Sometimes over here at Matador HQ we like to try wacky shit like making videos featuring famous funny guys or buying a single Soda Stream for 15 people to use and then wonder why it runs out of gas after a day and a half.
But this time we’re doing something a little more simple and a lot more awesome.
As you already know, Girls are playing Terminal 5 on Saturday January 14. As you probably know, tickets are disappearing faster than (insert Kardashian wedding joke here). So just for you, NYC, we’ve teamed up with some of the best independent records stores in the Big Apple to offer a FREE TICKET when you purchase a copy of Father, Son, Holy Ghost (while supplies last, of course).
Simple as that. Buy the new album at regular price, get a free ticket to the show at Terminal 5.
For Volume 3 of our groundbreaking featurette, we dug in with Sharod Bines and Bradley Ellison, the two Floridians who run Retrofit Records. These guys rule and apparently have the kind of taste that would fit right in at Matador HQ. I dig them because they say “motherfucker” a lot.
That photo down the bottom there that’s Sharod and Bradley with a special friend. They’re clearly radical dudes.
1. Tell us briefly about your store. SB: Retrofit Records is located in Tallahasee, Florida, in the heart of downtown Tallahassee. Our store is about 950 square feet. Within our small space we host in-store performances, community events like BBQs, potlucks, listening parties, and anything else fun that we can think of! About 95% of our stock consists of new and used vinyl, while the remainder consists of about 60-80 CDs (at any given time), shop related apparel, a few publications, vinyl accessories, and new record players.
2. What got you into the independent record store business? SB: A love for music and the need to contribute in a bigger way to our city’s music scene. That, and we’re the only record store in town where you can find new and current released music. Before we opened it was a little embarassing when a band came through town and would ask us to direct them to the nearest record store and we’d have to tell them none exist. Now that we’re open, we just direct them to our shop! BE: Honestly, it also felt necessary for us (instead of anyone else) to start the store. We, to put it bluntly, are music nerds, and our knowledge of music is a little more intense and comprehensive than many other people in our town. So it really came down to who would be capable, willing, and knowledgable enough to present and sell music to our town. Plus, It’s a handy tool for instructing and recommending albums to people based on maybe one band that they are into. 3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores? SB: Radio-Active Records in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Vinyl Richie’s Wiggly World in Orlando, Fl, and Criminal Records in Atlanta, GA BE: Aquarius Records
4. How have things been going from a business perspective? SB: So far things have been great! I don’t come from a retail background at all (never even worked a register before now hah), so I was definitely nervous about opening a record shop. However, we actually lucked out, as in, we opened a week after major construction concluded on the main thouroughfare where our shop is located, and we opened a week before fall semester classes started, which really has helped sales and word of mouth regarding the shop. Even one of the universities interviewed us and put the article on the front page of their “Arts & Culture” section, which was really nice! So far this year has been great for us! We’re hoping 2012 goes just as smoothly. BE: Some people have questioned our logic and asked aloud “why start a vinyl store when music sales are on the decline?” We’ve proved the naysayers wrong pretty quickly by succeeding at our mission.
5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today? SB: SUPPORT within the community! I can’t stress that enough. Considering that we’re the only contemporary record store in our city, we’d like to hope that people would treasure something like what we’re doing, and would want us to succeed and therefore inspire others within the community to create their own cultural exchange, no matter what form it comes in, be it music, art, culinary, etc… That being said, a large part of the onus lies with us. Part of our job as a record store is to inform and educate the public/scene on what’s available. You know, not just what’s cool or new, but what’s out there beyond mainstream radio and TV. BE: The size and focus of a store is also important. There’s no way a store can survive if it becomes bloated and tries to appeal to everyone’s slight whim. We saw a store in town fall apart by trying to grow and grow – Vinyl Fever RIP – but let’s face it: with the rise of the Internet, plus with the dreck that passes for mainstream music, most people no longer see the need to buy records. But there are always music fans out there, willing to dig and listen to new things. By keeping small, you can provide a more diverse collection of music and you don’t compete with chain stores in any way. 6. What are some of the coolest thing labels have done with you? Instores? Promotions? Sales? SB: At this point we haven’t done as much as we would like to with labels, in fact we want to do a lot MORE! Maybe the labels are waiting to see if we’ll be around in a year, or maybe they just want us to buy more inventory haha. It’s cool though, the labels we work with send us the usual schwag (posters, promos, limited edition stuff, etc..), which we more than appreciate. Some labels don’t send us anything! Either way, we’ve hosted some really fun in-store shows and events with the likes of Nobunny, Shannon & The Clams, Moon Duo, Jacuzzi Boys, Cheveu, Paul Collins Beat, etc… Oh yeah, almost forgot Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, OFF!) came by the store and bought a bunch of records, which was pretty cool!
7. Why do we need record stores? SB: Who doesn’t need a hang spot where you can listen to awesome records?! BE: Why do we need to breathe? Why do we need to love? Because otherwise, life would be life would merely be a dull, inescapable throbbing pain.
8. What kind of taco is your favorite? SB: I don’t eat tacos often, but I’m a pretty straight forward guy. So I’ll have to go with the original: ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. BE: Oh my god! The taco, you see, is imperative to life. I prefer using tempeh and vegetables (done the same way that typically comes in a fajita), adding some guacamole and melting some cheese on the motherfucker. And before you ask, yes it’s in a hard shell. Goddamn, maybe I should start a Mexican food cart.
9. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now? SB: The Spits, Yussuf Jerusalem, and Davila 666! BE: How cruel, cutting it down to three. Anyway, lately I’ve been obsessing over Sun City Girls, Dungen, and The Bug.
10. What is your favorite thing about your store? And you can’t say the customers. That’s like saying Einstein or Ghandi when asked “If you could meet one person, living or dead…” SB: Fulfilling one of my dreams! ..and the pride of ownership. It feels really nice to work hard for something and then see it come to fruition, there’s nothing like it. BE: Swag. No but for real, it’s what i’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.
11. What are your goals for the future of your store? Long term and short. SB: Retrofit Records world domination?! BE: Surviving and thriving motherfucker!
We strive to make our Hanukkah shows unpredictable, and in one unfortunate regard we’ve outdone ourselves this year. I’m going to be a little vague here, but I had a pretty serious health scare earlier this month. I’m well on the way to recovery, but I’ve not yet been deemed ready to Rock. The good news is . . . well, the good news is I’m on the way to recovery . . . but vis-à-vis next week, the good news is that I’ve been deemed ready to sit in a chair and play the concerts that mean more to me, Georgia and James than most anything else we do together. Our sets will undoubtedly be tweaked accordingly. In other words, if you were hoping to be in attendance for our annual airing of “Mushroom Cloud of Hiss,” I’m afraid that is now zooming up the Unlikely chart with a bullet. But we’re confident that it’s going to be a great eight days. We’re looking forward to seeing you all, and to not answering any questions about what happened to me!
As long as I’ve got your attention, I’ll let you know about one other change this year. We’ve filled the walls of Maxwell’s front room with a bunch of posters and other ephemera from our various closets. Some of it will be for sale (all proceeds to charity) and all of it will hopefully be entertaining.
With all due respect to our friends at Sub/Pop, Columbus Discount, HoZac, and I don’t know, two dozen other labels who’ve tried it, we’re rolling out a limited edition 7″ subscription series in early 2012. A number of years back, some bright Matador exec came up with the title ‘Singles Going Home Alone’ for a proposed compilation album of the label’s early one-off, long out of print singles (Mark Eitzel, Chain Gang, The Schramms, The Pastels, Fire In The Kitchen, etc.) A few of the artists we approached politely declined (or impolitely told us to fuck off and die) and rather than repair the shattered relationships, we shelved the title. Until once fine day last October when Robby Morris suggested we do a bunch of one off singles AGAIN, only this time we’ll try not to alienate all of the participants.
