Documentation is very important to establishing a credible scene and Lowell has one such label dedicated to such a task. We recently had a chance to talk with Adam from Constant Disappointment Records who have put out records we’ve covered in the past on The Lowell Spin including Knock Over City’s recent entry which made our Best of 2018 list. Here’s what he had to say:
What made you want to start CDR and can you give a brief history on the beginnings?
I play drums in Crowfeeder, and back in 2016 we started putting together our debut LP to be released on vinyl. Our plan was to self-release it, but while I was designing the layout for the jacket I decided to come up with a record label name that would (at least in my mind at that time) only be used to release our records. I put the statement “This is CONSTANT DISAPPOINTMENT RECORDS number 01” on the back of the jacket. The name had come to me pretty quickly; it’s a reference to the closing track on the “Fuck This Life” EP from Unloved, a hardcore punk band from the UK that I found randomly sifting through music review blogs. The last track is called “Constant Source of Disappointment” and the ending has the vocalist screaming that line over and over and over again, and I guess it just stuck with me. I didn’t have the logo at that time; just the name.
The Crowfeeder record came out in 2017. Throughout that year, I became very attached to Knock Over City’s record “No Funeral.” I knew they were working on their next record, so at the start of 2018 I shot them a message to see if they wanted to release it on CDR. I had no model, no real plan, I just knew that I wanted to do it. Then I stole an image of a crying old man from a Van Gogh painting (which is also the cover of the Unloved EP) to make the CDR sorrow guy logo, and I was off.
Having made the jump straight to vinyl releases, how do you feel about the medium in 2019?
Vinyl to me makes a lot of sense in terms of experiencing music, not just listening to it. Particularly nowadays with attention spans as they are, truly sitting down and absorbing a piece of music is hard to do. With vinyl (or any physical media for that matter), you are required to pay attention because you’ll need to flip the record over, rewind the tape, change out the CD, etc. I’m not much of an audiophile so I can’t speak intelligently about the quality of music on physical media, but I can say that many times, after having already listened to a record digitally, I’ve found new elements when I listen to it on vinyl, or at the very least just through a proper stereo set up.
I also very much enjoy albums over individual songs; I’m not much for hitting shuffle on every song in my library. I want to hear a cohesive piece. For most bands and records that I’m into, I don’t know the song titles for the tracks I like, but I know which record they are on.
What change would you like to see in music, not only the local facet but in general?
Fuck adherence to genre. I don’t mean that genres and subgenres shouldn’t be used to describe a band’s sound, or that you shouldn’t pull references from different styles of music to define your band’s sound. More what I mean is, stop trying to make music that is in a genre. I’m into hardcore, black metal, doom, noise rock, whatever, but that doesn’t mean that just because a band plays a prototypical version of those styles that I’m into it. There’s only a handful of bands that I really hang onto that happen to fall into some of those genres, and there’s numerous others in each genre that just sound like that genre (if that makes sense), but have nothing unique going on unto themselves. Simultaneously, I think everyone should do whatever the fuck they want, so if that means leaning into tropes works for you, go for it. It’ll just be less interesting (at least to me).
Also, every band on a local show should play for 20, maybe 25 minutes maximum. No more, yes less.
The artwork and design for all your releases have been noteworthy with what really seems like labors of love for each one. How involved are you in this process?
It varies for each release in terms of where the majority of the source artwork and design work comes from, but I am a quality control freak and always do what I can to make sure the layout, packaging, etc., don’t look like shit. For some, I’m on the sidelines watching it come together and providing feedback when appropriate (e.g., the Knock Over City digipak CD was designed by Flesh and Bone Design; the Los Bungalitos record was designed by Joe MacFadzen) or I’m taking the source artwork and assisting with layout (e.g., the cover of the Intercourse record was designed by Jagat Suri and I put together the layout for the jacket and inner labels; the cover of the Crowfeeder record was shot by Dan Fionte and I designed the jacket, insert, and inner labels). The Aneurysm record and layout was completely designed by Mark McCoy while Paul at Tor Johnson Records did all of the lifting to get the physical components printed and together (I just provided some design input for the fingerboards). That record is very much a TJR release that Paul and Aneurysm were gracious enough to involve me in.
Regardless of the logistics behind each release, I won’t put out anything on CDR that has subpar design or packaging, or artwork that does not match/elevate the music it is attached to. You listen with your eyes first. And if your artwork is going to suck, why get it printed at all?
Fantasy release; any format, any band, active or defunct. Go!
Back in the Myspace era of discovering bands, I came across this band Loftus. To my knowledge, they’ve only put out one album (“Hugs + Drugs”) followed by a 7″ that they sold on their European tour. Shortly after that tour, their vocalist died due to a heroin overdose and the band stopped playing. On their album, they play a fairly familiar brand of caustic grinding hardcore with screamed vocals. Nothing too crazy, but definitely caught my ear at the time. Then on their 7″ they maintained similar sonics, with a bit more psychedelic influence (with likely more drugs and alcohol), and their vocalist Davis Miller (RIP) was now doing more of the drunk Elvis crooning/shouting as opposed to screaming (akin to Alexis Marshall during Daughters’ “Hell Songs” period, which came out around the same time). I had been trying to track down physical copies of the 7″ for years until I somehow came across some European distro that had two (I bought both). It’s pressed on clear vinyl in a blank white sleeve with a Loftus sticker across the top and “EURO TOUR ’06” handwritten in sharpie.
This record truly blew my mind open and continues to be one of my favorite recordings. The 7″ plays and sounds great, but I have no idea how many exist or if many others in the world even care. It looks like one sold on Discogs in May 2017, and ten other people have it their collection, so I can’t be alone. The only digital version I can find online is this very bad rip on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv3J1uH8PjE
In any event, I would really love to either re-release this record, or raise Davis from the dead to bring Loftus back together to produce more music.
2018 was a great year for CDR; can we get an idea of what the plans are for 2019?
2019 will be focused on EPs. We’ve officially announced two releases so far: Bystander “Nothing Matters” on CD and extremely limited 10″ lathe cut records, edition of 20 (CDR-06), and Heavy Meta’s debut cassette on metallic gold tapes (CDR-07). The new Bystander recordings are a change of pace for the band, and they hit hard, emotionally and sonically. Heavy Meta is a fairly new band playing mathy metallic hardcore, and comprises members of two of my favorite bands from the Lowell underground: In Human Form and The Doppler Effect, the latter of which was easily the greatest band to ever grace the sunken floor of The Sugar Shack. More EPs are likely coming this year as well. Watch our Instagram and Facebook pages for announcements.
On 5/25, the first ever Constant Disappointment Records showcase show is happening at Uncharted Gallery, featuring Knock Over City, Bystander, Heavy Meta, Intercourse, and Crowfeeder. The night will also serve as the release show for the Bystander and Heavy Meta records. Every left over piece of merch we have will be for sale at this show for cheap, maybe we’ll have a new shirt design, maybe more than that. More info will be posted to the Facebook event page here in the coming months: https://www.facebook.com/events/239554873634692