Not to toot our own horn too much but it’s been a bit of a bumper crop for Matador press in the music magazines this month. First and foremost we’d like to congratulate CHAN MARSHALL on being ‘WOMAN OF THE YEAR’ in Uncut. That’s right, she beat off stiff competition from Girls Aloud and the Sugarbabes to achieve what is, quite frankly, the highest accolade to be bestowed on a woman since Cilla Black was awarded an OBE. It’s also no mean feat that her counterpart as ‘Man Of The Year’ is her favourite man, Bob Dylan and the legendary Neil Young is ‘Hero of the Year’, she’s in good company!
Accompanied by a 3 page feature with some spectacular photos by Pieter Van Hattem (some of which you can see here) CAT POWER’s “The Greatest” also ranks at number 14 in the end of year polls, which coming out at least a month before everyone elses, shows Uncut as a forerunner of good taste. The list features no fewer than three Matador artists in the top 30. Yo La Tengo are number 27 with their masterpiece “I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass”and the magazine calls Ira Kaplan “a truly innovative guitarist”. High praise indeed but not quite as great as To Hell With fanzine’s Bush Hall show review a few months back where they describe Ira as being “the best guitarist I’ve ever seen in the flesh. That might be a bold claim, but one I’d stay firm on, such is the power, spontaneity and energy of his guitar playing. It’s a dazzling sight.” And that’s from a new convert to the band’s awesomeness, long may they bring new followers into the fold!
For the full Uncut list you can try various blogs etc but this is one of my favourites (by Beggars’ own Annette Lee!).
Not forgetting one of the other great UK publications, Mojo features Dead Meadow in the Buried Treasure section. Ok, it’s not technically a Matador release as it’s a reissue of their first album originally on Tolotta and now available again through Xemu, but we’re not picky. We *heart* Dead Meadow. The article is written enthusiastically by number one Dead Meadow fan Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals and it is a WHOLE PAGE, which in these days of cutting space and copious advertising, is excellent coverage.
This year's London Film Festival has been pretty good – screenings for the new Lukas Moodysson, Lars Von Trier and Claude Chabrol films, as well as new American fare like 'Shortbus' and 'Old Joy', both of which feature soundtracks by our own Yo La Tengo. Acknowledging their awesomeness, the London Film Festival last night held an 'In Conversation' event for them to discuss their soundtrack work.
After some introductory chit-chat, we were shown a clip of 'Shortbus'. This was slightly disappointing because a) there was no Yo La Tengo music in that particular scene, and b) it was the only 3 minutes of the film which doesn't feature WALL TO WALL SEX. YLT scored the following scene apparently, and James assured us 'It's really good', but we didn't get to see that. Dammit.
We also got to see the opening 4 minutes of 'Game 6', which hasn't been released here yet – I think it's cause distributors assume Europeans are afraid of anything remotely to do with baseball (unless it features Kevin Costner). A shame too, cause the score sounded great – a claustrophobic krautrocky thing. My personal favourite are the scores for Jean Panleve's aquatic nature films – we saw 'The Love Life Of The Octopus'. Nature films from the 60s/70s are a bit seedy though – the colours, degraded film stock and inappropriate zooming made it look like vintage octopus porn. Happily, YLT's score raises the tone somewhat. We were also treated to the trailer for 'Old Joy' which Ira assured us 'implies more plot than there actually is in the film'. The trailer does kind of make it look like one of those naturalist indie movies where something horrible happens to ordinary people, Deliverance-style. Lucy's seen it though and informed me that this is not the case. And she was impressed that the dog that bonds with Will Oldham in the movie is called Lucy.
Of course, anyone who's ever read a YLT interview knows that they're great conversationalists, and they were very thorough and funny in explaining how it is that they came to do soundtracks, how they approach them, and the actual business of recording them. I was left with the feeling that they quite enjoyed having restrictions and deadlines forced on them – at one point Ira talked about how he enjoyed being told to specifically write a jazz piece, as if they went into recording their own work with that kind of mindset 'it would feel kinda indulgent'. Matador Records should probably take advantage of this latent masochism by making some ridiculous demands on the next record: 'We need it tomorrow. And if you could throw a klezmer jam and a cover of 'Laffy Taffy' on there, that'd be great.'
Anyway, it was a very illuminating evening. And I'm pretty sure that none of the other 'In Conversation' participants espoused love for the musical scores of both John Carpenter and Spongebob Squarepants.
When the album goes gold, we're sending one to this guy, and that's a promise. (thanks to Miwa for the link)
(one of the above might be a friend of Yo La Tengo. Hint : It isn't the guy on the left)
Currently laying waste to the Mountain Regions, Yo La Tengo took time out from their busy schedule to forward the following bulletin:
A fan sent us this link, with the apt subject line: Horrors!
