Posts Tagged ‘Matador Records’

Kim Gordon Delivers Ferocious Solo Debut <i>No Home Record</i>

Kim Gordon doesn’t put much stock in the superlatives that have piled up around her over the years: pioneer, visionary, icon, legend, beacon. “Being referred to as an ‘icon,’ blah blah blah,” she said recently in the New York Times. “What does that even mean?”

Fair enough, but you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s earned it. As a visual artist, co-founder of Sonic Youth, fashion designer and occasional actor, Gordon has been a magnetic, and inscrutable, focal point of indie cool for nearly 40 years. In all that time, her musical pursuits have come in group projects: 15 studio albums with Sonic Youth, three each as part of Free Kitten and Body/Head and one with Glitterbust, along with various EPs and singles scattered among them. Now, at the age of 66, Gordon steps out with No Home Record, a ferocious solo debut. It’s jagged, chaotic and mesmerizing in a way that pulls you inevitably into the thick of it, as if the songs were exerting their own inescapable gravity.

Though Gordon delivers these nine songs with supreme, unruffled confidence, there’s an unsettledness to them that reflects the sense of impermanence she has felt since moving back to Los Angeles, that most transient of cities. On “Air BnB,” the feeling manifests in the lyrics of her sardonic ode to the gig economy. She lists off amenities you might find in the web copy—something about towels, a flat-screen TV, a daybed—over gnashing guitars that sputter and grind before dropping into gear on the refrain as she wails, “Air BnB, gonna set me free.”

There’s a form of abnegation happening on “Murdered Out,” which Gordon first released as a single in 2016. She noticed that the low-rider car-culture trend of matte-black paint jobs was becoming more widely fashionable. The embrace of light-absorbing finishes struck her as “the supreme inward look, a culture collapsing in on itself, the outsider as an unwilling participant as the ‘it’ look,” she explained. Gordon pursues that idea in the lyrics, her voice alternating between breathless and abrupt on the verse and formidable full-throated keening on the refrain, accompanied by a massive, relentless beat from Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa and snakey blasts of guitar that writhe and churn. The overall effect is at once imposing and enthralling.

Gordon tinkers throughout with rhythms, intoning short, incisive lyrical phrases over a hypnotic mechanical beat on “Cookie Butter,” and letting the electro-clash drums on “Sketch Artist” drop out here and there for free-form interludes. Toward the end of No Home Record, she skips the beat altogether on “Earthquake,” singing in dusky tones over drifting guitars, crescendos of cymbal wash and some crumbly electronic noise in the background. It’s the most straightforward song on the album, but instead of ending there, Gordon takes one more foray into mercurial weirdness on album closer “Get Yr Life Back.” Her voice is often little more than a disquieting whisper surrounded by an eerie clanking rhythm and thickets of guitar feedback and brittle noise that blanket the song like some sinister fog.

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Despite enduring as one of post-punk’s most iconic artists thanks to her work with Sonic Youth, Free Kitten and Body/Head, Kim Gordon has still yet to release a solo album. That’ll change this week in October with No Home Record, her first full-length under her own name, to be released by Matador Records. And from the bass bombs that punctuate advance track “Sketch Artist,” it sounds like she still has some new sounds in store for longtime fans.

Kim Gordon doesn’t put much stock in the superlatives that have piled up around her over the years: pioneer, visionary, icon, legend, beacon. “Being referred to as an ‘icon,’ blah blah blah,” she said recently in the New York Times. “What does that even mean?” Fair enough, but you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s earned it. As a visual artist, co-founder of Sonic Youth, fashion designer and occasional actor, Gordon has been a magnetic, and inscrutable, focal point of indie cool for nearly 40 years. In all that time, her musical pursuits have come in group projects: 15 studio albums with Sonic Youth, three each as part of Free Kitten and Body/Head and one with Glitterbust, along with various EPs and singles scattered among them. Now, at the age of 66, Gordon steps out with No Home Record, a ferocious solo debut. It’s jagged, chaotic and mesmerizing in a way that pulls you inevitably into the thick of it, as if the songs were exerting their own inescapable gravity. Gordon tinkers throughout with rhythms, intoning short, incisive lyrical phrases over a hypnotic mechanical beat on “Cookie Butter,” and letting the electro-clash drums on “Sketch Artist” drop out here and there for free-form interludes. Toward the end of No Home Record, she skips the beat altogether on “Earthquake,” singing in dusky tones over drifting guitars, crescendos of cymbal wash and some crumbly electronic noise in the background.

No Home Record is an eclectic surge of noise: Gordon dabbles in hip-hop production, rumbling rock ‘n’ roll, noise, and art-punk. It isn’t even the most bloody, distorted parts of her music that make for the most jarring. Take the captivating opener “Sketch Artist,” where there’s a sublime shift in instrumentation; her voice carries like a cool breeze as gentle guitar plucks reveal themselves like the sun breaking through a lightning storm. These nine tracks are a collage, sonically and pictorially, of where America stands today—a flurry of genres, of sales pitches, of desperate human cries waiting to be heard.

From Kim Gordon’s new album ‘“No Home Record” released on Matador Records on October 11th.

