Friends Of LITA | Q&A With DJ Supreme La Rock

June 3rd, 2014

Dust_and_Grooves_9704

(*Photo by Eilon Paz from the book Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting)

Wheedle’s Groove - Seattle Funk, Modern Soul & Boogie: Volume II 1972-1987 is now available! Ten years since the release of Volume I,  we’re back with another amazing volume of unheralded Seattle soul and funk. The man that helped bring the Wheedle’s Groove project to life is our bud, the World class DJ and record collector devotee, DJ Supreme La Rock. Without him, the sound of Seattle’s soul and funk scene would still be rotting away in dank dark basements and thrift store dollar bins. We checked in with Mr. Supreme for a short Q&A about the origins of Wheedle’s Groove, collecting vinyl, and the merits of computers in the DJ booth. Read the interview below…

 

You helped to compile tracks for both Wheedle’s Groove Volumes I & II. How did you first get turned on to these relatively unknown Seattle soul/funk 45s/LPs?

I started buying soul & funk records in the mid 80′s. I found a 45 once on a whim by the Black on White Affair that I liked and the address on the record label was in Seattle. That made me start looking for other local stuff to see what was out there that I didn’t know about.

 

Do you have a favorite track from the latest Volume II set? And how’d you find the record?

I’d have to go with “Holding On” By Unfinished Business. I obtained the record direct from the lead singer on it after tracking him down in a roundabout way after searching for two years straight. It was his only copy and he was generous enough to let me have it to add it to my local archives.

 

What’s unique about the Seattle soul sound? How did the scene in the Northwest differ from other parts of the country like the Midwest and East Coast?

The Seattle sound was a well blended mix of different genres that created a unique sound during this time period. The difference between it and anywhere else was the collaboration of different races creating bands as where most funk/soul bands from the Midwest & East Coast were pretty much 100% black. These bands were black, white, asian, native, etc.

 

You’re known as one of the world’s preeminent diggers and record heads. What advice could you give to an aspiring vinyl collector?

Never judge a record by it’s cover and don’t be afraid to explore genres you WILL be surprised.

 

You have an impressively expansive record collection. What are your most prized records? Which record alluded you the longest?

It’s hard to say what are my most prized record would be. Each one has a different sentimental meaning to me but the one that alluded me for years was Black Out by the Douglass High School band. I looked for years for my copy. I bought it from a friend that said he’d never let it go but finally did. Of course I’ve found about 4 more copies after adding it to my collection for about half the price I paid. Seems to always work out that way no matter the record. Digging law.

380467953519

 

Which record are you still on the hunt for?

I’d still like a Salt “Hung Up” 45. I’ve missed out on a copy about 6 times now. Who’s got me?

 

As a DJ who spins vinyl, what is your thought on DJs who use computers?

I love technology, I use a computer/serato in about 50% of my DJ sets. There’s nothing wrong with it. My problem is with people that get a computer on Monday and have booked a DJ gig by the Friday. Everyone is NOT a DJ and shouldn’t try to be.

 

Is there a record you always bring with you when you DJ? Which song is always a surefire way to get the crowd moving?

Songs that always work with crowds are familiar ones. The average club goer isn’t there to get their mind blown by some rare unreleased 45 no ones ever heard before that was discovered in an old studio that has shut down. No matter the crowd they need something they’re familiar with. Things are changing now as well, meaning I used to drop a Jackson 5 record at almost any party and the crowd would go nuts. I dropped one at closing last week and the crowd turned and looked at me like they wanted to hang me. Plus all crowds are different. I can’t drop the same set to a bottle service night club that I can at a hipster club so a true working dj needs to be diverse and know his (or her) sh*t. One record that does almost work for any crowd though would be Aretha Franklin “Respect”. Ladies love to sing along to it and almost everyone knows it.

 

What’s on your turntable these days?

Ivan Neville “Dance Your Blues Away” has been getting a lot of run…….

 

Thanks again, Supreme, for chatting with me. Before you go, can you tell us about any upcoming projects you’re working on?

As for now just promoting the new Wheedle’s release, and rockin’ parties nightly in a city near you.

For more info about Supreme and to catch him rockin’ a party near you visit www.supremelarock.com.

Free Basin’ Friday | Cannibal Ferox on Colored Wax!

May 30th, 2014

LITA_Free_Basin_Friday_logo_22-675x351

Thank God it’s Free Basin’ Friday! This week we have a gruesomely delightful prize sure to excite any and all horror film connoisseurs. We’re giving away One Way Static’s reissue of the original motion picture soundtrack to Umberto Lenzi’s 1981 exploitive shocker CANNIBAL FEROX aka MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY, composed & performed by Roberto Donati! The LP comes pressed on jungle camouflage colored wax with unrated cover art and foil numbering /500 copies.

cann4

For a chance to win this week’s prize, come up with your own alternate title for the film Cannibal Ferox.  The most creative/funny submission wins! The winner will be notified next Friday via email. 

