Record Store Day 2015!!!

March 25th, 2015

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Is it vinyl Christmas already?! Boy have we got some treats for ya this year…

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Shogun Assassin

The Wu-Tang Clan is obsessed. It’s Kill Bill heroine Beatrix Kiddo’s favorite bedtime story. It’s an “awesome spectacle of sword and sorcery.” It’s Shogun Assassin

What began as an extensive manga series in the 70s called The Lone Wolf And Cub, shifted shapes into two different Japanese films, before being recut in 1980 and released to the grindhouse film circuit, chock full of brutal action and decapitations.

Our interest, of course, lies with the film’s ominous soundtrack, which blends eastern melodies with futuristic synths, electronic beats, and bouncing disco bass lines. Neither Japanese, nor authentic, this soundtrack is pretty damn badass.

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Heads up Los Angelenos, there will be a Cinefamily Heavy Midnite showing of Shogun Assassin on Record Store Day (April 18th). Join us, if you dare.

Check out the album’s opening track in the video below:

Willie_VinylWillie Nelson’s Teatro

Willie Nelson has over 300 albums, and Teatro might be the most misunderstood of them all. It also might be our favorite. Willie and collaborator Daniel Lanois (who produces, plays guitar and bass, and contributes track ‘The Maker’) set up camp in an abandoned movie theater in Oxnard, CA and recorded live among the red velvet seats with the help of Emmylou Harris and a nine piece backing band that included Willie’s sister, Bobbie Nelson on piano. Maybe it was intentional, maybe it was the faint smell of popcorn haunting the cinema, but somehow this album actually took on a rather cinematic feel. Howling harmonicas and distant mariachi bands evoke spaghetti western scores of the past. Yet this grandness is made to feel intimate and immediate by Willie and Emmylou’s vocals.

Here’s a track from the album:

 

 

LITA_ZINE7The Zine

Legend has it that each year on Record Store Day, the Light In The Attic zine magically appears, as if by alchemy, in fine retailers across the globe. These small, ancient, newsprint catalogs of days gone by unveil highlights from the past year’s releases, teasers of things to come, and other pertinent musical musings.

This year, the zine gets a makeover; we spiced things up a bit to add just a touch more flare. In this issue, you’ll find new features like the first ever LITA-centric crossword puzzle, horoscopes, a fan art contest winner revealed, and new editorial features, both by and about the very employees at LITA who grease the cogs. There are exclusive interviews with Françoise Hardy, Willie Nelson, and Sly Stone; a feature on Native North America band Sugluk (who are feat. on cover clad in denim- if that’s not a tough look for 2015, we don’t know what is!), and secrets revealed about LITA co-owner Josh Wright! Pick one up fo’ free at your local wax purveyor!

Distro: Flying Nun x Captured Tracks Partnership

March 17th, 2015

Image via Pitchfork.

Brooklyn-based label and record shop Captured Tracks teamed with legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun Records back in January 2013. We are now distributing these awesome releases!

Since 2009, Captured Tracks has been putting out great new indie rock/pop and post-punk (such as Mac DeMarco, DIIV, Beach Fossils, and Blouse) and reissues (Medicine, For Against). Meanwhile, Flying Nun has been helming the postpunk scene from Chrischurch, New Zealand since ’81, putting out the likes of The Clean, Chris Knox and The Dead C.

Captured Tracks’ founder/operater Mike Sniper is quoted as saying: 

We at Captured Tracks are beyond ecstatic to work with Flying Nun Records for this series of reissues. As a young record collector, I always saw the label as a recommendation of¬†quality and a constant source of inspiration. I would comb the shelves of every record store imaginable to secure anything and everything I could find. When I first heard the news that they’d bought back the rights, this partnership was something that was lingering in the back of my mind. I’m more than pleased that we can have any sort of involvement in revitalizing this amazing back catalog and returning it to record shelves the world over.

The partnership’s first reissue, Toy Love was released in February 2013. 

And now we’ve got Sneaky FeelingsThe Stones, and many more!