Kurt Vile released a new album, “Bottle It In”, back in October 2018 via Matador Records. Among our Top Albums for that year. Now he has announced some more tour dates. He has also covered The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations” in a session for Spotify, where he also performed his own “Loading Zones.”

Matador Records is now sharing a little behind-the-scenes info on the project in the form of a twenty-minute documentary detailing Vile’s experience leading up to its recording. Filmed in New York’s Catskill Mountains, (bottle back) follows Vile as he rehearses the songs that would appear on Bottle It In alongside Canadian alt-westerners The Sadies and guitarist/producer Matt Sweeney, as well as his band The Violators.

In addition to full-song footage of Vile playing through “Baby’s Arm,” “Bassackwards,” and “Check Baby,” (bottle) provides plenty of insight into the artist’s personal life and how he’s learned to balance raising a family with a prolific output of new music. “I basically would do a whole album cycle, then start a new record and go out again when the record was done,” he says at one point before swigging a beer. “I just get so deep into the record that I can’t stomach that ever again—I’ll puke. I just gotta live my life, make music in between everything else—family world, playing live, and otherwise. It’s just the way I live.”

You can watch the Ryan Scott–directed doc in its entirety below, and stream the new version of “Baby’s Arm”.

Bottle It In includes “Loading Zones,” a new song Vile shared in August 2018 via an amusing video for it, When the album was announced Vile shared the near 10-minute long “Bassackwards,” via a lyric video for the song.  Then he shared another song from the album, “One Trick Ponies,” via a lyric video for the song. He also stopped by SiriusXM for a session covering Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” and perform “Bassackwards.

Then he stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform “Loading Zones.” He also shared a non-album track, “Timing Is Everything (And I’m Falling Behind),” which was an Amazon Original. Vile also performed another session for NPR Music to performing three songs as part of their Tiny Desk Concert series, where he did “Bassackwards,” “Loading Zones,” and “Peeping Tomboy.” Then he stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers to perform the album’s “Yeah Bones.”

“Bottle It In” was the follow-up to 2015’s b’lieve i’m goin down, although in 2017 Vile teamed up with Courtney Barnett for a collaborative album, Lotta Sea Lice. Bottle It In was recorded over the course of two years in various cities (including Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Portland), with various producers (including Rob Schnapf, Shawn Everett, and Rob Laakso, a member of his backing band The Violators). The majority of Bottle It Inwas recorded at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with Peter Katis (Interpol, the National) engineering and producing. The album also features Cass McCombs, Kim Gordon, Mary Lattimore, Lucius, Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, and Farmer Dave Scher.

Cat Power was originally the name of Chan Marshall’s first band, but has become her stage name as a solo artist. Born in Atlanta, Marshall was raised throughout the southern United States, and began performing in local bands in Atlanta in the early 1990s. Marshall grew up in a chaotic, poor family with a largely absent blues musician father and a mother from whom she would later become estranged. She has written about alcoholism, violence and assault and, on one song – “Black” she sings of running all the way upstairs, to escape someone who “threw me in the bath with an ice and a slap / can of Coke down my throat / on his whole hands and knees”.

She was discovered opening for Liz Phair in 1993 by Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar, with whom she recorded her first two albums, Dear Sir (1995) and Myra Lee (1996), on the same day in 1994. In 1996, she signed with Matador Records, and released a third album of new material with Shelley and Foljahn, What Would the Community Think. Following this, she released the critically acclaimed Moon Pix (1998), recorded with members of Dirty Three, and The Covers Record (2000), a collection of sparsely arranged cover songs.

After a brief hiatus she released You Are Free (2003), featuring guest musicians Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, followed by the Soul music influenced The Greatest (2006), recorded with numerous Memphis studio musicians. A second album of cover tracks, Jukebox, was released in 2008. In 2012 she released the self-produced Sun, the highest charting album of her career to date.

Critics have noted the constant evolution of Cat Power’s sound, with a “mix of punk, folk and blues” on her earliest albums, and elements of soul and other genres more prevalent in her later material. Her 2012 album Sun incorporated electronica in a self-proclaimed move from the “slower” guitar-based songs she initially wrote for the album. If you’re a fan of Cat Power’s music, you might be thinking: “Well, hang on a minute, she was drunk the last time I saw her live, in fact she turned her back on the audience, muttered something inaudible, stopped in the middle of three songs and then walked off.” Such erraticism is indeed something her live shows became known for; in her own life there were psychotic breakdowns, and she went to rehab for alcohol and prescription-drug addiction. Her diehard fans never wavered, though. For them, to know Cat Power’s heartbreaking, raw music is to love her unconditionally, giving her a rightfully elevated position in the American alt-rock scene

The complete recorded works of Georgia by way of New York, South Carolina and Miami artist Cat Power, reveal’s a complicated artist, and a highly unpredictable one. Yet throughout Marshall’s career, she’s maintained a singular sense of bluesy melancholy that remains a staple of who she is as a songwriter.

