Category Archives: One-sided

ALLEN CLAPP: A Change In The Weather (7″, Four Letter Words 004, ?)

Allen Clapp - A Change In The Weather

This record – as a package – is a little thing of beauty. Some aspects of it that appeal to me are:

  • The sleeve: it’s a type of standard seven inch single inner sleeve, elevated to the status of The Cover by way of some really nice, what look to be hand-stamped (or perhaps screen-printed) pieces of lettering and illustration. Very simple, very cost-effective, and very successful.
  • The record itself: it’s one-sided. Physically, I mean – not musically. I really like the odd surprise of a one-sided record – flipping it over to see, well, nothing. It’s cool how alien that looks when you’re so used to the appearance of grooves on a slice of vinyl. Ever tried to play the smooth side of a one-sided record? The stylus freaks out, skips all over the place and then flings itself to safety.
  • The insert that comes with the record: it includes details of this record’s original price, and that of the other releases on Four Letter Words at the time. The most expensive item is a fanzine plus flexi combination, which cost just two dollars including postage. As is confirmed by text on the insert, this is ‘budget pop’.

Four Letter Words records was run by a guy called Maz, who Wikipedia tells me was in the Mummies. I never knew this before now. It’s a surprising clash of cultures – on one side the indie-pop, hand-finished recording scene you see represented here; on the other, a garage punk band who dressed in tattered bandages and were somewhat legendary. I guess it’s all punk rock, DIY, independent thinking, though, isn’t it? Allen Clapp had been friends with Maz since the early 1980s; they grew up together in California. Isn’t that nice? This record was released in the very early 1990s, as I recall, but as is the case with so many indie-pop releases, it’s difficult to track down an exact release date.

For fun, I thought I’d look up how much it’d cost today to release a one-sided seven inch record – let’s say, in an edition of 300 copies, which is what I imagine the scale of this Allen Clapp release to have been. But, you know what? I can’t find a single place on the internet that seems to offer this as a service. Maybe I’ve found a gap in Google? Maybe there’s just too much music now, and nobody feels they could adequately represent themselves on just a single side of seven inch vinyl?

CUD: Hey!Wire (7″, Imaginary MIRAGE 018, ?)

Cud - Hey!wire

Yet another Cud record – the third one I’ve written about on here. This was never meant to be a Cudblog, but you can’t argue with the orders of a random number generator. Ever wondered how I decide which record I’m going to write about each time? No? Never? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. I use a random number generator that is, apparently, a ‘True’ Random Number Service. According to the website:

The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs.

So there. That could be absolute, one hundred per cent garbage, but I’m easily taken in by pseudo- or even real scientific explanations for things that I always thought were very simple.

This record is a one-sided seven inch, a format I like. It focuses the attention on, usually, a single song, and it also means that there is a delicious expanse of virgin vinyl to contemplate. Like some treacly, shimmering icing rink it stares back at you, promising everything and nothing in the depths of its vinylcular soul. Know what I mean? And don’t get me started on one-sided twelve inch records – that expanse is almost too much to bear at times.

The sleeve for the record states, as you can see, ‘Another Imaginary Records Red Hot 45 Limited Edition’ – I’d hazard a guess that Imaginary actually meant it, and that there weren’t more than 1,000 of these pressed at most. Interesting to compare that with the ‘limited edition’ Cud releases that would later come out on A&M: those generally being pressings of around 500,000 or something (okay, maybe not that many but not far off). Limited in a very strange sense.