Car Seat Headrest is excited to announce a newly confirmed run of headline tour dates for 2019. Kicking off on Valentine’s Day in Boston, the tour makes its way down the East Coast, making multiple stops in Florida, a first for the band, and winds its way through Texas, culminating in San Antonio on March 2nd. Car Seat Headrest’s electrifying seven-piece live band, including members of Naked Giants, has been on the road for the past month in the States, playing grandiose, sold-out shows in support of the recently released ‘Twin Fantasy’, the re-recorded and re-imagined return to the band’s 2011 Bandcamp classic. Previously only available physically as a Record Store Day exclusive, the remastered 2011 version of ‘Twin Fantasy’ (dubbed ‘Twin Fantasy – Mirror To Mirror’) will be available on all digital services on November 2nd and on vinyl on November 9th.
The latest single from songwriting powerhouse Kurt Vile’s album-of-the-year contender ‘Bottle It In’ is a banjo-propelled, instant classic that belies the author’s claim, “I’ve always had a soft spot for repetition.” While peers real and imagined tip-toe on the periphery of Americana, folk and classic rock, not for the first or last time, Philadelphia’s Vile renders such considerations moot — if he’s not 2018’s wittiest, most evocative storyteller, we’d like to meet whoever else holds the crown.
(Video by Marisa Gesualdi
Original Footage directed by Aurora Glassock)
Weeks of speculation come to an end today as details of the new Kurt Vile album can finally be confirmed: One of the most critically and commercially acclaimed artists of the last decade will release ‘Bottle It In’ on October 12th. Today’s announcement is accompanied by the release of a new song titled “Bassackwards”, the album’s beating heart and Vile’s most compelling evocation of how he sees the world: “I was on the ground circa Planet Earth, but out of sorts,” he sings over a gently psychedelic bed of backmasked guitars. “But I snapped back, baby, just in time to jot it down.”
Kurt Vile has also confirmed a lengthy run of worldwide tour dates for 2019 with backing band The Violators, in addition to previously announced tour dates coming up this fall. The 2019 North American shows traverse a multitude of East Coast, Midwest, Southwest, and Southern cities, with support from The Feelies. A special hometown show in Philadelphia has been added for December 29th 2018, which will take place at the newly rehabilitated historic Metropolitan Opera House (aka The Met Philadelphia) as part of their opening week celebration. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
Travel can inspire in surprising ways: Kurt Vile discovered as much making his first record in three years, the eclectic and electrifying Bottle It In, which he recorded at various studios around the country over two very busy years, during sessions that usually punctuated the ends of long tours or family road trips. Every song, whether it’s a concise and catchy pop composition or a sprawling guitar epic, becomes a journey unto itself, taking unexpected detours, circuitous melodic avenues, or open-highway solos. If Vile has become something of a rock guitar god—a mantle he would dismiss out of humility but also out of a desire to keep getting better, to continue absorbing new music, new sounds, new ideas—it’s due to his precise, witty playing style, which turns every riff and rhythm into points on a map and takes the scenic route from one to the next.
Using past albums as points of departure, Bottle It In heads off in new directions, pushing at the edges of the map into unexplored territory: Here be monster jams. These songs show an artist who is still evolving and growing: a songwriter who, like his hero John Prine, can make you laugh and break your heart, often in the same line, as well as a vocalist who essentially rewrites those songs whenever he sings them in his wise, laconic jive-talkin’ drawl. He revels in the minutiae of the music—not simply incorporating new instruments but emphasizing how they interact with his guitar and voice, how the glockenspiel evokes cirrocumulus clouds on “Hysteria,” how Kim Gordon’s “acoustic guitar distortion” (her term) engulfs everything at the end of “Mutinies,” how the banjo curls around his guitar lines and backing vocals from Lucius to lend a high-lonesome aura to “Come Again.”
These journeys took Vile more than two years to navigate, during which time he toured behind his breakout 2015 album b’lieve I’m goin’ down, recorded a duets album with Australian singer-songwriter-guitarist Courtney Barnett, opened for Neil Young in front of 90,000 people in Quebec, famously became a clue on Jeopardy, hung out with friends, took vacations with his wife and daughters.