Check out all of our new releases from Captured Tracks/Flying Nun here.

And vids below!

 

 

The Story Behind Suicide Bridge

March 13th, 2015

At Light In The Attic, often the story behind a release is as interesting as the music itself. This is one of those cases. Earlier this week we announced the release of Songs From Suicide Bridge, a folk album by David Kauffman & Eric Caboor that was originally recorded in 1984. Today, we want to reveal a bit more of how the album came to be by giving you a collection of quotes from the album’s beautiful liner notes, which were written by Los Angeles writer and chronicler of place Sam Sweet, (All Night Menu). These are some of our favorite liner notes ever, as they really read like a short story, a simple yet meaningful one. And the rest of the story is told through the songs themselves.  

The Colorado Street Bridge, aka ‘Suicide Bridge,’ the place that inspired the tone of the album, the design of its cover and gatefold, and upon which the album art photos were taken:

  • Following its dedication, the Los Angeles Times called it ‘a way of loveliness.’ By the 1980s, locals simply called the grand structure ‘Suicide Bridge.’ In the seventy years since it opened, more than 100 people had successfully ended their lives by jumping off the edge. In one well-publicized  incident, a distraught mother pinned a note to her daughter’s coat, dropped her off the bridge, and then jumped behind her. The toddler became the only individual to survive the plunge, her fall broken by tree branches, a sandy landing, and the heavy coat in which she was wrapped.
  • The bridge had given Caboor chills as an eight-year-old, and he was unnerved to find it abandoned when he and Kauffman showed up with a photographer friend. They happened to visit during a brief  window when the bridge was closed for repair. While walking along the empty roadway, it was easy to feel that it had been shut down specifically for them.

The Friendship

  • The Venue Where They First Met: One of the last folk venues in Los Angeles was located in the basement of the Echo Park United Methodist Church, a white Spanish stucco chapel hidden in plain sight among the burrito stands and car washes that crowded the  intersection of Sunset and Alvarado. Each Saturday night, the church janitor–an ex-drifter and folk singer named Mark Phillips–organized a makeshift coffeehouse where anyone could play.
  • More than collaborators, each was the other’s biggest fan and often his sole audience. They were never a duo in the conventional sense. Rather, as Kauffman put it, “We were two loners who happened to join forces.” They started out with dreams of getting a record deal, but after years of playing empty coffeehouses around Los Angeles they conceded defeat.
  • They commiserated about the unfairness of the music industry and the loneliness of Los Angeles.
  • On their mutual idol, Danny O’Keefe: Watching him play was just devastating for us. He’s a phenomenal guitarist–we were envious of that. His songwriting’s to die for– we were envious of that. We just thought to ourselves, ‘You know what, maybe we better just hang it up. If this guy can’t make it, no one can.’
  • Caboor eventually married and had a son who grew up calling  Kauffman ‘Uncle Dave.’

The Album: 

  • At some point, one of them suggested, half joking, that they should put all their darkest and least viable works together on one record, if only to spite the industry that had rejected them. It would be the debut that no one wanted to hear. When they  started plotting a song list they realize it was the record they wanted to hear. That was enough.
  • Everything was recorded onto a four-track portastudio that Caboor had purchased from a music store in Van Nuys. Being limited to four tracks forced them to layer instruments in unusual ways, and the machine only accepted blank cassettes, giving the recordings a ghostly, grainy texture.
  • They later came to accept that most of the promo copies probably ended up in cutout bins, although they did receive requests for additional copies from deejays in exactly two locations: Halifax, Nova Scotia and Sitka, Alaska. The album was formed by Los Angeles but its songs spoke to a drastically different climate.
  • They expelled something in the process of making the first album, and though they continued to hone their craft, the soul of their music was never as severe or as uncanny. ‘People would tell us those songs were depressing,’ said Caboor, ‘but it wasn’t depressing to us. In a lot of cases, playing those songs in that little room was one of the only things that made us feel any better.’

