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March 23rd, 2011

Matt has a new website, and a new blog! keep up with his journal entries (and the latest news, tour dates, and more) at  www.mattnathanson.com.

records records records

March 9th, 2011

i LOVE the shit out record shopping.
LOVE it.
like, when i go, it takes me hours.
and i don’t buy just one… kinda like dorritos.
it’s my zen moment…
yoked together with total consumerism.
submerging in the greatness.

well, i went to ameoba yesterday for a little swim in lake me.

this is whats i boughts:

the decemberists- the king is dead. (VINYL)

my dear friend/guitar player aaron tap swears by this record.
truth be told, i have trouble with colin meloy’s voice after awhile.
and the dense, bookish-ness (is that a word?? whoa, irony!) of the lyrics.
but aaron raved. and i bought. listening as i type, actually.
i know pete buck played on it, but it is wild how REM it sounds.
and how uncle tupelo.
no complaints here.

rem- collapse into now.

one of my favorite bands of all time.
their last record REALLY did it for me.
their last few before that.. not so much.
listened to this on NPR.
i’m lukewarm. hoping it’s a grower.

the black keys- brothers. (VINYL)

i’ve been holding off on buying this, cause i kinda feel like all their
records do the same thing. and i LOVED the dan auerbach solo album,
so i felt like i had met some invisible black keys listening quota.
but… i have been hearing songs off this record in different places, and
totally loving them. so, here we are.

the civil wars- barton hollow

about a month ago, i asked folks on twitter & facebook for recommendations
of music videos they loved, cause i needed ideas for a director.
someone linked to the video for the civil wars “poison & wine.”s
and the song kilt me. dead.

lykke li- wounded rhymes.

i’ve held out on lykke li. just so much hype.
then i saw her on fallon. and i dropped a doodie. and bought this record.
check it. fierce!

bang a gong!

July 14th, 2010

i know i owe you guys a blog post on
my number 7 greatest artists ever…
but i took another little record store detour
up to ameoba on sunset yesterday
and wanted to share the loot:

marina & the diamonds- the family jewels.

i’ve been reading A LOT about this record lately
and her video has been making the rounds…
AND since i am a total sucker for the ladies who
make the sing-y sing and the rock-y rock,
i bought it without really hearing it.

crowded house- intriguer.

i LOVE crowded house.
neil finn pretty much oozes rad melodies.
this is the new one.
unfortunately, the title sounds like some sort of
probing sex wand…
and if i’ve ever used 3 words to NOT describe
past crowded house albums… those would be them.
but i haven’t listened to this one yet, so you never know.

lil wayne- tha carter III.

i am lil wayne illiterate.
but i’ve been playing ’forever’ by drake TO DEATH lately.
kanye, eminem and lil’ wayne on it…
and LW verses kinda rule.
my friend bruce tells me this is his best, hands down.
so here we are. hands down.

tom petty and the heartbreakers- long after dark. (VINYL)

TP is too good.

zz top- afterburner. (VINYL)

i was never really a fan of ‘eliminator.’
the big hit songs just didn’t do it for me all that much.
i was way into the 2nd tier hits from this record, like
‘rough boy’ and ’sleeping bag’

the cure- disintegration: remaster. (VINYL)

i’ve decided to re-buy all the cure records on vinyl
cause i want to sit in my bedroom and cry.

t. rex- electric warrior. (VINYL)

i saw a killer documentary on t. rex the other night.
well, honestly the documentary was kinda budget,
but it rekindled my love of these songs, and marc bolan.
i have this on cassette somewhere…
but the only real way to listen to it is on vinyl.

Ameoba Music

records make great friends!