Your request for songs to add to an NRO soundtrack is the perfect Friday afternoon diversion. So here are a few tunes that popped into my mind, leading off with my strongest candidate.
“My Little Corner of the World”-Yo La Tengo (This great song really ought to be the theme for The Corner. Sample lyrics: “And if you care to stay in my little corner of the world/We could hide away in my little corner of the world/I always knew that I'd find someone like you/So welcome to my little corner of the world.”
By way of a couple level-headed emails (and one not-so…the same guy who didn't like this), it's come to our attention that the QuickTime booklets that we gave our Season Pass holders and that came for free with your iTunes purchase of "I Am Not…." are not working. After ten minutes of blaming ourselves incessantly and moping around guilt-ridden, we were relieved to discover that the problem is not our fault. It seems like Apple – in a spat of anti-competitive, techno-poo-poo-ery – has disabled Flash support as a default in their latest release of QuickTime 7. So try this: 1. Open up QuickTime. 2. Go to "QuickTime" preferences. 3. Under "Advanced", check "enable flash support". 4. Open the booklet. 5. Revel in multi-media glory.
I think my ears are still ringing from the incredible loudness of the New Jersey Yo La Tengo show and I can still taste the buttery yumminess of the ‘Ass’ cookies (or should I say ‘arse’) baked by a friend of the band presented to Ira after the show. No, they certainly didn’t taste like ass. The Loewes Theatre was resplendent in it’s shabby chic, I especially liked the display of old candy wrappers they had discovered during the renovations, perhaps we should shove some ass cookies or Yo La Tengo flyers behind the seats to be unearthed in another hundred years.
Speaking of asses, has anyone seen the new John Cameron Mitchell movie “Shortbus”? I hear there’s a lot of ass in that one, although it has received several very positive reviews so I’m rather looking forward to seeing it, not least because the ass-kickers themselves, Yo La Tengo, scored it. Of course it hasn’t come out here in the UK yet but it is being debuted at The Times BFI London Film Festival later this month. As it happens to nearly coincide with Yo La Tengo’s extensive European tour the band have been invited to participate in a special event at the Film Festival where they discuss their contribution and composition for movies on October 31st. The focus will be on both “Shortbus” and the new Kelly Reichardt film starring Will Oldham, “Old Joy” also screening at the festival, whilst showing clips of other movie projects including the soundtracks for “Game 6” and “Junebug” as well as their cameos in “I Shot Andy Warhol” and “The Book Of Life”. A must for all Yo La Tengo-fan-cinefiles and burgeoning film composers. Perhaps we can get some ‘Ass’ cupcakes for that one…
More info here:
Let’s not forget, of course, the upcoming dates:
Tue 7 – Cardiff – Point
Wed 8 – Gateshead – Sage
Thu 9 – Cambridge – Junction
Sat 11 – London – Forum
Yo La Tengo’s new single “Mr. Tough” is now available from our very own Matador Direct. It should be making it’s way into most of the finer record stores across the US this week, but if you have any trouble finding a copy, it’s also available from the Matador Store.
(photo courtesy Stereogum.com)
You get to work on a Monday and you’re greated by dozens of IMs and emails that your ass is on the home page of one of the world’s largest music blogs. You immediately go to the blog and realize that you were a t-shirt tuck away from blog-infamy. But that ass road in a helicopter on Friday around Manhattan with four lucky contest winners and Scott. After circling the Statue of Liberty and dive-bombing the Hudson River, I’m sold and would recommend the whirly-bird treatment to anyone who can swing it (that excludes most of us). It feels like flying in a bubble and when your pilot says “okay, we’re gonna dive down now”, he really means “we’re going Apollo 13 for the next 10 seconds, hold on to your lunch.” Full personal accounts are below.
As Yo La Tengo’s North American tour is well underway (with a gala performance taking place just a stone’s throw from the old Tube Bar just an hour or two away), the following shows have just been confirmed :
October 1 – Babylon Club, Ottawa, Canada
October 11 – Belly Up Aspen, Aspen, CO
October 12 – In The Venue, Salt Lake City, UT
In honor of this exciting announcement, I thought about posting a YouTube clip of Ira and Georgia performing at Waterfront Records in 1988, but you’re probably gonna get plenty of that sort of thing in Jersey City tonight.
So instead, here’s Dr. Gene Scott. Have a wild weekend!
As most of the tri-state area checks and double-checks the PATH schedule in anticipation of Friday’s bound-to-be-epic (and only NY-area) Yo La Tengo show at the Loews Theater, More Cowbell has a review and pics of last night’s show at 9:30 Club in DC. Word on the street is that this Hoboken 3-some are alright!
(photo courtesy of More Cowbell)
The September News Report has been posted. Regular blog readers may find some stuff they already know, but there’s plenty of new tidbits as well.