New Release | Grateful Dead – ‘Three From The Vault’

March 12th, 2015
The wait is finally over and the exciting cap to our trilogy of Grateful Dead‘s From The Vault releases is finally here! The third time is indeed the charm! Following on the heels of One and Two From The Vaultcomes the final release in the trilogy, from our imprint Future Days Recordings, Three From The Vault.

 

For its first time every on vinyl, the album is spread out over four LPs house in a gatefold, tip-on jacket. It was newly re-mastered by Joe Gastwirt, with lacquers cuty by Kevin Gray. These twenty classic songs on eight sides of wax were recorded live at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York back in 1971, featuring the five piece line-up of Pigpen, Garcia, Weir, Lesh, and Kruetzmann. On the night these tracks were recorded, the Dead debuted seven brand new songs–all of which went on to become Dead “standards” including “Playing in the Band,” “Greatest Story Ever Told,” and two absolute classics: “Bird Song” and “Deal.”

We’ve got several different bundle offers for those who want to purchase multiple items from the trilogy and/or Dead shirts and posters! Check ‘em out on the release page.

Dead freaks rejoice!

Friends of LITA | Q&A with Robert McGinley aka Shredder Orpheus!

March 11th, 2015

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Twenty five years ago, a group of skaters and musicians in Seattle, helmed by our interviewee, Robert McGinley, got together to make an epically weird, epically awesome post-apocalyptic skate-rock opera called Shredder Orpheus. The film tells the tale of skateboard-guitarist Orpheus and his band of shredders, who journey to hell and back (literally) to save the world and Orpheus’ girlfriend from deathly television signals. The soundtrack of the film features music and performances by Seattleites such as Roland Barker (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Blackouts) and Bill Rieflin (Ministry, King Crimson, Blackouts), poet/performance artist Steven Jesse Bernstein, guitarist Dennis Rea, and Amy Denio. Shredder Orpheus, beloved by its ever-growing band of cult fans, is a snapshot of Seattle’s rich subculture during a vibrant time in the city’s history. It’s also just absolutely bonkers, creative, and very entertaining. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Shredder has some screenings and other fun things in store for us. below, we get to ask the shredder himself some questions! AND, he even managed to summon from the Grey Zone some of the film’s characters themselves to answer a few as well!

We’ve got Shredder Orpheus LPs in stock. Each LP comes with a DVD of the film!

Shredder Orpheus is about 25 years old now and it’s themes are still relevant. How do you think its relevancy and its place in pop culture has changed with the times? What has it been like watching that change take place?

This is a great question but since I am not sure how to answer it I decided to ask my characters about the relevancy of Shredder Orpheus after 25 years. Here are their answers:

ORPHEUS: “25 years ago I gave up my corporeal existence pursuing the love of my life into the underworld of the Euthanasia Broadcast Network. Although the internet did not exist then, media sedation and consumption stimuli was accomplished by television. Today I am compelled to warn all sentient beings that we face an exponentially greater problem: the new medium of the internet and its co-option by corporate advertising interests represent a grave threat to free and creative minds and a disruptive force of meaningful interaction between human beings. Eurydice and I want to remind you that no matter what the designers of hi-tech social media platforms and corporate marketers want you to believe there is no substitute for the hi-touch experience that feeds the soul. Don’t “friend me”, “like me” or “follow me” or any other virtual crap. Lets get together and skate, rock out and dance. Less digital -more analog please!”

AXEL: “Microwave radiation from television was pervasive 25 years ago. Today we get many times more exposure from the constant use of cellphones and computers. Immunity is compromised, leaving us vulnerable to a host of diseases as our addiction grows. Goddamn bunch of shit! Jesus, Buddha: BUST IT! “

HADES: “The ‘soothing’ ray from a T.V., a computer, smart phone or virtual reality platform is “comforting” because it co-opts your nervous system and penetrates your consciousness with ease. If you ingest too much you don’t have to think anymore- you ‘give yourself to the ray!’ In some ways the devices (emphasis on VICES) function like an interactive hard drive with the ultimate goal of shaping thoughts and desires and driving consumption habits. Most importantly, the ‘immersive’ experience can be deadly and divorce you from a clear conscious awareness, which is great for me!”

