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.




(photo : Scott Marshall)

We can't rightfully call it "decades in the making". After all, the 'Cockfighters' EP has only been at the pressing plant a few months, and said facilities get far too much criticism from laypersons and record company creeps these days, as is. The important thing is that we're on the precipice of rock history as once again, Clay, Matt, Scott and James have convened (albeit briefly) to remind us their collective skill-set is as unbeatable in 2017 as it was, well, whenever you first heard Chavez. The 12" EP is out today and is available for physical purchase, download or streaming.

If you're in NYC, Matt Sweeney and Dave "Ferd" Ferguson will be performing a brief set in the basement of Max Fish at around 8pm. They'll be giving away copies of 'Cockfighters' as well, though not very many. We're not made of free records (and neither are they), though I'm told we're mostly water. This doesn't sound right at all. What's with all the hair and skin?

1. The Singer Lied
2. Blank In The Blaze
3. The Bully Boys


Coming January 13 : CHAVEZ - 'Cockfighters' EP

OLE-1109 Chavez Cockfighters

"The Bully Boys"

After a two decade sabbatical, highly revered U.S. quartet CHAVEZ make their hotly rumored return to the rock frontlines with a new 3 song 12”/digital EP, ‘Cockfighters’, released by Matador on January 13 of the new year. Said EP — recorded in 2015 with longtime associate John Agnello —— represents the band’s first new recordings since their 1996 album, ‘Ride the Fader’. Will this EP result in a future full-length? Will Chavez once again exhibit the sort of live form they flashed at 2010’s Matador 21 celebrations? We don’t think you should bet money on it, but on the other hand, if you have a genuine gambling problem, judgmental scolding isn’t going to help anyone. Let’s enjoy this all-too-brief reminder of the band’s genius while we can.

1. The Singer Lied
2. Blank In The Blaze
3. The Bully Boys

Chavez-photo copy
It is both a blessing and a curse to be born with a penis. Freud knew this. So did Candy Darling. And so, mutatis mutandis, do the men of Chavez. They are phallus-wrestlers of the highest order, as evidenced not only by the muscular sensitivity of their music, but also quite literally by the title of their new EP, Cockfighters. Three songs in nine minutes; a new chapter and a willful engagement with the masculine issues—both hidden and overt—of our time.
To those of you who now implore, “Tell me the tale entire of Chavez,” we would caution that history is one big flaccid schlong draped across us all. Its inches are the measure of humankind’s institutionalized lies. So we don’t want to spend too much time on the past. But, for the sake of completion, we’ll blast through the pertinents real quick: Chavez was an integral part of the Matador records 1990s ejaculation of genius. With a bit more arena-rock in their DNA than most of their labelmates, Chavez took the nervous structures and ruminative lyric modes of the Indie Rock Pleistocene but added, deeper and more effectively than their peers, an injection of glistening testosterone-maximized amperage to the mix.

The band is composed of four Renaissance gents, varied and successful in their non ‘Vez pursuits.

Bassist Scott Marshall is a filmmaker who works and surfs in Malibu each and every day. He is lifelong friends with Anson Williams, which is a true fact you can research if you wish.

Drummer The James Lo, who is distinguished as a human in 2016 by the lack of a Wikipedia page that captures and classifies his essence in digital formaldehyde, is ambivalent about this rock music thing. He spends his time designing sound for contemporary dance and creating bits of hardware and software for music and theater.

Guitarist, riff-writer, and purveyor of harmony vocals Clay Tarver is a screenwriter who has worked on all four seasons of the HBO series Silicon Valley. He won a WGA Award in 2015 and subsequently, as he tells it, “nearly shit [his] pants onstage in a Men’s Warehouse rented tux.”

Guitarist, lyricist, and lead singer Matt Sweeney is a knight errant of studio and stage who has played with everyone from Iggy Pop and Neil Diamond to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Adele, and Run The Jewels. When all us humans have finally moved on from this Earth and are grooving as one spiritual mass to the great afterlife band of eternity, we will surely find Sweeney at the lip of the stage.

