Big Stir Records is proud to announce the April 19 release of BIG STIR SINGLES: THE FIRST WAVE on CD and as a digital download. The CD collects the first twelve A-sides and B-sides from the label's acclaimed weekly Digital Singles Series, originally issued from October 2018 through January 2019 and already the subject of frequent airplay and enthusiastic reviews in their own right. More than a standard compilation, THE FIRST WAVE is a permanent record of three months of musical activity in the worldwide pop scene far beyond the scope of Big Stir Records as a label, chock full of exclusives and rarities.
The track list represents an impressive cross-section of artists from the global pop rock scene whose orbits intersect with Big Stir via the collective's live concert series, magazine, and BSR's own roster: KARLA KANE (The Corner Laughers), MICHAEL SIMMONS (Popdudes, Sparke*Jets UK), KAI DANZBERG, THE EX TEENS, LANNIE FLOWERS (on loan from SpyderPop Records), MYLITTLEBROTHER, TRIP WIRE, BLAKE JONES & THE TRIKE SHOP, PLASTICSOUL, ADDISON LOVE, SONS OF MORNING, and THE NEWDS. The Singles Series hews to the format of classic 45s and sees each artist contributing an A-Side and a B-Side, with both included on the CD.
The idea of a weekly single showcase was hatched by BSR founders CHRISTINA BULBENKO and REX BROOME during their stint hosting THE BIG STIR RADAR HOUR on Woody Radio, with their attention finely focused on the week-to-week releases from their friends across the world. Too many excellent internet-only one-off releases seemed to come and go too quickly in the shuffle of social media and 21st century news cycles. A key inspiration was LANNIE FLOWERS' excellent monthly series of exclusive singles on SPYDERPOP RECORDS, as well as catching superb offerings from TRIP WIRE (the gorgeous pre-album drop of “Act Fast”) and MYLITTLEBROTHER (whose haunting “Love Song for an Island” even came with an equally beautiful video, but didn't seem to reach the ears of enough of the pair's DJ peers).
Much as they had when finding themselves the most likely suspects to create the original Big Stir Live Concert Series, Bulbenko and Broome realized that, with the fledgling BSR label gaining some degree of prominence, it was likely they who should step and try to find a wider audience for these ephemeral masterpieces.
As the liner notes tell it, the epiphany came when KARLA KANE interviewed the legendary MARTIN NEWELL (Cleaners from Venus, The Greatest Living Englishman) for the Fall edition of BIG STIR MAGAZINE. In the course of the conversation Newell offered her a brand new and gorgeous song of Autumn to record, “Goodguy Sun”. That being too good for Karla to pass up, she recorded it immediately and thought to offer it to Big Stir Records to release as a companion piece to the magazine, which was in turn too good for Christina and Rex to pass up. Almost simultaneously MICHAEL SIMMONS (fresh off of the release of his much-praised First Days of Summer LP) suddenly offered up “This Is Most Certainly True”, a political broadside specifically aimed at the upcoming 2018 US Election. It all came into focus: these were songs of the moment and deserved broader bandwidth and caretaking, and moreover a permanent home on physical media after their day in the sun.
From there, Broome and Bulbenko's years of passionate community building paid off, as a weekly slate of top-notch releases proved easy to maintain. Each release came with its own picture-sleeve-inspired artwork, exclusive B-sides of every type known to history (A-side-worthy triumphs, covers, offhand goofs, instrumental versions and remixes), and even a homemade color vinyl “replica” as pictured on the compilation cover. The seasonal themes continued with a double A-side Christmas release from BLAKE JONES & THE TRIKE SHOP and KAI DANZBERG. THE EX TEENS provided a cat-themed tune (“Mikey & Murdercat”) in tandem with a “Pets of Pop” magazine feature. BSR's own ADDISON LOVE provided highlights with a pair of brand-new tunes delivered on the very eve of their release, and label founding fathers PLASTICSOUL provide what rock scribe JOHN BORACK has anointed as the two top-of-a-very-impressive-heap tracks here. Acts from as far afield as Bolton, England (THE NEWDS) and East Haven, CT (SONS OF MORNING) chimed in with extremely promising previews of work-in-progress LPs, and BSR was honored to put into permanent print a pair of LANNIE FLOWERS' now-deleted singles which had inspired the singles series, thanks to our friends at SPYDERPOP.
The pride and care that go into the Singles Series (which is now wrapping up its second wave to be anthologized on CD later this year) is evident in the CD package: the cover is no Photoshop knockup, those are actual physical records handcrafted by Bulbenko and Broome from using thrift store 45s and spray paint, with characteristically inventive heart and soul, and the disc package is lovingly assembled with release information and liner notes from the BSR founders.
BIG STIR SINGLES: THE FIRST WAVE is available for pre-order on CD and (perhaps redundantly!) as a digital download at the Big Stir Records online store: