Many of you will remember the old bootleg cassettes Soviet Beret used to put out back in the 80s. Most of them weren’t, of course, genuine bootlegs, in that the vast majority of them had at least tacit agreement from the bands in question (Now, Now, NOW!, Thee Faction, War of Manoeuvre, Spare Snare and so on). But they were packaged up as such things used to be packaged up: photocopied tape inlays, handwritten labels, and recorded on blank cassettes the origins of which were unclear. Soviet Beret had a stall upstairs in Kensington Market (right next to that clothes shop that did DDR army kit), one at Camden Lock, one on Portobello, stalls in Glasgow, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle, Belfast and Birmingham, and a thriving mail order business that used to advertise in the inky press and in the bigger fanzines. Happy days. But long gone days.
Anyway, they’ve gone legit. They’ve been resurrected, and seem to be operating as a proper, grown-up record label. They’re mostly going to be doing vinyl, they say, but they will usually offer some kind of digital accompaniment. The plan is just to do Socialist R&B, which makes sense. We’re talking to them about how involved they want to be in At Ebbw Vale. I think we all know what the answer will be. Thee Faction and Soviet Beret records, taking on the musical and political Establishment? Neither of the two parties could resist it.
Anyway, more news very soon, both from Thee Faction and Soviet Beret Records. The demise of pentatonicdialectics.com has caused them a bit of trouble, cos they relied on them for webspace. But the comrades at Soviet Beret say they’ve set up some sort of facebook page in the last few days, since pentatonicdialectics got shut down, and they reckon their website proper is pretty close to being ready. Once it is, if you’re in a Socialist R&B band, and you reckon Soviet Beret will be your natural home, get in touch with them.
Exciting times, brothers and sisters. Exciting times.