Donnie & Joe Emerson Spotify Playlist!

May 29th, 2014

Dreamin_Wild_LP_-_Photo_by_David_Black__DavidBlackPhotography.com*Photo by David Black

We’re less than a month away from the release of the forthcoming Donnie & Joe Emerson album, Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81, and all of us here at the Light In The Attic HQ are gleaming with excitement. For the past few months, the album has been on heavy rotation here in the office. Naturally, the more you listen to an album, the more you start to liken it to other music you’ve heard. This got us wondering what music influenced Donnie & Joe’s songwriting. The brothers recorded in near isolation on their family farm in eastern Washington state, the closest record store way hundreds of miles away, so their music was heavenly influenced by what they heard on their local radio station. We recently ask Donnie & Joe to list some of their favorite radio jams from back in the day. Below you can stream a playlist of the songs that inspired Donnie & Joe.

Summer Internship | Los Angeles

May 28th, 2014

la-intern

Love vinyl, music journalism, and want to gain experience in the music industry? Well you’re in luck, LITA is currently offering a 3 month internship at our Los Angeles office. We’re looking for applicants who are seriously interested in learning the top to bottom process of music publicity, marketing, and communications. Check out the details below and get in touch.

PRESS INTERNSHIP AVAILABILITY:

1 unpaid position, three month duration starting in the middle of June, 2014 (school credit is available)

HOURS:

16-18 hours per week, preferably broken up between two or three days– however a more flexible schedule can be arranged.

(The hours would need to fall between 9am and 5pm, Monday thru Friday).

GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Team player, yet self motivated, with a positive attitude
  • Interest in Music Publicity/Marketing Department
  • Knowledge of music publications, blogs, social networks.
  • Strong organizational ability and attention to detail*** (very important)
  • Must have laptop and car
  • Computer skills – Mac OSX, Excel/Word/Access, database/file management, Also, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator and iMovie skills are a BIG plus!
  • Web skills – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google research, blogging and basic HTML
  • 18 years of age or older

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Web-based research
  • Organizing/updating Press reports.
  • Online + select Regional publicity outreach
  • Assist with Facebook and Twitter maintenance and operation
  • General office/administrative duties Printing/scanning documents
  • Assist in management of database
  • General packing and shipping
  • Assist with video and photography production
  • Errands
  • Archiving

CONTACT:

Please email resume and a brief message to (no attachments, please):

interninq@lightintheattic.net

We look forward to hearing from you!

-LITA

Friends of LITA | Q&A With Saul Conrad

May 22nd, 2014

photo-30

All of us here at the Light In The Attic clubhouse are excited to be distributing the latest album from Boston’s Saul Conrad. A Tyrant And Lamb, out now on Cavity Search Records, is his third studio album and is on heavy rotation here in the office. We recently caught up with Saul for a short Q&A. You can read our interview with him below and stream his new album A Tyrant And Lamb from popmatters.com!

___________________________

1. What was your process like while recording this new album? Can you tell us a little about the approach you take when you’re in the studio?

We (Jason Bitner, who produced this album, and I) started working with an idea in mind that had very little to do with where we arrived. I’m normally too anxious after finishing one record to sit around waiting for the release to pan out. So often a flood of new bits and pieces of songs starts a couple months after finishing something and I get pretty involved in it. In this case I started with a whole idea about a drum feel that was on the line between straight four rock and country shuffle. And some honky tonk progressions and melodies.

We had much of the album we imagined we were going to make close to completion, with 6 or 7 tracks recorded — and then it was time to go on tour for the previous album. So we dropped everything and worried about shows, traveling with a parrot (my parrot at that stage wasn’t well and was refusing to eat on his own–he’d only accept food from me via a syringe, so we had to bring him and feed him 4x/day in the van), and motel rooms that often smelled of fresh crack. We were terrified the fumes would do Chico in–many nights we had his little travel perch (his “bird motel”) set right above the TV in order to keep a close eye on him. We’d watch with a silhouette of a parrot missing from the center of the screen. There were some great shows at alternative venues–for example in a house on a block where 5-10 abandoned houses were being squatted by a whole community of friends. There were awful nights in about equal measure—one particularly, in Dallas, where we played for a few businessmen in black suits with black ties and shiny black shoes (looking like demented preachers doused in oil) who were casually whispering over mixed drinks and fake candle light to their dates.

