The Little Black Egg Big Band (featuring Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, James McNew) – Live At Hopscotch Download

(photo by PJ Sykes, h/t NYC Taper)

Last Friday,  Georgia Hubley’s Little Black Egg project expanded into a larger improv ensemble at Raleigh, NC’s King’s Barcade, joined by Ira Kaplan, James McNew, Steve Gunn, William Tyler, and featuring prerecorded elements provided by Letha Rodman Melchior.    Melchior, a sound & visual artist with a rich history including but not limited to playing in NYC’s Ruby Falls and numerous works under her own name, has been battling stage IV melanoma the last few years, at considerable financial hardship.

The folks at NYC Taper have made the full performance available with an accompanying donation to Letha’s GiveForward fund ;  full details are here.  The download is only gonna be up for another 5 days, so get moving.

Get To Know Your Local Independent Retailer Vol. 3 – Retrofit Records

For Volume 3 of our groundbreaking featurette, we dug in with Sharod Bines and Bradley Ellison, the two Floridians who run Retrofit Records. These guys rule and apparently have the kind of taste that would fit right in at Matador HQ. I dig them because they say “motherfucker” a lot.

That photo down the bottom there that’s Sharod and Bradley with a special friend. They’re clearly radical dudes.

1. Tell us briefly about your store.
SB: Retrofit Records is located in Tallahasee, Florida, in the heart of downtown Tallahassee. Our store is about 950 square feet. Within our small space we host in-store performances, community events like BBQs, potlucks, listening parties, and anything else fun that we can think of! About 95% of our stock consists of new and used vinyl, while the remainder consists of about 60-80 CDs (at any given time), shop related apparel, a few publications, vinyl accessories, and new record players.

2. What got you into the independent record store business?
SB: A love for music and the need to contribute in a bigger way to our city’s music scene. That, and we’re the only record store in town where you can find new and current released music. Before we opened it was a little embarassing when a band came through town and would ask us to direct them to the nearest record store and we’d have to tell them none exist. Now that we’re open, we just direct them to our shop!
BE: Honestly, it also felt necessary for us (instead of anyone else) to start the store. We, to put it bluntly, are music nerds, and our knowledge of music is a little more intense and comprehensive than many other people in our town. So it really came down to who would be capable, willing, and knowledgable enough to present and sell music to our town. Plus,  It’s a handy tool for instructing and recommending albums to people based on maybe one band that they are into.

3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores?
SB: Radio-Active Records in  Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Vinyl Richie’s Wiggly World in Orlando, Fl, and Criminal Records in Atlanta, GA
BE: Aquarius Records

4. How have things been going from a business perspective?
SB: So far things have been great! I don’t come from a retail background at all (never even worked a register before now hah), so I was definitely nervous about opening a record shop. However, we actually lucked out, as in, we opened a week after major construction concluded on the main thouroughfare where our shop is located, and we opened a week before fall semester classes started, which really has helped sales and word of mouth regarding the shop. Even one of the universities interviewed us and put the article on the front page of their “Arts & Culture” section, which was really nice! So far this year has been great for us! We’re hoping 2012 goes just as smoothly.
BE: Some people have questioned our logic and asked aloud “why start a vinyl store when music sales are on the decline?” We’ve proved the naysayers wrong pretty quickly by succeeding at our mission.

5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today?
SB: SUPPORT within the community! I can’t stress that enough. Considering that we’re the only contemporary record store in our city, we’d like to hope that people would treasure something like what we’re doing, and would want us to succeed and therefore inspire others within the community to create their own cultural exchange, no matter what form it comes in, be it music, art, culinary, etc… That being said, a large part of the onus lies with us. Part of our job as a record store is to inform and educate the public/scene on what’s available. You know, not just what’s cool or new, but what’s out there beyond mainstream radio and TV.
BE: The size and focus of a store is also important. There’s no way a store can survive if it becomes bloated and tries to appeal to everyone’s slight whim. We saw a store in town fall apart by trying to grow and grow – Vinyl Fever RIP – but let’s face it: with the rise of the Internet, plus with the dreck that passes for mainstream music, most people no longer see the need to buy records. But there are always music fans out there, willing to dig and listen to new things. By keeping small, you can provide a more diverse collection of music and you don’t compete with chain stores in any way.
6. What are some of the coolest thing labels have done with you? Instores? Promotions? Sales?
SB: At this point we haven’t done as much as we would like to with labels, in fact we want to do a lot MORE! Maybe the labels are waiting to see if we’ll be around in a year, or maybe they just want us to buy more inventory haha. It’s cool though, the labels we work with send us the usual schwag (posters, promos, limited edition stuff, etc..), which we more than appreciate. Some labels don’t send us anything! Either way, we’ve hosted some really fun in-store shows and events with the likes of Nobunny, Shannon & The Clams, Moon Duo, Jacuzzi Boys, Cheveu, Paul Collins Beat, etc… Oh yeah, almost forgot Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, OFF!) came by the store and bought a bunch of records, which was pretty cool!