Dear Sir (1995)

Cat Power’s first album doesn’t reveal much of what her future held, aside from the fact that there’s a certain sense of walls-closing-in tension. Dear Sir is a lo-fi indie rock record like almost any other lo-fi indie rock record of the mid ’90s, except a notch or two better ,drummer Steve Shelley and guitarist Tim Foljahn amplify the nervous energy that Marshall’s songwriting holds, and you can already tell that voice she has is capable of expressing the kind of resonant emotion-over-virtuosity weariness of which artists typically nail the balance when they’re twice the age she is here. The version of Cat Power that Chan Marshall debuted on first album Dear Sir is, in essence, fairly similar to what she’s done all along, just much more stripped down and on a smaller budget. But at its heart, the connection remains — a bluesy, melancholy approach that comes wrapped up in a lot of soul and a lot of tears. Aesthetically, though, Dear Sir is mostly a low-key, lo-fi indie rock album that displays Chan Marshall’s songwriting at its rawest,

The Tom Waits song “Yesterday Is Here,” cowritten by Kathleen Brennan and originally from Franks Wild Years, is Marshall’s first great recognizable cover. While the arrangement doesn’t start out too far from the original’s staggering minimalist junk shop blues, it’s a brief but intense and unexpected turn into a monomaniacal motorik beat (if that motor threw a rod). This rendition shows off the way Marshall’s voice can turn her surroundings into shaky ground.

Undercover EP (1996)

This track, from a brief session in Portland, has a funny story behind it (at least if the YouTube comments are to be believed). Apparently, as Marshall was on her way to the studio to record Undercover, she changed her mind about one of the songs she wanted to record, and scrapped something she had planned in favor of Dead Moon’s “Johnny’s Got A Gun.” As a result, she spent her drive to the studio studying a copy of Dead Moon’s Defiance LP to memorize the song’s lyrics.

That’s how Marshall took one of the most underrated garage-punk protest songs of the ’90s and found a way to make her quiet intensity sound as capable of busting through walls as Toody Cole’s amplified snarl did. It’s a kind of sloppy-spontaneous performance — she omits the first verse and forgets the words to the last but damn, it works.

Myra Lee (1996)

Released only six months after Dear Sir, and what would be her second album of three in a one-year span, Myra Lee is considerably darker and more complex than its predecessor, but at the same time, a good measure more difficult. It can’t be a complete coincidence that Steve Shelley plays on this album, which sounds frequently like the dissonant songs of early Sonic Youth. Nonetheless, Marshall’s bluesy, folk-influenced songwriting still remains the focus, but presented in a considerably more gothic fashion. Its opening track, “Enough,” speeds up and slows down in pursuit of a nervous breakdown more than a climax, which grows even more intense when re-recorded for the same year’s What Would The Community Think. Similarly, “We All Die” is a harsh noise rock trip that follows a descending riff into the underworld. The cover this time around is a sparse, jangly take on Hank Williams’ “Still In Love,” and the re-recorded version of “Rockets” continues a tradition of revisiting old songs, which comes up repeatedly through Marshall’s career (Dear Sir‘s “Headlights,” itself was a reprise of an early single). There’s a little more complexity to Myra Lee, though Marshall is still one album away from really tapping into the kind of affecting songwriting that made her later albums such emotional powerhouses.

Hank Williams had dealt with pain his entire life from spina bifida, and when a fall made it worse in 1951 a few months after “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” hit No2 on the Billboard country singles chart — he started to self-medicate the only way a traveling musician in the early ’50s could find, namely alcohol and a cocktail of painkillers, up to and including morphine.

Whether or not that’s the Hank Williams that Marshall had in mind when she recorded her version, it’s the one that might come to mind thinking about the chronic illness and depression-related alcohol abuse she had to fight through over the years to get to where is is today. But think of the artist foremost, here the country love song deftly reimagined as the cream of ’90s indie rock, concealing a deep wistfulness in what half-listens might disguise as amateurishly played affectless calm. Instead, it’s an actual manifestation of feeling so completely defeated by heartbreak that you can’t even get the focus to play it tight.

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What Would the Community Think (1996)

With two albums released in less than a year, Chan Marshall had transitioned from Steve Shelley’s Smells Like Records to the bigger indie Matador Records, which is where she revealed her first flat-out great record. On a purely aesthetic scale, “What Would The Community Think” is cut from the same cloth as its predecessors. It features the same musicians, maintains the same production style, and even has some of the same songs Myra Lee‘s “Enough” is made into an even more manic and climactic track here in the penultimate slot. But the songwriting here is stronger and more sophisticated. “Good Clean Fun” seems always on the verge of snapping, its tense verses extending into some dangerous places before finally revealing a chorus that references Carly Simon and never actually explodes. “Taking People” has some gorgeous slide leads, and “Nude As the News” is one of the most intense and intensely personal songs in the entire Cat Power catalog. It comes from a place of genuine struggle and anguish, as it was written about Marshall’s own experience having an abortion when she was 20.

Chan Marshall’s second album under the name Cat Power, a lo-fi recording at maverick Doug Easley’s Memphis studio, her soft, engagingly shy voice and delicate acoustSc guitar supported by Easley’s pedal steel and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley’s percussion. though Easley and Shelley are better known for working with much louder, noisier artists than Marshall, they never overpower her sensitive but sturdy material. sounding more self-assured than she did on her debut, 1995’s ‘Dear Sir’, Marshall invests more passion and fire in songs like the foreboding ‘Water and Air’ and the obsessive, feedback and piano-laced title track than one expects to find in the slacker-friendly lo-fi genre. elsewhere, the delicate ‘King Rides By’ is an unvarnished love song that packs an equally powerful emotional wallop. this is an outstanding, underrated album.

