Posts Tagged ‘Matador Records’

Julien Baker has announced her third full length album titled “Little Oblivions”, which is set for a February 26th 2021. Released via Matador Records. In addition to the album announcement, Baker also shared the first single off the new record, titled “Faith Healer” coupled with a music video directed by Daniel Henry.

In Baker’s own words: Put most simply, I think that “Faith Healer” is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience. I started writing this song two years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction. For awhile, I only had the first verse, which is just a really candid confrontation of the cognitive dissonance a person who struggles with substance abuse can feel — the overwhelming evidence that this substance is harming you, and the counterintuitive but very real craving for the relief it provides. When I revisited the song I started thinking about the parallels between the escapism of substance abuse and the other various means of escapism that had occupied a similar, if less easily identifiable, space in my psyche.

There are so many channels and behaviours that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction. I (and so many other people) are willing to believe whomever — a political pundit, a preacher, a drug dealer, an energy healer — when they promise healing, and how that willingness, however genuine, might actually impede healing. ‘Little Oblivions’ is the third studio album by Julien Baker. Recorded in Memphis, TN, the record weaves together unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for storytelling to new heights. It also marks a sonic shift, with the songwriter’s intimate piano and guitar arrangements newly enriched by bass, drums, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker.”

Releases February 26th, 2021

yo la tengo

Yo La Tengo have already given their loyal fans a beautiful vinyl reissue of 1995’s Electr-O-Pura and a new album of ambient quar-core instrumentals (We Have Amnesia Sometimes) this year. If that’s not enough, they have this EP on the way, featuring low-key covers of the Byrds’ “Wasn’t Born to Follow,” Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” and the Flying Machine’s Sixties pop hit “Smile a Little Smile for Me,” plus a few others. The songs were selected by the Japanese painter Yoshitomo Nara — another artist who’s fond of working subtle variations on a repeated theme — as part of a Los Angeles County Museum of Art retrospective of his work, and now the charming results will be available for wider listening.

On October. 9th, Yo La Tengo will release Sleepless Night a new EP featuring a slew of covers, as well as a stand-alone single – “Bleeding” The project arrives after Yo La Tengo originally collaborated with Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara.

Explained YLT’s Ira Kaplan via press release: “We met Yoshitomo Nara in 2003, would see him at his art shows and our concerts…To make the catalogue of his 2020 exhibit at LACMA more personal, the idea came up to include an LP of some of Nara’s favourite songs as part of a deluxe edition. We were asked to provide one side of the LP (and that one track be a new composition), with the other side being another six songs selected by Nara, in their original versions. Here are the six songs we contributed to the LACMA record, chosen in collaboration with Nara.”

Yo La Tengo back with a new EP titled Sleepless Night, which follows their instrumental collection that dropped a few weeks ago. The EP is out now via Matador Records, and it features six tracks: five covers and one new original song titled “Bleeding.” The covers include songs by The Byrds, Bob Dylan, The Delmore Brothers, Ronnie Lane and The Flying Machine. Sleepless Night was originally released as part of artist Yoshitomo Nara’s retrospective exhibition at the LACMA. Nara also helped choose the EP’s tracklist, and made the cover art.

Don’t say they never did anything for you, lovers of mellow indie-psych drones.

Release date: October 9th, ‘Sleepless Night’ is the new EP from Yo La Tengo, out October 9th on Matador Records.

Speed, Sound, Lonely KV (ep)

Acoustic troubadour Kurt Vile has announced a new EP called “Speed, Sound, Lonely KV”, set for release on October 2nd via Matador Records As a preview, Vile has shared a tender duet of John Prine’s single “How Lucky” featuring none other than the late Prine himself — a recording that Vile, a long time fan, is calling “the single most special musical moment in my life.”

“The truth is John was my hero for a long time when he came into The Butcher Shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me. And, man, I was floating and flying and I couldn’t hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night,” said Vile in a statement. “A couple nights later we were playing ‘How Lucky’ together again; this time onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on New Year’s Eve at the turn of 2020. Nothing like seeing John and his band of musical brothers and family and friends playing into the new decade in front of an adoring audience on that stage in Nashville, TN… and, yup, that’s just how lucky we all got that night.”

