29 August, 2014
Five years of Volar Records! New + upcoming releases by Susan, Tiger High, Lazy, T.I.T. (Digital Leather/the Hussy)!
Holy shit! This weekend marks five years since our (again, proverbial we, this has been a one-man operation for the most part since the beginning) first release, and it's also my birthday. I'm gonna watch Beehive and the Barracudas at my place of employment tonight, and then on Sunday watch one of my all-time absolute favorite bands, Drive Like Jehu, reunite for five songs, and then watch my best friends and old bandmates in Teenage Burritos play at my work. There'll be lots of beer and tacos somewhere in there.
So Volar has a new release next week and then four later next month, and I'll put those links here, but before talking about those, I was hoping to take a chance to talk about the birth of the label.
In early 2009, I was less than a year out of college, working at an independent video store in my neighborhood, and broke as shit. I was playing in two bands with my best friend Brian Carver: Christmas Island, his band with his girlfriend (now wife) that I started playing live with when In the Red suddenly asked to put out an LP after Brian and his now-wife had yet to even play a show; and Spirit Photography, in which Brian and I wrote all the music together on two guitars over his bass and drum machine and I sang/wrote the words I sang. Spirit Photography had just put out a 7" on Sacred Bones when that label was somewhat in its infancy, and we were looking to put out a split with Sharp Ends, a band out of Canada we really dug and with whom we had become internet-friends. (Years later, a few months back from the writing of this here post, I'd discovered my buddy Danny Christiansen, guitarist for Sharp Ends, was in a new band called Viet Cong, with a couple of the dudes from Women, who I've obsessed over the last few years, and was lucky enough to have them agree to put out a 7" in the near future.) Finding somebody to put out the split was proving difficult, until it was suggested that I just start my own label, and so I did. Within a couple of days there was the name Volar, fusing the Latin medical term that refers to the palmal region of the hand and the slang Spanish use that means to "explode" or "set fire to," something like that. We had that split in mind, which morphed over time into the 6x2x12" USA/Canada comp. with the Defektors, O Voids, Sharp Ends, Beaters, Ale Mania, and Spirit Photography. My favorite band in town, the Sess, had just broken up shortly before after five years, and just by chance, within a week the label idea, Beaters and Ale Mania both rose from the ashes of that band, and their first (AMAZING!) recordings would go on to become their first 7"s, bookending 7"s by Ratas del Vaticano out of Monterrey, MX and my new buds the Fresh and Onlys, whom I met down here at their third-ever show.
It took a bit longer to get things going than I'd thought, but eventually, thanks to Single Screen Records here in town agreeing to co-release the Beaters 7", the label was off and running, with Beaters playing a packed show with the Muslims (later Soft Pack) at the Tower Bar here in town on the night of my 29th birthday.
Things were a little stop-start from there. That split 12" eventually came out along with a 7" by Black Orphan (Lance from the Spits), and then I met my good buddy Jon/Matzah, who'd just started I Hate Rock n Roll, and we began working on getting together the Nerves tribute LP as well as the Audacity "Ears and Eyes" 7". Both those did pretty well, and then I got a job at the bar I still work at, and started planning out releases that I'd put out with the decent tip money I was making at the time. Over the last four years, this whole thing's been fun and nerve-wracking all at once, but I'd like to think I've finally got a pretty decent hold on it all.
So next week I'll have the debut 7" by Susan in my hands. Susan is an all-female power-pop trio from LA that consists of Jessica Owen on guitar/vox, my old friend Beth Orwell, who used to play in Cowabunga Babes, on bass/vox, and my other old friend Katie Fern on drums/vox. Check out the video below, stream all three tracks via Soundcloud, and order limited, mailorder-only green and gold vinyl. Burger Records will include these three tracks with two more on a cassette version soon.
Later next month I'll have four releases ready. Shit's expensive!
First up is the brand new LP from Memphis garage/psych act Tiger High, Inside the Acid Coven, as well as the 7" for "Christine" from the LP b/w two additional exclusive tracks, "More" and "Shakey Legs." Tiger High began when drummer Greg Roberson, founding and longtime drummer for Reigning Sound, among other credits, met the other three fellows that make up TH and they decided to venture forth together. These are both co-releases with Greg's label Trashy Creatures and are due out late September. Burger Records will be doing the cassette version of this soon before issuing the band's first two LPs on vinyl for the first time.
Inside the Acid Coven limited yellow LP for $15
"Christine" b/w "More"/"Shakey Legs" 7" on limited color for $6
The long-gestating Lazy - "Soft Sheets" 7" is finally ready, and it's a doozy. The Kansas City weirdo rippers are hitting the road in October, and you can check out "Soft Sheets" and their tour dates below.
Limited mailorder-only blue and red vinyl for $6 here
We're happy to finally be working with FDH, in which we're co-releasing the debut TIT 12", a collaboration between Shawn Foree of Digital Leather (whose Infinite Sun 12" we put out in 2011) and Bobby Hussy of the Hussy. We're crossing our fingers this thing's ready early October, and you can stream the opening track "Leaves on Fire" below.
