(photo : Michael Lavine)
Matador's Revisionist History series -- as vexing for some as it is lucrative for others -- continues this week with a 25th anniversary reissue of Yo La Tengo's 1995 masterpiece, the Roger Moutenot co-produced 'Electr-o-pura', now available in a double LP edition for the first time.
The 7th studio Yo La Tengo studio album and the follow-up to 'Painful', 'Electr-o-pura' remains one of the most beloved works in Ira, Georgia and James' catalog, and showed a stylistic range that at time was already bordering on the-very-difficult-keep-up-with (fast forward to 2020 and we'll just say "impossible"). From the single "Tom Courtenay", to the woozy & beautiful "Pablo & Andrea", to the climatic 9 minute, 18 second blowout of "Blue Line Swinger", this album was nothing short of monumental in an era that wasn't short for competition.
A while back, labelmate Lucy Dacus mentioned to us that 'Electr-o-pura' was released on her birthday. We asked if she'd like to write a few words on the subject ; she's done just that and recorded a cover of "Tom Courtenay" as well.
I was born on May 2, 1995, the day that 'Electr-o-pura' came out.
Fourteen years later, I started high school and made a new friend who wore a leather jacket and boots, who expressed confident opinions about music that I had never heard. I devoured every recommendation they gave me in an effort to align my tastes. I wanted to be cool, or at least not uncool. I found out about The Stooges, Philip Glass, and Sonic Youth through my effort to win their approval. I loved it all, and my parents hated every new discovery. Cool was loud.
One day my friend brought me a stack of CDs, all Yo La Tengo, and told me to take them home, listen to them, burn them, and return them. I did what I was told. I liked those records from the start, and more with every listen. I’d lay in bed listening to one of their records, pause the song I was listening to when I got too tired, then push play upon waking.
I remember my confusion upon listening to Electr-o-pura for the first time. I referenced the tracklist on the back of the CD so I could learn titles, but the printed song durations didn’t match up to what I was hearing. I wondered if there was some manufacturing error and I wasn’t hearing the songs I was supposed to hear. “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)” is listed as lasting just over three minutes when it’s actually 6:42. “Blue Line Swinger” says it’s 3:15, but actually clocks in at 9:18. I know now from looking into it that Yo La Tengo intentionally misprinted the times, trying to combat short attention spans, hoping they would trick people into giving those long songs a chance. It tricked me, though I’m a sucker for long songs anyways. It’s interesting to think about how this move couldn’t be pulled today in a world of digitized music. And if people had short attention spans then, how short are they now? All to say, I liked that they were playful.
What kept me coming back to Yo La Tengo was their understanding of moods. I listened to bands that knew anger, bands that knew sadness, but I didn’t know of any other bands that could express a full life’s range of moods the way they can. From song to song, the music was anxious, celebratory, sorrowful, content, confused, etc. And even when they got loud or dissonant, it never felt hostile. The sounds could be harsh, even ugly, but they were joyful. Some songs could make me cry, but they were gentle, not malevolent. I was taking on someone else’s tastes, and in the process, discovering my own.
Tom Courtenay was the first Yo La Tengo song I learned on guitar. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew who Julie Christie was and loved the line, “As the music swells somehow stronger from adversity / our hero finds his inner peace.” I didn’t know what the needle had to do with anything, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was like any good poem, leaving space for me, between images. Now, I think the song may be about obsession with media, equating the allure of the movies and movie stars to drug addiction. Who knows, that’s just my take.
Eventually when Matador asked to sign me, the fact that Yo La Tengo is on their roster was a major component of my decision. They’ve been putting out great albums every couple of years for over three decades, experimenting and exploring with what seems to be an uncompromised creativity. That is worth celebrating, especially now, when any opportunity for celebration is a blessing. Happy 25th birthday to Electr-o-pura, and thanks for the music, Yo La Tengo.
