While late 1999 saw a deluge of superstar releases by the likes of Jay-Z and Metallica, independent labels are taking the initiative in early 2000 with offbeat offerings due in stores Tuesday (Jan. 18).
Coming out that day are a career retrospective from pioneering grunge-rockers Mudhoney, re-releases of '70s punk/no-wave duo Suicide's first two albums and a new recording by former Pernice Brothers/Scud Mountain Boys leader Joe Pernice, under the name Chappaquiddick Skyline.
(For a select list of Tuesday's releases, click here.)
"The indies are consistent all year round, because the people who like that music will buy it whenever," Jim Henderson, a rock buyer at Amoeba Records in Berkeley, Calif., said. "It's not like with Britney Spears, where they need it to come out before Christmas so moms can buy it for their kids."
Henderson said he expected his independent outlet would do well with the Mudhoney double CD March to Fuzz (Sub Pop), which features a mix of rarities and well-known songs such as "Touch Me I'm Sick" (RealAudio excerpt). He also said Palace leader Will Oldham's latest solo album, the all-instrumental Ode Music (Drag City), should do well.
Mute will re-release the first two Suicide albums with bonus CDs of rare material. The electronic punk band's 1977 debut, Suicide, will feature an extra CD of live music recorded at famed New York punk club CBGB the same year. Suicide's The Second Album, produced by Cars leader Rick Ocasek in 1980, will come with a CD of the band's earliest rehearsal tapes, from 1975.
The pair singer Alan Vega and keyboardist Martin Rev re-formed in 1988 to play a pair of shows in the UK and will perform their first U.S. dates in a decade Jan. 2122 at New York's Knitting Factory as part of the Electronic Composers and Improvisers series.
Chicago indie label Touch & Go has an unusually heavy slate of releases Tuesday, which suits the label just fine, publicity director Scott Giampino said.
"January to March is a good time for us because it's a fresh start," Giampino said. "It works better for us than putting stuff out from September or October, because then it only has three months, then all of a sudden it's last year's record."
Among the new Touch & Go records is Peregrine, a downbeat solo disc from former Rodan/Sonora Pine/Retsin member Tara Jane O'Neill, on which the Louisville, Ky., native plays everything from guitar to thumb piano and banjo.
The label will also release Bang!, a singles compilation from defunct aggro-rockers the Jesus Lizard that also features live material; an EP, ZZZZZ, from punk band Skull Kontrol; and the second album from the trio Storm&Stress, Under Thunder and Fluorescent Light.
Also due Tuesday are Redoing Childhood (Kill Rock Stars), a posthumous spoken-word album from controversial punk author Kathy Acker; Mary Lou Lord/Sean Na Na (Kill Rock Stars), a split EP featuring three cover songs by singer/songwriter Mary Lou Lord along with songs from Sean Na Na (of the band Calvin Krime).
Among the few new major-label albums on Tuesday is Enigma's latest ambient effort, The Screen Behind the Mirror (Virgin). Enigma are best known for their 1991 hit "Sadeness," which combined Gregorian chants with dance beats.