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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.

In Honor Of Nils Bernstein's Birthday...

....I henceforth declare Matador's offices closed until January 2. 

I realize this is a somewhat bold move, but Nils has done so much for all us, and this special day deserves to be recognized publicly.  Once upon a time, Arizona had a problem with Martin Luther King's birthday, and who knows how many U2 concerts they missed out on. 

The Hardest Working Man In Heaven

  

James Brown, 1933-2006 

[youtube]G45u17vaUCM[/youtube]

"Christmas In Heaven" (mp3, link taken from Loudersoft)

Santa Claus Goes Modern : Xmas & Music, A Lethal Combo


Savatage.jpg

This has been some kinda week for learning and yearning. Not only did I find out the excruciating Trans-Siberian Orchestra were led by dudes from Mike Piazza's 4th or 5th fave band, Savatage (above), but Leftsetz has the scoop on the TSO's unlikely genesis (link courtesy Vinyl Mine).

So Jason’s all coked up. And not being able to look at the four walls, knowing he’s going to be up all night, he goes miles to a friend’s house, to do more blow, to get him to the sunshine, until he has to show up at Atlantic for work.

And this guy, he keeps pitching Jason this AWFUL band. Heavy metal noise. Every night, while they’re doing coke, this drug buddy says you’ve got to sign SAVATAGE! Finally, to get the guy off his back, Jason offers him a deal, under one condition, the guy doesn’t harangue him about the act ANY MORE!

And it’s not like Savatage is doing well. After a couple of albums, the deal is the band delivers a record, that THEY pay for, and Atlantic puts it out. The relationship has run its course. But then Jason gets a call saying Scott Shannon is ALL OVER THE RECORD!

Jason protests that this is impossible, that Savatage is a horrible heavy metal band, their record is NEVER gonna appear on Top Forty radio. But then the report comes in that Scott Shannon is TALKING ABOUT THE RECORD, how fucking GREAT IT IS!

Turns out, at the end of the last album, there’s a Christmas track, and THAT’S garnering all the action. So Jason gets Savatage’s producer, Paul O’Neill, on the phone, and tells him to make a whole ALBUM of Christmas music, to come up with a new name, that they’ve got a GOLD MINE! Soon Paul calls back and says he’s got it, "Trans-Siberian Orchestra", what does Jason think?

Jason says he’s clueless, after all he’s a Jew, but it seems fine to him.

But what breaks the record big, after it’s finally recorded, is the appearance on Rosie O’Donnell. Jason calls Bob Daly, who at the time oversees both music and TV, and the TV division produces Rosie’s show. Jason leans on him. And Bob goes around the bookers and gets TSO on the show.

And then all hell breaks loose. A platinum album. Then another.

So some things that start poorly end well. Jason was in rehab when Savatage recorded their debut, he was not heavily invested. He stayed with the band as long as possible, until it no longer made financial sense. And then, when confronted with a moment, a seeming accident of fate, he CAPITALIZED ON IT!

Oh, at first it was difficult. Not working the Savatage album with the Christmas track, there were no PROMOS! Atlantic had to ship sales copies, of which there were very few. But the true genius was in recognizing that this was not an anomaly, that there was a nugget here that was representative of an entire GOLD MINE!

So every Christmas since, for ten years now, Trans-Siberian Orchestra sells hundreds of thousands of albums. And goes on tour, to the point where there are now TWO touring companies, playing ARENAS! Cash is thrown off, people get rich, THIS is why you’re sitting there and Jason’s up in Aspen.</em>

Ahem. If you're hankering for an Xmas musical experience of an entirely different sort, WPRB's Jon Solomon will be doing his annual holiday 24 hour marathon this Sunday.

That Whole Silly Decemberists / Colbert Beef

While the newsworthiness of the beef between Stephen Colbert and The Decemberists makes Lindsey v Paris look like a Darfur report in the Economist, I do know that if those wacky Decemberists would have brought in this dude, victory would have been close at hand.

[youtube]vx80U2TJl0Q[/youtube] 

(ps:  you are looking at Guitar One Magazine's fastest guitar shredder in the world. i can't wait for Early Mike to shred this post in the comments)

The Final Matador News Update of 2006 / Artists & Staff Pick Their Faves

There's some major announcements to behold in the last Matador news update of '06, along with a sprawling list of the well-connected & their pals' Favorite Records/Books/Films/Whatever from the year about to conclude.  The second portion of which, if you're too lazy to click on the above link, can be found right here :



Roger Miller, Mission Of Burma
,

Current Fave CD:  Rodrigo and Gabriela

Mexican acoustic guitar duo who started off playing heavy metal (the DVD that accompanies this disc is hysterical - showing them swinging their hair in that phase just like they were supposed to do; and the interviews with Gabriela are both funny and beautiful), got sick of the sameness/lameness, switched to acoustic guitars, and proceeded to kick ass and become rather huge in their home-country (and Ireland......).
Rodrigo playes very excellent lead melodies in an odd mix of heavy rock and flamenco/Mexicali stylizations, but it's Gabriela that is the most interesting guitarist I have heard in two decades.

While most current rock guitarists (given the percentage, it's extremely likely this includes you) are content to learn a couple feeble-minded licks and prance about like retarded dandies onstage, Gabriela put together a style that is simultaneously mind-boggling and natural.  I'm not just whistling dixie here - she is the best rhythm-guitarist I have ever heard in my life (this CD is about her chording and percussive work, not Rodrigo's melodies) - you'd swear there was a drummer, but it's just her whapping the fucking guitar between killer rhythmic strumming and picking out melodies, and generally sounding like 3 virtuoso players simultaneously.  Once you focus out Rodgrigo's melodies and realize that EVERYTHING ELSE is coming from her, it is a totally humbling experience.