When we got back to Boston we trashed much of what we already had recorded. It sounded put on–forced into this style I was obsessed with at the time, but not emotionally true, or that relevant to how I was feeling anymore. If its relevance had faded that quickly and it wasn’t holding together I knew we had to get rid of it and chalk it up to a first stage that would hopefully lead us somewhere more meaningful. I actually ended up taking pieces of those original songs and building new songs around them. Seeing that one could trash large amounts of work, and that in some cases it freed me to find more rewarding solutions to finishing the songs was kind of a revelation for me.

eli

2. Do you have a favorite track from the album?

I think I might like Galga the best–I’m usually excited to perform it. It returns me to a place, or a kind of terror I felt a lot in the past, but allows me to sort of share it, aggressively, on my own terms, and escape, or reverse the feelings of real life, for a couple of minutes.

3. Your new album is titled A Tyrant And Lamb. Can you explain the meaning behind the title?

It comes from the characters that can crawl into your head if you get into one of William Blake’s prophecies. I guess the lambs and the tyrannical forces are even in play in some of his earliest works too. This album intends to take a very careful look at the voice of the protagonist (myself, I guess), without making any approximations or averages. To see some truth I have to be able to watch and chart myself turning from a lamb into a tyrant (in a long-term sort of way, chronologically through my life), and back and forth all the time. It also studies a couple of the relationships that are and have been extremely important to me, and how those relationships often seem rooted in the opposing force between the tyrant and the lamb. But the roles can switch–which is why, though the cover may implicate one person at first look, both people have a bit of satanic blush on their cheeks, and the eye is slightly discouraged from associating anyone permanently with either role.

4. You mentioned that while you worked on this album you read a lot by Søren Kierkegaard and William Blake. Do you feel that the themes of what you were reading manifested themselves in your lyrics?

The lyrics were meant to reflect things I found within myself, but the method of search and excavation is largely indebted to what I learned from Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death and Blake’s The Four Zoas. The whole ebb and flow of the album–the slow revelation of various horrors, broken and lost parts of human potential, weakened relationships, with turn-arounds, potential ways to find the good path & strength mixed in, and leading up to the final accusation at the end of “Bulls”–is deeply informed by the Zoas, which is a massive and torturous journey to the threshold of hope.

Particularly in the song “Hollow”, the idea of a personally disastrous paradox, of the need to destroy your origin to become someone real, the climax of that song if you love someone kill their family in their mind / and set them free / climb into a balloon is something I learned from The Sickness.

5. What other artists or musicians have influenced your music and songwriting?

Blaze Foley Wanted More Dead Than Alive (I especially tried to sing in a way akin to Blaze in the middle section of the 7th track “Bumbling Fool”), Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt (High, Low and in Between, Flyin’ Shoes, Delta Momma Blues) Syd Barrett (The Madcap Laughs), Harry Nilsson (the vocals, specifically on his album of standards A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, Nilsson Sings Newman, and Son of Schmilsson), Elliott Smith’s From a Basement on the Hill (his vocal sound, and the way he mixed distorted dissonant, aggressive electric guitars with sweeter, picked acoustic)

I guess it’s hard to know for sure because a lot of stuff (especially from when I was younger playing classical music) may be floating around in my head somewhere that perhaps I’m not even aware of, but that is leading me places and informing what I’m trying to do with songs and melodies.

6. You hail from a long lineage of musicians. I read that your great uncle escaped Nazi Germany during WWII and went on to become an acclaimed pianist. Have you ever collaborated with him or asked his advice when writing music?

I actually have performed with him–Mozart’s double piano concerto. When I went to NYC to practice with him, for hours on multiple days I couldn’t get through the first few measures without a meltdown from him. My approach, my attitude, speed, technique, musicality, rhythm…everything was a disaster. But we got through that stage (and I got through the headaches and nerves that accompanied these rehearsals) and he came to show me a level of rigor, technically, but also in terms of interpreting a piece of music, and having a detailed, studied, thoroughly conceived plan for musicality and dynamics. It was an honor and once in a lifetime experience to play with him.

I’ve never talked to him about writing music, and he’s quite old now (and wasn’t really as present in my life for the period when I started writing). He never composed (as far as I know), but at birthday parties he would play Happy Birthday in the styles of 10 or more different composers. He was so intimately aware of their work and their voices–it was like they’d walked into the room in a casual mood and started making up variations to the melody themselves. His creative energy was completely tied up with his interpretations and understanding of others’ compositions. For most of his life he could play any Beethoven sonata by heart.

