New Southern Records holding page up

Southern Label Logo Red Small

Most of our long-time friends will be hard-pressed to remember the last time anything significant changed on our website. I’d like to be able to say that because our site is so perfect, no changes have been necessary in the last ten years, but that just isn’t the case. There’s a grain of truth in it, though.

Our site was awesome in its day, and we were one of the first (maybe even the first) independent record labels and distribution companies to have a web shop, which ours was linked directly to our stock control, so customers had a real-time view of what was available to order. The complexity of the system, however, led to other problems, not the least of which was the expert knowledge required to maintain it. Not many people know that in the last 15 years or so, Southern Records had at least two, usually three, full-time IT staff (including John Loder himself) who maintained Southern’s–considering the resources available–rather impressive network across several locations in London and Chicago. We certainlyhad the expertise to manage our web site, but didn’t have a lot of timefor it. The focus of most of the IT work was on making sure the software we use to run our businesses was working well, and on keeping our network stable.

Because the web shop system was built around our, er, vintage accounting and stock control suite, it lacked a certain flexibility. Changes that by modern standards should be simple were very difficult to make. For example, changing the layout of the site’s front page required the skills of a programmer.  So for years it was necessary to employ someone whose sole job was to maintain the website, adding content and making improvements here and there, until about five years ago, he finally found enough time come up with a way for non-experts to publish news articles.

We really needed a Content Management System (CMS), but to put one in place would require a Herculean effort to get the thousands of pages of content in different formats and based on different standards across ten years of development of our old site into the CMS, in addition to the not-insignificant work needed to put all of this content into some sort of useful (and searchable) structure.

However, the time has come for us to make this happen. Over the next few months, we will be working on extracting all the useful content out of our old, moribund, site and importing it into a new system that will allow us to benefit from all the features that a modern system has as a matter of course. The old site is still there–it’s just the front page that’s been replaced for now.

We’ve already started work on the base system and have decided many of the features we will need, but we would love to hear your ideas as well–so please use the comment system on our blog to tell us what you think. The new site will be intended for people like you, after all.

southernholdingpage

Subhumans UK tour dates announced

Subhumans
Subhumans

Yay, Subhumans are on tour in the UK, starting Friday! They’ve got some interesting venues lined up, which we’ve linked below. Here are the dates:

Date Time Venue City
11 Dec 2009 20:00 the Pitz MILTON KEYNES
12 Dec 2009 20:00 Thatched House STOCKPORT
13 Dec 2009 20:00 Wagon and Horses BIRMINGHAM Digbeth
14 Dec 2009 20:00 The Forum DARLINGTON
15 Dec 2009 20:00 Town Mill MANSFIELD
16 Dec 2009 20:00 Sawyers KETTERING
17 Dec 2009 20:00 Old Bell DERBY
18 Dec 2009 20:00 Casbah SHEFFIELD
19 Dec 2009 20:00 the Luminaire LONDON

Mmmelvins

Melvins flyer
Melvins flyer

This morning I’m suffering from an aching neck, blurry vision and a fuzzy head.  Was I in a car accident?  Nope.  I went to see the Melvins last night.   Unfortunately got there a bit late, having been tangled in the web of West London, fenced in by traffic and general western chaos until well after Witch left the stage.  The general consensus from those polled was that Witch were awesome but not as great as at Roadburn.  Probably the drugs were just better at Roadburn.

Seeing Melvins in a relatively intimate venue like the Garage (capacity 600) is a treat, and immediately brought back memories of seeing bands like The Jesus Lizard play there – I remember David Yow crowd surfing and kicking holes in the ceiling with his cowboy boots.  The refurbished Garage has a much higher ceiling and has had its capacity nearly doubled by the clever removal of a few old barriers.  Melvins were of course, fantastically awesome.  It is heart-warming to witness how well Buzz and Dale have survived and how the beast that is Melvins has triumphed over the years and the numerous line-up changes.  Having devoured Big Business and with Jared Warren and Coady Willis sitting comfortably in their belly, certainly the present incarnation of Melvins is my personal favourite.  There is really very little that can trump double drums.

The gig was no disappointment (how can any show where they play “Night Goat” be?) but I will say three things:  Not. Loud. Enough.  I presume this was a faux pas on the Garage’s part (the venue does back onto an expensive patch of residential London) but I really don’t expect to be able to carry on a conversation with Melvins onstage.   Also I do have to express mild disappointment at the fact that the band took a brief intermission at the one hour mark, and then came back in the same costumes! What’s that about?  If you’re gonna take a break, at least give us a pay-off.   (I am reliably informed that I can expect at least three costume changes at SunnO)))’s show at Koko next Monday, and I’m trembling in anticipation.)  However we can thank the young lady in the audience who climbed up on someone’s shoulders to get naked from the waist up, for at least providing a habilimental diversion, and for inspiring Jared to reciprocate.

Alexander Tucker & Decomposed Orchestra

Latitudes GMT0:20
Latitudes GMT0:20

Exciting times! This week we took delivery of all of the parts for the latest Latitudes release – Alexander Tucker & Decomposed Orchestra’s Grey Onion.  We packed up enough to give Mr Tucker some copies to take down to ATP with him this weekend, and also to get it on sale in the Southern shop.

This is not Mr. Tucker’s first appearance for Latitudes – he has served alongside Stephen O’Malley and Tony Sylvester as Ginnungap on GMT0:02.  Now with the release of Grey Onion he gets his own, long overdue centre stage.  This is the first appearance of Decomposed Orchestra – something Alex will be treating you to more of soon via his home team at ATP Recordings.  Adding additional instrumentation to his alchemical layers of hypnotic strings and voice has helped the already unique Tucker sound move into new directions, as brooding saxophone snakes menacingly through the riff-heavy atmosphere, and the teasing strains of the clarinet amp the spook factor up to maximum.

Grey Onion CDs will be available from later today in the web shop.  We just received test pressings for the vinyl – if Alex approves the cut, expect that to be available in about two weeks.

Alexander Tucker on myspace.

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