Liz Phair’s comprehensive early-career retrospective, Girly Sound to Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set is out today. The 56 tracks include Phair’s three Girly-Sound tapes, as well as her seminal 1993 debut LP Exile in Guyville, remastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge.
The LP box set is now sold out on the Matador web-store, but copies are still available via indie record stores and third-party online retailers.
The team at our subterranean web development bunker has manufactured the “Guided Listening to Guyville” playlist to help digest all of Phair’s newly available material. The site that features lyrics, facts and live videos for each song in the expansive release. Check it out here.
Also premiering today: a newly remastered version of the video to “Never Said,” from Exile in Guyville. This video follows the recently reissued “Stratford-On-Guy,” also restored from its original masters.
Iceage take no issue with switching up their sound from project to project. While many of us would have been more than happy to hear a second act accompaniment to the rasping ‘You’re Nothing’ or a freewheeling ‘Plowing..’ Part 2, it’s with style and conviction that the band ceaselessly provide us with yet a new way of experiencing their world.
‘Beyondless’ is a record steeped in the miasma of old wrongs and new mistakes, hung on a scaffold of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s most accomplished lyric writing to date. The title is a nod to the immortal Irish playwright – Samuel Beckett – whose bleak nuance and tendency to laugh directly into the abyss are appropriately mirrored in Rønnenfelt’s post-structuralist written reflections.
‘Beyondless’ is released today, buy it or stream it here
Iceage are in the middle of a short stretch of EU shows, before taking on a mammoth two month trip across North America:
Following last month’s single “Pristine,” Snail Mail released “Heat Wave” today ahead of her debut LP Lush. The video, directed by Brandon Herman, features Lindsey Jordan showing off her high school varsity hockey chops and not-to-be-overlooked air hockey skills to boot.
Prior to May 18’s release of their hotly anticipated ‘Sparkle Hard’, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have unveiled another of the album’s world-class compositions, “Refute”, featuring guest vocals from Kim Gordon. Pressed to explain, Stephen’s claimed his intent was to “queer the duet”, by playing with “Nashville tropes in light of current trends in evolutionary psychology” and swapping “the classic He Said/She Said narrative, where in this case the ‘wife’ is the cheater, and the omniscient narrator enters at the end to offer cold comfort.”
In addition, today marks your opportunity to take the STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS #sparklehard quiz to find out your sparkle level (YES, THAT’S WHAT IT SAYS HERE) and receive a custom @Spotify playlist with original ‘Sparkle Hard’ album art rejected by Matador’s free-expression phobic legal dept. Questions provided by the Jicks.
On the heels of releasing Twin Fantasy (Mirror to Mirror) for the first time on vinyl this Record Store Day, Car Seat Headrest have extended their North American tour through September, adding to previously announced headlining dates and festivals in The U.S. and Europe. Tickets for newly announced shows are on sale this Friday at 10am Eastern.
Tune in to KEXP today at 3pm EST / Noon PST to hear Car Seat Headrest perform with their extended live lineup: Listen Here.
After a two year break since since the last Kurt Vile headline tour of Europe, the Prince of Philadelphia returns in the Fall with The Violators in tow.
Kurt and his band will play in eight different European territories before hitting the UK for two back-to-back shows at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in mid November, amongst some wider regional dates.
Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 27th at 10am (BST) / 11am (CEST).
Prior to the May 4 release of ‘Girly-Sound To Guyville’ : The 25th Anniversary Box Set’, we’ve released the remastered audio for “Bomb” (culled from ‘Sooty’, the third ‘Girly-Sound’ cassette’) as well as premiering Phair’s video for “Stratford On Guy” (the song that “Bomb” would eventually morph into) with remastered audio as well (above).
“We were in talks with labels about the second record – Matador was being courted by Atlantic – and Danny Goldberg came backstage to meet me. I told him about my idea for the next video – ‘Stratford-On-Guy’ – explaining that we were stalled due to budget constraints. He asked ‘what do you need?’ I said, ‘a private plane to fly over downtown LA and get footage at night.’ I wanted to shoot the electric veins of the city. He just said, ‘done!’ It was one of those real rock star moments.
