Richie Records / Testostertunes
Let’s talk about one of the greatest American rock ’n roll labels there is: RICHIE RECORDS aka TESTOSTERTUNES. The first Richie release was my introduction to the label and came in the form of the ‘Brutal Birthday E.P.’ by the HOMOSTUPIDS. A crude and demented one-sided synth-punk 7” w/ primitive artwork. I bought it in 2006 from a distro at a show and also picked up that first HOME BLITZ 7” (Not released by Richie) the same night. Who knew that both bands would still be releasing music on Richie today ten years later.
Richie is a Philly affair, the label is named after Don Richard “Richie” Ashbury (who played for the Philadelphia Phillies) and most of the bands have close ties with the city. The only release by a band overseas would be BRAINBOMBS’ Live At Smalands Nation, Lund, Sweden lp.
Clockcleaner captured by Chris Anderson
The man behind the label is Richard Charles and he used to play the drums in the mighty CLOCKCLEANER so it made sense that he released their Frogrammer 7” on his own label.
If I had to chose one definitive Richie release it would definitely be the Meat 7” by the FNU Ronnies. Two sides of killer zoned out psychedelic cyborg hardcore.
A big plus as well is Richie’s mellow release schedule, choosing quality over quantity. So even in spoiled days like these I get stoked when there’s a new Richie release announced.
It’s not all middle finger music here though, what about an album chockfull of power-pop hits by the mighty HOME BLITZ (Including a killer Cock Sparrer cover) or a 12” by Phillies own constant hit-maker KURT VILE & HIS VIOLATORS.
I was having fun with the BIRDS OF MAYA album called Vol. 1 on Holy Mountain when Richie came and released their epic ’Ready To Howl’ album. Scuzzed out hard-rock hits buried in layers and layers of shredding and noise. Just when I was about to get hungry for more, members of the band started new project with, of course, releases on Richie records. First came Mike Polizze with PURLING HISS and later Jason Killinger with his band SPACIN’ both delivering their own blend of ripping psych jams with catchy hooks.
Watery Love captured in 2014 by Dan Cohoon
Good things often end… Clockcleaner broke up leaving a spotless discography but luckily there was Watery Love (again featuring the owner of the label) and their debut 7” on Richie records simply destroyed. A classic slap of simplistic aggressive punk rock. Big surprise was when I found out that MEG BAIRD(known for her beautiful folky solo records on Drag City and her work with the BAIRD SISTERS and ESPERS) was behind the drumkit.
2016 saw the release of the second Spacin’ lp (called Total Freedom) and a singles club containing three 7”s all released at the same time. All killer no filler jams by the HOMOSTUPIDS, WATERY LOVE and MORDECAI.
I could easily go on and discuss every single release but the best would be if you go and hear for yourself what Richie is all about. Instead of buying one of the 100+ monthly psych reissues of supposedly being “holy grails” pick up that AYE AYE lp featuring the Bardo Pond brothers, can’t go wrong with those guys right? Or weird out your friends by playing them that FACTORYMEN lp.