Friday, April 27, 2012

Ani DiFranco

Great new interview with Ani

Link to Interview

 My favorite part:

 “I keep going back to the sort of fundamentals of our societal diseases—the hyper capitalism, the destruction of the environment, the endless wars, the hierarchies of racism and class—and all of that comes from unchecked patriarchy,” she posits. “And it’s not that the masculine sensibility is bad or wrong, it’s just that on its own, it will create disease.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

All Hail, Record Store Day!!

Talk Talk : The Colour of Spring 180-gram vinyl + bonus grey-marble 12" with 3 bonus tracks + 3 live tracks from the Montreux Jazz Festival 1986.

Kill Rock Stars LP : various artist comp from KRS from late 1991, limited edition celebrating 20th Anniversary

Portland Cello Project : Homage limited edition run w/ bonus track

Rosie Thomas / Sufjan Stevens : Hit & Run Vol. 1 split 7"
The Clash : London Calling 2012 7"
St. Vincent : Grot/Krokodil red-vinyl 7"
Eddie Vedder : Love Boat Captain/Wishlist 7"
Mike McCready / Star Anna : Keep On/Call Your Girlfriend 7"
Blitzen Trapper : Hey Joe + Skirts on Fire yellow-vinyl 7"

Ryan Adams : Heartbreak A Stranger / Black Sheets of Rain. Ryan does covers of two early Bob Mould solo tracks. Artwork mimics style of Hüsker Dü

MC5 / Afrika Bambaataa : Kick Out the Jams pink-marble 7"

School Of Seven Bells : Kiss Them For Me/When She Was Me. Siouxsie & The Banshees cover.

The Civil Wars : Live @ Amoeba

Also got the following samplers which I'm going to have to listen to:

Decca RSD 2012 sampler
Saddle Creek Summer 2012 sampler
Southern Ground Artists vol.2
New West Records : On Air @ World Cafe
Metal Blade Records 30th Anniversary sampler 1982-2012
Select-o-Hits Memphis, TN l.e. sampler
Sub Pop Mixed Nuts Vol.5
Epitaph Winter/Spring 2011 sampler

and they had a demo of Hit So Hard - the film about Patty Schemel, drummer of Hole with trailer, clips with Nirvana and others and the video.  It's all up on the website and I've already seen it but it's still kinda cool... at least for me.

Other Records I've picked up this week
Sleater-Kinney : You Ain't It 7"
Cold Cold Hearts : Yer So Sweet/Broken Teeth 7"
There's a Dyke in the Pit 7" w/ Bikini Kill/Tribe 8/Lucy Stoners/7 Year Bitch
BIS : bis vs. d.i.y. corps
BIS/Lugworm : split 7"
The Go Team : Go Team Go/Three Ways to Sunday 7"
Kraftwerk : Computer Love/Numbers 7"
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts : Do You Wanna Touch Me/Victim of Circumstance 7"
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts : I Love Rock n Roll/Activity Grrrl 7"
Peter Gabriel : Sledgehammer 7"
Peter Gabriel : Shock the Monkey 7"
Lunachicks : Shit Finger Dick 7"
Frumpies : S/T 7"
Team Dresch : the new Team Dresch v6.0 beta 7"
Rites of Spring : All Through a Life 7"
Stargirl EP on Villavilla Kula 7"
Heatmiser : Stray/Can't Be Touched Wake 7"
Huggy Bear : Weaponry Listens to Love LP
Kaia : S/T LP
Sarah Dougher : Mirror/Shield b/w My Pal 7"

I think that's it.. but it's quite the haul and I've already listened to 90% of it at least once.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It Changed My Life: Bikini Kill In The U.K.

Bikini Kill in the U.K. 1993 from Lucy Thane on Vimeo.

She's Real (Worse than Queer)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Villa Villakula


la villa de tinuviel
Villa Villakula is the label which i started in 1994 in nyc.
It was actually an accident.