Verdict:  These two Mexicans will whip your gringo rock ass all the way to the border.  So wake up and get to work, motherfucker, or you will be the one they won't let over the barbed wire.  (other option - just stop playing now.  It will save the Mexican Government from having to waste money on border patrols).

Derek Fudesco, Pretty Girls Make Graves

1. Manifest Festival Internacional, Mexico City
2. House on the Rock, Wisconsin Dells
3. Superwolf  ( I know this came out in 2005, but I didnt fall in love with it until 2006)
4. The Bad Beat
5. Bun Thit Nuong
6. I Am a Sex Addict by Caveh Zahedi
7. Pink Mountaintops "Axis of Evol"
8. The Electric Classical
9. Tarte l'Alsace
10. You Tube

Scott Kannberg, Preston School Of Industry

recent...
the dudes: cdr of a great calgary band
sparklehorse: dreamt...
sun city girls:  live thing on threelobbed
fleetwood mac: bare trees
psych furs: first record
c beefhart: clear spot (can't believe i ever traded away my signed copy to sm for the stranglers' raven 3d cover)
pere ubu live in sf: holy shit! first time seeing em. one of the weirdest bands i've ever seen. reminded me of seeing sf punk bands back in the early 80's.
led zep cd reissues: fuck you fopp for making these so cheap.
vancouver bc: sushi, dim sum, and seafood at joe fortes. and the sky train (i bet black mountain has a song).
m & l records seattle: finally got the seattle map from 1950.
bunnymen: live in liverpool early 80's (on youtube)
2 inches of snow last week: more please!
playing juke box songs for lombardi: they were all matador bands. then i played the bands who they should've signed (rem wouldn't have been one).
cat power live in seattle: holy shit! amazing stuff (who was the dick who yelled "what's with the sign language?" and "where's eddie?")
pitchfork.com: i can't believe they still love me.

best 2006...
danny rogers late night in sydney: st. jeromes laneway fest!
broken social scene: it's all love for these hippies. i hope i made em laugh.
kelley stoltz: beneath the branches (or anything he does).
mark ibold playing bass with sonic youth: holy shit! the perfect choice.
sm's wedding: sm breaking the coconut. and supposedly i spilt wine.
turned 40: played golf with my dad in scotland. pussed out on the black flag tat.
london and paris: sophie singing, mb's scars, the waiter on his knees, warren's beard, and the dundee man.
link wray: link wray and beans and fatback
mat everett and the doctor: seafood feast on the mornington p.
scratch acid live in seattle: last show ever. crazy fucking dan!
mark o, jesper, frank, and matador: for ruling on the wowee reissue.
cory and scott: for finding strayfire.
cache: michael haneke film
playtime: criterion release
m sasek: "this is" reissues.
athleticsnation.com
geoffshackelford.com
sfcityscape.com
and renton laidlaw


Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai

1 Country Teasers - The Empire Strikes Back
2 Joanna Newsom -YS
3 Arab Strap - 10 years Of Tears
4 Arctic Monkeys - Whatever
5 Growing - color wheel
6 The Goslings  - The Grandeur Of Hair

Miwa Okumura, Beggars Group

Highlights of 2006
Tying the knot
Piano lessons
Playstation's Guitar Hero
Discovering Jersey City
The Wire
street meat
The Spirit of the Beehive directed by Victor Erice
Shortbus directed by John Cameron Mitchell
Bonnie Prince Billy The Letting Go
The Roots Game Theory
Belle and Sebastian The Life Pursuit
Beirut Gulag Orkestar
Yo La Tengo  I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan
Mastodon
T.I.
Spumoni Gardens, Bensonhurst Brooklyn
Teenie Hodges
Jennifer O'Connor Over The Mountain, Across The Valley and Back to the Stars
Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume II

Adam Farrell, Beggars Group


Favorite Concert Moments
- Belle at the 'Bowl  - Stuart Murdoch eggs the crowd to rush the Hollywood Bowl stage and the dance party erupts.
- Justice at Studio B (CMJ) -  Crazy anticipation. Very European vibe.  I was two drinks away from digging electronic music again.
- The A-Sides at the Philebrity Weekender - Warehouse.  N. Philly.  Even with only 20 people sticking it out until the 2am set time, these guys roared to life out of no where...best wishes with your label gentleman.

Favorite Albums
- Acid House Kings "Sing Along With Acid House Kings"- If Kings of Convenience were a girl, happier, more influenced by Steely Dan and from another part of Scandinavia...these might be them.- Meg Baird "Title TBD (Solo For Tequila Sunrise)" - I've deleted Pink Moon from my iPod and am just rollin' with this as my rainy day delight.- Swallows and Swallows (S/t) - Dominic East takes his first solo shot and scribes a happily melancholic, country-tinged, pick-me-up soundtrack to break up with your girlfriend to.

Top Classic Jams Added To The 12" Collection
-  Slick Rick  f. Outkast "Street Talkin'"
-  Jurassic 5 "Verbal Gunfight"
-  BBD "Da Hot Shit"

Rachelle Rahme, Beggars Group

2007 - IN FASHION
wormwood
klaus sperber
simon iff
nuggets of silver
canadian medicine
cult of glycon (CA)
the ISS
nepenthes and wine

