Crazy rock fest season is most def. upon us, and us such, you can look forward to the Matablog being routinely scooped this spring and summer by concert promoters and other rockblogs announcing which of our bands are playing in a big field somewhere. Today's joyous news has Shearwater playing the 2nd edition of the All Points West festival (Liberty State Park, NJ) on July 31, on a bill topped by the Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend.
Two days later, Mogwai --- about to start a US tour two weeks from today in Houston --- will play the Sunday, August 2 version of APW II , on a bill headlined by Coldplay, Echo & The Bunnymen and MGMT.
Finally, we've neglected to mention previously that Shearwater are playing Austin, TX tomorrow night (March 31) in support of Neko Case at Stubb's.
For many, the distant lands of Japan and China hold unknown promise, a land shrouded in heritage and mystique, streets paved with stalls holding mysterious foods and even more mysterious looking karaoke bars. Sadly such a far away land will never be visited by most - our recessionary times and fear of long haul flights confining us to our locality.
However, for one such group of 20-somethings, The East became a reality. This week, Fucked Up returned from playing a string of dates across China and one in Japan. Having survived turbulent seas, questionable cuisine and yet another dodgy bus trip, they made it home to Toronto.
China in 90 seconds, courtesy of Mustard Gas :
Taken from http://musicpicturesconversation.blogspot.com/
For fully written up school reports of the trip, check out the varying writing styles and alternative interpretations at Looking For Gold, Voice Of Dissent and the recently born, No Guv No Luv.
The trip was also documented by one naive fan for Spin magazine. Survival story here: Fucked Up In China.
Someone should contact Rolling Stone's David Wild ASAP ; it seems the Onion's Jackie Harvey (above) has penned a rather pointless tribute to nature kid Billy Corgan for the Huffington Post and attached Wild's photo and byline to the article.
Now truth be told, I was not the biggest Pumpkinshead during their initial run -- I was more of an aging Nirvana-man, frankly. But over the past decade, I've come to really admire Corgan for his talent and his strong commitment to following his own muse rather than simply taking the standard issue rocky path of least resistance. Like Pete Townshend before him, Corgan seems like a man who takes the responsibility of being a rock star profoundly and even painfully seriously, grappling intellectually with the gig rather than just cashing in at every turn. As a result, Corgan may not always make things easy on his fans -- or on himself -- but he's always interesting. In an age of premature nostalgia, Corgan clearly wants his music to matter in the present tense. Not that he's a complete purist, as demonstrated by the recent use of the Pumpkins' classic "Today" on a Visa commercial.
But I choose to embrace Corgan in all his contradictions. And despite his apparent problems working and playing well with others in a band context, I have to report that I have found him to be incredibly bright, witty and honest on a personal level. To see some of the qualities on display, tune in April 2nd when Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin make what now looks like it will be their last shared TV appearance with the current Pumpkins lineup on the Chris Isaak Hour, a new show on the Bio Channel that I really love even if I am a producer on it.
Roger Miller describes the album as "Casual but pretty rock. Doesn't seem to suck." Which, if true, would be a major departure on two fronts. The band has been blogging each day of the recording on their website.
To commemorate next Tuesday's release of the long-awaited Condo Fucks LP/CD, 'Fuckbook', the fearsome threesome of Kid Condo, Georgia Condo and James McNew have recorded a live set for Joe Belock's "Three Chord Monte" program, to be aired that same day, March 24 between 12-3pm. You can listen online at WFMU.org, or in the greater NYC area on 91.1 FM.
(preorder 'Fuckbook' on LP, CD from the Matador Store)
OK, while past years have featured a half dozen or more former Matador recording artists performing at South By Southwest, this year's batch of ex-lovers is a shorter, but no less spectacular list. In addition to Early Man playing the Ale House on Thursday night at 1am, 18th Dye (above, as seen in New York last Autumn) are playing Submerged on Thursday at 11pm, and again Friday at Vogtsberger House (1402 E 2nd St) at 1pm.
All of the above titles are available again on quality wax. All are pressed on RTI's premium HQ-180 180-gram virgin vinyl. All contain MP3 coupons (except for cover songs) so that you can easily put the tracks on your computer and iPod if you wish.
If you order a Matador record bag plus any piece of long-play vinyl, you get FREE SHIPPING.
Coming soon (keep your eye on the Matastore and this space: more vinyl reissues from Cat Power, Guided By Voices, Pavement, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo and Mogwai.