For now, in the material world, we walk around in our mortal fleshbags looking for good things to listen to—which is where these new Chavez tunes come in handy. Aside from a scattered drippage of shows and some new vocals on a greatest hits set, this here is the first public utterance from Chavez since 1996. But please put away your hot branding iron that says REUNION in the Wrangler? font. You will not be able to use it on the exposed flesh of Chavez because, technically, the band never broke up. They just noticed that the less they did, the more people wanted them. So they became a wee bit diffuse in their approach, getting together now and then over the years to proverbially noodle in the proverbial woodshed.

So this is less a Lazarus vibe then it is, say, a flaming and glorious phoenix kind of a trip. Imagine if Charles Willeford—author of the 1962 cult pulp novel (and literary ancestor to this EP) Cockfighter—clawed himself out of the grave and said, through a gargle of dirt and his own decaying bones, “Hey, folks. I’ve been down there writing the whole time and, here you go: got a new book for y’all here.” This Chavez moment we’re witnessing right now is kind of like that. A much-needed and genuinely ripping jolt of new perspective from artists of experience and wisdom. Thanks, men.

—Jesse Pearson

PREORDER 'Cockfighters' here.

Chavez at Facebook.

Coming In January : LP Reissues Of Chavez' 'Ride The Fader' & 'Gone Glimmering'

(photo : Jesse Peretz)

Here at Matador Records and Filmworks, we've long lived by the credo established by our founder, Chris Lombardi, who once declared, "give the people what they want. Especially if it's easily accomplished and/or lucrative for us." And with that in mind, we have listened to the pleas and threats of YOU, the music fans still devoted to paying for physical goods, and can finally announce that after 12 long years in the out-of-print wilderness, we're reissuing both of Chavez' Matador albums on vinyl on January 20, 2015

("Break Up Your Band", from 'Gone Glimmering', directed by Scott Marshall)

“It’s not like we’re out to desconstruct rock, but when we started the band, we had an agreement that we wouldn’t play anything that sounded like something we’d heard before.” – MATT SWEENEY (speaking to Billboard in 1996)

“For me, Chavez was this perfect creative beast. We had all these annoyingly strong ideas about what we wanted to do, and we did them. We did them exactly.”
– CLAY TARVER (speaking to The New York Times Magazine in 2011)

("Unreal Is Here", from 'Ride The Fader', directed by Clay Tarver and Scott Marshall)

The quartet of Tarver, Sweeney and crack rhythm section James Lo and Scott Masciarelli never quite broke up --- they just take many years inbetween gigs (and many more years making us wait for a third album). But there's an awful lot to be said for leaving a flawless recorded legacy behind, and 1995's 'Gone Glimmering' and 1996's 'Ride The Fader' are unbeatable slabs of thinking-person's loud rock from an era where such sounds were not in short supply. To say both albums have grown in stature and influence years after their release would not be an exaggeration, but that's precisely why we're taking brutal advantage of the situation at this very moment.

Preorder from The Matador Store :
'Gone Glimmering'
'Ride The Fader'

(via Amazon :
'Gone Glimmering'
'Ride The Fader'

ATTN : Lovers of "Appointment Television"

Tonight on HBO (or as people older than dirt used to call it, "Home Box Office", Mike Judge's newest TV creation, the highly touted "Silicon Valley" premieres. Chavez guitarist Clay Tarver (above, far right) is one of the show's writers and weirdly enough, episode one features (drum roll)... THE MUSIC OF CHAVEZ.

Matt Sweeney Puts The (Guitar) Moves On QOTSA's Josh Homme

(Video courtesy Noisey). In which Chavez/Endless Boogie/Soldiers Of Fortune guitarist / producer extraordinaire Matt Sweeney talks guitarism with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme. The whole series is great, btw, even if Matt failed to secure a sitdown with Michael Angel Batio.

Press Releases Of The Ailing Stars (Or, "Chavez Aren't Playing ATP")

(EDIITOR'S NOTE : the 24 hour rock news cycle isn't kind to stories of great seriousness, but we're hopeful the following will serve as a teaching moment of sorts for our younger readers, or the illiterate older people they hang out with. The memo below came to us via Chavez earlier today - GC)


Chavez regrets to announce cancellation of their appearance at September 23's "I'll Be Your Mirror" / All Tomorrow's Parties in New York curated by Greg Dulli.