7. Why do we need record stores?
SB: Who doesn’t need a hang spot where you can listen to awesome records?!
BE: Why do we need to breathe? Why do we need to love? Because otherwise, life would be life would merely be a dull, inescapable throbbing pain.

8. What kind of taco is your favorite?
SB: I don’t eat tacos often, but I’m a pretty straight forward guy. So I’ll have to go with the original: ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese.
BE: Oh my god! The taco, you see, is imperative to life.  I prefer using tempeh and vegetables (done the same way that typically comes in a fajita), adding some guacamole and melting some cheese on the motherfucker.  And before you ask, yes it’s in a hard shell.  Goddamn, maybe I should start a Mexican food cart.

9. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now?
SB: The Spits, Yussuf Jerusalem, and Davila 666!
BE: How cruel, cutting it down to three.  Anyway, lately I’ve been obsessing over Sun City Girls, Dungen, and The Bug.

10. What is your favorite thing about your store? And you can’t say the customers. That’s like saying Einstein or Ghandi when asked “If you could meet one person, living or dead…”
SB: Fulfilling one of my dreams! ..and the pride of ownership. It feels really nice to work hard for something and then see it come to fruition, there’s nothing like it.
BE: Swag. No but for real, it’s what i’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.

11. What are your goals for the future of your store? Long term and short.
SB: Retrofit Records world domination?!
BE: Surviving and thriving motherfucker!

Get To Know Your Local Independent Retailer Vol. 2 – Music Millenium

Recently we broke ground on our newest Matablog feature Get To Know Your Local Independent Retailer with L.A. vinyl gurus Origami Vinyl. This week, we travel up the Pacific Coast to Portland for a chat with Terry Currier (pictured below, on the right), owner of Rose City institution Music Millennium.

1. Tell us briefly about your store.
Music Millennium opened on march 15th, 1969. It grew to a full catalog store. Music Millennium pioneered live music in a record store putting in  stage on our 10th Anniversersary with a permanent sound system. We do about 150 live performances a year.

2. What got you into the independent record store business?
I started in record retail in 1972. I did not grow up listening to the radio or recorded music. I played clarinet and was going to go to college on music scholarships. I got a car at 16 1/2 after riding a motorcycle in the rain and snow for the first six months of my 16th year. The radio got me interested in music and 2 weeks before my senior year of high school, I went to my first concert – Leon Russell & The Shelter People. Two weeks later I applied for a job in a record store and they hired me on my enthusiasm and didn’t ask me what I knew about music or I would have not got the job. 3 weeks later my girlfriend (met at the store) told me she had a surprise for me that night. It turned out to be a trip to Music Millennium. I went there almost every night after work in my record store job reading album covers back to back, specially their import section. In 1984, after the middle ownership at Music Millennium was going to file bankruptcy, I went to work for the original owner as he assumed the debt and the inventory and building. I bought pieces of of it and eventually bought the whole thing. I paid it off around the dawn of downloading.

3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores?
I have so many favorites but Twist & Shout in Denver and Waterloo in Austin have pretty amazing stores. Fingerprints‘ new store in Long Beach is really incredible. I always gravitate towards the vinyl section of any store i get to visit.

4. How have things been going from a business perspective?
The past decade has been very trying, especially the past couple years. The economy really has been a factor in slowing business the past couple years. It’s sad to see stores like Ear-X-Tacy go from being one of the best record stores in the country to having to close.

5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today?
Anyone still doing it is doing it for the right reason – the passion of the music. That is why they are still open. Many indie labels have succeeded in these times and had much success though. I still feel that physical goods are viable and the market could increase with a unified effort. Vinyl is a bright spot as new consumers get into it everyday. Had vinyl stayed around instead of the CD in the late 80’s, the industry would have not been effected as much by digital. Everything about vinyl is great; the sound, the covers, the jackets.

6. What are some of the coolest thing labels have done with you? Instores? Promotions? Sales?
We pinch ourselves every once in a while over the instores we have hosted. Joe Strummer, Randy Newman, Soundgarden, Steve Earle, Paul Westerberg, Sleater-Kinney and Keith Emerson!

