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B A L L P E E N ( ! ) B U L L E T I N S

updated: December 13th, 2006




Available as a Gatefold sleeved vinyl LP, Compact Disc or as a specially priced Gatefold LP & CD set. Place orders at the PAYPAL Shop HERE or send payment to the P.O. Box above. Orders are shipping now and will include a free full-color 3' x 2' AWVAA / HOLY SMOKES poster-newsletter for a limited time.

Treasure Trails
7" single

(all remaining copies on BLUE VINYL)

Full length coming in 2007. Details are below.


Friday, December 16th

SiNRAFT eBAY Auctions
Moving Sale!
Lots of hard to find, not so hard to find, rare and oop LP's, CD's, 7" and other odds and ends are up for grabs HERE. More stuff going up in the days to come. Thanks!

updated: November 25th, 2006



vv Clash Of The Life-Force Warriors!
vv Gatefold vinyl LP and Compact Disc!

AIDS WOLF European Tour

vv and band page update!
vv This year's X-Mas Deal: $12 for Picture Disc & CD Set!

vv Both are in-stores now...

vv Features full-color posters of AWVSAA and
vv HOLY SMOKES! Measures nearly 3 feet by 2 feet!

vv New office, old world!
vv In 2007 - and 7 inches? We got 'em!

Salütes Sound Seekers ( ! )
SKiN GRAFT's Ace Reporter, "Jazzy" Joe Romita here with another staggering summary of the frankly phenomenal feats fathered at the famed fount of flabbergast... the forever favored, far-from faddish, far-flung frontiersmen of the fashionable Fort SKiN GRAFT!!!! Face front, frenzied ones!!!!


Hi Everybody,

This is Mark writing. I'm the founder of SKiN GRAFT Records... and I should begin by informing you that, earlier today, I sent news desk reporter Jazzy Joe Romita packing.

More on that a little later. It looks like I'm going to be responsible for handling this edition of the Ballpeen Bulletins, so please understand that while my enthusiasm may not reach the crescendo of Jazzy's, I'm no less excited about each and every one of the items on today's agenda. Okay, so - as Jazzy would say "Let's pitter-past the petty preliminaries" - and get down to the music business...

( ONE: ) Alrighty, first up is the AIDS WOLF VS. ATHLETIC AUTOMATON album. Leading up to the release it's become apparent that a few folks need some clarification on just WHAT this album is - it's not really a split album per se... There are a few AIDS WOLF songs - and there are a few ATHLETIC AUTOMATON songs, but the BULK of the album is indeed by a band named AIDS WOLF VS ATHLETIC AUTOMATON. We have a press guy here named Charlie Nite and it's his job to impart this sort of thing, so let's let him do his duty:

In the wake of their respective debut albums, Providence's ATHLETIC AUTOMATON and Montreal's AIDS WOLF came face to face; stripped bare of armor, draped in amour, wielding weapons of choice. With the battle lines drawn, each band tallied forcefully, committing individual tracks to tape. But as the war waged on, members defected from side to side, new alliances were formed and hard lines blurred. What emerged from the battlefield was an entirely new entity: bloodied, unbowed, and undefeated.

Recorded by Radwan Moumneh at One Hundred Sided Die in Montreal and Patrick Crump in Lincoln, Rhode Island, Skin Graft Records presents "Clash of the Life-Force Warriors" on dueling formats: as a compact disc and gatefold-sleeved vinyl LP. Athletic Automaton is guitarist Stephen Mattos, formerly of Arab on Radar; and drummer Patrick Crump, Pellum 123 expatriate. Aids Wolf is concussionist Hiroshima Thunder, and singer Special Deluxe, paired with guitarists Barbarian Destroyer and Him, The Magi. Aids Wolf Versus Athletic Automaton is all of the above: legion, two-in-one, long-haired on free stages... and the dawn of a new age, a crystalline declaration of independence for an uncivilized world.

Okay. So we've got the CD's here now and they've turned out great. I wish I could say that the vinyl was great as well, but unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the LP's have been delayed a few weeks. We'd instructed the manufacturer to position a silent lock groove at the end of side 2, and as a bonus - following the lock, we've added an extra track beyond the end of the album. Sure enough, the cutting of the groove has turned out to be problematic and the initial test pressings have been rejected - setting production behind just a bit.


