The Coral Sea Sessions

So, I’ve spent the last 2 nights at the Royal Festival Hall, watching Patti Smith and Kevin Shields’ “Coral Sea Sessions”. This is a repeat of the collaboration between Smith n’Shields from last year’s Meltdown Festival, where Patti basically read out sections of her poetry book ‘The Coral Sea’, whilst Kevin played guitar in the background. The shows were split in two – the first part being Patti playing protest songs (on Monday) and songs about death (on Tuesday) with her co-writer Tony Shannahan, an incredible Italian cellist, and Jason Pierce from Spiritualized. The themes overlapped on both nights, but kind of erred towards the mawkish on Monday – lots of ‘a mother’s grief’-type anti-war songs, totally earnest I’m sure, but a lttle too earnest for me. On both nights she played a new song ‘Without Chains’ about a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, which was full o’mistakes on the first night, and on the second night Patti sang te chorus as ‘In chains’ as opposed to ‘Without chains’. I thought this was an interesting version on the lyrics until she halted everything towards the end of the song and said ‘Hang on, it’s supposd to be ‘Without chains’! Why did you let me go on singing it as ‘In Chains’?’, to which Shannahan shrugged, embaressed. It’s heartening to see even professional musicians feeling too polite to point out mistakes to their boss on stage. Also on both nights, Kevin Shields joined the band for the final song of the first part, which was a circling dirge, and rather beautiful at that. Not sure if Shields had a hand in writing it, but it did sound MBV-esque in it’s minimal melody and droning momentum.

Now, the real meat of the two evenings was the second half: The Coral Sea. The format was pretty much the same as the Meltdown performance – Patti reads poetry over Kevin’s ebb, flow, delay and decayed guitar, mirroring the nautical footage on screen above them (shot by Jem Cohen – whose 9/11 skyline footage during the first half was pretty haunting). Basically, have you ever wanted to hear a 30-minute version of ‘To Here Knows When’? I know I have. Regularly. Shields’ guitar work was the beautifully droney undulating waves of sound stuff you can only find on ‘Loveless’, and seeing him play live is illuminating – you hear just how little of ‘Loveless’ was studio trickery. He’s really that good with effects pedals. Being the My Bloody Valentine obsessive I am, I didn’t really pay a great deal of attention to Patti’s poetry – for me, it was the background noise – but she gave a spirited performance, spitting words out in anger (and just spitting generally). The text wasn’t particularly verbose – it gave a straightforward voice to the anguish of illness and fear of death that the subject (Smith’s friend, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe whose death from AIDS is the story of The Coral Sea) must have felt. But, for me, it was all about seeing Shields do something other than trigger samples for Primal Scream. When the drones began to get louder, and Patti had to shout her words over the gorgeous din that he was making…. well, it’s as close as anyone’s going to get to seeing MBV again. *sigh*

First Chavez MP3s posted

The first Chavez MP3s have posted (all are the remastered versions from the upcoming box).

For those new to the band, check out “The Guard Attacks/Unreal Is Here,” tracks 2 and 3 from 1996’s ‘Ride The Fader,’ now tracks 2 and 3 on the second CD of ‘Better Days Will Haunt You.’


For fans who might have missed the 1995 CDEP, check out the awesome “You Faded,” one of the non-album B-sides from the ‘Pentagram Ring’ EP, above… now track 13 on the first CD of the new box.

All songs can be found at the link below.

http://www.matadorrecords.com/chavez/music.html

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

At Least It Beats The State Fair Circuit

from Reuters :

Second Life, the fast-growing online site where hundreds of thousands of people play out fantasy lives online, has suffered a computer security breach that exposed the real-world personal data of its users.

Linden Lab, the San Francisco-based company behind the Second Life site, said in a letter to its 650,000 users this weekend that its customer database, including names, addresses, passwords and some credit card data, had been compromised.

Blurring the line between a multiplayer game and an online business, the popularity of the site has spurred Fortune 500 corporations such as Coca-Cola Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., along with architects, authors, and musicians to erect virtual outposts of their organizations or personas.

Retailer American Apparel has created a business to sell clothing for the Second Life avatars users create to represent themselves inside the online world. Musicians such as Duran Duran and Suzanne Vega have held concerts inside Second Life.

I’m not sure which part of the above I find more troubling — the massive potential for identity theft, or the fact that Matador bands have such a terribly low profile in virtual worlds. Seriously, fuck your ACL, Vegoose, ATP, etc., call me back when you’re headlining Planet Dork.