- Lucy Dacus
02 Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
03 The Hour Grows Late
04 Tom Courtenay
05 False Ending
06 Pablo And Andrea
07 Paul Is Dead
08 False Alarm
09 The Ballad Of Red Buckets
10 Don’t Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2
11 (Straight Down To The) Bitter End
12 My Heart’s Reflection
13 Attack On Love
14 Blue Line Swinger
stream / purchase 'Electr-o-pura'
Yo La Tengo online:
Anniversary releases for Chavez' 'Gone Glimmering', Bailter Space's 'Wammo', and Mary Timony's 'Mountains' will be announced later this year. For more info : Matador Revisionist History.
On Tuesday, Algiers' Franklin Fisher and Ryan Mahan performed a set for KEXP's "Live From Home" series.
stream/purchase 'There Is No Year'
Algiers Online :
There Is No Year
(Photo by Camille Vivier, Illustrated by Andrew JS)
Last month Perfume Genius released the single, “On The Floor,” off of his forthcoming album, 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'. Today, he drops a remix of the track from Tokyo-based producer, Initial Talk, noted for remix work for Dua Lipa, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga and is known for infusing early MTV-era 80’s sounds into his work. Here, “On The Floor” is reimagined into a dance club track that falls somewhere between Prince and Pet Shop Boys.
stream / download "On The Floor" (Intial Talk remix)
presave / preorder 'Set My Heart On Fire Immediately'
Perfume Genius Online
(art by Cate Wurtz)
(photo by Carlos Cruz)
Car Seat Headrest unveil a new song, “There Must Be More Than Blood,” ahead of the release of the forthcoming 'Making A Door Less Open', out May 1. .In addition, Will Toledo's self-directed video premiered earlier this morning after a dramatic (aren't they all?) YouTube countdown.
In its mesmeric slow burn, album centerpiece “There Must Be More Than Blood” presents another facet of the broad palette found on 'Making A Door Less Open', with Toledo placing emphasis on the individual songs, each with its own special energy.
stream / download "There Must Be More Than Blood"
presave / preorder 'Making A Door Less Open'
Car Seat Headrest Online :
Car Seat Headrest at Matador
A couple weeks prior to the release of his newest album Traditional Techniques, Stephen Malkmus shared a live take of the new song "Brainwashed," filmed in a Paris cafe for La Blogothèque. Today, Malkmus shares a second song from the session, Pavement's "Spit on a Stranger."
(Video directed by Thibaut Charlut)
Stream/Purchase Traditional Techniques
Stephen Malkmus Online
Belle & Sebastian have this morning revealed a new fan collaborative project entitled 'Protecting The Hive'.
This joint venture is an audio-visual piece built around a collection of lyrics submitted by fans alternately narrated by Stuart Murdoch and friend of the band Alessandra Lupo. The visual / video captures the starkness of Glasgow, a city in lockdown, paired with the honest lyrical reflections of fans' experiences of isolation.
Music by Chris Geddes, visuals recorded by Kenny MacLeod
Belle & Sebastian online
(photo : Kevin Condon)
Since the release of Steve Gunn's critically acclaimed fourth studio album 'The Unseen In Between' and follow-up 'Unseen Acoustic' in 2019, we’ve been awaiting new material from the prolific songwriter and guitarist. While today is not the day we debut said content, we're nonetheless pleased to report Gunn has a new digital EP, 'Livin’ In Between' featuring three cover songs previously released last year as an Amazon Original and Aquarium Drunkard Lagniappe Session singles respectively, now available on streaming platforms for the first time. The EP showcases (some of) Steve’s varied musical tastes, featuring a rendition of Neil Young’s “Motion Pictures (For Carrie)”, a thoughtful take on longtime collaborator Michael Chapman’s “Among The Trees”, and a cover of The Misfits’ “Astro Zombies”.
