The MataBlog is edited by Matador Records’ co-moaner Gerard Cosloy and individual entries are the work of whoever’s name is next to them. If you enjoyed something in the MataBlog, thank you very much! If there was something you found particularly troubling, please be advised that a) maybe you should read it again and b) the contents of this blog do not necessarily represent the opinions of Matador Records, Beggars Group, the combined staff of either company, nor the Matador artist roster. Opinions are like friends — hardly anyone has one worth listening to.

Manufacturing Error Or Major Improvement? - Mark E. Smith's Latest Crossover Move

Brian Turner supplied the link to the story below, which is as good an excuse as any to mention that WFMU's annual fundraiser starts this Monday, March 2 and runs until March 15.   From the Sun

THEY may share the same surname but that’s it for similarities between angelic Britain’s Got Talent teen FARYL SMITH and gnarled FALL frontman MARK E SMITH.

So imagine Universal Records’ surprise when they received the first shipment of Faryl’s debut CD from the pressing plant.

A cock-up in production meant that instead of delicate balladry in the honeyed tones of their recently signed youngster, what actually ended up on discs bearing her artwork and info were the grumblings of Mark and his fellow Manc veterans’ 2008 album Imperial Wax Solvent.

Needless to say, Universal chiefs weren’t best pleased.

My spy tells me: “They had ordered hundreds of copies and they were staggered by what was on it.

“They have had severe words with the pressing plant.”

Careful followers of Matador quality control are aware we've only made mistakes like that about a half dozen times in our history.  

The Chelsea Arts Club

Patrick Hughes "Sunlight"

When Chris comes to London, he stays at the Chelsea Arts Club, for some ridiculous rate like £36 a night. He does get a tiny garret room with the bathroom down the hall, but it comes with original Patrick Hughes works hanging next to the bed, and an incredible bar with a massive snooker table, and full of eccentric English types getting totally hammered.

The club was founded by James McNeil Whistler in 1891 as a reaction to the stodgy Arts Club in Mayfair, and cultivates a generally raffish, no dress-up personality. It is crammed to the gills with amazing artwork. Members include Peter Blake (who designed Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), Glen Baxter, Gerald Scarfe, and others. It's in a low, unpretentious white stucco building on a side street in Chelsea, with a small and inconspicuous door.

Pylon's Randy Bewley, RIP

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution
reported earlier today that Pylon guitarist/co-founder Randy Bewley (above, far right) passed away yesterday at the age of 53.

Bewley suffered a heart attack while driving in Athens, GA Monday evening.

Readers of a certain vintage (or perhaps just younger persons with good taste) will recall Bewley's guitar work on songs like "Cool", "Volume",  and "Feast On My Heart" bridging whatever stylistic chasm separated Andy Gill from RIcky Wilson.   DFA's 2007 reissue of Pylon's 1980 debut LP, 'Gyrate' is a good place to start.

Our thoughts go out to Randy's friends and family.

A.C. Newman gets up early to play live on the radio, so you don't have to

Our favorite Canadian songsmith, A.C. Newman, and his gang of traveling minstrels will light up the airwaves and the interweb tomorrow by performing live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic program. Tune in online or if in the greater Southern California region at 89.9 FM at 11:15 AM PST/2:15 PM PST to catch the session live in all its glory.

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.

Dave's Record Corner

Unbeknownst to some of you, we sometimes distribute records for non-Matador labels here at Matador Direct. That means that Dave, our co-head of sales at Matador Direct, cherry-picks his favorite records and gets them out to stores. This often means that some really rare, amazing vinyl comes through our doors that mailorder customers don't get a chance to pick up. Those dark days are over!

We just launched a new section of the store for Dave to pick his favorite distributed items to make available for mailorder. Most of these are limited edition so we'll be adding and deleting items as they appear and disappear from our stock. Right now, we have the first two releases from the new Captured Tracks imprint (run by Mike Sniper of Blank Dogs), an incredible African music reissue, the Nodzzz LP, No Bunny, and a rare Rob's House 7"/DVD set. Get them while you can.

Dave's Record Corner

Antony on Lou Reed's "Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse"

In late 2006, Lou Reed invited a group of musicians and friends to help resurrect his controversial, classic album "Berlin" on a Brooklyn stage.

