Today, we advance the cause of Matador’s Revisionist History series and the 25th anniversary reissue of Yo La Tengo’s 'Electr-o-pura' via a fresh look at the “Tom Courtenay” music video. Recently exhumed from our sub-basement storage facilities, this clip will today make its HQ premiere on Youtube.
Recollections are hazy, but we can say with certainty that the video was aired at least once on MTV’s 120 Minutes. After that, who knows? Maybe you saw it on a 5th generation VHS bootleg. Maybe you squinted through a greatly bit-reduced version using RealPlayer. Well, squint no more! “Tom Courtenay” is now available to stream in crisp, clear, and glorious high definition.
The video is accompanied by a brand new interview, where Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew reflect on the film’s creation alongside director Phil Morrison ("Junebug"), who also helmed the much-loved YLT classics, “Sugarcube” (1997) and “I’ll Be Around” (2013).
Out this fall via Matador’s Revisionist History series, 'Electr-o-pura' remains one of the most beloved works in Ira, Georgia and James' catalog. Now in a gatefold sleeve and cut from the original 58-minute master, the new reissue is pressed for the first time on two LPs to ensure the highest quality of audio the album has had on vinyl to date.
stream / purchase 'Electr-o-pura'
Yo La Tengo online:
(photo : Michael Lavine)
Matador's Revisionist History series -- as vexing for some as it is lucrative for others -- continues this week with a 25th anniversary reissue of Yo La Tengo's 1995 masterpiece, the Roger Moutenot co-produced 'Electr-o-pura', now available in a double LP edition for the first time.
The 7th studio Yo La Tengo studio album and the follow-up to 'Painful', 'Electr-o-pura' remains one of the most beloved works in Ira, Georgia and James' catalog, and showed a stylistic range that at time was already bordering on the-very-difficult-keep-up-with (fast forward to 2020 and we'll just say "impossible"). From the single "Tom Courtenay", to the woozy & beautiful "Pablo & Andrea", to the climatic 9 minute, 18 second blowout of "Blue Line Swinger", this album was nothing short of monumental in an era that wasn't short for competition.
A while back, labelmate Lucy Dacus mentioned to us that 'Electr-o-pura' was released on her birthday. We asked if she'd like to write a few words on the subject ; she's done just that and recorded a cover of "Tom Courtenay" as well.
I was born on May 2, 1995, the day that 'Electr-o-pura' came out.
Fourteen years later, I started high school and made a new friend who wore a leather jacket and boots, who expressed confident opinions about music that I had never heard. I devoured every recommendation they gave me in an effort to align my tastes. I wanted to be cool, or at least not uncool. I found out about The Stooges, Philip Glass, and Sonic Youth through my effort to win their approval. I loved it all, and my parents hated every new discovery. Cool was loud.
One day my friend brought me a stack of CDs, all Yo La Tengo, and told me to take them home, listen to them, burn them, and return them. I did what I was told. I liked those records from the start, and more with every listen. I’d lay in bed listening to one of their records, pause the song I was listening to when I got too tired, then push play upon waking.
I remember my confusion upon listening to Electr-o-pura for the first time. I referenced the tracklist on the back of the CD so I could learn titles, but the printed song durations didn’t match up to what I was hearing. I wondered if there was some manufacturing error and I wasn’t hearing the songs I was supposed to hear. “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)” is listed as lasting just over three minutes when it’s actually 6:42. “Blue Line Swinger” says it’s 3:15, but actually clocks in at 9:18. I know now from looking into it that Yo La Tengo intentionally misprinted the times, trying to combat short attention spans, hoping they would trick people into giving those long songs a chance. It tricked me, though I’m a sucker for long songs anyways. It’s interesting to think about how this move couldn’t be pulled today in a world of digitized music. And if people had short attention spans then, how short are they now? All to say, I liked that they were playful.