June 14th, 2010

i bought a bunch of records on friday.
a little ‘my songs for the new record
aren’t done so i might as well enjoy other
people’s songs’ kinda shopping trip.

here be the goods:

de la soul- 3 feet high and rising.

this record is out of print.
i’ve been looking for it for awhile.
i assume it’s out of print ’cause the band
didn’t get clearance for all the samples
they used on it.
and there are TONS of samples.
and getting sued is expensive
and not fun.
so the label just pulled the record.
anyone know if this is true?
well, no matter the story…
this record is the shit.

the temper trap- conditions.

i saw them play on ‘live from abbey road,’
which is a kick-ass show on sundance channel.
bands get to go record live sessions AT abbey
road, and soak up the magical beatles vibe.
the band is australian, so… that rules.
the kid’s voice is ethereal and rad,
it’s sort of bronski beat…
if bronksi beat were a band i liked.
and they sound VERY ‘first wave’ type 80’s,
which i’m a sucker for.

black rebel motorcycle club- howl.

i worship their record ‘baby 81.’
it kills me.
my friend travis, who is a fan and
played in a band with them before they
became BRMC, told me that i had to
hear ’howl.’
so, see… i listen to my friends.

dr. dog- fate.

the new dr. dog record just came out.
it is crushing my mind.
i don’t know what i had against them for
so long… but, i am now a changed man.
this record is the beginning of me
spelunking their back catalog.

court yard hounds- court yard hounds.

i love me some dixie chicks.
so, in lieu of a new record from them,
i’m giving this a shot.
it is emily & martie’s side project.
i haven’t listened yet, but the artwork
inside the record is rad.

rage against the machine- rage against the machine.

i have NEVER owned this record.
i don’t know why.
maybe i had it on cassette?
i have their demo tape.
but don’t have this.
weird.
anyway, it’s real, real great.
my favorite one, actually
and it was time to own it on CD…
just in time for CDs to become fossils.

drivin n’ cryin- great american bubble factory.

i love drivin n’ cryin.
i think kevn kinney is one of the most under valued
lyricists of the last 25 years.

the tallest man on earth- the wild hunt.

my friend paul is a nerd for music like me.
when he recommends a record, i buy it.
sometimes it’s great, sometimes it isn’t.
but i always buy it.
paul loves this record.
i saw this kid (the tallest man) do one of
vincent moon’s take away shows…
and liked it alright.
i’m looking forward to checking out the record.

jay-z- the blueprint.

i’m late to the jay-z train.
but it is a real nice train.

INXS- live baby live (DVD)

live INXS at the height of their powers.

the jimi hendrix experience- are you experienced. (VINYL)

had to have it.

the english beat- special beat service.

’save it for later’ is SUCH a great song.
and we were watching footage of them at the US festival
on VH1 the other night…
and they were just total bad asses.
dave wakeling, rankin’ roger…
they were dressed up all rude boy, sweating
and skanking their way through the pretty 80s.
(side note)
vampire weekend wouldn’t really exist if it wasn’t for
the english beat.. and haircut 100.
so, you can love them or hate them for that.

the psychedelic furs- mirror moves.

richard butler could deliver you your death sentence
and it would be sexy… what a voice!
…and his LYRICS. ugh. perfect.
THE GHOST IN YOU!!!!

number 8.

June 8th, 2010

this might seem a little controversial.
controversial in the sense that everyone ALWAYS puts
this band somewhere in the top 2 of any ‘greatest’ list ever…

ok. ready?
number 8 on my top 10 list of greatest artists ever is….

THE BEATLES.

see, the weird thing about the beatles for me is this:
i respect them. completely.
i see them as the total bad ass revolutionaries they were….
BUT
i don’t really like them all that much.
i never have.
i’m not sure the exact reason…
their music has just never really resonated with me.
or in me. (dirty!)
it’s never lit me on fire.
and i try. every year or so, i try.

i love watching “let it be.”
i like listening to ‘revolver.’ and ‘rubber soul.’ and ‘abbey road.’
paul mccartney’s guitar solo in ‘taxman’ sounds like a car
skidding into the rails of a freeway off ramp at 70 mph…
and i LOVE it.
their melodies are unmatched.
they came up with chord changes that will ALWAYS be theirs.
no matter who uses them,
there will always be ‘beatles changes.’

i think the sound of their records is PERFECTION.
i would argue, the best sounding rock recordings ever made
are the ones in the beatles catalog.
the band was fearless.
and effortlessly good.
they played like the instruments were extensions of their bodies.
with unbelievable, absolute, stumbling grace.