Suffering from what has been called "near lethal exhaustion" due to the band's heavy touring schedule, guitarist Clay Tarver has checked himself into The Serenities Treatment Center outside of Mesa, Arizona.

The band's management said only he will be receiving attention for issues he has battled for some time, and released a short statement from the famed guitarist: "I hope to catch my breath, face some demons, and come out kicking more ass than ever. You're the best."

Chavez asks "the number one fans in the world" to please respect Tarver's privacy at this delicate time.

Important Festival News (For Those Who Mysteriously Fail To Read Other Music/News Sites)

If you're like us (and I suspect you are), YOU LOVE MUSIC FESTIVALS almost as much as you love freedom. And there's so many that are close to our hearts.  Matador's Lost Weekend.  Atlamont.  The Gathering Of The Juggalos.  The Cornerstone Festival.  I could go on, but you've probably got some illegal downloading to back to, so let's cut to the chase. Transmission Entertainment's 7th annual Fun Fun Fun Festival is happening in Austin, TX this coming November 2, 3 and 4, and we're thrilled to find out at the last minute announce Tanlines, Fucked Up, Paul Banks and The Young are all taking part.

Likewise,  ATP America's "I'll Be Your Mirror" weekender (September 21-23) has been moved from Asbury Park, NJ to the glamorous West Side of Manhattan.  The Lee Ranaldo Band and Chavez will be playing, along with a tremendous lineup of performers, none of whom are named Louis C.K.   They'll all have their hands full measuring up to Richie Blackmore at California Jam (above) , but there's no harm in trying.

Chavez, A Fan's Eye View From ATP

Chavez took part in All Tomorrow's Parties' 'I'll Be Your Mirror' at London's Alexandra Palace this past weekend, and aside from missing out on Matt, Clay, Scott and James playing to a huge mob, those of stuck stateside also didn't see Codeine sharing a stage with Slayer. Not at the same time, mind you. I've got to assume we'd have heard about that on Twitter.

Kurt Vile, Perfume Genius and Chavez ATP festival fun

Just added to the expanding line-up for ATP curated by The National are Kurt Vile and Perfume Genius, who both return to the UK for the event this December.  In addition to this, Kurt Vile announces his largest UK headline show to date, playing  December 6th at The Forum, London.

December 6th - Kurt Vile, Lower Dens and Dark Dark Dark at The Forum, London - tickets

December 7th-9th - Kurt Vile and Perfume Genius at ATP festival curated by The National


Rewind back to now, and this weekend sees Chavez playing the I'll Be Your Mirror weekender  in London, curated by Mogwai and ATP.  As a little refresher for those of you seeing Chavez on Saturday (4.15pm-5.00pm), here's the 2006 compilation 'Better Days Will Haunt You' on the Spotify player, below.

Chavez - "You Must Be Stopped", As Not Seen On Network Television

"You Must Be Stopped" (studio version available on the 'Better Days Will Haunt You' 2XCD/DVD set), video courtesy NBC and "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon".  Earlier in the day, Chavez taped a version of "Laugh Track" for broadcast, but not before they were prevented from handing out copies of the newly released "Chavez : The Video Game" to every member of Fallon's studio audience.  We heard something about "not upstaging the country-club pseudo-athlete" who was the program's other guest.  That's a pretty harsh way of referring to Alan Cumming, but whatever, we're not about show biz squabbles.

Chavez To Play <strike>Historic Site Of Stabbing-Riot</strike> Jersey Venue

(Chavez, photographed sometime between 1956 and 2011)

Having already blown away a global audience with the webcast of their Matador at 21 set, the men of Chavez return to the stage next September 30, playing Asbury Park's Convention Center as part of the Portishead-curated All Tomorrow's Parties.   Said auditorium holds a rather special place in rock lore ; in addition to hosting early gigs by the Rolling Stones, Kiss, the Who and Led Zeppelin, the Convention Center was also the host for a 1956 Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers set that ended with three attendees being stabbed.  While we're hopeful history doesn't repeat itself, it might be a good idea for Chavez to consider a reenactment/exorcism of sorts --- surely there are any number of out of work thespians / supernaturalists (or perhaps a combination of the two) that might be available to assist.  We promise to forward all suggestions to the appropriate persons.