Rarely do we break into regular programming around here to toot our own horn when it comes to something as crass as actual-record-sales, but this is kind of a special occasion. The new Yo La Tengo CD / 2 X LP / digital wacky-pack ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’ enters this week’s Billboard Top 200 at no. 66, making it the highest chart entry and best first-week seller of the band’s illustrious career.
Though I’d like congratulate Ira, Georgia and James on this commercial achievement, clearly, a big share of the credit is due to Matador’s hard working street team.
If you had any difficulty finding copies of Mastodon’s excellent ‘Blood Mountain’ last week, I sincerely apologize. We’re just doing our job.
If you’d like to join the celebration from the comfort of your own lonely hovel, we’re accepting video submissions at iamnotafraidofyouandiwillbeatyourass.com. This could be your big chance to become as big a global internet sensation as these guys.
Sure. We get some letters. A lot of letters. Like this classic one. But, this latest might take the cake. Why? Because it’s not restraining order worthy nor is it demanding money back in exchange for returning some downloads. No, the stars have aligned for this Mr. Tough and this one band (who he seems to own more than one album from):
Hi. I am a citizen of Glagow in Scotland, and my name (as you may see) is Michael Tough. Interestingly, Yo La Tengo’s latest single release in the UK is entitled Mr. Tough. I have been aware of Yo La Tengo since I bought their single Danelectro (version 2 of which is on the playlist for my funeral – when it comes), and have purchased a couple of albums since, namely Prisoners Of Love and the current I Am Not Afraid Of You….
I tried to purchase the single Mr. Tough, but none of the major or independent stores in Glasgow had it listed, leading me to believe it is only available as a download. Would this be correct?
The point I am trying to get round to, though, is this; would there be any promotional material available for the current single? It is not every day that a record is realeased with one’s name as its title, and this ‘novelty’ holds an appeal. I saw some cover art for the single on a couple of download sites, but am reluctant to print and copy it on to a t-shirt, for example, for copyright reasons. As I now have the song on hard copy twice (once on the album and once, ironically, from a free new-release compilation CD given away by HMV when I bought the album) I see less need to buy the single if indeed it is available on hard copy.
If there might be any promo items with the Mr. Tough text and imagery that are lying around the office and looking for a home with a real Mr. Tough (by name only, and not so much by nature to be honest) then I would be happy to provide that home and very appreciative. In the offchance that you could please help me in my quest, may I provide a postal address upon request at a later time? Thankyou for taking the time to read this essentially begging letter, and I hope it doesn’t bother you .
Mr. Michael Tough
We have since learned he has a cousin Ronnie. Can someone get this guy onto that helicopter?
Related: Yo La Tengo do Mr. Tough (YouTube)
Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan is being interviewed on WNYC’s “Soundcheck” at this very moment by John Schaefer.
Earlier in the program, a researcher from the University of Leicester was asked to characterize the typical Yo La Tengo fan. He presumed that he or she would be highly educated, not particuarly highly-paid, and most curiously, not a pet owner.
With all due respect, what the fuck?
(FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY : Gerard, do NOT PUT THIS ON THE BLOG)
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.
eMusic has posted a horrifyingly astute review of “I Am Not….”. Having seemingly lost touch with this discerning audience, we are now moving to promo plan B on this album – which includes a guest appearance on the upcoming season of American Idol.
‘We know that ‘quiet’ isn’t the preferred volume of the Electric Picnic festival, but….we’re gonna do these songs anyway’ – Ira, onstage.
Quite a gauntlet to throw down, made a little more palatable by the fact that Yo La Tengo had just opened their set with the ramalama-organ garage bluster of ‘Never Saw It Coming’ and the kraut-psych noise jam of ‘Pass The Hatchet’ to a mostly agog audience. The aforementioned quiet songs, all of which were from ‘I Am Not Afraid..’ ran the risk of being drowned out by two adjoining stages, but then they dropped ‘Tom Courtenay’ and ‘Little Honda’ to all the rapturous response that indiekind can muster before adding layer of noise to noise for closer ‘The Story of Yo La Tango’. When it finished, it felt like I hadn’t breathed for 20 minutes – but then some dude had hit me pretty hard in the chest with excitement when those first chords of ‘Tom Courtenay’ started up. The same dude went mental with delight when they came back on for an encore of ‘Sugarcube’ (insert your own superlative here). It’s kinda difficult to gauge audience reaction when you’re up front, but YLT seemed to have kept a largely drunken-end-of-the-evening-waiting-for-2manydjs type crowd happy, which is quite a feat. With quiet introspection and noise drones, no less.
Can someone please text or IM this guy to let him know that Yo La Tengo’s ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’ is coming out on September 12, 2006…and we’d really, really appreciate it if he’d put a muzzle on this armageddon talk, at least until after the first weeks’ Soundscan is in? Thanks!