Tag: Matador Records

First Impressions: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks ‎– Wig Out At Jagbags

First Impressions: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks ‎– Wig Out At Jagbags

First Impressions: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks ‎– Wig Out At Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus is a perpetual favorite who resides on my Mount Rushmore of guitarists along with Ira Kaplan, Thurston Moore, & Kurt Vile. Any record he’s on I’m excited about, and his latest with The Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags, is no exception.

This is the sixth album Malkmus has cut with The Jicks, which means he’s released more albums with them than Pavement, and that blows my mind. Terror Twilight (the last Pavement album) was released 15 long years ago, which raises waaaaaaay too many questions about my own mortality without having a drink near by, so I’m moving on.

I’ve listened to Wig Out at Jagbags three times so far, and the record as a whole is mixed super flat. Each time I’ve dropped the needle on “Planetary Motion” (Track A1) I’ve instinctively reacted by turning my receiver up as all parts are muddled and just lounging in the middle. You get used to the mix as the record wears on, but it’s really lacking the oompth you’d want from a Malkmus album, and comes off as neutered. The songs aren’t bad by any means, with “Lariat” being the initial standout, but nothing really grabs me by the balls and demands my attention like “Hopscotch Willie” did on Real Emotional Trash. Like most of Saint Stephen’s records this is very likely a grower, but on the first few listens it’s not showing me too much, which is why I’m especially excited to hear the album live in February.

Recommended If You Like: 90’s Alternative, Madlibs, Dr. Seuss Rock

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New Video: Yo La Tengo – Is That Enough

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo ponder the mysteries of math.

Yo La Tengo have released another new video off of their excellent 2013 album Fade. “Is That Enough” takes you through the complicated musical equation that gives you Yo La Tengo. I still don’t see how Marcy Playground fits in, but I guess I’ll just have to trust the math.

Recommended If You Like: 70’s AM, Advanced Calculus, Venn Diagrams

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Recommended Album: Cian Nugent & The Cosmos ‎- Hire Purchase

Cian Nugent is a dream on guitar.

Cian Nugent is a dream on guitar.

I’ve been singing the praises of Matador Records “Singles Going Home Alone” 7″ Record Club since its inception a year and a half ago, and Matador’s yet to disappoint me with a record. It’s not too late to join and catch-up on 2013, and it’s a worthy investment. The records are only available through the club, and often become very collectable, and I assume “Hire Purchase” will become such a record – it’s bonkers good.

Cian Nugent is a guitarist and composer from Dublin, Ireland who plays some of the most passionate and beautiful guitar I’ve heard in a long, long time. I was organizing and listening to my records yesterday afternoon and played “Hire Purchase” for the first time and was completely and utterly leveled. The thoughtful musicianship presented was breathtaking, and I sure as hell hope there’s more records planned with him and The Cosmos – “Hire Purchase” may be my favorite song thus far in 2013.

Not since hearing the guitar playing of Jack Rose have I been in such complete awe of a guitar players tone and presence, and I’ll be diving into other works of his for sure, judge for yourself below, it’s a beautiful burn.

Recommended If You Like: Jack Rose, 70’s Era Dead, Guitar Instramentals

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What’s Your Cure For Pain? – Review of Chelsea Light Moving at The Sinclair

Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore owning the night with Chelsea Light Moving. (GIF – D.Hixon)

Chelsea Light Moving
The Sinclair*, Harvard Square, 04/07/13

Thurston Moore holds a coveted spot on my Mount Rushmore of guitar players, and Sunday night at The Sinclair he did nothing to discredit these feelings. I’ve loved his last couple solo albums (Trees Outside The Academy, Demolished Thoughts), but they’re decidedly solitary records, best listened to on solo car rides through the mountains. Chelsea Light Moving and their music is not meant for the melancholy or reflective – and with the aid of his new bandmates, Thurston’s back with a powerful swagger that’s impossible to deny.

This was the last show of Chelsea Light Moving’s inaugural tour and Moore seemed a little punch drunk on-stage – joking at the crowd with a know-it-all sneer in a dry manner he’s perfected over the years. This attitude translated magnificently into their set, as they played with an abandon that their music was made for. The show was loud, in your face, and bared a lot of teeth. The album’s a total rocker, and if anything it’s enhanced while on stage, especially while holding a chip on their shoulder.

I have no clue what the future holds for Sonic Youth, and understand their “hiatus” is more complicated than most bands, but at the moment I don’t care, because Chelsea Light Moving are making music that’s as raw and exciting as anything Moore’s been involved with in years, it’s not suited for solitary trips in the woods, but for dirty urban streets as you and some new & old friend alike look for trouble & escape.

*I also want to note this was my first trip to The Sinclair and it may quickly become my favorite venue in the Cambridge/Boston area. The ambiance, staff, and food are all really top notch. Really excited to have it be just down the street from me.

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Under Silkworm: The Past is the Present is the Future

Silkworm

Silkworm are hero’s of Music, and will get their due with time.

Couldn’t You Wait? is a new documentary about the 90’s most under appreciated band, Silkworm. It’s a touching film that serves as an inspiration to both musicians and fans alike, and it’s available online for a budget friendly $5.00. Directed by Seth Pomeroy, Couldn’t You Wait? chronicles Silkworm’s journey from Missoula to Chicago, Matador to Touch and Go, and all points in-between. It’s an excellent snapshot of the evolution of an American band and the community they helped galvanize.