Matador At 21 - The Lost Weekend : Final Bill, Schedule Info

First of all, we know you've been waiting patiently for the information below, and we sincerely apologize for the length of time it took to get it together. But if wanting to put together an even sicker bill than previously announced is a crime, PLEASE LOCK US UP.

1) 50 additional pairs of tickets priced at $250.00 per person  (not including taxes and fees) will be available via a public lottery sometime next week.  We'll announce the details here and on the 21 site beforehand.

2) Details regarding a limited number of room upgrades will be available at that time.

3) We regret to announce that at present, our supply of VIP tickets has been exhausted.  If that situation changes, we'll let you know.

4) As rumored in a bunch of places (including this very blog), we're very happy to confirm the following additions to The Lost Weekend Bill ;  Liz Phair, Times New Viking, Esben and the Witch, Perfume Genius, The Clean, MC's Jeff Jensen, Bob Nastanovich, Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster, and a late Friday evening presentation by Austin's Karaoke Underground. The rough schedule can be found below, and is very much subject to change :


4 PM: Gala opening party, Hardwood Suite (VIP ticketholders, limited capacity)

MAIN STAGE (The Pearl):

doors open 6 PM, first band (Guitar Wolf) on at 7 PM

Sonic Youth
Fucked Up
Cold Cave
Guitar Wolf

MC : Jeff Jensen

2am onwards :  Superchunk/Fucked Up/bands TBC,  Hardwood Suite (VIP ticketholders only, capacity limited)
2am onwards :  Karaoke Underground at Little Buddha (open to all ticketholders, space permitting)


MAIN STAGE (The Pearl):

Belle and Sebastian
Cat Power
Perfume Genius
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

MC : Bob Nastanovich

2am : Esben and the Witch, Harlem,  Key West Ballroom (open to all ticketholders, space permitting)

Sunday (MATINEE, in Key West Ballroom, open to all ticketholders, capacity limited):

The Clean
Times New Viking
Kurt Vile

Sunday evening :

MAIN STAGE (The Pearl):

Guided By Voices
Yo La Tengo
Liz Phair
The New Pornographers
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

MC's : Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster

Matador at 21: The Lost Weekend takes place at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas from October 1-3, 2010. This event is sponsored by MySpace Music, Altamont and Incase.

"The Lost Weekend" - Matador 21 In Las Vegas, Tickets On Sale This Friday, July 9

Tickets for "The Lost Weekend" aka Matador's 21st birthday celebrations at The Palms will go on sale this Friday morning at 9am, PST. Here's the details you've been hassling all of us about over the last week (and don't think we don't appreciate it)

a) Tickets/Pricing : An initial quantity will be on sale Friday for $SOLD. .After the $SOLD tickets sell out, the price increases to $SOLD.  A link will be posted on this site on Thursday, July 8th.  Starting Friday, you'll have the opportunity to reserve standard rooms at the Palms for the discounted rate of $SOLD per night (the full 3 nights of the festival, only). The rooms feature two double bed and occupancy of up to 4 persons is allowed. The above rate is only available when purchasing tickets thru us. If you are interested in upgrading to a larger room or a suite you will be able to do so after purchasing the standard room. TICKETS FOR THE 3 NIGHTS  + ROOMS are being sold jointly --- we're not selling tickets to the shows separately at this time, nor are we selling tickets for individual nights.

(ADDENDUM -i) A limited number of 3-day tickets priced at  $SOLD---with no Palms reservation required --- will be available Friday morning at 9am PST  via

ii)  if, for example, you're buying 4 tickets to the shows, the $SOLD per night hotel fee can cover up to 4 people.  $SOLD over 3 nights divided by 4 is hopefully not an crazy amount to charge for rooms in a world class resort).