7. Why do we need record stores?
Record stores use to be community centers. Many still are but to a lesser extent. When you go to a good record store, you are going to get turned on to music you did not even know existed. You browse on the internet, you read magazines, but record store employees that you connect with can make your day. Browsing in a good store you will discover so many things. And for shopping vinyl, especially used, you have a chance to find those coveted pieces you have been looking for  for years or just a fun piece like a “How To Bowl” record or “Music For Your Plants’ record. Sure, you can search online but takes the fun out it.

8. What kind of taco is your favorite?
Shrimp. With a real good and flavorful hot sauce. You don’t want to hide the flavor of the shrimp, you want to enhance it.

9. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now?
My favorite albums of 2011 are Unfazed by Delorean and Sky Full of Holes by Fountains of Wayne. You can’t go wrong with the new album Viva Voce The Future Will Destroy Us. If i had to name my favorite bands of all-time – The Kinks, Spirit and Mott The Hoople.

10. What is your favorite thing about your store? And you can’t say the customers. That’s like saying Einstein or Ghandi when asked “If you could meet one person, living or dead…”
The favorite thing about the store is the feel. The store has character. It still has the feel it did 40 years ago. We have tried to preserve that as we have made changes over the years. You can feel the passion of the music as you walk through the store.

11. What are your goals for the future of your store?
The goal is be able to continue to be a great full catalog store.

Get To Know Your Local Indie Retailer Vol. 1 – Origami Vinyl

A few weeks back we posted a little piece about how – contrary to the general perception – there are plenty of independent record stores out there who are doing just fine. That post was met with such excited fervor that we’ve decided to go one step further and profile some of those stores who are out there in your town, slinging rock and taking names. For our first installment we caught up with Neil Schield, owner of one of our favorite new record shops, Origami Vinyl in Los Angeles; a small store who pack a ton of punch and are really beginning to cultivate their own community in the Echo Park area.

1. Tell us briefly about your store.
Origami Vinyl is a new and used vinyl shop located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. We opened on April 3rd, 2009 and feature a ton of amazing in-stores, a robust selection of local music, and are very active in our local community. Our shop is only 400 square feet but packs in a very diverse curated collection of independent music from a wide range of genres.

2. What got you into the independent record store business?
It started as a dream in high school that became more of a fantasy once I started my career in the music industry out of college. After being in the industry for 10 years, I was laid off twice within a matter of 2 years. I was pretty over the whole corporate landscape. Down and out and not sure where to take my career, I had a yard sale to purge some things I didn’t need, including a bunch of LPs that my parents had given me that I didn’t really listen to. That yard sale changed my life. Within hours I had sold nearly 40 records and was amazed by how many people were interested in the records I didn’t want. An old man who lived across the street came over in amazement that I had records. He had a little building in front of his house that used to be a store front. I made some joke to him that he should let me rent that front building out and turn it into a record store. He laughed and said no.

But something in me started to think that maybe it wasn’t such a far fetched idea. A couple weeks later I really started to give the dream much more thought and approached the old man again. He politely declined, but I was determined to figure this thing out. I went down the street to my friend Jeff’s bar, El Prado in Echo Park. He asked me what I had been up to and I told him about my subsequent layoffs. He asked what my next plans were, and I said I was having this crazy idea about opening a record store. His eyes lit up and he told me that him and Mitchell Frank, who also co-own The Echo, had just purchased the building next door to The Echo and were looking for a tenant. The record store would be perfect there. The next morning we met at the space and shook hands on it.  Within 9 months, on April 3rd, 2009, the shop opened it’s doors.

3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores?
Mississippi Records in Portland is by far my favorite. I love the personality of that shop. It’s so small and quaint, yet has such a tremendous amount of amazing music.  I really respect Aquarius Records in San Francisco. They are one of the best shops to turn you on to unknown/obscure music. I’ve always enjoyed their level of knowledge and recommendations.

4. How have things been going from a business perspective?
It’s pretty crazy. I never was sure what to expect. I didn’t lay out a business plan or anything, but we have been blown away by the amount of support, press, and foot traffic that come through our shop. It’s been the most fulfilling decision I have ever made in my life. I’m constantly learning all the nuances of owning a retail shop and the unpredicatbility of sales trends, but the challenge makes it that much more fun.

