Archive for the 'Write About Love' Category

I Love

By Blake on Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I love my parents. We have a pretty tight family, my two brothers and them.  Grandma is in the mix too of course.  My folks used to drive 3 hours just to have lunch with me when I was in school, then drive the 3 back.  Now they fly three hours out to new york for the weekend every other month or so.  That’s some love.  Mom cries when I or my brothers are upset and every single phone conversation with my dad ends with, “Love ya man, don’t die.” I’m very lucky and don’t take it for granted. The times I have with my brothers are hard to beat, nearly impossible.  love those dudes. Linds and I have something amazing.  I’ve loved her since I met her…well, as much you can be in love in fourth grade.  I remember the day we met vividly, I was amazed at how small her little fingers were. I asked her out in fifth grade, she said no.  I got her though, I love her. I love my friends, old and new. Don’t really have any foes…what for? I think I’ll reserve love for just family and friends.  A dog or two might inch their way in too later down the line. I can’t bring myself to accept ‘love’ of an insanely good basketball team (beak ‘em) or ‘love’ of a tasty medium rare cheeseburger w/ cheddar, caramelized onion, lettuce and delicious sauces or ‘love’ of the rare front to back great record to be equal to that of my family.  I hope, if i do have little blakes, that i can show them the same love, affection and dedication my parents have showed me every day of my life.  It is all that matters.

ich liebe das welt,


I like this album

I Write About Love; Belle and Sebastian, my guide; competition high.

By Jeremy P. Goldstein on Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I’ve mixed feelings about being on the tail end of the Write About Love timeline. On one hand, I theoretically had extra time to get my act together and pen something poetic, prosaic, or purposeful; on the other hand, I now need attempt to live up to some of the wondrous wordsmithery of my colleagues. Obviously, I didn’t take advantage of the former, and as regards the latter, I clearly don’t have the literary chops to match the outstanding opening salvo of Nils Bernstein, Dean Bein’s worship of wax (and perhaps ode to newly-found freedom), the familial fondness of Matt Harmon, Patrick Amory’s soul-baring recollections, or even somehow find a way to pair the seemingly disparate concepts of love and the Zip Code Rapists like my partner-in-radio-crime, Hector Montes. What could I do to standout, to not just wade in the quagmire of common composition? As I listened to the Belle and Sebastian catalog on shuffle for inspiration, “I’m A Cuckoo” and its mention of Harajuku slammed my brain out of neutral and in a rare moment of mental acuity, I had my answer: haiku. What follows is my attempt to showcase some of what I love in a mere 17 syllables per paean.

Jennifer, my wife,
brilliant, patient, gorgeous, kind.
my rock and best friend

At an early age,
sitting, reading gatefold art.
Addicted for life.

Premier League leaders.
Oh, Manchester United.
Please don’t choke this year

Fresh fish, crazy rolls
Kamakura for sushi
Bay Area choice

Same town rules drinks, too:
both Rosenblum, Hangar One

A’s, Niners, Spurs, Sharks
each season, heartbreak ensues
though, support I do.

Of my culled music
The Stone Roses’ first record
remains atop heap

London in the fog
pub, gigs, football, culture, food.
Best city on Earth.

In San Diego
El Zarape is a must.
Combo number three

Bad drafts, injuries
fantasy sports, you kill me.
Yet, I play each year.

Friends and family
Time fleeting, miles apart
Still, I miss you all.

Zip Code Rapists Write And Play About Love.

By Hector on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

It’s one thing to write about love; it’s another to demonstrate it. On a live Mountain Goats recording from 1998, John Darnielle introduces a cover he’s about to play by admitting that he doesn’t actually know all the words to the song but he loves it so much that he’s going to play it anyway. He then dives into “Two-Headed Boy,” now a canonized classic of indie rock but at the time just the fourth song on that new Neutral Milk Hotel record. Darnielle does fuck up, multiple times, but he nails the song anyway because of the imperfections, rather than in spite of them. Every time Darnielle flubs a lyric and keeps powering through, it underlines that he loves this goddamned song and is going to share that love with you no matter what.