7. What are you listening to these days?

Josh from Light In The Attic gave me Bob Frank’s first record, which is stunning. Each song is a story. And some of them are riddles, or something like that–there’s room to draw a lot from the sparse outlines, and try to interpret. Maybe it’s sort of Biblical: The ellipsis, and the beauty. I’ve been listening Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers. No one seems to share my opinion on this, but I really don’t much care for Big Star’s first two records. This one though has blown me away. The sounds–the strings mixed with all kinds of electric sounds–Jim Dickinson’s production, the writing, the singing…It’s got maniacally upbeat ecstasy in some songs, true tender veins elsewhere, and the sad calm when all those feelings burn out too.

I got a new record that collects a lot of Luke McDaniel’s songs…I am particularly moved by “Drive On”, “Homeward Mule”, and “You’re Still on my Mind”.

I’ve been returning over and over to Mozart: Don Giovanni (Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Josef Krips with Cesare Siepi) and the Requiem Mass (the Harnoncourt version). And then, to try to undo the hypnotizing beauty, the terror, the turning feelings, to relax, or move to a completely different, simpler mood, I’ve been counter-balancing that listening with the Dead: Workingman’s Dead, Europe ’72 (mainly for the set of “China Cat Sunflower” “I Know You Rider” and “Brown-eyed Woman”) and Live at The Fillmore East (for “Bertha”!).

Denny at Cavity Search Records sent me Jerry Joseph’s self-titled, which I think is a subtle record with stunning guitar work, and lyrics that are bold in scope and tackle –it seems to me– mangled, complex and deep-mind emotions. (My favorite tracks are “Pony” and “Bouncing Very Well”–the romantic songs)

I played with Joey Molinaro in Pittsburgh this winter and got his record The Inalienable Dreamless. He performs virtuosic, high energy sets on violin with a foot-pad to add percussion and a bit of vocal additions too from time to time. It’s like war music to me in a sense–fascinating, aggressive, demanding and different.

8. What’s on the horizon for you? Any plans for an upcoming tour?

I’m going to be on tour for a lot of the summer…in June a loop from Boston up through upstate New York and west to Chicago, down to Baton Rouge, and then back up the east coast. In August a trip that starts in Montana, heads west and then down the coast from Seattle to southern CA. (all the dates are HERE)

I’m also getting pretty far into work on a new album–musically a completely different sort of thing–a kind of Mass. Anyway, A Tyrant and Lamb is out this Tuesday. The guys at Musicol pressing remastered the whole record for vinyl, and it really sound its best like that. (And it’s not coming out on CD right now). It’s a limited edition of 300 copies.

Check out the music video for Saul Conrad’s “Carousel” below.

V/A – “Country Funk Volume II 1967 – 1974″ | Pre-order!

May 21st, 2014

LITA116_Highres_Cover

Various Artist - Country Funk Volume II 1967 – 1974
LITA 116 (CD | 2xLP)
Available: July, 15, 2014
Pre-order! 

In 2012, Country Funk 1969-1975 (Volume I) gathered together songs from a genre with no name. It’s a genre created not from geography or shared ideology but a term applied retrospectively based solely on the feel of the songs: hip-swinging rhythms with bourbon on the breath. These were songs to make your cowboy boots itchy, written and performed by the likes of Bobbie Gentry, Johnny Jenkins and Link Wray. Songs that encompass the elation of gospel with the sexual thrust of the blues; country hoedown harmonies cut with inner city grit. Compiled from tracks dating from the late ‘60s to the mid ’70s, Country Funk is the sound of country music blending with sounds and scenes from coast to coast, white America’s heartland music blending with the melting pot as the nation assessed its identity in advance of its bicentennial year.

The good news for the people who fell in love with the first volume of Country Funk is this: there’s plenty more where that came from. We’re following up that first 16-track disc with a second volume, Country Funk Volume II 1967 – 1974, and a new set of loose-talking, lap steel-twanging tracks. On the single CD / 2xLP volume you’ll find household names like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Kenny Rogers, Jackie DeShannon, JJ Cale, Bobby Darin and Dolly Parton. You’ll also find obscure artists like Bill Wilson, whose lost Ever Changing Minstrel album was produced by the feted Dylan producer Bob Johnston, and Thomas Jefferson Kaye, noted producer of Gene Clark’s opus No Other. Gene Clark’s here too, as half of Dillard & Clark, wringing raw emotion from The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down”.