5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today?
Community. It’s our mission to be as active with our local community as possible. As a record store I believe you have to have some sort of responsibility to support your local music scene. We pride ourselves on that. Any band that wants to take the time to release something on vinyl, our doors are open for them to sell it here, promote it here, play an in-store here. Without local independent bands we wouldn’t exist.

In addition to this its extremely important to get involved with local non-profit organizations, support local education institutions, work with other local retailers and the chambers of commerce, and DJ at local venues and bars.

I also believe the future of independent record stores must be based on smaller, more curated, neighborhood shops, than big, huge warehouses of music. There’s been a major movement over the course of the last few years to support small local retailers, and we feel that. People really appreciate customer service. Having an approachable, knowledgeable staff, that get excited that they share the same interests as the customer is extremely important.

6. What are some of the coolest thing labels have done with you? Instores? Promotions? Sales?
The most memorable and maybe the most infamous, was our in-store with Jonsi. Not only was it the most amazing performance we’ve ever hosted, but the fact that it will never happen again was pretty special. I feel bad that he was so uncomfortable being so close to his fans, but at the same time, I hope he realizes in retrospect how magical that night was for everyone that witnessed it.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

Another rad thing is 2 months after the store opened, we had one of my favorite bands of all time, Sonic Youth, completely take over the shop to celebrate their album, The Eternal. SY came up with a new store name and sign, hand selected their favorite records to sell and had 2 bands they curated to play the shop. It was insane!

Other than, we have hosted numerous epic in-stores with bands like Florence and the Machine, Superchunk, Ben Harper, Holy Fuck, Lou Barlow, Entrance Band, Dengue Fever, Youth Lagoon, Yuck, Male Bonding, The Strange Boys, Eleanor Friedberger, J Tillman, The Growlers, and so many more.

7. Why do we need record stores?
Because we’re fun people to loiter with.

8. What kind of taco is your favorite?
Al Pastor from Taco Zone in Echo Park.

9. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now?
I’d say the top 3 albums of the year for me are from Bill Callahan, PJ Harvey, and Tune-Yards.

10. What is your favorite thing about your store? And you can’t say the customers. That’s like saying Einstein or Ghandi when asked “If you could meet one person, living or dead…”
Knowing that my dream came true.

11.Tell us about the used and collectible action you have going on over there?
We are pretty selective about what we bring in but we have some gems right now from Can, dEUS, Tom Waits, The Germs, Chuck Berry, Felt, Amon Duul, Kraut, Galaxie 500, Godflesh, Sun Ra, Mogwai, Lydia Lunch and more!

12. What are your goals for the future of your store? Long term and short.
Short term: Open an online store that focuses on LA based bands and artists. Long term: Origami East…hello Brooklyn!?

Indie Record Stores Closing – And Opening

Here at Matador HQ we couldn’t be more upset at the announcements of the closures of Ear X-Tacy and Slowtrain, and the uncertain ground that Criminal Records now sits on; however, what a lot of people don’t seem to realize (or at least recognize) is that there is a growing community of independent record stores out there, many of whom are not only doing great business but in fact growing.

Just as it’s much easier to slam a shitty record than it is to praise an excellent one, there seems to be a trend to point out the independent record stores which are closing rather than highlighting all of the amazing new stores that are popping up on what seems like a monthly basis. Many of these have quickly become a part of our daily, weekly or monthly routine.

Of course, the landscape is changing – this isn’t news to anyone. However, we are constantly seeing proof that there are still people out there who would rather spend the majority of their free afternoons in a cramped record store than most anywhere else. As we all grow as professionals, businesses and people it is our job to find out what those people need and want.

A trend seems to be arising from the flux: stores that are far smaller, more curated and focused than the rock and roll pleasure domes of years past. Unfortunately, those days are over. However, this means little for the record store itself, especially the record store that is growing and adapting in this new physical culture.

I think the thesis here is that stores are becoming less commercial entities and more cultural ones, which in our opinion is great. That’s what a record store should be and places like Origami, Other Music, Good Records and scads of others are becoming beacons of the rock community in their respective locales.

Now more than ever getting your hands on new music is simple (and free if you want it to be), but what new and blossoming record stores have realized is that their brand is becoming more than a point of purchase. Rather they have become a name to be trusted and a place to convene. The record store is once again becoming a destination.

A few facts:

Permanent Records (Chicago) just opened a location in Los Angeles which is thriving and filling a void that has long plagued LA; a store that is smaller and more personable than the ever-amazing Amoeba yet a bit more mid-sized than vinyl mavens Vacation and Origami.

