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Hitsville PA is the inaugural release from Uranium Rush Records, a new archival and reissue label based in Philadelphia. It is a double Lp featuring demos laid down by the original version of The Gerunds, a pair of DC legends going back to the late ‘80s. The vocalist and lyricist is former Dag Nasty/Los Vampiros and current Field Day vocalist Peter Cortner and all of the music was written and played by Hunter Bennett of Dot Dash (formerly of Julie Ocean, Weatherhead, and John Stabb’s early ‘90s touring band). Bennett is also a writer for Ugly Things magazine and a published author, having penned a biography of the Circle Jerks’ enigmatic bassist Roger Rogerson (appropriately titled The Prodigal Rogerson) in 2017.
Relying on both the U.S. mail and the then-nascent internet in the early to mid-‘00s, Cortner and Bennett began mailing each other song ideas. The end result is this release, never before
issued for sale on vinyl or in any other physical format. Different from any of their previous or
subsequent musical projects, yet very much bearing the hallmark of their respective styles,
Hitsville PA has a mysterious, unique quality redolent of the literate indie-pop both excel at, with references to Raymond Chandler (“Our Man in Havana” and namechecked in “Raymond Chandler’s “Los Angeles”) and the 1987 Stephen Frears film “Prick Up Your Ears.” This is everything the duo recorded together all in one complete package. A stunning, full-color booklet is also included.
On many of these tracks, Cortner’s vocals evoke a post-hardcore version of Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner or perhaps Matt Berninger of The National while Bennett’s music follows suit, splitting the difference between the sparse, shimmering melancholy of UK indie-pop greats The Clientele and his punk-rock past and present while also hinting at his strong interest in dub reggae, particularly on dubby instrumental versions of “The Long Goodbye” and “Our Man in Havana” along with “Baseline Dub.”
This is everything the duo recorded together all in one complete package. A stunning, full-color
booklet is also included. The design work was done by the team of designer Jeremy Dean (whose work includes records by Strike Anywhere, Kid Dynamite, Pedro the Lion, and more recently, John Mayer and the Grateful Dead), and Simon Tripcony, who has done work for Orange9mm, Boysetsfire, and Better Than a Thousand.
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