For those interested in this sort of stuff, here's a drawing made to illustrate the problems on the first go round:

So anyway, the LP's will be shipping from the plant before the end of November - and at this point, the vinyl probably won't make it's way into stores until January. But we're taking orders now and we'll send the LP's out to mailorder customers as soon as we get them.

We're offering a special deal on a set including both the Gatefold LP and the CD (plus the poster-newsletter mentioned below) at a discounted price. For those in the US and Canada who order before the vinyl gets here, we'll ship the CD's first and the LP's will follow. Overseas customers, unless you want to pay double the postage, we'll ship the LP & CD together. We've posted an MP3 from each of the three bands at the AUDIO page: From AIDS WOLF "Letter To Al Johnson", from ATHLETIC AUTOMATON "Pantstathlon" and from AIDS WOLF VS ATHLETIC AUTOMATON "Collecting Past Debts ". And YES - we've also added the extra track to the CD, so there's no penalty for the turntable deficient. You can place orders at the PAYPAL Shop HERE or send payment to the P.O. Box up top.

( TWO: ) On a related note, even as I type, AIDS Wolf are touring Europe. The dates are HERE. - And their band page has been updated HERE.

( THREE: ) About a decade before AIDS WOLF and ATHLETIC AUTOMATON joined forces as one act, two other SKiN GRAFT bands, Tokyo's SPACE STREAKINGS and Chicago's MOUNT SHASTA teamed up and recorded an album as their very own cross-country supergroup. With the holidays approaching, it seemed totally appropriate to make this year's X-Mas special a BIG discount on a Picture Disc and CD set of the SHAKUHACHI SURPRISE "Space Streakings Sighted Over Mount Shasta" album. Now that they've disbanded, I'd imagine there's a fair amount of folks out there who haven't heard either band, much less their collaboration, so as way of introduction to some of the great bands past, BOTH the PICTURE DISC LP and CD are available as a SET for $12.00 through the end of the year. That's cheaper than either the LP or CD separately WHOLESALE. The set comes with everything you see in the picture above. The CD includes a full color art booklet and a Japanese-style obi - and the picture disc is packaged in a colorful wraparound sleeve and comes complete with a huge poster measuring about 2 feet square. If you'd prefer just the CD or the Picture LP, they come at a cost of $8.00 each. Two MP3's are up for downloads at the AUDIO page and needless to say, this offer expires come January 1st.

( FOUR: ) HOLY SMOKES "Talk To Your Kids About Gangs" and KOENJIHYAKKEI "Viva Koenji!!" are both out and in-stores now. Honestly, I'm just bringing them to your attention - I don't have anything to add to what Jazzy's already said in his previous updates. He may be a blowhard, but he's right on. Reviews are starting to come in and it's a pleasure to see that they are overwhlemingly positive so far. Google around and you'll see what people are saying.

( FIVE: ) A while back we experimented with publishing a promotional poster-newsletter to help get the word out and it went over so well that it was followed up with a second issue just a few months later. The first two issues of SKiN GRAFT TWO-IN-ONE are now long gone, so it looks like we've timed the third issue just right. Unfolded, it measures nearly 2' x 3', with full-color posters of HOLY SMOKES & AIDS WOLF VS ATHLETIC AUTOMATON on one side - and a Jazzy Joe penned newsletter of Ballpeen Bulletins reports on the flip. SKIN GRAFT TWO-IN-ONE issue #3 is FREE with orders for the time being, but if you'd like it and nothing else, the cost is $2.00.

( SIX: ) Okay, to clarify - Up top, I mentioned that I'd sent Jazzy packing. See, I've been packing for weeks now and when Jazzy started grousing about having a "creative block" as he prepared to write this new installment of the Ballpeen Bulletins, he volunteered to take over packing for a while; suggesting that I take a crack at this month's update.

Though I never really advertised the fact, some of you may know that a few years back, I lived in Vienna, Austria and worked on the label from abroad. My girl and I returned to the states late in 2003 and settled in St. Louis where I've been operating ever since. Well, as much as we've enjoyed St. Louis, we've decided to head on back to Europe. Don't get me wrong, I grew up reading Jack Kirby's Captain America and I enjoy my country as much as the next guy, - but, while the states may have the edge when it comes to wars on terror and robotic, character-themed pizza restraunts - the coffee's just better overseas. My move will have virtually no noticable effect on the label - this has been in the works for a while (hence the recent new USA address as we repositioned the mailorder outfit). I'll remain at my newly relocated post, Jazzy's not going anywhere and we've brought aboard "Dynamo" Dave Stone to handle all of the mailorder and shipping - which will continue to operate out of the states. I'll be in Vienna before the year's end, so I hope all you Europeans won't be strangers.

