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|Rock, indie rock, experimental, electronic
|Country of origin
|New York City, London
Matador Records is an independent record label, with a roster of mainly indie rock, but also punk rock, experimental rock, alternative rock, and electronic acts.
Matador was created in 1989 by Chris Lombardi in his New York City apartment. Lombardi had brought the Austrian duo H.P. Zinker into Wharton Tiers’ Fun City studio to record Matador's first release, "...and there was light". Lombardi continued to add artists to the label's roster, with bands like the Dustdevils, Railroad Jerk and Superchunk, before being joined by former Homestead Records manager Gerard Cosloy in 1990.
Lombardi and Cosloy have continued to run Matador Records together with Patrick Amory coming on as Matador's label manager in 1994, later becoming label president as well as a partner of Lombardi and Cosloy. Matador first drew mainstream media attention and larger sales with the North American release of Teenage Fanclub’s debut record, A Catholic Education in 1990. Other early releases that bolstered the label included Pavement's debut studio album Slanted and Enchanted in 1992 and Liz Phair's debut album, Exile in Guyville in 1993.
1993 also saw Matador enter into a partnership with Atlantic Records which lasted for several years. In 1996, Capitol Records purchased a 49 percent stake in Matador, which Lombardi and Cosloy bought back in 1999. Beggars Group purchased 50% of Matador in 2002 and took over the label's worldwide marketing.
Over the years, the label has moved to larger and larger premises, and it now operates in both London and New York. Matador Europe supervises the promotion, sales and marketing of Matador titles in Europe. The London-based office has also licensed recordings from some North American artists, such as M. Ward, Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse, and Superchunk. The roster has grown with the label, and Matador has helped artists such as Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, Cornelius, Solex, Pizzicato Five, Helium and the Arsonists reach audiences worldwide.
In the early 2000s, Matador had to sidestep unwanted involvement in the Recording Industry Association of America dispute over peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Matador's Patrick Amory contacted the RIAA multiple times in order to ensure that an erroneous listing on the group's website of Matador as an RIAA member was removed. After several attempts, the name of the independent label was removed from the membership list.[ citation needed ] Despite Matador's removal from the RIAA list, four of the label's albums have been certified Gold for sales of at least 500,000 units by the association: Exile in Guyville and Whip-Smart by Liz Phair and Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics by Interpol.
Matador acquired True Panther Sounds as an imprint in 2009. Cosloy, speaking through the Matador blog, stated that True Panther Sounds "will continue to be managed by label founder Dean Bein." And that the reason Matador acquired True Panther Sounds was simply, "As Victor Kiam once explained his decision to purchase the Remington Shaver operation, “I liked it so much, I bought the company.”The first joint venture by the two labels was Girls’ debut critically acclaimed release ‘Album’ and was "worked through Matador’s fearsome promotional & marketing machinery."
In October 2010, Matador celebrated the label's 21st anniversary with a series of concerts at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Pavement, Yo La Tengo, the New Pornographers, Spoon, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Guided By Voices, Kurt Vile, Cold Cave, Fucked Up, Liz Phair, Shearwater, Superchunk, Come, Times New Viking, Belle & Sebastian, Cat Power, Chavez, Perfume Genius, Harlem, and Guitar Wolf were amongst the participants. During the event Many of the artists stated their opinions and admiration of Matador. Damian Abraham, of Fucked Up, said that not only did Matador give them credibility as a band but also, "There were a lot of people who thought of us as that band with the swear word that yells, but Matador signing us was like, 'No, no, no, it's okay -- give it a second look.' We fell ass-backwards into being on one of the top indie labels of all time." Mike Hadreas said, "To me, signing to Matador was like getting into a really good school." 'It's a hard thing to talk about without resorting to clichés, but Matador really loves music,' said Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo.[ citation needed ]
Matador has continued to sign bands of various genres including Iceage, Lower, Algiers, Majical Cloudz, Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail.
Elizabeth Clark Phair is an American rock singer-songwriter. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Phair was raised primarily in the Chicago area. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1990, she attempted to start a musical career in San Francisco, California, but returned to her home in Chicago, where she began self-releasing audio cassettes under the name Girly-Sound. The tapes led to a recording contract with the independent record label Matador Records.
Mission of Burma was an American post-punk band from Boston, Massachusetts. The group formed in 1979 with Roger Miller on guitar, Clint Conley on bass, Peter Prescott on drums, and Martin Swope contributing audiotape manipulation and acting as the band’s sound engineer. In this initial lineup, Miller, Conley, and Prescott all shared singing and songwriting duties.
Exile in Guyville is the debut album by American singer-songwriter Liz Phair, released on June 22, 1993, by Matador Records. It was recorded at Idful Music Corporation in Chicago between 1992 and 1993 and produced by Phair and Brad Wood. The album received critical acclaim and in 2020, it was ranked No. 56 by Rolling Stone in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. It was certified gold in 1998.
