Archive for September, 2012

Eric Mueller (Skipper/CEO and all around nice guy of Pirates Press Records/MFG) is STOKED on theses titles he’s just heard coming off the press!!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/30/2012 by Shattered Platter
Here we go –
DOWNTOWN STRUTS “Victoria!” LP& CD & “Lost In America” Flexray
Downtown Struts released the best album of 2012! It’s not even over that and it’s safe enough to make the call in a lot of our minds. Check out all the versions, promo flexis, and more. Or better yet, if you haven’t already, check out the record for yourself, or even the 3-D Music Video for “Lost in America” – all of this is brilliant, and for the last year this record has been on constant rotation all over Pirates Press, and in all our homes, cars, iPods, etc. Listen for yourself and you’ll understand why.
NOFX “Self En-Titled”  LP
Some of the older, more-jaded (Pirate) crowd hopped back on board with NOFX on this one – not as much ridiculousness (although there is plenty) – this record is a little more raw, and a little more real (almost makes you forget the whole “cokie the clown” madness)  – and so far this one standing the test of time in this office. We’ve pressed up a bagillion copies of this, and for a good reason. This is another one that should stay on a lot of peoples’ 2012 favorites list. It’s certainly on ours.
HARRINGTON SAINTS, THE OLD FIRM CASUALS, ARGY BARGY, BOOZE & GLORY – 4 Way Double 7″ Split – “RED WHITE & BLUE – Which One Are You?” [Stars & Stripes Version]
Proud doesn’t even sum it up with this one. The picture speaks louder than words. Being in the position to dream up crazy ideas, and then execute them is the best position a vinyl collector could ever be in. Knowing how the records are made, the limitations on the technology, and how you can push them is my favorite part about all of this. Whether its mastering shaped picture disc, flexi postcards, or a new style of colored vinyl – It all RULES. We love it, and when we get to do that kind of thing for bands we love and respect, and are able to honor them with such amazing vinyl releases – everyone wins! (This version is SOLD OUT, but you can still buy the release on our WEBSTORE.)
COCK SPARRER – Essentials Boxset
You can see all the madness HERE, but these are special. When a band is together for 40 years, and they still get along, still enjoy playing together, and are still motivated to continue growing, progressing and creating as a band, something MORE than special is happening. That is who Cock Sparrer are, and that is how we treat our relationship with them. These records are gems. The true ESSENTIALS.
Mysterious Stack of 46 7″ TEST PRESSINGS.
A great photo, once again illustrating perhaps THE best part of our job. You don’t know what’s on these 46 seven inches, but I do. And this is going to stay on my turntable, and a LOT of peoples’ turntables for a LONG TIME. You’ll have to wait and see what it is. My only hint is that you might want to add yourself to the Pirates Press Records mailing list HERE and keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of weeks. P.s. Test Pressings APPROVED!
So… on to section two
“What turntable do I have…?”
 Try turntableS. Our office has been coined “the house of vinyl” (more than once I might add)… we’ve got over 2000 records up on the walls and ceilings in here, an archive of somewhere around 50,000 records, and upwards of 15 turntables. Haha. VINYL rules all.
I’m not going to dive into this too much, as I’m not a technical guru. We have a great variety of both normal and elliptical styluses and a decent range of both cheap and expensive (belt/direct drive) turntables so we can objectively evaluate a record when we want/need to – and we all have our favorites…
Here are some of mine!




 Thanks for inviting us to contribute! Keep on Keepin’ On – Vinyl Rules All!

Aaron Turner (Isis/Old Man Gloom/Mamifer/Hydrahead Records founder) interview

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/28/2012 by Shattered Platter

Aaron Turner took some time to speak with me.  Interview is below, enjoy.


Besides the fact that you’ve managed to keep Hydra Head’s doors open for 20 years, is there anything else notable you wish to comment on regarding a project/activity that has had your direct involvement in which you’re proud of?

The word “proud” or “pride” can have strange connotations, but I will say that I feel extremely lucky to have been involved with just about all the the musical endeavors I have been in the last 20 years – both as a musician and as a facilitator of other people’s work. Almost all the great experiences of my late teenage years, college years and “adult” life have come through playing music or working with other musicians in some capacity. Most of my close friendships, and even my marriage came from this as well. I feel glad to know that some of the art and music I’ve made or helped others get out into the world has had meaning and provided inspiration to others. That is the highest goal I could’ve possibly hoped to achieve through doing what I do.