Accolades for 'The Unseen In Between' keep rolling in, the most recent being a nomination for an A2IM Libera Award for “Best Americana Album”. On August 2nd, Steve and William Tyler will be performing together at the Newport Folk Festival.
stream / download 'Livin' In Between'
1. Motion Pictures (For Carrie)
2. Astro Zombies - Aquarium Drunkard Lagniappe Session
3. Among The Trees - Aquarium Drunkard Lagniappe Session
Stream/Purchase Acoustic Unseen EP
Stream/Purchase The Unseen In Between
Steve Gunn Online
Video directed by Sabrina Nichols
Illustration by Cate Wurtz
Car Seat Headrest release a new song, “Hollywood” today accompanied by a Sabrina Nichols-directed video and an acoustic version of the song.
“Hollywood” is taken from the band’s forthcoming new album 'Making A Door Less Open', out May 1.
“This song is about Hollywood as a place where people go to
make their fantasies come to life, and they end up exploiting
other people and doing terrible things to maintain their fantasy,”
says bandleader Will Toledo, whose alter ego Trait appears in
the video in animated form. “There's this terror you're going to
lose the fantasy, and you're going to have to face the facts, and
some people will do anything to avoid facing that. It’s about that fear, and the pain of being subjugated to someone else's fantasy against your will, and it's all tied together under this banner of this physical location of Hollywood that we all know about and dream about, but none of us really want to think about what is going on behind the scenes there.”
stream / download "Hollywood"
presave / preorder 'Making A Door Less Open'
Car Seat Headrest have cancelled their summer tour dates due to COVID-19, with plans to reschedule. Read a statement from Will Toledo here.
Car Seat Headrest Online
Car Seat Headrest at Matador
"Red Western Sky"
Produced by Muzz
Director of Photography: Derek Sexton Horani
Assistant Camera: Michael Andrade
Muzz, the new project from Paul Banks (Interpol), Josh Kaufman (producer/multi-instrumentalist and one third of Bonny Light Horseman), and Matt Barrick (drummer of Jonathan Fire*Eater, The Walkmen, and Fleet Foxes’ touring band), will release their self-titled, debut album, on June 5th. The album, written, arranged and performed by the trio, is dark, gorgeous, expansive and soulful.
(photo : Driely S.)
Muzz was born out of longstanding friendship and collaboration. Banks and Kaufman have known each other since childhood, attending high school together in Spain before separately moving to New York. There, they independently crossed paths with Barrick while running in similar music circles. They kept in touch in the following years: Barrick drummed in Banks + Steelz and on some of Kaufman's production sessions; Kaufman helped on Banks’ early Julian Plenti solo endeavour; various demos were collaborated on, and a studio was co-bought.
Taking shape at a simmer, the first Muzz recordings date back to 2015. A typical session incorporated demos Banks or Kaufman brought to the table with room for any member to build upon, or with a new skeleton composed during a jam in the live room. All three contributed lyrics and helped shape things vocally (a first for Banks who is usually the sole lyricist).
“Josh has more training as a theory musician while Paul comes from a different perspective,” Barrick says. “You never know how Paul’s gonna approach a song, lyrically and melodically, so it’s always unusual and exciting. Everyone is open to everyone else’s ideas. I think three is a great number of people for a band. We all had a big hand in everything."
Sonically, “the music has this weird, super removed vibe but is also personal and emotional at the same time,” Kaufman says. “If something felt natural in a simple way, we left it. I’d never heard Paul’s voice framed like that—a string section, horns, guitars—we know none of that is visionary but it felt classic and kind of classy.” In fact, the band’s name holds a meaning that serves to describe that very feeling - Kaufman used the word “muzz” to describe the music’s subtle, analog quality and texture.
In conjunction with today’s announcement, Muzz present the galloping “Red Western Sky” with a video, directed and produced by the band. It’s the first video to ever be shot at the immersive, psychedelic American Treasure Tour Museum, a location chosen after a Barrick family visit. The single follows two previously released songs—the sparse and rustic “Broken Tambourine” and “Bad Feeling,” which chimes with melodic introspection. No matter the sonic direction Muzz go, they go there as if effortlessly and with maximum emotional charge.
