Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Disaster (1990)

Smog's LP debut, "Sewn to the Sky," was the sole vinyl issue on Bill Callahan's Disaster Records, based out of Maryland. In his even-adolescent coolness, Callahan had been involved in the zine scene, publishing a Replacements fan mag, "Willpower," and a generalist music mag called "Disaster." When he began releasing cassettes as Smog in 1988, he appropriated the Disaster name for his home-run label. The label didn't last for too long; Callahan shut it down when he was signed to the nascent Drag City in 1991. In the next few years, Drag City would re-issue "Sewn to the Sky" and "Forgotten Foundation," a compilation of tracks from Smog's early Disaster cassettes.

The label art here, like many of Smog's later labels, is by Callahan himself, and though the side A drawing is a little hard to decipher at first, it appears to be a self-portrait. Callahan rarely drew himself in his later sketchbooks and cover art, but it seems fitting that the introspective Callahan's debut LP would offer up this shadowy, stage-setting image.

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