Friday, May 23, 2014

The Ten: Alcopop! Records' favourite mailing list gifts

Seven and a half years in, Alcopop! has reached its hundredth release. The AIM Awards Small UK Indie Label Of The Year 2013 have been responsible for releases by the likes of Johnny Foreigner, Fight Like Apes, Radstewart, My First Tooth, Katie Malco, 4 Or 5 Magicians, Screaming Maldini, Her Parents, Stagecoach, The Crimea, Sam Duckworth, Brawlers, Gunning for Tamar... you get the picture.

They're just as known for their inventive approach to packaging new releases, having issued records on scarves, frisbees, a treasure map and perhaps most famously a compilation with accompanying fixie bike. So what are they doing for this big release occasion? Well... erm... they're re-releasing this.

Yep, Len's number 8 single and quintessential summer anthem but for the fact it was released in the UK in December 1999 is coming back out on limited edition t-shirt, branded sunglasses and cassette.

Given that love of new ways of delivering music, when we asked Jack PoP! for a Ten list it fits that... oh, let him explain.

When Simon asked me to knock up a Top 10 list of ‘musicy things’ there was only one choice of response. But when I realised I was going to have issues thinking of 10 songs I liked referencing dinosaurs, I knocked together this rubbish instead.

In loving memory of 3 Alveston Place, now deceased, here’s my top 10 things that monied record companies sent penniless indie fans during those golden days of physical correspondence… From 10 upwards:

10) Urusei Yatsura Slain By Elf postcard. Yeah sure it was only a postcard, but it was phenomenal! Flaming guitar, awesome font, band that were a little too edgy for your parents to even get. Massive!

9) I loved the work and effort that went into the promo Medal Fanzine that was sent out to those lucky enough to be on that mailing list. I fear issue 2 never saw the light of day though.

8) I once received a Kula Shaker 7” singles box in which I was to collect and preserve all my Kula Shaker singles. I didn’t bother much post-Grateful When You’re Dead... Might have even paid hard earned cash for this, but it did look lovely.

7) The Crocketts newsletter which was all printed in lurid blue, looked like it had been scrawled by a child and referred to tour-partners The Levellers as a ‘bunch of tree hugging hippies’. This was ace!

6) Hundred Reasons/Douglas split EP – Massive marketing budget – brilliant work! This would be higher, but for the fact I didn’t sell it on eBay when it was worth circa £50. It’s not any more. Great stuff though.

5) That fold out A vs Monkey Kong banner poster! A truly splendid thing, and one that got me proper jazzed about the forthcoming record. They looked GREAT on your wall, at the top – holding fort over all your other postcards.

4) The very brazen Rialto double CD exclusive ‘fan only’ cardboard slip case. Last single off the record, pretty gentle with approximately zero radio potential. “Who’s going to buy both copies of the CD” a terrified A&R must have thought after spunking a shit tonne of money on Lord Louis and co. No one but me was the answer, as I was suckered into buying both parts of the EP to put into my special package. Clever!

3) 3 Colours Red Christmas Card with a personal message from Chris and all the boys inside. The signatures were printed, but it was still a very nice gesture. I believe I took this into school, such was my pleasure.

2) The Hundred Reasons VHS video for If I Could. WHAT PROMO BUDGET DID THIS BAND ENJOY that everyone on their mailing list got a free VHS promo through the post. This made my life at the time.

1) The heat seeking Symposium postcard for Drink The Sunshine that literally ‘global hypercoloured’ in your clammy hands! Amazing, and I went on to buy every single 7” Symposium ever released – so I guess that’s proof that direct marketing really works! THE BEST.

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