Fred Navarette, Beggars Group

best shows:
texas is the reason, two nights at irving plaza after being gone for ten years
chavez, warsaw, one night after being gone for some time
radiohead at the greek theater in LA, awesome!
basement jaxx, wow, amazing live at webster hall
cmj 2006, yeah didn't get to see too many great shows, but had a wonderful time with everyone at my last cmj as a radio guy.
best food/beverage:
sparky's on lafayette street best hotdogs, burgers, and jalepeno fries
lombardi's pizza and six point ale, a match made in heaven
mexican food in LA. , it's so much better there
wine tastings in connecticut
hot dogs in the skybox at the louisville bats game
lamb at the beggars/matador holiday party, plus the great company
best tunes:
Clearlake - Amber - Domino
Film School - S/T - Beggars Banquet
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear Is On Our Side - Secretly Canadian
Mew - And The Handed Kites - Sony
Thom Yorke - The Eraser - XL Recordings
Editors - The Back Room - Kitchenware/Fader
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain - 4AD
Muse - Black Holes And Revelations - Warner
Placebo - Meds - Astralwerks
Serena-Maneesh - S/T - Playlouder Recordings 
best dog:
piper lupita navarrete (she's the cutest and bestest)

Laurent Rossi, Beggars Group

BEST ALBUMS OF 2006
1/ TV ON THE RADIO "Return To Cookie Mountain"
2/ EL PERRO DEL MAR "El Perro Del Mar"
3/ CAT POWER "The Greatest"
4/ LUPE FIASCO "Food & Liquor"
5/ CHAMILLIONAIRE "The Sound Of Revenge"
6/ M.WARD "Post-War"
7/ YO LA TENGO "I'm Not Affraid Of You and I will Beat Your Ass"
8/ THE GAME "Doctor's Advocate"
9/ JASON COLLETT "Idols Of Exile"
10/ REGINA SPEKTOR "Begin To Hope"
11/ MOJAVE 3 "Puzzles Like You"
12/ NICOLE WILLIS "Keep Reachin' Up"
13/ SPINTO BAND "Nice & Nicely Done"
14/ SERENA MANEESH "Serena-Maneesh"
15/ THOM YORKE "The Eraser"

BEST SINGLES OF 2006

1/ TV ON THE RADIO "Wolf Like Me"
2/ CHAMILLIONAIRE "Riddin'"
3/ REGINA SPEKTOR "Fidelity"
4/ AKON feat EMINEM "Smack That"
5/ THE RACONTEURS "Steady As She Goes"
6/ THE GAME feat JUNIOR REID "It's Okay (One Blood)"
7/ JUSTICE vs. SIMIAN "We Are Your Friends"
8/ JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE "Sexyback"
9/ ARCTIC MONKEYS "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"
10/ SERENA-MANEESH "Drain Cosmetic"


Birgit Heuzeroth, Beggars Group

2006 Records:
The Flaming Lips – At War With the Mystics
Cat Power – The Greatest
TV on the Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
Wolfmother – Wolfmother
Bonnie Prince Billy – The Letting Go
Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
The Lemonheads – TL
Tommy Guerrero – From the Soil to the Soul
Scritti Politti – White Bread Black Beer
Yo La Tengo – I am not afraid
 
Shows:
Flaming Lips @ Markthalle, Hamburg
Devastations @ White Trash, Berlin
Serena-Maneesh @ Vice BBQ, Austin
Cat Power @ Volksbühne, Berlin
M. Ward @ Molotow, Hamburg
I Like Trains @ Mudd Club, Berlin
Rogers Sisters @ Molotow, Hamburg
 
Films
Munich
Hotel Ruanda
The Devil Wears Prada
Capote

Annette Lee, Beggars Group

Good things that have happened to me this year, in no particular order of importance (because that would require powers of thought and organisation of which I am sorely lacking):

1. Seeing Radiohead play in an actual venue (as opposed to in a tent or on a pyramid-shaped stage in the freezing cold).
2. Watching Hidden and spending the next hour after the movie in a state of complete bewilderment and confusion.
3. Seeing The Rogers Sisters' triumphant (and very sweaty) headline show at The Barfly, Camden.
4. Watching Oneida, Celebration, TV On The Radio & Yeah Yeah Yeahs followed by a particularly stunning sunrise on the beach @ All Tomorrow's Parties, first weekend.
5. The impromptu afternoon "members-only" party in Chalet 51 (complete with homemade cocktails) @ All Tomorrow's Parties, second weekend.
6. Helping to knit a <a xhref="http://www.knittingsite.org/">house</a>
7. Great holidays with some great friends in Paris and Austria.
8. Finally buying a camera and putting it to good use.
9. Jumping on the bandwagon and starting a <a href+"http://www.threepinkmonkeys.blogspot.com">blog</a>
10. Ice-skating by the Tower of London and not falling over
11. Not having to go to a wedding this year.
12. Finding out I'm going to be an aunt. God help that poor child if I ever have to babysit.

Matt Harmon, Beggars Group

2006 Music...
Dan Higgs "Ancestral Songs (Holy Mountain)
Six Organs of Admittance "The Sun Awakens" (Drag City)
Shearwater "Palo Santo" (Misra)
MV/EE with the Bummer Road "Green Blues" (Ecstatic Peace)
Oakley Hall "Gypsum Strings" (Brah Records)
Liars "Drums Not Dead" (Mute)
Be Your Own Pet s/t (Ecstatic Peace)
Clientele "Strange Geometry" (Merge) -I know it came out in 2005 but i got into it this year

Fav Websites...
<http://www.ecstaticpeace.com/>http://www.ecstaticpeace.com/ - released two of my favorite albums this year and kings of the live footage quicktime video posts
<http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/>http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/ - architecture, urban planning and future worlds
<http://www.brownstoner.com/>http://www.brownstoner.com/ - the scoop on local brooklyn housing concerns
<http://www.coudal.com/>http://www.coudal.com - design, company, ad agency, blog and the home of the Museum of Online Museums
<http://www.thingsmagazine.net/>http://www.thingsmagazine.net/ - a little bit of this and a little bit of that
<http://www.designobserver.com/>http://www.designobserver.com/ - missives on design and cultural concerns brought to you by Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand, Rick Poynor and more
<http://www.mayahayuk.com/>http://www.mayahayuk.com - show posters, skate decks, one Oakley Hall album cover, one Awesome Color video...

