March 24, 1993
compiled seven inches and cassette EP’s plus unreleased material, 1989-1992
various artists two-cassette set
[SDK-32] transparent color copied covers, books-on-tape long box with inserted 8-page booklet
The Slamdek Singles box set was a great idea with beautiful packaging, but also a victim of bad circumstances. Its length of 35 songs in 101 minutes, took an average of nearly a half hour of machine time to record each set. Its expensive, transparent, full color packaging increased its price even more than its two tapes did. It became a specialty item as it had to be kept on the store counter. Its small size and high price tag of around $16 made it too easy to steal.
The diversity of the material it included took several months to compile and assemble for release as a single unit. Slamdek Singles had been in the works since late 1992. Its liner notes include the lyrics to all 35 songs, as well as complete discography, personnel, and production listings for each group. And other than the convenience and novelty of putting all the songs together, the set had a purpose.
“The Slamdek Singles two tape set is the result of several years of dedication, emotion, and hard work by many people. The short 101 minutes that it plays are miniscule in comparison to the time and effort needed to reach this milestone. The songs compiled here are provided as either previously unavailable, currently out of print, or never before issued on cassette. They have all been transferred directly from the original digital masters.”
Slamdek Singles compiled all of Slamdek’s essential EP’s released between 1989 and 1992. This consisted of: the Crain/Deathwatch 7″, the first Endpoint/Sunspring 7″, the Your Face cassette, Sunspring’s Slinky 7″, Ennui’s Olive 7″, and the Jawbox cassette. Its previously unavailable material consisted of two tracks by Sister Shannon, plus one from Christmas 1990; two tracks by LG&E, plus one from Slamdek Merry Christmas Is For Rockers; and two tracks from Ennui, combined with their track from Rockers and their Olive 7″, thus presenting all seven songs they recorded. And the Ennui tracks are incidentally presented in the order in which they were recorded, rather than in the sequence of their seven inch. Are you getting all this?
A production snag occurred when the Sister Shannon DAT could not be located. The unreleased Sister Shannon tracks were one of my main interests in putting the collection together. After several days of phone calls, it turned up at DSL. Another snag came up when one of my two DAT machines was not working properly. I asked John Kampschaefer for his assistance at the last minute, and he graciously obliged. A majority of the digital sequence editing was done in John Kampschaefer’s parents’ basement.
There are some Slamdek EP’s released between ’89 and ’92 which are missing from the collection. They are, the Cerebellum cassette, which was still in print when Slamdek Singles was created, and three EP’s which were left off of the compilation because they had been released to cater to the special interests of selective audiences, Crawdad’s Loaded, the 7 More Seconds cassette, and Sunspring’s $1.50 Demo. The back outside panel of the package has a brief historical introduction, “The Slamdek Record Company began in November 1986 with the release of a cassette by Pink Aftershock. Since then, a combination of thirty-one more cassettes, seven inches, digital audio tapes, videocassettes, and compact discs have been released encompassing a wide range of sounds and ideas. This two tape set compiles most of the cassette EP’s and all the seven inches from the past four years. Also included is a valuable amount of previously unissued material, as well as photographs and the lyrics to all thirty-five songs. Slamdek Singles is the small result of the huge amount of dedication the bands in Louisville (and beyond) share. The time, effort, emotion, and memories that are part of this milestone are things on which no one could ever put a price.”
The lengthy liner notes are synopsized here. And naturally, the discographies are no longer current. Any clarifications and lyrical excerpts are [in brackets]:
The very expensive, full color, transparent books-on-tape long box packaging of Slamdek Singles helped the two tape set meet an early demise. Back cover photo is of Robin Wallace, Todd Smith, and Scott Ritcher at Juniper Hill during the Your Face session in 1988.
Deathwatch: Ignorance Downfall, Wool, Dignity.
Rob Pennington vocals, Duncan Barlow guitar, Greg Carmichael guitar, Rusty Sohm drums, Jason Graff bass.
These songs: Recorded at ARS, Barret Avenue, February 1988. Released as one side of the Crain/Deathwatch split 7″. The record was a limited edition of 300 copies which were given away at a Crain, Endpoint, and Sister Shannon show at the Zodiac Club, September 7, 1990. Deathwatch became Endpoint later in 1988.
•Deathwatch cassette, self-released, February 1988, out of print
•Crain/Deathwatch split 7″, Slamdek No. 9790, September 1990, limited edition
[“Punk rock is now a fashion show. You’ve got your boots, so black they glow. Hair stuck up with a can of spray. Punk rock, hardcore, it’s all the same. You’ve got your boots, but what’s to show?”]
Endpoint: Promise, Priorities.
Rob Pennington vocals, Duncan Barlow guitar, Chad Castetter guitar, Lee Fetzer drums, Jason Hayden bass.