A similar spirit permeates the Sing And Play The Matador Records Catalog 7” by San Francisco’s Zip Code Rapists. Released in 1993 on short-lived but obviously 100% real label Ecstatic Piss, Sing And Play sees the duo of Gregg Turkington (later of Faxed Head and now much better known by the name “Neil Hamburger”) and John Singer (lately packing arenas under the nom de guerre “Lady Gaga”) taking on songs by then-current Matador artists Pavement, Liz Phair, Bettie Serveert, and Thinking Fellers Union Local 282. ZCR’s reinventions of these songs are unpolished to say the least, but their love for the source material shines through nonetheless. Witness the way that Turkington out-slackers slacker godhead Stephen Malkmus by omitting whole lines from an unexpectedly poignant deconstruction of “Cut Your Hair,” or the unhinged screams that turn the playful defiance of Phair’s “Never Said” into real, disturbing menace (reminiscent of The Residents’ version of “Satisfaction,” or, more recently, Feist’s near-psychotic take on the Dwarves’ “Fuck You Up and Get High”).

The two less familiar songs on the 7” are played relatively straight but are equally moving in their profound affection for the artists and songs being covered. Turkington and Singer actually improve upon TFUL 282’s “Hurricane,” going past the original’s hazy proto-chillwave into an almost narcotic state, stripping it down to just two acoustic guitars and Turkington’s barely-there vocals. Likewise, Bettie Serveert’s “Tom Boy” uses Turkington’s bizarre delivery and the lack of any instrumentation besides the twin guitars (electric this time) to allow Zip Code Rapists to really focus on the song’s emotional core, resulting in a much more resonant version than that found on Palomine.

In the blog era, it’s easy — almost necessary, really — to be cynical about the ways in which bands use covers, remixes and collaborations to position themselves on the musical landscape or enhance their personal brands. Perhaps it’s simply that these songs were recorded in a different, more innocent time, or perhaps the sincerity on display here is simply timeless. One way or the other, Zip Code Rapists cut through the careerist bullshit on Sing And Play The Matador Records Catalog; moreover, they did so with insight, empathy, and the kind of love that, by dint of its very existence, begets more love, for both the performers and the songs they perform.

Writing About Love

By Matt on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Saying you love someone or something is pretty easy, right. It’s always kinda rolled off the tongue without a second thought. There are lots of things that you “love” or you think you love, well… until you don’t anymore. The whole thing might just fade away. It can be pretty fleeting.

I’ve got a long list of things I “love” (certainly much long than this)…

I love yellow corn grits with parmesan cheese and maple syrup.
I love condiments of all kinds (but dijon mustard most of all).
I love everything bagels with cream cheese and lox from Murray’s Bagels.
I love pork chops.
I love the color brown.
I love mid-century modern design.
I love releasing music by people who I respect.
I love Neil Young, Belle & Sebastian, Bert Jansch, Unwound, Grouper, Lungfish, Polvo, Pentangle, Sun Ra and some others.
I love living on the east coast because the beach is only a short drive away.
I love my parents for giving me the freedom to become exactly who I wanted to be even when they knew I was probably making some wrong decisions at the time.
I love my wife for her never-ending patience and support. She’s also lots of fun to spend time with.
I love my sisters even though I don’t see either of them as much as I’d like.
I love New York. Growing up here was amazing and I love that we’re raising our kids here too.
I love visiting New Mexico because of how quiet it is and how big the sky is and how great the food is.

As I’ve matured I realize that ‘feeling love’ goes well beyond just being able to assign a some words to people and things. In the last five years it’s taken on meanings that I never really considered. It has more to do with feelings that are much harder to define, that are latent and perhaps unmeasurable. It’s a feeling that creeps up on you, reveals itself and even surprises you. You feel it deeply in your chest or it just keeps you awake at night.

I love my friends but I didn’t realize how much until they moved 5,000 miles away. New York has become an infinitely lonelier place without them.
I love my wife but certainly never felt it the way I did after watching her give birth to the two single most incredible dudes in the world. She’s also an amazing mother.
I love eating out but so much more when the whole family goes out to dinner and finds a dark, cozy corner to enjoy being with each other.
I love sleeping but never the way I do when one of my little guys climbs into bed with us and falls asleep on my back.
I love watching Oliver play games but much more when he loses and with a big smile he congratulates the person that just beat him.

These instances just keep multiplying for me. This kind of love just continues to grow. It creeps into every pore. It’s hard to run away from. The best few words that I could find to describe it has already been called out in @jjuuddggee’s post and comes from the title of most recent Arthur Russell album “Love is Overtaking Me”.  I think what illustrates it best for me is when I look into my guys’ room and see them playing together quietly. They are slowly passing toys back and forth, coloring on the same piece of paper, the older one showing the younger how something works, helping to turn something on or open it the right way. They are sharing a series of moments. Looking in on them I see them falling in love with each other.  It’s that simple. They don’t know it yet but it’s growing. Love is overtaking them too. Love is overtaking us all.