What kept me coming back to Yo La Tengo was their understanding of moods. I listened to bands that knew anger, bands that knew sadness, but I didn’t know of any other bands that could express a full life’s range of moods the way they can. From song to song, the music was anxious, celebratory, sorrowful, content, confused, etc. And even when they got loud or dissonant, it never felt hostile. The sounds could be harsh, even ugly, but they were joyful. Some songs could make me cry, but they were gentle, not malevolent. I was taking on someone else’s tastes, and in the process, discovering my own.
Tom Courtenay was the first Yo La Tengo song I learned on guitar. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew who Julie Christie was and loved the line, “As the music swells somehow stronger from adversity / our hero finds his inner peace.” I didn’t know what the needle had to do with anything, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was like any good poem, leaving space for me, between images. Now, I think the song may be about obsession with media, equating the allure of the movies and movie stars to drug addiction. Who knows, that’s just my take.
Eventually when Matador asked to sign me, the fact that Yo La Tengo is on their roster was a major component of my decision. They’ve been putting out great albums every couple of years for over three decades, experimenting and exploring with what seems to be an uncompromised creativity. That is worth celebrating, especially now, when any opportunity for celebration is a blessing. Happy 25th birthday to Electr-o-pura, and thanks for the music, Yo La Tengo.
- Lucy Dacus
02 Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
03 The Hour Grows Late
04 Tom Courtenay
05 False Ending
06 Pablo And Andrea
07 Paul Is Dead
08 False Alarm
09 The Ballad Of Red Buckets
10 Don’t Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2
11 (Straight Down To The) Bitter End
12 My Heart’s Reflection
13 Attack On Love
14 Blue Line Swinger
stream / purchase 'Electr-o-pura'
Yo La Tengo online:
Anniversary releases for Chavez' 'Gone Glimmering', Bailter Space's 'Wammo', and Mary Timony's 'Mountains' will be announced later this year. For more info : Matador Revisionist History.
"Watch Me Jumpstart" - directed by Banks Tarver
(photo by Michael Lavine)
“We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes. That's why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up. Instead we had, in our megalomaniacal view, mastered the instant gratification machine known as the 4-track and began recording song after song with titles like "Cuddling Bozo's Octopus", "My Valuable Hunting Knife", "Pimple Zoo" and "After the Quake (Let's Bake a Cake)".
The door had been opened for us to throw out as many weird ass ideas as we were capable of and we did. We even thought we were starting to look cooler and decided cool enough to have the entire back cover be a photograph of us in the basement looking pseudo intellectually laid back and stoned with long hair, stars and stripe gym shoes and a box of Tide in the background.
Our friend Kim thought the album was too bombastic. Too frenetic and difficult to digest. I agreed. We were proud to be putting out our first album on Matador and cock strutted accordingly. It cost us $10 to make. It's worth a million. I personally think it's better than B-1000 (but not by much). There are two different camps of GBV fans to argue and debate.
God bless 1995 and open hearted record labels like Matador (and Scat before them) for allowing bands like us, with the preferred limited resources, to remove the constraints and pre-conceived notions of the more industry-minded constituents who would have much preferred we destroy the cassette master of Alien Lanes in the better interest of sound manufacturing and what's more agriculturally consumable. It's better to leave the farm than to continue plodding through the cow shit.”
--Robert Pollard 2020
As part of our ongoing (and occasionally confusing) Revisionist History Campaign) we're pleased to announce a 25th Anniversary vinyl edition of Guided By Voices’ 1995 landmark album 'Alien Lanes'. Inspired by the multicolored drumhead featured on the album’s artwork, this new edition is pressed on blue, green and red multicolored vinyl making it the first non-exclusive color vinyl edition of this release. A limited edition Guided By Voices keyring / bottle opener, based on an original 1995 design, will be available to bundle with copies of the 'Alien Lanes’ 25th Anniversary LP exclusively through the Matador webstores while stocks last. Limited to a one time press of 2,500 copies, pre-sale for this exclusive edition is available via the Matador store HERE.
