London record shopping: still great


Just got back from a trip to London and am happy to report that it is still one of the record shopping capitals of the world. I’ve had many memorable visits there before, especially to the great Beano’s in Croydon when it was still three stories of original UK ’60s and ’70s pressings at reasonable prices, and of course rummaging around in the back room of Minus Zero for folk private pressings, and a memorably expensive (but totally worth it) trawl through the boxes at Intoxica that netted me original 7″es by the Poets and the Mockingbirds as well a mint Parlophone 1st/2nd matrix original mono Rubber Soul.

But this trip was mostly about shopping for new records. I visited the (relatively) new Rough Trade East in Brick Lane, which is London’s answer to Amoeba. Totally great experience – nice people, huge selection (esp of dubstep and funky 12″es), interesting books, lots of space. I bought several singles by the great Ramadanman (thanks Dean) as well as a super-cavernous 12″ from Aardvarck (recommended by staff), and a £5.99 CD of Richard & Linda Thompson in concert in 1975 that I somehow missed when it came out last year. Also scored double vinyl of the latest Benin comp from Samy Ben Redjeb’s Analog Africa label.

The original Rough Trade shop in Talbot Road off Portobello Market is also still great, though I remain stymied by the cramped upstairs. Downstairs is a different matter though – the vinyl is extremely well chosen and guaranteed to appeal to American buyers who are used to paying through the nose on eBay for decent copies of UK original rock and folk. I decided to spend £10 on Genesis’s Selling England By The Pound, and also picked up a dead mint Scott 3 in its gorgeous laminated Philips gatefold. Unfortunately the £30 original UK (with insert!) of The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter was not mint.

On to Stand Out / Minus Zero, which remains as mindblowing as ever. I didn’t have a chance to talk to the ever friendly Bill Forsyth, but on the Stand Out side of the shop, Bill Allerton still presides over the greatest collection of UK freakbeat and psych still being offered in a physical location. I spotted a copy of The Hush 7″ Grey on the wall, one of my longest-term wants, and correctly guessed its price as being £500. Oh well – pass. Bill immediately remarked, “I have boxes and boxes of that sort of thing under the counter.”

On for a quick visit to Intoxica, where they were playing some insanely over the top British humor record that could have been a Vivian Stanshall solo album – I wasn’t sure. Crazy Latin records I’d never seen before, plus the Turkish alternate sleeve for Led Zep II on the wall – also for £500, in VG. Pass. Didn’t go behind the counter here… the stock is incredible, but I don’t have that kind of money to spend at the moment.

Finally up to the top of Portobello Road to Honest Jon’s, the best world / dub / ethnic store on earth. The genial Alan Scholefield was behind the counter spinning unbelievable deep reggae cuts and coming out to discuss Trikont comps of Vietnamese street music (“total Bo Diddley”). We grabbed a bunch of the latest Honest Jon’s comps – including one compiling ’70s bands from Upper Volta – and I scored a Tabu Ley Rochereau record from 1969 and a clean original Fela Ikoyi Blindness Nigerian pressing for £25.

Great day? ABSOLUTELY.

Fucked Up from the Pitchfork Festival

Fucked Up, who by all accounts pulled together the most ferocious set of Pitchfork weekend (two of them if you happened to be at Subterranean on Friday night), also found time to interview fellow fourth-wall breakers the Jesus Lizard.

Watch Pink Eyes hold his own with the heavyweights, and also see an outstanding version of “Crusades” from the festival.

Pink Eyes interviews the Jesus Lizard


Coming To A Multiplex Near You : The “Walk The Line” Of Movies That Feature A Ton Of Church-Burning


There have been reports of a dramatic interpretation of Michael Moynahin and Dirk Soderlind’s “Lords Of Chaos” hitting the big screen someday, and perhaps adding a mainstream movie star to the mix will help with the financing.  You’ve thrilled to Shane West as Darby Crash, tried to get your head around Elijah Wood as Iggy, perhaps you’re even psyched to see Jamie Foxx as Frank Sinatra.  But unless you’ve been reading Metal (or whoever they’ve been reading), you probably didn’t know that “Twilight”‘s Jackson Rathbone has been tapped to play the part of Varg Vikernes (above). 

Much as I respect the opinion of those who made this casting decision, I feel compelled to protest.  Who exactly does Kenneth Branagh have to fuck to get a look in?

