Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Y, 1980

Y Records was about as awesome as post-punk label could get. Formed in 1980 by Dick O'Dell (aka Disc O'Dell), and distributed by Rough Trade, the label channeled in some of the most primitive and explosive funked-up punk ever recorded, blazing a trail for countless British bands in its immediate aftermath, plus all of that Brooklyn hoo-haw from a few years ago. The studied primitivism of this label design was a simpatico match for the music--raw, rude, profound, and weirdly elegant at the same time. Pictured is the 'a' side of For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, the second album by the brilliant, politically blunt Pop Group, who's debut album a year prior gave O'Dell the label name. (Yes, it was called Y.) The group was led by the caustic singer Mark Stewart who later hooked up with a bunch of Sugar Hill studio cast-offs and formed a knock-out punk-dub outfit called the Mafia, who made some classic records with producer Adrian Sherwood. Among the artists who released music on Y; Slits, Maximum Joy, Pigbag, Diamanda Galas, Sun Ra, Pulsallama (the earliest group of the fab Ann Magnuson), Shriekback, Glaxo Babies, Steve Beresford & Tristan Honsinger, and the Fearless Four. It makes sense that the label had some so-releases with New York's 99 imprint, as they trafficked in similar low-end excursions.

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