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Bristol’s own Chris Farrell and Kiran Sande, owner of Blackest Ever Black and new London record store Low Company unveil the first release of their new collaborative project, Silent Street Records, with a part-reissue part-compilation of some of the best works of one of Bristol’s greatest under-the-radar groups, Maximum Joy. A project many months-years in the making, we’re over the moon to finally have this record in our hands. It serves as a loving snapshot and summary of the career of one of the most unique acts to have emerged from Bristol who for whatever reason never quite entered the admittedly astronomically-high-standard canon of great music to have emerged from the city in the past few decades. We sincerely hope this compilation changes that, and brings a fresh audience to a sound that sounds a strikingly fresh today as it did at the time. Such is the love and care that went into the record, we couldn’t not leave the main word to Chris and Kiran, who spent so much of their time making this record a reality. Over to them:

“On a personal level his one has been a long time coming… about 15 years, to be precise. My first encounter with Maximum Joy was around 2001 when Chris Farrell – back then fresh-faced working the counter of Imperial Records (R.I.P.) in Bristol, now boss of the Idle Hands shop and label there (and still fresher-faced than most) – played me the song ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’, the lesser-spotted B-side of their Stretch 12”. We were in a club, mind, but I think “played me” is still accurate: it was opening time and there was no one else in the room. Quite honestly, I’ve never heard anything that comes close – before or since. On the one hand, it’s quintessential post-punk; on the other hand, in 2017 that broad catch-all tag does a disservice to its sheer vibrancy and musicality. Janine Rainforth’s singing, probably my all-time favourite vocal take, seems to combine an ageless English folk sensibility with both a teenager’s innocence/insouciance and a smoked-out drowsy jazz maturity well beyond her years. Charlie Llewlin’s drumming is broken beat some 20 years ahead of schedule, Dan Catsis’s bassline is heavy-as, and Tony Wrafter’s free-soaring trumpet channels Don Cherry with aplomb. All bound together and ultra-intensified by Dick O’Dell’s vertiginous dub mix. And that’s just Side 1 Track 1. The rest is nearly as good. Very proud to be reissuing this magnificent body of work on a new label with Chris that we’ve called, unimaginatively, Silent Street. 2×12” with download code, and liner notes by Rainforth, Wrafter and Kevin Pearce.

Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black) and Chris Farrell (Idle Hands) trigger their Silent Street cooperative with a surefire survey of Maximum Joy’s dub-fuelled punkfunk and pop singles 1981-1982, collected as I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights. Digging a pivotal point in Bristol’s dub-informed lineage, it reveals the sound of Bristol parties and after-hours blues in the early ‘80s, which would also find success among the punk-funk crowds and hip hop stations of NYC. Fans of Vazz, The Slits, Glaxo Babies, The Pop Group need to check this one!

“I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is centred around the trio of singles the band released on Dick O’Dell’s Y Records between 1981-1982. Their first, ‘Stretch’, was licensed to seminal American label 99 Records and soon after became an anthem on the New York club underground, a cult staple at Danceteria and on late-night radio. Closer to home and a shared personal favourite is their first B-side, ‘Silent Street / Silent Dub’: a languid, haunting tribute to long summer nights in St Pauls (where the Idle Hands shop presently resides), and specifically the Black & White Cafe, “where dub-reggae reigned supreme, 24/7”. Llewellin’s mesmerising one-drop kit and Catsis’s outrageously heavy bassline anchor the track, allowing Rainforth’s exquisite vocal and Wrafter’s trumpet to soar within the intense, expressionistic dub mix. In both subject matter and execution it is the definitive Bristol tune.

‘White And Green Place (Extraterrestrial Mix)’, ‘In The Air’, and wistful instrumental ‘Simmer Til Done’ also feature; the non-Y bonus is the 12” version of ‘Do It Today’, Maximum Joy’s contribution to the Fontana compilation Touchdown, which originally came out in ’82 as a white label split with The Higsons.

I Can’t Stand It Here On Quiet Nights is the first official UK vinyl reissue of Maximum Joy material, with sleevenotes by Janine Rainforth, Tony Wrafter and Kevin Pearce. We invite you to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the eclectic, exhilarating work of Bristol’s finest, brightest pop idealists.”

 

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