So my husband, his friend Michael Mees, who was the DP, and I went up in this 8 seater Lear Jet and got the greatest footage ever. We were literally flying sideways so Michael could shoot straight down over the rooftops of all the buildings. We were executing these tight turns above the skyscrapers and the G force was incredible. You could feel your internal organs dragging to the other side of your body cavity. Michael was using this really heavy camera and Jim, my husband, had to hold onto him as we shot. The lens of the camera was pressing down against the window pane and I remember Michael nervously joking – and not really in jest – that the glass beneath him better hold. It was so fun. We made two approaches into the airport so we could capture that fantastic runway lighting. Those images are etched in my memory forever. I seem to recall I somehow wedged my head up between the pilots like a dog peering over the backseat so I could see that awesome 180* cockpit view, too. Good times!” – Liz Phair
Upcoming Tour Dates
Thursday, May 31 Masonic Lodge, Los Angeles CA SOLD OUT
Friday, June 1 Swedish American Hall, San Francisco CA SOLD OUT
Saturday, June 2 The Crocodile, Seattle WA SOLD OUT
Monday, June 4 Turf Club, St. Paul MN * SOLD OUT
Wednesday, June 6 The Sinclair, Boston MA * SOLD OUT
Thursday, June 7 National Sawdust, Brooklyn NY * SOLD OUT
Friday, June 8 Wichita Riverfest, Wichita, KS
Saturday, June 9 Empty Bottle, Chicago IL * SOLD OUT
Following their “Opening Nights” residencies in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, Iceage’s recent session for Pitchfork’s “Juan’s Basement Live” series can be viewed above. Global touring on behalf of the forthcoming ‘Beyondless’ kicks off May 5 in Amsterdam (dates below).
As a few of you sleuths (professional and otherwise) doubtlessly figured out from the earlier tour announcement and debut of “Middle America”,there’s a new album from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks on the way May 18, and it’s called ‘Sparkle Hard’. Produced by Chris Funk, the album’s prerelease track, “Shiggy” can heard today on all relevant / responsible streaming platforms.
Modesty and plain good manners might prevent them from saying so themselves, but the fact that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have thrived, rather than simply endured over 17 years and delivered six albums of buzzy, sub-cultural significance, constitutes an impressive legacy. The challenge with album number seven is one that any successful band with integrity faces: how to safeguard that legacy and hold on to their identity without rehashing old ground (unthinkable), and also say something meaningful while (crucially) having fun doing it?
Meeting that issue head on in the run up to The Jicks’ seventh record involved some “navel gazing”, according to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Malkmus and not only in terms of what it means to be releasing music in 2018. If, like him, you’re a voracious consumer of all kinds of culture and feel the need to interact with it, rather than just react, then inevitably “there’s a world that prompts you to put your best foot forward”. With Sparkle Hard Malkmus, Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums) do exactly that. And they hit the ground running – on air treads.
It’s light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious, and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakeably The Jicks and – due to the streamlining of their trademark tics and turns, plus the introduction of some unexpected flourishes (Auto-Tune! A fiddle! Guest vocalist Kim Gordon! One seven-minute song with an acoustic folk intro!) – The Jicks refashioned. If 2014’s ‘Wig Out At Jag Bags’ balanced the lengthy prog workouts of ‘Pig Lib’ with ‘Mirror Traffic’’s sparky pop moments, then ‘Sparkle Hard’ bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.
Malkmus started writing ‘Sparkle Hard’ in 2015. He’d upgraded his home-recording equipment and bought some electronic drums and had been working on the Netflix series ‘Flaked” (he penned the incidental music and the end theme song). Demos were done in one day in April of 2017 and then in May, The Jicks started recording at a new studio in Portland called Halfling, which is managed by multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk of The Decemberists, who produced the album.
Self-indulgent escapism has never been The Jicks’ bag, but on ‘Sparkle Hard’, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface, communication cutting to the chase whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. A cleaner burn for dark and complex times. – Sharon O’Connell
Belle and Sebastian have released a video for “Poor Boy,” a track from EP3 of How To Solve Our Human Problems. The video, which features Stuart and company on a normal evening off, is directed by Oscar Sansom & Ciaran Lyons of The Forest of Black.
