“Screaming Brittle Siren is one of Michael Knott’s best releases from start to finish. Come join us in making this historic event happen. This alternative classic will be available finally on vinyl! Unfortunately, in order to properly release this it has to be a double vinyl, which means higher manufacturing costs. I have tried to keep the costs down where I could. I think in the end it will be a release we will all love to play on our turntables. This is the moment we have been waiting for and we can’t do this project without you the fans! So please pledge and also spread the word around to your fellow Michael Knott Fans!”
Remember the CD-R release in 2001 of Finding Angel by L.S. Underground / Michael Knott? Unfortunatey, many of those CD-Rs did not last long, so Joshua Lory has spearheaded a re-issue of this lo-fi entry in Knott’s catalog on pressed CDs in a slimline case. A limited number have been manufactured, so make sure to grab a copy from Young Earth Records on BandCamp.
Recorded on the Spring 2003 tour, Losing Angel kind of became a mythological recording in the Michael Knott catalog. Rumors came and went that it would be released, that it had been lost forever, that nobody involved with it wanted it released, you name it. None of these ended up being true, until it was released on BandCamp this week.
The vinyl version of Strip Cycle has arrived, and it looks and sounds amazing. But some fans missed out on getting a copy because it surprisingly sold out quickly. But if you missed snagging a copy – don’t despair!
“Another small pressing of Strip Cycle is happening, to help take care of those who missed it the first time around. Pre-orders coming later this spring. (Or for the impatient there are a few copies available at retail…)”
“In 1995, Mike Knott was unstoppable. His bands L.S. Underground and Bomb Bay Babies had grown to become staples of the southern California rock circuit. Through his successful indie label Blonde Vinyl, he had produced and released over 20 albums. Most notably, his group Aunt Bettys had been signed by Elektra Records after a bidding war between labels and was primed for wide success.
Knott also released three critically-acclaimed solo records. Each showed a distinct style and approach, with influences ranging widely from Bauhaus to Tom Petty to Dinosaur Jr. And while his band Aunt Bettys were preparing their major label debut, he sat down and wrote his fourth, Strip Cycle.
Strip Cycle is unlike anything Knott has released before or since. While some of the lyrics call back to the deranged storytelling of his album Rocket and a Bomb, they quickly take a more personal turn, with a heavy emphasis on the challenges of being a new dad and struggles with alcohol. The musical shift is more obvious, recalling the sound of early Violent Femmes with its all-acoustic instrumentation. Shortly before recording began, Knott’s daughter Stormie found his guitar and messed with the tuning knobs. Knott like the weird sound it created and made it an intentional aspect of the record (dubbing it “Twisted Toddler Tuning”); it yielded a very unique sound, with the loose strings frequently snapping against the fret board in a percussive manner.
The album features a strong lineup of songs, performed by capable Knott collaborators Brian Doidge and Chuck Cummings (Aunt Bettys) and drummer Ed Benrock (Starflyer 59). There is a sound of spontaneity throughout the album, with Knott himself playing drums—poorly—on “Super Girl” and another song cutting off mid-chorus amidst screaming. It was ultimately released by fledgling indie label Tooth & Nail (a spiritual successor to Knott’s own label Blonde Vinyl). The artwork matched the grittiness of the music, featuring grainy high-contrast images from photographer and musician Matt Wignall, and a handwritten scrawl for the titles and credits.
Lost in Ohio is pleased to reissue Strip Cycle on vinyl for the first time. True to the original, the album is presented in all black and white packaging, with freshly-restored copies of Wignall’s original photos, including never-before-seen images from the photo shoot. Great care was taken to preserve the highest quality possible sound, with lacquers cut by hand at The Vinyl Room in the Netherlands, and processed at Pacri Group in Italy, before being lovingly pressed by Precision Record Pressing in Toronto.
Halloween brought an interesting treat, as Arsenio Ortezo published his list of of “The 10 Best Christian Rock Albums” for spin magazine. Michael Knott’s Screaming Brittle Siren was included along with Daniel Amos, The 77s, Mark Heard, and others. It’s an eclectic list, but check it out and see if you agree or disagree.
If you follow the BandCamp Daily site, you might have noticed that Shaded Pain made the “Essential Releases” list for today. There is a really cool write-up by J. Edward Keyes, so be sure to take a minute and read it and then take a listen to “one of ‘80s goth’s best-kept secrets.”
Young Earth Records has launched the Pre-Order of the Vinyl Re-issue of L.S.U.’s classic This is the Healing album. Remastered by Cliffy Huntington, the remaster will feature a new cover painting by Michael Knott, rare photos, and a brand new write-up. Vinyl delays mean this won’t ship until well into next year, but be sure to get on top of this now to make sure it happens.
The Fourth Wave Reality Rock vinyl re-issue has been released. For those that don’t know, it is a vinyl re-release of the 1993 Third Wave Reality Rock CD with an expanded list of bands. L.S.U. was added in that expansion, with their song “Shaded Pain” closing out the collection. I have also found at least one old school pic of Knott in the liner notes. Oh, and Blonde Vinyl artist Black and White World also make an appearance with their track “Too Young to be Sad.” Not to mention all kinds of bands that Knott has worked and played with. There are still a few copies available – you can contact the people behind the project through the Reality Rock Facebook Page to see if they can sell you a copy.
David Bazan was recently on the Turned Out a Punk podcast (ep 392) discussing his past and present in music. He discusses several Christian bands and artists, but probably spends the most time talking about Michael Knott. He has some great insight in Knott and many other things. The discussion of Knott can be found between the 41:30 and 53:30 marks, but really the whole thing is interesting.