In April 2017, he trekked out to Indio, California, to catch the Stagecoach Festival and sit in with his friends the Sadies (“my favorite modern band”). Inspired by Willie Nelson’s epic set, Vile spent a few days in Los Angeles working with producer Rob Schnapf at his Mant Sounds studio. The two had previously worked together on “Pretty Pimpin,” the leadoff track on b’lieve that became a number-one AAA radio hit. Their second collaboration was similarly inspired: Featuring backing vocals from Cass McCombs, the eleven-minute title track is full of ominous bass rumbles, hazy-steady drumbeats from Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, delicate harp stabs from Mary Lattimore, and what sounds like chewy distortion leaking out of a David Lynch flick.
Months later, when a lengthy Violators tour ended in Salt Lake City, Vile let the momentum carry him further west, where he recorded several more songs with engineer/producer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, the War on Drugs) at The Beer Hole in Los Angeles. Other songs were put to tape during sojourns to Portland, Oregon, and to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where fellow Violator Rob Laakso co-produced. The bulk of Bottle It In was bottled up at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with Peter Katis (Interpol, the National) engineering and producing. Bottle It In captures the spontaneity of these impromptu sessions, revealing Vile as a diligent and singularly determined musician.
These recordings are the destinations, but the journeys were just as important, whether they gave him time with his wife and kids or an opportunity to get some writing done. “For a while I was terrified of flying, so I would be listening to whatever country songs I was obsessed with. I’d have George Jones blasting in my ears. Or, I would be reading something about country music. Or, I would start writing songs in that flash of being afraid, being swallowed by life. I’m up there on a plane drinking wine because like everybody else I’m afraid to die. And I wrote ‘Hysteria’ up there.” That new song, with its woozy guitar fanfare, captures mid-flight queasiness well, as Vile daydreams about escaping the flight: “Stop this plane ‘cause I wanna get off,” he sings. “Pull over somewhere on the side of a cloud.”
Bottle It In is about place only insofar as it is about the people in those places: friends and family, bandmates and music heroes, colleagues and collaborators. There’s a lot of love in these big-hearted songs, a lot of warmth toward everyone in Vile’s orbit and even toward those whose paths he’s yet to cross. “Loved you all a long, long while,” he sings on “One-Trick Ponies.” “Looked down into a deep dark well, called all of your names.” The jangly country-rock tune serves as a valentine to… he won’t say, but he and Mozgawa and Farmer Dave Scher deliver a beautifully sympathetic sing-along chorus that invites every one of us one-trick ponies to join in.
As Vile prepares for another round of lengthy tours and countless shows, these songs should prove good company, reminders of the love and responsibility he has toward those he leaves at home and those he meets along the way. That makes the sentiments resonate more strongly and lends Bottle It In an emotional weight. “It’s like that moment on the airplane,” Vile says, “when you’re on your way somewhere and you have that burst of panic. When you’re terrified of dying, that’s when you want people to know you love them.” – Stephen Duesner
01 Loading Zones
03 Yeah Bones
05 One Trick Ponies
06 Rollin With The Flow
07 Check Baby
08 Bottle It In
10 Come Again
11 Cold Was The Wind
12 Skinny Mini
13 (bottle back)
The rumors are true: boygenius, the band of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus will release their self-titled EP debut on November 9th on Matador. The illustrious trio is comprised of the most exciting and visionary young songwriters in independent rock, whose critically acclaimed albums were all released in the past year (‘Turn Out The Lights’, ‘Stranger In The Alps’, and ‘Historian’, respectively). To celebrate today’s announcement, boygenius has released a captivating triumvirate of new songs titled “Stay Down,”“Me & My Dog,” and “Bite The Hand,” which can be heard HERE.
Baker and Bridgers will hit the road in North America this fall for a co-headline tour, with Dacus opening. Each artist will play her own individual set of tunes, but fans just might be able to hear some boygenius songs along the way – though that’s another rumor we can’t yet confirm. The tour kicks off at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on November 4th, and hits major markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, culminating at The Wiltern in LA on November 30. The full list of tour dates, as well as each individual artist’s itinerary, can be found below.
This morning, we’re pleased to present the Kurt Vile video, “Loading Zones,” the first new music to surface from him since 2015. Directed by Drew Saracco, the video is a paean to Kurt’s City of Brotherly Love, and a farcical tribute to the song’s lyrics, a loose account of his peculiar parking strategy. Law enforcement is played by Kevin Corrigan and Matt Korvette.