TIT 12" on limited yellow vinyl for $11
Digital Leather limited clear "Infinite Sun" 12" for $9
10 July, 2014
VOLAR 2014 w/ Susan, Tiger High, TIT (Digital Leather/Hussy collab), Curriculum Vitae, Viet Cong (members of Women/Sharp Ends), Crooked Bangs, Lazy, Northern Tigers, etc.
After a crazy couple of years in more ways than one, 2014's been a little quiet so far on our end. We played catch up from late last year with 7"s by Fine Steps and Lenz and LPs by Tropical Popsicle and Soft Riot, and re-presses of records by Lenguas Largas, Digital Leather, Shannon and the Clams, Audacity, Cosmonauts, Destruction Unit, and some others, and since then, I've been trying to take it easy for the first time in a while and prep a number of upcoming releases, which are now starting to pile up, so I figured I'd share. Plus I have a real job and shit and that can be tiring. Plus plus records are pretty expensive to put out.
A couple of weeks ago was the news of Susan's debut 7" "Just Call It" and their video for it and their interview over at Impose Magazine. You can preorder limited gold and green copies over at our webstore or at our Bandcamp.
After talking with my buddy Greg Roberson, founding member of Reigning Sound, reuniter of Love, one-time Hollywood music consultant, and way too much other shit to note here, we're finally getting his band Tiger High's new LP off to the plant. It'll be a split-release with his label Trashy Creatures, with our buds at Burger Records releasing the cassette, along with the first two Tiger High albums, Myth is This and Catacombs After Party, on vinyl for the first time. We'll have more proper news on that soon, but for now, check out "Leave it Alone" from CAP.
Also being shuttled off to the plant at the moment is a collaborative 12" between Shawn Foree of Digital Leather (whose Infinite Sun 12" we released a couple of years back, limited white vinyl still in stock) and Bobby Hussy of the Hussy. The pair are just coming off of a great split 12" via Southpaw and banged this thing out over the course of a few days, which will be co-released with our buds at FDH in the Fall. Hussy's cover of DL's "Studs in Love" even made its way over to Huffington Post last week or so, and you can watch it below.
Sometime right after that we'll have a 7" by Kansas City, Missouri weirdo-punks Lazy, and you can check out their last 7", "Party City", below.
We'll also have the debut 7" for Curriculum Vitae, the new project from musical/life partners Cameron Michel and Vashti Windish of K-Holes/Golden Triangle. They're currently both relocating to LA from NYC and hoping to start a live band this fall. Check out their digital LP below.
Also debuting on vinyl via 7" will be San Diego's Northern Tigers, members of the Sess/Beaters/Ale Mania. Check out "Gutspeed" below.
Oh yeah, there's this great band Crooked Bangs from Austin. I saw this video when I noticed them on a SXSW bill with Lazy, and that was enough for me. 7" sometime later this year.
And my buddy Daniel Christiansen, formerly of Sharp Ends, who are partly responsible for pushing me to start Volar when I was trying to get a split 7" with my band Spirit Photography going five years ago (the split eventually became the 6x2x12" comp, listen below), is now in the great Viet Cong, who you may have heard about in recent weeks. Also featuring Mike Wallace and Matt Flegel from Women, whose Public Strain is one of my absolute favorite records of the few years, and Scott Munro of Labcoast (Munro and Flegel also play in Chad VanGaalen's backing band). So yeah, at some point, that one too, super excited about that. Have a listen to "Bunker Buster" below, and read a profile and review over at Pitchfork and some other stuff below. Their tour cassette was just issued on vinyl via Mexican Summer, and it's a doozy.
Pitchfork's 'Rising' profile
Pitchfork's 7.8 review of 'Cassette'
NME 9/10 review of 'Cassette'
Oh yeah, there'll be a Teenage Burritos LP at some point that we're co-releasing with Burger Records, whenever the Burritos get around to recording it. Limited red and gold copies of the "Danya"/"Kamikaze" 7" still available.
Okay, that's it for now you turkeys. More news as it comes.
19 June, 2014
Preorder Susan's "Just Call It" b/w "Frenchie" & "Pancake" on 100 copies each gold and green and 300 black at our webstore or over at Bandcamp:
Stream "Just Call It" over here as well:
The official video for "Just Call It" by our old friend (and bass player Beth's old bandmate in Cowabunga Babes) Cassandra Lee Hamilton!
And so, our first release in quite a few months is due out late summer, the debut 7" by Susan, an all-female trio comprised of some very special gals, Jessica, Beth and Katie, who I've known for a few years. Beth was even in Cowabunga Babes, whose Going Nowhere LP (stream it below) Volar released a few years ago when I was playing in Christmas Island and we toured together. Check out the interview with the gals over at Impose. Burger Records will also be releasing the five-song 'Eleanor Sessions' cassette this fall following the 7". Their tour starts today (Friday, June 20th), tour dates below!