Looking forward to 2007...
P.G. Six "Slightly Sorry"
Mike Wexler "Sun Wheel"

Joel Hunt, Beggars Group

Best Albums:

1. Scott Walker, "The Drift" (4AD)
2. Pissed Jeans, "Shallow" (Parts Unknown)
3. Wzt Hearts, "Heat Chief" (Hoss)
4. The Weird Weeds, "Weird Feelings" (Sounds Are Active)
5. Joanna Newsom, "Ys" (Drag City)
6. Daniel (A.I.U.) Higgs, "Ancestral Songs" (Holy Mountain)
7. Brightblack Morning Light, s/t (Matador)
8. Valley of Ashes, "Cavehill Hunters Attrition" (Black Velvet Fuckere)
9. White Magic, "Dat Rosa Mel Apibus" (Drag City)
10. Charlemagne Palestine and Tony Conrad, "An Aural Symbiotic Mystery" (Sub Rosa)

Best Live Shows:

1. The Dead C., at ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas, Butlin's at Minehead, UK, December.
2. Blues Control at Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn, September.
3. Dinosaur Jr./Mouthus at Warsaw, Brooklyn, August (sorry about the stuff getting stolen afterwards).
4. Sleater-Kinney/The Rogers Sisters at Webster Hall, Manhattan, August.
5. Home Blitz/Guitar Trips/Greyskull/Horsespirit Penetrates/Watersports at a random bodega in Bushwick, Brooklyn, June.

Best Movies:

1. "You're Gonna Miss Me," a documentary about Roky Erikson.
2. "Casino Royale"
3. "Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story"

Best Overall Good Vibe Moments:

1. Dems winning in November, Rumsfeld resigning the next day.

Best People Who Will Be Sorely Missed:

Malachi Ritscher, Larissa Strickland, James Tenney, Jason DiEmilio, Dewey Redman, Arthur Lee, Syd Barrett, Allan Kaprow, Nam June Paik, Bruce Loose, Gyorgi Ligeti, Darren "Wiz" Brown, Mariska Veres, Gerald Levert, Adrienne Shelly, Rogerio Duprat, Freddy Fender, Pip Pyle, Jessie Pintado, Duke Jordan, Grant McLennan, Malachi Thompson, Robbie "Rocket" Watts, Vince Welnick, June Pointer, Gene Pitney, Ian Rilen, Jackie McLean, Nikki Sudden, Don Alias, Buck Owens, Ali Farka Toure, Ivor Cutler, Charlie Hodge, Ray Barretto, Bill Cowsill, Elton Dean, Jason Sears, Thomas "Pig Champion" Roberts, Janette Carter

Worst People Who Will Not Be Missed:

Augusto Pinochet, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Markus Wolf, P.W. Botha (gets the gasface!), Ta Mok, Ken Lay, Eugene Landy

Ana-Mercedes Cardenas, Matador Records

Camera Obscura “ Let’s Get Out of This Country”
Peter Bjorn & John – “Writer’s Block”
Cat Power – “The Greatest”
Herbert – “Scale”
TV On the Radio – “Return To Cookie Mountain”
Destroyer – “Destroyer’s Rubies”
Hot Chip – “The Warning”
Beirut – “The Gulag Orkestar”
The Thermals – “The Body, The Blood, The Machine.”
Snowden - "Anti-Anti"

Jeremy P. Goldstein, Beggars Group


Silversun Pickups - Carnavas - Dangerbird
Placebo - Meds - Astralwerks
Clearlake - Amber - Domino
Hourly Radio - History Will Never Hold Me - Kirkland
Various - The World Is Gone - XL Recordings
Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit - Matador
Sunshine Underground - Raise The Alarm - City Rockers
Fields - Seven From The Village - Black Lab Records
Mogwai - Mr Beast - Matador
Muse - Black Holes & Revelations - Warner Brothers

Dave Martin, Matador Direct

albums
1) Jay Reatard Blood Visions
2) Darling Downs How Can I Forget This Heart Of Mine
3. King Khan & BBQ Show What's For Dinner?
4) The Victoria Lucas Hit The Ground Running Fast
5) The Howling Hex Nightclub Version of the Eternal
6) The Leather Uppers Bright Lights
7) Don Caballero World Class Listening Problem
8) Major Stars Syntoptikon
9) Espers Espers II
10) (the) Melvins (a) Senile Animal
11) Tralala Is That The Tralala
12) Rainy Day Saints Diamond Star Highway
13) Extra Golden Ok-Oyot System
14) Goodnight Loving Cemetary Trails
15) Haunted George Panther Howl

7"s
1) Home Blitz Apocalyptic Grades
2) Hot Machines 2
3) Black and Whites Fucked Up Heart
4) Home Blitz Live Outside
5) Jay Reatard Hammer I Miss You
6) Meg Baird Waltze of the Tennis Players
7) Pissed Jeans Don't Need Smoke to Make Myself Disappear
8) Touch-Me-Nots Hey Television
9) Time Flys Reality is a Rock Band
10) caUSE co-MOTION Which Way Is Up

Old music, new again
1) The Fix At The Speed of Twisted Thought
2) Sonics Rendevous Band 6 CD box
3) V/A Rockin' Bones: 1950's Punk & Rockabilly
4) Neil Young & Crazy Horse Live At The Filmore East
5) The Sonics Busy Body b/w The Witch live at the Tacoma sports arena 1964
6) Arthur Lee Unissued 1965 Demos
7) Trouble Psalm 9
8) Trouble The Skull
9) Spencer/Dickinson The Man Who Lives For Love
10) Blight Detroit:  The Dream Is Dead