and then there is the production.  i mean:
-the string quartets on ‘eleanor rigby?!’
-the middle and the end sections of ‘a day in the life?!’
-the tape loops in ‘tomorrow never knows?!’
these are pioneering achievements in music,
often duplicated, never matched.

and there has never been a better band who had the ability to
just shit out great pop song after great pop song.

the beatles charted the landscape.
they drew up the maps.
they spelunked in the caves and came out
with diamond after diamond.
it is beyond amazing what they accomplished in SIX (!!) years.
i respect them. and i get why everyone loses their shit over them…
i just don’t really find them all that inspiring to listen to.
analytically, i get it.
emotionally, i don’t.

john lennon’s voice has always moved me.
his voice.
but that’s it.

that said.
of all the great bands in the 60’s who changed the landscape of music
AND culture, the beatles did it in the most diverse and substantial way.
defying genres.
defying decades.
defying and defining fashion.
and changing the course of our art forever.

number 9.

May 24th, 2010

first off…
in the last entry i totally spaced
one of the reasons queen made
my list AND why they rule:
FREDDIE MERCURY’S VOICE!
it was powerful and dynamic
and… totally otherworldly!

ok… moving on to the number 9
artist in my top 10 list of ‘greatest artists ever’
(based of the list VH1 gave me)

VAN HALEN.

controversial, i know.
fact is, van halen never really gets the respect they deserve.
maybe it’s the years of drama/feuding of the various band members.
or the genre they’re in.
or david lee roth.
i don’t know…
but here are the reasons they rule:

- DAVID LEE ROTH!
have we ever had a front man, before or since,
who encompassed as much sexuality, humor, showmanship,
fearlessness and power as diamond dave?
he owned the stage.
he owned the arena.
he owned the songs.
his singing/shtick was JUST as important as eddie’s playing.
who else gets away with talking about ‘forgetting his pencil’
and ‘easing the seat back’ in his car in a hit song?
he was the ringleader of the party.
that EVERYONE was invited to.

- no one has ever been able to imitate them.
sure, people have jacked certain elements…
but there’s never been a band that’s ever been accused
of ‘doing the van halen thing.’ cause no one can.

- never has a band taken so seriously the idea of NOT being serious…
and in the process, been such ABSOLUTE musical BAD-ASSES!
it’s like… if the 3 stooges were ninjas.
laughing, shtick-ing it up for a crowd of people and then, mid joke,
killing everyone.

- van halen switched singers mid-career and wrote songs that were
JUST AS STRONG. and they sold more records. and became more popular.
(note: this did not work a third time. sorry, gary cherone)

- the songs.
the DLR era van halen songs were completely non-traditional,
completely intuitive, 100% unique and totally transported you
to a different place.
(again… spoken word verses about pencils in ‘hot for teacher?!’ amazing!)
and i happen to think the sammy hagar-era songs were amazing too.
‘dreams,’ ‘when it’s love,’ ‘poundcake,’ ‘finish what ya started’…
those are bulletproof pop rock songs.

- last, but not least.
EDDIE VAN HALEN!!
melodic. fearless. from the gut.
i’ve never heard him play a note i didn’t like.
people have emulated his speed. his technique
but no one can PLAY like him.
he’s dirty. and sexy. and groovy.
he plays like he’s falling down stairs…
in the SEXIEST POSSIBLE WAY a person can fall down stairs.
his sense of melody is UNREAL.
he was the last person to really change the way the guitar is played.
and, for me, there has never been a better guitar player.
(hendrix/clapton/jimmy page/whoever fans… start your booing now.)

number 10: queen.