“Ultimately, the music speaks for itself,” says Banks. “We have a genuine, organic artistic chemistry together. It’s partly a shared musical taste from youth, as with me and Josh, but then it’s also the souls of my friends that resonate with me when expressed through music. I think it’s cosmic.”
preorder / presave 'Muzz'
steam/download "Red Western Sky"
1. Bad Feeling
3. Red Western Sky
5. Everything Like It Used To Be
6. Broken Tambourine
8. Chubby Checker
9. How Many Days
10. Summer Love
11. All Is Dead To Me
Muzz Online :
As we continue our exasperating thrilling Revisionist History Campaign, we're releasing a Pavement three-song shaped picture disc commemorating the 25th anniversary of 'Wowee Zowee'. The special disc, cut in the shape of the speech bubble found on the cover of said albbum, features the tracks “Sensitive Euro Man” and “Brink of the Clouds/Candylad” that first debuted on 'Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels', the expanded edition that was released on CD in 2006, and will be available on vinyl for the first time via Matador Records globally. The singles are available to stream HERE. Limited to a one-time press of 3,000 copies, the shape picture disc is available to pre-order individually and as a bundle with the 'Wowee Zowee' LP exclusively through the Matador webstore HERE*.
photo : Michael Wong
Originally released 25 years ago on April 11, 1995, 'Wowee Zowee' was Pavement's 3rd studio album. Their most eclectic effort saw the band ignore genre limitations as they careened wildly from the country-tinged “Father to a Sister of Thought” to the bluesy intro of “Extradition” to the psychedelic wooze of “Brinx Job”, all strung together by Stephen Malkmus’s idiosyncratic wordplay. The record’s energy oscillates throughout its 18 tracks with ballads featuring chiming arpeggios like “Grounded” and “AT&T” that are routinely upended by blasters like “Serpentine Pad”, “Flux=Rad” and “Best Friends Arm”. Could this be the most charming and timeless collection of songs in the Pavement catalog? Wouldn't you like to argue for hours and hours with strangers on the internet about it?
The release serves as the second entry in the 2020 edition of Matador Records’ overhyped acclaimed Revisionist History reissue series. Over the course of the year, Matador will mark anniversaries for some of the most celebrated releases in our catalogue with new reissues and repressings. With each release accompanying rare live footage, photos, music videos and more will be shared (PROVIDED WE CAN GET OUR SHIT TOGETHER). Full list of anniversaries below.
April 4, 1995 — GUIDED BY VOICES Alien Lanes — 25th anniversary
April 11, 1995 — PAVEMENT Wowee Zowee — 25th anniversary
May 2, 1995 — YO LA TENGO Electr-O-Pura — 25th anniversary?
Anniversary releases for CHAVEZ’s Gone Glimmering, BAILTER SPACE’s Wammo, and MARY TIMONY’s Mountains to follow later this year.
Preorder / stream "Sensitive Euro Man"
Pavement Online :
Pavement - official site
(UK store, EU store)
A list of of King Krule's recently rescheduled tour dates is below. All tickets for the initial postponed dates will be honored.