Write About Love

By Rusty on Monday, November 29th, 2010

It’s November 29th and the long holiday weekend we traditionally spend with people we love has just ended, it’s cyber Monday in the world of sales and it’s my assigned day to Write About Love. Like many of my co-workers I am not sure where to begin with such a huge subject. Certainly I could write about people I love, places I love , music I love, the love I share with Matador employees for Belle And Sebastian,  Scotland, potatoes, Mogwai, Bordeaux and a love of dogs.  The love a dog is one particular type of love that I’ve been lucky enough to experience at various points in my life since childhood . At this point in time it’s this adorable pup.

Like the other dogs I’ve known, he loves unconditionally with an unwavering loyalty and devotion. His seemingly boundless happiness enhances a good mood and erases a bad one. His desire to please and retrieve is insatiable, his intelligence and intuition remarkable and his sense of the absurd completely uproarious.  Coming home to a welcoming dog never loses it’s appeal, sitting by a fire with a dog at your feet listening to Belle And Sebastian feels like a perfect moment,  driving through the countryside with your dog while loudly singing along to If You’re Feeling Sinister feels like another.  I love all these moments with my dog and better still he does too! Dogs rule and loving them is easy.

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.” – Kafka

Love Is Overtaking Me

By Judge on Friday, November 26th, 2010

There’s Too Much Love.

Like most of the Matador employees that have written about love over the past couple of weeks, I’ve really struggled to know what to write here.  At first, as miserable as it sounds, I couldn’t think of anything to write.  What is love?! Then I suddenly had too much.  There are of course the people I love, places I love and many ‘things’ that I love, but sitting down and thinking about it all was far more of an emotional journey that I had anticipated.  I nearly wrote about Potatoes, as recommended by Mr Braithwaite, but I hope this is a more sincere interpretation of the subject and a better read than my love of mash and roasties.

New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.

I love some pretty obvious stuff.  I love New York City. I love my battered brogues that I can’t bring myself to throw away.  I love sleeping.  I love record stores and the excitement in the pit of my stomach when I find something I’ve been searching for.  I love ATP. I love sushi an unhealthy amount.  I love my job and some of the insane situations I’ve found myself in with the three ridiculous men I refer to as my bosses.

I love Hardcore Boys, I love Boys Hardcore.

I love Gary Numan. I love Arthur Russell. I love The Jesus Lizard. I love Belle and Sebastian and I can still remember exactly where I was when I first heard the late, great John Peel play The Boy With The Arab Strap on his late night radio show, aged 15.  I love Fugazi and I pray that one day I might get to see them live.  I love the British Summer and the mud-soaked festivals.

The Power of Love.

But that is all one type of love.  Then there’s being IN LOVE (or at least thinking you are), but the less said about that the better.  Then there’s the love that you don’t realise is so strong until it’s out of your life.

Love Will Tear Us Apart.

I didn’t think it was possible to not realise how much you love someone until they’re gone.  But I found that out the hard way earlier this year.  That is real love and it will stick with you forever.

Terrible Love.

I really do love mashed potatoes.


Writing about love

By Stuart on Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Its a pretty weighty subject to be handed for all the mata-world to see, and there’s a lot of things I love, but I decided to try and just stick to one subject – the humble mixtape.

Sure, it’s often seen as a sign of love or affection itself, but the creation and/or dissection of a mixtape is the thing I love the most. The early days consisted of planning cassette tape mixes based on song length (written by pencil on paper, of course), plotting the running order and fitting as much music as possible to each side of a 90 minute cassette, then programming the triple (!) disc CD player in my bedroom and over-analysing the finished product. These days all that’s been replaced by the itunes mix CD and now mp3 playlists, which sadly loses the design and tactile elements, but the best thing about these mixes is of course the music. Because of that I thought I’d share some videos of the songs that have featured on mix tapes that I’ve received or created over the years.

Menomena – “Wet and Rusting”

- A brilliant opening lyric for the surprise mix CD, when the recipient hasn’t a clue they were receiving a mix, or as to what lies ahead.

Belle & Sebastian – “I’m A Cuckoo”

- This was actually the first Belle & Sebastian song I heard, and what a great introduction it was.

John Legend – “Number One”

- It’s the variation which you just don’t get anywhere else that makes these mixes so great, I never thought I’d ever be sent anything like this, or have to try and work out what someone’s trying to tell me (or not) through song, but that’s all a part of it I suppose.