When i was on the west coast, helping to run Kill Rock Stars, i had wanted to put out an all girl band compilation but we had so many projects that it never came to be. Then i moved to nyc. I met lots of cool girls doing interesting musics but without much means of getting themselves heard. Of course everyone wanted to put out a record; but, maybe cuz nyc is too big, everything being so separate and far between and just plain time consuming to do the simple things like get a coffee and got to work, there wasn't time to both be making music and figuring out how to put it out... well, people kept asking me for advice. I'd ask them questions back about their motives and during these various discussions, i met up with Jenn Rogers of RUBY FALLS. She had lots and lots of questions and motivation so i wrote up some of my ideas about the record industry for her and her band to think about. Soon we were meeting up all together and talking about approaching labels and the general process of putting out records. I offered my help in going over any materials they were sending out and then, as an aside, mentioned that if they couldn't find anyone to put out a single for them, i would do it. At that point, they just stopped looking and asked me to put it out for them. There was no turning back and that's how VVK started. That first single came out in the early spring of '94. It was a bit pre-mature (i didn't officially registered as a business until july 14, 1994) but everything was on its way...
       I didn't have a name for the label. It hadn't occurred to me that i would have a label. So i starting thinking about what was important to me and how it related to music and (especially) to girls. I thought about who were some of my idols as a kid... PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, STEVIE NICKS, YOKO ONO, ALICE IN WONDERLAND... Pippi stood out as the most fun. She was independent, kooky, strong enough to lift up a horse! She was counter-culture all around, loved playing tricks on authority, made fools of the local police... BUT she had a good heart and was faithful to her friends and animals. And she was a girl!!! She named her house the Villa Villekula. I envisioned the label as being a house/home where girls could show off all sorts of ideas... music, art, words... and not be constrained into standard cultural ideas of being a girl.
       After putting out that first 7", i started working on the compilation i had wished to do in Seattle. I already knew i wanted to name it "move into the villa villakula" which was the first chapter of Pippi Longstocking. It seemed an appropriate way to start the label. I talked with various friends of mine, wrote some letters to people i thought might want to join in on the project. I moved up to Maine for the summer to work at a juice bar on a dock.
       One thing i wanted to do with the compilation was to give a decent chunk of time to each artist. I didn't want to put out yet another of the endless amount of 'sampler' type comps with 20 artists all strung together. I decided on 6 artists giving them 10 minutes each (that's what fits on an LP). The response was amazing from my friends and within 6 months i had the tapes. (if anyone's ever worked on a comp, you know that this is pretty good timing for getting peoples work gathered up)
       Choosing the artists was mostly a matter of working with girls i already knew.RUBY FALLS were an obvious choice since they had gotten me started. SLEATER-KINNEY was Corin from Heavens to Betsy's new band. I met KAIA (from Adickdid) through a solo tour she did with Mary Lou Lord. TATTLE TALE were 2 of the most influential and motivating girls i had ever met! We had worked a lot together in seattle setting up all-ages shows. We were constantly seeking alternative space and alternative forms for shows. They were amazing. At that time, completely acoustic (cello and guitar). No amps, no mikes, no marshall stacks... often setting up in the middle of the audience to make sure everyone could hear them play and be a part of the performance. AZALIA SNAIL was a woman i met in nyc who had been making her own films and records for years, touring around the world with nothing and somehow making it. EILEEN MYLES was the one person i didn't know on the comp. I saw her at a reading and loved her work and her voice. I asked her out of the blue. I was terrified but she was awesome and totally into the idea. It really seemed like magic how it all worked out.
As i was getting the recordings together, Sleater-Kinney made plans to tour Australia. They wanted something to bring with them on the tour so we took 2 of the songs slated for the comp to make a single. This was Sleater-Kinney's first single and Villa Villakula's 2nd. I don't think i actually got them done on time for the tour, or maybe i had sent them to Australia but it took too long to ship but i remember that the band didn't have the records on time for their tour. And it was only by a few days.
       This was the summer of '94 and i was still in Maine, sending out tons of letters which i wrote on a portable typewriter in a field of blueberries. That was the VVK office. At the end of the summer, instead of moving back to nyc, i moved to Boston, my hometown. I hadn't lived there in 5 or 6 years and really missed it. (plus i had a couple job offers, more than i had in nyc)
       I started to work on how i wanted to present the compilation.The 3 compilations with Kill Rock Stars i had made silk-screened covers. I decided to do the same for this project. I drew the Villa Villakula and made the screens. In my new apartment, i silk-screened the covers for the comp on silver paper i had found at the recycle center at the Children's Museum. Somehow i got all 1000 records into the apartment. I lived on the 4th floor of a walk-up. The place was a mess for a few weeks. Boxes of records, covers spread out and drying... but i finally got them all put together and ready to sell. I sent them out to various distributors, set up a mail order system. My office now was my bedroom closet. Around this time, i met Ron and Larry of Surefire Distributors. They were just starting their distro and we would often talk about business ideas, the record industry, local music, etc. Within a year of being in Boston and less than 6 months of dealing with multiple distros, i asked Surefire if they would be willing to handle my records as an exclusive. I found i was spending so much time trying to collect money from people that it made the label annoying.
       That's how Villa Villakula got started and from there it flowed pretty easily. There never seemed to be a shortage of good artists. In fact, there was always more than i could handle with the minimal money and time i had to put into the label. I was also starting to set up shows in Boston for the artists i was working with and other friends from the west coast who would be touring through town.
My 4th release is a 7" by DAME DARCY. Dame Darcy and i met while i was living in nyc. We met through my friend Steve Fisk who relayed a message to her about she and i possibly looking an apartment together (both of us had recently arrived to nyc). We had heard about each other from mutual friends for a while and somehow, somewhere in the city, we finally met. We didn't end up living together but stayed in touch. I had never been much of a comic book reader but i did really like her work. I'm pretty sure that the first time i came across it was in SHUT UP LITTLE MAN and then in Rollerderby. Darcy was putting out MEATBALL with Fantagraphics at the time. We came up with the idea of putting out a single that would be mutually beneficial. VVK had a small following who probably didn't know Dame Darcy and she had a following whom i sure knew nothing about what i was doing. The single is 100% Dame Darcy, visually and musically. She recorded the music herself, drew the cover and then etched into the vinyl of the B side. It came out beautiful. Her next issue of Meatball she put in a coupon for her faithful readers to get a break in price (basically covering postage & cost of the record). It might be the most unusual record on the label.
       About 6 months after Move Into the Villa Villakula came out, i considering putting it onto CD. Since CDs have much more room for them for music, i wanted to put out some more artists. It was a good way to give exposure to some of the people i had encountered in Boston. I didn't want to alienate my original vinyl customers so i made a double 7" of the new material. I called that the STARGIRL EP. Denise Monahan and Mary Timony were both girls i had worked with on Kill Rock Star comps. Denise (formerly the singer from Cheesecake) was primarily a writer so she was excited to be able to put out a spoken word release. Mary had a side project with her friend Ash which was LED BYRD. KORE were 2 sisters show worked at the Garment District, one of my many jobs at the time. DQE, Grace Braun, was someone i had met through mutual friends and we started a correspondence (she lives in Atlanta). She had sent me a tape i really liked. Then she came to Boston to play and i thought she was great. Grace was really supportive of an all girl label and though she didn't know me at all, was gracious and willing to record some tracks to be included on the new version of the compilation.