Slay Tracks: 1933–1969 is the debut EP by American indie rock band Pavement. Pavement—at that time, a duo of just its two founding members Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg (guitar)—recorded Slay Tracks with producer and future member Gary Young (drums) during a four-hour session. Pavement self-released the EP as a 7" vinyl record on the band's own record label Treble Kicker in 1989. The music of Slay Tracks was influenced by indie and punk rock bands such as Swell Maps and The Fall, and many of the lyrics were inspired by life in the band's hometown of Stockton, California.
Homestead Records was a Long Island, New York–based sublabel of music distributor Dutch East India Trading that operated from 1983 to 1996. The label was known for not paying its artists and not spending any money on promotion.
Whip-Smart is the second album by American singer-songwriter Liz Phair, released in 1994, the follow-up to Phair's critically well received debut, 1993's Exile in Guyville. Despite not being as critically well received as her previous record, Whip-Smart debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 and ultimately achieved gold status. As of July 2010, it had sold 412,000 copies.
Liz Phair is the fourth studio album by the American singer-songwriter Liz Phair, released on June 24, 2003, on Capitol Records. It was produced by Phair with Michael Penn, Pete Yorn, R. Walt Vincent and the Matrix songwriting team.
Arts & Crafts Productions is a music-focused media and artist services company that offers information as an independent record label, management firm, merchandiser, and publisher worldwide. It has earned 21 Juno Awards. Arts & Crafts has been called one of Canada's most important record labels.
Girly-Sound is the name under which singer-songwriter Liz Phair recorded three self-produced cassettes in 1991. The cassettes were later made available as bootlegs, some songs saw official releases, and the tapes were released in their entirety in 2018. Girly-Sound is also the name used to refer to the demos or bootlegs collectively. The recordings have been called "legendary" by Spin Magazine and by AllMusic "one of the most popular and sought-after alternative rock bootlegs of all time".
Barbara Manning is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist whose albums blend elements of rock, folk, pop and proto-punk. She is also known for her cover versions of often obscure pop songs. In addition to an acclaimed solo career, Manning has been active in a number of bands, including 28th Day, World of Pooh, SF Seals, and The Go-Luckys!.
Dig Me Out is the third studio album by the American rock band Sleater-Kinney, released on April 8, 1997, by Kill Rock Stars. The album was produced by John Goodmanson and recorded from December 1996 to January 1997 at John and Stu's Place in Seattle, Washington. Dig Me Out marked the debut of Janet Weiss, who would become the band's longest-serving drummer. The music on the record was influenced by traditional rock and roll bands, while the lyrics deal with issues of heartbreak and survival. The album cover is an homage to the Kinks' 1965 album The Kink Kontroversy.
The Hot Rock is the fourth studio album by the American rock band Sleater-Kinney, released on February 23, 1999, by Kill Rock Stars. It was produced by Roger Moutenot and recorded at the Avast! recording studio in Seattle, Washington in July 1998. The Hot Rock marks a considerable change in the band's sound, veering into a more relaxed and gloomy direction than the raucous punk rock style of its predecessors. The lyrical themes of the album explore issues of failed relationships and personal uncertainty.
I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One is the eighth studio album by the American indie rock band Yo La Tengo, released on April 22, 1997, by Matador Records. It was produced by Roger Moutenot and recorded at House of David in Nashville, Tennessee. The album expands the guitar-based pop of its predecessor Electr-O-Pura to encompass a variety of other music genres, including bossa nova, krautrock, and electronic music. Most of the songs on the album deal with melancholy emotions and range from short and fragile ballads to long and open-ended dissonance.
Painful is the sixth studio album by American indie rock band Yo La Tengo, released in 1993 by record label Matador, their first for the label.
Fucked Up is a Canadian hardcore punk band from Toronto, Ontario, formed in 2001. The band consists of guitarists Mike Haliechuk and Josh Zucker, bassist Sandy Miranda, lead vocalist Damian Abraham and drummer Jonah Falco. From 2007 to 2021, the band also included guitarist and vocalist Ben Cook.
Gerard Cosloy is an American music industry executive.
Remote Control Records was established in 2001 by Steve Cross and Harvey Saward. It provides publicity, label management, distribution and marketing services to international and local artists and labels.
Everything Is Nice: The Matador Records 10th Anniversary Anthology is a 3-disc compilation of tracks from the record label Matador Records from 1989 to 1999 from popular Matador artists such as Pavement, Modest Mouse, Mogwai and Cat Power. Also featuring relatively unknown artists such as Jega and Non Phixion. Alternate names for this compilation include: Don’t Be Afraid of the Product and Chain Gang Video Not Included. Included in the digipak release are 3 CDs and a booklet including the complete Matador discography as of 8/16/1999.
Zulu Records is a Canadian record store and independent record label, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that sells new and used CDs, LPs, 45s, turntables and concert tickets and is currently located at 1972 West 4th Avenue. One of the most famous independent record stores in Canada, Zulu was a finalist in CBC Radio 3's Searchlight contest to name Canada's best record store.
Jennifer O'Connor is an American singer-songwriter. She has released a series of well-regarded solo albums, and has either toured or played with Wilco, the Indigo Girls, Feist, Yo La Tengo, Dump, and the Mountain Goats, among other bands and musicians. Paste magazine has called her a "songwriter's songwriter", describing her albums as "master classes in economy and clarity."