B) VIP tickets. A limited number of VIP packages will be available at $SOLD --- details about what you'll get for the $SOLD are forthcoming. You'll have the ability to upgrade from the regular tickets, assuming the VIP tickets aren't sold out.

C) Venue. The room in question is the 2100 seat Pearl at the Palms.

D) MORE BANDS. OK, we're working on it. But in addition to the 19 artists confirmed on the above poster, we can confirm the original lineup of COME --- Thalia Zedek, Chris Brokaw, Sean O'Brien and Arthur Johnson --- will be participating. Actually, we already know who some of the other bands are, we're just trying to drag this out.    MORE MATABLOG CONTENT between now and October!

E) Set times -  we'll post these the week before the event.

F) These shows are open to all ages.  However, access to the casino floor is limited to those 21 and over.

F) WHAT ABOUT LAS VEGAS HUMANS?  Las Vegas' Zia Records is selling 50 tickets to "The Lost Weekend" starting Friday, July 9.  You'll need a Nevada I.D.  Reservations at the Palms are not required to purchase these tickets.



Zia Records

4225 South Eastern Avenue

Las Vegas, NV 89119-5485


Zia Records

4503 W. SAHARA



Tickets will go onsale at both stores at 10:00am on Friday, July 9th via lottery. By overwhelming demand by Nevada Residents we will be increasing the amount of tickets available (50 X 2 = 100) . There is a two ticket limit. Nevada state ID required for purchase. Any questions please email [email protected]

Matador 21 In Las Vegas, Oct. 1-3 : Let The Crazy Speculation Begin

As mentioned previously in this space, Matador will be celebrating the label's 21st anniversary this October and this much we can finally confirm : there will be 3 nights of shows starting Friday October 1, and concluding Sunday October 3 at the Palms Casino & Resort In Las Vegas, NV. We'll be dropping further hints about the amazing lineup in the days ahead, but a final announcement and information about how to purchase tickets will be made here at the trusty Matablog on July 5. Are you as psyched as we are?  (hopefully yes, because we're getting in for free).

(ADDENDUM - there's been a bit of confusion so just to clear things up, tickets DO NOT GO ON SALE JULY 5.  We'll merely be announcing the on sale date/time on July 5.  thanks - GC)

Chavez, Circa 2006


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

Chavez : One Show Dropped, Another Added


If the young people of Baltimore didn't have enough troubles already, Chavez' December 2 show at Ottobar has been cancelled.  That said, we're happy to announce that along with the Dec. 16 show at Brooklyn's Warsaw (supported by Endless Boogie), Chavez will be playing Slim's in San Francisco on December 30th. 

Chavez Walk Among Us

The first public appearances of Chavez since, well, that last ones, have been confirmed.

Dec 2 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
Dec. 16 - Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw (16 +)

Endless Boogie will provide support (moral, spiritual) on both dates.

Tickets are on sale now

Men Of Chavez (.com) Brought To Life

When thinking about how to best interactivate the two luxurious booklets in the "Better Days Will Haunt You" 2-CD set, we had a few ideas. Chauncey, our marketing intern, suggested a fancy sticker thing where everyone could make their own artwork!!! Our grumpy direct sales staff shut that down faster than you can say "gimmicky way to paint a turd."

Then Donovan at our indie PR company suggested that we run a blog contest to design a t-shirt inspired by the artwork. Our art director said, "silly indie publicists, we already have the greatest t-shirt design of ALL-TIME."

Finally, we just kicked it over to interactivator extraordinaire, Sergio (who did this and that), and the boy went all Delgado and hit one out_of_the_park.

Remember the times, the laffs and the Men at

Meta or Not? AMG's Chavez Bio Screams Nick Sylvester

(thanks to Frank for the tip).  

Before the days of monkeys peeing into their mouths, Nick Sylvester would treat us to quasi-more-thoughtful meta-reviews of albums none of us should otherwise notice. So, this one has our meta-radars on full alert.

AMG on Chavez:  Betters Days Are NOW With NBC's New Must See Monday!!!