Succumbing to incredible (well, modest) demand, we've also released a newly rendered version of the hard to find, 1996 documentary "Watch Me Jumpstart" directed by Banks Tarver (above)
Originally released on April 4, 1995, 'Alien Lanes' was the first Guided By Voices album on Matador. With 28 tracks spanning the course of 41 minutes, the album would fundamentally alter the concept of what a rock and roll record could be*. Bursting at the seams with classic rock bravado (“Game of Pricks”, “Closer You Are”), anthemic power pop (“My Valuable Hunting Knife”, “Motor Away”), punk (“Pimple Zoo”, “My Son Cool”), psychedelic experimentalism (“Ex-Supermodel”, “Alright”), and tape-warped ballads ( “King And Caroline”, “Blimps Go 90”, “Chicken Blows”) Alien Lanes dips and dives between genres and moods with breakneck efficiency and a remarkable amount of intellect and emotion bolstered by the abstract poetry of songwriter and frontman Bob Pollard.
(* - WE MIGHT NEED TO FACT CHECK THIS)
buy/stream 'Alien Lanes'
Guided By Voices Online :
Guided By Voices - website
May 2, 1995 — Yo La Tengo Electr-O-Pura — 25th anniversary
Anniversary releases for Chavez's Gone Glimmering, Bailter Space’s Wammo, and Mary Timony's Mountains to follow later this year.
Kurt Vile's Childish Prodigy celebrates 10 years this month. In commemoration, a limited blue edition of Vile's Matador debut is available today at the Matador webstore and independent record stores. The reissue includes a limited purple edition of the "He's Alright" 7", back in print for the first time since it accompanied the original release in 2009.
STREAM/PURCHASE LIMITED EDITION OF CHILDISH PRODIGY HERE
(Kurt Vile, 2009. Photo by Shawn Brackbill)
In case you missed it, this past week Kurt Vile released a new film, (bottle back), documenting a week of rehearsals in the Catskill Mountains ahead of the release of his 2018 LP Bottle It In. The documentary, along with a link to stream "Baby's Arms feat. The Sadies" from the filming is available HERE. Save 25% when purchasing Bottle It In through the end of today (Oct 11) at the Matador Webstore.
Stream/Purchase Bottle It In (25% off today)
Kurt Vile On Tour
Wednesday, November 6 The Mission Ballroom, Denver CO %
Friday, November 8 The Criterion, Oklahoma City OK %
Saturday, November 9 Warehouse Live, Houston TX %
Sunday, November 10 Levitation Festival, Austin TX
November 16-17 Corona Capital, Mexico City MX
% w/ Dinosaur Jr.
Kurt Vile Online
(Interpol, 2004. Photo by Pieter M. van Hattem)
‘Antics’, the 2nd studio album from Interpol was certified gold in 3 countries (BIG ONES) and received some of the highest accolades of the band’s career, including Drowned In Sound’s Top Album Of 2004 Award (NOTE - MALCOLM, CAN YOU FIND A PHOTO OF THE HUGE PLACQUE SOMEWHERE IN THE ARCHIVES?) . Perhaps you’ve heard the cliche, “no one ever remembers what Drowned In Sound’s #2 album of the year is,” but the Matador Revisionist History Campaign is no place for that sort of gloating or negativity. Featuring several of Interpol’s most beloved songs including “Slow Hands”, “C’mere”, “Evil” and “Narc”, we concluded our 9/27/04 sales pitch for this classic with the words, “with Interpol, things are rarely what they seem.” That made even less sense in context.
- Gerard Cosloy
Interpol's sophomore album, Antics, celebrates 15 years this week. Announced last month, a very limited supply of the white vinyl anniversary edition remains at record stores worldwide and on the UK and EU territories of the Matador Webstore. Save 25% on the standard LP/CD editions of Antics through next Thursday, October 3rd.