Adam Bohl, Matador Direct

Entrance - Prayer of Death
Dark meat - Universal Indian
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go
Game - The Doctors Advocate
Pink Mountaintops - Axis of Evol
The Deadly Snakes - Porcella (vinyl version)
Various Artists - Rockin' Bones boxset
J Dilla - Donuts
The Black Angels - Passover
Wooden Wand and Vanishing Voice - Gypsy Freedom
Times New Viking - Dig Yourself (new to me in 2006)


Mike Holdsworth, Matador Records


Cat Power - The Greatest
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
(I normally wouldn't include releases I work on but these records' genius far outstrip any bias I have toward Matador)
Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Ali Farka Toure - Savane
Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
Califone - (Roots & Crown) - if only for "The Orchids"
Tom Waits - Orphans
Chris Knox and the Nothing - Chris Knox and the Nothing

reissues

Fennesz - Endless Summer
Various - Version Dread - not strictly dubs, rather rocksteady versions
Delroy Wilson - Run Run
John Lee Hooker - It Serve You Right To Suffer
Karen Dalton - Its So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best
Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End DVD

best gigs

every Yo la Tengo and Cat Power performance I was present at
Slits, Buzzcocks & Don Letts DJing at Selfridges - surreal - and the Slits were righteous
the 15 minutes I caught of Fennesz at Touch Records 25th anniversary
Chris Knox Gina Birch double bill, Auckland NZ

books

Georges Braque - Alex Danchev
The Road To Oxiana - Robert Byron
Another Bullshit Night In Suck City - Nick Flynn
The Boy And The Sea  - Kirsty Gunn
Don't Point That Thing At Me - Kryil Bonfiglioli
Music, Food And Love - Guo Yue
Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook (Recipes from Hunan province) - Fuschia Dunlop
How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life - John Fahey

best eats
Blue Swimmer Crab - Sean's Panorama, Sydney
Ox Tongue - The Cow, London
Bream and Oysters - Chez Bruce, London
O Palacio - Lisboa (food and scene)
Gambrinus - Lisboa (food and scene)

Ruairi Gilmore, Matador Records

2006 Favourites (not including Matador releases)

Scott Walker 'The Drift'
Carla Bozulich 'Evangelista'
The Knife 'Silent Shout'
Wiley 'Da 2nd Phaze', 'Tunnel Vision 1/2/3'
JME 'Boy Better Know', 'Poomplex', 'Derkhead/Tropical'
Magik Markers 'The Volodoror Dance'
Neckle Camp 'Straight Necklin'
Burial 'Burial'
TV On The Radio 'Return To Cookie Mountain'
Uncle Jim 'Superstars Of Greenwich Meantime'
Wolf Eyes 'Human Animal'
Califone 'Roots And Crowns'
T.I. 'King'
Clipse 'Hell Hath No Fury'
Be Your Own Pet 'Be Your Own Pet'
Charalambides 'A Vintage Burden'
Six Organs Of Admittance 'The Sun Awakens'
Boris 'Pink', 'Dronevil: Final'
Venetian Snares 'Cavalcade of Glee And Dadaist Happy Hardcore Pom-Poms'
Islaja 'Live At Blaze Mountain'
Susanna And The Magical Orchestra 'Melody Mountain'
VA '100% Dynamite Dancehall'
VA 'What It Is: Funky Soul and Rare Grooves'
KTL 'KTL'
Om 'Conference Of The Birds'
Ricardo Villalobos 'Fizheuer Zieheuer'

I've probably left loads out...it's been such a good year.

TV:
The Wire (still the finest thing on TV, thanks Lucy)
Wonder Showzen
Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe

Film:
Marie-Antoinette
A Cock And Bull Story
Cache
Grizzly Man
Sympathy For Lady Vengeance
Manderlay
Syriana
L'Enfant
Brick
Pusher 3
A Scanner Darkly
Keane
Red Road
....and the countless Seagal efforts that have entertained me throughout the year.

Gigs:
Deftones, Electric Ballroom, London
All Tomorrow's Parties, Camber
everything that Upset The Rhythm (www.upsettherhythm.co.uk) put on
wonderful shows by Cat Power, Matmos, Brightblack and Yo La Tengo
Boris, Camden Underworld, London
Sunn O))) & Earth, Cockpit, Leeds
Patti Smith & Kevin Shields, QEH, London
Carla Bozulich, Luminaire, London
Silver Jews, Scala, London
Lavendar Diamond, Spitz, London
Ekkehard Ehlers, Spitz, London
Electric Picnic, Ireland
dj/rupture & Filastine, London
Fonal Records Showcase, St. Giles Church, London
Mogwai, ICA, London

Lucy Hurst, Matador Records

Lucy's top albums of the year

Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
Oakley Hall - Gypsum Strings
Peter, Bjorn And John - "Writer's Block"
Midlake - Trials of Van Occupanther
Belle and Sebastian -  The Life Pursuit
Vetiver - To Find me Gone
Espers - Espers II
Joanna Newsom - Ys
Mogwai - Mr Beast
Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song
Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Fur Coat
Psychic Ills - Dins
White Magic - "Dat Rosa Mel Apibus"

top Shows (that I can remember)

Lavender Diamond - at the Spitz
Cat Power - at the Barbican
Calexico/Beirut/Hawk and a Hacksaw - at The Roundhouse
Danielson + Jeff Lewis - at The Luminaire
Yo La Tengo - in Cambridge
Neko Case - at Irving Plaza
M Ward - at Warsaw
The New Pornographers - at ATP in March
Sonic Youth - at ATP in Dec
Lemonheads - Forum
Mogwai - at Royal Albert Hall


Films

Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
Volver
Science Of Sleep
The Queen
Transamerica
The New World
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Junebug
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
Danielson A Family movie - or make a joyful noise here

