There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Site of a thousand labels

Here's something that's potentially useful to a music omnivore like myself: attempts to list all the record labels it can find, complete with links to their web sites. I particularly like the browse by country feature, since I'm always looking for interesting music from other places. They seem to have most of the labels I'm familiar with, including horrendously obscure ones like New Jersey's Gern Blandsten Records and My Pal God Records, and overseas labels like Flying Nun from New Zealand, Trikont from Germany,, and Indies from the Czech Republic. No Ukrainian labels, though. I know there's at least one record label there with a web site.

Posted at 9:52 AM


Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

Flying Nun (one of my favourite record labels, but I'm biased :)) has a website -

Nice blog you've got - came across it via Anita Rowland.

Got you bookmarked, will be back.

Posted by deb at 4:34 PM, January 19, 2003 [Link]

Yeah, I guess I should have linked to it; I'm an absolutely huge fan of all things Flying Nun. I think I started buying stuff from them directly around 1988 or so, so I've got a pretty decent collection of their stuff. My faves are probably The Clean, Chris Knox, Tall Dwarfs, Able Tasmans, Double Happys, and Straitjacket Fits, although I'm also quite fond of a number of their other bands as well. I just wish they would re-release The Clean's first two EPs in their entirety on CD. They've never done that, and the tracks they picked for the Compilation album lean more toward guitar freakout and miss another side of the band.

The 21st anniversary CD they put out was a lot of fun. Always neat to hear bands covering their friends.

Posted by ralph at 11:43 PM, January 19, 2003 [Link]

They have! The Clean Anthology. Just released in the last few months. I *think* it has the first two EPs in their entirety.

Posted by deb at 11:18 PM, January 20, 2003 [Link]

Y'know, I saw they were releasing that, but since I don't actually have the first two EPs (a sorry oversight on my part; I've got some horrendously obscure stuff from NZ, but don't have those two items), I can't check the track listing. I have them on tape somewhere, but that could be anywhere....

Maybe I'll e-mail Flying Nun and see what they say. (Okay, done.)

I remember the surprise I felt when a friend from Rotorua played me his tape of the first two EPs. It felt like Flying Nun had cheated me. There was this whole other side of the band, represented by songs like "Side On", that basically wasn't there on *Compilation*. I mean, I love the guitar freakery of "Point That Thing Somewhere Else", but it's only half of what the band did. In any case, thanks for the pointer and the prod to contact FN.

Incidentally, I visited your site. I *love* the poems you've got posted in your most recent entry. Amazing stuff. I used to write short odd poems in an attempt to piss off my English professor in a class I was taking at the local community college about ten years ago for fun. Instead of getting mad or helping me with how to write better, he compared them to Brautigan. Of course, this was a man who praised poems that rhymed the word "love" with, er, the word "love" (other students, not me). I didn't get a damned thing out of that class except a bit of exposure to Brautigan.

Posted by ralph at 3:01 AM, January 21, 2003 [Link]

Hey, thanks. Glad you liked the poems.

BTW, we have the first two Clean EPs if you want me to list the tracks for you. Let me know. Don't have Anthology yet though.

Do you like The Bilders (Bill Direen)?

How does a guy from New Jersey(?) get into NZ music? And have a friend from Rotorua? Guess i should talk, huh. How does a girl from Maine end up in Wellington.

Well, close to midnight here. Time for sleep.

Posted by deb at 5:43 AM, January 21, 2003 [Link]

Yes, having the track lists would help. The Flying Nun site has a track list for Anthology that I could compare against. You could post here, or e-mail them to me at the address at the bottom of the page. I would appreciate it.

I do quite like Bill Direen. The first record of his that I got was a greatest hits kind of thing called Divine Comedia. I have a few other records on vinyl, and also the four CDs on FN that reissued most of his output, plus one that he did on another label after the FN reissues. It had been a while since I listened to them, so I took a couple to work with me today. Great stuff. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

I also like a band that's descended from the early Bilders/Vacuum, The Terminals (plus the missing link between the two, The Victor Dimisich Band, who had a tape on Xpressway that I managed to get a copy of somewhere along the line). Stephen Cogle has a unique voice.

I think the best piece of music I ever heard from NZ is Shayne Carter's "Randolph's Going Home." I've got the single. It's an amazing tune.

How did I get into NZ music? Jeez, it was a long time ago. Sometime in the mid 80s, a friend at a record store slipped me the store's promo copy of The Clean's Compilation because he thought I would like it. Boy was he right. :-) I think he turned me on to Tall Dwarfs, too, now that I think about it. By 1987, I was on the net and participating in newsgroups, in particular At the time, there was a definite buzz in underground circles about all this great music coming from New Zealand, so there were a number of like-minded souls on the newsfroup, including my friend from Rotorua.

