TrendWatch: Pitchfork Abandons Do-ey Decimals For Embeds

Just when you’ve gotten all used to Pitchfork’s “buy by number” system, they go and establish a new rubrik. I’ll reserve full judgement until I have listened to the new Jet album just in case it does taste like monkey pee.

Pitchfork On Jet: Almost As Poignant As The One Where The Chimp Sniffs Its Finger And Falls
Pitchfork On The Hold Steady: If You’re Happy And You Know It

Plagiarism Alert

I hate to pick on Victory Records — with the possible exceptions of Zero Hour and Mammoth, no other indie proved as influential to the development of Matador’s early aesthetic. But I couldn’t help but take notice of the following spiel on Victory’s site, supposedly penned by the label’s latest signing, The Warriors.

At one point or another, everyone has had a friend who has pulled you out of a dark place; Someone who has believed and cared enough to provide you with new hope and encouragement. For us, Victory Records is that friend. Victory has released the most progressive and influential hardcore bands for nearly 2 decades (This FACT is undeniable), and we’re more than honored to carry the torch. Will this change the content of our records, musically or visually? Absolutely not. We are now and ever shall be dedicated to creating music that is both honest, progressive and most importantly “Hardcore”, as we have come to define it for ourselves. Our love and dedication for what we do will only be amplified by this new friendship. So from Cause For Alarm, Warzone, Snapcase to Comeback Kid, the Victory hardcore legacy continues. Our friends at Eulogy Recordings will forever remain friends. We will never forget their efforts and generosity. Eulogy gave us life, now Victory will ensure our survival as a band. From this point on any future Warriors records will proudly bare the mark of the Bull Dog.

I’m sorry, but the above testimonial — give or take a few band names substituted — is word for word, culled from the exact same letter the Ponys wrote after their signing to Matador this past July. I should know. I made them write it.

Does This Helicopter Make My Ass Look Big? (Stereogum Winners)

Stereogum Ass
(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.

Stereogum: I Am Not Afraid To Partake In Those Spoils
Contest Winner: Ira Gave Me Cookies!

New Yo La Tengo Dates

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!

Matmos at the Centre Pompidou, Sept 27 2006

The Matmos Paris France experience proved to be more graceful and elegant than the earthier and rocking Matmos London England experience. A bit like Paris versus London all over really. I guess the tone was set by the cultural palace that is the Centre Pompidou versus the garish red walls and velvet of Koko. But it was also the appearance on stage of the grand piano, its raised lid echoing the curves of the full sized classical harp. Both these instruments were missing from London.

The shows starts with Nate walking on to the powerful filmed imagery of the rose emerging from a cows uterus. The screen is massive (as is the stage) Disembodied plastic gloved hands manipulate both flower and body part. The song this accompanied, “Tract For Valerie Solonas”, ends with Martin playing a large inflated helium balloon. “YTTE” proves to be a crowd pleaser. “Roses and Teeth For Ludwig Wittgenstein” is propelled by Nate and Zeena using bunches of red roses as drumsticks. Petals fly into the air leaving the centre stage with a carpet of red. “Germs Burn For Darby Crash” starts with the unsettling footage of a cigarette burning Drews forearm and the gasp of his pain. An audience volunteer has his head shaved into a Mohawk with an amplified electric shaver by Martin. As the performance ends the audience calls for an encore. The house lights go up but people want more. After another song the band have to return to the stage to a standing ovation. Paris loves Matmos! And so do I. Both the London and Paris shows were stunning in their own right.

Eating with work peoples and Mogwai Live

*I did take photos at the Mogwai gig, but for some reason, WordPress is being odd and not letting me post them. It may be for the best, because, in what is becoming a habit of mine, they were really rubbish photos.

Anyways, the entire Matador Europe staff (me, Mike & Lucy), ex-Matadorian and super-publicist Sarah, and super Beggars radio lady Ruth all went to see Mogwai on Friday at the Royal Albert Hall. Now, this made me nervous for a couple of reasons – namely that we’d be going straight after work, which means I’d have to go to dinner with my aforementioned colleagues. Not that I don’t want to eat with them or anything, it’s just that my palette (when it comes to food) is, um, limited. The last time I went out to dinner with work people was last Christmas with Mike, Sarah, Patrick and Try Harder Records* supremo Alan English, and it was pretty excruciating because it was a very expensive French restaurant and I didn’t want to make a foodie faux-pas, what with me really only liking chicken and chips. I wasn’t actually a Matador Records employee at this stage either, so I was sure any display of weakness or lack of etiquette would eradicate any chance of a job I might have. I thought my best option was to order the Steak Tartare, thinking ‘Ah, steak with tartare sauce. I can just scrape the tartare sauce off, and no-one will be any the wiser, ho ho’. Some of you will be surprised to learn that Steak Tartare is actually raw meat mashed up into a kind of pudding. Not nearly as surprised as me. I nearly cried when I saw it. Summoning up all the courage I could muster, I told myself ‘You’re just going to have to eat it, or you’ll look like a tool’. Luckily Mike, by intuition (or by the look of poisoned anguish on my face) noticed that Steak Tartare may not be my thing, and shared some of his…I can’t remember what it was, but anything other than raw mashed-up meat was good enough for me. But obviously, I work here now, so that story had a happy ending – they obviously found my fear of food endearing.