SCRATCH: “How do we fight suppression of the human soul by consumerist propaganda? THRASH IT! Since ‘THE RUST NEVER SLEEPS’ thrashing everyday is good mental- spiritual hygiene like brushing your teeth.”

How was the soundtrack of the film shaped by the Seattle culture from which it was born? Who was most involved in developing the soundtrack? Who were main the musical influences?

Music needs to be at the center of any play, film or opera based on the myth of Orpheus, a musician/artist who journeys to  the world of the dead. Roland Barker (MINISTRY, BLACKOUTS) was the composer and driving force behind the music. Roland and I were fortunate to find and convince amazing musicians to be the band, The Shredders, which consisted of Bill Rieflin (percussion), Dennis Rea (guitars) and Amy Denio (bass) with Roland on keyboards/synthesizer. At the outset Roland told me that he wanted the music cues in the soundtrack to be heavy on percussion and guitars with a nod to Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale, Agent Orange and the pantheon guitar surf music. However, at that time there was no genre’ of music called “skate rock”. I think Roland and the band meshed perfectly to create music that supports the edgy tone of the film.

In previous interviews you’ve talked about how fun some of the skating scenes were to make. What scene was the most difficult to make, and why?

Every skate scene had challenges in that most of the locations were stolen and we had to be very stealth with lighting a location at night. Since I was used to sneaking into parking garages with a pack of skaters I was comfortable with it and had my fast talking gear at the ready in case we got busted by the authorities (which we did by both the U.S. Coast Guard at the Port and Seattle Fire Department at the train station). By far the most fun was shooting in a garage called DEVO which Axel refers to. We found this awesome action stunt photographer, Stan Larson, who was an expert at radical handheld P.O.V. shots while doing somersaults off ski jumps. Since GoPros didn’t exist he bolted a 16mm EMO camera to a piece of plywood that he had put trucks and wheels onto and skated on it while we blasted down the ramps. After a few takes he took the EMO off the board and just improvised handheld shots.

The most difficult scene to make was the one night exterior at the Port of Seattle. We couldn’t shoot because our costume designer, Marienne O’Brien, was arrested and put in jail on her way to the location for unpaid parking tickets. They impounded her car with all the costumes in the trunk for 20+ people and wouldn’t release her or the car without bail. We went through the last of our petty cash to get her out, but by the time we had her and the costumes on set, 12 hours of shooting had to accomplished 3 hours before the sun came up. The scramble ensued and even though we didn’t get everything we wanted, we got what we absolutely needed.

What are your thoughts on the skate world today? How has it changed since Shredder came out?

It’s certainly more mainstream today. In those days there were no such things as a “professional skater,” corporate sponsorship or the X Games, like there are today. Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta and the Z Boys were the pioneers of what has become a major industry. Interestingly, skateboarding has gone the way of many alternative ventures by starting out as counter culture rebellion and then getting swallowed into the pop mainstream. It has also become a more female activity today. (Scratch in S.O. was ahead of her time).

Shredder is a cult classic these days… Have you had any crazy fan encounters?

At the Halloween screening last fall, audience members showed up wearing costumes inspired by Shredder Orpheus characters. Crazy funny!

Other crazy fan feedback would include these reviews:

“Sure, the film looks like a veiled excuse to film people doing skateboard tricks in a dystopian landscape ruled by a sinister television station, but it has a lot to say about mass media, the afterlife, love, youth culture and corporate mind control.”

The review also references Persephone’s (Vera McCaughn) brilliant speech: “…if the appearance of Hades caused me to nearly lose it, I lost it completely when Persephone shows up and says, ‘Praise the ray,’ and launches into what has to be one of my favourite monologues ever recited in a motion picture.”

  • Jimi Nguyen’s YouTube channel, Shit I Think About, has a hilarious review describing Shredder Orpheus as “…bat shit crazy.”