(Not So Random) Single From The Collection, March ’09 Edition

Back in the way-back machine when Matador had our very first office (that wasn’t my apartment) we sold direct to stores in addition to selling our own singles and LP’s ; we started selling non matador records we liked, and soon-to-be matador related records. It was a way to keep the lights on with an extremely sparse release schedule (release dates? ha!) I would try to get stores to pick up these singles or albums COD, talking to folks like Bob Schick (of the mighty Honor Role) at Plan 9, Janet from Fallout, Mark Trehus at Oarfolkjokapus, Conrad Capistran at In Your Ear, Mike Lavella at Phantom of the Attic (he mailed me Quaaludes once) and Natalie Carlson at Aarons (boy she was a pain in the ass, but later I learned she was the coolest girl I ever met).

This was how Matador Direct got started. One of the first singles we carried was the very first Chunk single, pre-Matador, right when they had to change their name to Superchunk. The band hand colored 200 of these individual sleeves, and I kept this one. Pretty sweet indeed

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.

Ron Asheton, 1948-2009

Earlier today, reported the passing of original Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton at the age of 60. Dead of an apparent heart attack, Asheton’s pioneering work with the Stooges, New Order, New Race (alongside Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek and Rob Younger) and Destroy All Monsters casts a major creative shadow over much of the music we obsess over.

(photo taken from Reverend Guitars)

Asheton will be sorely missed, and our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Coming March 24 : The Hotly Anticipated New Condo Fucks LP/CD, ‘Fuckbook’

Legendary New London, CT trio the CONDO FUCKS returned to the stage last March after a long absence from the tri-state area’s concert circuit, and the results of a secretive Hoboken rehearsal recording session 35 is being released in March of ’09 by Matador as the LP/CD, ‘Fuckbook’.

Eschewing such Condo Fucks originals as “Fuckin’ Gary Sandy” and “Let’s Get Rid Of New Haven”, the threesome instead tore thru covers of Small Faces, Richard Hell, Beach Boys, Electric Eels, Troggs, Slade and Flamin’ Groovies classics in the style that previously won them so much acclaim from the Nutmeg State’s music journalists and radio programmers so many years ago.

In the go-go 1990’s the Condo Fucks  released 4 titles on the Matador label, some of which were prominently advertised on the inner sleeve of Yo La Tengo’s ‘I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One’.  Sadly, we cannot provide the media with promotional copies of these records as they are very, very rare.

The Condo Fucks are Georgia Condo (drums), Kid Condo (guitar) and James McNew (bass).   A full tour of major Connecticut nightspots is planned upon ‘Fuckbook”s release.  Though the band are somewhat “old-school” about the modern social networking phenomena, there’s an unofficial myspace page launching very soon.

(l-r James McNew, Kid Condo,  Brooklyn’s Magnetic Field, March 28 2008)

(“Whatcha Gonna Do About It” – mp3)

Matador’s Sordid Spectacular History Continued : The Mysteries Of U-MV170 Pt. III

The promotional video for The Unsane’s “Body Bomb” from the album ‘Total Destruction’ seemed, at the time, like a rather pricey (ie.  more than $10) way of making a clip guaranteed to receive zero MTV play, the fine efforts of Chris, Pete, Vinnie and director Richard Kern aside. 


History, however, has a funny way of sorting things out.  Thanks to the patronage of Mike Judge’s Beavis & Butthead, the “Body Bomb” video ended up being seen by a wider audience than the occasionally “120 Minutes” spin might’ve garnered. And more importantly, the clip’s explosive subject matter guaranteed the star turn from Cop Shoot Cop’s  Jack Natz would forever place Kern’s former Black Snakes bandmate on a Do Not Fly list.

The Last Days of Polaroid, featuring Times New Viking

If like me, you consider yourself a budding artist and photographer, seeing beauty in our concrete jungle and capturing those happy days of youth on film and uploading them onto various social networking sites; you may have once invested in a Polaroid camera.

The Polaroid camera caters for the needs of the impatient – to achieve that instantaneous hit of immediacy and to document the here and now. Sadly, in the past few months, Polaroid have decided to discontinue manufacturing the blessed Polaroid film. Within the next few months there will be no Polaroid film left.

Thankfully I managed to snap up some film in advance of the recent UK ShredYrFace tour with Times New Viking, No Age and Los Campesinos!