Mark Ohe, Matador Records


Ali Farka Toure - Savane  (World Circuit)
Boards Of Canada - Trans Canada Highway (Warp)
Shearwater "Palo Santo" (Misra)
TK Webb - Phantom Parade (The Social Registry)
Brightblack Morning Light - ST (Matador)
Various - Tetes Lourdes: Francais Metal de Proto (Seidr)
Stephen Apicella-Hitchcock - A Triangulation (Self Released)
Pavement - Wowee Zowee Sordid Sentinels Edition (Matador)
Chavez - Better Days Will Haunt You (Matador)
This Heat - Out of Cold Storage  (ReR)

Patrick Amory (Matador Records), Best of 2006 (or 2005, or 2007)

Shearwater - Palo Santo CD (Misra, 2006)
Lavender Diamond - The Cavalry of Light CDEP (self-released, 2006)
Pearls and Brass - The Indian Tower LP (Drag City, 2005)
P.G. Six - Slightly Sorry unmastered CDR (Drag City, 2007)
Baby Dee - Made For Love CDEP (Durtro, 2005)
Jeffrey Jensen and Andrew Earles - Just "Farr" A Laugh II CDR (to come out 2007)
Espers - II LP (Drag City, 2006)
White Magic - Dat Rosa Mel Apibus dbl LP (Drag City, 2006)
Mission Of Burma - The Obliterati dbl LP (Matador, 2006)
Bill Fay Group - Tomorrow Tomorrow and Tomorrow LP (Drag City, 2006)


Gerard Cosloy, Matador Records

my favorite things from 2006 :

Boris - Pink (Southern Lord)
Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped (Geffen)
Bottomless Pit - Tour CDR
Shearwater - Palo Santo (Misra)
Steffen Basho-Junghans - Last Days of The Dragon (Locust)
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions (In The Red)
David Bazan - Fewer Moving Parts (Jade Tree)
Mrs. John Soda - Notes & The Like (Morr Music)
The Distant Seconds - "Gertrude Stein" (demo)
The Futureheads - News & Tributes (Vagrant / Startime)
The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes (V2)
Tommy Keene - Crashing The Ether (1130)
TK Webb  - Phantom Parade (The Social Registry)
The Dead C. - Vain, Erudite & Stupid (Badabing)
Mr. Lif - Mo' Mega  (Def Jux)
Jesu - Silver (Hydrahead)
The first 16 innings of the 2006 NLCS
day to day life in the adopted home of Jimmy Flemion, Bill Callahan and Ian McLagan
"Saxondale"

Catch A Piece Of The Matador Holiday Sale

To celebrate us bringing the Matador store back in house, we’ve been running a holiday sale featuring 11 different Mata-riffic bundles at deep Mata-riffic discounts. Check it out at the Matador Store homepage. Discounted albums include work from Pavement, Cat Power, Brightblack Morning Light, Cornelius, Belle & Sebastian, Guided By Voices, and more.

There's only two days left for your order to be shipped before Christmas, so stop with the procrastination already!

To put it plainly: any order received after noon on Friday, December 22 will NOT be shipped until Monday, January 2.

I'm selling the shirt off of my back. No, seriously.

[youtube]T5qb1A5fcjo[/youtube]

I always knew it would come to this. But I needed to take drastic measures, so...my favorite shirt is up for grabs.

 

BTW - If this sort of retarded shit is your cup of tea, I'm just getting started. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. You can subscribe via:

Early Mike - The Early Mike Show

Jennifer O'Connor - 2007 Solo Dates

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(from The Wrong Way's Flikr page, photo used without permission)

Jennifer O'Connor's
3rd album proper, 'Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars' remains one of '06's finest, most criminally overlooked works.  Because Jennifer isn't the type to hold a grudge (not like some people), she'll be giving you yet another chance to catch the boat you're in danger of missing with her following shows in support of Kevin Devine.

January
24-Middletown, Connecticut @  Wesleyan University
25-Buffalo, NY @ Mowhawk Place
26-Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
27-Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop2
9-Toronto, ONT @ Lee's Palace
30-Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
31-Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection

February
1-Bloomington, IN @ WIUX Indiana University
2-Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
3-Madison, WI @ The Annex
4-Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
6-Ames, IA @ Iowa State University
7-Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
8-Columbia, MO @ Mojo's
9-St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
10-Urbana, IL @ Canopy Club
11-Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley
13-Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
14-Athens, GA @ 40 Watt
15-Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
16-Washington DC @ The Rock and Roll Hotel
17-New York, NY @ The Knitting Factory
21-Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian
22-Boston, MA @ Great Scott
23-Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street
24-Hamden, CT @ The Space

In addition, you can catch Jennifer, sans Mr. Devine, on the following dates :

December 29 - New World Brewery, Tampa, FL
January 5 - Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
January 10 - The Living Room, NYC, NY (with Anders Parker)

When Bloggin' Happens To Hard Workin' Folk

web sheriff mouse padWe think Eric Marathonpacks might have a problem.  Over the course of the past week, he's managed to write what, in the blogging world, might be considered a "tome" on 19 of his favorite 2006 albums (honors to Belle), as well as to crank out 4 (count 'em - FOUR) 70 minute mix mp3s.  In doing so, the only problem he might actually have is the post- year- end- bandwidth- blues as the Web Sheriff seems a little too pre-occupied sending out mouse pads rather than C&Ds this holiday season.   

Marathonpacks:  I Just Didn't Have 20

Marathonpacks:  Packin' It Into 70 Minutes (x) Four 

More Proof that New York Is Getting Soft

Our good friends at the New York Post are reporting this morning that Limelight, the once-infamous nightclub, will be resurrected as a mini-mall:

December 19, 2006 -- The former Episcopal church that once housed the sacrilegious Limelight nightclub will be born again - as a retail mini-mall.