Life Without Buildings – “The Leanover”

- Some songs have appeared again and again, and again in mixes sent to me

Das Oath – “Awesome Rape”

- Sometimes it’s just about capturing someone’s attention for a minute (and 30 seconds)

The Steal – “Bright Grey”

- Or sharing 44 seconds of a band someone might have never heard before otherwise

Final Fantasy – “Peach Plum Pear”

- and my own (old) golden rule – each good mixtape has to have a good cover song.

In the spirit of the modern take on the mixtape, I also made a Spotify playlist, for those of you who have access (sorry non-European folk!).

Track listing:

Archers Of Loaf – Web In Front

Hot Snakes – LAX

Colossal – The Serious Kind

Fucked Up – I Hate Summer

These Arms Are Snakes – The Blue Rose

Final Fantasy – The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead

Adem – These Are Your Friends

Paul Baribeau – I Miss That Band

Maps & Atlases – If This Is

Envy – Dreams Come To An End

Factory Floor – Lying

Dilated Peoples – Worst Comes To Worst

Superchunk – Digging For Something

Tall Firs – Hairdo

Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Wrapped Up

American Football – Never Meant



What We Talk About When We Talk About (Courtney) Love

By Gerard on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Sincere apologies to Raymond Carver for the headline. Man, if I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me, “what’s the deal with that Courtney polaroid?”, well, I wouldn’t have enough money for a Torchy’s Taco.  So imagine my surprise when Nils told me I’d been assigned to write an essay on the subject!  To be perfectly frank, I’m not sure what would’ve possessed Courtney to deface the walls of a perfectly good Seattle home, but keep in mind, she also agreed to appear in “200 Cigarettes”.  So her judgment hasn’t always been super sharp.

All kidding aside, there have been a handful of collisions w/ Ms. Love and myself during Matador’s storied history.  The above snapshot — culled from a photo session for Newsweek — was probably provoked by any number of nasty comments I probably composed in the pages of Conflict, CMJ or the New England Journal of Medicine.  Shortly after Courtney left a rather profane rant on our answering machine (she seemed to take great exception to Chris Lombardi’s outgoing message — our fearless founder shouting the praises of “Matador recording artists, U2″ while “I Will Follow” blared away in the background) we were introduced on a Los Angeles sidewalk by a rock biz colleague. She mentioned something about our forming our own personal branch of MENSA, which I took to be a huge compliment — until I later learned she’d used the same line on Evan Dando, Wings Hauser, former Raiders QB Todd Marinovich and most distressingly, newsman Irving R. Levine.

The name calling and rancor eventually came to a halt — mostly because Scott Weiland provided so much easy copy over the years.  But this exercise has proven rather instructive for me.  Just what exactly do I have against a very wealthy multi-talented woman with whom I have so very much in common?  Our similarities are uncanny ; we each survived marriages to far more successful, talented musicians.  Both parties’ “loose cannon” reputations stand in the way of major Hollywood parts.  Courtney’s made the transition from rock icon to fashion blogger…and so have I! So in the spirit of the impending holiday season, I’m declaring a moratorium on the Courtney-bashing.  From this moment onwards, if you want to take a shot at her, you’ll have to get thru me first. Wayne Gretzky had Dave Semenko, Michael Jordan had Charles Oakley, George W. Bush had Karl Rove. Since none of those gentlemen are available to assist Courtney Love, now she’s got me.

Let It Bleed

By truepanthersounds on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I gave my heart to music when I was 7 years old in San Jose, California. My family had just arrived in America from Russia. Our first home was a one-bedroom apartment across from the projects on Cherry Street. I still remember my mom unpacking the box of records she’d brought from Russia and setting up our JCC-provided turntable. Some of the records were children’s stories, some were classical music but it was the state-issued bootlegs of rock & roll that caught my attention. I’d listen to those Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Aquarium (Russian rock band) albums and feel this new bubbling joy. I’d roll around on the floor laughing hysterically just from being so overwhelmed by feeling. My mom gave me the Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock for my 10th birthday. I pored over its pages, memorizing the artists, drawing stories from their photos and imagining the significance of the song titles found in their singles charts. I loved that book, and I loved every song I could track down from it. To top it off, I didn’t have to fear loving these songs. They wouldn’t leave, they wouldn’t make me feel hurt, alien, lost or confused. Every time I listened they would give more than they had before, unpacking stories and feelings, an endless amount of gifts that rewarded commitment. You could pass this love along, a song played for a friend, a shared experience could bond you.  Even as I got older and continued to be afraid of committing to loving and trusting people, I knew I could at least share love with them through music, we could experience a fearless love together by cherishing something that was beyond ourselves. We could find ourselves and our feelings for each other in our love for a song.