List of currently available vinyl albums (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO BUY - we have only limited quantities on some titles so act quickly):
Belle and Sebastian - Tigermilk LP
Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister LP gatefold
Belle and Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap LP gatefold
Belle and Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like A Peasant LP gatefold
Belle and Sebastian - The BBC Sessions dbl LP gatefold (180-gram, not RTI) †
Brightblack Morning Light - Brightblack Morning Light LP
Brightblack Morning Light - Motion To Rejoin LP
Laura Cantrell - Humming By The Flowered Vine LP
Cat Power - Moon Pix LP
Cat Power - You Are Free LP gatefold
Cat Power - The Greatest LP
Cat Power - Jukebox dbl LP gatefold †
The Cave Singers - Invitation Songs LP
Condo Fucks - Fuckbook LP (coming out March 24)
Dead Meadow - Shivering King and Others dbl LP gatefold (not RTI) *†
Dead Meadow - Old Growth dbl LP gatefold
Early Man - Closing In LP (not RTI) *†
Fucked Up - Year Of The Pig 12"
Fucked Up - The Chemistry Of Common Life dbl LP gatefold
Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights LP
Interpol - Antics LP
Jaguar Love - Take Me To The Sea LP gatefold
Lavender Diamond - The Cavalry Of Light 12" EP *
Lavender Diamond - Imagine Our Love LP *
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash 1.5X LP gatefold
Matmos - The Civil War dbl LP (not RTI) *†
Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast dbl LP gatefold
Matmos - Supreme Balloon dbl LP gatefold
Mission Of Burma - The Obliterati dbl LP *†
Mission Of Burma - Signals, Calls & Marches dbl LP gatefold
Mission Of Burma - Vs. dbl LP gatefold
Mission Of Burma - The Horrible Truth About Burma dbl LP gatefold
Mission Of Burma - Definitive Editions: Vinyl Bundle Deal 3X dbl LP gatefold *
Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling dbl LP gatefold
A.C. Newman - Get Guilty LP
The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic LP *
The New Pornographers - Challengers LP
Jennifer O'Connor - Over The Mountain, Across The Valley and Back To The Stars LP
Jennifer O'Connor - Here With Me LP (RTI 120-gram)
Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted LP
Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain LP
Pizzicato Five - The Sound of Music By Pizzicato Five LP (not RTI) †
Pizzicato Five - The Fifth Release From Matador LP (not RTI) *†
The Ponys - Turn Out The Lights LP *
Preston School Of Industry - All This Sounds Gas dbl LP (not RTI) *†
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Good Health LP (not RTI) †
Pretty Girls Make Graves - The New Romance LP (not RTI) *†
Jay Reatard - Matador Singles '08 LP
Lou Reed - Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse dbl LP gatefold (180-gram, not RTI)
Shearwater - Palo Santo dbl LP
Shearwater - Rook LP gatefold
Silkworm - Firewater LP (not RTI) *†
Times New Viking - Rip It Off LP *
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass dbl LP gatefold
* limited quantity
† no MP3 coupon
We have 7"es from Fucked Up, Shearwater, Jennifer O'Connor, Times New Viking, The New Pornographers and more.
We are also now selling non-Matador vinyl on the store, including releases from Blank Dogs, Nodzzz, Live At Rob's House, the incredible African reissue Ofege, the Nobunny album, and more.
On top of all their SXSW activities, Austin's finest sons (and daughter) Shearwater will be featured five times this week on SiriuXM Loft Sessions. These sessions can be heard on Sirius 29 and XM 50 and will air at the following times. Listen in to hear the genius. All times Eastern, by the way.
Monday 3/16: 12Noon
Wednesday 3/18: 2:00PM
Friday 3/20: 3:00AM
Saturday 3/21: 12:00Noon
Monday 3/23: 1:00AM
SHEARWATER - 1am Friday, March 20 18th Floor, Hilton Garden
JAGUAR LOVE - 8:45pm, Thursday, March 19, Beauty Bar (I Heart Comix)
In addition, Shearwater will be performing at Mojo Magazine's annual BBQ (Saturday afternoon, Mean Eyed Cat) and Jaguar Love will be playing the MySpace/Blacksheep Fellowship party at the Cedar Door (201 Brazos Street) on Thursday afternoon. Neither of those shows are officially sanctioned SXSW events and as such, you'll not need a badge or wristband to attend.
If you're looking for more fun things to do in Austin this week, the venerable Showlist is one of the better sources for (relatively) accurate / up-to-date info regarding shows, parties, etc. that won't require SXSW credentials (or in many cases, an admission fee).
