Even with rumors rumbling that the Big Four (soon to be three?) will cease producing CDs at the end of 2012, Seattle-based label Light in the Attic has teamed with Rhino Handmade to help distribute ultra-deluxe compact discs. Turns out, certain people (collectors) still want some physical, musical products, provided they are tricked out with extra tracks and beautiful packaging.
"The idea is that we provide deluxe things," says Light in the Attic's Pat Thomas, about helping distrusting Rhino Handmade offerings like Tim Buckley and Bobby Charles' self-titled debut, and Ride's Nowhere (20th Anniversary Edition).
Light in the Attic was brought in to help distribute the records to independent music retailers, an infrastructure the label has helped nourish with past releases.
"Originally, these titles were only available on the Rhino Handmade website. Unfortunately, they found after awhile, people were just not aware they were out there. Rhino recognized that they wanted to get into stores, and that Light in the Attic is known for underground marketing. We get to be a part of these really cool projects...records that continue that classic Rhino tradition, with excellent liner notes, arts, and wacky stuff that no one else will bother doing."
A record like the recently released Bobby Charles album (three-discs of funky swamp pop featuring the Louisiana songwriter backed by Dr. John, members of The Band and more) could easily appeal to the Light in the Attic fanbase. "Bobby Charles has been covered by Vetiver and Devendra Banhart." In other words, the kind of people interested in LITA records.
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"You can get so much music from iTunes or Spotify," Thomas says. "This is about putting a lot into the little things, making something boutique, for the passionate."
In addition to the label's work with Rhino Handmade, LITA has a big 2012 planned, with reissued records like Bo Diddley's funk-rock oddity Black Gladiator, Listen, Whitie: The Sounds of Black Power 1967-74, a collection of black militant music to accompany a coffee table book written by Thomas, Wendy Rene, After Laughter Comes Tears: Complete Stax & Volt Singles + Rarities 1964-65, Michael Chaplin's Rainmaker (a follow up to the excellent Fully Qualified Survivor), and launch a Lee Hazlewood Series this spring (Hazlewood has routes tracing back to KCKY AM radio in Coolidge, Arizona, and Audio Recorders here in Phoenix.