Just in case an editor actually decides to show up today, the full article is after the jump...  


by Jason Ankeny & Andy Kellman

Ah, the fall TV season is upon us, filling our empty lives with Heroes, Survivors, and Carters. It's a time of joy, reflection, and supplication to the network gods as we're forced to ask ourselves the tough questions, like who will be America's Next Top Model and, the eternal conundrum, Deal or No Deal? In honor of our love for and deep-seeded addiction to the great media eye in our living rooms, we've compiled a playlist inspired by our favorite TV shows.

Ugly Betty

Naturally, she has brains and a heart of gold. But since Ugly Betty (who really should be called "Just Wait 'Til She Gets Those Braces and Glasses Off Betty") works as an assistant at one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world -- and was in fact hired because she's, shall we say, appearance-challenged -- she's made to feel so damn unpretty every day. TLC understands. - Heather PharesSpeaking of one of the world's biggest fashion magazines, Mode, Betty's place of employment, is clearly patterned after the definitive fashion magazine, Vogue. Madonna's song of the same name wasn't just a runaway hit, but a runway hit as well -- its slinky beat and synth-strings still conjure up visions of style heaven, where it's always Fashion Week and the catwalks go on forever. - Heather PharesBased on the two episodes of the American version of Ugly Betty that have aired so far, the show hasn't lost much of its campiness in translation from its telenovela roots. Roots of an entirely different kind were on display in last week's episode, when two characters got into a catfight so hissy that the insults -- and hair extensions -- were flying. The musical equivalent is Blondie's brilliantly trash-talking "Rip Her to Shreds." (See also Julie Brown's equally catty "Girl Fight Tonight!") - Heather Phares


We could be heroes, if just for one season. - Matt Collar

For a song about people with super powers, Rick Springfield's paean to his childhood heroes is surprisingly vulnerable. - Matt Collar

So you've got super powers all of a sudden. Nice! Saving the world is required, of course, but as the Clique spell out in "Superman," super powers are best used in the name of scoring. What's the point of stopping time or hearing people's thoughts if you can't get any action? And you'll get plenty. Think about it, Who could compete with a guy who flies to a girl's apartment to pick her up for a date? What could be hotter than a girl who can walk through fire and not get burned? That's hottt! So, save the world -- you gotta do that, right? -- then get out there and score, hero! - Tim Sendra


It's nice to see that despite the few clues and tidbits of information that the third-season premiere offered -- the Others' living conditions are more like an island version of Wisteria Lane, complete with a sinister book club, than they are a shanty town; the real name of the man formerly known as Henry Gale is Ben (or is it?) -- confusion still reigns supreme. The Byrds' cryptically jangly lament applies to Jack, Sawyer, and Kate's condition upon waking up in the Hydra Station, or to viewers still trying to piece everything together. - Heather Phares

Feeling mysterious is just the daily condition for Lost's collection of misfit souls, who may or may not be in purgatory, already dead, or the last people left alive in the world. Short of Driveshaft's "You All Everybody" or that elusive Geronimo Jackson album, this song captures Lost's clever mix of wit and paranoia perfectly. - Heather Phares

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

It was used in the actual show and for good reason: since it's a dramatic look at life behind the scenes at a Saturday Night Live-type show, Studio 60 is all about delivering the funny under pressure. - Matt Collar

30 Rock

If Studio 60 is the dramatic look at life behind the scenes at a Saturday Night Live-type show, 30 Rock is the straight-up comedic version and hence Vanilla Ice's infamous repurposing of the classic bassline from "Under Pressure." Now, if we could only get Tina Fey to pull a Madonna and pose nude hitchhiking with Alec Baldwin.... - Matt Collar


Technically, Jericho is a small town in dust, but Siouxsie and the Banshees' classic single has the same feelings of paranoia, isolation, dread, and destruction that the show plans to explore -- and it's only four minutes long! - Heather Phares

"In the seaside town they forgot to bomb...."