May 14th, 2010

so last week i shot interview clips for a new VH1
special on ‘the 100 greatest artists of all time.’
they emailed me a big old list and had me fill
out a ballot with my top 10.
then i got to go in, be on camera
and nerd out on my top 25.

you have to understand, when i was a kid…
i DREAMED about shit like this.
if a show had existed then where you talk about
why your favorite bands were your favorite bands,
i would have wiped the flaky puff crumbs off my sweatpants,
put down the dungeons & dragons handbook,
marched my heavy-set ass out of the basement to wherever they
were filming and gotten my dork on!

in short… even though the list VH1 sent had some
glaring omissions (the pretenders, the pixies, ray charles),
the experience was still, pretty much, the highlight of my 2010.

i wanted to share my list with you.
but decided to chunk it out into installments.
and post it every few days or so…
starting with 10.. moving to 1.
obviously 1 is the highest. duh.
ok…

so, the band in my 10th spot…..

QUEEN

- first off: THE SONGS.
they have an ENDLESS stream of amazing songs…
all of which sound like they were beamed in from mars.

- brian may = total legend.
he built a guitar with his dad from a fireplace mantle
and played it for his entire career. if that wasn’t rad enough,
the TONE of said guitar is the aural equivalent of triumphant,
orgasmic angels singing.

-the bass player, john deacon, wrote ‘another one bites the dust’…
THE BASS PLAYER!

- freddie mercury wore short shorts. had badger teeth. and was balding
and made all of that look EFFORTLESSLY COOL!

- roger taylor, the drummer, not only wrote ‘radio gaga,’ but he also
hit all the background vocal high notes live.

- queen’s live shows were a huge spectacle… the epitome of showmanship.
and to their credit, they were able to pull it off while still remaining inclusive.
when you watch queen play, you never feel like an outsider.
you never feel like you are watching people who you wish you could be.
for all of the bombast of their music, and the over blown-ness of freddie
mercury’s on stage persona, you always feel like you are watching people
whose job it is to elevate you. to make you feel like you are a part of
something amazing… not on the outside of it.
and to me, that’s what great music’s all about.

moz speaks… and greatness rolls out.

May 2nd, 2010

morrissey released an AMAZINGLY eloquent statement over
the sudden & unexpected death of his longtime fan, melinda hsu,
who passed away on april 12th.
even if you are not a fan of morrissey (you heathens)…
this is a pretty incredible tribute to her, and to the folks like her,
who spend so much of themselves on the artists they love.
take a second to read it.

-matt

Statement from Morrissey
30 April 2010

My trusted ally Janice Long has passed news on to me of the sudden death of Melinda Hsu. I did not know Melinda personally, but I felt as if I did because she had been a front row fixture for many years. In fact, from her many letters and gifts I understood her name to be Mel Torment, or even, when she felt at her most pernickety, Smel - which I’m certain was not her given name. Mel was a smiling face who lent strength to every single concert, even when events were going somewhat pear-shaped. I felt as if I knew Mel because she was always there - regardless of wherever ‘there’ happened to be; no snowbound landscape too far, no off-the-beaten track too untrekkable. I often handed her the microphone mid-concert and she would always make an effort to say something different each time. What is more, she always seemed so happy to be there on the front row, even though she had heard these live renditions enough times to emaciate the brain of the most inherently decent devotee. However, she was booed by the audience once - in Killarney, when she asked (via microphone) with a tone of disbelief “why Killarney?” but I don’t think she meant the contorted snootiness assessed by the rest of the audience because she was not that type.

Those who travel from concert to concert as Mel did possibly don’t realize the contribution they make. They are as much a part of the night as I am, but I sometimes feel embarrassed because I think they are asking for more than there is, and, mustily, I can’t give it. The goat-like vocals and the tipsy monologues are all that I am.
Mel had passed a note to me at Pomona saying that it would be her final concert of the tour. Yet, hours later, in another venue, there she was again. Even after all she had done, even after all the money she had spent and the millions of miles she had hiked she still could not keep away from the squeeze and bend of yet another version of “First of the gang to die” - never imagining, I’m sure, that it is she who would be the first. As ever delighted and content at Ventura (where we gave our final bow), I cannot imagine whatever it was that Mel believed she saw or felt as she fixed upon the stage night after night, year after year.
Her contribution was a declaration of love for which she seemed to save all of her strength, and for which I could only ever repay with half-witted mumbles of thanks.

