Venerable and esteemed American record-reissue label Light In The Attic has ventured out on the highways and byways of the Northwest and Pacific Coast regions to visit a whopping 58 record retail establishments – many of whom we at Matador and Matador Direct work with every day.
We salute LITA for their dedication to quality, curation, craftsmansip…and for giving former Matador warehouse troll Jon Treneff an excuse to make his internet comedy debut. Here’s the first installment in LITA’s roadtrip video series (cuz if you aren’t doing content, you just can’t be content) – check here for more video updates from LITA, and patronize America’s great (and medium-great) record stores.
If Feist would finally confirm to host the first-ever “Christoper Pell Lombardi Awards For Excellence In Convoluted Marketing Schemes”, the fourth installment of Buy Early Get Now (aka The New Ps “Box Of Air”) would finally get its due in the Lifetime Achievement category. (Note: Dave Martin still maintains that only time will help folks discover BEGN #4′s genius, and Dave knows both time and genius.)
So here we are, five years and two IHeartRadio Festivals later…and the majors have finally decided to embark on the trail toward customer confusion that we so dutifully blazed. To wit, Green Day’s foray into the world of selling futures in music.
Far be it for me to suggest that Hall of Famer (well, Long Island Music Hall Of Famer) Dee Snider’s new career turn is the worst idea in the entire history of civilization. For instance, it’s not nearly as bad an idea as Ft. Worth’s Complete playing a tiny club instead of the hockey arenas they were destined to headline. And there’s New Coke. Or the soundtrack to ‘Brain Candy’ the Bay Of Pigs Invasion. I could probably go on for at least another two or three minutes, but I think you have the idea. Some people are gonna give Dee Snider a lot of grief over this, but I bet it’s not even in the top 20 worst ideas of all time.
Au revoir, to “Soul Train” creator Don Corneilus, who made his exit from this cruel world earlier this morning. While “Soul Train”‘s status as the the longest, continuously running first-run syndicated program in television history will no doubt be cited in Don’s obits, it was his star turn as independent label magnate Mo Fuzz in Bill Fishman’s 1988 comedy, “Tapeheads”, that provided a fledgling Matador Records with a genuine role model.
All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless but rather than detain you with tedious arguments about morality, panache and book-keeping – when there are really bigger fish to filet these days – we are taking the following unusual step.
If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we can whole-heartedly recommend, “Ambassador Of Jazz” – a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis Armstrong.
The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.
If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned elaborate hoax, then those items will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.
To which I’ll only add that while we’ve had no talks with Yo La Tengo about any sort of commercially available document of their own attempts to (ahem) reinvent The Wheel, I can pledge to you, the music-loving public that if such a thing ever comes to pass, you’ll PAY NO MORE THAN $250.00.
(Ohga with his final innovation, a device that converts Mariah Carey’s photograph to pure energy)
thanks to Mark Ohe for the link to the following news item from the BBC :
The former president and chairman of Sony, Norio Ohga, who was credited with developing the compact disc, has died aged 81, the company has said.
Ohga, who led the company from 1982 to 1995, died of multiple organ failure in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
During the development of the CD, it was Ohga who pushed for a disc that was 12cm (4.8in) in diameter, because it provided sufficient capacity at 75 minutes to store all of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Sony sold the world’s first CD in 1982 and CDs overtook LP record sales in Japan five years later. Ohga’s specifications are still used today, and have shaped formats developed since, including MiniDisc and DVD.
In 1989, he oversaw the $3.4bn purchase of Hollywood studios Columbia Pictures, which was criticised as unwise and costly at the time.
Ohga also presided over the launch of Sony’s game business, which went on to develop the successful “PlayStation” console.
So what has already shaped up as the Summer of Jay Reatard (a documentary, a new album, and a free + all ages in-store tour to name a few major things) is quickly becoming the Autumn of Reatard as well. Perhaps we should simply declare 2009, the year of Jay Reatard?
What can’t be debated is that Jay has put together an allstar line-up to celebrate his own label, Shattered Records. This fall Jay and his friends take to the road for a run of memoriable shows, packed full of unique and terrific bands, headlined each night by Jay himself.
For more about this tour continue to check JayReatard.com for details.
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.
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.