Perhaps the most famous and influential indie label of the last 20 years, the folks over at Matador Records have big plans in store for 2012. Just like Jack White's new Third Man Records imprint, Matador are doing their best to revitalize the 7 inch record. The plan? a singles club.
The split 7 inch is a time-honored tradition in the indie world, but Matador are turning the idea on its head with the first singles club release: one side will feature former Pavement leader Stephen Malkmus' band The Jicks, while the other will feature the decidedly un-indie rock L.A. Guns. Both groups have recorded a song by the other band for the project.
"We’re planning on 6 singles over the course of 2012, but if we’re having fun with this, there’s no reason we won’t have another batch lined up for 2013. The in the series will be the long-rumored split 7″ between Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks (left) and L.A. Guns (right), with the former covering the latter’s “Wheels Of Fire” and Tracii & Co. tackling the latter’s “Gorgeous George”. We’ve waited nearly 23 years to tell the world L.A. Guns are Matador Recording Artists, and finally we can say it at parties without lying," the press release reads.
Matador is already selling the package, priced at $30 plus shipping. The label promises 10 percent off any other purchases made for the whole year, in addition to the generous tote-bag and "mystery prize" they're throwing in.
The singles club idea was first unveiled by the then-nascent Seattle label Sub-Pop. The first release in that collection was the debut single from a little band called Nirvana. Original copies of the "Love Buzz/Big Cheese" 7 inch routinely sell for thousands of dollars, and remain the most sought-after item in the band's catalog. At its peak, the club had around 2,000 members, who each paid a princely sum to own what turned out to be tiny, profitable pieces of grunge history.
Matador Records is the current home of a number of influential indie bands, including Belle and Sebastian, Interpol, Kurt Vile, Fucked Up, Cat Power and Sonic Youth. Who knows, maybe the next "Love Buzz" is just an order form away.