300px-Club_formerly_known_as_Limelight_NYC.jpg

Now known as the Avalon nightclub, the legendary 12,000-square-foot venue on Sixth Avenue at West 20th Street will shutter its doors in early 2007.

"The landlord has decided that he doesn't want to go forward with another nightclub," said broker Frank Terzulli, of Winnick Realty Group.

"He's going to cut it up for retail tenants and a restaurant with patio seating."

Terzulli added, "The area is becoming more upscale with high-priced condos and stores, and that will make it more difficult to get permits from the community board" for a nightclub...

Sources say international discount-clothing retailer H&M is the likely main tenant for the space, which features triple-height ceilings and mezzanine levels.

A representative for Winnick would not confirm any specific names, since no leases have yet been signed.


Limelight, founded in the deconsecrated church in 1983, hosted some of clubland's wildest parties in the '80s and early '90s under now-deported club king Peter Gatien (above).

In 1996, federal agents charged that Limelight was a "drug supermarket" and shut it down.

Gatien was acquitted of racketeering and drug charges but convicted of tax evasion. He spent time in jail and was eventually deported to his native Canada.

That same year, one of the club's flamboyant promoters, Michael Alig, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing Angel Melendez, a club regular and reputed drug dealer over a money dispute. He's still in jail.

Limelight reopened under new management but was shuttered again in 2002.

It came back to life in November of that year as the short-lived Estate. Avalon followed a few months later.

My only memory of the place is seeing Mogwai play there last year, but I'm sure other Mata-folks would be happy to share anything they might possibly remember (as long as the statute of limitations are up).

How Can I Tell You...

...that the customer is always wrong?

Unless you've been living under a diamond rock, you've probably seen the "buy a diamond,  your partner-will-forget-you-can't-get-it-up" spots featuring the immensely talented Chan Marshall covering Cat Stevens' "How Can I Tell You?"

For the past several weeks, our esteemed General Manager has been besieged with daily email from persons desperate to purchase some version of this recording.  Some of these pleas are perfectly reasonable. Others fall under the category of dangerously delusional, self-styled "experts" who somehow believe your 2nd or 3rd Favorite Independent Label has something against making money (or perhaps has a vested interest in making Cat Power fans unhappy). One by one, these persons are politely informed by Patrick that all that exists from this recording session is a 30 second snippet of the former Mr. Stevens' composition. Much as we'd love to oblige, we cannot possibly release a 30 second selection and pass it off as a bona fide commercial release.  Not without getting our heads handed to us by the same individuals who are writing to us, anyway.

And still, the messages continue to pour in. So with that in mind, I'm only going to say this one last time : "How Can I Tell You" is not available to purchase because Chan only recorded 30 seconds of music

I swear to god, the next person that interrupts Patrick's busy day asking about this commercial  is gonna rue the moment they ever turned on the TV set, because I am going to show up in their living room and deliver my own extra special rendition of "How Can I Tell You", followed by such classics as "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald", "In The Year 2525", "Losing My Religion", "Needle Up My Cock" and of course, "MacArthur Park".

I'm not kidding around. Don't make me drop the Gordon Lightfoot bomb.

In the meantime, just to show you we're not all heartless fucks at Matador Records & Filmworks, Miwa has tipped us off to the following bit of footage from Cat Power (featuring the crazy skills of Judah Bauer and Jim White), live from the Transmusicales Festival, December 7.

[youtube]4HIEEMNzbIc[/youtube]

Thank You To Insound!

After however long it has been, Matador Records is happy to announce that the Matador Store is now being fulfilled in house. 

Insound has been amazing to work with, they’ve done a great job as a fulfillment partner, and we have nothing but respect and gratitude towards them.  They're one of our favorite online record stores, and we'll still be buying records from them. 

But given the increasing complexity of things like our Buy Early Get Now campaigns, and different online sales we want to run (the first of which will be announced as soon as I’m done writing this), it only makes sense for us to take over all operations and allow ourselves the greatest flexibility possible.

Any questions, concerns, or death threats concerning the Matador Store should now be addressed to store@matadorrecords.com, and a FAQ will be up on the store site shortly, if it isn’t already.

Chavez, Circa 2006

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Warsaw, Brooklyn, 12/16/06, video link swiped from Sings Like Buildings (thanks to Blake for the tip)

Ahmet Ertegun, RIP


331_Ertegun2WEB.jpg

The late founder of Atlantic Records was eulogized today as a man who "exerted a sweeping influence on postwar US popular music," (The Times), "a marvellous man, very witty, a great raconteur," (Mick Jagger) and "a passionate connoisseur of music who was beloved by many of his artists and peers for his personal panache and his encyclopedic knowledge of music, especially jazz and rhythm and blues." (Geoff Bocher and Randy Lewis, LA Times).

Our good friend at Where Is The Hotel shall recall Ertegun as the man responsible for The Melvins' 'Houdini'.

Though I do not think this is technically correct, we stand in awe of Ertegun's cultural contributions just the same.

Abuse Your Delusion

File this under "no fucking way." From Billboard.com's Jonathan Cohen :



Axl Rose has taken to Guns N' Roses' official Web site to announce a "tentative" March 6 release date for the band's eternally delayed new album, "Chinese Democracy." In the posting, Rose also revealed he has split with longtime manager Merck Mercuriadis due to disagreements over the set up for the album release.

Rose lashed out at management for comments suggesting "Chinese Democracy" would "just appear" in record stores on a random Tuesday before the end of the year.

"It takes approximately eight weeks for an album to hit the shelves once it has been turned in to the record company," he said. "For whatever reasons, it appears that it may have been mistakenly inferred by management that this time period could be condensed to three weeks. With that being said, this is not a promise, a lie or a guarantee, but we do wish to announce a tentative release date of March 6. This is the first time we have done this publicly for this album."