Where was I? Oh yeah, having to go out to dinner with work people. Thankfully, we went somewhere that didn’t intimidate me too much (I was able to get sausages – phew) and had a lively discussion about Christian mythology and R Kelly.

Now, Matador don’t handle Mogwai’s records in Europe, so I can gush all I want about their awesomeness without being accused of nepotism. To begin with, the Royal Albert Hall is MASSIVE. MASSIVE. I’d never been before and it’s just…MASSIVE. It usually plays host to operas and orchestral stuff. We got in about 10 minutes from the end of Kid606**’s opening set, and it sounded remarkably like Jesu***. Does his new album all sound like that? It was very good, and considering the last two times I saw him he did 40 minutes of scorching noise and 1 hour of gabba respectively, it was nice to hear him kick back a little bit. 20 minutes later, the lights went off and Stuart came on to pluck the opening chords of ‘Christmas Steps’, one of many moments tonight where I thought ‘They’re doing this? Wicked, I can’t wait til it gets to the noise bit’. As a set, it was a perfect summation of Mogwai’s music – they did quiet stuff, they did the loud stuff, they did old and new stuff in equal measure. Hearing ‘Tracy’ live for the first time in aaaages was lovely, even more so when it transformed into ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’. It’s kind of useless to repeat the same things that everyone says about Mogwai (live or recorded), but they are so visceral live it’s untrue. During the closing ‘My Father, My King’ (oh yes) it was noise heaped upon noise, and when you think it can’t get any louder, someone steps on another pedal and it feels like they’re taking a drill to your eardrums (in a good way). ‘My Father, My King’ was so good, that when it was over it felt as if I hadn’t breathed for the previous half hour. Really, when Mogwai are good there’s not much that’s better than them. When they’re bad, they still fucking rule.

Because WordPress is having an off-day and not letting me link to things, here’s some further reading:

* www.tryharderrecords.com
** www.tigerbeat6.com
*** www.avalancheinc.co.uk

Dead Meadow, Touring With Wolfmother

November 21, Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
November 22, Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
November 24, Majestic Theatre, Detroit, MI
November 25, Rivera Theater, Chicago, IL
November 26, Mississippi Nights, St. Louis, MO
November 28, Meridian, Houston, TX
November 29, Gypsy Ballroom, Dallas, TX

(Silversun Pickups play 1st on all dates, Dead Meadow 2nd)

Jennifer O’Connor – In Non-Ampitheatre Mode

Touring with Mason Jennings in support of her magnificent Matador debut, ‘Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars’, Jennifer O’Connor has the following free instore gig coming up :

Tuesday, September 26th at 7PM
Criminal Records
466 Moreland Avenue
Atlanta, GA

In addition, there’s a post-show meet & greet par-tay happening tomorrow night at the Independent Bar, 3rd and Central, St. Petersberg, FL. If you’re an old friend of Jennifer’s, be sure to stop by. If you’re a new friend, you’re equally welcome to come ’round (except you might have to buy your own drink).

The Mutual Admiration Society That Is Mogwai & Lucasfilms

If you were wondering what to get Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite for Christmas this year, here’s a hint : Lego Star Wars for the PSP.

(from left to right : Braithwaite, Ewok)

An interview with Stuart can be found at the official Star Wars website

Mogwai’s contributions to the original score of Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” can be heard next week when the long awaited followup to “Requiem For A Dream” is screened at Austin’s Alamo South as part of the 2006 Fantastic Fest. Aronofsky will be on hand for a little Q and A, and prior to “The Fountain”, they’ll be showing René Laloux’s “Fantastic Planet”.

Mogwai headline Glasgow’s Barrowlands tomorrow night, and they’ll be at the Manchester Academy on Sunday.