All of the individuals featured have a story to tell, whether it’s that of the sidelined session musician, the fading star or the country upstart. There’s Donnie Fritts (“Sumpin’ Funky Goin’ On”), whose roots stretch back to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and who has played keyboard for Kris Kristofferson for decades. There’s Canadian group Great Speckled Bird, who joined Janis Joplin and more on 1970’s Festival Express tour. There’s Hoyt Axton, who along with singing the harmonica-sucking ode to “California Women”, also took a role in Gremlins. There’s Jim Ford, who Sly Stone once described as “the baddest white man on the planet”. And there’s Billy Swan, who kicks proceedings off with a soul-stirring organ, a lazy kickdrum and his rockabilly vocals echoing like a croon into the grand canyon.

Compiled and presented once again by the team behind Volume I (DJ and music supervisor Zach Cowie plus Light In The Attic’s Matt Sullivan and Patrick McCarthy), the release also includes a reunion of writer Jessica Hundley and Jess Rotter (original album/label artwork and new illustrations by) in the form of a comic book called “The Hot Dawgs”.

It may be the genre that had no name, but there’s plenty of gas in the country funk trunk yet.

  • All tracks newly re-mastered
  • Features cuts by Bob Darin, Thomas Jefferson Kaye, Willie Nelson and more
  • 2xLP housed in a deluxe Stoughton “Tip-On” jacket
  • Includes comic with story by Jessica Hundley along with Jess Rotter’s illustrations
  • Subscribers and Pre-orders get the exclusive “Country Funk” bandana. Hand silk-screened with teal ink on rough-hewn fabric. Designed by Henry Owings / Chunklet Graphic Control, with art by Jess Rotter / Rotter & Friends
  • Color vinyl editions:
    - 200 on “Sky Blue” wax + Bandana ( LITA Vinyl subscriber exclusive)
    - 200 on “Lime Green” wax + Bandana (LITA.net pre-orders exclusive – limit 2 per customer)
    - 100 on “Gold” wax + 7″ (LITA Shop exclusive – limit 2 per customer)

FRIENDS OF LITA | Q&A WITH PHOTOGRAPHER PAT BLASHILL

May 20th, 2014

1986-calgary-bloody-self-portrait_web*Self Portrait, Calgary, 1986. © Pat Blashill 2014

One of the real treats when working on our reissues is the search for archival ephemera, imagery, and photographs related to an album or artist. It can sometimes take months or even years to track down these essential pieces and along the way we have the pleasure of meeting and working with those that had the foresight to not only record/capture life around them (as photographs) but also to hold on to them. One such person is photographer Pat Blashill. We first heard about his work from Tim Kerr (of Big Boys) when working on our short doc Looking Back It’s Just Reflections on the band that coincided with our release of Where’s My Towel / Industry Standard. Pat, along with photographer Bill Daniel, was in the early 80s Austin music scene and documented his friends’ bands and those that came through town on tour. It’s a rare look at an isolated scene that was bursting with creative energy. For our new reissues of the two final Big Boys albums, we reached out to Pat to license some of his unpublished photographs. The cache of negatives he sent over was mind blowing.

As part of our Friends of LITA series, we spoke to Pat Blashill about his work. You can see more of Pat’s music photographs at patblashill.com photo or his Tumblr.

- Patrick McCarthy

1. Tell us about your background and how you started working in photography. What type of cameras and film stock were you using?

Well, in high school, I was like Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter for the school yearbook. By the time I got to college, I’d discovered photographers like Walker Evans and Robert Frank, and I learned from them that sharp focus and “beautiful” light don’t matter as much as expressing a feeling with pictures. Someone once told me that photography is a system for organizing information within the four lines of a frame. That sounds a little clinical, but it’s completely true.

I’ve always used Canon SLR cameras—I started with a TX and an A-1, and now I have an EOS Rebel XS digital SLR. For a lot of the punk rock photos, I used a Vivitar 283 flash—that was a powerful and rugged light to throw at skinheads and Butthole Surfers. At that time, I shot Kodak Tri-X black and white film and developed it myself. I preferred high contrast negatives and prints, with lots of grain and harsh shadows.

2. On your website, a lot of your work is photographs of bands both live and just hanging out. What led you to start photographing bands?

Along with my interest in photography, I’d always loved rock music. I started with ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin, then graduated to the hard stuff. Just before my freshman year at the University of Texas, in 1979, and just as I was getting curious about this “punk” music I’d been reading about, I made friends with a guy named Steve Collier. We were ushers at a movie theatre in Austin, and on our breaks, we’d sit in his Camaro and listen to Devo and the Cars. One day, Steve invited me to come see him play the drums with his band at this punk bar across from the UT campus. That Friday night, when I got to the club, Steve and the rest of the (male) band were wearing dresses and make-up. The singer introduced the band as Kaye Mart and the Shoppers, but their real name was the Big Boys.