 

You made this movie without having gone to film school. Do you have any advice for young filmmakers attempting low-budget projects without a film school background?

You learn from your mistakes, so be patient. Remember, Woody Allen has been known to reshoot entire films. It’s a cliche but the most important thing is your screenplay. If you are a first-time screenplay writer (as I was with Shredder) and think you are done after a few drafts, you probably need to let a lot of people read it. Hopefully, you have a good mentor, like I had with Jesse Bernstein, who can help you drill down on any weaknesses in your script. The other thing to consider is the tone of your film. The hard lesson as a director is what I call “tone control”– if you shift or combine genre’s your audience/marketers may have trouble with your film. In Shredder Orpheus the tone shifts from comedy to tragedy.  I personally like dancing on that line but it can be risky.

You’ve said that Jean Cocteau’s Orphee films and the skate vids of Stacey Peralta and the Bones Brigade were big influences for you. What elements did you most admire of those films?

What I saw in Jean Cocteau’s Orphee was the artist portrayed as a voyager into the underworld (subconscious mind) where Orpheus demonstrates that love is stronger than death. The Orpheus Myth is western civilization’s oldest love story and with the help of Joseph Campbell’s books on the hero’s journey I was able to find my story structure for Shredder O.

Stacy Peralta put rock music to skateboarding and it was fun and inspiring to watch. Skating in parking garages in Seattle was crazy nocturnal fun and descending down the ramps felt exactly like we were on our way to the underworld!!

Ultimately, the seed for Shredder Orpheus came from skating and being an amateur mythologist and the film is a synthesis of these personal endeavors 25 years ago.

What films, music, and/or literature has been inspiring you lately?

Pan’s Labyrinth for film. And I pay close attention to films like Her and Transcendence. Cyberpunk literature, aka Neuromancer (William Gibson) and non-fiction like This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel Levitin. I follow developments in new technology and am an avid student of A.I. and its implications for our future… singularity, etc. The Human Use of Human Beings by Norbert Weiner and the science of Cybernetics are cornerstones to my view of the way the world works.

What’s next for you and for Shredder Orpheus?

There will be a few more celebratory 25th anniversary screenings of Shredder including the midnight screening at Cinefamily on April 11th. It may play as a midnighter once again in Seattle later this year. There are a lot more creative story ideas that can be mined from the Shredder Orpheus themes. One Shredder inspired story is in the works with a recently completed screenplay. Stay tuned!

Disto Roundup | Deadgirl, The Duke Of Burgundy, and The Visitor

March 9th, 2015

deadgirl

Joseph Bauer’s score to one of the most brutal independent horror films of the last five years, Deadgirl, is now available for the first time on vinyl in a limited edition of 500 copies on 180g, two-tone wax! Deadgirl is the story of two high school boys, Rickie and JT, who discover a beautiful zombie chick imprisoned in an abandoned mental asylum. She cannot die and she also cannot escape from these two hormonal, angsty trespassers. The film is very dark. Its score is vivid and brilliant: at times beautiful, at times melancholy and ambient, at times mischievous and exciting. Director Marcel Sarmiento supervised this release, which was sourced from the composer’s original master recordings.

Listen to the soundtrack on Spotify.

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Cat’s Eyes’ rich soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s inflammatory and sensual 2014 film The Duke Of Burgundy is now available for preorder! Harpsichord, violin, flute, and harp flutter through the tracks, lead occasionally by an ethereal female voice. The film itself tells the tale of a woman who studies butterflies and moths, and begins testing the limits of her relationship with her lover. It is visually stunning, as well unsettling and kinky as hell. Cat’s Eyes’ sumptuous and haunting score holds its own without even the context of the film. Check out this interview with Cat’s Eyes about their approach to the project and listen to a stream of the album.