In conjunction with the release of the new video, the group has also announced “The Belle and Sebastian Mixtape Maker,” which allows you to create a sharable Spotify playlist and customized image that replicates the How To Solve Our Human Problems cover.
Belle and Sebastian are currently on tour with Julien Baker in the United Kingdom. They’ll be touring North America this June, with support from Snail Mail, Perfume Genius and others.
Today Iceage have birthed us a new track from their forthcoming long player ‘Beyondless’ – out May 4th. The new track ‘Take It All’ presents the group at their sidewinding best ripping a pleading and sincere groove out of a skeletal easy march beat.
There’s also news of more tour dates to add to the already extensive mid year run, seeing the band return to Europe for more gigs in September following on from their month and a half long Stateside soujourn through May and June.
One further reminder – the band’s ‘Opening Nights’ residency shows kick off TONIGHT in Brooklyn, NY
On June 8, we’re releasing ‘Lush’, the eagerly awaited debut album from Baltimore, MD’s SNAIL MAIL, aka Lindsey Jordan, whose 2016 ‘Habit’ EP for Sister Polygon lit up the universe (ours, anyway). Produced by Jake Aron and recorded last year, ‘Lush’ is a dramatic, ultra-confident leap forward from a songwriter & guitarist that couldn’t possibly be more-in-the-moment. The video for single #1, “Pristine” can be found above. Preorders for the LP & CD versions of ‘Lush’ (with or without a t-shirt bundle) start today.
Lindsey Jordan is on the brink of something huge, and she’s only just graduated high school. Her voice rises and falls with electricity throughout ‘Lush’, her debut album as Snail Mail, spinning with bold excitement and new beginnings at every turn.
“Is there any better feeling than coming clean?” sings the eighteen-year-old guitarist and songwriter halfway through the sprawling anthem that is “Pristine,” the album’s first single. You can’t help but agree with her. It’s a hook that immediately sticks in your head—and a question she seems to be grappling with throughout the record’s 10-songs of crystalline guitar pop.
Throughout ‘Lush’, Jordan’s clear and powerful voice, acute sense of pacing, and razor-sharp writing cut through the chaos and messiness of growing up: the passing trends, the awkward house parties, the sick-to-your-stomach crushes and the heart wrenching breakups. Jordan’s most masterful skill is in crafting tension, working with muted melodrama that builds and never quite breaks, stretching out over moody rockers and soft-burning hooks, making for visceral slow-releases that stick under the skin. – Liz Pelly
(Kurt Vile at SXSW last week, photo by Rennie Jaffe)
After performing across Austin TX last week, at Willie Nelson’s ranch in Spicewood, and at a few SXSW showcases, Kurt Vile has announced his first American shows with the Violators in over a year. The full Violators line-up, which includes Vile, Rob Laakso, Kyle Spence and Jesse Trbovich, will hit the road in June and July. Tickets are on sale this Friday March 23rd at 10am ET.
In case you missed it, watch the new documentary “Friends of Wonder,” which features Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett at The Landmark Lowe’s Jersey City Theater during their Fall ’17 Lotta Sea Lice tour.
“Head Like A Haunted House” is the latest video from Queens of the Stone Age’s colossal ‘Villains’, directed by auteur beyond compare Liam Lynch. QOTSA’s updated global schedule can be found below, and beware that tickets are running low in several places (and you simply cannot xerox your own).
Yo La Tengo’s woozily captivatating new studio album ‘There’s a Riot Going On’ is released worldwide today. This new record has been hailed by many as the band performing at their best – moving between sonic pastures equally familiar and unfamiliar to anyone who has kept up with them over their dazzling career
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Liz Phair’s landmark debut Exile in Guyville. On May 4th Matador will release a comprehensive box set: 7 LPs or 3 CDs cataloging the Guyville era in an edition of 1900, including the first official restored audio of all three 1991 Girly-Sound tapes. The tapes were meticulously restored from original copies of the cassettes, traded from hand to hand at the time, by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters. Also available on double vinyl and regular CD for the first time in years: the original Exile in Guyville, remastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge.