STREAM/PURCHASE ANTICS 25% OFF HERE
(Outtakes from Interpol's 2004 Photo Shoot with Pieter M. van Hattem)
How do you follow up one of the most critically acclaimed debut albums of all-time? Well, if you were Liz Phair — facing intense scrutiny from friends & foes alike — you put your head down and persevere with a collection of songs that resulted in her first (and only) Rolling Stone cover (and Matador’s first ban from Spin Magazine). But it was all a huge misunderstanding! FUN TRIVIA : at least one retailer objected to the couplet, "Your kisses are as wicked as an F-16
And you fuck like a volcano, and you're everything to me”. I misheard the lyric, thought it was “M-16”, pointed out the hypocrisy of said establishment peddling RIFLES to children but drawing a line at consensual sex between adults. Bottom line — they no longer sell any of our products but that’s ok because who wants to buy records at Bass Pro Shop? No one ever said Revisionist history was going to be pretty.
This month marks 25 years since the release of Liz Phair's sophomore LP Whip-Smart. To commemorate the anniversary Phair's expansive box set Girly Sound to Guyville will be available for 25% off standard list price through September 19th at the Matador webstore worldwide.
STREAM/SAVE 25% ON GIRLY SOUND TO GUYVILLE
From the archives: '94 Whip-Smart Promotional Postcard
Liz Phair Online
Matador Artist Page
In commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of Yo La Tengo's Popular Songs, the 2xLP/CD will be 25% off at the Matador Webstore worldwide through September 12th.
(Yo La Tengo, 2009, photographed by Steve Gullick)
Someone at the label had the brilliant idea to rent a Tribeca theatre for a press + VIP “listening party”* for this sprawltastic masterpiece and in retrospect, it’s not much of a party without snacks or drinks. To clarify, label staff had snacks and drinks, we just neglected to serve any to the guests.
Anyhow, I thought the playback was going swimmingly, the depth of ‘Popular Songs’ being met with rapt attention until the room’s collective meditation was interrupted by (NAME RHYMES WITH DEAN OF AMERICAN ROCK CRITICS) snoring.
Fuck it, launch parties are for NASA. If this isn’t Yo La Tengo’s best album it’s firmly in their top 4 (I know it’s a cliche to say, “fight me”, but I’ve studied Muhammad Ali’s patented “rope-a-dope” strategy and I’m pretty confident I can persevere simply by letting you strike me repeatedly until you’re too tired to move)
(* - other than the snoring episode, the other highlight of the afternoon was product manager Todd Netter opining, “you have to admit, John Sterling is a really good announcer.” This observation was entirely unrelated to Todd bringing his tool box of talents to another record company)
- Gerard Cosloy
Yo La Tengo On Tour, Hanukkah Dates On Sale TODAY
September 13-14, Huichica Festival, Walla Walla WA
Monday, September 16 Visual Arts Collective, Garden City ID
Tuesday, September 17 The State Room, Salt Lake City UT
Friday, September 20 El Rey, Los Angeles CA
Monday, September 23 The Chapel, San Francisco CA
Tuesday, September 24 The Chapel, San Francisco CA
Wednesday, September 25 The Chapel, San Francisco CA
Friday, October 11 Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY #
Sunday, December 22 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Monday, December 23 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Tuesday, December 24 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Wednesday, December 25 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Thursday, December 26 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Friday, December 27 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Saturday, December 28 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
Sunday, December 29 Bowery Ballroom, New York NY
January 18-22, Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky Festival, Riviera Maya MX
(Guided By Voices circa 2004. Photo: Jeremy Balderson)
Back in print for the first time in over 10 years, Guided By Voices' limited red vinyl reissue of Half Smiles of the Decomposed is available today.
