30 Dec 2010

How minimal can you get? #29

The Four Plugs – Wrong Treatment + Biking Girl 7" (1979)
“The Four Plugs – Biking Girl (Disposable Records UK 1979) The subtle charm of marginal culture: Truly marginal culture where 1000 singles were pressed more than 22 years ago. How many got lost? How many are never being played? How many are stored in a box in the attic? How many are being played repeatedly on turntables that cost ten times as much as the recording and pressing of this given 45? 'She used to be my biking partner ? she used to be my biking girl. We used to go for rides in the country side'. A true punk rock/diy statement issued by the Damaged Goods people, who knew their Chesterton and Thomas Browne.” Johan Kugelberg

The Four Plugs – Biking Girl
Get it here.

29 Dec 2010

Chalk Circle

Chalk Circle – Side By Side & Reflection (Live @ dc space, 1982)

“Chalk Circle played three out of our four shows at dc space, which was another really great place to see bands. It was a small artist-run performance space that had all sorts of music and art events, including shows like Sun Ra and Laurie Anderson and film screenings of underground and experimental movies. It had a very intimate, friendly, comfortable vibe, but I had to walk past the drug dealers, porn shops, and rats to get there. It was at 7th & E, NW, right around the corner from the original 9:30 Club. At that time the area was known as the red light district. But once you were inside dc space, you felt safe and welcomed, like you were in a friend’s living room. Almost every punk / hardcore band in DC in the 80s played there at one time or another. Chalk Circle never played outside of the DC area, unfortunately. It wasn’t like today where it’s easy to book shows in other cities. There was no infrastructure built up, no easy way to communicate other than by letter or phone (and remember this was before answering machines), no easy way to find out about places to play. And it was doubly hard for girls to tour. It was a big achievement for us to have played in the DC area, although I wish we’d been able to tour the US. When we played our first show at dc space in July 1981 (with Sally Berg of REM — later Egoslavia — borrowed on bass), we were the first all-female band to have played in DC since the 1940s!
   Sally worked for District Curators, which was the company run by Bill Warrell that owned dc space. Sally then worked at the 9:30 Club with Tamera, and that’s how we met Tamera and got her to be our bass player. Tamera was originally a guitarist. She didn’t play with us at that first show, but she played with us at our second show at dc space, which wasn’t until Feb 1982.” Sharon Cheslow

Chalk Circle at dc space: Sharon Cheslow and Mary Green (1982).

“Other than punk and the music that evolved out of that, Chalk Circle loved a lot of glam rock, folk rock, psychedelic music, soul, and funk — especially go-go. Go-go was a style of funk native to DC that was very percussive and rhythmic, with lots of repetitive call-and-response vocals, so people really got into a groove at shows. It had a lot in common with hip-hop. There was a great local funk scene in DC, with bands like Trouble Funk and Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, and it became known as DC go-go.”  Sharon Cheslow

“The two songs on the Mixed Nuts comp, 'The Slap' and 'Subversive Pleasure', were taken from our second Inner Ear demo. Those two songs, plus most of the songs we released on WGNS cassettes, will be released on vinyl with digital download in early 2011. Mississippi Records and Post Present Medium will be doing a split-label release. The LP will be titled Reflection, which is the title of one of the songs from our first Inner Ear demo, and it will come with a 16-page booklet. The booklet includes liner notes by Don Fleming, photos, and some press clippings.” Sharon Cheslow

Chalk Circle Reflection LP out in February 2011.

Meanwhile, please visit Decomposition – Chalk Circle for more information.

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Excerpts taken from an interview with Sharon Cheslow in November 2010.

26 Dec 2010

Earth Dies Burning

Earth Dies Burning – Another Six Year Old (Live @ New Wave Theatre, 1982)

Earth Dies Burning: relics from the valley of the bored teenager

12 Dec 2010

Shelley's Children

Originally posted December 13, 2008
“Shelley's Children are bright enough to make superb female harmonies over buzzsaw pop guitar protest songs with ace lyrics... and just dumb enough to be anarchists. Long time since our Billy wrote a song quite this good. Pull your socks up, lad.” Steven Wells – NME (30 March 1991)

Steph, Greg, Imogen, Neil, Coral (the final Shelley's Children lineup).

“Like a slightly off-key Calamities or Gymslips, this band features female vocals set to very catchy tunes that sometimes cloy. Still, the better songs on the 45rpm side leave a solid impression. Pretty good.” Maximum Rock'n'Roll (Sept '90)

“And speaking of Shelley's Children, here they are with their own single. A comparison to Kirsty MacColl springs directly to mind, not simply because it's a girl singer, but the voice is not dissimilar and the songs are like Kirsty at her best. The top side is a clever piece of Folk-Pop from this big band whilst the flip includes Jack – which starts with a nursery rhyme introduction before crashing into an upbeat song – and Waiting For The Weekend, which is more of the same. Highly recommended.” Steve Smith – Spiral Scracth (May 1991)

Shelley's Children – Born Too Late

Shelley's Children – Elvis Says

Shelley's Children – Every Town
Get it here.

Shelley's Children Myspace

3 Dec 2010

Our record label could be your life #2

Subterranean Records
San Francisco's first hardcore label, the US's first industrial label.

“Subterranean Records for me is one of the best examples of what a good quality independent label is all about. Take a look at their catalog: Z'ev, Flipper, Nervous Gender, Minimal Man, Chrome, Leather Nun, Dead Kennedys, Code of Honor, Fried Abortions, Wilma, Monte Cazazza, Factrix... Quite an odd assortment wouldn't you say? The thing that separates Subterranean I think from most of the others is the chances they take by releasing unusual, unproven artists who are different from the norm. (And I'm talking within an underground context). Let's face it. Safe is boring and different music and new ideas is where it's at, folks.” Suburban Relapse #11

“We're much more interested in experimental kinds of things – closer to street level kind of music, the kind of music being made by hordes of kids just picking up guitars and synthesizers and making music. It's modern urban folk music. It reflects people's daily experiences and how they live and have to try and cope with life in a nitty-gritty world.” Mike Fox & Steve Tupper

“Everybody's trying to figure out what's cool. Right now what's cool is what's dead. I wish people would stop worrying about what's cool and start trying to do things that are so new and challenging that they can't be ignored.” Mike Fox & Steve Tupper

The first three releases were:

Factrix – Night to Forget

Nervous Gender – Miscarriage

More info: Subterranean Records – An Uncompromising Vision of Luxury since 1979.