Speaking of Origami, in their three years they have become a hub of their community sharing both remarkably memorable events and giving back as a charitable entity, working with non-profits such as 826LA, Los Angeles Arts Alliance and various local schools and their fundraisers.

End Of An Ear (Austin) is in the midst of constant expansion while continually having fiscal years better than the previous. 2010 was their best year yet and they’re already 23% over that for 2011. Take a look at the store in 2005 and take a look at them now.

By December, Guestroom Records will open their third location in downtown Oklahoma City.

Bull City recently finished their move into a bigger store in Durham.

Slowtrain (Salt Lake City) is about to close their doors but what the general public seemingly fails to recognize is how the closing is a personal family decision on the part of the owners whose interests have understandably shifted from running a record store to starting a family. What remains unnoticed is how Slowtrain has been steadily growing since they’ve opened: their total sales for 2011 we’re up 11% from last year.

Meanwhile new independent record shops are popping up all over the nation, not the least of which are Steady Sounds (Richmond, VA), Cyklopx (Forest Park, IL), All Day Records (Carrboro, NC), Co Op 87 (Brooklyn), and Saki (Chicago).

These examples are just a small sampling of so many positives in the independent retail community and I wish we could point out each and every one. We simply felt it was our job speak to the fact that while things may seem like they’re going downhill for small record stores, in most instances it is just the opposite. Whereas most people on the periphery of what we hold so dear to our hearts see the decline of the independent record store, we down here in the trenches realize that we sit on the precipice of something great. We see the new dawn of physical retail just over the horizon and we’re fucking psyched beyond words to be a part of it.

Please feel free to use the comments section of this post to tell us what your local indie shop has going on. Thanks.

(Dr.) Katrina & The Gloom Wave : Aussie Doc Says Depression = Metal Abuse

(imagine courtesy Kil Slug’s Francis Larry Kelly Jr.)

University Of Melbourne researcher Dr Katrina McFerran, no relation presumably, to one-time Matador Recording artist Bobby McFerrin, is “immersed in a new study that aims to find out why some young people use heavy metal music in a negative way.” The good Dr. would have you believe “young people at risk of depression are more likely to listen habitually and repetitively to heavy metal music.”  This will come as a crushing blow to persons devoted to exploiting the power electronics and goth genres, but let’s allow Katrina to give her side of it, via The Melbourne Newsroom ;

By conducting in-depth interviews with 50 young people aged between 13 and 18, along with a national survey of 1000 young people, Dr McFerran is looking to develop an early intervention model that can be integrated into schools to impact positively before behavioral problems occur.

“The mp3 revolution means that young people are accessing music more than ever before and it’s not uncommon for some to listen to music for seven or eight hours a day,” she said.

“Most young people listen to a range of music in positive ways; to block out crowds, to lift their mood or to give them energy when exercising, but young people at risk of depression are more likely to be listening to music, particularly heavy metal music, in a negative way.

“Examples of this are when someone listens to the same song or album of heavy metal music over and over again and doesn’t listen to anything else. They do this to isolate themselves or escape from reality.

“If this behavior continues over a period of time then it might indicate that this young person is suffering from depression or anxiety, and at worst, might suggest suicidal tendencies.”

Yes, well, ok.  But where’s the downside?



Matador New Releases Page updated

After updating the Complete Discography page, we discovered that the New Releases page hadn’t been updated since September 2010. Maintaining a website is a funny thing, especially if it’s packed with static templates created in May 2001, when browser windows were narrower and PHP was virtually unheard of.

We often wish other labels maintained a new releases section so that we could see what they have been putting out lately, and what’s coming up soon. However there’s not much point to having one if you don’t keep it updated.

Check out the New Releases page to catch up on Matador and True Panther releases you may have missed in 2010 and 2011, and to see what’s coming up this July and August:

New Releases page

Thurston Moore – A Stream Of “Circulation” Is A Mere “Like” Button Away

As we continue preparations for the May 24 release of Thurston Moore’s ‘Demolished Thoughts’ (LP/CD/digital album), Thurston’s launched an official Facebook page. Visitors willing to take the most mild of virtual loyalty pledges (ie. selecting “Like”) are rewarded with a preview of “Circulation” from the Beck-produced ‘Demolished Thoughts’.

