CONTAINERS, THE - Self-Contained

Its difficult to miss James A Smith, hes about 67 for one thing. His music is packed with hooks and one-liners that are hard to forget. Thirty-eight years after the songs on this album were recorded, they are being released into a world that is finally ready to receive them. When he moved to London in 1977, you would often see James at the Marquee club, especially if Wire were playing, or at the Roundhouse for Elvis Costello, Split Enz, or the Buzzcocks. A couple of years later you might have caught him on stage during The Containers brief period of gigging. He was back in 1980, solo mostly, but called The Beach Bullies; maybe you saw him at the Hope & Anchor... or even supporting an early incarnation of the Thompson Twins. Like so many keen young musicians, he really worked at it. He tried longer and harder than many, but the breaks didnt come, apart from one solitary flirtation with vinyl. The 1980 release, We Rule The Universe, by The Beach Bullies, delightfully augmented by singer Jill Fricker, was released thanks to Armageddon Records. His astringent wit-inflected songs were stripped back to their minimal core. A simple drum machine, an electric guitar, no frills -- not even any bass! It picked up a couple of encouraging reviews, found a tiny audience of fans, and then went to sleep for a long, long time. It wasnt always like that. The Containers had played many of the same songs, but their versions had the swagger of a gang instead of pared down charm, along with distinctive dual male/female lead vocals, a full rhythm section, and the encouragement (and even participation) of Robyn Hitchcock in his full Soft Boys majesty. They had the good fortune to record the demos that make up the bulk of this album at Spaceward Studios, in the center of Cambridge, an innovative sixteen track that hosted Gary Numan, the Raincoats, and the Soft Boys at around the same time. What came out of the sessions was greater than the sum of the parts, on both their visits to the Victoria Street basement. For several decades the tapes either were missing or on unplayable formats, but a couple of years ago copies of the sessions showed up on cassettes carefully preserved by bass player Adrian Hots Foster. A quick scrub up, and one session was on YouTube. The boss of Captured Tracks heard the session, and very soon James A Smiths musical renaissance, and recognition for The Containers and The Beach Bullies was on its way!" - Manufactured.

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After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.

This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).

Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.

Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.

Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.
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