook’s “30 Reasons Girls Should Call It A Night”

Part of the Facebook phenomenon (6.5million active users in the UK alone and growing by the day), it was set up by an American student and as its name suggests has as its basis a 30-strong list of telltale signs that the “sisterhood” should recognise as being indicative of home-time.

They include having “no idea where your friends are”, sitting down and the room starting to spin, passing out at a party and waking up with “writing all over your face and limbs”, making out with five different guys, stripping off and falling over.

most eye-catching are the 5,000-odd pictures posted on the site.

These include women, the majority identified by name, vomiting in toilets or over themselves, collapsing on the ground, urinating in public or inadvertently exposing themselves.

Some of the images are shocking. Most are deeply depressing.

And what is extraordinary is that the majority of these pictures are posted onto the web by the subjects themselves.

Professor Furedi believes social networking sites are used by young people to signal that they are “out there” and that they want to be noticed.

“Although there is now a fairly deeply entrenched drinking culture amongst young people where basically people drink for its own sake, it is also being used as a way to show people what a daring, risk-taking, funky young person they are,” he says.

Sheesh. Good thing only women get up to this kind of thing.

A Message To Prince Rogers Nelson

By Gerard on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Go on, sue us.  We used to love you to bits, but in retrospect, the Mary Jane Girls were so much cooler than Vanity 6. 

Don’t Call Him Metally Hanicapped…

By Gerard on Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

(finally, someone agrees that listening to Meshuggah is not merely a lifestyle choice)

…because he's Metally Handicapable!  From The Local :

A Swedish heavy metal fan has had his musical preferences officially classified as a disability. The results of a psychological analysis enable the metal lover to supplement his income with state benefits.

Roger Tullgren, 42, from Hässleholm in southern Sweden has just started working part time as a dishwasher at a local restaurant.

Eventually his last employer tired of his absences and Tullgren was left jobless and reliant on welfare handouts.

But his sessions with the occupational psychologists led to a solution of sorts: Tullgren signed a piece of paper on which his heavy metal lifestyle was classified as a disability, an assessment that entitles him to a wage supplement from the job centre.

"I signed a form saying: 'Roger feels compelled to show his heavy metal style. This puts him in a difficult situation on the labour market. Therefore he needs extra financial help'. So now I can turn up at a job interview dressed in my normal clothes and just hand the interviewers this piece of paper," he said.

The manager at his new workplace allows him to go to concerts as long as he makes up for lost time at a later point. He is also allowed to dress as he likes and listen to heavy metal while washing up.

"But not too loud when there are guests," he said.

The Local spoke to an occupational psychologist in Stockolm, who admitted to being baffled by the decision.

"I think it's extremely strange. Unless there is an underlying diagnosis it is absolutely unbelievable that the job centre would pay pay out.

"If somebody has a gambling addiction, we don't send them down to the racetrack. We try to cure the addiction, not encourage it," he said.

Because heavy metal dominates so many aspects of his life, the Employment Service has agreed to pay part of Tullgren's salary. His new boss meanwhile has given him a special dispensation to play loud music at work.

"I have been trying for ten years to get this classified as a handicap," Tullgren told The Local.

"I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against."