Your vinyl packaging is perhaps some of the best I’ve ever seen and it’s obvious that a lot care, thought and creativity go into its presentation.   Are you the sole brains behind the packaging concept alone or do you get input from your staff as well on what they believe would be a cool design/illustration/schematic?

 I started the label as a one person operation and the idea of producing quality packaging was part of the original ideology. I’ve definitely consulted others over the years in terms of how to approach the design and packaging for our releases – both staff and the bands /artists whom I was working for, and there have been many instances where other designers and artists created the sleeves for our releases. That said, it has been my persistent belief that music of substance deserves packaging that reflects that substance and helps to enrich the experience of the album overall.

Being the graphic artist for most of your catalog’s material, has their ever been anyone you would like to collaborate with for a design idea?

 There’s been a whole lot of people I would’ve loved to have worked with on designs and artwork, but for the most part I’ve gotten the most satisfaction out of creating album art by myself from the ground up. That has changed some in recent years in my partnership with Faith Coloccia. Working with her and having the chance to use some of her art and photos as well as having critical discussions about what I’m doing has strengthened the results of my efforts and been really enjoyable as well.

What band is the most challenging (idea wise) on HH to create a design for?

There’s nothing that immediately comes to mind, but without naming names, there have been a few instances where bands have adamant about using art or concepts that I had a really hard time accepting. I’ve always striven for a certain level of quality with our visual aesthetics, and there have been times where what a band wanted seemed to fall short of that goal. Ultimately though, I never want to stand in the way of anyone’s creative vision, and though I may have made suggestions about what to do from time to time I always left the final decision up to the artists. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there are a few records in our discography where in retrospect I wished I had been a little more totalitarian about the design though…

What sparked the idea of opening up Vacation Vinyl?  Will you be playing a more active role in the stores operations along with Pete and crew?

Vacation was born out of a lifelong desire to be an owner of a record store. I’m not sure if this was the motivation for all involved, but being that record stores were the source of many life changing documents for me I always loved the idea of being involved in one. My role in Vacation is minimal however and it’s really the people that are there day to day that make it the awesome place it is. If I still lived in LA I might be a more active participant, but as it is I’m content to watch it evolve from afar.

For all of those out there that aspire to operate their own label (regardless of what they want to put out), what words could you share through your experience with HH and also on the state of the industry today?

 Start small, move slowly, work with friends you can trust and most importantly do it because you love it. Those that are thinking of getting started now had better reconcile themselves with the fact that there is no substantial money to be made from doing this – it has to be done out of a devotion to music and fostering the work of artists whose work you respect. Having some kind of business sense would be helpful too – we’ve suffered greatly from a lack in that area. That doesn’t mean you need to be cutthroat by any means – it just means you need to know how to budget whatever funds you have, something we learned far too late. First and foremost though, heart and a healthy respect for other people’s humanity are the most important tools for running a label. At the end of the day dollars only mean so much – people and what they do is of far greater significance.

Scott “Chopper” Franklin (The Cramps/Wanda Jackson/ Charley Horse/The Mau Maus) gives suggestions for blues & roots music to check out.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/28/2012 by Shattered Platter

Low Estate 16 Horsepower

All of 16 HPs records are on heavy rotation around here, but Low Estate gets the most spins. If a Faulkner reading ever needed a backing track this would get the call. You’ll think you’re listening to the Devil hisself, but when you find out singer David Eugene Edwards is actually deeply religious, you’ll be even more intrigued.


Blues Classics by Memphis Minnie

In my latest project the Heathen Apostles we are doing Black Rat Swing, and ever since pulling out and listening to this record to learn it, I haven’t been able to stop. Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey may have gotten all the accolades, but Minnie is the real deal. This is a great cross-section of her best sides from the 1920’s to the late 1940’s.


Red of Tooth and Claw Murder By Death

When I first put this record on I thought I was hearing the soundtrack to Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and later when I read the lyrics I knew I was. First Adam Turla’s amazing voice kicks you down, then Sarah Balliet’s great cello steps on your throat. Get two copies of this, you’ll wear the first one out.


Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever Scott H. Biram

This is stripped-down, one-man-band music at its best, but Time Flies is as slick as anything you’ll ever hear. SHB manages to capture both the grit and melody of Leadbelly, along with some great Hank Williams, Sr. storytelling (though a little “rougher around the edges”). He puts on a great live show, too.