Okay, time to get back to packing - Jazzy's been doing a lousy job. I'm starting to sell off some odds and ends to limit what I move around the world, so if your interested in old toys, maybe some records and CD's, a few vintage t-shirts, etc - you might find something to your lliking in the ebay auctions I'll be putting up through the end of the year. You can see what's up at the moment HERE. I strongly recommend the 1989 Toy Biz Lex Luthor action figure, clad in purple and with the left hook permanently planted upside his head. It very well may be the most cheaply-constructed, ill-conceived action figure of all time. Bids start at $1.99 (but I'm gouging on the shipping).

We've got one more item to report before this installment is a wrap, but I think it best we let Jazzy tackle this one...
Before I sign off, let me say thanks to all of you for your ongoing support. The band's and I truly do appreciate it - and we'll keep trying our best to earn it in the years to come.

Hope you have a great set of Holidays.

- Mark

Jazzy Joe, over to you....

Thanks Mark...
Aloha Angels!!!
Now my pretties, surely if you've learned ANYTHING over the course of our previous fireside chatterings, it's that your magnificent musicologist is a merciful monarch. NEVER would he allow an installment of the time-honored Ballpeen Bulletins slip by without chitter-chyming in with a few flavorful phrases to inspire the panicked, impassioned plebeians - who's sole incentive to go forward in these troubled times is indeed to heed the affable affirmations bestowed from the Jazzy One on high! As Mark so serenely summarized, SKiN GRAFT's waist is expanding once again as we plant our high-flying flag into the longing loam of Fortress Europa! And it is my extreme pleasure to notify you that, with this announcement, comes news of the FIRST-EVER European act to grace our lauded label..

ITEM! Braid up, bunch! Pull that hair clear of your peepers cause it's time to divulge the latest addition to the Skin Graft Hall of Hotshots. Yes, here is a band certain to entrance both femme and fella fatale alike - an act sure to elate aching auricles from A to shining Z - - - Girls & Boys, hit your lover's applause button, cause none other than PRE, London's loud-brow leaders of the Now-School of Hard Rocks, are rolling in the hay with SG Rex (!) and come 2007, we're delivering a haymaker punch with your name on it! Tentative plans call for a Spring release, with the vinyl under the supervision of our partners in grime at the lovely Lovepump United. For those who would like to get acquainted asap, Jazzy suggests you visit the SGTV page - there you'll find a PRE video snippet and a link to the band's My Space page, where songs are already streaming. You should know that we've brought aboard copies of PRE's BxOxTxDrash debut 7" vinyl record "Treasure Trails" for mailordering, so visit the PAYPAL Shop to nab yours before they're gone. And yes - PRE and AIDS WOLF are performing across the United Kingdom before the year's end - so check the TOURS page for two great tastes that taste great together!!

Before your sovereign sound spinster takes flight, allow me to reinforce the anti-alliterate,
altogether atypical anecdotes espoused above in the Mr. Mark's Mopebox. AIDS WOLF VS. ATHLETIC AUTOMATON is for real: the double mint guns are in full-effect. This is can't miss freedom rock of the highest order. And, if Jazzy were you (and he praises Jah, he ain't), he would be on that SHAKUHACHI SURPRISE X-Mas special like ants on candy.

Damn, this beach is sandy. Word Out and...



updated: October 10th, 2006


vv Talk To Your Kids About Gangs CD!
vv Featuring members of Hella, Team Sleep, Pinback
vv The Advantge and an ex-Flying Luttenbacher.


vv Viva Koenji!! CD! The band's second, largely
vv unheard album.
Plus Live At Doors DVD!
vv Skeletal Remains CD unearthed!
.....Why Album?... What Sequel?... Babies Shouldn't Smoke!
.....The Frog Tape CD... Halloween sale!
.....Go see 'em!