In addition, there’s a new Thurston Twitter feed for news/info surrounding this project ;!/DemoedThoughts

A Ned Beatty Performance More Harrowing Than “Deliverance”

Though I’ve already used this space to sing the praises of Zack Carlson & Bryan Connolly’s “Destroy All Movies : The Complete Guide To Punks On Film”, our extended Xmas break provided me with additional opportunities to get stuck into this impressive reference manual.  There’s amazing factoids and brutal critiques on almost every page (the turgid Arye Gross college radio star vehicle, “A Matter Of Degrees” is dismissed as “the emotional trials of a guy who looks like he’s been in school longer than Archie”) and best of all, many introductions to cinematic sludge only the insane or truly obsessed would already know about.


Case in point, 1998’s kiddie film. “The Purple People Eater”, described by Connolly as “the strangest E.T. rip-off of them all” (and this is coming from a man undoubtedly familiar with “Mac & Me”). “Is this the only film based on a novelty song?”  Well, that depends whether not you consider C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” a novelty song. But either way, it might be the worst film ever based on a novelty song. In addition to the cast mentioned in the above trailer, “The Purple People Eater” also features a pre-“Dougie Howser” / “Starship Troopers” Neil Patrick Harris, a pre-parental flipout Thora Birch, and inexplicably, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who might have the weirdest filmography of any professional athlete not named Todd Zeile.

Thor Harris’ 21-Point Plan For A Long & Successful Musical Career

Apologies if you’ve already seen the below screed at, Hit Parader or Cat Fancy, but on the off chance you’ve not read “How To Tour In a Band or Whatever”, by Shearwater’s grandmaster percussionist Thor Harris, here’s another opportunity to do so.

How to Tour in a Band or Whatever
by Thor Harris

1-Don’t Complain. Bitching, moaning, whining is tour cancer. If something is wrong fix it or shut the fuck up you fucking dick. goddamn.
2-If you fart, claim it.
3-Don’t Lose shit. Everybody loses shit. Don’t fucking do it. Asshole.
4-Don’t fuck anyone in the band. There are tons of people to fuck who are not in this band. Dumbass.
5-If you feel like shit all the time, drink less beer at the gig. You will play better & feel better. What are you… a child? Some have the endurance for self abuse. Most don’t.
6-Remember the soundman’s name. He will do a better job.
7- Eat oranges. Cures constipation & prevents colds.
8-Masturbate. Duh… Where & when? Be creative. You’re an artist right?
9-If YOU can’t carry your suitcase 3 blocks, it’s too goddamn big.
10-Respect public space in the van. Don’t clutter, you Fuck.
11-If you borrow something, return it. Not Fucked Up.
12-Do not let the promoter dick you or talk you out of the guarantee. If there were not enuf people there, it’s their fault.
13- Driver picks the music.
14-One navigator only (usually sitting shotgun). Everyone else shut the fuck up.
15-Soundcheck is for checking sounds. Shut the fuck up while everyone else is checking.
16-Don’t wander off. Let someone know where you are.
17-Clean up after yourself. What are you… a goddamn toddler?
18-Touring makes everyone bi-polar. Ride the waves as best you can and remember, moods pass. So don’t make any snap decisions or declarations when you are drunk or insane.
19-Fast food is Poison.
20-The guestlist is for friends, family & people you might want to fuck. Everyone else can pay. They have day jobs.
21- Don’t evaluate your whole life while you’re sitting in a janitor closet waiting to go on. You think you’re above having shitty days at work? Shut up & do your goddamn job.

Carl Newman’s been moonlighting as a blogger

photo poached from alterna2‘s flickr stream

Astute Matablog readers may have noticed that The New Pornographers released their much-celebrated new LP, ‘Together’ last week while, at the same time, teaching Roger Waters a thing or two on late nite tv, gearing up for a huge tour and unveiled a kick-ass video… as if that wasn’t enough, Carl Newman has been throwing some pretty insightful tidbits up on Rolling Stone’s website. There’s some highly-recommended reading below and if this table-of-contents doesn’t encourage you to click through and read these gems, please allow us to do so.

Thoroughbred Racing’s (Temporary) Loss Is The Rock World’s Gain

We don’t make a habit of linking to each piece of media coverage our bands receive because much of it is press-release-regurgitation-city. Every now and then however, there’s something special that we just have to share, and when the Des Moines Register headlines an article, “Prairie Meadows race worker goes back to his life as rock star”, it’s a sure bet (sorry) we’re talking about an all-too rare profile of Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich.

Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham participating in “Keep Toronto Reading Festival” and “Do The Math”

Fucked Up‘s frontman, Pink Eyes/Damian Abraham is taking advantage of a brief break from tour to participate in two community-based events.

