Back when I had limited access to Internet, there wasn't paypal and no credit cards I could use, the only way to order Shrimper tapes was to take a paper and write a letter to Dennis, wait for a catalog and send an International Money Order. I always went for the surface mail, because I had no money and airmail was so expensive. From the first letter to the postman ringing at my door to deliver my tapes, months and months passed and in these pauses I kept wondering what Surface mail could eventually mean. There was an ocean to be crossed and a lot of land, no doubt they were using Donkeys to deliver my tapes.
To release a tribute to my favorite record label wasn't an easy task. To cover a song that is already perfect, who could?
But my invitation has been accepted by a lot of friends and incredible artists.
Do you want to know what's on the menu?
1. Shrimper recording artists covering songs by labelmates.
Paul Lydon. I discovered Blek Ink long time before ''Six White Ghosts'' appeared on Shrimper.
I have always been curious about music sang in different languages and Blek Ink was exactly my cup of tea.
Paul on the ''Random Strike'' 7'' was singing in Icelandic.
I was really fascinated by Paul's beautiful voice and by that mysterious language and I continued to follow all his projects, from Sanndreymi to the Paul and Laura stuff and when Shrimper released ''Six White Ghosts'', it was a dream.
Me and my favorite record label had the same taste. Paul covers ''I So Liked Spring'' by Linda Smith and his version is wondrous, believe me.
Linda Smith. It was through her cassette on Shrimper that I was introduced to her music. '' I so Liked Spring'' is in the top ten of my favorite Shrimper cassettes. Beautiful and poetic. Linda has been an outsider in the last few years, she has dedicated herself to painting more than music but we have kept in touch over the years. The interest about her music has grown during the years. Juniper Tree Songs has released a few years ago a beautiful introduction to her music titled ''All The Stars That Never Were'' and last year Lost Sound Tapes has released ''Reminds Me'' a tribute to her music.
When Linda accepted my invitation to record a song for the tribute I was in Seventh Heaven. Linda covers ''I'll Come Back When I Come Back'' by Herman Düne.
Simon Joyner. You know how much I love Simon. Having the opportunity to work with him again is a blessing. If you were living in my neighborhood you will see me often wearing a black t-shirt with Simon And The Ghosts written and an illustration I did for his book of lyrics screenprinted on it.
Simon covers ''Bicycle'' by Refrigerator. A Shrimper classic.
Guillotine Graze. This name will most likely not tell you much, but Guillotine Graze is a new project by an artist that I consider one of the columns of Shrimper. They cover ''Fever Pitch'' by Halo.
Ghost Grove. Same as above. This is the new project of a Shrimper recording artist that belongs to the new generation. If you listen to his voice you will know immediately who he is.
Ghost Grove covers ''Itzcuintli Totzli Days'' by The Mountain Goats. Cumbia!
Allen and Chris of Refrigerator. No need for introductions here. Allen and Chris cover ''Ocean So Lonesome'' by Diskothi-q. One of the very first Shrimper artists I have loved. Allen's voice here is unbelievable and really brings me back to the days when I was waiting in my room for the next batch of Shrimper tapes.
Jeff Fuccillo. Jeff and his family cover ''Beach House'' by The Mountain Goats. From again one of the first Shrimper tapes I have loved and worn-out, ''cause the seal is a wily and a vicious creature''. One of the first times I saw my two years old daughter Emilia experiencing fear, it was while she was watching an episode of her favorite animated movie and a seal made its appearance.
The Debts. They belong to the nouvelle vogue of Shrimper recording artists and they are actually among my favorites, in fact I've released a full lenght by them. The Debts cover ''Mellow, Cool and Painfully Aware'' by Sentridoh. Lou Barlow is the reason why I heard about Shrimper for the first time.
Furniture Huschle. Joel is a friend of mine and one of the first Shrimper artists I have ever been able to contact. One day he sent a VHS full of videos that he probably had to convert to the Italian system just for myself. His choice is not trivial, Furniture Huschle covers a song from one of the rarest, hard to find Shrimper tapes, ''Taboo VI: The Homecoming'' by The Mountain Goats.
John Davis. He is responsible of the belated release of the compilation but I forgive him as he came on tour to Italy and Bari last month. John covers a song taken from the beautiful collaboration lp between Simon Joyner and Dennis Callaci of a few years ago.
Will Simmons. Will covers a song by John davis and he does it in his unique style. A John Davis' song that sounds like a Will Simmons' song. When I fell in love with Shrimper, the very next day I fell in love with Bees Make Honey and Will's music.
The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle covers a song from one of my favorite Shrimper tapes: The Adventures Of Pussyman and Cuntboy by Furniture One.
Franklin Bruno. The most covered artist on this compilation (Nothing Painted Blue, Extra Glenns, The Human Hearts, solo). ''Etudes For Voice And Snackmaster'' is my personal top ten of records and certainly one that I will bring on a desert island.
2. Special mentions.
The Cannanes. Never on Shrimper as far as I can recall, but very close to Shrimper. I still can't believe that Frances accepted my invitation and the fact that they are covering a song by The Ah Club makes the contribution of The Cannanes even more special.
The recording of the song was completed in a van parked near the ocean in Australia. And this is poetry for my ears.
Water. The new project of Tinca from Mongrell and Luveable Nurse. She is so sweet and I'm really happy that she has accepted my invitation. She has been more dedicated to painting than music lately and as for Linda Smith, I hope that this is the beginning of a new recording season. Water cover a song by Patch, one of the most appreciated and acclaimed Shrimper tapes and their version is rad.
