This week's print edition of the LA Weekly features a cover-story and interview with JD Samson and her post-Le Tigre band MEN.
There are many highlights of this revealing chat (see below), but an exclusive piece of information is that LA-based label IAMSOUND will be releasing the long-delayed MEN album:
Two and a half years after their tentative first gigs, Samson and guitarists Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill have tightened their repertoire into a solid set. Onstage in 2010, Samson is living out a fully fleshed-out version of the This Island cover fantasy, as a dynamic frontwoman of her own kick-ass dance/punk outfit. Agit-pop, if you will.
MEN also are getting ready to finally release the album they've been promising through all these tours. Titled Talk About Body, it will be released by the impeccably curated Los Angeles-based label IAMSOUND in February 2011. The first single will be a punched-up version of “Off Our Backs,” a radio edit from one of the tracks on MEN's self-released EP, which has been deliberately retooled to give them maximum exposure and a shot at mainstream attention. They call it visibility.
Excerpt from our exclusive interview:
How does it feel to be sitting on this great material for such a long time?
SAMSON: It's been frustrating. The label situation has been kind of frustrating. I'm used to the music industry, but I haven't put out a record since things have been really difficult [for the industry]. It's really like we have to be business people, and thank God I was in a project before that was really DIY, because I feel I know enough about the industry to make decisions, but we really have to micromanage a lot and keep our head above water in making decisions.
With Le Tigre, were you always involved on the business side of things?
SAMSON: We were asked every question. Nothing happened without us making the decisions. We were on a label called Mr. Lady for the first couple of records and then we moved to Universal for the last record. We got a different management team that kind of guided us through the process, meeting with a lot of different labels, and we really thought that Universal was the best label to spread our music further into the mainstream and kind of get our music out to more people that wanted it.
'Cause I think that was one of the things we realized: There were still all these queer kids who had never heard of Le Tigre. We wanted to reach them all, somehow.
Was that the main goal with Le Tigre? Reaching the queer kids?
SAMSON: Oh, totally. That was what most of the decisions were based on.
Do you feel This Island doesn't get enough respect? I feel it's one of the great records of the last 10 years, for many reasons — musical, political …
SAMSON: I think a couple of things happened. One of them was that the record was a definite advancement of our musical ability and we really learned a lot, we worked a lot, we basically produced it ourselves, we learned a lot about how to make things sound better. And we were really excited about that and we felt very proud of it, but I think a lot of people liked LeTigre for their kind of DIY, lo-fi sound, so I think that was hard for our fans to take and I think it was kind of a shock for a lot of people, maybe. And the other thing is that I think that record — unfortunately, timewise, we stopped promoting it when we still could have got more out of it.
I guess we toured it for, like, a year, but we were getting bigger crowds as we went on.
And then the band went on hiatus at that point.
That's the official term? “Le Tigre is on hiatus”?
SAMSON: Yes. [Silence]
Read the whole thing here (it's really worth it).