The only way to deal with Mel’s death is to accept it. There is no other way. We all have a certain unbreakable appointment and we are all helpless targets in that regard. Life’s only promise is its final deadline. When Mel, and others who are dear to us, depart, we should at least realize as we shuffle along living our small and persecuted lives, how absolutely ridiculous it is to be afraid of anything or anyone on this unhappy planet. Most people are standardized and unoriginal, which is useful, because it makes the Mels of the world stand out even more. Rich in ideas, her self-made calendars and t-shirts were always very funny. You will catch up with her in the afterlife, where I’m sure she will be as creative and busy and as Mel Torment as ever.

Thank you to Julia at True-to-you for printing this.

MORRISSEY
France, april 2010.

my cheatin’ heart…& the records it buys.

April 14th, 2010

i have officially been to the record store
3 times, and didn’t tell you.
i’ve been cheating on you, blog.
jesse’ james-ing your sweet ass.
i’m sorry.
i’m back now.
and my love is strong.
and my list is long.
here it is…
the latest jam-a-lams i’ve
spent my almighty dollar on.
(whoa.. that WHOLE THING rhymed!)

ke$ha- animal.
i figured i’d come right out with this one first.
no use hiding.
it took me awhile, but i’m kinda in love…
(or at least i WAS in love, a month & 1/2 ago
when i bought it.)
“your love is a drug” alone is worth $10.

miike snow- miike snow.
mark and marshall raved about this record
when we were in the studio last month.
a few of the guys in the band produced a bunch
of hit jams… including brit brit’s ‘toxic.’

shout out louds- work.
i sweat the shit out of the first shout out louds record.
i perspire lightly over their second.
this is the third.

beach house- teen dream.
yum-ass-yum!

ABBA- the definitive collection.
inspired by their induction into the
rock and roll hall of fame, i have decided to
love me some abba.

living colour- times up.
getting my high school ON!

frightened rabbit- the winter of mixed drinks.
i haven’t been railroaded by lyrics like this in a long time.
this kid just bleeds when he writes. heavy.
when i listen to their last record, ‘the midnight organ fight,’
it feels like a bus is parked on my chest.

the boomtown rats- ratrospective. (VINYL)
‘i don’t like mondays’ is 1 of my top 5
favorite songs of the last 30 years.
hands down.
rips me in half. every time.

madness- the rise & fall. (VINYL)
i have been slowly collecting all the madness
records on vinyl… cause a boy needs to SKANK!

echo & the bunnymen- songs to learn and sing. (VINYL)
i just want to BE this record.
i want to eat it. digest it. and have it come out
through every one of my fucking pores.
almost makes me wish i had been a goth growing up,
instead of a metal head… almost.

neville brothers- yellow moon. (VINYL)
daniel lanois’ produced this in 1989.
i actually have never owned it.
i know… for shame.

madonna- madonna. (VINYL)
perfect record.

elvis presley- elvis presley (VINYL)
perfect record.
i totally understand why elvis was
people’s everything. this record is sex-punk-
acoustic-soul greatness.

jesse winchester- jesse winchester. (VINYL)
he was on elvis costello’s spectacle show…
which is a rough watch, cause elvis is so up his
own ass. but jesse was a find.
i had never heard of him.
his voice is unreal. lousiana perfect.
buttery and soulful.

charlie sexton- pictures for pleasure. (VINYL)
‘BEAT SO LONELY,’ BITCHES!!!

pat benatar- get nervous (VINYL)
not only does this record have ’shadows of the night’
but it has her in a straight jacket on the cover,
looking deranged and UBER-foxy!
ugh… what is wrong with me?!

night ranger- midnight madness (VINYL)
my favorite song on this record is NOT ’sister christian’
or ‘(you can still) rock in america’…
my jam is ‘when you close your eyes.’
takes me back to 5th grade dances.
i was the one standing by myself
along the back wall… reading.

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me and the anthem.

April 12th, 2010

for those of you who missed it, here is me getting my star spangled banner on last week as part of san francisco giant’s opening day. enjoy.