Among those musicians (and friends) was Antony Hegarty, the angel-voiced singer-songwriter. Below, Antony talks about his experience helping Lou bring the album to the stage, the origins of the pair's friendship and musical bond and his love for the music of "Berlin".

Purchase "Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse" on CD, deluxe gatefold double-vinyl or digital download.

Mogwai - North American Dates This Spring

(performing "Scotland's Shame" from 'The Hawk Is Howling', Aula Magna, Lisbon, Feb 5, 2009)

If tickets for all of the dates below aren't on sale now...they will be soon. Support info coming soon. 

04/?20 Houst?on,? TX- Numbe?rs
04/?21 New Orlea?ns,? LA- Repub?lic
04/?22 Birmi?ngham?,? AL- Workp?lay Theat?re
04/?23 Ashev?ille,? NC- Orang?e Peel
04/?24 Carrb?oro,? NC- Cats Cradl?e
04/?25 Phila?delph?ia,? PA- Troca?dero
04/?27 Brook?lyn,? NY- Music? Hall Of Willi?amsbu?rg
04/?28 Brook?lyn,? NY- Music? Hall Of Willi?amsbu?rg
04/?29 Brook?lyn,? NY- Music? Hall Of Willi?amsbu?rg
05/?01 Bosto?n,? MA- Wilbu?r Theat?re
05/?02 North?ampto?n,? MA- Pearl? Stree?t
05/?03 Montr?eal,? QUE- Metro?polis?
05/?04 Toron?to,? ON- Phoen?ix
05/?05 Buffa?lo,? NY- Tralf? Music? Hall
05/?06 Ponti?ac,? MI- Crofo?ot Ballr?oom
05/?08 Chica?go,? IL - Congr?ess Theat?re
05/?09 Milwa?ukee,? WI - Turne?r Hall
05/?10 Minne?apoli?s,? MN- First? Avenu?e
05/?11 Omaha?,? NE- The Slowd?own
05/?12 Denve?r,? CO- Blueb?ird Theat?re
05/?13 Salt Lake City,? UT- In The Venue?
05/?15 San Diego?,? Ca- Belly? Up Taver?n
05/?16 Los Angel?es,? CA- Orphe?um Theat?re

Matador Union: Shearwater & The Cave Singers in London

Following what will surely be an incredible performance at this year's ATP The Fans Strike Back in May, Matador's finest Shearwater will headline London's Union Chapel on May 12th.  With support from The Cave Singers, sure to be playing new material, this will be a Matador double not to be missed.

I love a good poster.

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.

Suddenly, Tony Victory Seems Like An A-OK Label Dude

From last Wednesday's Guardian, here's a SFW excerpt from Alex Hoban's profile of Japanese boy band factory Johnny's Jimusho, and the company's scary founder, "the 77-year-old Don Of Dubiousness, Johnny Kitagawa."

If graduating from a Junior Johnny to a mere Johnny sounds about as glamorous as pulling slippery condoms on to cucumbers in biology class, then it's fitting, as being a Johnny's protégé is hardly a ticket to artistic maturity or even financial security. Most of Johnny's recording artists are paid a base salary for their efforts, receive no royalties and have no rights to any of their music, their image or even the group's name. After a few years in the spotlight, many Johnny's bands are dropped without fanfare, and their members swiftly descend into obscurity and, most probably, depression.

So far, so cut-throat, but there is an even darker element to this whole grim business. Kitagawa claimed he works only with boy bands because they are "easier to handle", which would be fine if he didn't mean it literally. Rumours had always been rife of him engaging with unsavoury activities with the boys under his care, and in 1988 Kita Koji, one of the original members of the Four Seasons, published an exposé that accued Kitagawa of sexual harassment and rape. Opening the flood gates, similar accusations from other ex-members came to light, with fresh exposés being published right up to this decade.

Times New Viking (heart) the Velvets

This past Saturday at the Wexner Center for the Arts, on the campus of THE Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, Times New Viking offered a Valentine to rock and roll and modern art, closing out the museum's six-month-running Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms exhibition with a set of cover songs by the incomparable Velvet Underground.

Joined by Ohio rock legend Mike "Rep" Hummel (guitar/voice) and noise/avant man-about-many-towns C. Spencer Yeh (violin), TNV led an enthusiatic crowd through early Velvets classics including "All Tomorrow's Parties", "Sunday Morning", "Venus in Furs" and a show-stopping "Heroin", with Rep on lead vocals. Set-list courtesy of Beth TNV:

The show actually concluded with an acoustic "After Hours" singalong, featuring members of opener Psychedelic Horseshit as well as a vocal contribution from the one and only Ron House.