After that, I started hanging out at the club, which was called Raul’s. I got to know other bands and people in the scene. That became my nightlife. Around the same time, one of my photography professors told me that people should photograph their own lives. So I did that by making pictures of my friends in bands. I was in the right place at the right time. As a documentary photographer, I can’t imagine a subject more colorful than Biscuit (Big Boys singer) or David Yow (singer of Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard later on..

David-Yow-portrait-@-Muffy's_web*David Yow, Austin, early 1980s. © Pat Blashill 2014

3. A lot of these bands were pretty obscure at the time, but are now celebrated, so it’s really insightful to see them at such an early point. I mean, Sonic Youth, pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Replacements – the list goes on…and they were just kids. How did these meetings come about?

I’d like to say I was able to photograph these bands because I was very clever and had really good taste. But the truth is, both in Austin and later when I moved to New York City, a lot of my friends were also super excited about Sonic Youth and the Replacements and My Bloody Valentine. I thought this was singular and almost unprecedented music. So I just became a pest, and I bugged the bands (or their publicists) until they let me do a picture of them.

I was also writing about the music, and taking pictures for zines like Forced Exposure or fancy papers like Melody Maker and Spin, so that helped. Understand this was all before Nevermind broke, so the bands were more accessible. If I got a dinky assignment from Option magazine, a publicist would say, ‘Okay, you can have two minutes with Ice Cube after his press conference today.’

If all else failed, I’d bring my camera to the club or the concert. Nobody cared, and sometimes I was the only one taking pictures at the show.

20_MBV-with-screaming-faces_web *My Bloody Valentine, Austin, early 1980s. © Pat Blashill 2014

4. Tell us about the scene in Austin in the early 80s. You photographed all the bands in the scene, and two of your photographs are used in our new reissues of the last two Big Boys albums. Any memories of these shows and hanging out? You photographed the last Big Boys show, where Samhain was opening for them. In the photograph of that night, you can see Danzig in the back with fist raised in air.

The scene in Austin was wide open, very diverse, and maybe more queer than that of some other towns—I can think of at least four of our bands with openly gay singers. I loved Scratch Acid and the Butthole Surfers, but everyone loved the Big Boys. Biscuit was worshipped as a local deity. One group I did not photograph enough was the Dicks, who recorded one of the best punk records ever (the Dicks/Big Boys Live at Raul’s split LP.)

55_Gary-Dick-points_web_v2*The Dicks, Austin, early 1980s. © Pat Blashill 2014

The photographs on your reissues are from two Big Boys shows. One was the show the band played in Dallas during the protests at the 1984 Republican National Convention, when that asshole Ronnie Reagan was selected as President for the second time. It was in a small sweatbox club at the height of summer, and in some of the photos, you can see the other great Austin punk photographer, Bill Daniel, snapping away in the middle of the stage diving.

The other photo is from the last Big Boys show, but none of us knew it would be their last at the time. Danzig was a BB fan and friend—like everyone from the Bad Brains to Fugazi, Danzig would always hang with the Big Boys’ Tim Kerr when he came to town. That show was a bit tense—you can see it in Biscuit’s face– but eventually every Big Boys show became a party with, like, a hundred people on the stage singing “Hollywood Swingin’.”

Biscuit-raging-2_web*Big Boys, Dallas,1984. © Pat Blashill 2014

5. Do you have a favorite photograph from this era? Or one that has the best associated memories?

One of my favorite photos is of the Offenders, who were fusing metal and punk before anybody in Austin (and maybe anyone in the US.) In the picture, you can only see about half of JJ, the singer, but his stance—his arms, the way his lips pull back from his teeth—says it all. The Offenders didn’t become so infamous outside of Austin, but they should have.

6_Offenders_Voltaires_web_3*The Offenders, Austin, early 1980s. © Pat Blashill 2014

6. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Pat. Before we let you go, what are you working on these days?

I live in a strange, faraway place called Austria, but I still take a lot of pictures and listen to the Dicks. I shoot digital, and mostly photograph the night streets and train stations in Vienna. These are much lonelier pictures. I have only just recently launched poison, a website for my music pictures, and I hope to show them in more galleries and turn them into a book some day soon. I’ve got a Tumblr of music pictures and ephemera, and that’s at poison303.tumblr.com. I also teach at a small refugee organization here, and I’m still trying to learn German. Other than that, I’ve been pretty lazy….

Pick up a copy of Big Boys’ No Matter How Long The Line At The Cafeteria, There’s Always A Seat and Lullabies Help The Brain Grow from lightintheattic.net!

Weekly Distro Roundup with Jon Treneff!