Kurt Vile’s ‘Speed, Sound, Lonely kv (ep)’ was recorded and mixed in sporadic sessions that spanned four years at the butcher shoppe studio in nashville, tn. It includes five songs —covers of John Prine and “Cowboy” Jack Clement as well as two originals —and was recorded alongside a cast of local heavies like Bobby Wood, Dave Roe, and Kenny Malone with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Superwolf) tossed into the mix as well.

Most importantly, it features what KV has called “Probably the single most special musical moment in my life” –a duet with the late John Prine on the songwriter’s well-loved tune, “How Lucky.” Vile and Prine take different verses at first, but join forces at the end, with their vocals complementing each other quite nicely.

The truth is John was my hero for a long time when he came into the butcher shoppe to recut one of his deepest classics with me. and, man, i was floating and flying and i couldn’t hear anything he told me while he was there till after he was gone for the night,” notes Vile in a personal statement that accompanies the record. “a couple nights later we were playing ‘how lucky’ together again; this time onstage at the grand ole opry on new year’s eve at the turn of 2020. nothing like seeing John and his band of musical brothers and family and friends playing into the new decade in front of an adoring audience on that stage.

Speed, Sound, Lonely KV spans five songs in total, including the aforementioned track as well as a cover of Prine’s hit “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”, a spin on Jack Clement’s single “Gone Girl”, and two original numbers by Vile called “Dandelions” and “Pearls”. The EP was recorded and mixed at Nashville studio The Butcher Shoppe over the course of four years.

On October. 9th, Yo La Tengo will release “Sleepless Night” a new EP featuring a slew of covers, including a newly released version of The Byrds’ “Wasn’t Born To Follow. The project arrives after Yo La Tengo originally collaborated with Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara to create these tracks for a recent retrospective.“ We met Yoshitomo Nara in 2003, would see him at his art shows and our concerts,” explained YLT’s Ira Kaplan via press release. “…To make the catalogue of his 2020 exhibit at LACMA more personal, the idea came up to include an LP of some of Nara’s favourite songs as part of a deluxe edition. We were asked to provide one side of the LP (and that one track be a new composition), with the other side being another six songs selected by Nara, in their original versions. Here are the six songs we contributed to the LACMA record, chosen in collaboration with Nara.”Other selections include work by The Delmore Brothers, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Lane, and The Flying Machine. 

The Matador version of the EP is a single-sided 12” with original cover art by Nara, a drawing of the band by Hubley, and an illustration by McNew etched on the record’s flip.

Ira Kaplan on ‘Sleepless Night’:

We met Yoshitomo Nara in 2003, would see him at his art shows and our concerts. We dj’d at an opening at the Asia Society, and on another occasion he drew a picture of Georgia strangling me on a Gloomy pencil case that became one of Georgia’s prized possessions until it was stolen from her at the bar at the K-West hotel in Shepherd’s Bush. To make the catalogue of his 2020 exhibit at LACMA more personal, the idea came up to include an LP of some of Nara’s favorite songs as part of a deluxe edition.  We were asked to provide one side of the LP (and that one track be a new composition), with the other side being another six songs selected by Nara, in their original versions.  Here are the six songs we contributed to the LACMA record, chosen in collaboration with Nara.

I probably was introduced to “Blues Stay Away from Me” on NRBQ’s Workshop lp, working backwards to the Louvin Brothers and the Delmore Brothers (with a detour to Doug Sahm and Band). Our version was recorded by Mark Nevers in February 2011.  Charlie Louvin had died just a couple of days before. We were on a tour with William Tyler that came to an end in Nashville. The three of us and William and Kurt Wagner threw together an arrangement of “Blues Stay Away from Me” as a tribute and closed our show at the Exit/In with it. Since we were hanging around Nashville for a few days before going home, we went to Mark’s studio and recorded it.

“Wasn’t Born to Follow” was recorded by Gene Holder as part of the sessions that resulted in Stuff Like That There. Dave Schramm on lead guitar. I’m sure I heard the Byrds’ song for the first time when my mom took me and a bunch of my friends to see Easy Rider. (One kid was forbidden by his parents from joining us, as was my younger brother.  My dad took my brother to see Butch Cassidy instead, and I’m guessing my friend stayed home and did homework.)

Ronnie Lane didn’t write “Roll On Babe,” but his is the version we’re covering. James recorded it in Hoboken.  (And that song was among the songs Georgia played when we dj’d at the Asia Society.)

