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Artist: BELL, SANDRA
Title: Dreams of Falling
Format: LP
Label: Straight to Video
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"Sandra Bells Dreams of Falling is an experimental tour de force that ranges from ethereal sound collage to poetic industrial noise. Originally released as a cassette on New Zealands Xpressway label in 1991, the record also features Peter Jefferies, Peter Gutteridge, Alastair Galbraith, Kathy Bull, David Mitchell and Bruce Blucher. Essential listening for any NZ underground music fan." - Straight to Video.

“Secret NZ Ripper made in Dunedin in 90-91. Originally released as a cassette on Xpressway, the record boasts this nearly unfathomable cast in addition to Sandra Bell herself:
- David Mitchell (Exploding Budgies, Goblin Mix, 3Ds, Ghost Club) - Bruce Blucher (Alpaca Brothers, Trash, Cyclops) - Kathy Bull (Look Blue Go Purple, Cyclops) - Alastair Galbraith (the Rip, Plagal Grind) - Peter Gutteridge (The Clean, Great Unwashed, Snapper) - Peter Jefferies (Nocturnal Projections, This Kind Of Punishment, Plagal Grind, Two Foot Flame, Cyclops)
Dreams Of Falling holds a singular place in both Sandra Bells discography and the evolution of New Zealands underground music. Bell is a singer, songwriter and poet, currently residing in Auckland, New Zealand, who has been making records since 1984. Each one is marked by the place and time where it was made. The moody folk rock of Blackbirds, from 1986, expressed the anxiety of existence in Aucklands inner city while City Of Sorrows, made over a decade later in Berlin, articulated the instability of expatriate life in post-reunification Germany.
Dreams Of Falling was made in Dunedin during 1990-91, when many of the more aspirant Flying Nun pop crowd had abandoned NZs South island. The Xpressway label had united the disaffected non-conformists left behind into a self-reliant cadre, and the LPs personnel reads like an Xpressway whos who. David Mitchell (Exploding Budgies, Goblin Mix, 3Ds, Ghost Club) and Bruce Blucher (Alpaca Brothers, Trash, Cyclops) contribute stone-powdering guitar to three tracks, Kathy Bull (Look Blue Go Purple, Cyclops) bass to two, and Alastair Galbraith (the Rip, Plagal Grind) keening violin to one more. Peter Gutteridges (The Clean, Great Unwashed, Snapper) distorted keyboard is a defining presence on two more. But Peter Jefferies (Nocturnal Projections, This Kind Of Punishment, Plagal Grind, Two Foot Flame, Cyclops) drumming, piano, guitar, and 4-track tape wizardry are by far the strongest shaping forces on Dreams Of Falling.
The album constitutes a convergence of the unvarnished Xpressway sound world and poetic lyrical expression. Bell is a poet as well as a songwriter, so words matter, and she often uses them to articulate experiences of displacement and an accompanying sense of loss. Maori legend, Australian geography, urban blight, and local catastrophe — “Floating Aground” responds to the mass shooting at nearby Aramoana — are all present in Dreams Of Falling. It is at once a deeply personal work and a nodal point, focusing the inspiration of predecessors like The Raincoats and This Heat and projecting it into a future where artists like Azalia Snail and Circuit Des Yeux pay close attention.” - Bill Meyer, May 2016.

Artist: THOMAS JEFFERSON SLAVE APARTMENTS
Title: Straight to Video
Format: LP
Label: Straight to Video
Country: USA
Price: $15.00
“Formed in Columbus, OH in 1988; Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments first released a number of 7”s via Datapanik and Siltbreeze before eventually going on to sign in 1995 to Onion Records lead by Johan Kugelberg, an imprint of Rick Rubins American Recordings. After the eventual folding of Onion a few years later, Straight to Video – though promised to the defunct label, resurfaced as a CD only release in 1997 via Anyway Records. The title Straight to Video derives its name from the second-hand nature of being passed along to Anyway records by circumstance; as well as the crap-shack CD only format. Not only does this release mark its first release on vinyl, it presents a missing piece of underground music history. TJSA are best known for Ron Houses apt and acerbic lyrics; with an unparalled stage presence couched in first-wave CLE Punk; and guitarist Bob Petrics evident lifelong-obsession with classic rock meets dirt blooz fullstack-riffs.” - Straight to Video.

"It seems inconceivable now, but back in 91, foreseeing the impact of Nirvanas Nevermind on Americas underground music scene, or the subsequent feeding frenzy, was virtually impossible. Overzealous major-label A&R reps stalked this nations bars n basements for the next few years like ravenous chickens in pursuit of an elusive grasshopper they couldnt see but knew existed. It had to! Many alt-rock Orthopterida were snared, none of whose stridulations seemed to resonate in a manner deemed by the greedy as a prerequisite for sure-fire bankability, and thus the hunt continued. By 1995 an enterprising yardbird strutting his stuff for the Onion label (a division of Rick Rubins American Records) had pecked his way down the trail to Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. And before you could say “Coq au Vin,” a deal was struck and their sneeringly great debut LP, Bait & Switch was (ostensibly) available for mainstream consumption from Caribou, Maine, to San Ysidro, California. How well it sold is a quandary to explore on a day far rainier than this, but it was chock full of the bands best numbers (at the time), an inexplicable Electric Eels cover, and a scabrous stab at the Rock & Hall Of Fame, which, predictably, garnered the most widespread attention. Whatever, something mustve been working, cause unlike their label peers (V-3 and Stiffs Inc.), TJSA turned in a follow-up long player, Straight To Video, and it was a hummer.
But Onion had other ideas, foremost of which was a quick vamoose into the ether of non-existence. The label shuttered its doors, and in one fell swoop, the band was paid for, then handed back, their effort. And so ended TJSAs brush in the bigs. Undaunted, they began the search for its next home, calling on labels such as Treble Kicker, Vinyl Communications, and Roadrunner, only to be ignored time and again. A pall of uncertainty loomed, with the fate of bands finest effort hanging in the balance, when suddenly, local label Anyway Records — flush from the proceeds of winning an Ohio State pie-eating contest — stepped forward to grant Straight To Video the mortality it so richly deserved (“mortality” being code for “CD only”). Fanfare was zero. Not even a press release. However, the distribution was solid enough, but to a person, every fan of Straight To Video would tell you it was meant for the grandeur of vinyl, not the cheap vacancy of a compact disc. As sophomore efforts go, the numbers that this is better than (J. Geils Bands The Morning After, for sure) far outweigh those it is not (Born In A Barn is a tough one to top). Ron Houses lyrics peak with his inimitable wit and wisdom, his delivery as rich as Chinese takeout for Sunday dinner. Guitarist Bob Petric tempers those pummeling, EVH-like power chords with soaring, uncanny Schenker-esque fluidity while the rhythm section of bassist Craig Dunson and drummer Ted Hattemer rudder this fucker with such precision, the best thing you can say about em is you almost dont even know theyre there.
Its taken almost 20 years for justice to find its mark, but Kellie Morgans Straight To Video, THE LABEL, has made it possible for Straight To Video, THE RECORD. So, to quoteth the bard (aka Ron House), “When the entertainment ends, thats when the fun begins.” So whaddaya say? Lets get this party started!" - Tom Lax (Ambatofinandrahana, Madagascar, 2015).

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