There are, of course, a few covers, which likewise make for some strong inclusions, particularly Marshall’s take on Smog’s “Bathysphere.” Smog’s Bill Callahan was her boyfriend at the time, and the two would move in together in a house in South Carolina, though that didn’t last. Callahan has a long history of writing outstanding songs, though in this case, Marshall’s is the definitive one.

This isn’t the first time Cat Power paid tribute to Peter Jefferies — there was a cover of “Sleepwalker,” by his post-punk band This Kind Of Punishment, on Dear Sir  but this cover from her breakthrough first album on Matador is bound to be a lot of people’s introduction to the New Zealand musician, mine included.

It’s clear from the original version of “Fate Of The Human Carbine” why Marshall might have considered Jefferies something of a kindred artist. The restrained anxiety in this performance, paired with the lyrics’ implication of a panopticon that needs to be hidden from (“They all come and peep through a hole in the wall/ Keep the bastards guessing”), is the sort of feeling that permeates Cat Power’s best early work. Paring back Jefferies’ intricate guitar technique into a serrated-edge acoustic churn adds some panic to the melancholy.

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Moon Pix (1998)

Moon Pix is possibily Cat Power’s best album. This is, of course, entirely arguable. There is no qualitative way of proving it, and there are just as many entirely valid defenses for many of Chan Marshall’s other records, though “You Are Free” is probably the one that stands up strongest against this one. Moon Pix isn’t a victory because it’s the most perfectly executed, This is the classic, spooky and off kilter album from Cat Power. Chan adopts a kind of child-visionary persona, delivering an idiosyncratic mixture of surreal, direct, and insinuating lyrics that are enough to rend your heart the more you hear them. her voice is husky yet pure at the same time, and she’s at her best with minimal instrumentation, just her stark vocals and a muffled guitar, sounding like the saddest, most hopeful person on earth singing to herself in an empty room. originally released in September 1998 on Matador.

It sounds great, though later albums like “The Greatest” would prove that bigger recording budgets could, in fact, greatly enhance Cat Power’s sonic potential. What makes “Moon Pix” so special, really, is that it nearly perfectly encapsulates everything so bewitching about Chan Marshall’s dark, honest songwriting.

Playing the 20th-anniversary concert of her album”Moon Pix” in the Sydney Opera House in May. It’s an album that she wrote, inspired by a nightmare when living alone in a farmhouse, and recorded in Australia in 1998, which was then described by Rolling Stone as her “breakthrough record”. The concert cemented something in her head about her own sanity; her own power. Marshall met so many fans who wanted to tell her what certain songs helped them through: a brother’s suicide, madness, loss. The more stories she heard, the more she realised what her small act of creation had achieved. Plus, she found a power in the songs themselves that didn’t fit with her memory of the girl who had written them decades earlier. “I didn’t know I loved myself then, when I was younger. But when we played them, I realised the great love that I had had for myself. Those songs had been me trying to prove to myself,

Moon Pix is where Cat Power’s strengths as a musician and an idea-generator saw her established (dis)comfort zone of indie/folk/punk expand into a more sure-footed place, with lusher arrangements and a rhythm section with more breathing room (via Mick Turner and Jim White of the Dirty Three). On this album, Marshall traded claustrophobia for wide-open vistas. It’s an immersive, even welcoming record, which is pretty noteworthy considering half the original songs were written to stave off the harrowing aftereffects of a hallucinatory nightmare. “I felt as if something was coming fast, straight from under the earth, these dark spirits … then they came, thousands of them, all up against the kitchen window. They were clear, black as night, trying to get into my soul. That’s when I grabbed my acoustic guitar. I thought that if people found my body, I needed to leave a tape. So I just played the songs that became Moon Pix. It was horrifying.”

The one cover on Moon Pix is a traditional folk song, “Moonshiner,” but the liner notes state that it was “inspired by The Bob Dylan.” Marshall revealed in a recent interview, that she remembered hearing his version at around age 25: “I was so in love with this person who was so abusive. I just came to terms with it recently. He was a good man, he just had a lot of demons. He put this on, and it validated my pain, and listening somehow took the pain away. ‘Moonshiner’ was the softest bed I could ever lie on. I felt validated, realized.” But then you hear how weary and lost she sounds in this version, and look into what she adds to the lyrics: “You’re already in hell, you’re already in hell/ I wish we could go to hell.”

What makes the album all the more interesting is the chilling gothic atmosphere that seeps through every track, as it does on the crackle of thunder in “Say,” or the eerie flute that accompanies “He Turns Down.” In doing press for the album, Marshall tells a recurring tale in which she’s awoken by someone in a field in South Carolina, becomes surrounded by evil spirits and starts writing songs to keep from altogether losing it.

