Beggars Archive is a re-issue label that specializes in maintaining the back catalog of Beggars Banquet, the now-defunct indie label who helped introduce the world to groundbreaking acts like Bauhaus, The Fall, and The Gun Club. However, as beloved and well-regarded as the Beggars backstock is, not much of it exactly flies off the shelves today. Let’s be honest, most people interested in Bauhaus just want to buy a greatest hits CD that has “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” on it, and lesser acts like Gene Loves Jezebel and Felsh For Lulu are probably on the verge of being lost to the sands of time forever, save for whatever tracks they had on 80s teen comedies.
As an effort to keep many of their lesser artists, and less popular albums by their established artists, in print, Beggars Archive have started packaging together budget-priced “5 Album” box sets that include, you guessed it, five CDs from a band’s back catalog. Five CDs that, the label suggested, would be out-of-print otherwise.
The first two artists to get the “5 Album” treatment from Beggars Archive are Love & Rockets and Gary Numan. And while both are collections of great albums that many people might not purchase otherwise (and that’s a shame) I’m having a hard time figuring out just who these box sets are for.
Joyful Noise is one of my favorite record labels. And it’s not just because they’re home to great artists like Lou Barlow, Talk Normal, Deerhoof and Kishi Bashi (KISHI BASHI IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS), but it’s also because they seem to be one of the only labels out there having fun with the physical format.
Joyful Noise puts out cassette tapes. Not only that, they put out giant cassette tape box sets. They put out flexi-discs flip books. They sell their test pressings. They love colored vinyl, elaborate packaging and everything else that makes record collectors go gaga. Even better, they tend to do it in an affordable fashion. They’re the ideal label for the collector on a budget.
The label’s latest budget-minded limited edition release is Cause & Effect Vol. 1, a boxed collection of three split singles with an interesting concept; the A-side of each single has a historically significant solo musician, while the B-side features a modern act influenced by them.
Doug TenNapel, co-creator of the beloved Earthworm Jim franchise, is currently trying to fund a new game, Armikrog, a spiritual successor to his cult hit The Neverhood.
It’s not surprising. Ever since Double Fine proved that you can bank on gamers’ desire for retro-flavored projects, other developers have been coming out of the woodwork to try and get their own projects funded and released. And good on them. Kickstarter has proven that sometimes people really do put their money where their mouths are, and that when the chance comes along they’re eager to support something they believe in.
But when you support someone’s project, you’re also supporting what they believe in, whether you like it or not. And when you’re supporting Armikrog, you’re supporting the work of a person who has said some truly troubling things.