I have spent much of the past 5-6 years unloading all of my CDs, moving to digital and generally letting the disdain for physical copies flow. I often mocked those that decried the move to digital, and longed to hold the jewel case or liner notes in their hands.
What fucking dicks right?
You can keep your moldy smelling vinyl, your scratched CDs and your obsolete cassettes. I will take the free space and lack of clutter and bask in the warmth of the radiant light from the screen of my iPod Touch. It's the 21st century jerks, get with the times.
Oh how I long for the days of my willful ignorance. I had to go and Fuck around with my world view by starting this god forsaken site, and start to build relationships with labels and press agents. Next thing I know I am getting CD after CD in the mail, all unopened and sitting on my desk, a desk that the top of which was used for Kid Robot figures, old coffee cups, discarded soup in a cups, and unopened bills. The clutter was getting out of control, the lady was giving me sideways glances, and the kid was knocking shit over. I had to gain control, I decided to go through these fucking relics and see if there was anything worthwhile, everything else went in the recycling bin.
It was just as I thought, nothing but waste, plastic that would be around forever, filling up landfills because a bunch of labels were too antiquated to embrace the digital revolution, and then, I saw a shining beacon of hope breaking through the piles of trash. It was the Kashmere Stage Band Anthology titled Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974, released by Now-Again Records. It was a beautifully packaged historical document chronicling a sensation that I was completely oblivious too. It included 2 CDs, a bonus DVD and a 40 page booklet telling the story of the Kashmere Stage Band.
It was glorious.
I was transported into a world i knew nothing of, introduced to music and characters that were bold and exciting. This music from 40 years ago was resonating, it was shiny, new and exciting. The Kashmere Stage Band was a high school marching band from Texas that was known as one of the worlds premiere funk bands. The musicianship was un-fucking-real. Here were a collection of teenagers making the kind of music that most seasoned musicians would kill to be able to create.
A few days later I was sent the East of Underground Anthology, which was a collection of funk songs from American troops serving in Vietnam. The packaging again was amazing. Two albums, one eponymously titled and the other called Soap, a beautiful booklet outlining the story of East of Underground and a screen printed recruitment poster. Additionally it was created to look like vinyl. The CDs were even sleeved in plastic like vinyl of the era. The music was glorious, the story was riveting and again I was transported into another time and place.
Now-Again were making me rethink my stance on physical copies. I saw the value in the material, in having the ability to tell the story years later. It is a historical document akin to the great rock biographies or history texts. I relished the releases I received from Now-Again.
Just this week I received two new releases from Now-Again, the first is a collection titled New World Generation, which tracks the musical legacy, of the funk soul band started by Lekan Parsons with roots in the Northeast. New World Generation came on at the end of the big band era and the dawn of the hip hop explosion. The music never caught on nationally but it was a shining example of the brilliance of the new soul of the time.
The second was a compilation of India's Atomic Forest Obsession, who were India's only psych rock band to ever record an album. The album was titled Obsession 77 and contains some of the most brilliant psych rock ever put to vinyl. Much of it is covers and interpretations of popular movie themes but Fuck, I will be a dirty hill person running shine if this fucker doesn't cook. Complete with the standard top-notch packaging that is standard with all Now and Again anthologies, Atomic Forest Obsession wraps you up in a movement long gone, yet vibrant as ever.
Now-Again Records are musical archeologists, not wasting our time rehashing the stories we already know, but digging and searching for the scenes and acts that should have been huge, but never were and telling their story, and in doing so expanding the musical tapestry. So please… STOP SLEEPING ON NOW-AGAIN RECORDS!
For all these releases and more please visit Now-Again's site.