Last weekend in a fit of madness I decided to attempt a "simple autumn menu" from Richard Olney's French Menu Cookbook. This being Olney the meal was not simple, though it looked it at first. I suppose if you're familiar with French cooking then much of this would be second nature, but the logic of the recipe is not obvious the novice. It came out just right - possibly out of luck, and possibly from following the recipe to the letter.
The other dishes were relatively simple - a salad of grilled, peeled and cooled green, yellow and red peppers ("the taste of raw peppers contains no hint of the subtle flavor brought out through grilling") and a method of pilaffing rice that effectively transforms it from a healthy and necessary grain into a potent and lip-smacking carrier for huge amounts of butter.
The lamb is shoulder, boned and trimmed, and then browned in the oil in which onions have cooked, in a pan "precisely the right size to hold the pieces of meat placed side by side but barely touching; if it is too large, its surfaces not contacted by the meat will burn while the meat browns; if it is so small that thepieces of meat have to be packed in, they will boil in their juices rather than brown." So much attention to a very basic process. In any event, you brown the salted meat, caramelize sugar in it, pour off the fat, sprinkle with flour, brown the flour, return the onions to the pan, add herbs, garlic and bay leaf and cook some more. You then turn the heat up, pour in a cup of white wine, and deglaze scraping up all the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Tomatoes are then added, and continuing rounds of heating, skimming, skinning (two different processes, as Olney carefully explains), removing bits, returning bits - the artichokes go in only at the end.
After cooking Indian and Thai dishes with their focus on many different ingredients and pungency of flavor, or Italian dishes where the key is combining ingredients in a certain way at a certain time, I have to say that the list of ingredients looked boring and the complexity of the recipe appeared ridiculous. How could it make much difference in the taste of the lamb what size the pan was, or exactly when I skimmed or skinned?
Predictably, the answer is: a huge difference. Partly because, this being Olney, I hadn't been keeping in mind a crucial component of the meal: the wine. His meals never stand apart from wine. We drank two wines from Maison Champy in the Côte-Chalonnaise: a white 1997 Rully "Les St.-Jacques" (the wine in the ragout) and a red 1998 Volnay "Fremiets," both obtained cheaply as bin-ends at Burgundy Wine Company. The lamb was comforting, rich and tender on its own, but when the wine came into the equation, especially the Volnay, both took on an added dimension of voluptuousness and layered flavor.
I'll be making this one again, when I have a lot of time to spare.
Army Entertainment Division wants to send a band on the road to entertain deployed troops - as soon as Soldier-musicians are ready to step onto the stage.
As unfathomable as it may sound, a temporary military duty of traveling the world with expenses paid to make music for fellow troops is available through USA Express.
Keyboard players, guitarists and drummers are needed - along with vocalists and an audio technician - to form an All-Army band that can play various genres of music.
USA Express, a revolving door of deployable musical-performance groups, began entertaining Soldiers in 1992. While the faces change and the tours vary, the mission remains the same: to provide "entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier," the working motto for Army Entertainment Division.
USA Express plans to begin playing gigs again this spring and summer - Soldier-performers permitting. Consider this a "last call" for military musicians to get their garage band out of the garage and onto the world stage, said Army Entertainment Division officials. March 31 is the deadline to apply.
(photo culled from setuoutrunning's Flickr stream)
with Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
9 Washington DC @ Black Cat
10 Philadelphia @ Johnny Brenda's
13 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
14 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
with the Indigo Girls :
22: Detroit @ Michigan Theatre
23: Milwaukee @ Pabst Theatre
24: Indianapolis @ Egyptian Room
25: Memphis @ Minglewood Hall
(orderrific : 'Here With Me' on LP or CD direct from the Matador Store)
[Photo from Yo La Tengo's WFMU 2008 Marathon performance lifted from notladj's flickr)
Since 1996, Yo La Tengo have led a growing number of bands donating their time and talent for the benefit of freeform, college and community radio. Here we are in 2009 and YLT are to reliably continue their annual tradition of gearing up to play covers for pledges during WFMU's annual fundraising marathon.
Tomorrow, Friday March 13, from 8-11 PM EST, Pseu Braun and Gaylord Fields are to host Yo La Tengo (alongside Bruce Bennett) in their covers-for-cash campaign.
Tune in at 91.1 FM in the tri-state or online at www.wfmu.org and pony up to hear YLT's takes on your favorites.
I hope it goes without saying that full Matador / Beggars staff attendance at this event is mantadory. Thank you.