Buyers have the option of purchasing the remastered Exile in Guyville on 2xLP / CD or purchase the box set which includes Exile in Guyville as well as the Girly-Sound tapes Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Mutha, Girls! Girls! Girls! and Sooty. The box set also includes a book featuring essays by Ann Powers (excerpted below), Liz Phair, and an extensive oral history of Phair’s collaborators compiled by Jason Cohen. The vinyl edition of the book also includes never before seen photos, artwork, and ephemera.
Both sets will also be available via all digital retailers and streaming services on release date.
If a 7 LP set is not enough (and when is it ever, really) the 3 Girly-Sound tapes, restored by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters, will be released as replica cassettes in a limited edition of 345 copies. The cassettes will be available as a premium exclusive for those ordering the box set on vinyl or CD through the Matador webstore.
An excerpt from TALKING BACK IN GUYVILLE by Ann Powers
Back in the 1990s, when everybody in a certain corner of the punk scene was reading feminist theory and making mixtapes, people used to go on about “speech acts.” You might wonder, what the hell is a speech act? How is it different than plain old speech? Every time you open your mouth, you’re spraying out your point of view like viral spit. Pointing this out seems a little redundant.
Yet people can easily forget that their words don’t just fall on empty air; they hit people and have the power to infect. “It was nothing,” a guy says, after he’s told a woman her ass looks good in those jeans, or she might hurt herself if she carries something heavy, or it’s kind of a shock that she’s so good at playing guitar. One thing feminists do is point out that the little jokes men make, the condescending asides, even the well-meaning compliments (you’re so pretty, little girl) are epidemic. They keep women an invisible quarantine, away from their own subjectivity, away from power. Or, as Liz Phair says in one of the songs on her immortal Exile in Guyville, “When you said I wasn’t worth talking to, I had to take your word on that.”
A lot of dudes had said a lot of things to Liz Phair by the time she was 23. After college and a year of fucking around in San Francisco, she was back in her parents’ house in the Illinois suburbs, semi-secretly writing and recording songs on a 4-track. She was also running with some guys who loved to tell her how much they knew about rock and roll and what it took to be a real musician. They tended to be startled when they discovered her ambition. When she gave her tapes to a couple of them, they recognized that she was brilliant, but by the time she got a record deal with a cool indie label, many were wondering how and why. “Guyville is wrapped up in how the songs were written and in the way it was created and came about: It’s that girl, that girl having people say you can’t do this, you aren’t good enough to do this, you don’t know what you are doing,” Phair told the journalist Jessica Hopper in a 2013 oral history of her absolutely brilliant, groundbreaking, stereotype-defying debut album Exile in Guyville.
To preview the release of Girly Sound to Guyville, Phair has released a track from Girly-Sound: an early version of the Guyville highlight “Divorce Song” originally heard on Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Mutha.
Liz will kick off the “Girly Sound To Guyville Tour,” performing material from the newly reissued set, this Spring with select dates across the U.S. Tickets are on sale next Friday March 23rd at 10am ET.
“Girly Sound To Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set” Tracklist
Exile In Guyville
2. Help Me Mary
4. Dance Of The Seven Veils
5. Never Said
6. Soap Star Joe
7. Explain It To Me
10. Fuck and Run
11. Girls! Girls! Girls!
12. Divorce Song
15. Johnny Sunshine
18. Strange Loop
Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Mutha
1. White Babies
3. 6 Dick Pimp
4. Divorce Song
5. Go West
6. Don’t Holdyrbreath
7. Johnny Sunshine
8. Miss Lucy
9. Elvis Song
10. Dead Shark
11. One Less Thing
13. In Love w/Yself
Girls! Girls! Girls!
1. Hello Sailor
3. Fuck And Run
4. Easy Target
5. Soap Star Joe
6. Ant In Alaska
8. Polyester Bride
10. Miss Mary Mack
12. Love Song
5. Open Season
9. South Dakota
Julien Baker works hard, despite currently being on the road with label mates Belle & Sebastian for the UK stretch of the Glaswegian troupe’s tour, she’s just this morning announced plans for a stint of European shows this coming September.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 16th at 09:00 GMT
Julien recently released a collaborative cover of a Pedro The Lion track, recorded with Manchester Orchestra, continuing her streak for engaging in thoughtful song-craft that we last got a glimpse of on last year’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’