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News: The dB’S Reissue Debut Album, "Stands for Decibels"

The band's first release will see its first US release on vinyl!



The dB’s – Repercussion (Albion Records – ALB 109, 1981) The reissue campaign and concert lineup news for the dB’s has me excited. So excited, that I decided to take out my dB’s records. Disappointingly, I realized a hard truth: I do not have an original pressing of their first album. Although I do have a copy of their second record, which is the album that’s pictured above. I look forward to learning more about this year‘s campaign, and hope I can do more with it in the weeks to come, and of course, it's an opportunity to finally get a copy of their first album...the first time it's been released on vinyl in the US.


From press release:


CHAPEL HILL, NC – The dB’s’ debut album Stands for deciBels will be reissued on CD, vinyl (its first time on vinyl in the US) and all digital platforms on June 7, 2024, through Propeller Sound Recordings. CD and vinyl will be out on 6/14.

 

The first digital single will be “Big Brown Eyes,” due out on April 26, followed by “Cycles Per Second” on May 17. Both will be available on streaming services. On album street date, June 7, a third single, “Black and White,” will follow, both audio and video.

 

The album was produced by the band in association with the late Alan Betrock, founder of the seminal post-punk publication New York Rocker, with Don Dixon, Scott Litt and Martin Rushent mixing. It was originally issued in 1981 on the UK-based Albion label. 



Pitchfork cited Stands for deciBels among its 100 Top Albums of the 1980s. AllMusic applauded “a reverence for British pop and arty post-punk leanings . . . rarely is experimentation so enjoyable and irresistibly catchy” and said The dB’s were “the band that bridged the gap between classic ’70s power pop . . . and the jangly new wave of smart pop personified by R.E.M.”

 

The dB’s are singer/songwriters Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey along with Gene Holder on bass and Will Rigby on drums. The foursome grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, and helped define what would become the rich North Carolina indie-rock scene but emigrated to New York in the late 1970s and formed the band, frequently appearing at CBGB, Maxwell’s and other influential venues. The band’s early history is well documented on Propeller Sound Recordings’ celebrated 2021 release I Thought You Wanted To Know 1978-1981.

 

“This was primarily a band-produced and -arranged record, recorded old-school analog in fits and starts at the dawn of what became ‘indie,’ at Blue Rock Studios, with producer Alan Betrock as an éminence grise to intermittently steady the ship. And after we’d filled up all 16 of the tracks on all the songs with a cornucopia of ideas, we lucked out: aces Scott Litt (at Power Station, NYC), Don Dixon (at Drive-In, NC) and Martin Rushent (at Genetic, UK) joined to help mix,” Chris Stamey said. 

 

“We recorded it in the run-down Manhattan of 1979, in the aftermath of the CBGB explosion, when ‘anything goes’ was the rule; we were Southern expats playing on bills with the likes of the Feelies, Bush Tetras, and X, but felt a special camaraderie with a few of the more musically versatile yet still rebellious bands of the time, the Soft Boys, NRBQ, and the Attractions among them,” he added.

 

The dB’s drummer Will Rigby recalls the 44-year journey in getting vinyl to American fans via a domestic label: “There were no takers among US record labels, so it wound up being released on UK label Albion Records in several European countries plus Japan and Australia, but not in North America. Its history since has included a US release on CD, but this is the first time it has been released on LP in the United States.”

 

Stands for deciBels was the first place many people heard The dB’s – thanks to intrepid college deejays who brought their personal copies into the stations. Hopefully those old disc jockeys can now replace their original copies with pristine new ones,” says Peter Holsapple.

 

The CD edition will include the bonus track “Judy,” a single not included on the original release but available on a late ’80s (long out of print) I.R.S. Records CD reissue. 

 

Propeller Sound Recordings’ Jefferson Holt noted: “It was a natural fit for us to reissue these incredible dB’s albums for old fans and to create new ones. I think these are two of the greatest albums in all of rock ’n’ roll.”

 

R.E.M.’s Mike Mills calls his first listen to The dB’s’ Stands for deciBels a defining moment in his – and his band’s – genesis: “This is the one that let me know we weren’t alone, that there were others out there with the same curiosity, the same willingness to dive into melody, structure and pop sensibility with no fear, no reserve, only joy and well-deserved excitement. I still love listening to Stands for deciBels, and I always will,” he says.

 

In late summer, the band will announce a fall multi-format reissue of its second album, Repercussion, whose street date will coincide with extremely rare American live dates – details of which are still coming together. The last dB’s national shows were in 2012 on the heels of their studio album of that year, Falling Off the Sky.

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