Lil Son Lil Son Jackson

Some (incorrectly) call Lil Son a poor man’s Lightnin Hopkins, but this Texas blues stands on its own and also has a great swamp feel to it. On this record (1960 re-recordings of some of his earlier hard-to-find classics) he gives Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo a run for their money. It’s a recent Arhoolie re-issue, shouldn’t be hard to find.



Well, I go through turntables like crazy, so I keep a stack of them in a back room. The current one is a Technics DC Servo, next up…?


They go through JBL home speakers and a bottle or ten of Old Overholt.



– Cheers!


Steven Christopher Wallace (independent film maker) shares with me his analog preferences

Posted in Shattered Platter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/22/2012 by Shattered Platter

My setup is fairly simple. I have a Technics SL-QD33 direct drive turntable with an Audio Technica needle. The record player is fed into an Onkyo Integra TX-DS838.


And I have a pair of Polk bookshelf speakers. A similar setup could be had for a few hundred bucks. What I like about certain Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon and Harman Kardon recievers is: some still come with a built in phono pre-amp. This is a good way keep costs reasonable.

Most recently I’ve listened to a limited edition Black Sabbath EP featuring Paranoid. It’s cool for two reasons: First, because its clear vinyl; and second because I always sing that song at karaoke.


Next I listened to Thee Headcoats, The Good Times are Killing Me.  I was in high school when this record came out. At that time, it was probably my favorite album. So I dusted it off and gave it a listen. Still holds up as far as I’m concerned.


Last on my list I haven’t listened to yet. It’s is a vinyl reproduction of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast by Orson Welles Halloween of 1939 [edit: it was 1938]. Welles and the Mercury Players [Theatre] dramatized the H.G. Wells classic of the same title as if it were a news interruption.  It turned out the presentation was so convincing it caused quite a bit of hysteria. Despite Welles concluding the program and wishing everyone a happy Halloween some viewers had already freaked out and panicked. It was this broadcast that paved the way for Welles’ short but no less significant contribution to Hollywood, including his masterpiece Citizen Kane. I plan to wait for Halloween to listen to this one.




Visit for a listing of Steve’s work.

– Matt

Guest review: Samuel Blum’s (Shame/Diemaker) take on Fell to Low @ The Smell (LA – 9.14.12)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 09/17/2012 by Shattered Platter

Fell to Low might as well not be a real band. I’d be more comfortable if the Santa Barbara five-piece was a figment of my imagination or some intangible, passing thought swimming through my head. There are other bands that evoke a similar notion in me but for completely different reasons. I consider my taste stuck in a time capsule that spans from the late 80’s to the early 2000’s. Newer, recent acts that champion a more contemporary sound–while valiant in their efforts, usually fall somewhere short of impressing me.

If it’s not some kind of contrived originality or a forced, bratty attitude supplanting any and all quality songwriting, I’m usually cringing when I hear what kids on the street are calling “good,” these days. That’s why when I saw Fell to Low at the Smell last Friday, I was elated that the band playing in front of me was real. I didn’t even need to pinch myself. 
I spent a couple minutes talking to my friends in Fell to Low before their set. Bassist Nathan Zemke remarked how the Smell’s high ceilings would give their sound a washy, indecipherable quality. “We’re gonna sound like shit in this place,” he said. Nathan’s predictions couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

What strikes me as refreshing about FTL is their humility as a band. Maybe it’s what growing up in a place like Ojai, California—the serene and isolated offshoot of Ventura County—instills in people like my friend Walker Delbo, who plays drums in FTL. Walker writes most, if not all of Fell to Low’s music on guitar, then sits behind a drum kit and dictates the pacing and rhythm of the band’s tricky song structures. 

A lot of the time FTL’s songs revolve around two or three chords and how the band can subject those chords to different undulating variations. Their songs almost seem like a cognitive assessment for testing rhythmic musicianship. 

As for the show, FTL’s presence was easy to feel. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a huge fan, obviously. But at the end of their 25 minute set that I’ve grown so partial to over the past 2 years, the goose bumps on my arms were testament to the fact that this band is very real, and scary good too. 

-Sam Blum




Image  (link)

Interview with The Chuck Dukowski Sextet

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 09/14/2012 by Shattered Platter

Part 2/2

Stab City/CD6/Insects vs. Robots – El Cid 9/12/2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 09/14/2012 by Shattered Platter

Stab City laying it down.  Little did we know that Kyle would turn an ugly 24 in 30 minutes

















Chuck Dukowski Sextet laying it down!








Playing “My War” here




Insects vs. Robots psychedelic meshpoint







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