Tuesday, September 15 Showbox Sodo, Seattle WA
Wednesday, September 16 Roseland Theatre, Portland OR
Friday, September 18 Fox Theatre, Oakland CA
Tuesday, September 22 Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles CA
Friday, September 25 House of Blues, Dallas TX
Saturday, September 26 Stubbs Waller Creek, Austin TX
Sunday, September 27 White Oak Music Hall, Houston TX
Tuesday, October 13 Barrowland, Glasgow UK
Wednesday, October 14 Olympia, Dublin IE
Thursday, October 15 Albert Hall, Manchester UK
Sunday, October 18 Brixton Academy, London UK
Monday, October 19 Brixton Academy, London UK
Tuesday, December 1 First Avenue, Minneapolis MN
Wednesday, December 2 Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL
Friday, December 4 Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON
Saturday, December 5 Mtelus, Montreal QC
Monday, December 7 House of Blues, Boston MA
Tuesday, December 8 Webster Hall, New York NY
Wednesday, December 9 Kings Theatre, Brooklyn NY
Friday, December 11 Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA
Sunday, December 13 9.30 Club, Washington DC
"Watch Me Jumpstart" - directed by Banks Tarver
(photo by Michael Lavine)
“We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes. That's why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up. Instead we had, in our megalomaniacal view, mastered the instant gratification machine known as the 4-track and began recording song after song with titles like "Cuddling Bozo's Octopus", "My Valuable Hunting Knife", "Pimple Zoo" and "After the Quake (Let's Bake a Cake)".
The door had been opened for us to throw out as many weird ass ideas as we were capable of and we did. We even thought we were starting to look cooler and decided cool enough to have the entire back cover be a photograph of us in the basement looking pseudo intellectually laid back and stoned with long hair, stars and stripe gym shoes and a box of Tide in the background.
Our friend Kim thought the album was too bombastic. Too frenetic and difficult to digest. I agreed. We were proud to be putting out our first album on Matador and cock strutted accordingly. It cost us $10 to make. It's worth a million. I personally think it's better than B-1000 (but not by much). There are two different camps of GBV fans to argue and debate.
God bless 1995 and open hearted record labels like Matador (and Scat before them) for allowing bands like us, with the preferred limited resources, to remove the constraints and pre-conceived notions of the more industry-minded constituents who would have much preferred we destroy the cassette master of Alien Lanes in the better interest of sound manufacturing and what's more agriculturally consumable. It's better to leave the farm than to continue plodding through the cow shit.”
--Robert Pollard 2020
As part of our ongoing (and occasionally confusing) Revisionist History Campaign) we're pleased to announce a 25th Anniversary vinyl edition of Guided By Voices’ 1995 landmark album 'Alien Lanes'. Inspired by the multicolored drumhead featured on the album’s artwork, this new edition is pressed on blue, green and red multicolored vinyl making it the first non-exclusive color vinyl edition of this release. A limited edition Guided By Voices keyring / bottle opener, based on an original 1995 design, will be available to bundle with copies of the 'Alien Lanes’ 25th Anniversary LP exclusively through the Matador webstores while stocks last. Limited to a one time press of 2,500 copies, pre-sale for this exclusive edition is available via the Matador store HERE.
Succumbing to incredible (well, modest) demand, we've also released a newly rendered version of the hard to find, 1996 documentary "Watch Me Jumpstart" directed by Banks Tarver (above)
Originally released on April 4, 1995, 'Alien Lanes' was the first Guided By Voices album on Matador. With 28 tracks spanning the course of 41 minutes, the album would fundamentally alter the concept of what a rock and roll record could be*. Bursting at the seams with classic rock bravado (“Game of Pricks”, “Closer You Are”), anthemic power pop (“My Valuable Hunting Knife”, “Motor Away”), punk (“Pimple Zoo”, “My Son Cool”), psychedelic experimentalism (“Ex-Supermodel”, “Alright”), and tape-warped ballads ( “King And Caroline”, “Blimps Go 90”, “Chicken Blows”) Alien Lanes dips and dives between genres and moods with breakneck efficiency and a remarkable amount of intellect and emotion bolstered by the abstract poetry of songwriter and frontman Bob Pollard.
(* - WE MIGHT NEED TO FACT CHECK THIS)
buy/stream 'Alien Lanes'
Guided By Voices Online :
Guided By Voices - website
May 2, 1995 — Yo La Tengo Electr-O-Pura — 25th anniversary
Anniversary releases for Chavez's Gone Glimmering, Bailter Space’s Wammo, and Mary Timony's Mountains to follow later this year.