We’re planning on 6 singles over the course of 2012, but if we’re having fun with this, there’s no reason we won’t have another batch lined up for 2013. The in the series will be the long-rumored split 7″ between Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks (left) and L.A. Guns (right), with the former covering the latter’s “Wheels Of Fire” and Tracii & Co. tackling the latter’s “Gorgeous George”. We’ve waited nearly 23 years to tell the world L.A. Guns are Matador Recording Artists, and finally we can say it at parties without lying.
(photo by Zac Sprague)
Edition #2 will be a couple of new songs from Austin, TX’s OBN III’s whose most recent ‘The One & Only’ LP (Tic Tac Totally) has made no shortage of 2011 top ten lists. Well, the good ones, anyway. There’s a longish interview with frontman/dictator Orville Neeley in the latest issue of Maximum Rocknroll…and if that sentence seem a tad out of place on the Matablog, well, keep in mind we just said we’re putting out a record with L.A. Guns. Surprises are relative.
Single #3 will be a new 7″ from NYC’s THE MEN, whose amazing 2nd album, ‘Leave Home’(Sacred Bones) is (again) one of the current year’s finest. It would be the height of hyperbole to claim this record hasn’t left our turntable, though it would be completely truthful to say it has on some occasions, rolled across the room and supplanted whatever else we thought about putting on.
We’ll reveal the identities behind singles 4, 5 and 6 pretty soon. If you wait until then, however, you run the not-so-small risk there won’t be any left.
- what you get: 6 subscription only 7″es every other month in 2012, plus a special secret bonus item, a tote bag and 10% off all year long on the Matador Store (which cannot be combined with other discounts)
JANUARY 17 – Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks / L.A. Guns
MARCH 20 – OBN III’s
MAY 22 – The Men
JULY 10 – TBA
SEPTEMBER 11 – TBA
NOVEMBER 6 – TBA
- prices (all inclusive of shipping – each 7″ will be shipped out separately for release date):
$70 rest of world
Alright. Let the thoroughly off-the-mark speculation about the next 3 singles commence.
(trusty 2011 Matador ballot counters voice displeasure over management cancelling a game that required them to drink 27 shots each time Total Control received a vote)
The whole year-end Best-Of thing has gotten completely out of hand. For starters, I hear Sub Pop published theirs on Labor Day. Spin’s list featured 4 albums from the same NYC indie in their top 11 ; even Vladimir Putin thinks there’s something screwy going on. Still, even though such polls reek of patronage and self-congratulation, some traditions die hard around here. And without further ado, we present the 2011 edition of “Hey Check Us Out, We Like Cool Stuff”. It is our fervent hope that after scanning these lists, you’ll never again question our cultural superiority find a hidden gem or two thoroughly ignored by the mainstream media. Or failing that, you won’t resent us too much. On behalf of the entire Matador Records family, we thank you for making 2011 one of the least litigious in our history, and here’s hoping 2012 is equally crammed with joyous milestones (weddings, births, elective plastic surgeries). Though I’d settle for a new Cat Power album. Lists after the jump ;
Speaking of gift-giving, Fucked Up are playing “David Comes To Life” in its entirety in Toronto on Dec 20, and organizing a concert the next night with several Toronto bands; both shows are for charity. Details here. There will also be a split holiday 7″ with Sloan, hopefully available at these Toronto shows, limited to just 500, and benefitting the COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program and the Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund.
In other news, you may have missed Fucked Up’s appearance on Canada’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight show earlier this month. Here they are being interviewed & performing “The Other Shoe”:
Or maybe you’re planning on going on the Bruise Cruise from Miami to The Bahamas Feb 10-13 2012? Damian is cruise director and you can find more info and a holiday gift exchange video with Fucked Up here:
Oh, what else, what else. Mmmm, did I mention MAYBE THE BEST THING FUCKED UP HAVE EVER RECORDED is coming out Feb 21? Year Of The Tiger (available for pre-order here or here is the latest in their annual zodiac-themed 12″s, and this one features Jim Jarmusch, Annie-Claude Deschênes, and Austra, but mainly 15 minuted of gorgeous epic crescendoing maximalism from our heroes (and that’s just the A-side).