What struck me most about Silkworm’s story was how the three of them, Tim Midgett, Andy Cohen, and Michael Dahlquist evolved their music without compromise, answering only to themselves. They were on the edge of many scenes (Seattle, The “Alternative” Boom) and played on seminal labels (Matador, Touch and Go), but they never let trend get in the way of their music. This approach cost them a lot of money, but as time passes their integrity and dedication will out survive bands from the 90’s who had commercial success.

The Under

The Under fighting the good fight at O’Brien’s last night.

I watched Couldn’t You Wait? before heading across the river to see The Under play at O’Brien’s last night and found striking parallels between Silkworm and them. The obvious similarity is that they’re both three piece bands, however, The Under’s style of music is vastly different than Silkworms. That said, they both uniquely play with such pure un-bastardized talent that I couldn’t help blurring them together. The Under’s progressive rock style spans the map, with all influences on display. While other bands on the bill were trying to scream you into a testosterone induced submission hold, The Under attacked you with a level of musicianship that lapped the other bands who graced the stage. This made me think about how Silkworm didn’t conform to what others around them were playing or listening to, and made me realize that The Under, while very different, are from the same family tree.

There’s thousands of bands like Silkworm and The Under in towns and cities across the country who’ll have varying levels of success and failures, but by them staying true to themselves they’re raising the watermark of what music should be. They’re on the front lines every day, bucking trends, keeping music fresh, exciting, and important – that’s something I’d wait a lifetime for.

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New Album: Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving

Chelsea Light Moving

Chelsea Light Moving

Thurston Moore’s new band, Chelsea Light Moving, are releasing their self-titled debut on 03/05/13 via Matador Records, and it’s now streaming over at NPR. The band consists of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Keith Wood (Hush Arbors), Samara Lubelski (Hall of Fame), and John Moloney (Howlin’ Rain) and the album’s a total rocker. When Moore and Kim Gordon divorced in 2011 Sonic Youth was effectively disbanded, although they’re officially saying the group’s on a hiatus. The divorce bummed out Sonic Youth-heads and left them in worry about what was next for the group and its members.

Both Thurston and Lee Renaldo have released excellent solo efforts since the “hiatus” of Sonic Youth, Moore with his outstanding 2011 Beck produced Demolished Thoughts. While Demolished was a beautiful effort, it was in large part a melancholy, acoustic, and reflective record, which makes sense given where Moore was in his personal life at the time. Enter Chelsea Light Moving. There’s nothing soft about this record. It’s searing with Thurston’s signature attacking guitar and sing-song snarl, and fits neatly with any of Sonic Youth’s more raucous efforts. It appears Moore’s through mourning, and with the help of a very adept new band, he’s finding his familiar voice in a new way, which should make any Sonic Youth-head happy.

The first single (located below), “Burroughs”, was recorded and mixed May 18-20, 2012, by Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab, Easthampton, MA.

Chelsea Light Moving will be playing at The Sinclair in Cambridge on 04/07/13. You can pre-order Chelsea Light Moving here.

Recommended If You Like: Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore, Feedback Rock

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New Album: Kurt Vile – Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile - Wakin' On A Pretty Daze

Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile is my favorite. I’m hopelessly twisted into liking anything he releases; it’s like being caught in a rip tide and trying to fight against the current. You can let it take you for a ride, or fight and drown – personally I prefer to ride, fighting nature is futile. Needless to say I was ecstatic to learn Kurt Vile was not only releasing a new album, but a massive double LP spanning 69 minutes and backed by his excellent band The Violators. Above is the video for “Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze”, which is legendary street artist ESPO creating the album artwork in a desolate industrial locale as some serious homage is paid to their native Philadelphia. The track is over nine minutes long which makes the comparisons of Vile and the Violators to Young and Crazy Horse somewhat justified, at least in my minds eye.

Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze will be released by Matador Records on 04/09/13. You can pre-order the album here, and download the Title Track via the Matablog. April can’t come soon enough, as I continue to ride this beautiful current. Yeah Yeah Yeahhhhhhh.

Recommended If You Like: Acoustic Stoner Crazy Horse, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, The War on Drugs

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New Album: Yo La Tengo – Fade

Yo La Tengo - Fade

Yo La Tengo – Fade, in available in stores and online now.

Life is ever moving. Not much is constant or consistent. Albums you listened to 10 years ago are different than Albums you’ll be listening to 10 years from now. Friendships change, people die, stores close, and bands break-up. Life is ever moving.

That said, there are those rare people, places, albums, and bands that seem to ride the same wave as you, and while change is constant, it’s done in the same gradient. I’ve been changing with Yo La Tengo since the mid-90’s and they’ve never let me down with a performance or release, and their latest, Fade, is no exception.

Fade was released yesterday (01/15/13) on Matador Records and is another gorgeous addition to a discography that could read as a timeline of my life. You can buy Yo La Tengo’s Fade here, and see a recent performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon here. Yo La Tengo will be performing at the Paradise Rock Club on 02/13/13 and it’s an event not to be missed. You can listen to a new track off of Fade, “Before We Run”, below.

Recommended If You Like: Yo La Tengo, Bands with Married Members, Anything labeled “Indie Rock”

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