Allison teamed up with John Loder as the very first Southern employee back in 1985 when they had the idea of starting up a record distribution company.
Prior to that she published a fanzine (Savage Pink), played in bands, promoted shows, ran a venue (for about a week before the mayor shut it down), worked at a record distributor, and generally fought the punk wars.
Now she is the owner & chief pot washer of Southern.
Southern Records is very pleased to be invited to host a venue at this year’s Camden Crawl. If you don’t know the Crawl, it’s an “urban festival” in London, spanning two days, 40 venues, and 200 bands, with a focus on new, cutting-edge music. And they have some “heritage acts” too (that means folks who are old enough to be your parents but still know how to rock out).
We’ll be hosting the Blues Kitchen on Sunday 2nd May. We don’t know what bands will be playing yet. The way it works is all of the venue hosts (fancy pants label folks and journalists mostly – but only the cool ones) get to nominate all their favourite bands. A HUGE LIST (like 400 pages long)(ok maybe only 6 pages long) is then compiled and all the hosts vote for the bands they want to go through. The bands with the most votes go to the top of the list and the Crawl starts phoning em! Eventually they end up with a list of bands that have been nominated, voted in, and who are available to play. Once that list is finalised, they lock all us hosts in a room with no food and water and we fight to the death for the bands we want to play our venue.
In the process of closing our warehouse and moving the shop late last year, we dug up some boxes of stuff that we’ll gradually be adding to the shop. Our first box is a real find – copies of two now out-of-print CDs issued in 2007 on Guy Piccotto’s Peterbilt label.
Back in 1990, Peterbilt issued limited 12 inch pressings of two previously unreleased tapes by early Washington DC hardcore bands Rain and Deadline. Both singles have long been high on the want lists of collectors of rare DCHC. In 2007 Peterbilt pressed up CDs of the two releases – as far as we can tell only 1000 of each were pressed. We found 23 copies of each CD and you can buy them while they last in the shop.
Our Christmas day was darkened by the passing of Mr. Vic Chesnutt, a very special person who brought much light into the world with his creative energy and unique and beautiful perspective on life. We were privileged to work with him for a few short years and we know the world is a less wonderful place without him.
Okay so that’s us being a bit cheeky. Actually the good folk at Drowned In Sound call it the “Lost 9 of 09″ and they’ve awarded the number one spot to our dear, lovely Tartufi for their epic Nests Of Waves And Wire album. Tartufi are just about the best thing to happen to us this year. Genuinely lovely, warm, hard-working people who have an incredible musical gift. The kind of band you’d cut your right arm off for and know that you’d never regret it. To celebrate the DiS piece and so that everyone can bathe in the warm glow of splendid noise that is Nests Of Waves And Wire, we’re practically giving the CD away all this week in our web shop. Only £5 – and you get a free instant mp3 download of the album to go with it. (Well, instant if you use Paypal. Might take a couple of hours if we have to process your credit card.) And we’ll send you a free tour poster as well.
And what, prey tell, are the dynamic duo of Tartufi up to at this moment in time? Well, they had a tough Autumn – their European tour was aborted due to no fault whatsoever of the band, and this in turn made their US tour go bust (it was supposed to bookend the European trip). But, did they cry? Did they wail? Did they gnash their teeth? YES. THEY DID ALL OF THOSE THINGS. And then they started writing their next album. As we speak – this very minute – they are sequestered in the studio with the wizard that is known to you humanoids as Tim Green and the co-engineer known only as “Chopper” and they are recording an EP. Not just any EP, mind – it’s just one song. And it’s 100 minutes long. Okay, maybe it’s only 30 minutes long. But it’s looooooong, got it? Said EP to be released on (drum roll) Southern Records (fanfare) in April. On vinyl and download only. Which is pretty cool, don’t you think?
But why would we want to release a one-long-ass-song vinyl-only EP in April? That’s insane, right? Well, not if you know that TARTUFI ARE GOING TO BE TOURING IN M*****F*****G MAY! Sorry for shouting. And for asterisk-swearing. Sorry, Santa. But yes, it’s true. Tartufi now have an actual serious booking agent working a real (note – not imaginary) tour of Europe, in May. Everybody say hell yeah! Yes yes yes. We’ll be keeping you posted, don’t worry. And after the tour in May you can expect a whole spanking brand-new album in the Autumnal months. 2010 is like, the Official Year Of Tartufi. Get ready.
And while you dream your little dreams of next year, take a minute to remember all the sweet words that the lovely smart people said about Tartufi in 2009. We love them all. The people that is.
“A haunting record of mercurial, generically evasive songs, the hefty running times of which belie the fact they are neither self-consciously epic or ‘progressive’, nor look-at-me weird; calling this music ‘schizophrenic’ implies a wackiness that’s entirely absent. Indeed, Nests of Waves and Wire’s considerable sense of coherency comes both from its uniformly melancholic tone and the slow but purposeful pace with which the songs unfold. It doesn’t sound like Tartufi are making it up as they go along; more like they’re somehow uncovered a collection of very strange old spirituals and decided they might have a go covering them. In a folk-noise-metal-choral-ambient style.”- Drowned In Sound #1 Lost Album of 2009
“An expansive lattice of twinkling loops, math-rock crunch and none-more-giddy harmonies. Animal Collective fans in search of further post-psych rapture should bend an ear to these compulsive, crisply produced workouts.” – Mojo 4 out of 5 stars
“This is huge. Imagine Animal Collective boxing their way out of rock’s paper bag without putting down their guitars first and you have it, crudely. The San-Franciscans charge from played-with-shards-of-broken-glass guitar to crescendos that manage somehow, to sound both jubilant and doomed.” – NME
“Suffice to say, Nests Of Waves And Wire is more than the sum of its very varied parts. At times the sheer musical breadth and vastness of tracks…are almost overwhelming. As dramatic as the changing of the seasons NOWAW is a vital celebration of the power and immensity of sound and the human voice. Perfect springtime listening.” – Wears The Trousers
“A dizzying construct of lunatic prettiness. It all flows together, like a fantastical alien river.” – Rocksound 8 out of 10 stars
“With each twist on Nests Of Waves And Wire there is something new to obsess over, whether it’s complete u-turn in the previous drum pattern, an obtuse reverberation chamber that swallows the whole middle section…or a vocal hook that contradicts everything you thought you’d gathered from the first 20 minutes of the album. It becomes so utterly unpredictable…the purest and most essential thing about it.” – Rock A Rolla
“Multi-layered hollering is mounted on crazy synths and disjointed loops and the beats are ever changing; the whole thing a savage maelstrom of sound.” – Alternative Ulster 7 out of 10 stars
“Tartufi build intricate loops of organic alt rock and lay freak folk riffs over clattering campfire rhythms. The effect is rapturous, strident.” – PLAN B