Record Label: Light In The Attic
Marking our 100th release on Light In The Attic and following the Record Store Day reissue of PiL’s debut single ‘Public Image’, we are set to reissue the pioneering group’s debut album First Issue, available for the first time ever in the US.
In 1976 Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols set the agenda for punk’s year zero with ‘Anarchy In The UK’, a song that summed up the spirit, sound and attitude of the band in one shocking package. Two years later, the Sex Pistols were in tatters, but Rotten was as unsentimental as you’d hope. He reverted to his real name – John Lydon – and set about forming a band whose very identity kicked against press and media manipulation. Featuring bassist Jah Wobble, drummer Jim Walker and guitarist Keith Levene, his new group were Public Image Limited. The public image would be limited.
PiL were a very distinct prospect from the Pistols, founded with a greater thought for rhythm, and with a sound that turned the page from snarling punk to a more experimental sound fusing rock, dance, folk, ballet, pop and dub. But that’s not to say Lydon’s new outfit lacked vitriol. ‘Public Image’ hits out against the notorious British tabloid press, who never gave Lydon an easy ride, and against his own Sex Pistols public image – “You only saw me for the clothes I wore”.
The debut single (and the album that followed) operated as a theme song and a manifesto: “…my entrance/My own creation/My grand finale/My goodbye,” as the lyrics had it. It is, essentially, the sound of four people letting loose in a studio – and not caring what anyone else thought.
The album was never officially released in the USA back in the day, its sound considered too un-commercial by major-labels for an American release.
First Issue has been lovingly reproduced from the original UK 1978 release and this expanded reissue also comes with a clutch of post-punk era treasures.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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