Also, check out the film’s trailer:

 

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We’ve got another gorgeous release from Mondo available for preorder: The Visitor soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi, with art by Jay Shaw. Pressed on black vinyl and randomly-inserted sunburst vinyl. In Giulio Paradisi’s 1979 film The Visitor… no, you know what? I’m just going to quote IMDB directly because it’s priceless and I couldn’t say it better myself:

John Huston stars as an intergalactic warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl, and her pet hawk, while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Multi-dimensional warfare, pre-adolescent profanity and brutal avian attacks combine to transport the viewer to a state unlike anything they’ve experienced… somewhere between Hell and the darkest reaches of outer space.”

What more could you want? A fat, funky score to go along with it, you say? Well, here you go. This amazing 2LP, 180gram vinyl reissue of Micalizzi’s score just begs for a full, high-quality listen.

Spotify Playlist: The Supreme Jubilees’ Influences by Leonard Sanders

March 6th, 2015

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We’ve got a treat for y’all to take with you into the weekend! We asked Leonard Sanders from The Supreme Jubilees to make us a Spotify playlist, and the man made us two! One of secular influences and one of gospel influences. Fab stuff.

The Supreme Jubilees Gospel Influences

The Supreme Jubilees’ Secular Influences

 

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New LITA Release! | ‘Songs From Suicide Bridge’ – David Kauffman & Eric Caboor

March 5th, 2015

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It’s an important day at Light In The Attic headquarters. We’re releasing into the world a very special project that we’re particularly proud of. Gorgeously gutting, hauntingly beautiful, and impossible to find previously on vinyl, Songs From Suicide Bridge has been an office staple on repeat for years and it is an honor to finally be able to bring it to a wider audience.

 

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We love this album for its brilliant songwriting and emotional performances. We love its purity, authenticity, and simple beauty. We love the story of two close friends trying to make it in Los Angeles in the early 80s, but finding their heartfelt folk-rock lost in a sea of new wave pop, unappreciated and overlooked by the industry. To this day, David & Eric are in awe, almost skeptical, that we believe so much in this album. We can’t wait for them to see that (hopefully) you do too.

 

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Here’s one of our favorite tracks from the album, but really, they’re all good. Check it out here and if you like it, get the vinyl if you can because this album is best heard in full, not on a computer. Prepare for tears.

There are 200 deluxe white vinyl copies available, which come with an original ‘Greetings From Suicide Bridge’ postcard, featuring the album’s namesake, historical Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, CA. 

 

 

This is why we love what we do here at Light In The Attic. We get to breathe new life into music like this that never got the love it deserves. We think it will most certainly find that love now.

 

Three New Titles From Shadoks Music

March 2nd, 2015

We’ve got three awesome new European underground reissues from Shadoks Music available for preorder this week!

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This is Shadoks Music’s third release from the great Finnish psych band, Charlies. Recorded in ’69-’70 in the drunk tank of the local jail (one of the member’s fathers was a police officer, so they were granted access), this album finally achieves the heavy underground quality that the band felt their previous releases lacked.

 

 

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Catching up with the love and peace sentiments of the rest of the Western world, Austrian band Nostradamus formed in Vienna in the late 60s. With influences such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience,  Cream, and King Crimson and the addition of a violinist, this album is one of the best and most unique Austrian releases of the time.

 

 

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Also influenced by powerful trios like Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Young Flowers formed in Copenhagen in 1967. Progressive and with a uniquely Scandinavian sound, Young Flowers released a second album in 1960, ‘No. 2′, which has since become one of the most important and sought after Danish albums. Full of fuzz guitar, great vocals and an underground vibe, Shadok’s reissue comes as the original did with a silver cover. Plus this version comes with a bonus poster. Oh and by the way, the band has two upcoming shows in Denmark!

Free Basin’ Friday | Michael Chapman – ‘Window’ Contest Results

February 27th, 2015

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Thank you so much to all who submitted. We loved looking at these.

It was agonizing to pick just one favorite, and we spent way too long deciding. The winner is… this magical little moment from zheabs! It somehow feels like it has a Michael Chapman vibe.

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Congrats!

Thanks for playin’ everybody. Wish we could give you all something.