Newsletter September 2003

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September is Diva Action Month at the Stereo Society

Carmel

 
Sarah Jane Morris

BETTY

Carol Lipnik
Lene Lovich

Sarah Jane Morris concluded her North American tour with local release of her new CD Love And Pain, received with huge enthusiasm by the (Manchester, UK) Guardian reviewer. And Carol Lipnik’s Hope Street CD also receives great ink.

Lene Lovich made a rare New York appearance on Sunday July 27 as part of the Janis Joplin tribute concert in Central Park. The following week, she worked at the Stereo Society, wrapping up the final details of her forthcoming CD. We hope to tell you release details shortly.

BETTY will be taping a Comedy Central special, Out On The Edge, with Alan Cumming at the Hudson Theater in New York September 23. The first screening will be some two weeks later. They will be writing the musical material and performing as the house band.

And our other CDs? Getting there. The Universe is finished, according to Charles Ives and Johnny Reinhard. Now we just have to pick up the pieces. Nice cover. Thorne’s CD is officially named The Contessa’s Party. Eight tracks, 75 minutes, but action all the way. No chill-out in this zone. You can stream and/or download potential tracks from Song And Dance At The Stereo Society, a coming collection of extended and reworked material. Just about all will be redone in version 2.0 for the CD release. A couple of surprises to come. We hope you’ll enjoy the variations on the CD. Release details coming soon.

After Bad Day, already documented, Carmel became a prominent hit-maker in the UK and especially France in the eighties. In many ways, the three-piece group named for the lead singer defined the term uncompromising, having the punk attitude without subscribing to the thrash style. The battle of wills between artist and producer was documented (affectionately) by Thorne a few months ago. Here’s the story of the first album’s production, with even more volatile ‘artist moments’. Some ‘producer moments’, also. And still more affection. With the artist’s permission, here is an account of the combative start of an enduring friendship.

This production essay, about The Drum Is Everything, lays bare the difficult process of an artist finding the voice and the feet, finding an area that hasn’t yet been suburbanized to live in and make a loud personal noise in the face of massive business forces that insist that you fit a pre-established mould and style. Such iconoclastic attitude may now be impossible to propagate in the manner of Carmel’s in the eighties. We may have lost a cultural safety valve for good. The production ranged through an unusual number of sociomusical situations. Even though the CD is not available right now, it’s worth hearing the streaming audio and reading (in the equivalent of six pages) about a situation which doesn’t exist any more. An artist following her instinct and a producer trying to catch the fallout with a real budget to deliver. In an intense way, it covered so many issues of recording and music making. Not that we recognized, let alone articulated, it at the time.

The big-time record business continues to amaze us with its energetic suicide. After suing college kids and not waiving the $12K fines! How much did they pay their lawyers to carry out their brainwave, and steer this fine line through the US Constitution? At least $500,000, we’d guess. Count the zeros. And now we have to enjoy, as a consolation prize, Orrin Hatch backpedaling from his stance of invading file-swappers’ (guilty before proven innocent) computers and damaging them. Where is the reality here? Which world do these people inhabit?

Now, Kazaa et al have software to disguise who’s doing what. Bootleggers suck, as BETTY said on their first CD (Hello BETTY, 1991). Regular people don’t steal music from the musicians and the honest agents that get it to them. But if it’s wildly overpriced and you’re often treated like a criminal when you try to buy it (from excessive download copy protection to the farcical plastic seals on which you break your elegant fingernails as you try to open your latest $20 CD purchase) what are you going to do? Do the technologically empowered Joe/Jill Sixpacks have any choice?

Note that our shopping prices for CDs and song downloads are still the lowest, for the highest quality....

Random gigs:
The reconstituted Carmel plays London’s Jazz Café on Monday September 22. A DVD of old material recorded last year is due for release early 2004. The group does not have a functioning Web site at this point.
The Shirts play CBGB’s Friday September 5 at 10pm, and then Friday September 19.
Carol Lipnik and Sarah Jane Morris are both playing out regularly.
BETTY tape their HBO special September 23. Tickets available from the Hudson Theater, New York City.
The Sex Pistols conclude their North American tour later this month. Glen Matlock takes his band the Philistines on the road shortly afterward.

Please take a creative ramble around the site. We’re past 650 pages now, and there is an awful lot of what they call ‘content’. It comes in often unexpected places, although as you have seen we have been implementing large panels of links as standard, together with the Links and Index pages. We continue to expand the streaming audio to illustrate the words. Listen as you read.

And keep writing us notes and suggestions through the Contact page, please.

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