Kurt and The Violators (Rob Laakso, Kyle Spence, and Jesse Trbovich) hit the road this fall on an extensive global tour. Tickets are on-sale now for the full world tour, which commences in Hamburg, Germany on October 12th. The North American leg, where fans can expect a further taste of new music in addition to the band’s iconic catalogue, kicks off on November 24th in Boston. The band has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 per ticket sold will go to support the ACLU’s work defending and protecting our individual rights and liberties. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
The Wire’s Stewart Smith opines that “Kim Gordon and Bill Nace’s Body/Head is the most compelling project to have emerged from the ashes of Sonic Youth,” (“Gordon and Nace have become increasingly interested in texture and space, creating a free psychedelic music that’s attuned to the play of shadow and light”), and while we’re not encouraging comparison or competition between post-SY endeavors, I think we can all agree that today is a VERY GOOD DAY for The Wire’s Stewart Smith, as Body/Head’s 3rd Matador album, ‘The Switch’ is officially available via all finer record shops and digital platforms.
Pitchfork’s Marc Masters calls ‘The Switch’, “as mesmerizing as a hypnotist’s swinging clock,” (“no matter how far they stretch, their tones and rhythms always cohere…in Nace and Gordon’s hands, these unchartable sounds combine like well-defined movements in a symphony. Their guitars rhyme as if they were trading chord changes rather than thick swaths of noise,”) and as much as we anticipate you’ll agree with him 110% upon experiencing the album in your preferred listening environment, we also wholeheartedly encourage you to catch Body/Head on tour starting tonight at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Masonic Lodge.
“Marauder is a facet of myself. That’s the guy that fucks up friendships and does crazy shit. He taught me a lot, but it’s representative of a persona that’s best left in song. In a way, this album is like giving him a name and putting him to bed.” -Paul Banks
Months of speculation come to an end today as details of the new Interpol album can finally be confirmed: One of the most critically acclaimed bands of this generation will release their sixth album, Marauder, August 24th on Matador Records.
As you read this, Interpol is currently revealing all details (Themes! Making-of! Album art! Producer! Visuals!) to a convergence of their most fervent fans and media, live from General Prim 30 in Mexico City via a live-streamed press conference. (Update: see the archived video of Interpol’s press conference below)
Interpol have also confirmed an initial run of worldwide tour dates, in addition to previously announced appearances at London’s BST Hyde Park with The Cure, Glasgow’s TRNSMT Festival, NYC’s House of Vans and Chicago’s Riot Fest. Those that preorder Marauder directly from the Interpol store will get first access to ticket presales for the new shows, which include London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
1. If You Really Love Nothing
2. The Rover
4. Flight of Fancy
5. Stay in Touch
6. Interlude 1
7. Mountain Child
10. Number 10
11. Party’s Over
12. Interlude 2
13. It Probably Matters
(photo by Jamie-James Medina)
Special Vinyl Editions
The standard black vinyl edition of Marauder will be available from the Matador Store, Interpol band store, and all good independent music retailers.
The red vinyl edition is only available through the Matador Store or the Interpol band store.
The cream vinyl edition will only be available for purchase through independent retailers.
It finally happened; somebody called the cops on Interpol.
The long arm of the law caught up with Daniel Kessler, Paul Banks, and Sam Fogarino in 2017, as they worked on a new album inside the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ rehearsal space in Manhattan. Even in its infancy, Marauder was shaping up to be a beast; an early practice session was so vigorous, it resulted in Sam hitting the drums so hard that he busted his kick drum. “That rarely happens, even with heavy-hitters,” says Sam.
Eventually, the trio were playing with such force and volume, that a neighbor called the boys in blue on the boys in black, forcing them out of the practice space. “We ruined it for everyone,” reflects Daniel. “It seemed like you’re picking on the wrong rock band,” adds Sam with a laugh. “It’s not like we’re Mastodon. I mean, in certain circles, we’re considered wimps!”
If that was ever the case, the Interpol captured on their sixth album are nothing of the sort. While many fans took time over the last 18 months to read about the band’s vital part in New York City’s early 21st century rock renaissance, or bask in the glory of their hugely successful 15th anniversary tour celebrating the seminal 2002 debut Turn On the Bright Lights, the trio have been quietly (sorry, LOUDLY) working on making sure they’re not just a cultural timepiece for music historians to study. The result is Marauder: an album that sways as well as it seduces, that pounds as well as it pouts, and that batters as well as it broods.
They’ve had some help along the way. For the first time since 2007’s Our Love to Admire, Interpol have opened themselves up to the input of a producer. For two-week spells between December of 2017 to April of 2018, they travelled to upstate New York to work with Dave Fridmann – famed for recording with Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, MGMT, Spoon, Mogwai, and countless more.