I could think of no better way to use my final Polaroid film than to document the 10 day SYF journey. The highs, the lows, the good times and the hungover mornings. For your viewing pleasure :

Mad props going out to Annette Lee for her scan and Photoshop efforts.

Matador’s Sordid Spectacular History Continued : The Mysteries Of U-MV170 Pt. II

Because pt. 1 was so well received (well, over at the Sonic Youth message board, anyway), it’s for yet another trip down memory lane, this one in honor of Margaret Fiedler’s recent guitar heroics filling Bruce Gilbert’s Air Jordan’s in Wire.


Moonshake – “Secondhand Clothes”.  Directed by Julie Hermelin.  From the album ‘Eva Luna’ (1992, licensed from Too Pure).

Frankie Venom, RIP

The Winnepeg Sun’s Jason McNeil on the passing of Teenage Head vocalist Frank Kerr, aka Frankie Venom.

The Glasgow, Scotland-born Kerr, 51, was the lead singer of the Hamilton-based band which formed at Westdale High School back in 1975.

Guitarist Gord Lewis announced the death in a press release yesterday afternoon which was later posted on the band’s official website

Teenage Head released its first independent single in 1978 and released its legendary self-titled debut the following year. The group, who performed in Hamilton in early August and were slated to play at this year’s Grey Cup festivities in Montreal, is perhaps best known for the song Let’s Shake which appeared on its Frantic City release.

The band also made national headlines for a June, 1980 concert at Toronto’s Ontario Place Forum when thousands of fans were denied access to the gig. It resulted in what’s known as the Riot at Ontario Place which led to the cancellation of all rock shows at the lakeside venue. There were several arrests and injuries but the attention made Frantic City reach gold status.

What About The Voice Face Of Geddy Lee?

From The St. Catherines Standard’s Karena Walter :

There are a lot of familiar faces hanging out downtown.

Olympic rower Buffy Williams keeps watch over the courthouse.

Howard Engel, author of the Benny Cooperman series, is on standby at city hall.


And Rush drummer Neil Peart is guarding police headquarters.

The trio are among 20 famous St. Catharines residents of the past and present who will grace banners on more than 100 downtown lampposts.

“The list was very, very extensive,” said Tisha Polocko, general manager of the St. Catharines Downtown Association. “There were many more contributors who were born in St. Catharines or moved here. We did have to whittle it down.”

The project, sponsored by the association, was developed and designed by local artists from the CRAM Gallery collective.

The above recognition for the ‘Moving Pictures’ sticksman follows efforts by a Hamilton radio station to have a portion of the Red Hill Expressay renamed “Neil Peart Way“. Not to begrude Peart any honors that come his way, but surely there’s a stretch of road in Vancouver that could be dubbed “Joey Shithead Boulevard”.

Buy Early Get Now #6: Pavement — Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.

Ho ho ho… just in time for the holidays, we’re announcing our sixth Buy Early Get Now. This one is for the deluxe, super-expanded edition of Pavement’s fourth album, Brighten The Corners, subtitled Nicene Creedence Ed.. The track listing has changed subtly since we first announced it, so once you’ve signed up to BEGN, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the new and final contents. The album is still scheduled for November 18 December 9 release.

If you’re not familiar with Buy Early Get Now, the premise is simple: preorder the premium-priced Buy Early Get Now version of the album now from us or from a participating retailer, receive your login at via email (can take 24-48 hours, especially over the weekend) — and you’ll get:

– Oct 10: an instant stream of the album
– Oct 21: bonus track #1
– Nov 4: bonus track #2
– Nov 18 – street date – pick up the album at your store (or get it in the mail) PLUS an exclusive vinyl bonus LP containing an unreleased concert, AS WELL AS a free poster

The vinyl LP is the long-lost Pavement Live, originally scheduled for release in July 1998 and given the Matador catalog number OLE-324 and the Capitol catalog number 95425. Note: Live was originally scheduled to be released on both vinyl and CD, but it will now ONLY be available on vinyl and ONLY available to BEGN #6 customers. For the avoidance of doubt, Brighten itself will only come out on CD and digital album.

Because it will be difficult for us to manufacture just the right amount of bonus LPs, we reserve the right (a) to close BEGN in the few weeks before street date, or (b) ship participants who sign up late their package late. So get your order in as soon as possible so we can make sure you’re taken care of on street date.

Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed. is a double CD set in a die-cut, embossed slipcase with a thick, 62-page perfect-bound book, like the earlier three Pavement deluxe editions. It contains the fully remastered original album, plus B-sides, compilation tracks, studio outtakes and radio sessions. The new sequence is below — note that it now contains 20 UNRELEASED TRACKS of which 8 ARE UNRELEASED SONGS.

Disc One:

1. Stereo
2. Shady Lane / J Vs. S
3. Transport Is Arranged
4. Date w/ IKEA
5. Old to Begin
6. Type Slowly
7. Embassy Row
8. Blue Hawaiian
9. We Are Underused
10. Passat Dream
11. Starlings of the Slipstream
12. Fin
The original BTC album, remastered. Originally released February, 1997.

* 13. Then (The Hexx)
Originally released as the B-side to Spit On A Stranger (OLE-384-7), May, 1999 — but presented here is the unedited full version, as such previously unreleased. It was also originally planned to be the opening track to BTC

• 14. Beautiful as a Butterfly
• 15. Cataracts
Both are unreleased songs. BTC session outtakes.

16. Westie Can Drum
17. Winner of the
* 18. Birds in the Majic Industry
Originally released as B-sides to the promo EP Stereo (OLE-238-2P), January 1997. “Birds…” appears here in its previously unreleased full length vocal version. The original release was an instrumental edited version.

19. Harness Your Hopes
20. Roll with the Wind
Originally released as B-sides to Spit On A Stranger (OLE-384-2), the first single from Pavement’s final album, Terror Twilight. They are included here since both songs (as well as track 13) were recorded and mixed during the BTC sssions in 1996.

Disc Two:

1. Slowly Typed
2. Cherry Area
3. Wanna Mess You Around
4. No Tan Lines
Originally released as the B-sides to Shady Lane (OLE-266-2), June 1997.

* 5. Then (The Hexx)
* 6. Harness Your Hopes
7. The Killing Moon
* 8. Winner of the
BBC Radio One Evening Session, January 15, 1997. Tracks 5, 6 and 8 are previously unreleased. “The Killing Moon” appeared on the compilation album What’s Up Matador (OLE-163-2), August 1997. It later also appeared on Major Leagues (OLE-398-2), October 1999.

• 9. Embassy Row Psych Intro
Previously unreleased intro. BTC session outtake.

• 10. Nigel
Previously unreleased song. BTC session outtake.

* 11. Chevy (Old to Begin)
* 12. Roll with the Wind (Roxy)
Previously unreleased mixes of BTC session songs. They feature different vocals and overdubs.

13. Oddity (Clean cover)
Originally appeared on God Save The Clean: A Tribute to the Clean, Flying Nun Records (FNCD409), 1997.

14. Type Slowly (live)
Originally appeared on the compilation album Tibetan Freedom Concert, Grand Royal/Capitol (59110), 1997.

• 15. Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar
• 16. Destroy Mater Dei
* 17. It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl (Faust cover)
* 18. Maybe Maybe
Recorded live at KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic, February 25, 1997. Tracks 15 and 16 are previously unreleased songs.

* 19. Date w/ IKEA
* 20. Fin
* 21. Grave Architecture
22. The Classical (The Fall cover)
BBC Radio One John Peel Live Session, August 21, 1997. Tracks 19-21 previously unreleased vresions. “The Classical” appeared on Major Leagues (OL-398-2), October, 1999.

• 23. Space Ghost Theme I
• 24. Space Ghost Theme II
Both are unreleased songs recorded live in the WFNX studios (but not broadcast), Boston, February 12, 1997.

The above track listing contains significant differences from the one previously announced. Like the previous three deluxe Pavement editions, this compilation was curated by Jesper Eklow working with the band.

Buy Early Get Now is easy!

1. Preorder the album from us or from a participating retailer (see list at bottom — and ask your local record store, because more will be signing up).

2. You will be emailed a login and password for (please allow 24-48 hours, possibly more over weekends)

3. Instant stream of album will be live on on October 10; get bonus tracks #1 and #2 on October 15 and October 21 respectively

4. On November 18, street date, pick up the double CD plus the bonus vinyl LP and a free poster at the store where you preordered it (or get it mailed to you if you ordered from us or a participating mail order customer)

Remember, the vinyl LP will only be available through Buy Early Get Now, and we will manufacturing to order. That means you should get your order in ASAP to ensure you get yours and get it on time.

