The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Hotel Massachusetts (Deluxe Edition) 

Chunk Archives Recordings is pleased to announce the 2CD/digital release Hotel Massachusetts, an amplified reissue of the 1994 compilation originally issued on Chunk Records, which was based on the scene based around the Bay State Hotel in Northampton, Mass. The newly remastered compilation now comes with a second volume on disc two, which may be even better than the original.

The Bay State Hotel was home to Mal Thursday’s performance series Bay State Cabaret, which he hosted and programmed from ’92 to ’95, featuring a rotating cast of local indie rockers, plus touring acts like Arthur Lee & Love, Built to Spill, Jad Fair, The Chesterfield Kings, New Bomb Turks, Flat Duo Jets, The Figgs, and many more. The venue continued, with fewer out-of-town acts and more emphasis on local bands, until 2001. 

The original 1994 release of Hotel Massachusetts showcased such artists as Sebadoh, Silver Jews (the late D.C. Berman was a regular during his time as a UMass grad student), Lyres, The Unband, Angry Johnny & The Killbillies, and New Radiant Storm King. The deluxe double CD, remastered by The Glimmer Quints, comes in a gorgeous 6 panel digipak, with restored cover art by comic/tattoo artist Eric Talbot, the always hip graphic design by Greg Gutbezahl at Studio 680, and the all-important disc two, the long-awaited sequel. 

According to Thursday, “Hotel Massachusetts was a slapdash affair, quickly thrown together to promote Chunk as a label and the Bay State as a mecca for touring bands. The album was very much a product of its time: the post-Nirvana alt-rock boom, which was about to come to a sticky end.” 

The new 51-track edition adds depth and breadth to a portrait of a scene, representing 1992 to 2001, the decade that the old Hotel operated as an unlikely rock club and hub of a thriving local music community.  

It is Disc 2 that adds a lot of the aforementioned depth, and also breadth, filling in the blanks of the Bay State’s post-Mal era with tracks from Mal’s post-Bay State era (seven songs on the second volume were previously released by Chunk over the years), with a veritable greatest hits collection by many of the leading lights of the day.

The anthemic “Long Live the Bay State” by SPOUSE kicks off the second half, followed by a Who’s Who of Western Mass musical heroes: The Aloha Steamtrain (“Last Week”), King Radio (“DC-10”), Drunk Stuntmen (“Jesse James Dean”), Tag Sale (“Rocker of the Pack”), Ware River Club (“Knock on Wood” – a Matt Hebert original, not the Eddie Floyd number), plus one band from Worcester, The Preston Wayne Four, who do a ripping version of “Kumbaya.”

In the 20 years since the Bay State and Chunk Records both bit the dust, there has been a resurgence of interest in that scene, with a documentary by Northampton-based filmmakers Dylan Gaffney, Jill Emmons, and Callie Sieh now in post-production, and the long-awaited release of this doublewide reissue of Hotel Massachusetts.

“I spent the ’80s pretending it was the ’60s. It didn’t work out. Then I spent the’90s pretending it was the ’70s.” – Mal Thursday

"The Deluxe Edition of Hotel Massachusetts is a raucous time capsule of a lost era, an homage to a beloved, long-shuttered venue and the bands that once rocked it.  It also makes a prima facie case for Western Mass as one of the most underrated local scenes of the '90s.” – LP Jones

Bandcamp Link: Hotel Massachusetts (Deluxe Edition)

Disc One

1. Invocation
2. Sebadoh: Skull (alt version)
3. Zeke Fiddler: Half-Baked (remix)
4. New Radiant Storm King: Phone Call (acoustic)
5. Home: Sunday
6. Lumber: Hooked
7. Lyres: I'll Make It Up to You
8. The Unband: You're No Boy Wonder/Nothing You Can Do
9. Clubber Lang: Two Dollar Hell
10. Skinner Pilot: Traces of Alignment
11. Tizzy: Miss America
12. Queer: I Love You, Girl
13. Ray Mason Band: Falling Down
14. The Veronica Cartwrights: Frog
15. Angry Johnny & The Killbillies: Nuclear Man
16. Fuzzy: Four Wheel Friend
17. Steve Westfield: Alone At Last
18. Hoolapopper: Stolen
19. The Dots: Miami
20. The Maggies: Ten Long Years (remix)
21. Miss Reed: Believe You Me
22. Squeek: I Should've Sued
23. Philth Shack: I Like My Life
24. Silver Jews: Good Advices

Disc Two

25. SPOUSE: Long Live the Bay State (demo) 02:45
26. Humbert: Strangel
27. The Strippers: Whorehouse
28. The Coopers: Pulaski Park
29. The Aloha Steamtrain: Last Week
30. Push Kings: Spain
31. Tag Sale: Rocker of the Pack (single edit)
32. The Inskirts: Skating
33. King Radio: DC-10
34. New Radiant Storm King: Subway Token (Save My Soul)
35. Pop*A*Wheelie: Smallest Violins
36. Flycatcher: This Wreck
37. Nag Nag Nag: Chara
38. Ribboncandy: Marzipan
39. The Marshes: I Am Providence (demo)
40. The Vestrymen: Great Grandfather*
41. Amanda's Dirty Secret: Vietnamese Half-Sister
42. Treefort: Trina
43. Ware River Club: Knock on Wood
44. Pangloss: Nothing Left to Give
45. Out Out: Duchess*
46. Sourpuss: Fade By*
47. The Preston Wayne Four: Kumbaya
48. Mother Holly: Take My Baby to The Unband
49. Drunk Stuntmen: Jesse James Dean
50. Mal Thursday & The Cheetahs: Get Outta Dallas
51. Raymond & The Circle: The End
* Digital-Only Bonus Tracks

Curated by Mal Thursday for Chunk Archives Recordings
Remastered by The Glimmer Quints at Casa del Jueves, Austin, Texas
Restored cover art by Eric Talbot
Graphic Design by Greg Gutzebahl/Studio 680
Photos: Daily Hampshire Gazette/Forbes Library Special Collections
Original released March 1994 on Chunk Records

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