At about the same time, i found that i had been listening constantly to a tape that was sent to me by 2 sisters i had yet to meet. They were also referred to my by Steve Fisk. They called themselves The Pendulum Floors and lived north of Boston. They had previously put out records with a band called the 360s on a major label but didn't like the experience which was why they sent me a tape. I called them and we got on real well. We decided to put out a 7" agreeing we had no expectations beyond getting the music onto vinyl within the minimal budget i had (basically none).
       I was working on all these projects simultaneously while working two jobs and setting up shows around town. I actually don't know how i managed to do it all but somehow everything worked out. I had a bunch of records. Now i was trying to figure out how to sell them, where to advertise, get the mail order into the mailþ basically all by myself. Occasionally a friend would come over for a few hours and help with mail order or promotional mailings. A couple of times i hooked up with other small Boston labels to send out promo packages to radio & press. I really liked working with others who had similar DIY visions and aesthetics.
       In the spring of '95, Sleater-Kinney wanted to put out a full length of material they had recorded in Australia the previous summer. They had brought back the rough mixes to Olympia and had Tim Green mix it for them in his new basement studio. I agreed to put it out as a 10". I didn't have the funds to put out multiple formats at the time, so Donna Dresch put out the CD version.
       Before VVK was officially one year old, i ended up in the hospital emergency room with an unidentified illness. During that week, the test pressings for the Sleater-Kinney 10" had shown up and i remember talking to the band and record masterer from my hospital room deathly ill with IVs in my arm making arrangements to remaster the record cuz there was some weird distortion on the test. I got out of the hospital and went home thinking my life was going to return to normal. Instead i became progressively worse and 2 weeks later i was in the hospital again for emergency surgery. The doctors found a huge cyst on my ovary. I guess that slowed me down a lot. It took me months to recover. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and put on medication that completely interfered with my life.
       In the winter of '96, i started to work for the Loud Music Festival which was to take place in Northampton, MA in the spring. I worked arranging the panel discussions. This was the first work i started to do after having been ill. I still could only work half days due to fatigue, weakness and severe pain.
During the winter, my friend Margarita started to work on her project Un Cuerpo Exquisito. We decided to put out a 7". I also wanted to put out more Pendulum Floors. Initially we were going to try to re-record a lot of the material from the original tape they had sent me. That didn't work out due to a flair up of chronic illness that one of the sisters was going through. We ended up putting out the tape, unedited, that had been recorded on a walkman in the bedroom. We put it out with very little money. It is a small run of 600 with hand silk screened covers.
       After having been ill for so long, my actual releases became fewer. I didn't have much strength still couldn't even accomplish half of what i was accustomed to do. Through out the rest of '96, i did manage to get out some releases.
       Victory At Sea was a band i started working with in the fall of '96. They had started as 2 girls, guitar and drums, playing around town together. They picked up a bass player and recorded a tape which i put out as a 7". Margarita was working on more and more recordings toward a CD of Un Cuerpo Exquisito. My friend Madigan, from Tattle Tale, was doing a lot of new work on her own which we planned on putting out as a 7" but that project kept growing for a couple years until it became a CD co-release with my old label Kill Rock Stars. That was a really cool rounding out of my record releasing experiences.
       At this point, i was finding that the practical things in my life, like paying rent and making my own art were calling for more attention. I wasn't able to put out that much effort into putting out records anymore. It was hard for me to keep up on mail order and various promotions work. I started to feel guilty putting out records which i knew i would not have the time to promote properly. I was being approached by a lot of people who wanted me to put out things but i wasn't very good at getting back to them. There were a couple of last minute projects (the Victory At Sea 12" EP) and a Fresh Fish 7". I realized that even though i really wanted to put out records, and there was a lot of great music being made, i just didn't have the time or resources to continue. I tried to finish up the loose ends of every project but, for now at least, Villa Villakula is officially over.