Servus Dissidents!!!
Roll out the barrels, monkeys - your divine dealer of oblique, obfuscatory scuttlebutt is seated soundly 'pon his throne of frogs for yet another imperishable installment of the Ballpeen Bulletins! Yes, your Jazzy One has plenty of promulgating to patter this time 'round, so let's pitter past those petty preliminaries - pronto! It's time for more hard-sell huckstering in the seldom-celebrated, superior-sonic Skin Graft style!!!

So there I was, a few weeks ago, on the last leg of the Skin Graft summer lecture series, gabbing with the undergrads at Montana's prestigious Blackfeet Community College, when a pair of particularly probing graft-o-philes battered your potentate pontificator with a cluster of queries pertaining to the hotly-anticipated Holy Smokes CD, "Talk To You Kids About Gangs". Being a man of few words (and late for a paddling party at Blackfeet's Omega Phi Beta Sorority House), Jazzy intended to hand the duo an advance CD of said album, but came up short when he realized he'd left it on the nightstand in the girl's dormitory back in Wyoming. Fortunately, thy musicologist man-god just so happened to have an inside tip on Ash Kalini in the fifth, so our gabby graft-o-philes did not leave disappointed (that came when the racing results came in). So, to Justin and Albert, buck up, you'll get that college tuition paid somehow... And to the ladies of Omega Phi Beta, the following Charlie Nite press release goes out to you and the sisters in suite 16!!

"Talk To Your Kids About Gangs" is the culmination of a recording process that began in 2003, with the lineup of Zach Hill, Dan Elkan, Rob Crow, Carson McWhirter, Jonathan Hischke, Ian Hernandez and J.R. Thompson. The group first assembled for the album "Masculine Drugs", a soundtrack to a book penned by founder Zach Hill and released by Suicide Squeeze Records. On their Skin Graft debut, Holy Smokes arrive fully formed. Where the band's debut offered a discordant free-jazz-noise-rock shock, "Talk To Your Kids About Gangs" emerges as a harmonic tangle of pitches and thunder claps, that as they unravel, come into focus as intelligible, infectious oddments of grooving sonance. Make no mistake, these are songs: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synth, Drums, Samplers, Toys, Piano, Keyboards, Trumpet and Gadgets - no bullshit. Holy Smokes have recorded a masterfully drawn, spectral broadcast; a call to arms now and forever.

"Holy Smokes are a supergroup better than the sum of it's incalculably impressive parts (lineup includes members of Hella, Pinback, The Advantage and The Flying Luttenbachers) ... A balancing act of incredible dexterity... a scorching mangle of instruments igniting waves of dreamily emotive melodies upon a dizzying volcanic terrain. This is barefoot shoegazing on a bed of hot coals." - Independence Now

Like if VoiVod formed in 2084. - Topless

Two MP3's have been made available for downloading exclusively at the website's of Spin and Pitchfork, setting the internet so abuzz, that the worldwide web's collective blood alcohol level has gone off the charts!!! While two MP3's are already a generous sampling in this closefisted age of paltry, pissant parsimoniousness - Jazzy ain't stopping there! Yes indeedy, your fab fanner of the SG flame has added a THIRD MP3 to the mix (!) - joining "Quantum Leaper Of Los Angeles County" and "Pretty Much None Of Us Know Anything" is the glitch-ridden, sure to be smash hit "Don't Squab On God's Tracks"! All three songs can be accessed HERE, but believe you me, even after absorbing all three of these digital delights, you still ain't heard nothin' yet! Only one way to remedy that, dig deep into those high pockets of yours (you keep the lint, bubblegum and keys to that 86 Escort) - and send all that loose change our way in exchange for your very own copy of HOLY SMOKES new masterwork! Yes, we have copies ready and able to be rocketed to your bleak, bummer of an asylum - FORTHWITH! Take it from Jazzy, just one spin of "Talk To Your Kids About Gangs" will transform your den of iniquity into a chateau of wild and wooly, way-out wonderment (but it won't do the dishes - that's up to you hombre!)

For more info on Holy Smokes, visit their new BAND page - and to order "Talk To Your Kids About Gangs" via Paypal, click HERE. Those with stamps to burn may send checks and money orders to our brand-spanking new mailorder address up top!