Boston.com, Pitchforkmedia.com Boost Burma, Billions Burst

Mission of Burma

Despite our strange attempts at Variety-style alliteration, it has come to our attention that www.boston.com – the online version of the Boston Globe – is running a nice big page about the 2006 Boston Music Awards, 2006:

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/boston_music_awards_2006/

We here at Matador Records are proud to note that Mission of Burma is nominated for awards in the following categories:

Album of the Year (Indie)
Male Vocalist of the Year – Clint Conley

A full list of nominees is here:

http://www.nemoboston.com/index.php?PID=45

We heartily encourage Mission of Burma fans to – in the words of former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley – “vote early, vote often.” Of course, only one vote per email address is allowed, but if you’re living in the modern world like the rest of us (or at least me), you’ve probably got 5 or 6 addresses (and no, we don’t think they’re cross-checking email addresses with www.mlb.com‘s All-Star ballots).

The Boston Music Awards are curated by NEMO, which you can learn about here: http://www.nemoboston.com/index.php?PID=38. NEMO is “dedicated to giving back to the musical community of New England,” but there’s nothing I can find on the site detailing when the Nashua Music Awards will be held. So maybe next time, Granite-Staters. Live Free Or Die, dudes.

Additionally, boston.com is running a photo gallery that asks the burning question: Who is the most influential punk band ever?

http://www.boston.com/ae/music/gallery/influential_punk_bands/

Burma’s listed first along a list of pretty heavy hitters, such as the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, and, uh, the Clash.

And last but not least: West Coasters, get ready to rock on the following dates…

Friday, Sept. 15 – Seattle, WA – CROCODILE CAFE
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Portland, OR – DOUG FIR*
Sunday, Sept. 17 – Eugene, OR – WOW HALL*
Tuesday, Sept. 19 – Sacramento, CA – HARLOW’S*
Wednesday, Sept. 20 – San Francisco, CA – GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL*
Friday, Sept. 22 – Los Angeles, CA – TROUBADOUR*
Saturday, Sept. 23 – San Diego, CA – BRICK BY BRICK*

*with 50 FOOT WAVE

As earlier noted, West Coast show attendees can get some cool posters by sending their ticket stubs to Matador. Do it to it, folks.

OH AND BEFORE I FORGET (really, my short-term memory is terrible lately), Burma’s own Roger Miller will be sharing his thoughts (and hopefully his haberdashery tips) with the world via tour diary form through those loveable rapscallions at www.pitchforkmedia.com starting this very Friday! Why, by jove, that’s the same day the West Coast tour starts! Funny how that works, innit?

I’ll Watch Anything For Laughs, But I Won’t Watch That (Again)

Biopic of iconic figures from our own lifetime are usually fraught with peril. In the rare case of an interesting reading (Gary Oldham as Sid Vicious, Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon), it’s almost impossible to escape the shadow of the real persona. In the more common example of a poorly conceived, badly written, sloppily directed and hopelessly miscast project (Michael Chiklis as John Belushi, Dwayne Adway as Dennis Rodman, Powers Boothe as Jim Jones, Steve Railsback as Charles Manson) even the lowest of expections are left unfullfilled.

VH1’s “Meat Loaf : To Hell & Back” — witnessed on a JetBlue flight from New York to Austin the other night — doesn’t just fall into the latter category, it might be the Grandaddy Of All Shit Made-For-Cable movies. Factual mistakes galore. Lots of screaming. Inexplicable plot twists. The biggest collection of crap haircuts ever displayed outside of Williamsburg.

(Incredibly, the film is not redeemed one iota by the small screen prescence of David Kleiler, the former Sorry/Volcano Suns guitarist turned video and film director.)

Anyhow, with this black mark on the reputation of Marvin Lee Aday squarely in mind, I share with you the EPK for the new Meat Loaf opus, ‘Bat Of Out Hell III : The Monster Is Loose’ (quicktime required).

Mission of Burma Poster Giveaway

(sorry, but we no longer have any autographed Joyce Kulhawik circa 1983 posters!)

Like a shrinky-dink in reverse, Matador Records will turn your poor, torn ticket stubs from postage-stamp-sized refuse into mighty wall art. Or at least we will if those ticket stubs come from Mission of Burma’s upcoming West Coast tour.

That’s right, attendees of the band’s September shows can mail their ticket stubs to our offices, where we put them through our patented “Post-Er-Punk” process. The details of how it works are something of a trade secret (let me just say that the technology wouldn’t be possible without the triumph of capitalism in the Russian centrifuge market), but the results are not: two full-size Mission of Burma posters. One of them is the Shepard Fairey designed “Obliterati” poster, while the other is a highly collectable memento from 2004’s “OnOffOn.” We will send both of them to you, for free, because that’s how much we care.