Tonight (April 8), at the Toronto Reference Library, as part of Keep Toronto Reading Festival 2010: Book Exchange. Damian will speak on a panel with Pasha Malla author of The Withdrawal Method and Zoe Wittall author of Holding Still for as Long as Possible , wherein each panelist will bring his or her favorite books to discuss and exchange with audience members in an effort to promote literacy as well as what’s bound to be some pretty great reading.

April 8,

Doors at 6:00; event ends around 8:30
Appel Salon, 2nd floor
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St, Toronto


Meanwhile, Damian is involved in a program called Do The Math, run by a food program called The Stop — an initiative seeking to demonstrate the limits of social assistance. Damian will be subsisting solely off a standard food hamper provided by a local food bank for as long as possible.

In the program’s words:

On April 6, 2010, ten high-profile Torontonians (and their families, if they’re joining them) will pick up a standard food bank hamper at The Stop. These hampers—which include an array of non-perishable food, as well as a little bit of fresh produce—typically last a person three or four days, though many folks stretch this to a week or ten days. Our participants will live exclusively off the contents of the hamper for as long as they can. They will not eat out or accept free food or drink (though they are encouraged to eat at least two meals at a drop-in). They will be allowed to use up to five standard pantry ingredients—oil, flour, salt, coffee, etc.—but are asked to keep track of the quantity of these items used.

You can follow Damian’s experience and progress and find plenty of detailed information over at Looking For Gold , his twitter and Do The Math’s website.

Right on, Damian!

photo lifted from johnnyriggsisdead‘s flickr

The Decade Can’t End Soon Enough (Unless You’re Having Fun) – Matador Artists, Staff And Associates Remember 2009 (Before It’s Done)


(sure, we’re allowed to have an annual holiday party, but who’s supposed to pay for the cleanup?)

Once upon a time — when the bulk of our internet activity was longer than 140 characters — the Matador website feature periodic news updates (almost all of ’em brutally late in arrival), along with an informal selection of staff and roster listening favorites. Said feature fell by the wayside when we made the fateful transition to the Matablog some 3 1/2 years ago. But fuck it, it’s the holiday season, and what better way to embrace the spirit of sharing than with a ferocious onslaught of grandstanding, oneupmanship and elitist self-fellatio?

But enough about our plans for Matador’s 21st Anniversary celebrations.  Without further Freddy Adu, here’s an impressive array of ’09/decade favorite records, events & things from some of your most beloved Matador artists and the people who enable them. Dig in, after the jump :

Continue reading “The Decade Can’t End Soon Enough (Unless You’re Having Fun) – Matador Artists, Staff And Associates Remember 2009 (Before It’s Done)”

Do They Know It’s Record Store Day? (redux)

Discos Exitos
Some of you may remember last year’s excursion to the outer reaches of Record Store Day, so this year I decided to give another outer-burrough a shot at Record Store Day. After stopping by Other Music and the Academy Annex , picking up some amazing limited edition records (and failing to find the new Fresh & Onlys LP) I hopped on the subway deep into Queens in search of NYC’s best cumbia, champeta, rebajada and technocumbia shops.

We got off at the Junction Blvd. stop to find that the most-recommended music spot in the neighborhood, Discos Medellin, has been order closed by Police Order! Do the police know it’s Record store Day???

Discos Medellinpoliceorder
Anyhow, after some deeply remedial Spanish conversations, we found a few other great stores right off on Roosevelt- Pancoatl Bulmaro and Domingo records. Pancoatl was up a secret flight of stairs in the back of a barber shop and blasted the latest Mexico-via-Queens Sonidero mixes. The employees were incredibly friendly, and excited to share their favorite new CDs (no vinyl sadly) and talk about their favorite local Sonideros (dj’s).  They got excited about Record Store Day, and talked a little bit about how they felt their stores were crucial hubs for people to feel connected to their home countries. Good vibes! After picking up some new Ecuadorian, Colombian and Mexican music we finished off the day with tacos at Tacos Al Suadero, easily the best Mexican food I’ve had since leaving San Francisco.

(Pancoatl Bulmaro)

RSD 2009 : God Save The Slightly Overweight Boney M Completists

About a year ago, I attempted to explain — citing pivotal incidents from my own thrilling personal life — just how important records stores were in my formative years. Were it not for being asked “do you work here?” too frequently at a couple of ’em, I could very well sign over my paycheck to a couple of these lovely establishments, whom I regularly liken to our nation’s most savvy cultural documentarians (either that or very benevolent drug pushers).

