Unauthorized Ric Ocasek Sample Forces Matador to Issue Album Recall

Chona Kasinger
Car Seat Headrest

Matador has been forced to recall thousands of CD and vinyl copies of Car Seat Headrest's Teens Of Denial after the album was found to carry an unauthorized sample of The CarsRic Ocasek.

The indie label blames a mix-up in its endeavors to clear “elements of a composition” to the Cars’ song “Just What I Needed”. 

According to a statement issued by Matador, a license for the contentious song ("Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed") had been negotiated “in good faith months ago, only to be told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song.” Ocasek, who has also served as a record producer and worked in major label A&R teams, has yet to comment on the matter.

The recordings have been removed from shelves, the label reports, and an updated version of the song has been cut to replace the original, and is now called “Not What I Needed." “There’s a total recall out,” notes Will Toledo, founder of the lo-fi indie act, in his own statement, “and all copies with the original version of the song will be destroyed.” To prove the point, the band has shared a picture of the contraband product, boxed-up in the offices of Matador’s parent Beggars Group apparently awaiting destruction.

“It’s not merely an edit - it is its own thing, about half a minute longer than the original track, and goes in a much different direction,” Toledo explains. “Honestly, despite the apparent clusterf---, I had fun doing it, and I think it’s a stronger song now. In any case I’ve grown up accustomed to working on an album right up to its drop date, so this is not a freak-out scenario for me. The album is going to come out on time and it’s going to be good.”

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The mess has pushed back the physical release date from May 20 to an unspecified time in the U.S. summer (Toledo is hopeful for a date in July), though the digital release will go ahead next Friday as planned. 

Toledo ought to know the album-release drill as well as any veteran. He’s issued 11 albums on Bandcamp over the last half-decade or so. His Matador debut, Teens of Style, reached No. 19 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart in November 2015.