Just mail your ticket stubs to the following address:

Matador Poster Giveaway
625 Broadway, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10012

Make sure to write your return address on the envelope, and we’ll do the rest.

Biff, Bamn!, Pow – Post Foodie On The “Crap-o-matic”

Though he couldn’t pack Chris Lombardi’s lunch when it comes to gourmet journalism, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo (above) did a fine job yesterday of imposing a death sentence on Bamn!, St. Marks Place’s attempt at recalling the Automats of yesteryear.

If its mostly vile $1-$2 delicacies – from chicken nuggets to peanut-butter-and-jelly empanadas – were sold in a deli, they wouldn’t draw a fruit fly. They are possibly the worst foodstuffs ever offered for human consumption outside a famine zone.

But automats have a Freudian hold on New Yorkers’ imaginations, even among those too young to have ever seen one. Bamn!’s clever owners saw how popular automats are in Japan and some European cities. Let’s launch a 24/7 operation serving instant junk food to boozers from the ‘burbs! Let’s put the stuff behind a wavy pink wall of plastic windows! Let’s use an exclamation point!

Chicken “teriburgers,” devoid of teriyaki flavor, come slathered in pink, mayo-like goo; roast pork buns conceal ghastly pools of pig matter.

Beware above all peanut-butter-and-jelly empanadas. Bite into the leaden dough with utmost care, lest a tide of purple-brown matter spew forth like a backed-up toilet.

Bamn! has a “consulting chef” – poor Kevin Reilly, who once did a good job at SoHo’s Zoe, but whose most recent local gig was comically bad Silverleaf Tavern, which gave up and converted itself into a lounge.

Bamn! should convert, too – perhaps to a phone booth, which could take your quarters but not pay you back with acid reflux.

Yo La Tengo live @ Electric Picnic, Ireland

‘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.

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

Product Tampering Craze Threatens Socialite’s Sideline

From the BBC :

Hundreds of Paris Hilton albums have been tampered with in the latest stunt by “guerrilla artist” Banksy.

Banksy has replaced Hilton’s CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as “Why am I Famous?”, “What Have I Done?” and “What Am I For?”

He has also changed pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head.

A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.

She told the BBC News website: “He switched the CDs in store, so he took the old ones out and put his version in.”

But he left the original barcode so people could buy the CD without realising it had been interfered with.

Banksy is certainly capable of the improbable – finding a creative use for the Anti-Nowhere League, for instance (Quicktime required)

Judge Exonerates Doherty, Gives New Single 9 Out of 10 Stars, Weighs Mp3 Blogging Options


In a clear message to the industry about the importance of a lead single, Judge Jane McIvor spared Pete “Pookie” Doherty prison time citing a new single “that is very good.” Five months ago, Doherty pleaded guilty to five charges of possessing heroin, cocaine, cannibis and crack (or as it’s known on that one bridge in Camden – the Babyshambles Combo Platter).

When asked about the sentencing, attorneys for the defendant were cautiously optmistic. “To be honest, we were worried after McIvor went on record giving the Dirty Pretty Things debut an early nod for album of the year,” explained lead counsel Sean Curren. “Obviously, her comments weren’t without criticism, but we’re hoping this bumps the upcoming single review into a feature in the NME.”

Daily Telegraph: “So, how about that plus one?”

Chain Gang Unleashes a Teaser!? We Want Our Mondo Manhattan!

25 years in the making El Chain gives us a glimpse of the genius moves to come with a trailer for Mondo Manhattan! The backstory to the cult behind Son of Sam! Murders! Torture! Dr. Mabuse!

Ricky, I sent in my 5 bucks for that VHS 18 years ago! I guess with inflation and compounded interest, that’ll still be good for the more expensive and expanded DVD format when it is eventually released!

Who’s Your Daddy?

(probably not Daddy Yankee)

From Billboard.com’s Ayala Ben-Yehuda.

Reggaeton superstars rarely make it to Hardeeville, S.C. So last month, local music fan Richard Martinez gladly forked over $100 at the door for a Daddy Yankee concert that had been advertised on local radio.

But after a three-hour wait, Daddy Yankee was nowhere in sight. Martinez and other witnesses say a woman selling tickets then got into what she claimed was the rapper’s limousine and screeched out of the parking lot with the money.