The first MP3 will be coming very shortly as part of our digital zipfile promo compilation, Intended Play: Fall 2008. Keep your eyes on the Matablog.

Finally, here is the list of confirmed participating retailers… more to come, and you can just click locations on the map on to find the nearest one to you:

1-2-3-4 Go! Records – Oakland, CA –
Aboveground Records – Edgarton, MA –
Atomic Records – Milwaukee, WI –
Aural Exploits – Santa Monica, CA –
Bull City Records – Durham, NC –
Criminal Records – Atlanta, GA –
Disconnected Records – San Diego, CA –
Ear Candy Music – Missoula, MT –
East Coast Music & Video – Greenville, NC –
End Of An Ear – Austin, TX –
Exiled Records – Portland, OR –
Good Records – Dallas, TX –
Grimey’s New & Preloved Music – Nashville, TN –
Guestroom Records – Norman, OK –
Hard Boiled – Chicago, IL –
Insound – New York, NY –
Jackpot Records – Portland, OR –
Landlocked – Bloomington, IN –
Laurie’s Planet of Sound – Chicago, IL –
Lou’s Records – Encinitas, CA –
LUNA Music – Indianapolis, IN –
Lunchbox Records – Charlotte, NC –
Madcity Music – Madison, WI –
Mod Lang- El Cerrito, CA –
M-Theory – San Diego, CA –
Music Saves – Cleveland, OH –
Parasol – Urbana, IL –
Park Ave. – Orlando, FL –
Permanent Records – Chicago, IL –
Siren Records – Doylestown, PA –
Sound Fix – Brooklyn, NY –
Square Records – Akron, OH –
Tonevendor – Gainesville, FL –
Treehouse Records – Minneapolis, MN –
Twist & Shout – Denver, CO –
Vintage Vinyl – St. Louis, MO –
Von’s Records – West Lafayette, IN –
Waiting Room Records – Normal, IL –
Waterloo Records – Austin, TX –
Wazoo Records – Ann Arbor, MI –
Young Ones – Kutztown, PA –
Zzz Records – Des Moines, IA –

Jerry Wexler, RIP

Jerry Wexler, one of the pivotal figures in the history of R&B, rock’n’roll and the U.S. music industry, passed away Friday at the age of 91. From Joel Selvin’s obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle :

Wexler was the last living partner in the landmark record label, Atlantic Records, The label’s founder Ahmet Ertegun, who died at age 83 in 2006, brought Wexler to the Atlantic in 1953, where the two produced records together through the ’50s by artists such as the Drifters, Bobby Darin, Clyde McPhatter, LaVern Baker, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles and others, helping to define the emerging sound of rock ‘n roll.

“My God, the Godfather of R&B creators has stepped behind the curtain and disappeared,” said Solomon Burke in a telephone interview. Wexler always said when asked who was the best performer of his day, “Solomon Burke with a borrowed band”.

Wexler, who would produce important records by Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, Willie Nelson, Wilson Pickett and others, worked with Ertegun in his first days at Atlantic producing “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean” by Ruth Brown, not only one of the biggest-selling R&B records of the year, but a hit that helped young Atlantic Records survive.

Wexler even gave the music its name. As an editor at trade magazine Billboard, he changed the name of the charts in 1949 from “Race Records” to “Rhythm and Blues.”

“No one really knew how to make a record when I started,” he told the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “You simply went into the studio, turned on the mike and said play.

Not To Be Outdone By The Condo Fucks, Another Matador Alumnus Makes The News

From’s Jonathan Cohen :

Liz Phair has signed a new record deal with ATO, the first fruit of which will be a reissue of her classic 1993 debut, “Exile in Guyville.”

Due June 24, the set includes four previously unreleased audio tracks and a DVD with a documentary about the album’s genesis. A new Phair studio album, her first since 2005’s Capitol swan song “Somebody’s Miracle,” is penciled in for the fall.

Fans will be most jazzed for the “Guyville” documentary “Guyville Redux” on the bonus DVD, which finds Phair interviewing Chicago music scene vets like producers Steve Albini and Brad Wood, her former Matador compadres Gerard Cosloy and Chris Lombardi, National Public Radio host Ira Glass and actor John Cusack.