Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Revenge of the Practical Stylists!

Back in the day, Practical Stylists seemed like a sure bet to grab, at the minimum, a mid-indie label deal and thus get their fair share of nationwide fame. A second wave power-pop band, they fit right in with other like-minded '80s arbiters of cool like the dBs, Matthew Sweet and homeboy Bill Lloyd (who would later become a PS member). For one reason or another, the band never took that big next step ... it certainly wasn't for lack of talent, however, or good songs, 'cause Practical Stylists had both in spades, as well as a decent stage presence. They have remained one of Nashville's closely held, dirty little musical secrets for over two decades now.

Thanks to the good folks at Nashville's Spat! Records, the very first Practical Stylists' album has just been released. A compilation of studio material and live tracks, Post_script is a great document of one of Nashville's truly underrated bands. The original band line-up was Scott Sullivant on vocals and bass, David Russell on vocals and guitar, and Jim Hodgkins on drums. Bill Lloyd would later join PS when David Russell went to school, and later they expanded to a foursome with the addition of John Jackson. It's this original trio that many Nashville club-goers will remember, though, and that is represented by the material on the Post_script CD.

Practical Stylists had a rich power-pop sound with great vocal harmonies and whipsmart songwriting. Although they played everywhere in the area, both as headliners and opening for a veritable who's who of local bands, Practical Stylists' achievements were often overshadowed by better-known bands of the era like Jason & the Nashville Scorchers, Walk The West and the White Animals.

Post_script will be available in physical CD form from the Spat! Records website and, at some point in the future, from Amazon.com, and will be available for downloading from both Amazon and iTunes. In the meantime, the band's manager Allen Sullivant – the keeper of the flame at his Nashville 80's Rock Archive website (where you can sample Practical Sylists music) – has provided the Reverend with the skinny on the new album, including the track info and liner notes that we provide below (thanks Allen!). I'd highly recommend that anybody that loves timeless pop-rock music check out Practical Stylists ... after all, it's never too late to discover great music!

Post_script track listing:

In the Studio:
1. Swing Your Arms Around
2. Ralph
3. My Bed
4. General Beat
5. She's Got Lots
6. Terry's Voice
7. In My Dream
8. Rights

Live & Loud:
9. R. A. Wilson
10. All Around Us
11. You Never Call
12. Some Fun
13. Crowded Room
14. Shake Some Action
15. E=Mc2
16. Know What I Know
17. 800 Number

This & That:

(1) and (2) - 8~track recordings from October, 1982 produced and engineered by Andy Byrd. Originally released together in February, 1983 as a cassette single. "Swing Your Arms Around" also appeared on a compilation of progressive music issued by WREK-FM in Atlanta the same year. Piano on "Ralph" by Andy Byrd. Lead Vocals: Scott

(3) and (4) - Recorded to 24 track in June, 1983 at Studio 19, Skip Shimmin, recording engineer. Produced by "Ralph". Originally released together on 7" 45rpm vinyl in September of 1983, "General Beat" became the biggest selling single that month at Nashville branches of Cat's Records. Lead Vocals: Scott

(5) Another 24~track recording from September, 1983, also recorded at Studio 19 and engineered by Skip Shimmin. Produced by Scott Sullivant. Released only on WRVU's Nashville "New Rock" compilation cassette,"Local Heroes". Lead Vocal: Scott

(6), (7) and (8) - Recorded in May, 1989 on an Akai 12-track digital console. Produced and engineered by Andy Byrd. Previously unreleased. Lead Vocals: David

(9) through (17) - All recorded on various dates in 1983 at Cantrell's in Nashville. Jeff Levy, sound engineer. All live tracks are of the "house mix", recorded directly off the sound board to cassette without any additional re-mixing, overdubs, or other embellishments. If you were there, this is what you heard.

Practical Stylists are:

Scott Sullivant - Bass and Vocals
David Russell - Guitar and Vocals
Jim Hodgkins - Drums and such

All songs written by Scott Sullivant, David Russell, and Jim Hodgkins except (13) written by Colin Moulding and (14) written by Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson.

Original songs and all recordings copyright 1982 - 1989 by White Triangle Music, BMI. This compilation copyright 2008 by White Triangle Music, BMI. Manufactured and distributed by Spat! Records. Thanks, AJ!

All songs were recovered from the original analog (tape) masters and transferred to digital format. Front and back cover concept and design by Alexa Sullivant. Original photography by Bill Kalinowski and Adonia Fuller. Original logo designed by Bill Mullins.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Your Help Needed!

The Reverend needs the help of his Nashville friends on a couple of projects – one concerning THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE book, the other this blog.

1) PHOTOGRAPHER NEEDED! Big Bad Nashville is sponsoring a "Return to Elliston Square" show on Saturday night, June 28th, 2008 featuring Cloverbottom, the Bunnies, Walk The West and Royal Court of China. As my meager finances won't allow me to jet down to the Music City from WNY to witness what promises to be a great show, I'd like to enlist the help of a local photog to document the show. I'd like some photos of each band to post here on the blog and, if they'd fit, to include in the book. I'm guessing that everybody is pretty much shooting digital these days, so a high-rez .jpg format would be preferred. If this sounds like something that you'd like to do, contact me by email at rev.gordon (at) gmail.com.

2) BANDS WANTED FOR MP3 GOODIES DISC! The Reverend has spoken with several people about including some sort of mp3 disc of local bands with the book, and after hashing it over with these folks and other friends, here's what I've come up with. To entice people to buy a copy of THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE book directly from me (which results in more money for the project), we're going to put together a limited edition "goodies disc" that will include songs in mp3 format by as many bands as we can enlist, along with a photo gallery of Nashville rock, maybe even a copy of the book in PDF format. The "goodies disc" will only be available free with a copy of the book, and only 100 or maybe 200 copies will be created. I need bands to submit mp3s to include on the disc. If you'd like your music included on this disc, contact me by email at rev.gordon (at) gmail.com. Nashville-area bands (Murfreesboro, Bowling Green, etc) only, please. MP3s should be of decent quality (256kpbs or better) and band contact information provided.

Here's the deal on my plans for THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE book. If I can sell enough copies, both direct and through local retailers, as well as on Amazon.com, I plan on taking the profits and spending a week in Nashville videotaping interviews for a future documentary on the "other side of Nashville." I figure that it will take sales of 600-800 copies (depending on the ratio between direct sales and wholesale sales) to finance this deal, which I think is something that can be achieved. Got to get the book done, first, though, so now it's back to work....

Sum Moor Wordz!!! (Book Project Update)

Since the ol' Reverend receives around a dozen or so emails each week asking when THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE book will be done, I figured that it was about high time that I gave all of you a project update...

...we're almost there, at least in comparison to where we were a year ago (how's that for sounding like a politician?). I'd estimate that the writing of the book is around 80% completed. The final 20% is almost all interviews that I hope to finish transcribing, editing and polishing to a chrome-like sheen by mid-July. There are still a handful of interviews that I want to do, with some people that I want to talk to, and then it's off to laying out the book for printing. To get prepared for lay-out, I've cropped, converted, and cleaned up over 150 band photos, show posters, CD and LP covers, and misc. graphics for use in the book. THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE will be a very graphic-oriented book with lots of pics in between my (and a few other people's) words.

So, when will the book be done? I'm shooting for the fall ... yes, of 2008 ... late-September, perhaps, maybe October. When you see that I've posted the book's rad cover art on the blog here, you'll know that it's right around the corner. Stay tuned ... this slow-moving snowball is beginning to pick up steam as it rolls downhill and closes in on publication day!