The Covers Record (2000)

“The Covers Record”, it’s her finest album, though it’s certainly stunning in its spare, skeletal beauty. Rather, it’s a key album in getting a better insight into who Chan Marshall is as a musician and a songwriter. That probably sounds counter intuitive – gaining insight into a songwriter’s persona via other people’s songs but it’s through her choice of covers that the composite picture of Marshall’s various influences, and the manner in which she applies her own filters. Half of the album comprises either standards or traditional folk songs from the public domain, including a gorgeously spare take on “Sea of Love” and a haunting, tearjerker of a take on “Wild Is the Wind.” Her choice of rock covers is all the more revealing, however. In Marshall’s hands, Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason” goes from a heartfelt love song to a statement of faith and acceptance of death.

Recently repressed on vinyl, these are covers of other people’s songs. yet she sings them with no less intensity than if they were her own. on ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ she removes the chorus and returns it as elegant slow blues. Most appropriately, she covers ‘Red Apples’ by Smog whom she resembles in approach. obscure (traditional and early) Dylan, Nina Simone and Michael Hurley tunes complement the bruised but not buried surroundings. originally released in march 2000 on Matador Records. 

The first of two covers albums Marshall recorded in the ’00s,”The Covers Record” is right about where dramatic re-interpretations of other people’s songs went from an occasional fascinating diversion into a distinct corner of Marshall’s career. Her version of the Rolling Stones’ most iconic song is a gutsy way to open a record otherwise marked by folkier offerings, and looks out of place on a tracklist otherwise devoted to traditional songs and deep cuts from Smog and Moby Grape.

Looks, maybe, but not sounds: If you’re going to cover one of the most famous songs in rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s already been famously covered by DEVO, why not do the inverse of what they went for and go for ennui in place of monomania? No rhythm section, no chorus, not even That Riff — just a meditation on what happens when the initial youthful energy that accompanies that burst of frustration eventually disintegrates and you’re just left with the lingering downer effects of all these outside influences battering your sense of self.

“The Covers Record” is one of Marshall’s most emotional records, part of which comes from how stripped down it is, and part of which comes from Marshall’s connection to the songs, which is remarkably different from that of their original performers. More than any other album in her catalog, it’s a reflection of how crucial traditional American blues and folk music is on Chan Marshall’s songwriting.

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You Are Free (2003)

In a manner of speaking, “You Are Free” is Cat Power’s breakup album with fame. Every artist with some level of success goes through it, from Neil Young’s On the Beach to Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait. But Marshall’s kiss-off to being held on a pedestal, which has only compounded in recent years with some uncomfortably forthcoming interviews (which come to think of it make her kind of a rock star for being so anti-glamour), is neither as angry as Young’s nor as shambling as Dylan’s. In fact, “You Are Free” is second only to “Moon Pix” in terms of being Marshall’s most cohesive and powerful statement. It also, ironically, is the album with the most famous guest musicians. Eddie Vedder lends his backing vocals to “Good Woman,” a sad chamber folk song that chills with its gentle narration of a crumbling domestic scene. Its instrumentation is stripped down to the skeleton, her ethereal voice not so much haunting as spooky.

By the time Cat Power got to this song by Greenwich Village vet-folkie Michael Hurley, he’d already recorded studio versions of it in four different decades.

Each version feels a little different, but they all share that sense of empathy for a misunderstood monster, and Cat Power’s version adds another layer of pathos. There’s the way those strings — arranged by David Campbell, who did the same for Linda Ronstadt, Leonard Cohen, and (his son) Beck — tremble into existence, bristling and swaying and taking an air of perilous tightrope balance that simultaneously invokes horror movie tension and romantic tragedy. There’s also the fact that Marshall’s habit of stripping out any lyrics that don’t fit the mood she’s putting across leaves “Werewolf” without any of the violence implied by the original: All the pain’s in the love itself.

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The Greatest (2006)

Almost anything that Cat Power has recorded could in some way be classified as sad and beautiful, but in the case of “The Greatest”, it’s sad and beautiful in a much more conventional manner. Which is to say, it’s a classic pop album.  To capture this rich, soulful aesthetic, Marshall recorded in Memphis with some of the biggest session players of the ’60s and ’70s, including Leroy and Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, who are best known for backing Al Green. As such, it garnered a few Dusty In Memphis comparisons upon release, which is perfectly fitting given the brassy, breezy soul of songs like “Could We” and “Living Proof,” the latter of which ranks among Marshall’s sexiest tunes, rhythmically speaking. But the vulnerability that’s been part of her music remains, it just manifests itself in different ways, from the third-person tale of a boxing hopeful on the lush, heartbreaking title track (“Once I wanted to be the greatest/ Two fists of solid rock/ With brains that could explain any feeling“) to the more conventionally Cat Power-sounding “Hate,” with almost satire-level lines of self-loathing: “I said hate me, myself and I / Said I hate myself and I want to die.” The unexpected peak, however, comes in the final track, “Love & Communication,” which abandons the lushly arranged pop sound for a dirty, Crazy Horse-style barnburner that at once finds Marshall sounding both abrasively defiant and perfectly natural.