Little Whirls. A very latest addition to the program and one that makes me really happy, since they accepted the challenge to cover a song by Dump.
Lovers Turn To Monsters. My partner in crime for this release. Kyle and I were talking about the more and the less when suddenly the idea of releasing a tribute compilation to Shrimper records popped up. If this compilation sounds like a solid collection of song is thanks to his contribution. Lovers Turn To Monsters cover a song by one of Shrimper's sacred monsters: The Secret Stars.
Caleb Fraid. He sent not one but four covers and there is going to be a spinoff release featuring covers of Shrimper songs interpreted by Caleb, which I'm really looking forward to release and hear. This compilation features his version of a Shrimper's classic. ''Big Pink Heart'' by Nothing Painted Blue.
C. Worth. He keeps saying that his music is not suitable for compilations, but my opinion is different. He did a very good job in releasing a medley between a song by Will Simmons and one by The Azusa Plane. Plus, I would not be here assembling compilations for you, if it wasn't for him.
Ed Nolbed. Ed Nolbed helped with the mastering and covered a song by Soul-Junk. Spirit Of God Descend On Us. Incendiary.
3. Extra value.
Gary Alien. This is his first appearance on AHT. Gary and I are white flies in a country where the radio only broadcast music by mainstream artists and where you can see a nun partecipating to talent shows. A real shock, when I saw few frames of a nun dancing like a star. Now, that I have met Gary Alien, I feel less alone.
L. Euegene Methe covers a song by Linda Smith and he does it in a beautiful fragile way. I'm always delighted by his talent and every excuse is good to ask him collaborating again.
GG And The Hot Chalupas. I might sound ripetitive, but this guy is one of my favorite artists right now. All the things I have the opportunity to listen to, always surprise me. GG does a medley between ''Parachute'' by Simon Joyner and ''Pooh Piece'' by Sentridoh.
Charles Dingus ft. DC Shrug. They do a classic by Franklin Bruno and they do it right. ''LIfetime Seance'' from one of the Shrimper compilations that have made the history of the record label.
Restaurnaut. Everytime I listen to something new by them, I think they are becoming better and better. This time Restaurnaut is a full band and they cover ''Broken Freeways'' by John Thill.
Bob Bucko Jr. The boy is brave, no doubt! He covers ''Lonesome Surprize'' by Refrigerator.
Monogamy. They were busy recording a new album, but they absolutely didn't want to miss the opportunity of being part of this project. Their version of ''Cheap Sunglasses'' by The Human Hearts is perfect.
Wio. He almost had a cassette on Shrimper, I think at some point the release was even announced on Shrimper catalogs. I don't know what went wrong back then. Wio's music would be perfect for Shrimper. Dennis, please, if you read this, return to Wio what history has taken from him. Please!
Kids Of The Atomic Age. There is no compilation on AHT without a contribution from Kids Of The Atomic Age. It has been a rule till today and I hope it will become a tradition. ''Fisherman's Friend'' by The Ah Bus! This guy knows exactly what I want.
Mean Spirit'd Robots. They would also deserve to be on Shrimper after a carreer that has seen him recording for Catsup Plate, unread and Blackbean And Placenta Tape Club. They do ''Linoleum'' by another Shrimper column: Paste.
The Hex. Another first time and I hope the first in a long series of collaborations since I really like their music. A Shrimper tribute compilation would have not been complete without a cover of a Good Horsey tune. Luckily these Canadians guys came to the rescue.
Wholewheat. Second time on AHT and I'm falling in love with them. I'm really glad C. Worth introduced me to their music. ''Badger Song'' by The Extra Glenns. My world would have been different if I hadn't bought that copy of Abridged Pervesion.
Douglas C. Keith. My new friend. We have a lot of things in common, and the passion for Shrimper is one of these.
Matthew Edward Clarke. Second time on AHT for him also. Matthew is a Chthonic recording artist and covers a song by Bingo Trappers and you all know how much I love them.
Tondefekt. New project by one of the National Heroes of Traumatone, Theme Park and Catsup Plate fame and another name that would not have disfigured on a Shrimper cassette.
J. Boulay. The head of Chthonic Records, We know each other from years when we were trading live recordings and we have collaborated at the release of ''It's Halloween Time'', the second AHT compilation. J. covers ''New Year's Song'' by Simon Joyner.
Pernath. They never disbanded it seems and this compilation was the opportunity for their return.
Phil Yates. If you like AHT, you are already familiar with Phil. A Few years ago I released ''No Need To Beg''. On the letter accompanying the songs, I clearly remember that Phil meantioned Wckr Spgt.
Plundershop. Another one that needs no presentation. This compilation would have been incomplete without a contribution by Plundershop.
Ed Rooney. Last but not least. Ed Rooney performs ''Architect's plan'' by Blek Ink on top of the roof of a building and his song is perfect to close the circle that started with Paul Lydon many words above.
There is no alternative. As a fan of Shrimper Records and Dennis Callaci's drawings, the artworks for this series are going to be ink pen drawings animated by wax colors. One of a kind, all different, inspired by the lyrics of the songs or artworks of my favorite Shrimper tapes.
This is a limited edition of 50 cassettes, 2x70 minutes tapes
released January 25, 2020
Mastered by Kyle Wood and Jürgen De Blonde.
All songs originally on Shrimper records.