The New Yorkers arrived at his remote and frequently snowbound Tarbox Studios with most of Marauder tightly rehearsed and worked out. Fridmann made sure that their meticulous work in crafting a virile and visceral set of songs didn’t get flattened during recording. It was his suggestion to skip the Pro Tools, and record directly two-inch tape. “That meant there was a limitation to the amount of things you could track,” explains Daniel. “You couldn’t add more overdubs because you would have to erase something else. You couldn’t really over-think too much of it.” It’s a decision that allows a leaner and more muscular Interpol to flex throughout the album.
In the run up to writing and recording, Sam found himself immersed in soul drummers such as Al Jackson Jr (Otis Redding’s drummer) and 80’s funk producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. “How can I make shit swing?” was the question Sam repeatedly asked himself, and the answer is in the striding gallop of opener “If You Really Love Nothing,” the embellished skip ‘n’ bounce of “Stay in Touch” and the R&B swagger of closer “It Probably Matters.” Interpol have always been world-beaters at creating a feeling, but Marauder is where the feel is just as crucial. – Hardeep Phull
On July 13, we’re releasing the new album from BODY/HEAD, ‘The Switch’. The duo of Kim Gordon and Bill Nace recorded their 2nd studio album for Matador last summer in Western Massachusetts with engineer Justin Pizzoferrato and the results are equal parts dizzying & intense. Summer & Autumn U.S. dates are listed below, with several of the shows in question already on sale.
Creative alchemy doesn’t just happen in the studio or in the practice space; so much of it is the product of solo time with one’s instrument, learning how body and wood and electronics fuse, and of subconscious processes as one lives one’s daily life—picking up the ambient noise of the world outside, listening to others’ work, talking through ideas with friends. For Kim Gordon and Bill Nace, time together these days is limited to live performances and recording, so they’ve got to bring all their magic to every encounter. Lucky for us, these are two experimental sorcerers of significant renown.
Their debut album together as Body/Head, ‘Coming Apart’, from 2013, was more of a rock record—heavy, emotional, cathartic, spellwork in shades of black and grey. T’he Switch’ is their second studio full-length, and it finds the duo working with a more subtle palette, refining their ideas and identity. Some of it was sketched out live (if you’ve not had the fortune of seeing them in that natural environment yet, see 2016’s improvisational document ‘No Waves’), but much of it happened purely in the moment. Working in the same studio and with the same producer as ‘Coming Apart’, here Body/Head stretch out, making spacious pieces that build shivering drones, dissonant interplay, Gordon’s manipulated vocals, and scraping, haunting textures into something that feels both delicate and dangerous. Less discrete songs than one composition broken up into thematic movements, a slow-moving narrative that requires as much attention and care from the listener as it did from everyone involved in its creation, it is a record that sticks around after it’s done playing.
This is Nace’s favorite of Gordon’s guitar work; she’s truly come into her own as a guitarist, having built up her confidence through solo shows. The way the duo work together, you’d never know they spend so much time apart; on ‘The Switch’, their vision and focus feel truly unified. If Coming Apart was dark magic, ‘The Switch’ works with light, though it never forgets that these approaches are two sides of the same coin, and that binaries—black/white, near/far, emotion/analysis, body/head—are made to be broken open, and that the truth of things is in the energy between.
Perfume Genius has announced ‘Reshaped’, a special remix EP of tracks taken from his Grammy nominated fourth album ‘No Shape’, which will be released June 8th on Matador. King Princess’s remix of album cut ‘Run Me Through’ is out now, following its premier as Zane Lowe’s World Record on Beats1 yesterday. It’s a sensuous rework from the rising Brooklyn NYC artist and producer, with an intoxicating dub and trip hop-infused beat underscoring Perfume Genius’ slinky, spellbinding melody.
Featuring contributions from the stellar cast of Mura Masa (‘Slip Away’), Laurel Halo (‘Die 4 You’), Jam City (‘Just Like Love’), King Princess (‘Run Me Through’), mmph (‘Braid’), and No Shape producer Blake Mills (‘Every Night’), ‘Reshaped’ presents six adventurous takes on the albums vivid sonic world.