Later on, I helped start a mailing list devoted to the subject of music from NZ, originally called kiwimusic, now called NZPOP-L. My friend Katie runs the list through a listserv at MIT where she works, but the impetus for it was a mail I sent out to about five friends of mine asking if anyone knew of a band from NZ that had covered a song by Fairport Convention. Nobody did, but by the end of the day, we had a mailing list. The list isn't very active any more. Interest seems to have died down quite a bit.

I spent a lot of time pursuing music from New Zealand. I used to mail order directly from both Flying Nun and Xpressway. Flying Nun even took personal checks from Americans at the time, at least until Roger Shepherd found out how much cashing each check cost. :-) The record store where I was introduced to The Clean carried some stuff, and Pier Platters in Hoboken carried a lot more. I bought copies of books like John Dix's Stranded in Paradise, the excellent history of rock and roll in NZ, and Kiwi Music, which had a blue cover. Neither of those were easy to get. I've also branched out from Flying Nun some. I quite like Blam Blam Blam and The Muttonbirds. I've got a fair amount of early NZ punk between my CDs of AK79 and Bigger Than Both of Us and vinyl copies of a couple of other long-forgotten compilations. I was tempted to pick up a vinyl copy of AK79 when I saw it at Pier Platters, but it was $60 at the time, and I was broke. I was glad when it came out on CD.

I've seen a bunch of the bands who have come to the States live. Peter Jefferies and Alastair Galbraith were amazing. I saw David Kilgour twice in one weekend, once with Hamish on assorted percussion (a showcase gig at CBGB) and the following much more relaxed night with Hamish on drums, thereby making it two-thirds of The Clean. I've seen Chris Knox a bunch of times. My fiancee looooves his music.

I saw Straitjacket Fits and The Bats play to nine people in Asbury Park. Shayne Carter asked us to introduce ourselves by name. I went first, and nobody believed that my name was Ralph, so the rest of the audience gave fake names. Shayne was pissed. I talked to him afterward and he was shocked to find that that really was my name. Not only that, he was amazed that there was a real fan in the audience; I told him about a live tape I had of his first band, Bored Games, and he was incredulous. Turned out the tape was of his second gig ever.

We had tickets for The Clean at Maxwell's in Hoboken a year and a half ago; unfortunately, the gig was on September 17, 2001, and the route I knew to get to Hoboken was still closed after the terrorist attacks, so we missed them.

I guess it would be fair to say I was obsessed with bands from New Zealand for a number of years. What can I say? I was young, I had disposable income, and I didn't have a girlfriend to distract me. I had to do something with my time. :-)

My friend Shirley, who wanders through here occasionally, is probably a bigger Flying Nun fan than I am. She went to NZ a few years ago for some other big celebration FN was having with concerts all over the country. I think she was even interviewed on TVNZ for a news report on the parties.

I think Flying Nun was the first time I ever ordered music from overseas. It kind of set a pattern for me, and my searches get more and more obscure. I've got a bunch of CDs from German Neue Deutsche Welle bands of the 80s, Czech rock and roll going back to the late 50s and early 60s, and the finest psychobilly band in all of Ukraine. It's fun to find stuff that nobody's heard of. Flying Nun seems mainstream and easy to come by by comparison. :-) But I still love it.

I'm sure that's a lot more than you wanted to know. Now it's midnight here. Time for sleep. :-)

Posted by ralph at 12:28 AM, January 22, 2003 [Link]

Thanks for pointing out that Rostok Records in the Ukraine was missing. I have added it.

Posted by Peter Scott at 6:36 AM, January 23, 2003 [Link]

Ok, here we go:

Boodle Boodle Boodle Side one 1. Billy Two 2. Thumbs Off 3. Anything Could Happen

Side Two 1. Sad Eyed Lady 2. Point that thing somewhere else

Great Sounds Great Side One 1. Fish 2. Flowers 3. Side On 4. Slug Song

Side Two 1. Beatnik 2. End of My Dream 3. On again/Off again

I am so impressed. I'm a lightweight in comparison :) My husband is very knowledgeable, though, having grown up here and being a NZ music fan.

He first introduced me to NZ music by way of some 45rpms that he had. The Chills - Pink Frost, and Rolling Moon. Beat Rhythm Fashion - Turn of the Century. Double Happys - Anyone else Would. Sneaky Feelings. The Great Unwashed. All on 45's. Being a sucker for vinyl, and for good music, I was hooked.

Anyway, thanks for sharing with me :) You've got a great blog, and I'll keep reading.

Posted by deb at 2:54 AM, January 24, 2003 [Link]

Okay, I checked on the Flying Nun site, and they do indeed include the entire contents of the first two EPs. Cool! Guess I'll have to order it (I was going to anyway, but that's extra incentive....)

Thanks! I enjoy your blog too, and I'll be reading it regularly as well.

Posted by ralph at 8:30 AM, January 24, 2003 [Link]


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"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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