Following the exploits of the maverick Stiff Records was once fun, but now it's getting to be a chore. The label, which will be a year old in August, got popular very fast late last year, then deleted all their records when they went from a haphazard independent distribution system to a deal with Island Records. Now, Stiff has severed its ties with Island. There is no word as to whether another company will pick them up, or if they will stay independent.
Besides the releases that have come out during the last few months (a Bunch Of Stiffs sampler LP, an album and maxi-single by The Damned, and a single by Elvis Costello, "Less Than Zero") several new records either have just come out or are scheduled for release. Just out is the Nick Lowe EP, Bowi. (David Bowie called his album Low, so...). It has four cuts: "Born A Woman" (a cover of a 1966 British hit for Sandy Posey) and three originals, "Shake That Rat," "Marie Provost," and "Endless Sleep." Lowe's single which inaugurated Stiff last summer, "So It Goes"/"Heart Of The City," is slated for release in the States on Beserkley. Stiff also has a new single by The Adverts, "One Chord Wonders," and Elvis Costello's "Alison"/"Welcome To The Working Week." The latter's debut album, My Aim is True, is being held up because of the distribution mess. Check next month's Import Bin for more details.
The New Wave inches closer to America. The debut album by The Clash, which was unavailable on import due to an unusual clause in the band's contract with UK CBS, is now available as an import. This is a good indication that it will be a while before it is released here. The Stranglers.who had almost signed with Columbia a while back, have now signed for the States with A&M, which will release Rattus Norvegicus in early July. Another highly touted New Wave outfit, The Jam, have released their debut on UK Polydor, In The City. The first album by The Vibrators, Pure Mania is out on UK Epic.