(preorder the Condo Fucks' 'Fuckbook' on LP/CD)
Here is their story, the story of a scene, of dreams fulfilled and those unrealized.
Georgia Condo. Kid Condo. James McNew.
Condo Fucks' "Fuckbook" is out March 24th. Buy it here.
I'm pretty sure our favorite Toronto sextet can top this when the time comes.
A bit belated, but here is the goose I ate for Christmas. This is the James Beard recipe. The stuffing is hand-torn bread, two sweet Italian sausages, and Granny Smith apples.
The sausage meat is decanted from its casing, broken up, fried in butter until it's dark brown and crispy. Finely chopped onions and apples are added, along with fresh thyme and nutmeg. Stuff the bird, cut its wingtips off, close the openings with toothpicks (as shown above) and roast on a rack in a deep pan at 400 degrees F for 1 hours, then down to 350 for 1 hours, and then at 325 for a final hour or whatever - details are in Beard On Food. That works for a 12-pound goose anyway.
Goose might be one of the most delicious things there is. It's impossible to find fresh without preordering from a butcher. This one came from Ottomanelli on Bleecker Street. It delivers an enormous quantity of fat which can then be used to make incredible french fries or just about anything else. It stores well in the fridge for months. The final roast is not fatty in the slightest (unlike duck), if you care about such things.
Click on the image for a more detailed view.
Back in the way-back machine when Matador had our very first office (that wasn't my apartment) we sold direct to stores in addition to selling our own singles and LP's ; we started selling non matador records we liked, and soon-to-be matador related records. It was a way to keep the lights on with an extremely sparse release schedule (release dates? ha!) I would try to get stores to pick up these singles or albums COD, talking to folks like Bob Schick (of the mighty Honor Role) at Plan 9, Janet from Fallout, Mark Trehus at Oarfolkjokapus, Conrad Capistran at In Your Ear, Mike Lavella at Phantom of the Attic (he mailed me Quaaludes once) and Natalie Carlson at Aarons (boy she was a pain in the ass, but later I learned she was the coolest girl I ever met).
This was how Matador Direct got started. One of the first singles we carried was the very first Chunk single, pre-Matador, right when they had to change their name to Superchunk. The band hand colored 200 of these individual sleeves, and I kept this one. Pretty sweet indeed
photo by forklift, taken at the Bellhouse in Brooklyn
A.C. Newman recently recorded a swooningly romantic take on A-Ha's "Take On Me" for a Valentine's Day compilation. It's available on iTunes and we highly recommend you get it:
You can pick up the wonderful Get Guilty album there at the same time, or if you prefer physical, from our webstore or a retailer near you.
A.C. Newman's tour resumes on Tuesday in Ithaca and then heads down the East Coast through Atlanta and then back through the Mid-West:
Tue 3/10 Ithaca NY Castaways with Dent May
Wed 3/11 Toronto ON Lee’s Palace with Dent May
Thu 3/12 Montreal QC Il Motore with Dent May
Sat 3/14 Boston MA Paradise with Dent May
Sun 3/15 New York NY Bowery Ballroom with Dent May
Tue 3/17 Philadelphia PA Johnny Brenda’s with The Broken West
Wed 3/18 Washington DC Black Cat with The Broken West
Thu 3/19 Carrboro NC Cat’s Cradle with The Broken West
Fri 3/20 Atlanta GA The Earl with The Broken West
Sat 3/21 Nashville TN Mercy Lounge with The Broken West
Sun 3/22 St. Louis MO Blueberry Hill with The Broken West
Tue 3/24 Minneapolis MN 400 Bar with The Broken West
Wed 3/25 Chicago IL Logan Square Auditorium with The Broken West
Thu 3/26 Pontiac MI The Pike Room at Crofoot with The Broken West
Fri 3/27 Cleveland OH The Grog Shop with The Broken West, David Martel
Sat 3/28 Pittsburgh PA Andy Warhol Museum with The Broken West
Sun 3/29 Brooklyn NY The Bell House with The Broken West
The sharp-eared among you heard him perform on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic last Thursday. He will also be performing sessions on Sirius XMU, the World Cafe and KCMP The Current in upcoming weeks. Keep your eyes on this space for more details.
The above snapshots come to us courtesy of Mark Kates. The embedded photojournalist was on the scene as Mission Of Burma began the laborious process of recording demos for what will be the band's 4th studio album proper (we're not counting 'Signals' or the Taang compendiums, thanks), tentatively scheduled for the latter portion of 2009.