Want a sweet Skin Graft banner ad like the one above for your website, blog or my space page? Looking for something to bewilder those pesky Dateline NBC trolls in the chat rooms? Well then, we've got a series of nifty, new banners up and at the ready for you right HERE!

With the Japanese New Music Festival jetting across North America last September, Jazzy already spilled a bounteous beanload on the release of KOENJIHYAKKEI's legendary second album, the incomparable "Viva Koenji!!" Yes, this unparalleled platter of progressive rock perfection has already shipped to quick-clicking members of the Zeuhl elite, but now it, and the previously praised piece from Holy Smokes, are shipping to record stores worldwide! So rather than have Jazzy re-run at the mouth about the grand and glorious greatness of Yoshida Tatsuya's progressive rock powerhouse, he suggests that you simply scroll down to click to the previous update below for all the dizzying details on "Viva Koenji!!" and the newly imported Koenjihyakkei "Live At Doors" DVD, which is also available to mailordering merrymen and maidens alike!

ITEM! Way back in the day, one of the most rotated CD's at SGraft HQ was "The Why Album", an original collection of pristinely-polished pop gems by Chicago's mighty and mirthful CHEER-ACCIDENT. Now, 12 years later, the band has recorded a follow up titled "What Sequel?" that's just as long on tunefulness and even longer on ambition than its previously peerless predecessor! Manufactured by the princely pop-purveyors at Pravda records, Skin Graft is pleased to distribute both "What Sequel?" and the original "Why Album" to jingle-jammers everywhere (and yes, buttercup, as previously reported, U.S. Maple's Todd Rittmann is now a full-fledged member of the band!). As if that weren't enough, we've also brought aboard copies of Cheer-Accident's darkest, most dissonant album "Babies Shouldn't Smoke" and Thymme Jones's legendary solo album "While" for your careful consideration as well! All four albums are available for ordering now, so set your noodle on "no-brainer", visit the "Everything Else" department of the PAYPAL shop and let those liquid assets drain! Cheer-Accident will be touring East soon - dates are at the Tours page!

ITEM! And while we're in a way-back frame of mind, let's scoot back to Chicago circa '95-'97 when a veritable Midwestern underground supergroup comprised of James "Marlon" Magas (Couch, Magas), Weasel Walter (The Flying Luttenbachers, XBXRX), Heather M. (The Scissor Girls), "The Manhattanite" (aka Al Johnson of U.S. Maple) and Jessica Ruffins (Jaks, Sea of Tombs) issued forth a succinct manifesto of propulsive anti-rock beats and terse guitar cacophony - topped-off with cryptic, evocative vocal assaults. You guessed it! Jazzy's talkin' about none other than the unanimously applauded, lovingly lauded LxOxDx: LAKE OF DRACULA! Their sole, self-titled studio album is an essential part of any neo-no wave record collection, but unfortunately, the band called it quits before a follow up could be recorded. However homefries, Jazzy's here to tell you that the
"Skeletal Remains" have been put to disc at last! Previously announced as Troubleman Unlimited catalog # 112,233, the Lake Of Dracula compilation has been dug up, assembled full-on Frankenstien-style and given a riotous remastering jolt for full-scale sell through! Imported from the Savageland, this CD collects previously unreleased material with a healthy side order of compilation and single tracks, plus extensive liner notes and photos to boot! It's up for orders in the "Everything Else" section of the PAYPAL shop now, so sharpen those fangs and bite the neck that feeds, rocker!

Wooop! Look at the time, sluggers! Jazzy's got an unwieldy wad of cash from his summer lecture series that he's itching to invest - and this time he's sure the riverboat casinos have got his number. Yes, your revered, literate lip-service layer-onner must once again head for higher ground, but before I go, let me encourage you to stop by the TOURS page and gander at those dates aplenty. If you find one of our affiliated acts playing near you, grab a friend or enemy, sashay your way to your local haunt, and take in an evening of counter culture. Hear those ears ringing? Then sure-shootin', another Skin Graft angel has earned it's wings!




NEWS: MID 2006

NEWS: MID 2005
NEWS: MID 2004
NEWS: MID 2003
NEWS: MID 2002

NEWS: MID 2001


NEWS: MID 2000
NEWS: WINTER 98 / 99
NEWS: WINTER 96 / 97


the champagne of record labels
P.O. BOX 1545
O'Fallon MO. 63366
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