Hot dice! Happy release day our friends James Elkington and Nathan Salsburg. Pick up a copy of their beauty Ambsace from our website, your finest local shop, or your favorite online retailer. It’s streaming on all the streamers too. There is no better soundtrack to the coming autumn.
Pre-order Ambsace here:
In other news, we’re so flattered to be consulted and quoted in our friend Amanda Petrusich‘s brilliant essay for The New Yorker on how record reissue culture reconfigures time, for better and worse. The piece describes the great Alex Chilton/Alan Vega/Ben Vaughn album “Cubist Blues” and its forthcoming reissue by Light in the Attic Records, as well as some of the work we get to do at Paradise of Bachelors. Thanks, Amanda!
See below for the section on PoB, but please be sure to read the entire piece here.
“Paradise of Bachelors, a North Carolina-based label that handles reissues with particular grace, has revived records by Mike Cooper, Chance Martin, Plant and See, the Red Rippers, and Lavender Country. The Lavender Country release, now recognized as the first country record by an openly gay artist, had an initial print run, back in 1973, of just a thousand copies. The label’s co-owners, Chris Smith and Brendan Greaves, are judicious, intuitive curators; ingenuity is paramount when attempting to recognize instances in which the culture stumbled as its own filter, and then to question whether we are actually any better equipped to receive the work now.
“There’s a hunger for retrospection that ultimately has to do with the immediacy of the archive these days—the ease with which these kinds of transactions take place,” Greaves said. “You can find many, many records, famous and otherwise, online. We’re in this strange position where the past is more immediately accessible to us than ever, but our attention spans are lacking—we don’t understand or process the past in any more meaningful ways than before.”
For Smith and Greaves, the presentation (and subsequent recontextualization) of the material is an essential corrective. “You really have to think about all that,” Smith said. “What’s the ‘re’ you’re putting it front of it, and why? But we come from the folklore world. That’s our niche. We try to make folklore out of these things; we want to perpetuate a continuum. That’s how we look at our reissues: as boosters.”
There is also the complicated question of taste and utility—and divining the sweet spot where the two overlap. “For every dozen records that were wrongfully overlooked, there are thousands of others that were overlooked for a reason,” Greaves said. “There’s a law of diminishing returns at some point, and part of me feels we’re reaching critical mass for reissue culture. Sometimes you look at recent reissues and think, ‘Why bother with that?’ ”
There’s the hope: that a label might encounter a release like “Cubist Blues”—a minor work by all accounts—and recognize the ways in which it might satiate new, modern hungers for, say, extemporaneous emoting, while remaining savvy enough to disregard the records that do less. “The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone,” Milan Kundera wrote in 1979, in “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,” a beautiful novel largely about remembrance and commemoration. He was almost certainly right.”