Teaming Cat Power with the Hi team who recorded behind Ann Peebles and Al Green was an unexpected and brilliant idea. A special alchemy took place at Ardent Studios in Memphis which enhanced both Cat Power’s gorgeous smoky voice and the soulful groove the band has laid down. I would say that that it was worth the price of the album just for the majestic opening song, The Greatest, were it not that it is also available as a single, but that would be to unfairly demean the rest of the record. Of course Cat Power does not need embellishment, as is demonstrated on the unadorned song Hate. Cat’s most accomplished album to date.

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Jukebox (2008)

Cat Power’s first album of covers, The Covers Record, was mesmerizing in how simply Chan Marshall took on various rock and folk songs from a wide range of eras, and made them entirely her own. Jukebox is another album entirely comprising covers, including a cover of a Cat Power song, but the feeling isn’t nearly as enchanting. The idea, admittedly, is cool: Marshall and the Dirty Delta Blues Band, which made up the touring band she used behind The Greatest that featured members of The Dirty Three, Chavez and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, play a loose and soulful session of covers. That’s it! Simple, easy, hard to ruin. But something about it just doesn’t add up to the gorgeous, charming collection that The Covers Record did. In fact, some of it is downright corny. The band’s take on Frank Sinatra’s “New York” takes a light, breezy standard and attempts to make it grittier, which in turn only makes it cornier. Her cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” is cool enough, but doesn’t quite match the graceful sadness of the original. But the biggest point of contention is her reworking of Moon Pix‘s “Metal Heart.” Granted, five out of nine Cat Power albums feature a song in its second version, but this one feels utterly unnecessary. The original is so achingly gorgeous, I’m not sure why you’d want to mess with it, but then again, this is something she’s been known to do repeatedly, so why stop now, I guess. The remainder of the album is fine enough, but Jukebox on the whole seems like it could have been divided up in to b-sides.

Jukebox features a great version of Nick Cave’s ‘Breathless’. Cat Power returned with ‘Jukebox’, It was her second album of cover songs and a tribute to the great vocalists who have influenced her over the years. recorded in Dallas, Memphis and Miami with Stu Sikes (who also worked on Loretta Lynn’s grammy-winning ‘van lear rose’), ‘Jukebox’ contains thirteen tracks, eleven of which are covers. the other two tracks – ‘Song to Bobby’, is brand new and a suitable inclusion as she wrote it about meeting Bob Dylan for the first time (it also precedes her version of ‘I Believe in You’ on this record) plus a new version of Cat Power’s own ‘Metal Heart’. this is the first record she has made with her band Dirty Delta Blues – the quartet of Dirty Three’s Jim White, delta 72’s Gregg Foreman, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Judah Bauer and Lizard Music’s Erik Paparozzi – and they make up a big part of this album.

Also making guest appearances on the record are Spooner Oldham , Larry Mcdonald, Teenie Hodges, and Matt Sweeney (chavez). the album includes covers of Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, James Brown, Dylan, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin etc.

Marshall singled out Hot Boys’ ’99 album Guerilla Warfare as a revelation: “At that time there was so much music that my friends were making that had no groove in it, so I just wanted something I could fuckin’ move to.” But you can’t move to this version of Guerilla Warfare cut “I Feel” unless you’re rocking in place, which is just as well. Stripping out most of the specificity of the original’s references while keeping the emotional core of its pacing-in-a-tiny-room stress, it treats its source material not as an excuse to slum it in gangsta exoticism but to zero in on what it is in those lyrics that she can connect to directly: defiance in the face of people who refuse to even comprehend you.

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Sun (2012)

As of 2012, Chan Marshall is a grown-ass woman of 40, and a good listen through Sun, her ninth album, certainly reflects that. It’s a much tighter album than her 2008 covers jam Jukebox, and even a more dynamic record than The Greatest, which admittedly contained some of her prettiest songs. But what’s most important about Sun is how much Marshall challenges herself to expand into weirder but nonetheless remarkable material. Lead single “Ruin” makes good use of the Dirty Delta Blues Band by kicking up a driving rock song that makes for one of the album’s catchiest tracks. Pulsing krautrocker “Manhattan” is somewhere between Neu! and Eno, and that makes for a particularly satisfying surprise. But then “Silent Machine” just tears shit up the old fashioned way with some down and dirty blues rock. Sun is quintessential Cat Power, but also contains some of the least Cat Power-sounding material she’s ever recorded. For that matter, as evident on the sprawling “Nothin’ But Time,” Marshall sounds more positive than she ever has, and that seems to reflect her personal life, in which she seems to be in a much healthier place than she has through much of her career. A complicated performer with a long and nonetheless captivating history, Cat Power continues to stand as a vessel for fearless and powerful songwriting.

