Patty Hurst Shifter and The Cartridge Family--two of Raleigh's favorite bands--are finally about to release long-awaited albums. In both cases, a lot of the delay was due to money issues, but for Patty Hurst Shifter, the problems were a bit more involved. "When we started out we didn't have a label, so we had some money in the kitty and we were going to make a quick record and release it ourselves," says Marc Smith. "We started off and used up the money that we had, took a little while off and found a little more money from friends, then the label stepped in. So, we put it off for two months getting the first draft of the contract, and then there was three more months of lawyer stuff back and forth. It was just a long, maddening process."
The county-rockers signed with a new local indie, EVO Recordings, whose founders, Brad Deifer and Rex Vick Jr., have spent the last couple of years bringing the label up to speed. In fact, PHS is only the label's third signing, and the first from the Triangle.
"Apparently this label had been in the works for a while--they were trying to get all their ducks in a row. And they had been looking at us for a while--unbeknownst to me," says Smith.
To help market the band, EVO is sending copies of Patty Hurst Shifter's brand new EP, The Short Record (which features an image of Napoleon on the cover), to anyone who requests it (www.evorecordings.com). The full length, Too Crowded on the Losing End, features 13 tracks, including different versions of two songs from the EP, and is planned for a September release. The basic tracks were recorded with Greg Elkins at Mission Road Studio, and were mixed by Trina Shoemaker in New Orleans, where the band availed themselves of the Mardi Gras atmosphere.
"It was as much a party as work," Smith recalls. "We were in the studio about 14-15 hours a day, but that was in and out. There was this bar right around the corner; it's kind of like the New Orleans equivalent of Sadlack's. We were running in there, grabbing a beer and then running back."
Patty Hurst Shifter plays the Local 506 with Lou Ford Saturday, Aug. 6 and The Cave with Crimson Sweet Wednesday, Aug. 10.
Raleigh buddies The Cartridge Family have also endured an arduous process, though it started fortuitously enough. "In November 2003 we went in to Downtown Sound in Raleigh. We didn't use any of their rigs. [Producer] Rob Farris brought in all his gear and we set up shop in there and spent the whole weekend recording the bass and drums. It's a huge room, the size of a gym, so there's all this natural room echo and reverb on it," says singer/guitarist Greg Rice. "[But] a lot of people in the band work at night at restaurants and such, and I work days, so we were only able to get together one day a week to record. The next thing you know it's been a year and a half."
They finished the album in April, but it took even longer to gather the money for mastering, which is being done by Jim Carroll at Midfield Sound in Raleigh. Tentatively titled Here Come the Rock Stars, they're hoping to release it in mid-October, with a show and party at Kings. Despite the time it's taken, Rice is happy with the results.
"We started out saying we're not going to end up like some bands who take two years to make a record, but at this point I'm like 'Well, that's OK,'" Rice says. "We got a couple of tracks back and now I understand what mastering is about. It sounds great, like it's ready for radio. Every track is just balls to the wall. It sounds like one of those Acme products that blows up in the Roadrunner cartoons. It's like one long explosion. I don't think there are any records that have come out in Raleigh that have had that oomph, though I know those are fighting words."
Besides the upcoming album, Rice reports they have several other irons in the fire, including a possible 7" split single with Terry Anderson's Olympic Ass-Kicking Team.