(l-r, Coomers, Curtis, Jose. In the background – not sure, but hopefully he won’t sue)
It’s a poorly kept secret around the office and the band’s hometown but one we can finally confirm — Matador has signed the Austin, TX trio HARLEM to a multi-record, worldwide deal.
Led by dual vocalists Michael Coomers and Curtis O’Mara (the duo switch between guitar and drums, both onstage and off), Harlem started in Tucson, AZ before relocating to Austin where they’ve generated a mountain of attention, both with their fantastic live shows and their self-issued 2008 LP/CD ‘Free Drugs’ (Female Fantasy — currently available via Matador Direct)
Pitchfork’s Roque Strew has hailed Harlem as “a marvel of cartoonishly masculine, crudely analog brevity”, while Gorilla Vs. Bear considers ‘Free Drugs’ to be “super infectious, instantly endearing”, and kindly supplying a quote that we’ll gladly take out of context, the Austin Chronicle’s Audra Schroeder has fallen preil to the album’s “anxious, stuttering charm”. I know, that all sounds highly suspicious, but anyone who’s heard ‘Free Drugs’ or witnessed Harlem laying waste to any number of shoebox sized venues (some of which, were in fact, shoeboxes) can attest, the band’s casual virtuosity is only eclipsed by their otherworldly songwriting skills.
Recently joined by bassist Jose Boyer, Harlem will be recording their 2nd album this summer for release on Matador in 2010.
The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo show rolls into London town tonight, for Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown. A first for us Brits, in the band’s own words, The Freewheeling Show is something of an interactive experience :
“No set list; instead the audience is encouraged (if not required) to interact with the band, leading we’re never quite sure where.” So get your questions at the ready.
And the band will be back in the UK in November, no Freewheeling this time, it’s back to the good old fashioned rock n roll show. Dates below :
I usually don’t blog about press, but this is a great piece about how culture suffers when art is marginalized, and (if you’ll allow me to stretch) the discouraging (and uniquely American?) absorption by purportedly open-minded indie/slacker types of Conservative disdain toward intellectualism and forward-thinking art.
“The retrenchment behind indie lines is more the mainstream’s loss than it is Sonic Youth’s. So while industry watchers prefer to fret over the declining sales power of Britney Spears’s comeback records, the rest of us should be more concerned about what happens when art music sends fewer and fewer ambassadors to the straight world.”
It’s only a couple weeks into Newsweek’s relaunch (in which it concedes weekly news recapping to the Internet, opting instead for “reported narratives” and “argued essays”) and hey, looks like a decent strategy so far.
Sonic Youth will be performing “Sacred Trickster” from the just-released ‘The Eternal’ tonight on “The Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS, 11:35 EST). Dave’s other guest will be comedian Rick Shapiro Kathy Griffin.
Times New Viking return to the East Coast this Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Bell House, playing alongside the reunited Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and the Mad Scene. If this clip from 2008 is any indication, Ron House hasn’t lost a step, but wouldn’t you rather have an informed opinion?
On June 23 we will finally be releasing one of the deluxe Pavement reissues on vinyl. Originally slated to come out at the same time as the double CD last fall, endless production issues held up the package.
The set contains 4 HQ-120 gram LPs pressed at RTI in a heavy-duty matte-stock folding cardboard gatefold set, as depicted above. It also contains a 16-page 12″ by 12″ full-color matte-stock booklet, plus a download card for all 48 tracks.
Note! the vinyl contains 8 tracks that would not fit on the CD version (some of which were only discovered after that set was released). They are:
Westie Can Drum (Elastica) – previously unreleased recording
Stereo (Remix) – remixed by Steve Fisk for the second pressing of the promotional single for radio
Agony Of The Stars – unreleased song recorded for the film ‘Sweethearts’
Birds in the Majic Industry – B-side to “Stereo” CD single (a second, unreleased version was on the double CD of the album, and is also included here)
Painted Soldiers – unreleased, live from KCRW 2/25/97
What Goes On – a Velvet Underground cover, unreleased, live from KCRW 2/25/97
Kris Kraft – unreleased, live from KRW 2/25/97
And Then (7″ version) – B-side to “Spit On A Stranger” 7″
That last track, the majestic, monumental 7″ version of “And Then” (a version of the song also known as “The Hexx”) was originally intended to be the opening track of the Brighten The Corners release. The band decided to remove it entirely and relegate it to a B-side at the very last minute.
We know that this is expensive… and we know that many of you have already spent your hard-earned dollars on the double CD version. Unfortunately the economics of producing deluxe sets like this one (in either format), combined with the timing problems that bedevil this kind of release, means that we are not in a position to offer people any discount or buy-back. Sorry. If this one proves successful, then we will move forward with vinyl releases on the previous three deluxe editions.
On a lighter note, some of you may remember our “Date w/ IKEA” contest to mark the CD release, which we called Brighten Your Corners. Home furnishings-challenged fans were encouraged to submit photographs of their sad apartments. The winner, Jenny Bergen of New York, got a date with Bob Nastanovich to the IKEA in Red Hook, courtesy of the free ferry across New York Harbor in the dead of February, along with money to spend on furniture. We filmed the “date” and you can watch it here:
In celebration of their new album, The Eternal, Sonic Youth will take over L.A.s hottest new record shop. For one day only, on June 9th, Origami Vinyl will become Sonic Youth’s House of Shifting Plates and Ridiculous Juice, as dubbed by the band itself. Origami’s wall of featured albums will display selections hand-picked by Thurston, Kim, Lee, Steve and Mark – ranging from Okkyung Lee to John Lennon – as well as a wide range of Sonic Youth and Sonic Youth related releases. The band has also invited their friends Pocahaunted and Shiloe to play sets at the store. Deathbomb Arc, a local label in Los Angeles that has released some Thurston Moore stuff on vinyl, gave us the following very limited edition goodies to sell in-store:
Gang Wizard / Algebrassiere
originally co-released between Deathbomb Arc & Ecstatic Peace
Test pressings packaged in exclusive handmade art by Melissa
From 5:30 till 6:30 on June 9th, Melissa will be in-store to
personalize the art on these for the lucky buyers.
Thurston Moore / Men Who Can’t Love
originally released as a part of the Thrash Sabbatical box set by
Overrun of this record from the box set has been hiding at DBA HQ for
Now repackaged in exclusive handmade art by Josh Taylor.
Origami has also teamed up with local artist, Seizer, to create a special limited edition silkscreen print of the art attached. The art poster will be limited to 50 copies, hand numbered and signed, available for pre-order the day of the event.
As if that weren’t enough, Two Boots Pizza will create a special “Eternal” pie that resembles the album’s artwork. Slices of this pie will be given away free during the event at Origami. Phil, owner of Two Boots and long-time friend of the band, is excited to be a part of the band’s new release.
The details of the event are:
Sonic Youth’s House of Shifting Plates and Ridiculous Juice
Tuesday, June 9th from 5.30pm – 9pm
with live performances by Pocahaunted and Shiloe
Limited edition goodies provided by Deathbomb Arc and Not Not Fun
Free “Eternal” Pizza slices provided by Two Boots
+ other SPECIAL surprises
1816 W. Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, Ca 90026