PSA: Benefit For Rogue Wave Drummer

Pat (drummer in Rogue Wave) has been dealing with kidney problems for quite some time (this is his second kidney transplant).

On September 30th 2006, Rogue Wave will host a benefit concert at The Independent in San Francisco to raise money for drummer Pat Spurgeon, who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. The benefit concert will feature performances by Rogue Wave, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie,) Matthew Caws (Nada Surf,) Ryan Miller (Guster,) John Vanderslice, and other special guests. Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snickett) will MC the event.

Expect a nice ole package of CDs to raffle off, kids.

Puddlegum has more details.

Official Rogue Wave site

I Am Not Afraid Of The Billboard Top 200 : Yo La Tengo, #66 With A Bullet

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.

Pavement – Wowee Zowee revisited

Not since Mo Levy had John Lennon round to the barn for some beers has a record label been nearly as vault-plundering as Matador’s treatment of Pavement’s classic oeuvre. Well, I suppose Mystic and Cog Sinister come to mind, but as neither have blogs (or crack art deparments), I’ll leave them out of the discussion.

In the rich tradition of our mega-deluxxxe reissues of ‘Slanted & Enchanted’ and ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’, we’re pleased to announce the November 7 re-release of Pavement’s widely misunderstood 3rd album, ‘Wowee Zowee’, henceforth entitled, ‘Wowee Zowee : Sordid Sentinels Edition’

the full track listing :

Disc 1
01 We Dance
02 Rattled by the Rush
03 Black Out
04 Brinx Job
05 Grounded
06 Serpentine Pad
07 Motion Suggests Itself
08 Father to a Sister Of Thought
09 Extradition
10 Best Friend’s Arm
11 Grave Architecture
12 AT & T
13 Flux = Rad
14 Fight This Generation
15 Kennel District
16 Pueblo
17 Half a Canyon
18 Western Homes
19 Sordid [previously unreleased Wowee Zowee session outtake]
20 Brink of the Clouds [Rattled by the Rush b-side]
21 False Skorpion [Rattled by the Rush b-side]
22 Easily Fooled [Rattled by the Rush b-side]
23 Kris Kraft [Father to a Sister of Thought b-side]
24 Mussle Rock [Father to a Sister of Thought b-side]
25 Give It a Day [Pacific Trim EP]
26 Gangsters & Pranksters [Pacific Trim EP]
27 Saganaw [Pacific Trim EP]
28 I Love Perth [Pacific Trim EP]
29 Sentinel [previously unreleased Wowee Zowee session outtake]

Disc 2
01 Sensitive Euro Man [I Shot Andy Warhol soundtrack]
02 Stray Fire [previously unreleased Wowee Zowee session outtake]
03 Fight This Generation [recorded March 3, 1994 at Hilversum, Holland]
04 Easily Fooled [recorded March 3, 1994 at Hilversum, Holland]
05 Soul Food [Wowee Zowee jam session w/Doug Easley on piano]
06 It’s a Hectic World [from Homage to Descendents tribute album]
07 Kris Kraft [BBC in-studio; Steve Lamacq Evening Session, March 15, 1995]
08 Golden Boys/Serpentine Pad [BBC in-studio; Steve Lamacq Evening Session, March 15, 1995]
09 Painted Soldiers [BBC in-studio; Steve Lamacq Evening Session, March 15, 1995]
10 I Love Perth [BBC in-studio; Steve Lamacq Evening Session, March 15, 1995]
11 Dancing With the Elders [from Medusa Cyclone/Pavement split 7″]
12 Half a Canyon [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
13 Best Friend’s Arm [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
14 Brink of the Clouds/Candylad [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
15 Unfair [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
16 Eaily Fooled [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
17 Heaven Is a Truck [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
18 Box Elder [live; Wireless JJJ Radio, Australia, July 7, 1994]
19 No More Kings [from Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks comp]
20 Painted Soldiers [from Kids in the Hall in Brain Candy soundtrack]
21 We Dance (alternate mix) [previously unreleased Wowee Zowee session outtake]

The sort of lavish, jaw-dropping packaging that you’ve come to expect from our previous Pavement reissues? We’re on it. Cryptic hints of a band reunion that may or may not occur this decade? You can get them somewhere else, we’re not trading in such conjecture. But there’s more than enough meat to chew on here, and I for one am looking forward to a nifty trip down memory lane to the day in 1996 when Larry Clark suggested (with a straight face) that Tom Surgal “should be put in jail” for the “Rattled By The Rush” video.

Tom of course, had the last laugh. He wasn’t the one who directed “Bully”.