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Friday, April 13, 2012

At Persevering Punk Label Alternative Tentacles, Jello Biafra Is "Not Computer-Compatible"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 9:47 AM

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Latest releases: The latest LP from NYC's crime-scene-documenting, noise-rock progeny, Unsane, titled Wreck, is now out on Alternative Tentacles. The group has lost none of its staunch burliness. The cavalcade of blown-out vocals and dystopian guitars culls aspects of obliteration from the band's favorite genres of rock and compresses them into a barbarous assault.

Jello Biafra's signing habits: Alternative Tentacles is one of few remaining labels that accepts unsolicited demos. Townley was shocked upon his hiring to discover that Jello listens to every single demo that arrives in the AT mailbox. This is a considerably laborious undertaking, but, incredibly, unsolicited demos have led to signings in the past. Additionally, employees of AT are encouraged to suggest bands for signing, as Townley did upon receiving Disaster Strike's unsolicited demo while he was on tour in Boston.

Jello's outspoken political nature is notorious, and his experiences with censorship inform Alternative Tentacles' interaction with its controversial artists. Even after the Dead Kennedys prosecution for distributing obscene material (following their inclusion of an H.R. Giger artwork with their 1985 Frankenchrist album), Alternative Tentacles has stood behind The Crucifucks during their conflict with Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police, and released Leftover Crack's Fuck World Trade, whose art depicted George Bush, Rudy Giuliani, George Bush, and Dick Cheney blowing up the World Trade Center.

Philosophy of the price point: New Alternative Tentacles releases on vinyl retail at around $13, while back catalog items are available at around $9. Townley astutely articulates the impetus for their low prices, citing naturally that they want to be affordable, but also offers the following insight: "We work on trust. There are all kinds of opportunities for the kids to steal our music, so we work hard to keep a good relationship them. We don't sue them, like major labels do; we do our best to bring them great music at the best price because we know that as soon as something is released on CD, it's available for free on the Internet."

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Sam Lefebvre

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