Six years after her last album of original material (‘the Greatest’, 2006), Chan Marshall moved on from her collaborative forays into memphis soul and delta blues. she wrote, played, recorded and produced the entirety of ‘Sun’ by herself, a statement of complete control that is echoed in the songs’ themes. Marshall calls ‘Sun’ – “a rebirth,” which is exactly what this confident, ambitious, charismatic record feels like. “Moon Pix (1998) was about extreme isolation and survival in the crazy struggle,” she says. “Sun is don’t look back, pick up, and go confidently into your own future, to personal power and fulfilment.” the music on ‘Sun’ employs a sweeping stylistic palette: there’s the classic Cat Power haunting guitar and provocative vocal hook in ‘Cherokee’ (“marry me to the sky…bury me upside down”); the irresistible latin-sounding nine-piano loop of ‘ruin’; upbeat, almost dancey electronic anthems like ‘Real Life’ and ‘3,6,9’; and the stirring, 8-minute epic ‘Nothin But Time,’ featuring a vocal cameo by Iggy Pop. the swagger of ‘Silent Machine’ brings to mind mid-70s Jagger, contrasted with the unusual, sparse production of ‘Always On My Own’. the narrative arc of the record is deeply optimistic; the music is defiantly modern and global. though devoid of grave bedroom confessionals, ‘Sun’ is possibly Cat Power’s most personal album to date. for all its layered expansiveness, it is as handcrafted as her debut, and never has a Cat Power album so paralleled her personality and state of mind – channelling her humour, anger, deep empathy, musical inspirations, technical skill, and spiritual inquiry into an album that’s both surprising and comforting. those versed in the Cat Power discography will detect elements of 2003’s landmark album ‘You Are Free’, which experimented with vocal forms and beats borrowed from urban music, and the spellbinding authority of songs like ‘American Flag’. ‘Sun’ is incredibly fresh, reflecting its forward-looking mindset.

Catpower

Wanderer (2018)

“Wanderer” is her 10th album release. Her old record label, Matador Records , wanted her last album, Sun, “to be a hit record, and the pressure was overwhelming”. So she moved to Domino Recordings, where she felt she could have “some kind of sacred, secret space with this record. I didn’t want to think about what anybody else wanted. I only wanted to think about what arrived in my brain.”Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) produced “Wanderer” herself, writing and recording it’s 11 tracks in Miami and Los Angeles. Lana Del Rey guests on one track! Richly glorious vocals sing folk for indie kids. Almost Appalachian harmonies are the icing on a homemade cake of indefinable sweetness. Gently tender songs trickle and flow like dancing sunlight. Splashes of piano, loping guitar and a quivering Rhodes help to wrap up the songs in a parcel of loveliness.

Wanderer is, in many ways, a quintessential Cat Power record, with Marshall’s clarion voice front and center in a set of songs that remarkably stark and straightforward. But, if old Cat Power records might easily have been viewed as repositories for pain, Wanderer is, at its heart, a testament to the transformative nature of songs, an album-length imagining of alternate paths, redemptions, connections, and open-ended possibility.

Cat Power, the vocalist, songwriter, musician, and producer Chan Marshall released her new album “Wanderer” via Domino Recordings. Produced in its entirety by Marshall, “Wanderer” includes appearances by long-time friends and compatriots, as well as guest vocals courtesy of friend and recent tour-mate Lana Del Rey. Written and recorded in Miami and Los Angeles over the course of the last few years, the new album Wanderer is a remarkable return from an iconic American voice. “Wanderer’s” 11 tracks encompass “my journey so far,” says Marshall. “The course my life has taken in this journey – going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me. Folk singers, blues singers, and everything in between. They were all wanderers, and I am lucky to be among them.”

The albums:

Dear Sir (1995)
Myra Lee (1996)
What Would the Community Think (1996)
Moon Pix (1998)
The Covers Record (2000)
You Are Free (2003)
The Greatest (2006)
Jukebox (2008)
Sun (2012)
Wanderer (2018)

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The classic sophomore LP, available in a limited white vinyl pressing and available for the first time ever as a coloured LP. After two years of seemingly endless tours, the quartet returned in early 2004 to Peter Katis’s Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Conn., to record their second album. They had already debuted a handful of songs earmarked for Antics on the road: Length of Love, Narc, C’mere. Meanwhile, having revisited – and reinvented– the material from Bright Lights night after night, they discovered new strengths. There was more room for experimentation in these songs, for toying with arrangements and intricacies of individual parts, than on their debut.

The acclaimed record, which was originally released back in 2004, is set to be reissued on limited-edition white LP. It will arrive on September 27 – the album’s original release date – via Matador Records.

All 10 tracks from ‘Antics’ will appear on the reissue, including ‘Evil’, ‘Slow Hands’, and ‘Narc’

With Antics, Interpol has delivered a disc even more engaging than its celebrated predecessor, without sacrificing any of the depth that has made them such an important band for so many. The songs are at once catchier and more variegated, revealing themselves over time to a degree heard on few current releases, and nothing is ever obvious. Frontman Paul Banks describes, “A lot of time, there are specific topics or events that that inspire the songs, but it’s not explicit in my lyrics.“ Indeed, with Interpol, things are rarely what they seem.

Interpol is a New York-based rock band formed in 1998. The band currently consists of Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitar) and Sam Fogarino (drums). 

Interpol’s second album ‘Antics‘ 15th Anniversary out now on Matador Records

No Home Record

More than 35 years after co-founding Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon has announced that she will release her debut solo album. The new LP – dubbed “No Home Record” – will drop on October. 11th via Matador Records.

“‘Why a solo record? And why now?,’” Gordon was questioned via press release. “I don’t know, but it wouldn’t have happened without the persistence of [producer] Justin Raisen. Living in LA the last few years it feels like home, but the transience of the place makes it feel sometimes like no home.”