May 15th, 2014
unnamed

 

I don’t know what it’s like in your thrift store corner of the world, but out here in the wet ‘n wild west, it’s been something like a HEAT-WAAAAVE.  You know what else is hot?!  SLUMBER PARTIES, HIPPIES, and TOURING!!!  So get all up in this sweat lodge and have yourself some visions – of  the hot jams you’ve been missin’!

 


 

Just when you’re expecting another ’80′s synth banger, Death Waltz sucker-punches you with this!  Don’t get us wrong, we got nuthin’ against the ’80′s synth bangers, but THIS – this is a CLASSIC horror soundtrack.  And when we say classic, we mean Phantom of The Opera / Dracula / Haunted Funhouse of Horrors kind of a vibe.  And when we say Funhouse, we mean a real ORGAN GRINDER.  If you still don’t follow, this is what would be playing while you were quietly crapping your pants at the carnival or the haunted corn maze, or whatever they did for fun in Oklahoma.  Scary in the way that clowns, scarecrows, and mimes are still scarier than 100 Freddy Kruegers surrounding you like the maypole.

 


The Black Hippies – The Black Hippies
(Academy LPs)

Here at LITA HQ NW, we’re beyond pumped to have the estimable Academy LPs joining the distro stable!  If you’re not already familiar, this new reissue from The Black Hippies is a perfect place to start, showcasing everything this label has become known for in the last few years.  Like it’s predecessors, this jam is another deep cut from the ’70′s Afro-Fuzz scene – and one of the more high-stepping rump-shakers from a scene that has it’s share.  A uniquely African interpretation of the hard rock, funk, and disco that was making it’s way into the Nigerian nightclubs from Europe and overseas, and will the knock yer socks off if you dug the Ofege record.  Get Hip(py)!

 

Merchandise / Milk Music / Destruction Unit – USA ’13 Split
(540 or Fight)

 

The best kind of 3-car pile-up from some of the more engaging bands working in the American psych/punk underground today.  Serving as something of a postcard from the tour these bands did together last year, this split highlights the stylistically divergent approaches each of them are taking in their attempts to stretch the boundaries of what a “psychedelic” band can be.  Merchandise delves further into the atmospheric, ethereal soundscapes their new label home, 4AD has built it’s house on, while Milk Music keeps driving further from their scrappy SST punk beginnings, winding down somewhere out in the Crazy Horse desert sunset.  Destruction Unit – well, they do what they do – to great effect, laying down minimal, encrusted garage riffs and slowly building them to frenzied, peyote nightmares.  The best split release since the Boys Life / Christie Front Drive 10″- and in retrospect, those bands kinda sucked.  Features all previously unreleased material.

All titles mentioned above are available through our online shop or at our Seattle record shop (913 NW 50th St., Ballard). The shop is open Friday 12-8pm and Saturday 12-4pm.

Malik, We’ll Miss You!

May 14th, 2014

Rodriquez London

Hearing the news of Malik Bendjelloul’s passing was devastating.

Back in ‘07 when we finally licensed Rodriguez’s catalog after years of begging and pleading I felt like I had climbed a mountain. Then I met Malik Benjdelloul. Reissuing a record is one thing. Making a film is an entirely different beast and far more complicated. Malik had incredible talent, unyielding focus and determination to reach his dream, and most importantly he was one of the good people.

In ’08, I remember Rodriguez telling me about a Swedish filmmaker who wanted to make a documentary about his life. I laughed. How could anyone make a feature length doc about a man who was endlessly mysterious, didn’t really like to do interviews, whose story had no archival footage and very few people who could help in the retelling, among other countless roadblocks. Then I met Malik. It was backstage at Joe’s Pub in September 2008 before Rodriguez hit the stage for his first ever New York City show in celebration of our Cold Fact reissue. Malik had an unwavering confidence about him. In retelling, this confidence would make him sound cocky or jerky somehow, but Malik was not even close to being that. He had this serene certainness about him that was hard to deny. Almost a zen-like vibe. I quickly became a believer.

Every now and then, he would send over a rough cut of Searching For Sugar Man, each version improving dramatically from the last. In 2011, he asked ‘what do you think of the latest version?’ I replied: ‘It’s really good.’ Malik: “Yes, but is it good enough to win an Oscar?’ I chuckled a little saying ‘it’s good but not sure it’s an Oscar winner.’ He continued to painfully craft and sculpt and wouldn’t give up until he achieved what he set out to do.

I really can’t imagine what the man would’ve done next.

Malik, thanks for being in our lives, and thanks for all you did for Light In The Attic.

If you have a vision, stick with it.