1. Braid (mmph remix)
2. Slip Away (Mura Masa remix)
3. Just Like Love (Jam City remix)
4. Die 4 You (Laurel Halo remix)
5. Every Night (Blake Mills remix)
6. Run Me Through (King Princess remix)
Perfume Genius live :
June 8 – Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Stadium w/ Belle & Sebastian
June 13 – Madrid, Spain – Mad Cool Festival
June 14 – Lisbon, Portugal – Passeio Maritimo de Alges
August 8 – Santa Barbara CA – Santa Barbara Bowl w/ Bon Iver
August 10 – San Francisco CA – Outside Lands Festival
October 19 – Chicago IL – United Center (with Florence & The Machine)
October 20 – Minneapolis MN – Target Center (with Florence & The Machine)
After a wait some might describe as “interminable”, or perhaps even “long”, ‘Sparkle Hard’, the latest & greatest album from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks is now available to purchase or download. If you’re in the Seattle area this coming Tuesday, consider making your way to KEXP’s Gathering Space at noon AND NOT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT’S A LOVELY SPACE FOR GATHERING(S).
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
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
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
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
Via director Brook Linder, here’s an acoustic performance of Stephen Malkmus’ “Middle America”. The Jicks’ previously announced US tour commences June 1 ; the June 14 date at Brooklyn’s Music Hall Of Williamsburg is sold out but a second show has been added the following night (see below).
Copenhagen’s Iceage — Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar) — will release their fourth album, ‘Beyondless’, on May 4th. After returning last month with ‘Catch It’, their first new material since 2013’s ‘Plowing Into The Field of Love’, Iceage now share Beyondless’s “Pain Killer”, featuring Sky Ferreira (the first guest vocalist to ever be featured on an Iceage song). Additionally, the band is announcing March residencies in New York and Los Angeles and dates in Japan in April, with their previously announced European and North American tours to follow in May and June.
The album was produced by the band with Nis Bysted, and recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios in Göteborg, Sweden, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios in Seattle. The album was played entirely by Iceage with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone).
I can totally imagine myself as a kid lying in my closed-door room in the dark, listening to this band and getting what I need, the way a band can make a person feel seen and bring confidence, sometimes even represent an ideal. Or maybe I’m already all defiant and self-certain, and I identify with Iceage because they are too, and they’re who I want to represent me in music. It’s a weird combination of qualities that a rock and roll band and their recordings presents to their young crowd, imparts to them. The music being pure emotion, the strong emotions of youth—anger, sadness, contempt, longing—as well as energy and sex, and the band’s demonstration that it gracefully owns and provides those things, consoling their followers in all the confusion.
What is it that Iceage in particular brings? A large number of extraordinary things. (Poetry! But more about that later.) The band members were childhood friends, which is always good news. They’re like a small urban gang, faithful to each other, suspicious of outsiders (of which music journalists like me are the most suspect examples). At the same time, they seem mature and competent, which is almost too much to hope for. They not only play and compose well, but the production of their records, from the very beginning, and at the music’s most chaotic, is impeccable. Their presentation is as hardcore anarchic as any, but much better played, mixed, and recorded than most.
And then there’s the poetry and the intelligence. The members of Iceage are not only smart but hyper literate. Interviews with E. Rønnenfelt, the lead singer and lyricist of the band, find him mentioning Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye; Peter Shaffer’s Equus; Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; Genet’s Thief’s Journal and Miracle of the Rose; The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau; Henry Miller on Writing; and James Agee’s A Death in the Family, and that’s in a total of four interviews. It’s not that he flaunts it; he’s simply honest and naturally acknowledges it.
The lyrics of Iceage songs have the most sophisticated vocabulary I can remember finding in rock music. Here’s a favorite example, from “Pain Killer” on the new album:
“Praying at the altar of your legs and feet /Your saliva is a drug so bittersweet / I’ll arrogate what’s there to take. In an evanescent embrace.”
…“Arrogate”??? I half know the word, but I had to look it up to be certain. It means “to claim or seize without justification.” It’s funny because its Latin root also underlies the word “arrogant,” which one might be tempted to apply to Rønnenfelt for the contempt he shows for people who try to understand him. But I sympathize. It is extremely annoying to be characterized by other people. And the shading of meaning of the word “arrogate” brings a subtlety to those lyrics of his that “take” or “seize” or “claim” wouldn’t. Frankly, though, what I really like about those lines is the concept of praying to his lover’s feet. That’s good. It makes me think of a similar instance in another poet, Charles Baudelaire, who wrote in his “Hymn to Beauty”:
“Who cares if you come from paradise or hell, appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge, if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal the infinite I love and have never known?”