On a Valentine's Day in Central Ohio, Times New Viking channeled the deposed spirit of rock and roll's greatest band, and moved the crowd, melding their own distinctive blast-first-second-and-third rock mentality to classic jams never far from anyone's heart.

Why I Love.... Fucked Up

Skip to about 4.30 mins in.

Find the full explanation here.

ShredYrFace2 - Fucked Up Back in Blighty

The now legendary ShredYrFace tour is back in the UK at the end of this month with its second installment.  This time featuring Rolo Tomassi, The Bronx and Matador's own Fucked Up.

26 - LEEDS Cockpit
27 - GLASGOW Garage
28 - MANCHESTER Club Academy
01 - LIVERPOOL Korova (Fucked up headline show, not part of SYF.)
02 - CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
03 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
04 - LONDON Electric Ballroom
05 - BRIGHTON Concorde
06 - BIRMINGHAM Academy

I asked Jonah 'Mr Jo' Falco to give me a few thoughts on what he was expecting on the tour.

5 Things Likely to happen to Fucked Up in Old Blighty on the Shred Yr Face Tour:
The Sad Truth:

1 - "Connection" (Rolling Stones) aka The internet struggles to keep up with 6 members of Fucked Up all slobbering over gmail at once on one pithy, homemade, pirated network in some parking lot north of Lancashire. Meanwhile, Lord Fontleroy or whoever the poor guy whose signal was pirated weeps as his house is foreclosed upon due to high bandwidth bills.

2 -  "Soundcheck" aka That's the Point: 1/10 will happen without pouting. 10/10 result in the following: Guitar stack 1: check. Guitar stack 2: check. Guitar stack 3: check. Silence, then judgement: "Turn down the guitars, they are pretty loud in the mix."

3 - "The Golden Wrapper" aka 10,000 Marbles (aka 10kM aka 1,000,000 Meatballs) eats a chocolate bar. Everyone has their executive stress ball in their office and since M is a non drinker, mostly watches balls on television and doesn't have a desk, this is his out. Despite his old rep in the band as "Organic Bok Choi," he has completely renounced his past self and now claims that eating exclusively candy and sweets is simply "the most delicious lifestyle possible."

4 - "Fooled by Fried Bread" aka Pinkeyes eats an inappropriately humungous meal right before a set and leaves the stage during a song to 1) poo or 2) throw up. This happens about once a tour. You can usually tell 'tonight is the night' if he asks for an extra long mic cable, because the King can still sing from the throne. Beware, be impressed, be regular.

5 - "The Encore." Usually our finest hour. Like a group of toddlers on a museum tour, tethered by some brightly coloured plastic leash: One wants to see the exhibit one more time while the rest have to pee and just want to go home and watch cartoons (see #1 to complete this metaphor). Coax as little as you want, it only takes one of you to birth "The Encore." PS we haven't learned any new covers.

Coming June 9 : Sonic Youth's 'The Eternal'

(album artwork features a painting by John Fahey)
Sonic Youth's 16th album, 'The Eternal', will be released on double vinyl, compact disc, and digital album by Matador Records on June 9.   Produced by John Agnello and the band, 'The Eternal' not only marks Sonic Youth's return to the independent label sphere (titles on their own SYR label excepted) after a long association with Geffen, but more importantly, ranks as one of their more inspired efforts in a 28 year career.

(photograph by Andrew Kesin)
Recorded through November and December of last year at the band's Echo Canyon West studio in Hoboken, NJ, 'The Eternal' features many firsts for a Sonic Youth album, including a number of shared vocals between Kim, Thurston, and Lee, and the studio debut of former Pavement/Dustdevils bassist Mark Ibold, a member of Sonic Youth's touring band for the past few years.