These songs: Recorded at Sound On Sound, Frankfort Avenue, November 1990. Produced by Howie Gano and the EPA. Released on the Endpoint/Sunspring split 7″
•If The Spirits Are Willing cassette/DAT, Slamdek No. 9 (prev. 1797), June 1989
•Endpoint/Sunspring split 7″, Slamdek No. 21, March 1991
•In A Time Of Hate LP/cassette, Conversion No. 10, June 1991
•Catharsis LP/CD, Doghouse No. 10, August 1992
•EP2 live 7″, Break Even Point No. 7, November 1992
•Idiots 7″ of cover songs, Doghouse No. 15, December 1992, limited edition
[“Love is gone, locked from your heart. Lust is strong, it’s all you feel. Close your mind to all commitment, you broke her will. Relationship, a mountain we climbed, fell to an immoral world.”]
Your Face: Magenta Bent, Old Hat New Hat.
Robin Wallace vocals, Greta Ritcher guitar, Tishy Quesenberry drums, Dawn Hill bass.
These songs: Recorded at Juniper Hill Creative Audio, December 1988. Released as a cassette single, this was their only release.
Your Face Discography:
•Magenta Bent cassette single, Slamdek No. 1550, January 1989, out of print.
[“Would it make you feel good to see tears running down his face? Howling with a mad delight, you put him in his place. Revenge is something you can touch, the water in his eyes. Throw it back into his lap, all those little lies.”]
Sister Shannon: Carolina, Haint, Goreman.
Robin Wallace vocals, Greta Ritcher guitar, Kevin Coultas drums, David Ernst bass.
These songs: Recorded in Kevin’s parents’ basement live to digital two track [DAT], December 1990. Produced by K. Scott Ritcher and Dave Ernst. “Goreman” appeared on the 1990 Slamdek Christmas tape, and the band broke up in early 1991. [Sister
Shannon was named after Sacred Heart Academy’s Dean of Students, Sister Shannon Maguire.]
Sister Shannon Discography:
[“Tied on her back, down on a quilt, where fear becomes a sweat stain. That’s all I know about tacks and thumbs. It’s the same as sex or being raped. The hot metal of his weapon says go girl go girl go girl. Dig the pelvic ditch. Carolina… The fetid swamp sits there on the fact that should be fiction. This cracked man dips into his gun powder, dipping in the handfuls of sweet sweet misery, to eat like rock candy and rot her teeth. Carolina… Too close now to examine the heat from his fingers. He pouts into the metal of his misogynist weapon, no one sees his mercy. This cracked man, oh this cracked man. Gonna take me down. Carolina…”]
Sunspring: Don’t Just Stand There, Silver Spring, Kendall, Faceless, Magnet, Christmas Morning, Street.
K. Scott Ritcher guitar/vocals, John Weiss drums, Chad Castetter bass on 1-3, Jason Hayden bass on 4-7.
These songs: Recorded at Sound On Sound. “Don’t Just Stand There,” “Silver Spring,” and “Kendall” produced by Howie Gano and K. Scott Ritcher, March 1991. Released on the Endpoint/Sunspring split 7″. The other four songs produced by Howie Gano, November 1991. Released as the Slinky 7″.
•$1.50 Demo cassette, Slamdek No. 3950, April 1990, out of print
•Endpoint/Sunspring split 7″, Slamdek No. 21, March 1991
•Sun cassette, Slamdek No. 24, August 1991
•Slinky 7″, Slamdek No. 26, March 1992
•Action Eleven cassette, Slamdek No. 29, October 1992, limited edition
•Poppy CD/cassette, Slamdek No. 31, April 1993 [actual release in June]
•Poppy LP, Break Even Point No. 931213, April 1993 [actual release in September]
[“I want so much to own nothing. Give me just a piece of just what I want. I’ve had it easy but I’ve made it hard. I’ve thwarted my very own efforts. You are no one, you are nothing. I always knew you hated me. You were easy but I made you hard. I made you a street that I avoided. We are everything we want to be. We never stop to think. I was sure you were the mine I thought you were, but now I’m caught with my foot on the trigger.”]
LG&E: First, Second, Third.
Duncan Barlow instruments/vocals, K. Scott Ritcher instruments/vocals.
These songs: Recorded at Slamdek, Eastern Parkway, October 1992. Produced by LG&E, except “Third” recorded March 1993 on 4 track. “First” appears on Slamdek Merry Christmas is for Rockers cassette, 1992.
[“In the open fields, kissed by fall’s cool winds, a boy shatters the horizon. Short and somewhat stalky, his red hair blazes like fire against the charcoal gray skies that hang over the field. The rain promised a better harvest for the townsfolk, but the harvest of the boy’s soul is dry and weary. A raindrop falls on his nose, breaking his world of tranquility,
but never his realm of fascination.”]
Ennui: Slugs, Two Headed Cow, Ennui, Gun?, Alkaline, 34 Page Book, Translucent.
Matt Ronay vocals, Lane Sparber guitar, Tim Houchin bass, Forrest Kuhn drums.
These songs: Recorded at WGNS, 13th Street (Arlington, VA), May 1992. Produced by Geoff Turner and K. Scott Ritcher. “Alkaline,” “34 Page Book,” “Ennui,” and “Translucent” comprise the Olive 7″. “Gun?” appears on Slamdek Merry Christmas is for Rockers cassette, 1992. “Two Headed Cow” and “Slugs” are previously unavailable. Ennui disbanded during summer 1992.