“I was feeling so sad alone then I found a friend in this song I was singing. I  was feeling like a nothing inside then I found it all in a song.”  -Girls “Darling”

Before really knowing what love was, I learned the language of love songs. For better or worse, every loving relationship I’ve had has used those songs as a watermark. Does spending time with this person feel like the lyrics to “Ring of Fire”? Is that good or bad!? Is this feeling of watching my girlfriend sleep what Curtis Mayfield felt in “I’m So Proud”? And to summon Curtis again, does the breakup summon the same fire as “7 Years”? I don’t really cook, I can’t sing, write songs or poems, can’t paint, I express my emotions with the hyperbole laden maturity of a 10 year old, honestly. The only certain way I could find to say what I meant to someone or understand it myself, was in sharing a song. No fumbling words, no uncertainty or compromise. What is there in our world that’s harder to express than love? Hate, fear, joy and anxiety are easy. But love is all those things and more. It’s so massive, so powerful. My sister who is one of the people I love most in this world recently turned 10 and got her own email account and we now send songs and itunes links back and forth to each other. Her fearless love of the people and world around her, despite experiences that would’ve crippled another child inspire me every day. Sure on one hand the exchanges are pedagogical, but I like to think there is something else at play. That in sharing the songs that speak to us we’re building a common language to understand our familial love for each other.  I guess that impulse runs in our blood. Anyhow, it’s more effective than emoticons.

“Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but anti-political, perhaps the most powerful of all anti-political human forces.”" -Hannah Arendt

Love is not democratic. Reflexively, the job of the love song is not to build communities. Morality has no place in a love song. The love song’s purpose is to give two people the tools they need to understand this fearsome thing they have between them, being in love puts you in conflict with the world outside of that relationship- all the elements that challenge and disrupt that already destabilizing bond. Aristotle said that love is a “single soul dwelling in two bodies”. The perfect love song helps us understand this alien inhabitant that bonds us together with another/disrupts our lives.

I’ve often tried to understand why despite being such a sap I’ve been so drawn to angry music and its various political & social structures. In times in my life, as with a lot of young peoples lives to a certain extent, when love fails to show up, lets you down or leaves you behind, there’s a certain comfort in building ad-hoc communities based around rejection and disillusionment. It’s ironic that Belle & Sebastian are the inspiration for this way too long ramble then. Because in high school, at the apex of submersion into hardcore and punk, I found a band that spoke to our need to love. That despite being a little strange and frustrated teenager love wasn’t something to fear. It carried riches and experiences that were invisible to those who push love away. It hurts, dies, comes back, changes heats up and cools down but the moments that it burns inside of us define our lives. Life is hard. People you love, family members, friends and other loved one screw you over, betray you and lie. But succumbing to fear and letting your past pain block your ability to embrace love is giving up life’s greatest treasure. I’m eternally grateful to B&S for reminding me of that.

My heart belongs to music because it’s the best way I’ve found to process the love that has come and gone in my life, and the best vessel i’ve found for sharing it. It binds my family together, and reminds me to stay open to love that comes in the future. Music is my lifelong bleeding-heart companion, and every day I feel grateful that my life is based around sharing and treasuring its bounty.  Maybe it’s not the most sophisticated way to live, but at age 28, it might be a little too late to change. Oh well…LET IT BLEED!

Writing About Love: A Day For The Ages

By Adam F on Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Why is today such a great day to Write About Love?  We’ll get to that in a minute.

I certainly love my wife.  I love my two kids more than I ever thought possible to love anything.   I love my parents.  I love my two brothers.  (This could go on like a thank you speech, sorry if i’ve left you out… you know who you are.)

I also “love” burritos from La Taqueria on Mission and 25th.  But let’s be honest, that’s not the same as that prehistoric jolt of adrenalin that probably evolved into “love”.   (Though I’d be bummed if I left La Taq’s carne asada burrito alone to fend for itself on the dusted plains of the serengeti.)

But that’s love, man.

It’s all the gradations in a color wheel.  Love is inclusive like that which fuels a damned Matador Records contest.

So what kind of love am I writing about?

It’s all love, man.

Today is November 22 and a poke around Wikipedia shows that either this isn’t a great day in history for most forms of love or that anyone editing Wikipedia doesn’t hold much reverence for celebrating love.

I choose the latter, but just to be sure….

As you clickthrough to Wikipedia, for at least a brief time…. today is now officially “International Write About Love Day”.  (UPDATE:  The birkenstocks and socks legion of Wikipedia editors has since killed this holiday.)

Like all good things, let’s hope it catches on, @BellesGlasgow!