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.
“So, with the release of this longtime coming ep, we wanted to do something special to help celebrate the launch and make it a little more fun. Since the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of our favorite movies, we thought, why not incorporate the “Golden Ticket” into the release of the All Indie Ep II?! With that said, the first 250 physical CDs are signed and numbered. We have randomly selected 3 of these signed and numbered CDs and placed an Indie Golden Indie Ticket inside.
The Indie Golden Ticket
So, what do you get? Each winner who gets an Indie Golden Ticket will get a song sung to them live over the phone by Michael from his catalog over the years. You’ll also get a video of him singing the song sent to you after the fact.
So, what do you need to do if you got the Indie Golden Ticket? Take a picture of the ticket and the numbered CD and send it to get email below. Also, select 3 songs that Michael has written/released from vast repertoire and submit those 3 songs when you send the email with the pictures. Michael will select from the 3 provided which one he wants to perform live over the phone to you. Good Luck and we sincerely hope you enjoy the music!
The Physical CD
To purchase a physical signed and numbered CD you can do so by PayPal by going to our Bandcamp page through the link below. Each person who purchases a physical CD also gets a digital copy of the record. Thank you for your support and for listening!
Michael & Rick
It’s also available digitally through the bigs streaming services.”
Surprise release today! It seems that Knott’s long-awaited All Indie EP II has been released to several streaming and digital purchasing services (Spotify, Amazon, and Apple have been spotted so far). BandCamp is coming soon, and there will be details of a limited physical CD later this week (see this Instagram video of Mike and Rick signing copies of the CD). As well as another announcement.
Do you remember the really great Knott tribute ep A Ghost in the Voice Volume 1 that A Monster Name Hugo released last year? Well, it has been remixed, remastered, and expanded. The two new covers – “Double” and “Milk and Peas” – fit great on the ep. And if you bought the EP previously, you can go in and re-download it. Can’t wait for the next volume!