While making ‘And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out’ in Nashville, Roger Moutenot recorded Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” for a John Peel birthday show. As best as we can tell, we sent the one and only copy of the master to England. Yes, we’re as dumbfounded as you are, if not more so. After a lot of sleuthing, we came up with this.

“Bleeding” was written by us, recorded in Hoboken by James.

James also recorded The Flying Machine’s “Smile a Little Smile for Me” for Michael Shelley’s Super Hit Tsunami!, available to people who pledged to WFMU’s 2019 fundraising marathon.

Track List:

Blues Stay Away
Wasn’t Born to Follow
Roll On Babe
It Takes a Lot to Laugh
Bleeding
Smile a Little Smile for Me

Sleepless Night’ is the new EP from Yo La Tengo, out October 9th on Matador Records.

“Mike Hadreas has confidently dropped an intense album of brilliantly realised pop songs. As the quivering vocals mirror that synthesiser bouncing from from one ear to the other, the opening few seconds of opener Whole Life announces “Set My Heart On Fire Immediately” to the world.

The nom de plume of US singer/songwriter Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius continues to flourish in his element as a genre-defying, expectation-destroying catalyst for modern pop.

No Shape, Perfume Genius’s remarkable fourth album, marked a bold leap for Mike Hadreas—stuffed with eye-popping pageantry, panicky swarms of violins, and incandescent, sun-drenched pop. Its follow-up, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, instantly overwhelms the senses in much the same way. Hadreas hasn’t lost his flair for the cinematic, and Set My Heart sways from one musical style to another so casually you’ll feel the urge to stop and catch your breath.

That makes for a rewarding sonic journey, but underpinning Hadreas’s fearless versatility is striking self-analysis and vulnerability. Opener “Whole Life” is a glimmering 1960s waltz, but it’s also a grim reckoning with the passage of time. Likewise, while Hadreas’s vocals and a tiptoeing harpsichord initially command attention on “Jason,” his intimate, colourful recounting of a one-night stand, they elevate the song to something greater. Instantly accessible and technically impressive, Set Your Heart on Fire Immediately quickly earns your admiration, but its raw emotional weight is what keeps you coming back.

While many artists in Hadreas’ field openly struggle with their transition out of the prototypical “young pop star” motif, Perfume Genuis pushes the envelope as he always has, and continues to bring truth, emotion and raw sincerity to everything he does.

From Perfume Genius’ new album ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately” released on May 15, 2020 on Matador Records.

Car Seat Headrest Makes an Album for Arenas, But Loses Itself in the Process

When Car Seat Headrest began their opening set at Madison Square Garden in February 2019, they opened with “Can’t Cool Me Down,” a then-unreleased song that built up to a cheeky refrain: “Hey we’re not supposed to be here!” But, by all accounts, the indie rock band has long sounded like an arena act—complete with booming drums and squealing guitar intros and outros.

By many measures, Car Seat Headrest’s new album Making a Door Less Open, their fourth for Matador Records and 12th overall, sounds like the sort of record that could play well in large rooms like Madison Square Garden. It combines the ambitious live techniques they’ve honed over the last few years with newer electronic elements, like those on the revamped “Nervous Young Inhumans” from 2018’s Twin Fantasy redux. Making a Door Less Open may be an album seemingly made for arenas, but, unlike their past life-affirming, hands-in-the-air material, it doesn’t care to play to the nosebleeds.

That ambition is obvious on album opener “Weightlifters,” a song that puts the arena mentality front and center: “Put your heart on the target / They expect you to scream / Music blasts through the market / It’s the sound of the machines.” But instead of being like Dave Grohl and going on some lengthy diatribe about computers killing rock ‘n’ roll, Toledo embraces those sounds—glowing synths abound on “Weightlifters,” where hip-hop drum machines provide the backbone on skeletal lead single “Can’t Cool Me Down.”

In some cases it works. “Weightlifters” and “Can’t Cool Me Down” sound fresh despite lacking the cathartic choruses that made the band’s first three Matador releases, particularly Teens of Denial, so damn loveable. They represent a successful sonic experiment. “Life Worth Missing” offers a nice middle ground between the new and old Car Seat Headrest as shimmering synths build to a rousing finish.

The more traditional Car Seat Headrest songs are actually the less interesting bunch on Making a Door Less Open. “There Must Be More Than Blood,” a track that features the same squealing guitar jams that were prevalent between songs on their 2018 tour, doesn’t really go anywhere across its seven minute run time. “Martin” glimmers with a clean, upbeat acoustic guitar, and it could be the most approachable song Toledo’s ever written (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it still leaves something to be desired).

Worst of all is “Hollywood,” a “how did this make the album?!” head scratcher on what could’ve been their mainstream breakthrough. Knowing Car Seat Headrest’s discography, you might assume the cliché guitar riffs and incredibly bland anti-Hollywood lyrics (“Hollywood makes me want to puke” is unforgivable) are some sort of tongue-in-cheek dig at alt-rock radio, but it works only about as well as Arcade Fire’s Everything Now lowlight “Chemistry,” another song that unsuccessfully played with irony. Each line throughout “Hollywood” is horrendous, from “Sick of drinking / Sick of drugs / Sick of fucking” to “They don’t talk about the 12 year olds on pills waking up in beds of big producers.”

The lyrics throughout Making a Door Less Open aren’t as indefensible as those on “Hollywood,” but they’re rarely as relatable as anything they’ve released prior. Gone are the lines like “You have no right to be depressed / You haven’t tried hard enough to like it / Haven’t seen enough of this world yet / But it hurts, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts.” Instead, Toledo’s songwriting is streamlined too much, which has adverse effects on the album itself. With fewer refrains and memorable melodies to latch onto than ever before, the lyrics, which find Toledo grappling with fame and deteriorating relationships, revert to well-worn rock ‘n’ roll territory, not really offering anything new.

All that said, Toledo is frequently frustrated with listeners, particularly critics, ingesting his lyrics as autobiographical, as this New York Times profile suggests. He’s currently attempting to occupy a new gasmask-wearing alter-ego named Trait, referencing his frankly unlistenable comedy-EDM/rap side project with drummer Andrew Katz called 1 Trait Danger. But it’s tough to figure out how the two projects interact on Making a Door Less Open: The concept—could this be a concept album?—is simply vague at best, made even more confusing with at least two separate tracklists.

There’s a very real chance this would all make more sense with the new, deconstructed live set the band has been talking up for quite some time. But because of the coronavirus-induced concert shutdown, we may have to judge the album solely on the recording rather than the theatrical live set it was apparently made for. And that’s a shame, because Making a Door Less Open isn’t as memorable as its predecessors on its own: Toledo’s vision as a whole never feels truly fleshed out, representing the first legitimate misfire in the career of one of this generation’s most talented indie-rock songwriters.

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Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas is one of modern pop’s true boundary-pushing juggernauts. Each of his four albums—but particularly the last two: 2014’s Too Bright and 2017’s No Shape—rattled with sonic magnificence and lyrics of deep trauma, the fierce reclamation of space and the transcendence of love and intimacy. Hadreas is fresh off a collaborative dance piece with choreographer Kate Wallich and The YC dance company, and he’s now poised to bring that vulnerable physicality to his first Perfume Genius album in three years: Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. While No Shape saw him lean into bold, adventurous art-pop, Set My Heart sees him embrace American rock ‘n’ roll glory. It still preserves his enthralling tenderness and idiosyncratic pop palette, but it adds torched guitars and classic rock melodies. Songs like “Describe” are led by a dreamy, prevailing calm while still shaking the ground with guitar distortion. It’s Hadreas at his most abstract and carefree.

While I haven’t previously delved into the albums of Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas), I read his profile/interview in The New Yorker and was immediately intrigued, so I went straight to listen to Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, his new record; the song that grabbed me the most was “On the Floor.” It has a steady, side-to-side groove, the kind that might bring you to the nearest dancefloor on a cool evening.

The lyrics however drip with longing, and a touch of fear. Hadreas sings of big feelings for someone, presumably big love, and begs, “take this wildness away,” as the instruments pare down for a moment, leaving only the desperation in his voice before the groove picks back up. 

From Perfume Genius‘ new album ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately” released on May 15th, 2020 on Matador Records.

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Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, the fifth studio album by Perfume Genius, boasts the best album title of 2020. There’s a visceral quality to it that not only paints a picture, but beautifully marries the urgent earnestness and theatrical camp that has defined his decade-long career. The album contains some typically transcendent musings on love and self and acceptance, this time painted with colours of rock and country – two traditionally hyper-masculine genres, confidently embodied and beautifully muddied by one of the most enigmatic artists working right now.

Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas is one of modern pop’s true boundary-pushing juggernauts. Each of his four albums—but particularly the last two: 2014’s Too Bright and 2017’s No Shape—rattled with sonic magnificence and lyrics of deep trauma, the fierce reclamation of space and the transcendence of love and intimacy. Hadreas is fresh off a collaborative dance piece with choreographer Kate Wallich and The YC dance company, and he’s now poised to bring that vulnerable physicality to his first Perfume Genius album in three years: Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. While No Shape saw him lean into bold, adventurous art-pop, Set My Heart sees him embrace American rock ‘n’ roll glory. It still preserves his enthralling tenderness and idiosyncratic pop palette, but it adds torched guitars and classic rock melodies. Songs like “Describe” are led by a dreamy, prevailing calm while still shaking the ground with guitar distortion. It’s Hadreas at his most abstract and carefree.

From Perfume Genius’ new album ‘Set My Heart On Fire Immediately” released on May 15th, 2020 on Matador Records.

Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest have shared “There Must Be More Than Blood,” the latest song from their forthcoming album Making a Door Less Open. The song is a lengthy one, clocking in at around seven-and-a-half minutes. The new album will be out next week and the band has shared another new song off of it. It follows the singles “Hollywood,” “Martin,” and “Can’t Cool Me Down.” Below, find the official song and acoustic version, performed by Will Toledo’s alter ego Trait, the album’s protagonist, who was wearing a mask before it was cool. The chorus: “There must be more than blood that holds us together/ There must be more than wind that takes us away/ There must be more than tears when they pull back the curtain/ There must be more than fear.”All of them are good. Spoiler alert: The whole album is good! But we’ll have more to say on that later. In the meantime, here is one more good song to pique your interest.

Making a Door Less Open is out May 1st (via Matador) and marks the first studio album from Toledo and co. since the release of Twin Fantasy in 2018. Last year, the band also released the live album Commit Yourself Completely.

The band’s leader, Will Toledo, planned to conduct business for his entire album cycle in a modified gas mask. He planned this (you guessed it), before the pandemic. “It was supposed to be sort of an exotic alternative to reality — like a challenge, I guess, to normal life,” Toledo said. “And now it just feels a lot more pointed in a way that I wasn’t planning on and don’t really take any pleasure in.” That new album, “Making a Door Less Open,” is a very different type of record for this indie-rock band with such a fervent fan base.

Steve Gunn released Acoustic Unseen on Matador Records, a new EP of intimate acoustic versions of songs from his critically acclaimed latest album, The Unseen In Between. Accompanying the news of the release is a short documentary titled Unseen Anthology which opens to a scene of Gunn performing outside one of London’s thirteen green cab shelters, diminutive sheds which were originally introduced in 1875 to provide shelter for cabmen – and also to keep them out of the Victorian pubs.

The Unseen In Between is befitting of its title; a mysterious and mesmeric edgeland offering glimpses into the underbelly of a half-remembered neighbourhood, and the trials and habits of its outcasts. It could be argued that the view is too familiar for some, causing them to wander and grow listless. Upon looking deeper however, many will find solace in the oblique tales and tragedies. Those relatable human moments, which can be found right under your nose….” . The EP features a stripped down perspective on the stately set and disclosing the songs’ rich individual elements in Gunn’s dexterous and lyrical guitar style. Steve says: “After being on the road with the band since January, I wanted to spend an afternoon capturing the songs from The Unseen In Between as I originally wrote them, with just me and my acoustic. Mid-year, I went back to the great Strange Weather Studio in Brooklyn, and played through the songs in their most basic form. It felt good.”

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Directed by The Mitcham Submarine and edited by James Harman, the documentary weaves together footage from touring, live sessions, official and unofficial music videos – including a breath taking session for Toutpartout in a transformed convent in Ghent, on the road footage captured on a Fisher-Price camera by Steve and his band, and acoustic videos filmed across London, including a Cecil Court bookshop. Taken together, it’s an engrossing live document of an artist in need of little more than a guitar and his voice to conjure a transfixing atmosphere, and a perfect visual companion to the EP.

released October 15th, 2019

Steve Gunn – Guitar & Vocals,
All songs written by Steve Gunn