A group of friends helping each other get through the day, pairing off, and making with the funny; seems "like we've been there before...." - Matt Collar

House of Carters

While the rest of the Carter family may grow on us (like an infestation of chiggers), it's the always golden, recently bloated brothers who keep our hearts so firmly lodged in our collective throats. "The road is long" indeed, as each episode would benefit greatly from a slow-motion montage of the puffy-eyed siblings slap-fighting to this universal ode to the trials and tribulations of brotherhood. - James Christopher Monger

Yeah, the nonstop train wreck that is House of Carters is "dishy, dysfunctional gold," as the US Weekly pull-quote on the series' website states. Nevertheless, the show seems to downplay the creepiness and sadness lurking in the rift between the Carter kids and their parents. Peter Gabriel's character sketch of an emotionally neglected, would-be assassin more than fits the bill. Even though the Carters probably won't go completely postal on every episode, each of the kids gets way too close to a nervous breakdown for comfort. - Heather Phares

Not only is it sung by a Carter, but it's all about being there for those you love when they need you most and stuff. - Matt Collar

The Rachael Ray Show

Love her or hate her (and there are plenty of folks in both camps), you have to admit Rachael Ray has moxie. She's spun the girl-next-door bit into an empire of Stewart-esque proportions without any discernible skills whatsoever. She's not a cook, not particularly adept at being a hostess, kind of gawky onscreen, and a wee bit shouty. She might turn out to be a great chat show host, though the early reports are mixed on that front. How can you explain her rise to power then? You could say it's because of Oprah's patronage if you were feeling cynical, or you could say it's down to RR's unswervingly sunny disposition and her ever-present giddy smile if you want to give the girl herself some credit. Maybe it's her general gee-whiz-itude or because her dog's name is Isaboo. Isn't that cute?! Anyhow, Ray's superhero theme song has got to be "Walking on Sunshine." Probably not the Eddy Grant song, because the girl-next-door in her neighborhood wouldn't be wise to Mr. Grant; more likely the Katrina & the Waves version, because no one could escape that one. Much like RR herself. (Just to be difficult, here's the original K & the Ws version before it got all prettied up for U.S. release.) - Tim Sendra


Survivor: Cook Islands' racially segregated tribes were an attention-getting ratings gambit for the show's first few episodes, but now that the four tribelets have merged into two bigger, more blended tribes, it's all peace, love, and harmony. Well, not really, but Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People" conveys the feeling of the new, more integrated teams pretty well. - Heather Phares

CBS could undo some of the damage it accrued from racially segregating its current contestants by inserting the five members of the kickass AOR band Survivor onto the island to jump out of the bushes during challenges and sing their mammoth 1982 hit to the winners. After all, "Eye of the Tiger" was what helped bring the Italian Stallion and Apollo Creed together in Rocky III. - James Christopher Monger

Curb Your Enthusiasm

He may not be as chemically dependant as the guy Randy Newman portrays in this woozy love ballad, but with lines like "How come I never do what I'm supposed to do?/How come everything I try to do never comes out right?" and "You know/You know how it is with me, baby/You know I just can't help myself," the sentiment is dead-on for the self-inflicted awkwardness of HBO's resident tactless hero, Larry David. Like David, Newman's character stumbles about with the best of romantic intentions but ultimately just digs himself deeper and deeper into a delightfully uncomfortable hole. Both Newman and David have the uncanny ability to make you want to hug them -- despite the fact that they've just deeply insulted you. Charmingly reprehensible. ~ J. Scott McClintock

The angular indie rock unit Chavez was led by singer/guitarist Matt Sweeney, the former frontman of New Jersey's Skunk. Following the group's demise, Sweeney joined the New York band Wider, which included onetime Live Skull drummer James Lo; when Wider dissolved in 1992, Sweeney began playing with ex-Bullet Lavolta guitarist Clay Tarver. Lo joined not long after, and with bassist Davey Hoskins, Chavez cut its first demo recordings in late 1993. Following Hoskins' exit and the recruitment of bassist Scott Masciarelli (also known as Scott Marshall, the son of Happy Days creator Garry Marshall), the band made its live debut; soon, the anthemic 1994 debut single "Repeat the Ending" and a reputation for stunning live sets made Chavez a hot commodity on the New York ... Read More.

Chavez DVD Preview

What we can tell you about the DVD that accompanies 'Better Days...' is that the audio commentary is from Garry Marshall. What we can't tell you is whether or not the men really had to go MacGyver with a can of Märzen.


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