Axl, if things don't work out with Guns'n'Roses, you've got a future in the beverage distribution industry independent label product management.

Further Yo La Tengo U.S. Dates Confirmed

Pt. I

Pt. II



(illustration by Eric Reynolds)

drum roll...pt. III
1/31 – Studio A, Miami, FL
2/1 – State Theater, Tampa, FL

A Quick Note About Someone You Might Care About

Chances are, some portion of the persons reading this message are friends or fans of J. Robbins. Perhaps from his days playing with Goverment Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines and (most recently) Channels, or maybe you know him from his production work for Jets To Brazil, Pilot To Gunnar or Jawbreaker, amongst others. 

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, J. and his partner Janet Morgan have an 11 month old son, Callum, who's been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Medical expenses are likely to be stratospheric, and as such, J and Janet's colleagues at DeSoto Records are accepting donations on their behalf.  DeSoto's got more details.

 

McGee's War On Q

While certain US fake independent rawwwk execs waste their time with perfectly legitimate gratuitious swipes at Paste Magazine, Alan McGee's got much bigger fish to fry, as evidenced by the following entry to the Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog.



Q magazine is out of date, a true retirement home for music writers that never made it. It's the absolute lap dog of the major record companies - a music magazine for accountants and estate agents. Q is corporate. Gormless. Gutless. Always six months behind everything and full of lists, lists, lists. Well here's how others see Q magazine: a Q top 20 I'm sure they would be proud of.

1. Chris Martin and Robbie Williams
2. Anybody in U2
3. Annie Lennox
4. Anybody in Radiohead - or failing that, Coldplay again
5. Anybody in Keane
6. Anybody in a band who went to Oxford or Cambridge when any of us lot did
7. Pink Floyd (post-Syd era only)
8. Midge Ure
9. James Blunt
10. Damien Rice
11. Corinne Bailey Rae
12. Tasmin Archer
13. Dire Straits
14. The Police (both the Met and the mob Sting was in)
15. Every copycat Coldplay band we've shoved for EMI in recent years
16. INXS
17. Simple Minds
18. An Emotional Fish (the comeback)
19. Spice Girls
20. Dave Stewart




Fucking-a.  I was all set to drop the (Emotional) Fish-meet-Barrel comment, but McGee deserves some special prize for pulling Midge Ure's name out of a hat. There's a grumpy reply below Alan's screed, "You seemed to have missed Oasis off the list, they seem to have a place on the cover regardless of what they've done in a strict rotation policy along with U2, Coldplay and Radiohead," but c'mon, give the man credit where due.   Shitting on Midge Ure in late 2006 is beyond awesome.

Girls Aloud get political

Girls Aloud interview for The New Statesman 

link via Popjustice 

My beloved Girls Aloud get their Noam Chomsky on:

Nadine: "You know that basically Labour is the working class and the Conservatives are the really, kind of, upper class, and then everything else is . . . I have no idea."

Foolhardy Nadine later has an awesome rant about footballer's wives, momentarily forgetting that her bandmate Cheryl is one. 

Their Greatest Hits album, out now, is disappointingly low on Billy Bragg covers.  

Matador Movie Club: Take 2


will.jpg

(struggling with the chords to "I Could See The Dude", but he'll get there eventually)

After the inaugural meeting of the Matador Movie Club to see Mission Of Burma's 'This Is Not A Photograph' a couple of months ago, we reconvened to check out our beloved Britt Daniel's contributions to the soundtrack of 'Stranger Than Fiction'. The Spoon mainman was working with Brian Reitzell on the score, who also worked on Sofia Coppola's 'Virgin Suicides' and 'Lost In Translation' with Air and Kevin Shields. That man is so hip and trendy, even knowing who he is makes you feel like you're Piers Martin. Aside from instrumental snippets of 'My Mathematical Mind' and 'I Turn My Camera On', the new Britt pieces are unobtrusive in the same way as Kevin Shields' were in 'Lost In Translation', and just as lovely. It should be noted that a flattering comparison to the quality of Kevin Shields' music is just about the highest praise I can offer. 

As for the film itself, the Matador Movie Club give 'Stranger Than Fiction' a cautious thumbs-up. Mike and Lucy had problems with the film's ending, and we were all a bit perplexed at how Maggie Gyllenhaal would ever find Will Ferrell attractive (but, having said that, who is good enough for Maggie Gyllenhaal? She's awesome). The Kaufman-esque plot of a man discovering that he is actually a character in a book that is being written that will end with his tragic death isn't really exploited for all the brain-warping potential that idea has; in fact certain ideas that are central to the plot at some points (the narration, the fact that Crick cannot control his own fate) are bandonned at others. But maybe we're being too critical of what is actually a very much above-average comedy - it does have Maggie Gyllenhaal in it, after all, and it's nice to see Emma Thompson in a dramatic role again. Dustin Hoffman was...Dustin Hoffman, and Buster from Arrested Development was in it as well, proving conclusively to me that no matter what role he takes from now on, he will always be Buster from Arrested Development (I mean that affectionately). Marc Foster's direction seems shaky, to be honest, there's no massive tonal shifts or anything, but there are certain points where the film forgets that it's a comedy - but maybe that's meta and intentional. But despite our misgivings, 'Stranger Than Fiction' is a sweet little film that you'd have to try very hard to dislike. With a wicked soundtrack, natch.

The Matador Movie Club's third outing will actually be an office screening of R Kelly's opus magnus 'Trapped In The Closet'. My critical faculties generally leave me around the point in part one where R Kelly sings 'I quickly tried to put on viiiiibrraaaaaatttte'. Slays me every time.

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