That said, my own homage to record stores in no way measures up to a screed composed by Chicago resident Steve Albini for a Reckless Records advertisement earlier this week (h/t, Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak).

HuffPo : Equally Useful For Plugging TV Projex, Defending The Sucky

Someone should contact Rolling Stone’s David Wild ASAP ; it seems the Onion’s Jackie Harvey (above) has penned a rather pointless tribute to nature kid Billy Corgan for the Huffington Post and attached Wild’s photo and byline to the article.

Now truth be told, I was not the biggest Pumpkinshead during their initial run — I was more of an aging Nirvana-man, frankly. But over the past decade, I’ve come to really admire Corgan for his talent and his strong commitment to following his own muse rather than simply taking the standard issue rocky path of least resistance. Like Pete Townshend before him, Corgan seems like a man who takes the responsibility of being a rock star profoundly and even painfully seriously, grappling intellectually with the gig rather than just cashing in at every turn. As a result, Corgan may not always make things easy on his fans — or on himself — but he’s always interesting. In an age of premature nostalgia, Corgan clearly wants his music to matter in the present tense. Not that he’s a complete purist, as demonstrated by the recent use of the Pumpkins’ classic “Today” on a Visa commercial.

But I choose to embrace Corgan in all his contradictions. And despite his apparent problems working and playing well with others in a band context, I have to report that I have found him to be incredibly bright, witty and honest on a personal level. To see some of the qualities on display, tune in April 2nd when Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin make what now looks like it will be their last shared TV appearance with the current Pumpkins lineup on the Chris Isaak Hour, a new show on the Bio Channel that I really love even if I am a producer on it.

Career Opportunities Dept. : Join A Band, See The World

From‘s Tim Hipps :

Army Entertainment Division wants to send a band on the road to entertain deployed troops – as soon as Soldier-musicians are ready to step onto the stage.

As unfathomable as it may sound, a temporary military duty of traveling the world with expenses paid to make music for fellow troops is available through USA Express.

Keyboard players, guitarists and drummers are needed – along with vocalists and an audio technician – to form an All-Army band that can play various genres of music.

USA Express, a revolving door of deployable musical-performance groups, began entertaining Soldiers in 1992. While the faces change and the tours vary, the mission remains the same: to provide “entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier,” the working motto for Army Entertainment Division.

USA Express plans to begin playing gigs again this spring and summer – Soldier-performers permitting. Consider this a “last call” for military musicians to get their garage band out of the garage and onto the world stage, said Army Entertainment Division officials. March 31 is the deadline to apply.

UK Auto Insurance Co. : Unfamiliar With Iggy’s “Personal Life”

At least when Geico refuses to insure cavemen, no one can accuse them of hypocrisy. From Monday’s Daily Mail :


In the Swiftcover TV advertisements, 61-year-old Iggy prances around topless as he boasts: ‘I got it Swiftcovered. I got insurance on my insurance. Do it. Get a life. Get Swiftcovered.’

But musicians who applied for cover were told their occupation made them ineligible. They are now complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Tim Soong, the 30-year-old bass guitarist in Roguetune, found that ‘entertainers’ are excluded from cover.

Mr Soong, of Kennington, phoned the Guildford-based company, which is part of the Axa insurance group, and said: ‘The customer services operator told me that they don’t insure musicians.

‘When I mentioned Iggy Pop, she said his case was different because he is American.

Part-time music producer Felix Wright, 36, of Maidstone, Kent, has also made a complaint after being turned down for cover on his BMW.

He said: ‘When I asked what Iggy Pop did for a living if I was being rejected as a musician, they said they did not know his personal life and he was not one of their policy holders.’

The Mail’s report adds that prior to Iggy’s commercials, Swiftcover used “Death Wish” director Michael Winner in their advertisements, despite refusing to cover film directors.

Matador Alumni Corner : The Wild World Of Kustomized

Not to be outdone by Merge’s recent Volcano Suns reissues, former Kustomized bassist Bob Moses has done an impressive job tying his old band’s history together with a new, posthumous site.  Perhaps the lesser known of Peter Prescott’s post-Mission Of Burma projects, Kustomized was once described by Rolling Stone’s Matt Diehl as “maintaining an almost savage drive…unafraid to wander into the bizarre areas outside rock convention.”   Though the same could be said of Bob Gamere jogging thru the Fenway, Mr. Diehl hit the nail on the head.  Kustomized were awesome and if you didn’t fully absorb their Matador titles at the time, you are a bad, bad person.