"At the time of it’s 2004 release, ‘Half Smiles Of The Decomposed’ was meant to be Guided By Voices’ final album. As it turns out, Bob Pollard’s a better revisionist historian than the rest of us combined — it merely turned out to be the pause button being pressed on that particular incarnation of GBV, though given Doug Gillard’s contribution, one could argue this one sits pretty neatly alongside much of the 2010’s output. People will tell you “Girls Of Wild Strawberries” was the hit and since I’m not inclined to look up old CMJ charts (wasn’t very inclined in 2004, either) we can either presume that’s accurate or simply skip ahead to “Closets Of Henry”, which somehow didn’t make the greatest hits, ‘Human Amusements At Hourly Rates’ (sticklers for detail will claim that’s because the comp. came out in 2003, but just to put the subject to bed, let’s just say it was record company negligence).
After this, it would be another 8 years for a Guided By Voices studio album (and there were three of ‘em in 2012, OF COURSE)."
- Gerard Cosloy
Purchase Red Vinyl / Stream Half Smiles of the Decomposed HERE.
Guided By Voices Online
OUT NOW: Jay Reatard "Hang Them All" / Sonic Youth "No Garage" Split Color 7" + "Watch Me Fall" 10 Year Anniversary
Split singles are usually the byproduct of shotgun marriages and/or sleazy cash grabs by labels eager to exploit even most the tenuous connections between two entirely unrelated artists. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT OUR JICKS/LA GUNS single!
(All profits from this release will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
Coinciding with the reissue of the 7", to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of Jay Reatard's Watch Me Fall, take 25% off the LP on the Matador webstore worldwide through August 8th. All orders of the album will receive a Matador Revisionist History slip mat while supplies last.
Stream/Purchase 25% off Watch Me Fall
Jay Reatard - Website
Sonic Youth - Website
Out Today : Sonic Youth - 'Battery Park, NYC: July 4, 2008' ; 'The Eternal' 25% Off Sale Thru June 14
Sonic Youth's live LP, 'Battery Park, NYC: July 4, 2008' is available today on LP and via all streaming services. In addition, the band's final studio album and lone recording for Matador, 2009's 'The Eternal', is the subject of a 25% off sale now thru June 14 (LP or download). 'The Eternal' or 'Battery Park' orders from the Matador Store (US/UK/EU customers only) receive a Matador Revisionist History slipmat while supplies last.
Stream / order 'Battery Park, NYC : July 4, 2008'
Stream/order 'The Eternal'
Sonic Youth online :
Matador Records / Sonic Youth
On June 7, we'll be reissuing Sonic Youth’s 'Battery Park, NYC: July 4, 2008'. Initially sold as a bonus item alongside the 2009 release of the band’s final album, 'The Eternal', the live recording will now be available on streaming services and as a stand-alone physical package for the first time ever. Culled from their show at Battery Park’s River To River Festival (and broadcast live on WFMU), the setlist spans the band’s 30-year career.
The live version of “Bull In The Heather” is now available to stream HERE.
Coinciding with the full release of the live album on June 7th, 'The Eternal' will be 25% off on the Matador Store from that date to June 14th.
Orders from the Matador Store include a Matador Records Revisionist History Slipmat (while supplies last).
preorder 'Battery Park, NYC : July 4, 2008'
01 She Is Not Alone
02 The Sprawl
03 World Looks Red
04 Jams Run Free
05 Hey Joni
06 The Wonder
08 Bull In The Heather
10 Making The Nature Scene
Sonic Youth online :
Matador Records / Sonic Youth
(Illustration: Jeff Mahannah)
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is Pavement’s record-of-many transitions. From Louder Than You to Random Falls. From Gary Young to Steve West. From indier-than-thou (Matador) to FAKE INDIE (Matador/Atlantic). But most importantly, it’s the album where Pavement would flex the sort of musical and lyrical range that would later make some of you deeply resent everything else the band members ever did solidify their status as a once-in-a-generation phenomena. Except we’re still here talking about it.
All orders received today through Thursday, February 21st from the U.S. Matador Webstore that include Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain will receive a free MATADOR REVISIONIST HISTORY slip mat and a reproduction of Pavement's 1994 press photo (credit: Gail Butensky). Random orders will receive a press photo signed by Stephen Malkmus. UPDATE: press photos are now OUT OF STOCK, orders will still receive the slip mat.