Local label Thrill Jockey has been celebrating its 20th anniversary throughout 2012, with numerous shows and events across the country in Portland, New York, and Los Angeles. Tomorrow, the celebration will culminate at the Empty Bottle with a concert featuring Man Forever, the Sea and Cake, and Tortoise.
Since its inception, Thrill Jockey has supported a consistently fantastic roster of artists, from Tortoise to Daniel Higgs to Boredoms, and you can frequently hear Thrill Jockey releases on WNUR. I contacted some of the label’s artists to see why they think Thrill Jockey is a record label worth honoring, as well as their picks for their favorite Thrill Jockey records.
“Memories” is the first track off Red Dirt’s 1970 self-titled release on Fontana Records. While the album received little attention at the time, the group’s blend of blues rock with prog and country influences has made it a hot commodity for collectors, with the original pressing going for as much as £600. In 2010, Morgan Blue Town reissued the album with five bonus tracks and featured “Memories” on their Truly, This Must be Heaven compilation. After the group disbanded, producer Geoff Gill and guitarist Steve Howden joined Fickle Pickle, who released one album, Sinful Skinful, on the Dutch label Explosion a little later in 1970.
Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos was a New Zealand band comprising Michael Morley and Richard Ram. The group was active from 1980 to 1986, disbanding shortly before Morley’s next band, The Dead C, was formed. Wreck Small Speakers released a number of cassettes in the early 1980s and put out the River Falling Love EP on Flying Nun in 1986, from which “Lots of Hearts” comes off.
Ram doesn’t seem to have done much after Wreck Small Speakers, but Morley has had an extensive career as the vocalist/guitarist for The Dead C (he was also involved with the Tanaka-Nixon Meeting and 2 Foot Flame). Morley has recorded under the name Gate as well, and still releases under that name today, in addition to teaching at an art school in Dunedin.
Last month, the prolific Robert Lowe released Timon Irnok Manta on the Malden, MA-based Type Recordings. The album consists of “M’Bondo,” my pick for today, and a fantastic alternate version of the track.
Lowe also recently released Lítiõ Fõlk under his moniker Lichens on the Belgian label Morc Records. I haven’t heard it yet, but judging by the sample on Morc’s site it’s definitely worth checking out (as is true for all of Lowe’s work, which I can’t praise enough).