Look around and hug family and friends because when they’re gone they’re gone.

Our hearts go out to Malik’s family. Thanks for creating such a kind, lovely human being.

Malik, may you rest in peace.

- Matt Sullivan, Light In The Attic Records

2014 Light In The Attic Subscription Part II

May 13th, 2014

2014_Pt2_SUBSCRIPTION

It’s that time of year again when we announce our upcoming Light In The Attic Subscription Package! You thought winter/spring 2014 was good? We’ve got just as much, if not more, juicy stuff cooking in the Light In The Attic broiler. Similar to previous subscriptions, there will be some nice bonus ephemera items for subscribers. In 2013, subscribers received a number of goodies including an unseen 1960s screenplay for Lee Hazlewood’s Trouble Is A Lonesome Town TV show and a repro patch and button set for Public Image Limited, not to mention exclusive subscriber-only colored vinyl (when available). While it is a little early to spill ALL the beans, below is a small sampling of what we have in store for the second half of 2014.

djcover

Donnie & Joe Emerson – Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings + Jingles 45
(LITA 115 | CD | 180-gram LP)
Available: June 17, 2014

As teenagers in Fruitland, Washington in the late ‘70s, farming brothers Donnie & Joe Emerson dreamed of being heard. Their 1979 debut Dreamin’ Wild showcased a slice of their repertoire, including the acclaimed track “Baby.” Here, on Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-81, a dozen previously unheard tracks-all recorded at the same magical home studio that birthed Dreamin’ Wild—are ready to be enjoyed for the first time ever. Where Dreamin’ Wild captured the teenage experience, Still Dreamin’ Wild tells a broader story, one in which teenage dreams turn to painful yearning. Subscribers will receive a bonus 45 of unheard demo advertising jingles recorded by Donnie Emerson back in the day on the Fruitland farm.

LITA117_Highres_Cover

Lewis – L’Amour 
(LITA 117 | CD | 180-gram LP)
Available: June 24, 2014

In 1983, a man named Lewis recorded an album called L’Amour and promptly disappeared without a trace. The record itself is a delicate, whispered album with smooth synthesizers, feather-light piano, ethereal, occasionally inaudible vocals, and the gentle plucking of acoustic guitars that echoes Springsteen’s Nebraska or Angelo Badalamenti’s atmospheric soundtracks. Later, Arthur Russell would grasp for something similar on the epochal World Of Echo LP. Lewis remains a ghost, a total mystery, but the music will be heard. The album is being pressed for the first time in more than 30 years and widely distributed for the first time ever. Lewis’s royalties will be placed in escrow until he makes himself known. Perhaps you know Lewis. Perhaps Lewis is you. The only certainty is this: Lewis is about to find a whole bunch of new fans.

LITA116_Highres_Cover

Various Artists – Country Funk Volume II 1967-1974 + Bandana
(LITA 116 | CD | 180-gram LP)
Available: July 15, 2014

This follow up to 2012’s Country Funk 1969-1975 Volume I is a brand new set of loose-talking, lap steel-twanging tracks that expounds further upon a genre of songs heavy with hip-swinging rhythms and bourbon on the breath. You’ll find household names like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, and Kenny Rogers and obscure artists like Bill Wilson and Thomas Jefferson Kaye, noted producer of Gene Clark’s opus No Other. Compiled and presented by the team behind Volume I (Zach Cowie plus Light In The Attic’s Matt Sullivan and Patrick McCarthy), the release also includes a reunion of writer Jessica Hundley and artist Jess Rotter in the form of liner notes comic, “The Hot Dawgs.” Subscribers will receive a limited edition Country Funk bandana with art by Jess Rotter.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TO BECOME A SUBSCRIBER!

_______________________________

+ The first 8 LPs released from Light In The Attic during the second half of 2014, excluding box sets.

+ Select LP releases will include special subscriber-only colored wax (when colored vinyl is pressed), not available for non-subscribers or anywhere else in the known universe.

+ 15% off ALL online orders for the remainder of the year, excluding subscriptions (discount code to be sent post-purchase). *Discounts may not be used towards the subscription purchase.

+ Includes various rarities and exclusives throughout the remainder of year

+ Free shipping for subscription titles

+ Due to licensing restrictions, not every LP release will include a digital download coupon

+ Any subscriber who previously purchased Lewis-L’Amour and/or Donnie & Joe-Still Dreamin’ Wild: The Lost Recordings, has the option to replace each release with any LITA/Modern Classics/Future Days single LP. Please contact subscriptions@lightintheattic.net for replacement submissions.

We apologize, but there will not be a CD subscription available for Part II.