The announcement comes with the music video for a new single, “Sketch Artist.” In it, Gordon portrays a ride-share driver (for a company called “Unter”), while “Broad City” star Abbi Jacobson makes a cameo.

From Kim Gordon’s new album ‘”No Home Record” released on Matador Records on October 11th.

On the heels of her triumphant Matador Records debut Turn Out the Lights and the critically acclaimed collaborative EP boygenius, JulienBaker returns with her first new solo recordings in 18 months, “Red Door” b/w “Conversation Piece,” available exclusively for Record Store Day 2019. The 7″ features the first studio recording of a fan favorite “Red Door”, previously only heard live, and a previously unreleased cut begun during the Turn Out the Lights sessions, “Red Door” is a lush and atmospheric track driven by Baker’s complex fingerpicking and a hint of slide guitar, her voice soaring as she pleads “set me on fire in the middle of the street / bend my knees, paint the concrete / the color of my bloody knuckles / pulling splinters form the chapel door.” A previously unreleased cut begun during the Turn Out the Lights sessions, Its flip side “Conversation Piece” is a meditation on loneliness, backed by delicate percussion and chiming guitars.

“Conversation Piece.” Julien Baker’ s Turn Out the Lights received glowing reviews across international press outlets and continues to sell steadily, nearing 40k equivalent albums in the U.S. boygenius’ s/t EP has reached 14k scans in its first three months on sale.

Car Seat Headrest today announces Commit Yourself Completely – a new nine-track live album that will be released only via digital means June 17th. Culled from performances across the UK, US and France, the nine-track album spans material from 2016’s breakout Teens Of Denial and 2018’s reimagined epic Twin Fantasy – as well as the first officially released recording of longtime live staple ‘Ivy’ by Frank Ocean. A filmed version of the performance of ‘Fill In The Blank’ which appears on the album, recorded in Columbus, Ohio,

“This is a compilation of songs from shows we played in 2018,” says Will Toledo. “We recorded every show we did that year, and I went through about 50 of them to get the final tracklist for this album. This isn’t necessarily the best possible version of each track, but it’s some of the most fun we’ve had on stage. I particularly remember the show we did in the small French town of Amiens, maybe the smallest show we did that year, and how great it felt to be up in people’s faces with everyone plugging in to the music right away. The recordings we made of the shows came out very clean, so rather than try to artificially recreate how it sounded in the different venues night to night, I tried to give the whole album that in-your-face feeling, like we’re playing the songs right in front of you. When you’re onstage with everything happening at once, you never really know what it sounds like in the room anyways; all you know is how the music is feeling. Hopefully this will give you a sense of what these shows felt like.”

A snapshot of the 7-person lineup featuring members of Naked Giants experienced by crowds worldwide over the last two years, Commit Yourself Completely offers a visceral, loose and ebullient take on these much-loved songs, as well as an an incandescent capstone of a formative touring period as Car Seat Headrest readies his next studio album. Musicians featured on the album are Will Toledo (vocals), Seth Dalby (bass), Ethan Ives (guitar, vocals), Andrew Katz (drums, vocals), Grant Mullen (guitar, vocals) Gianni Aiello (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Henry LaVallee (additional percussion).

From Car Seat Headrest’s live album ‘Commit Yourself Completely’ released June 17th on Matador Records

‘Commit Yourself Completely’

Tracklist:

1. Cosmic Hero (Live at the Tramshed, Cardiff, Wales)
2. Fill In The Blank (Live at Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH)
3. Drugs With Friends (Live at La Lune des Pirates, Amiens, France)
4. Bodys (Live at La Lune des Pirates, Amiens, France)
5. Cute Thing (Live at O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, England)
6. Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales (Live at O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, England)
7. Destroyed By Hippie Powers (Live at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR)
8. Ivy (live at the Capitol Theater, Olympia, WA)
9. Beach Life-in-Death (Live at Crossroads, KC, Kansas City, MO)

On June 7th, 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

It’s out June 7 via Matador. The show was part of the free River to River Festival (and had The Feelies opening)

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Recorded during time spent in upstate New York with Dave Fridmann, the five songs that make up “A Fine Mess” gradually emerged as a body of work with a narrative and flow unto itself. The title track, and BBC 6 Music-playlisted single Fine Mess then received further production from Kaines and Tom A.D. and mixing from Claudius Mittendorfer, who had first worked with Interpol as engineer on Our Love To Admire. The resulting set is a living, breathing postcard from the band to their fans as they tour the world throughout 2019, and a linear continuation of the visceral and contagious energy set loose with Marauder.

Echoing its title, the artwork for A Fine Mess is illustrated by a series of lost images, recovered from an abandoned police station in Detroit, MI. In a crumbling evidence room – amongst the rubble – an undeveloped roll of film, dated “1-20-96”, featured latent images of a breaking and entering scene, the rooms in chaos.

From the beguiling refrain of the title track, to the soulful topsy-turvy of No Big Deal, cathartic chorus of long sought-after live favourite Real Life, anthemic swell of The Weekend, and angular shades of Thrones, A Fine Mess is a bracing and distinct entry in Interpol’s oeuvre.

Interpol‘s latest album ‘Marauder’ is out now on Matador Records.