•Olive 7″, Slamdek No. 27, September 1992
[“Sometimes when I wanna go, I stop and stare and reflect back to the times when I was switching body parts on G.I. Joe’s and killing birds with guns. Leah’s birthday’s brownies we rolled them up, put them on a chair. Lunch ladies’ eyes always bearing down on us. Disobedient, carefree, irresponsible, and burning slugs with Tim.”]
Jawbox: Twister, Ballast, Bullet Park, Tools & Chrome, Secret History.
Jay Robbins guitar/vocals, Kim Coletta bass, Adam Wade drums.
These songs: Recorded at Upland Studio (Arlington, VA), January 1990. Recorded by Barret Jones, produced by Alferd Packer. All songs except “Bullet Park” comprised the first Jawbox 7″ on DeSoto Records which was released simultaneously with the Slamdek cassette. Slamdek’s extra cut is a tambourine-less mix of its recording for a Maximumrocknroll compilation. Jawbox is, so far, the only non-Louisville band to be released on Slamdek.
•Jawbox cassette, Slamdek No. 1782, April 1990, out of print
•Jawbox 7″, DeSoto No. 2, May 1990, out of print
•Grippe LP/cassette/CD, Dischord No. 52, June 1991
•Ones + Zeros 7″, Dischord No. 61, March 1992
•Novelty LP/cassette/CD, Dischord No. 69, August 1992
•Tar/Jawbox Static split 7″, Touch and Go/Dischord, February 1993
•Jackpot Plus! 7″, Dischord No. 77, February 1993
[“Blood marks the road where the animal left its life behind, in a red stain that the rain will wash away. Fall of night foretold, sky colors like a bruise, and I think of ones I used to know and the paths they had to choose. For we are born and we remain forever trapped inside our heads, alone. No human chords are struck without a resonance in other lives, but the echoes we hold onto seem as arbitrary as the times.”]
Crain: The Fuse, Proposed Production.
Joey Mudd vocals on “Proposed Production,” Tim Furnish guitar, Jon Cook bass, Will Chatham drums, Drew Daniel vocals on “The Fuse”
These songs: Recorded at Sound On Sound, January 1990. Recorded by Howie Gano. Released on the Crain/Deathwatch split 7″. Three other songs from this same 17-song session were part of the Rocket 7″ released later.
•Crain/Deathwatch split 7″, Slamdek No. 9790, September 1990, limited edition
•Rocket 7″, Automatic (Liability) No. 1, April 1991, out of print
•Speed LP/cassette, Automatic (Liability) No. 3, May 1992
[“They said the newspaper, it could never lie, but they hid the truth about the way she died. Asked mother how it happened, she said she wasn’t sure. It’s a strange disease that finds its own cure. I can project my own reasons, I can speculate, how grandmother fell into such a state. Mother made me swear I wouldn’t go that way. A promise is a promise is a promise that I shouldn’t have made.”]
After the four months it took to assemble, Slamdek Singles met an early fate after about two months of release. Fewer than fifty units of it had been manufactured when Sunspring’s upcoming Poppy CD helped to do it in, in more ways than one. The first way was financially, as virtually all the money coming in from sales of all Slamdek releases was being allocated to help pay for manufacturing the very costly Poppy discs, the first CD fully funded by the label. Another way the Poppy CD cut the life of Slamdek Singles was by duplicating all seven of its Sunspring songs. Additionally, the Grippe CD on Dischord was inclusive of four of the five Jawbox songs.
Slamdek Singles was then essentially desired only for its twelve exclusive cuts. This was hardly enough to warrant its elaborate transparent, full color packaging with twenty-three other songs. Each unit cost about $6.50 each to manufacture, the wholesale price was $10.75, and the few dozen units that were made sold for about $15.00. I stole the idea for the colorful, transparent packaging from the British CD single of “True Love Will Find You In The End” and the limited CD version of Soul Kiss, both by Spectrum. The same two CD’s were later sampled on Sunspring’s Poppy and Metroschifter’s New Mexico Drum Machine Demos.
The Endpoint and Deathwatch songs eventually ended up on the CD version of If The Spirits Are Willing the following year. LG&E’s tracks resurfaced on the LG&E cassette in December 1993. The exclusive songs by Ennui, Jawbox, and Sister Shannon disappeared from print, as did the reissued tracks by Your Face and Crain.
ADDITIONAL LINER NOTES:
Back cover photo: Greg Lynch. • Special assistance: Robin Wallace, Carrie Osborne, Matthew M. Ronay, Duncan Barlow, Jon Cook, David A. Stewart, Mark Ritcher, Mike Baker, and Chad Castetter. • Compilation and packaging: K. Scott Ritcher. • Additional digital sequencing: John F. Kampschaefer. • Thanks also to DeSoto Records, Automatic Wreckords, DSL, and Cosmic Software, for their much appreciated cooperation in this release.