a tiny record label from western massachusetts

Uncovering Western Mass Trea$ures

One of TinyRadars favorite things about labels are how they are a window into this little interconnected world of people you don't know and may never meet. We've all spent a fair share of time reading the liner notes of our favorite records in detail to see who played on them, what bands they may have thanked, where there were overlapping members, and what kind of fun stuff they might send you if you joined the fan clubs (the award probably goes to the Unrest mail order comb). The liner notes were just as important as the music itself. They gave the record a sense of place. They position it somewhere in time and draw connections. And compilations especially tell stories.

Sure, the music is the reason we get up in the morning. But TRs was founded so that we could document, capture and preserve a small snapshot of what is happening. So imagine my excitement when local musician and writer Ken Mauri handed me a copy of this Red Hot Records compilation at a show last week.

My tape deck, despite this format increasing in hipness these days, is buried underneath my discarded VCR and DVD player (hi Xbox! You do everything!) so I haven't had a chance to listen to the tape yet. But there's a lot to learn from the liner notes alone.

Live in the Living Room was the kind of project that gets right to the heart of what TRs is all about. Recorded over the course of one weekend, Amy and Aimee of Red Hot Records set up a four-track in their living room and had 12 bands drop by to play a few songs. The resulting recordings became the compilation and its so cool to be able to check out this snapshot of what was happening in Northampton 15 years ago. Some of these bands are still around, other bands lasted for another 10+ years before calling it quits, and some I'm sure fell apart soon after the tape came out (because that's how these things work). But what Red Hot Records did was make sure that no matter what, this moment was captured.

I don't know how long Red Hot Records was around for, but I'm grateful that someone still cares enough to have left the website up. By connecting the dots between the liner notes, the website, and Google searches the story of what was happening around here in 1995 is becoming more clear. For a baby label like us that loves its local music scene, its really exciting to see that RHRs third release was a compilation...just like ours is planned to be.

Northampton 2012 will have a story to tell, too. And with indie and DIY labels still cranking out releases in new ways, we hope that local music scenes everywhere will capture what's going on, too. As for us, we'll be singing the vinyl/download combo gospel of course.