FRI 6/20 LOS ANGELES w/ Priests and French Vanilla
SAT 6/21 SAN DIEGO w/ Priests and Ash Williams
at Che Cafe
SUN 6/22 OAKLAND w/ Gal Pals and General Hospital
at Rock Paper Scissors Gallery
MON 6/23 SANTA CRUZ w/Suck Me Beautiful + Powers!
at Blue Lagoon
TUES 6/24 SACRAMENTO w/Charles Albright, 2014
and Amateur Hour
at The Witch Room
THURS 6/26 SEATTLE w/ Ubu Roi and The Dumps
at The Rendevous in the Grotto
FRI 6/27 PORTLAND w/ The Rat and Lamebrain
at The Vern
SAT 6/28 PORTLAND w/Houndstooth + Sartorial Excess
at Bunk Bar
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING ALL Y'ALL
23 February, 2014
Soft Riot - Fiction Prediction LP available for $10 at our webstore/bandcamp
Soft Riot - No Longer Stranger LP available for $8 at our webstore/bandcamp
Both LPs also available via Revolver/Midheaven mailorder, Rough Trade, Carrot Top, and X-Mist Germany.
Last year saw the release on Volar of Soft Riot's first LP, No Longer Stranger, an eight-song collection going back to the days when SR one-man act Jack Duckworth, of Radio Berlin and Savage Furs, first started recording under the moniker in 2006, and expanded from the six-song EP of the same name that was released digitally on Panospria in 2011. A buddy of mine was DJing tracks from that EP in the bar one night, and I was immediately taken. Two days later, I tracked down Jack through Facebook, told him that I had to put it out on vinyl, and we went from there. He was already in the middle of working on newer, more "pop" tracks that would eventually make up the Fiction Prediction LP, which is finally available on vinyl and digitally via Volar, in conjunction with Other Voices in Russia, who are handling those duties over there and in parts of Europe.
Via the Soft Riot website:
The next upcoming Soft Riot release is a free, digital single of two “outtake” tracks from Fiction Prediction. These tracks, “The Garden Party” and “Read You Like An Electronic Book” were developed alongside the current tracks on that album but didn’t make the cut. Nevertheless they’re still an interesting listening. This will be released as part on the ongoing digital 7″ series by American web-label Everything Is Chemical entitled EIC 7″. This release comes out 13 March 2014. More details to come next month!
Also continuing with his series of "re-versions" (amongst these was the great version of "Don't Let Me Down" by Window Twins, the collaboration between Tim Cohen of Magic Trick/Fresh and Onlys and Jon Bernson of Exrays, listen below). The other upcoming takes include Celebration's "Razor's Edge" from their new LP due out in the coming months, as well as versions for Attrition, Keluar, and TSTI.
Among his recent excursions, Jack took part in this interview and contributed a mix-tape for Abbatoir Live a couple of weeks ago leading up to an event he was playing:
Also recently, Tuesday SOFT RIOT was in the studio at London’s Resonance 104.4 FM as a guest on the show “A Colder Consciousness”, hosted by Flora Pitrolo, London's premier synth-wave independent radio program. Pitrolo went so far as to call Soft Riot "one of the most original new electronic acts in London", and Jack contributed a handful of songs, listed below.
“The Hole” – Susan Justin
“Educated Man” – Images In Vogue
“Fallout” – Data
“Lawnchairs (original mix)” – Our Daughters Wedding
“Burn My Eyes” – Steven Grandell
“Dynamo Beat” – Shock
“Save Our Souls” – Second Layer
“Varsavia” – Ein-st-ein
Also, a few months, Jack contributed to the great Warmer Climes blog, detailing thirteen of his favorite tracks both as of late and going back much farther.
There's plenty more on the horizon for Soft Riot in the near future, including more European dates and tracks and the like. Stream both No Longer Stranger and Fiction Prediction below, and be sure to pick up limited copies at our webstore.
10 December, 2013
Cut to April 2011 when the record finally came out and the Unit finally started playing out more and more. Early 2012 saw them hit the road with Merchandise and their friends in the Men off an on throughout the year, and early 2013 saw the release of Void on Jolly Dream Records, followed by their first proper studio recordings for the Deep Trip LP via our buddies at Sacred Bones and the "Sonic Pearl" 7" via Suicide Squeeze. Rolling Stone, NME, Pitchfork and Vice and plenty of other folks started talking about them as one of the best acts around, and the fellas just last week returned from a rather lengthy tour.
The point of all this is to say, in addition to the recent limited re-pressing of Sonoran on clear wax, we've also got limited copies of Ryan Rousseau's solo LP Discover (30 copies), Deep Trip (15), and Void (10), with a special four-record pack available for $45. We also found a handful of Sonoran test presses (10!) that we're willing to let go of as well. Links/pics/sounds/etc. below.
Sonoran limited clear vinyl - $10
Sonoran SUPER LIMITED test presses (10 copies) $15
Void LP $14
Deep Trip LP $14
Ryan Rousseau - Discover LP $10
LP Four-pack $45
Destruction Unit - Sonoran full album stream
"Evil Man" (from Void)
"The World on Drugs" (from Deep Trip)
Ryan Rousseau - "Spiders" (not on the Discover LP, just an example of his solo stuff)