The band's current extracurricular activities are as always, quite varied.  The Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf, Germany is now hosting the touring museum exhibition SONIC YOUTH ETC.:  SENSATIONAL FIX, which focuses on the band's multidisciplinary work since the band's formation in 1981, including their collaborations with visual artists, filmmakers, designers and musicians. Kim Gordon launches a clothing line, Mirror/Dash, at Urban Outfitters on February 16, and is showing at The Armory Show in NYC March 5-8.   Lee Ranaldo, with co-conspirator Leah Singer, just opened installations at the Konsthall in Stockholm and the CNEAI in Paris, and he has a piece in the  travelling exhibition "Bad Moon Rising 3", currently at Boots Contemporary Art Space in St. Louis.   A Beck/Sonic Youth split 7" is being released by Matador on April 18 for Record Store Day.  And the band recently collaborated with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (along with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and mixed-media sound composer Takehisa Kosugi) on a work celebrating, and being performed for, Cunningham's 90th birthday on April 16 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Upcoming SY shows include April gigs in Austria and Germany (including the closing of SENSATIONAL FIX in Dusseldorf) and May 16 at the No Fun Festival in Brooklyn.  They will be touring throughout the summer in support of 'The Eternal'.

More information on these and the many, many other activities since the 2006 release of their last album, 'Rather Ripped', can be found here.

Of 'The Eternal', Matador's Gerard Cosloy says, "We've not had a record in our recent history that's been the subject of nearly as much speculation and anticipation.  Suffice to say we're pretty amazed at the way the band delivered something this neoteric while still sounding like, well, themselves.  Less of a reinvention and perhaps more to do with a particularly awesome dozen songs."

Matador will shortly announce a Buy Early Get Now scheme for the album with some very interesting bonus material.

Sonic Youth are:
Steve Shelley
Lee Ranaldo
Kim Gordon
Thurston Moore
Mark Ibold

Track listing:

1. Sacred Trickster
2. Anti-Orgasm
3. Leaky Lifeboat (for Gregory Corso)
4. Antenna
5. What We Know
6. Calming The Snake
7. Poison Arrow
8. Malibu Gas Station
9. Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn
10. No Way
11. Walkin Blue
12. Massage The History

Southeastern Connecticut, So Much To Answer For

Condo Fucks - "What'cha Gonna Do About It" from the forthcoming LP/CD 'Fuckbook'.  Little known fact : The J. Geils Band's Magic Dick is also a resident of New London, CT.

Cat Power Vinyl Back in Stock

Just a quick note that after a little bit of a delay at the pressing plant, we now have Moon Pix, The Greatest, and You Are Free back in stock on wonderful, black vinyl. Now you can complete a couple of pieces you were missing from your collection, or maybe just discover a couple extra gems. Jukebox is still available as well.

On the subject of vinyl, now might be a good time to pick up one of our Matador Record Bags. Buy a Cat Power (or any other record), a record bag, and get free domestic shipping. Just write "lovevinyl" in the promotion bar during checkout.

The Recession Hits Elevator <strike>Music</strike> Muzak

Muzak, the legendary suppliers of smooth sounds for the workplace and former place of employ for Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. From the Charlotte Observer's Adam Bell (link courtesy Mark Ohe)

The company had $105 million in secured bank debt that was due today, part of $440 million worth of debt due between February and March. Last month, Muzak said it had received a 22-day extension on the $105 million debt. The company said today that it and Muzak's major creditor constituencies are committed to completing restructuring negotiations.

“Muzak is a solid business with an outstanding customer base, but we are burdened with substantial debt obligations established over a decade ago,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen Villa said in a statement. “We intend to move through this process as quickly as possible and we firmly believe that this course of action will better position Muzak for long-term success.”

Muzak has 1,250 employees, including 550 in Fort Mill. It designs and installs professional sound systems for businesses, and provides other services, such as promotional music for corporate branding.

Times New Viking - "Call & Respond" on Pitchfork TV

Beth, Adam and Jared performing "Call & Respond" off the new 7"/digital EP 'Stay Awake', as provided by Pitchfork's A>D>D.

New Yo La Tengo, New Pornographers and Stuart Murdoch songs...


... on the Dark Was The Night compilation, coming out on 4AD. All are unavailable elsewhere. The Yo La Tengo song is a Snapper cover, the New Pornographers song is a Destroyer song (cover?), and the Stuart Murdoch song is a traditional Scottish number. (Other members of Belle and Sebastian perform on the track.) All three can be checked out in the above widget.

There is also an unreleased Cat Power song on the record - a cover of "Amazing Grace."

This is the new Red Hot compilation, and proceeds will go to benefit AIDS charities.

In stores a week from tomorrow. Preorder it here and receive a free 7" while supplies last.

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