What would possess a respected independent label entering an (ill-fated) joint-venture with a major record company to make one of their inaugural releases a record as uncompromisingly unpleasant and visceral as Unsane’s 1994, ‘Total Destruction’ — once again, re-pressed by Matador and now on sale to mark the album’s 25th anniversary? Well, for starters, we were a bunch of arrogant motherfuckers who thought we knew better (MAN, DID THE YEARS BEAT THAT OUT OF US). Also, maybe you had to be there (and I was there — over and over and over again and I have the hearing/brain damage to prove it) but Chris Spencer, Pete Shore and Vincent Signorelli were a devastating force. That we did a somewhat crap job of convincing more than a few people of this is something we’d love to lay at the feet of Atlantic Records…so there you go. It’s everyone’s dream to do what they love and here we are still doing it.
(“Body Bomb” video, directed by Richard Kern)
Fast forward a quarter century later and Unsane are still making sick records, touring the globe (now with Dave Curran in Pete’s spot) and setting an impossibly high bar for a new generation of bands. And Matador’s still working O.T. hoping you won’t be overcome with noxious nostalgia fumes, but not before you jump on a totally destructive a 25% off sale.
Today marks 10 years since the passing of John Peel, a man who opened the BBC radio airwaves for bands and artists outside the remit of the stations “regular” programming and opened the minds of thousands listening at home to sounds they otherwise may have never heard. One of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, throughout his 5-decade spanning career he never showed no signs of slowing down and his influence on (the good part) of modern music is immeasurable.
As a small tribute to the many Matador bands who recorded a Peel Session over the years, we’ve compiled a selection of some of the session that made it on to YouTube, (many – including The Fall, Wisdom Of Harry and Pretty Girls Make Graves – haven’t) and there’s a full archive of all the Peel sessions over at the BBC Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/johnpeel/sessions/.
Featuring: Cat Power, Interpol, Yo La Tengo, Pavement, Belle and Sebastian, Sonic Youth, Mogwai, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Solex, Unsane, Arab Strab, Unwound, Guided By Voices, Superchunk, Techno Animal and Boards Of Canada.
This week two of my personal favorites from Matador’s long-to-quite-long history (the band Silkworm and Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister album) are being celebrated on the silver-y looking screen sitting on my desk at work.
First, the long-in-the-works Silkworm documentary “Couldn’t You Wait? The Story Of Silkworm” by filmmaker Seth Pomeroy is finally completed and available for stream and purchase here. I will take this opportunity to tell you how important this band has been to me: Silkworm has been incredibly important to me, and will always rule.
Second, Pitchfork has debuted an amazing entry in their Classic (as in classic albums) documentary series about If You’re Feeling Sinister, an album I can’t really talk about here…it’s too personal, I’m sorry. I just cant.