When the hundreds of fans in attendance caught on to the scam, all hell broke loose. “They were about to burn the club down. They started throwing bricks, glass, everything at the club,” Martinez says.

That melee followed one of the latest alleged scams reported to law enforcement by management for Daddy Yankee, who is not currently on tour. Bergen County, N.J.-based prosecutor John Molinelli has issued an arrest warrant for a suspect — believed to be in the Dominican Republic — who received a wire transfer of $100,000 to produce Daddy Yankee for a recent concert in New Jersey.

“They’re definitely allegations against the same person,” Molinelli says, referring to a possible connection among incidents in South Carolina, New Jersey and three other locations.

A statement on Daddy Yankee’s Web site provides an E-mail address for fans to report suspected fraud. “Every day there are new scams,” Yankee publicist Mayna Nevarez says. In October, says Nevarez, investors for a Daddy Yankee date in New York were ripped off for $75,000; more recently, a San Antonio investor called before sending money to Daddy Yankee’s management for a non-existent concert.

Eh. Same thing happens in lower Manhattan at least once a year with someone claiming to be Chain Gang.

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.

Dean Expelled

New Times, indeed. Best wishes to Robert Christgau, who today joined the ranks of the unemployed.

In an unrelated note, there’s no truth to the rumor that all future Matablog postings will be handled out of an office in Phoenix that will also be responsible for label blog content from 5 or 6 other mid-size indies looking to cut costs. We thought about it for a few days but apparently we’ll save a lot of money by purchasing fewer ads in regional arts weeklies.

Pity The Poor Telemarketers

(man conducting a survey on whether or not Phil Esposito lookalikes can thrive in the workplace gets his comeuppance)

The telemarketing wage slaves that have the misfortune of calling me at home used to be peppered with questions like, “what are you wearing right now?” That joke was really funny…until I got someone who was all to happy to tell me what they were wearing.

Anyhow, as befitting someone named Creative Bastard, there are more imaginative, though less salacious ways of dealing with this modern problem (link courtesy Boing Boing)

It’s Official: Las Vegas Is Really Freakin’ Weird

This past weekend I took a break from the hustle and bustle of New York City to work on achieving one of those fantastic feats I’ve been aiming for my whole life: that’s right, I visited my 47th state out of 50, the lovely state of Nevada. And not only did I visit just any ol’ place in Nevada, I went the entire crapshoot route and touched down in Las Vegas for a weekend of debauchery, buffets and, uh, Jimmy Buffett (that’s right, the Margaritaville franchise store is still in full effect on the Strip).

First impressions always help us new arrivals, and Vegas says, “What better way to impress than with slot machines right out the gates?” Resisting the temptation to play my odds (as I’d just ridden JetBlue, I figured I’d already taken enough risks for the day), I went on to my hotel of choice, The Venetian. And really, while in an artificial town in the middle of the Great American Desert, why not stay at a recreation of Italy’s famous city that’s crumbling into the sea? Makes sense, right? Can’t recommend this hotel enough, especially the plush bathrobes (available for you to take home for only a $85 charge).

So many great things happened this past weekend, it’s hard to keep track of ’em all. Highlights would have to include the visibly methed-out homeless population, the incredibly bad tattoos I saw on tourists of all ages while walking down the Strip, and the fact that if you don’t own a car, you’re not going anywhere. Another Vegas highlight has to be the ridiculous 9/11 tribute fountain at the foot of the fake Statue of Liberty in front of New York, New York that combines quotes from Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt and George W. Bush:

New York, New York, old palm trees

Seriously, though, the Pinball Hall of Fame was awesome – after many games of Paperboy, Simpsons Pinball Party and many others, I was ready to take on PUNK! – unfortunately, it wasn’t that impressive:

Punk! the pinball game

Figuring that something more “high stakes” than pinball was necessary to try, I later hit the blackjack tables ($5 minimum, that’s how we roll) at the dingy Las Vegas Club. Finding myself playing at a table with a guy from Albuquerque with a gigantic bandage on his arm, and two guys from Texas (one drinking a mudslide out of a plastic football) has to be one of the highlights of my life. No, really, it was fun, I broke even and had many free drinks courtesy of one of the most haggard-looking waitresses I’ve ever seen (but she was really nice! honest!). I really recommend checking out some of the downtown (and downtrodden) Vegas casinos – they have their own particular charm, apart from the smell of desperation and crushed cigarettes.

And for those of you reading this who happen to live in Vegas (if you made it this far through my observations on your charming city), don’t forget that Pretty Girls Make Graves play there November 25th with She Wants Revenge.